Right now, following our comprehensive review process, we've come to the conclusion that the best value phone you can buy is the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. As 2018's flagship phones have hit Australian shelves, read on to find out which other phones are worth your investment.
Meet the author
Alex Kidman is a multi-award-winning consumer technology journalist and the Tech & Telco Editor at finder.com.au. He's been writing about consumer technology topics for more than two decades.
Info last updated 30 January 2019.
- Phones added
- This comparison was updated 30 January 2019 to add the Huawei Mate 20 and iPhone XR.
30 January 2019
- Phones added
- Apple iPhone XS Max, Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 3XL and Huawei Mate 20 Pro have been added to the top phones list.
05 October 2018
- Phones added
- This comparison was updated 2 July 2018 to reflect the arrival of the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact and HTC U12+ smartphones.
2 July 2018
- Phones added
- This comparison was updated on 31 May 2018 to reflect the arrival of the Huawei P20 Pro and OnePlus 6 smartphones.
31 May 2018
Huawei's regular Mate 20 feels much more like the Huawei of old; it's priced at a level that's highly competitive in the premium space without shirking on processing power or battery life. If you prefer a teardrop notch to a rectangular one, it might even be a better buy than the full-fat Huawei Mate 20 Pro, although the camera isn't quite as sharp as Huawei's true flagship phone.
Apple's latest and greatest handset is an impressive technical achievement, with the power of the A12 Fusion blowing away every other smartphone you can buy, and not by a small margin. It's also equipped with excellent dual cameras and the smooth operation of iOS 12. Balancing against that, however, is the fact that Apple charges a serious premium for the iPhone XS Max, more than any other regular smartphone on sale in Australia today.
Samsung's updated Galaxy Note9 is an impressive phone with superb battery life, an ever-improving S-Pen stylus and a huge display screen. It outscores the Galaxy S9+ at a technical level, and would best it were it not for its price point. If you want the 512GB version – and let's face it, you really do – you'll pay a premium price for the privilege. Still, if you've been a fan of previous Note phones, this is a superb update that should be your next handset.
Sony's Xperia XZ2 Compact manages the ultra-rare trick of offering up premium components in a smaller sized handset. Often if you prefer smaller phones you've got to put up with sub-standard performance, but this simply isn't the case for the Xperia XZ2 Compact, which outdoes even its bigger sibling, the Xperia XZ2. If you want a small powerful phone, you don't have a huge range of choices, but the Xperia XZ2 Compact is a quality option.
Apple's most "affordable" iPhone for 2018 was the Apple iPhone XR. It uses the same underlying Apple A12 Fusion as its bigger siblings, but with an LCD rather than OLED display and a single rear lens. It's a fine buy to get in on the floor of the Apple iOS experience, but if you're paying premium money the iPhone XS is arguably the better overall buy.
Why you should compare the best mobile phones in Australia
Ever since Steve Jobs took to the stage in 2007 and unveiled the very first iPhone to the world, the smartphone has become one of the most important tech devices you will ever own. Today's smartphones manage our very existence, connecting us with friends and family and keeping us informed throughout our day-to-day lives.
The sheer impact of the smartphone on today's society makes deciding which smartphone to purchase all the more important. These products can be expensive and are often purchased with a two-year contract, meaning you have to live with your choice for an extended period of time.
To make matters harder, there are many great mobile devices to choose from, with major technology manufacturers from around the world all producing excellent-quality devices. We're here to help you choose.
2017 was a step-change for phones. While 2016 saw devices that massively increased efficiency and power, it was also marred by the explosive Galaxy Note 7 recall. 2017 also saw Apple's impressive return after they managed to create a series of phones that outperform Android devices on both performance and battery life.
2018 saw a bumper crop of smartphones from all manufacturers. Cameras are a key battleground, with some amazing results from what are, after all, very small smartphone sensors. Even ordinary photographers can get some astonishing shots with today's very best flagship phones.
Here at finder.com.au, we've reviewed all of the flagship smartphones that have launched in Australia, putting them through their paces to see which is best. We've argued long and hard to create this list of 2019's best smartphones, which we update constantly.
- All the news from Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked Galaxy S10 event
- Qualcomm’s new X55 5G modem can hit 7Gbps
- Huawei confirms 26 March launch for the Huawei P30 Pro
- Apple iPhone XR review: Plans | Pricing | Specs
- OnePlus 6T: Plans | Pricing | Specs
- Google Pixel 3 review: Plans | Pricing | Specs
- Telstra is “registering interest” in the Galaxy S10
Glossary: Key smartphone terms to consider
|Display||AMOLED displays don’t need a backlight, screen pixels are actually turned off to produce blacks, which can save energy. Super AMOLED has improved visibility in direct sunlight. LCD displays use a backlight, which reduces contrast. An IPS LCD display has truer colour reproduction and looks better when you view the screen at an angle.|
|OS||This is the operating system. The Apple iOS works seamlessly with the App Store for a dynamic and engaging mobile phone experience. Android is an open source platform created by Google, meaning anyone can play around with it. All the phones on our list use the Android OS except the Apple iPhones.|
|RAM||RAM is your phone’s short-term memory. When you use an app, instead of writing data to your phone’s internal storage or SD card (long-term memory), the data is stored in the device’s RAM so it can be recalled quickly and easily when it’s needed. The more RAM the better. Apple's iPhones have far less RAM than Android smartphones. When the RAM reaches capacity on an Android phone, RAM is recycled through a memory heavy process called garbage collection. Apple does it differently and is able to run just as smoothly with half the RAM of most Android mobile phones.|
|Megapixels||MP is short for megapixels and is generally accepted as a guide for image quality. More megapixels doesn’t mean a better-looking photo. Megapixels are about the maximum size of the image in relation to image quality. The more megapixels, the larger you can blow up your picture without it becoming distorted.|
|Sensor size||Too many megapixels for a small image sensor will ruin the image quality.|