Best Telstra phones 2019: The 10 top phones you can buy on the Telstra network

We comprehensively review all the major handsets released in Australia here at Finder to help you compare what they have to offer.

Telstra is Australia's biggest network, and it offers a wide range of handsets to consumers, whether you're a metropolitan user or living rurally.

Right now, the best phone you can get on the Telstra network as a combination of power, camera quality, battery life and value for money is the Samsung Galaxy S9+.

alex

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 04 February 2019.

Phones added
This comparison was updated 04 February 2019 with the Samsung Galaxy S9+ topping the list.

04 February 2019

Phones added
Samsung Galaxy S9+ tops our inaugural best Android phones list.

30 January 2019

View latest updates

Jacob Smith
Jacob

1. Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung's Galaxy S9+ is a great fit for the Telstra mobile network. It's a "Blue Tick" compatible phone with a fast modem, high quality screen, and the recent update to Android 9 ("Pie") has opened up new features such as Samsung's One UI interface. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is coming soon, and it's likely to supplant it, but right now, the Galaxy S9+ hits the sweet spot of features, performance and price.


2. Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS

Apple's iPhone XS gives you plenty of power thanks to the A12 Bionic, the familiar and secure space of iOS and a superb double lens rear camera. It's a fair bit less expensive than the iPhone XS Max, but it's got a better display and camera than the iPhone XR, making it our pick of the best iPhone handsets available to Telstra customers.


3. Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3

At one time the Pixel family was a Telstra exclusive, and while that's no longer the case, the Pixel 3 is still a great option on the Telstra network if you want a compact, fast Android phone with absolutely zero clutter. Its "night sight" camera may as well be magic for the quality of shots it gives you, and the guarantee of fast future operating system updates is also a big plus.


4. Samsung Galaxy Note9

Galaxy Note9
Want more display screen and the unique S-Pen stylus on a smartphone on the Telstra network? Then the choice has to be the Samsung Galaxy Note9, a phone that also benefits from having the best battery life of any Telstra network phone we've tested to date. The higher capacity 512GB model isn't exactly inexpensive, even on contract, but it's a superb overall handset.


5. Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

If you're an iPhone fan, you might have been dismayed by the higher cost of 2018's flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. That's where the much more affordable iPhone XR comes in. It's got the same A12 Bionic processor as its pricier siblings, a sharp LCD display and some of the best battery life we've seen on any iPhone.

You can get cheaper and older iPhones on the Telstra network, but if you want an iPhone that will last the distance and see future iOS updates for some years to come, the iPhone XR is the one to sign up for.


6. Google Pixel 3XL

Google Pixel 3XL

As the name suggests, the Google Pixel 3 XL is the super-sized edition of the Google Pixel 3. If you favour a larger display, want a clean Android experience and better battery life than you'd get on the smaller Pixel 3, it's the phone to buy on the Telstra network.


7. Apple iPhone XS Max

Apple iPhone XS Max

The Apple iPhone XS Max is Apple's largest 2018 iPhone, with an expansive display, the power of the Apple A12 Bionic and a camera that can give you pro-level results without having pro-level skills. Telstra makes it available at a variety of storage capacity levels, but it's got the distinction of being the most expensive smartphone available in Australia today, which is why it sits so far down the rankings. It's a superb phone, and a great choice on the Telstra network, but you sure pay for the privilege.


8. Samsung Galaxy S9

Galaxy S9

Samsung's slightly cheaper Galaxy S9 is a good choice if you want a phone on the Telstra network with Blue Tick certification, top-notch performance and Android 9 ("Pie") update. Like the Galaxy S9+, we're expecting it to be supplanted by the upcoming Galaxy S10 series, but for now, it's a very solid option.


9. Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Apple's iPhone 8 isn't the newest iPhone you can get on the Telstra network, but it's got a few particular advantages that might make it the right choice for you. If you travel in regional or rural areas of Australia, it's notably the only iPhone on Telstra's current plans that carries "Blue Tick" certification for superior regional performance. If you're not a fan of FaceID, it's the last generation to feature TouchID instead. Of course, its slightly older status also means it's a touch less expensive on contract terms too.


10. Oppo R15 Pro

Oppo R15 Pro

Oppo's primary market is in affordable Android phones, which might make you think they won't feature heavily in "best" phone lists. However, the Oppo R15 Pro shows just how good Oppo phones can be, with super-fast VOOC charging, good app performance and an easy to use camera somewhat inspired by Apple's approach. Given it's available on contract on the Telstra network at lower rates than most iPhones, it's a great choice if you're thinking of switching from iOS to Android, or just want a good quality handset for less.


Compare best Telstra phone specifications

Why you should compare the best phones on the Telstra network in Australia

Telstra is Australia's largest mobile network, both in terms of subscribers and overall network coverage. In the premium space it offers a carefully curated selection of smartphones, but they're not all equal. There are offerings for both the iOS and Android camps, at a variety of price points suitable to your needs.

What you should compare is what those precise needs are. Selected handsets on the Telstra network carry Telstra's "Blue Tick" certification for superior network performance in regional and rural areas, which is important if you travel a lot throughout Australia. We've collected everything you need to know about Telstra Blue Tick phones here.

If you're curious about precisely how Telstra tests phones for its network, we've taken a tour of Telstra's top-secret mobile testing labs, which you can read here.

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 Telstra smartphones, which we update constantly.


Glossary: Key phone 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.
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, and in the premium space that typically means 4GB or more.
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.

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Alex Kidman

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, and enjoys breaking down complex topics into their component parts. He has written for just about every major Australian technology publication, and is a former editor of Gizmodo Australia, PC Mag Australia, and CNET.com.au.

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