We comprehensively review all the major handsets released in Australia here at Finder to help you compare what they have to offer.
Right now, the best phone you can get on the Vodafone network as a combination of power, camera quality, battery life and value for money is the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Meet the author
Alex Kidman is a multi-award-winning consumer technology journalist and the tech & telco editor at Finder. He has been writing about consumer technology topics for more than two decades.
Info last updated 06 February 2019.
- Phones added
- This comparison was updated 06 February 2019 with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro topping the list.
04 February 2019
- Phones added
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro tops our inaugural best Vodafone phones list.
06 February 2019
The Apple iPhone XS impresses with its powerful A12 Bionic processor and the easy-to-understand-and-use iOS operating system. It's equipped with an excellent dual-rear-lens camera and is more compact and affordable than the iPhone XS Max, especially when you take Vodafone's flexible contract terms into consideration. If you're an iPhone fan and you want a phone on the Vodafone network, this is the handset to buy.
Pixels used to be an exclusive to just one network in Australia, but that's not the case for the Pixel 3, Google's pocket rocket of a phone. It's a great option for Vodafone users wanting a clean Android interface, guaranteed software updates for at least two years and an exceptional single-lens camera system at a highly affordable price.
Vodafone's unique separation of phone contract from mobile contract means you can split out your handset costs over a period that suits you, but you've still got to pay for the actual handset eventually. For iPhone users that presents a challenge, because 2018's flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max aren't exactly inexpensive. That's the gap that the iPhone XR fills well, with the same Apple A12 Bionic processor, an LCD (rather than OLED) display and one of the best single-lens rear cameras on the market.
Want a large display, the latest version of Android and every update for the next couple of years? It's hard to look past the Google Pixel 3 XL, the super-sized version of the Google Pixel 3 that also manages to pack in more battery capacity along the way. You also get the benefit of the exceptional Pixel Night Sight camera, which can just about see in the dark in ways that we're still not sure aren't magical.
The iPhone XS Max is Apple's biggest and most powerful smartphone of 2018, so why doesn't it rank higher in our list? It's the asking price, which is on the steeper side, although here it does make sense to get one on contract with Vodafone. Splitting the asking price over a longer period of either 24 or 36 months gives you more time to pay it off while enjoying its superior display, battery life and dual-lens camera.
The Galaxy S9 isn't Samsung's newest handset, given that the Galaxy S10 is due to launch quite soon, but that has its advantages if you want a premium phone at a really competitive price. With the recent update to Android 9 ("Pie") and Samsung's new One UI interface, it's also nicely up-to-date for a phone that's now a year old.
There are lower cost options than the iPhone XR and the iPhone 8 might be the right choice for you if you don't like Apple's push towards its FaceID camera system. The iPhone 8 is part of the last iPhone generation to feature TouchID instead and it's a compact but still quite powerful phone suitable for those who prefer a smaller handheld device. Its age also means it's a touch cheaper on a Vodafone contract as well.
Why you should compare the best phones on the Vodafone network in Australia
Vodafone's position as a value-centric network challenging both Optus and Telstra is well-established, and that's nowhere more obvious than in the way it structures its phone contracts. Sign up for a phone on other carriers and you pay one lump sum for the phone on a fixed contract price. On Vodafone, you instead sign up for a phone service plan and SIM, then the phone separately with terms of either 12, 24 or 36 months. This frees you up to switch plans as your needs change, as well as pay the handset off either faster or slower than traditional 24-month terms.
It's important to note that you do have to maintain a Vodafone contract plan through the life of your phone repayment plan. If you opt to switch away from Vodafone, you'll have to pay out the remaining cost of your handset as a lump sum.
Here at Finder, 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 Vodafone smartphones, which we update constantly.
Glossary: Key phone terms to consider
|Display||AMOLED displays don't need a backlight and 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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