We have tested mobile phones and name Huawei P20 Pro as best in test. The phone has all you could wish from a phone in the premium segment, and Huawei has also managed to push the price to a manageable level. Samsung Galaxy S8+ is also a good purchase, especially of you're looking for a larger screen and a good camera.
We carry out all of our tests ourselves and test all products in real conditions. We use mobile phones for everyday tasks just like the consumers themselves would use them. And as we use them, we note both major and minor issues that could be important to anyone buying a mobile phone. Some of the most important factors we take into account are:
Performance: How fast is the mobile phone interface? Can it handle demanding game apps? How does it react when running lots of apps at the same time?
Ease of use: Is the interface easy to learn? Are there smart solutions for shortcuts to the most common functions etc.? Are the interface, functions etc. personalised for each unique user?
Camera: How well does the camera perform under normal light conditions? How does it perform in poorer light conditions? How good is the colour reproduction? Is there "noise" on the images? How does the camera handle contrasts? How sharp are the images? Is it easy to find the focus?
Operating time: How long does the battery last before the mobile phone must be charged again under normal conditions? How does this change when we work the telephone hard? How quickly does the battery charge again?
Other factors we include in our analysis are material choice, build quality, whether the manufacturer has discarded important functions/hardware and how much value for money the mobile phone represents – both in terms of what you get for your money and how it compares to its competitors. The final score reflects the value for money.
A top mobile in the top segment
The P20 Pro has a lot of what you want from a phone, and it's a good buy for anyone looking for a top level mobile phone.
Screen: 6.1 inch - 2240 x 1080 pixels Processor: Huawei Kirin 970, 4 x 2.36 Ghz 4 x 1.8 Ghz Camera: 40 + 20 + 8 megapixel, selfie camera 24 megapixel RAM: 6 GB Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: Dimensions Weight: Weight Android version: Android version Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous
The Huawei P20 Pro is a thin, stylish mobile phone with a really good camera.
The main camera - or rather the three main cameras - on the back even beats the Samsung S9 Plus. The colours, details and handling of different light conditions are all excellent. The optical zoom magnifies objects up to five times, and the resolution of a full 40 megapixels is nothing to be ashamed of either. It also has an interesting ultra-fast mode. With this, you can film at 960 frames a second, which creates really great effects when you're trying to capture something. However, it can be difficult to capture the moment when the time range for the effect is only a quarter of a second. The function also requires good light conditions so it's not often useful. The camera app itself has a user-friendly design. One nice detail is that the function wheel looks like a focus ring on a digital camera. There are lots of options for both experienced and less regular mobile photographers. The mobile phone's selfie camera provides a full 24 megapixels of resolution, and does an excellent job. One interesting detail of the P20 Pro is that the mobile phone exploits the whole of the upper part of the screen - what's known as the sensor panel. But you can also choose to keep this area black if you prefer a more traditional appearance.
The Huawei P20 Pro is impressive when it comes to battery life - even during demanding use.
We didn't need to charge it once during the daytime. Simply charging it over night was sufficient. The operating system runs well, apps open quickly and there's no lag. What's most impressive is the very quick and faultless facial recognition that unlocks the mobile. You have to be really picky to find anything to complain about with the Huawei P20 Pro, but there is actually room for improvement. The screen, which is excellent when it comes to colour reproduction and brightness, doesn't really have the same resolution and DPI (pixels per inch) as some of its top competitors. However, this is only noticeable if you really strain to see. The phone is always missing a proper "Always on" display function so that you can get information even when the lock button's on. It's there, hidden at the bottom of the settings menu, but it only shows basic functions such as the clock and which track is playing. Unfortunately there's no preview of messages and you can't control the music when the screen is off, for example. You might also feel the lack of a 3.5 mm jack and the possibility of wireless charging. But the fact that the mobile doesn't have a memory card slot is less important as there's a full 128 Gb of internal storage. With the Huawei P20 Pro, the Chinese mobile manufacturer has easily established itself in the top layer of the premium segment.
Stable top model for a reasonable price
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.41 inch - 2340 x 1080 pixels Processor: Snapdragon 845 2.8 GHz Camera: 16 + 20 megapixel, selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 3,700 mAh Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm Weight: 185 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, facial recognition.
Right from the start, Oneplus have made telephones with top specifications for a reasonable price tag. The 6T is the latest model in the family, and even though the price tag has gone up quite a bit between versions, it's still pretty good compared to the very latest phones, while telephones six or more months old have come down to similar prices.
But the Oneplus 6T is still "cheap" compared to its competitors. At the same time it has quite generous basic functions. Up to 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB for storage is still relatively uncommon even in top models (and even the slightly cheaper entry model feels very generous with its 6 and 128 GB respectively for RAM and storage, which is also the only thing that distinguishes the two models).
This much RAM means that several apps can be kept in memory without it being full or the phone being slow. And the speed is increased still further by the latest Snapdragon chip, which won't disappoint anyone in terms of performance.
Via its overlying Oxygen OS interface, the Oneplus 6T also has a number of extra functions to help apps remain in memory and to give a little extra boost to games. To be honest, we couldn't really tell the difference with the functions on or off, because the phone is quick either way.
Together with the latest version of Android, you get both the latest functions from Google and a number of extra options from Oneplus, creating a really good overall experience.
The screen too is one of the better quality AMOLED types, with sharper blacks. It doesn't quite reach Samsung's top levels, but there's absolutely nothing to complain about. The same applies to the resolution, which perhaps isn't the very best, but perfectly sufficient.
The screen also conceals the biggest innovation in the phone – a fingerprint reader direct on the screen. This works really well for identifying yourself in apps, but for some reason when it comes to unlocking the phone it lags slightly behind competitors such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro with similar technology.
As a backup you can also turn on facial recognition to unlock the phone and the two complement each other very well.
The cameras are also very high quality. In daylight, the rear double camera can hold its own with the best, and in slightly poorer lighting it's still pretty good. However, in darker images you can see the class difference from something like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which produces much sharper images.
The Oneplus 6T has a special night mode, but for this to work well the subject has to be completely still (for example if you're photographing a building at night). The camera is also meant to detect the difference between different subjects and adapt the image accordingly. This isn't something that's obvious in the app and we get the impression that it's not as good as other camera AI solutions.
So what's the catch? Actually there isn't much wrong with the Oneplus 6T, but it feels more like a really good basic model than many other manufacturers' top models. For example, the camera should be able to recognise document scanning automatically, and we'd have liked to have seen different alternatives for screen resolution to save on the battery (not that the battery life is particularly bad – in fact you can easily get it to last a day with normal use). There aren't any fun or useful extra functions such as wireless charging, watertightness or an IR port (to work as a remote control).
In many cases these are things you can live without, but other than the fingerprint reader this phone is a bit short on glitz.
In any case, the Oneplus 6T has lots of memory and is a really quick alternative to the often more expensive top models without feeling like you're missing any particularly important functions.
Extra everything, great camera and battery life
The gap between the autumn Mate telephones and the spring P models has shrunk a bit, but the Mate 20 Pro is phenomenally impressive for anyone looking for a cutting edge mobile phone.
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.39” - 3120x1440 p Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 980 Octa core 2.26 GHz Camera: 1x40 MP + 1x20 MP + 1x8 MP, selfie camera: 24 MP Battery: 4200 mAh Dimensions: 157.8x72.3x8.6 mm Weight: 189 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), fingerprint reader in screen, iris scanner, wireless charging (two-way)
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is without doubt one of the year's most well-built phones which – despite its size – is also really comfortable in your hand. The body is made of glass with an aluminium frame, and the front has a slightly curved screen, although this doesn't impair writing as is sometimes the case with other manufacturers.
The screen is really sharp and colourful. Unfortunately some examples, including ours, suffer from a production fault that gives a greenish shimmer along the edges of the screen. This is something that can be remedied through the guarantee, but it's still unfortunate.
The Mate 20 Pro has wireless charging as an addition to the very quick charging via cable. It also has reverse wireless charging so that you can wirelessly charge other gadgets. This is most useful if your earphones or watch support wireless charging, but we also got it to work with other mobile phones, although with rather varying results.
In addition to the facial recognition, it also has a fingerprint reader beneath the glass of the screen. Both work well and complement each other, so it's always easy to unlock the phone.
The battery life isn't on the same phenomenal level as last year's Mate 10 Pro, but it's still impressive at two days' light use. The same applies to reception, which is better than many other smartphones in problem areas, but not quite as good as its predecessor.
Since the P20 Pro, Huawei have been seen as one of the best manufacturers of camera mobiles, and the Mate 20 Pro is no exception. The lenses work together, above all to create lossless zoom of up to 5x, but also to give better pictures overall.
The camera contains the majority of AI functions you'd expect from a Huawei phone. It adapts the picture to the subject better than previously, and also has Hivision. This is a mode where you can translate text in real time using the camera (although not all languages!), identify products and also calculate the calories in your food, which is really cool – even if there's currently only a very limited food database. The AI functions are all thanks to Huawei's own Kirin 980 chip, which stands up well against the competition.
You also get the very latest version of Android with Huawei's own EMUI interface over the top. This includes a number of practical extra functions and settings, but unfortunately quite a lot of rubbishy advertising apps too. The Mate series grew up with last year's model, and the Mate 20 Pro has now taken the lead in many areas.
A really good photo phone
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.5 inch - 1920x1080 pixels Processor: A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, embedded M11 movement processor Camera: Double 12 MP with wide angle and telephoto lens, selfie camera 7 MP Width: 78.1 mm Height: 158.4 mm RAM: 78.1 mm Weight: 202 Capacity: 64/256 GB Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (resists water, splashes and dust), biometric login, lightning contact, support for wireless charging
The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is a large and relatively heavy mobile phone that's simultaneously thin and stylish. The size combined with the fantastic screen makes it great for looking at videos and images. The screen is knife sharp and has a very wide viewing angle. But the best thing about the iPhone 8 Plus is the camera. The images don't look processed as they tend to on the majority of mobile telephones. The camera has a portrait mode where the background and foreground around the subject are blurred while the subject remains sharp. This type of function can be found in the majority of premium mobile telephones today, but Apple only has it on its two latest Plus models. Unfortunately portrait mode often causes problems when there are lots of details in the image. For example, we tried photographing a dog against a field, and the camera found it difficult to determine which areas around the dog should be sharp or blurred respectively. It can also have the same problem when a subject has bushy hair. But in 8 out of 10 cases it performs very well and it's almost as if you'd taken the photos with a system camera. The colours are realistic, it can cope well with major light differences and produces good photographs even in dark environments. Unfortunately the camera is a bit sluggish when you use it in portrait mode. It takes half a second from you pressing the button until it takes the photo, so you have to bear this in mind if you don't want to miss the decisive moment. We don't encounter this problem when taking photos in normal photo mode.
The iPhone 8 Plus has an acceptable battery life given its size, but you should count on recharging it at least once a day. If you use it intensively you'll need to charge it once more during the day. The iPhone 8 Plus has support for wireless charging and for quick charging, but Apple only supply it with a normal charger, which seems unnecessarily stingy. When it comes to performance, we don't see any great difference from either the iPhone 7 Plus or a premium mobile from one of the Android manufacturers. It's possible that the performance improvements that have already been made will become more noticeable under specific conditions, such as in VR apps. If you're already a dedicated iPhone user and you're looking for a large mobile phone with a really good camera, the iPhone 8 Plus is a good purchase. But the iPhone 8 Plus isn't revolutionary compared with its predecessor, the iPhone 7 Plus, particularly given the price difference. The only thing that separates them purely in terms of performance is the support for wireless charging. Otherwise they have around the same battery life, functions and appearance. That's not to say that the iPhone 8 Plus is a poor choice. After all, the iPhone 7 Plus is one of the very best mobile telephones on the market today, so a successor with slightly improved performance is, of course, also a good buy.
High-performance and plenty of functions, but not entirely faultless
Screen: 6.2 inch - 2960x1440 pixels Processor: Samsung Exynos 9 Octa 2.3 Mhz Camera: 12 megapixel, 8 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3500 mAh Talk time (3G): 24 h Dimensions: 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm Weight: 173 g Android version: 7.0 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is bursting with technology and has an attractive design and an impressive specification. For example, take the login options. You can choose between a pin code, a pattern, face recognition, iris recognition or fingerprint recognition. It has everything. Unfortunately, we discovered that it’s primarily the pin code or pattern alternatives that perform best, as the others don’t always work satisfactorily. For example, the fingerprint solution is quick but the positioning is badly chosen. Once you have access to the S8+ for your first exploration, there's a continuing cavalcade of different functions and options. Fortunately, you get used to these over time, but for a new user it can feel rather overwhelming. You can switch off the majority of the alternatives, but one function that you unfortunately can’t stop is Bixby, which is Samsung’s extremely inferior version of Google Now. But regardless of what you think about the surplus of functions, you can’t complain about the Galaxy S8’s hardware or performance. The handset is, after all, hardware – and everything works extremely quickly. Apps open at lightning speed and we couldn’t find any game that made the mobile pause for breath. The 6.2 inch screen (with the slightly odd 18.5:9 format) is among the best we’ve ever encountered – particularly in direct sunlight.
One hardware function that’s missing is the physical “home” button. This has been replaced by a pressure sensitive digital variant, which is part of the screen. It takes a while to get used to pressing it, but with time it feels OK. You can also set how sensitive it should be. The mobile phone’s camera is excellent, particularly when taking photographs in poor light conditions. Colour reproduction is very good and there’s no shortage of settings to change if you want more manual control. The battery time is good without being noteworthy. In general we had about 30% left when it came to bedtime. In terms of audio, we appreciated Samsung including a 3.5 mm contact on the telephone. However, we thought it was a bit of a shame that the handset only has one external speaker. Overall, Galaxy S8+ users won’t lack much when it comes to performance and functions. But the flagship mobile isn’t entirely faultless, as described above, so it doesn’t get a perfect score.
Reasonable phone with good camera and screen
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.8 inch - 2240 x 1080 pixels Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 970 2.4 GHz Camera: 2x12 megapixel, 24 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3400 mAh Dimensions: 149.1x70.8x7.7 mm Weight: 165 g Android version: 8.1 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP53 classified (water and dust resistant), biometric log-in
The Huawei P20 is a premium telephone with a good camera and great battery life. Despite the fact that we use the phone hard, the battery lasts a whole day, and with normal use 1.5-2 days is no problem. The P20's screen is good, but not top quality. The colour reproduction and contrast are fine, but the colour reproduction isn't really up to the level of an OLED screen. The phone has very good resolution, though, and that does a lot for image quality. The fingerprint reader is fast, as is the facial recognition system. The telephone's watertightness is below average, and can only cope with things like sweat, spilled drinks and moderate rain. Inside, it has the latest version of Android with Huawei's own EMUI software skin over the top. This is a little different from normal Android, primarily through the absence of the app drawer. You can turn this on, though, together with a load of extra settings such as night mode for the screen. It's actually a really nice skin, but you have to count on uninstalling a load of free apps that are pre-installed on the system. The entire thing is run by the same fast Kirin 970 chip - Huawei's own - as its big brother, the P20 Pro, and we pretty much never feel that it's running slowly.
The cameras in the P20 perform well, but don't achieve the same phenomenal level as the P20 Pro. The P20 sits in a slightly awkward position between the company's cheaper models and the P20 Pro, which has a full three cameras on the back. But that doesn't mean the P20 is a bad phone. Photos taken in dark conditions - Huawei's long-running Achilles' heel - are actually pretty good with the P20, and photos in other environments are slightly better than with the Mate 10 Pro, the previous top model. This is also where the dedicated chip for artificial intelligence is most visible, as it automatically adapts the image to the subject. In many cases, as in "Blue Sky" mode, or for automatic identification of documents for scanning, it works really well. Vegetation tends to have a slightly exaggerated colour, however, but you can turn the effect off. One fun detail is that the phone identifies every dog you photograph as a cat! If you want a phone that's a bit cheaper than the P20 Pro, a lot cheaper than many other top models and in a slightly easier to manage format, the Huawei P20 isn't likely to disappoint.
Fast, with a really good, big screen
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.8 inch - 2436x1125 pixels Processor:A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, embedded M11 movement processor Camera: Double 12 MP with wide angle and telephoto lens, selfie camera 7 MP with true depth Width: 70.9 mm Height: 143.6 mm Depth: 7.7 mm Weight: 174 g Capacity: 64/256 GB Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (resists water, splashes and dust), facial recognition, lightning contact, support for wireless charging
The Apple iPhone X is a mobile phone with a good camera and a really great screen. It's also the first Apple mobile phone that exploits the entire telephone surface for the screen rather than limiting it at the top and bottom edges. The larger screen area, together with the very bright, responsive and colourful OLED screen, gives a very good visual experience, both in the form of a maximised reading area when you're online and also when you're watching films or playing games. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't provide split-screen technology. We'd have liked it to be possible to run two apps side by side in horizontal mode. But the interface is fast and we don't experience any lag. In the iPhone X, the fingerprint reader has completely disappeared. The phone is only equipped with facial recognition. This is fast and works well, but we'd have liked the fingerprint reader as a complement, because as it is you always have to lift the phone up to your face to unlock it. And the facial recognition works less well in the dark.
The Apple iPhone X has a normal battery life, which lasts about a day. We think that given the price, Apple could have supplied a fast charger with the phone, but you have to buy that separately. And Apple boasts that it supports wireless charging, but there's no charger for that either. A standard charger takes a full 2.5 hours to completely charge the battery. If Apple had chosen a USB-C port, it would have been significantly faster, but unfortunately the iPhone X instead has the company's own lightning port. Overall this feels unnecessarily stingy given the phone's high price tag. The camera in the iPhone X is really good. The colours are natural and quite bright and the contrast is very good. But the camera struggles when there's a lot of contrast in its surroundings, and parts of the photo turn out slightly over or underexposed. The iPhone X has a portrait mode that makes the subject sharp and the background blurred. This gives excellent pictures when it works, which it does 8 out of 10 times. When it doesn't work, the blurred or sharp areas end up in the wrong places. For example, the phone tends to have problems with frizzy hair, large fields etc. But overall this is a really good premium telephone, with a great camera and high-performance. However, it's expensive compared to the few competing models at the top of the market, and so it isn't such good value for money. If you're a loyal Apple fan, you'll probably be very satisfied with the iPhone X.
Well-built and responsive medium class mobile with an inviting screen
Screen: 5.2 inch - 1920x1080 Super IPS+ screen with 600 cd/m2 brightness Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Camera: 16 megapixel, 8 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3000 mAh Dimensions: 147 x 74 x 8 mm Weight: 144 g Android version: 7.0 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: Double SIM card (or alternatively 1 SIM card and 1 Micro-SD card), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C
The Asus Zenfone 3 mobile telephone has a crystal clear screen with very good contrast and colour reproduction regardless of whether you're indoors or outdoors in strong sunlight. In this price class it's the best screen we’ve seen. The screen is also extremely quick to respond – in fact the entire phone feels very responsive when we move through the interface and apps, even if it doesn’t have the best processor on the market. However, the camera is no more than OK. The images are acceptable in good light conditions, but it has problems as soon as there’s more contrast in the environment, for example if the camera is in direct sunlight but aimed at an area of shade. In poor light the images can very easily be blurry and the camera finds it difficult to focus. The images also feel overprocessed. Video clips tend to be extremely dark with the consequence that many details disappear if you don’t have good, uniform lighting. Given the price class the camera is acceptable, but don’t expect wonders.
But there are other things that are good about this telephone. It’s well constructed without any play in the buttons. A small LED on the front indicates if you’ve received new messages without hearing them. The material is rather slippery, so it’s a good idea to buy a protective shell so that it doesn’t get damaged if it falls out of your pocket. This is also the reason that we would have liked the fingerprint reader to be on the front instead of high up on the back. That would also be a better position from a purely ergonomic viewpoint. The battery life is good despite a relatively small battery. The phone does a good job of keeping energy consumption down and never gets particularly hot even if we play games and push the hardware to its limits. It also obtained very high points in the performance tests we put it through. All in all this is a very good choice in the medium price class, even if Asus can still improve several things prior to the next version of the Zenfone 3.
High quality throughout but the screen size isn’t exploited optimally
Screen: 5.5 inch - 3840 x 2160 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 4x 2.45 Mhz - 4 x 1.9 Mhz Camera: 19 megapixel, 13 megapixel selfie camera Price class: Premium Battery: 3230 mAh Dimensions: 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm Weight: 195 g Android version: 7.0 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: IP65/IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is a mobile telephone that literally breathes quality, with its glass back and metal frame around – an impression that is reinforced by top-class hardware on the inside. If we were to criticise one thing it would be that it has obvious screen edges, which many other manufacturers have abandoned. This may be perceived by many people as old-fashioned, and also creates unnecessary dead space that could have been used to give the phone more screen space. According to Sony, it's the 4K HDR screen and the possibility to take ultra-rapid video at a full 960 frames per second which are the high points of the phone. These are pretty cool features, it’s true, but both currently suffer from limitations. For the screen, there are only a few apps that support 4K at the moment, so you can rarely see the benefit. However, in the future things will be different. The ultra-rapid function isn’t so good. You can only take a short video clip at top speed and both the light conditions and subject must be ideal to get a good end result. With a bit of practice and a spot of luck you can produce really good results, but it’s a bit too fiddly to achieve these for this function to really stand out.
Otherwise the camera is very good, particularly the colour reproduction. It also takes high-quality images in poor light conditions, but there are premium priced class mobiles that perform better on this point. The functional interface contributes to using the camera being a straightforward experience. The interface is also easy to use generally, largely because the system is the quickest and most lag free that we have experienced on an Android mobile. The fingerprint reader, which is set into the on/off button on the side of the mobile, is also responsive and functions faultlessly. The Xperia XZ Premium also has stereo speakers, which is a big plus. And of course it’s also water and dustproof, which has been one of Sony’s showpieces for a long time now. There are also a number of clever AI functions built into the system, such as the mobile reminding you when you should charge it based on your general charging habits. Over time the AI will learn a number of your user habits and give you recommendations based on them. We think this could be useful, but it’s difficult to say whether that perception would change depending on how insistent the XZ Premium becomes over time. Sony has achieved considerable success with the Xperia XZ. If you like the design and think that the price is reasonable for a top mobile phone which doesn’t have an “edgeless” screen, you probably won’t regret your purchase.
Rounded shape with very good sound
Screen: 5.7 inch - 2160 x 1080 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.8 Ghz Camera:19 megapixel, 5 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3180 mAh Dimensions: 153x72x11.1 mm Weight: 198 g Android version: 8.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP65/IP68 classified (waterproof), biometric log-in, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Sony Xperia XZ2 has an inviting and useful design. The squareish design from the previous Xperia series is finally gone. Instead the Xperia XZ2 boasts curvy shapes and an 18:9 screen that reaches right out to the edges. The rounded corners mean that the mobile sits very nicely in the hand. At the same time it's not so definite that it suffers from other rounded screens' tendency to sometimes refuse to detect the user's fingers at the outer edges. However, there is one disadvantage, which is that it's very reluctant to lie still on flat surfaces. For example, if you're charging the mobile wirelessly and the underlying surface slopes in the slightest it's likely to slide off towards potentially catastrophic destinations. Of course you can fix this with a suitable shell. The Xperia XZ2's performance is top class, and the operating system is really quick. This is most obvious when we have lots of apps running and change between them, but also in more demanding applications. It runs smoothly regardless. The camera is good, but there's a question mark here. Given that the competitors have two or even three primary cameras, it's a little surprising that Sony insist on only one. This means that you have neither optical depth effects or zoom, and that it can't measure up to the top models in dark environments. However, the camera does an excellent job when the light conditions are advantageous, and it can film in 4K HDR, which is useful if you have a TV that supports the format.
The Xperia XZ2 has a fingerprint reader in the standard position, on the back, below the camera lens. The reader is fast and takes you directly into the system. The problem with the size and positioning of this is that users with longer fingers can easily mistake the camera lens for the reader before they get the hang of it. The unique 3D scanning function from the previous model is still present, but has been updated and is now even better. The results are more reliable. When it comes to sound, the XZ2 is one of the best mobile telephones on the market. Sony's digital sound improvement works very well, and the same applies to the stereo speakers. However, the dynamic vibration function, making the mobile vibrate with the bass tones in films, apps and music, is only interesting in theory. It only works when the screen is on, which means that it's only actually active when you're holding the mobile. And the function is pretty thirsty in terms of battery power. The battery lasts for about a day if used frugally. We'd have liked to see a 3.5 mm outlet on the phone. But overall, this is an interesting choice if you're looking for a mobile phone with very good sound and excellent performance.
Still unique of its kind
Screen: 4.6 inch - 1280x720 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.45 GHz Camera: 19 MP, selfie camera 8 MP Price class: Premium Battery: 2700 mAh Dimensions: 65 x 129 x 9.3 mm Weight: 143 g Android version: 8.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), fingerprint reader
For many years, the Sony Xperia XZ Compact has been unique, simply because of its size. While the majority of other high performance mobiles are increasing in size, the Compact series has remained a neat format with a screen size of less than five inches. And the same is true in this version, despite it sharing many of the characteristics boasted by its full-sized sibling model, the XZ. The screen size is good if you're looking for something a bit more compact than the current standard. At the same time, it must be said that Sony hasn't exactly been imaginative with the design. It's actually hard to see any difference between this and its predecessors. Another disadvantage is the sharp edges, which makes it less comfortable to hold.
The Xperia XZ Compact's camera delivers good results. Details tend to appear digitally compressed, but overall the telephone produces really good images even in darker environments. One cool extra function is an app that makes the camera a 3D scanner. In terms of performance, the XZ Compact is a positive experience. Everything works very quickly - in fact even a bit faster than many of its competitors. One advantage is that the small screen has significantly fewer pixels to handle, partly because it's small and partly because the resolution is lower. But you don't actually notice the latter because of the screen size. The lower resolution also means that the battery lasts longer, and you'll get a full day's use from it without any problems. If you're looking for a relatively compact mobile phone, the XZ is an obvious choice, partly because you won't be losing anything in terms of speed, but also because it's the only phone available in this size class.
Simultaneously a real monster and a rather pale update
Screen: 5.8 inch - 2436 × 1125 pixels OLED Processor: A12 Bionic Camera: 12 + 12 + 7 MP with wide angle ƒ/1.8, tele ƒ/2.4, true depth-camera ƒ/2.2 Width: 70.9 mm Height: 143.6 mm Depth: 7.7 mm Weight: 177 g OS: iOS 12 Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (waterproof), facial recognition, 3D Touch, dynamically set depth of field, double SIM cards (1 nano, 1 e-sim)
The Apple iPhone XS is a mobile phone with a really good screen and a number of exciting functions. One of the things we like best is the possibility of setting the depth of field retrospectively when you've taken portraits. This means that you can touch up the background if the effect is too strong, or make the bokeh stronger if you want more. Unfortunately you can't fix incorrect depth of field, which is what we'd been hoping for from the outset. Because just like earlier models, the iPhone XS tends to have problems working out where to put the bokeh in the image (see our test pictures for examples). This is particularly clear on images with lots of details, such as frizzy hair or flowering fields. And retrospectively changing the depth of field sadly can't save this. But it's useful when you've taken a picture where you've got the depth of field right but it's just a bit exaggerated in one direction or another. The camera has also been improved in other ways. It clearly performs better in dark conditions, both with more detailed images and with more brightness. But there are other mobile telephones on the market that are slightly better both in terms of depth of field and for photos taken in difficult light conditions. However, the new intelligent HDR mode produces really good photos. The iPhone XS has a battery life that lasts for about a day - in other words no great difference from its predecessor. Unfortunately the phone doesn't include a fast charger. But on the other hand, it charges quite quickly. It also lacks USB-C, which is even standard on Macs these days. Instead you have to carry on working with the lightning contact, which means that you're pretty well locked into Apple-specific accessories. Although of course you can use Bluetooth accessories of any brand if you want to.
The Apple iPhone is fast in terms of interface, has relatively quick facial recognition and gets high marks in the benchmark test. But if you already have one of last year's models the difference won't be noticeable in practical terms. You have to be switching from an iPhone that's several years old before you'll really notice the difference. However, the performance is really good, even compared to its top competitors. Particularly on the graphics front, where it has lots of muscles that promise a top class gaming experience. The telephone gets quite warm even when carrying out less demanding tasks, but that's true for the majority of flagship phones these days. The iPhone XS is undoubtedly a mobile phone with absolutely top level performance. On one point after another it does well or very well. But there are still a few competitors that perform a bit better on a couple of crucial aspects - particularly the camera and the price. In other words, the XS isn't significantly better than its predecessor - it's more of a minor upgrade. At the same time, the price upgrade is quite the opposite, and Apple aren't ashamed of charging a lot, despite being really quite stingy with the accessories. So despite the iPhone XS being among the top layer of the mobile market, the score isn't as good as it could be. But that probably won't stop iPhone loyalists from changing. And if you have a slightly older model you'll really notice the difference. If you already have an iPhone X or an iPhone 8 Plus with the latest iOS, an XS will be far from revolutionary, but you probably won't be disappointed either. The Apple iPhone XS is most suitable if you want an easy-to-use mobile phone with really good performance, a good camera and an excellent screen - and if you're ready to pay a steep price tag for it.
Extra everything, but some compromises
Screen: 6.3 inch - 2560x1440 pixels Processor: Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa 4x2.3 Ghz Camera: 2x12 MP, selfie camera 8 MP Price class: Premium Battery: 3,300 mAh Dimensions: 162.5x74.8x8.6 mm Weight: 195 g Android version: 7.1.1 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), fingerprint reader, pen, iris scanner
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a mobile phone that comes with a great camera and a giant of a screen. The format is quite rectangular, though, so it's never difficult to hold. However, it is very long which means it's not always easy to fit it into your pocket. The screen has curved sides as a design feature and performs very well in terms of image quality, regardless of whether you're just browsing the internet or watching a high resolution film. The same thing applies to performance as a whole, which is definitely top class. A new feature for the Note series that arrives with the launch of the Note 8 is the double cameras. This gives a kind of simulated zoom without quality loss and the ability to achieve short depth of field. The image results are among the best you can get from a mobile phone today, with good contrast, image processing and a decent colour spectrum. Alongside the camera is the fingerprint reader, which is unfortunately not very well located because you keep poking the camera lens when you're trying to find it with your finger. Also, with a shell on the phone it becomes difficult to reach the reader. The biometric login process could have been rescued by the iris scanner or facial recognition. However, the former doesn't work if you're wearing spectacles and the latter is incredibly slow. This means that the Galaxy Note 8 currently underperforms on every front when it comes to biometrics.
The Galaxy Note 8 naturally comes with a pen - which as always has its own storage slot in the phone. This is incredibly accurate compared to a finger. The pen is perfect for handwritten notes, sketches and working with spreadsheets. If you often need to do this type of task with your phone, the pen is an invaluable aid. The only thing about it that we don't like is that writing on the screen feels a bit slippery. At the same time there are loads of extra functions for smart screen capture, gif animations, translation and many other things directly linked to the pen, which gives it more added value. Disappointingly for a unit that's meant to offer extra everything, six months after release the phone still hasn't been upgraded to the latest version of Android. And the battery is equally sad, barely managing a full day's use despite power saving modes. The fingerprint reader, Android version and the battery life leave an unpleasant aftertaste in a mobile phone that shouldn't have this type of shortcomings. But the pen is great and if you need it, this telephone really does offer almost extra everything. If you want a phone with a large, inviting screen, pen functionality and a great camera, this is a good buy, and it's also the only premium telephone to have a pen.
Refined but not revolutionary
Screen: 5.2 inch - 1920 x 1080 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 4x 2.35 Mhz - 4 x 1.9 Mhz Camera: 19 megapixel, 13 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 2700 mAh Dimensions: 148 x 73 x 7.4 mm Weight: 156 g Android version: 8.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP65/IP68 classified (waterproof), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Sony Xperia XZ1 is an energy-efficient mobile phone with an exciting 3D scanning function and interesting positioning of the fingerprint reader. Sony's genius idea to build the fingerprint reader into the power button on the mobile's long side makes the phone extra energy-efficient. Some people may find it irritating that you have to first press the power button before the fingerprint reading works, but it saves on battery life. The Xperia XZ1 also has advantages in terms of its AI learning and other built-in power saving functions. It's fortunate that Sony have been so innovative with energy saving. The battery is really not great. The energy saving functions mean that despite this the battery lasts for a whole day - in the majority of cases. But it may be close if you need many power-hungry functions or use the telephone a lot during the day.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 has a camera that performs very well in daylight. There are competitors with sharper cameras, particularly in more difficult light conditions, but the XZ1's is definitely among the best. The fun 3D scanning function and the opportunity to film in what Sony calls super slow motion (although only for 6 seconds) are entertaining and unique functions. It isn't easy to find suitable occasions on which to use them, but when you do the end result is well over expectations. We also award plus points for the mobile's sound properties, particularly the alternative that makes high-resolution sound possible. In terms of appearance, there's not a lot to distinguish the XZ1 from previous Sony mobiles. The slightly sharper corners make it easy to hold the mobile comfortably in your hand in certain positions. Details that give the feeling that the Xperia XZ1 is behind its competitors include the fact that the screen doesn't go right out to the edges and the large amount of metal above and below the screen. But if we look inside, this "old fashioned" style has its advantages, for example the fact that you get a pair of stereo speakers that sound much better than the single one in competitor phones. The Xperia ZX1 is good in many ways. It has a good screen, intelligent software functions, delivers good sound, a competent camera, dedicated camera button and the mobile looks perfectly OK even if you may feel it lacks that touch of luxury. It's best for those who don't use their mobile phone too often during the day and who therefore don't need a more powerful battery.
Very budget phone
Price class: Budget Screen: 5.99 inch - 1080 x 2160 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 8x1.8 Ghz Camera: 12+5 megapixel, selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: 158.6x75.4x8.05 mm Weight: 181 g Android version: 8 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, IR transmitter
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is one of the oldest telephone series from Xiaomi, a company that's long been known for excellent prices and a surprising amount of telephone for the money. However, the Note part has nothing to do with advanced stylus of the Samsung Note phones. Instead it's the name that phones with slightly larger than average screens were given a few years back. But at not quite 6 inches, the Redmi Note 5 is hardly a giant - these days it's quite standard.
Quite high build quality
The screen doesn't let itself down in terms of quality, despite the low price of the phone. But of course the colour reproduction and so on are better in higher price classes.
The telephone's metal shell also provides the stable impression that was once reserved for more expensive phones. On the back there's a reasonable, though not very fast, fingerprint reader, and on the upper short side there's an IR eye so you can use the phone as a remote control, which is an unexpectedly nice touch.
On the back, near the fingerprint reader, are double cameras. The portrait mode that they give needs really simple subjects to be any good, which also applies in general to photos taken in the dark. In daylight the camera gives reasonable photos - surprisingly good for the price, but nothing revolutionary.
It's inside the phone that we find the majority of the savings to keep the price down - in other words, the hardware. It works reasonably well in the majority of situations, but struggles a bit when there's a lot going on at the same time.
Sometimes feels a bit dated
Over Android, the phone also has Xiaomi's own MIUI interface, which gives a number of extra functions, primarily extra settings and the company's own apps. None of these are phenomenal, and many parts of the graphics in the interface feel a bit dated, but overall it works quite well.
The Redmi Note 5's main advantage is its low price, even if it's clear where the savings have been made. But at the same time you don't need to spend a lot more, particularly among Xiaomi's own telephones, for the savings to feel a lot less obvious. Despite that, though, this model is really good value for money.
Good hardware, but impersonal and too little Nokia
Screen: 5.3 inch - 2560 x 1440 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (4 x 2.5 GHz + 4 x 1.8 GHz) Camera: 2 x 13 megapixel, selfie camera 13 megapixel Battery: 3090 mAh Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm Weight: 160 g Android version: 7.1.1 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: Biometric login, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB type C, splash proof (IP54)
The Nokia 8 is an interesting mobile phone, at least on paper. It has a modern, fast processor, despite the slightly lower price, double rear cameras with a respectable Zeiss label and a bright screen that's nice and sharp. But other than the highly capable sound recording solution, the Nokia 8 doesn't make the most of its hardware. The manufacturer, HMD, has pretty much left Google's operating system intact. There's hardly anything that says that you're holding a Nokia 8. This makes the mobile phone anonymous and far from as function-rich as we're used to when it comes to premium telephones. We would like to have seen an individual interface overlaying Google's basic Android. The only unique touch is in the camera app. Using this you can take pictures and record video with the selfie camera and the main camera at the same time. The screen is divided into two halves, with each camera's field of view displayed. In marketing terms this is called a "bothie" instead of a "selfie". If you're taking a video, "bothie" material can be direct streamed to YouTube or Facebook. Unfortunately, the two main cameras, one colour and one black and white, can't be used to create or manipulate depth of field. Instead the system is intended to help create more detail in the images in poor light conditions. Unfortunately it doesn't really succeed with this. The Nokia 8 also sometimes has problems with autofocus which can't choose the focal point quickly enough. In ideal conditions, the images are perfectly OK, but given how much emphasis the Nokia 8 places on its cameras, we'd expected more.
In terms of appearance, however, it's hard to complain about the Nokia 8. It's stylish, and the mobile is generally relatively thin and neat in your hand. The screen is sharp and bright and the mobile has an SD card slot, which is another plus. The fact that it's absolutely no problem going a whole day without having to charge the mobile is also positive. What's perhaps the Nokia 8's best feature is the relatively competitive price. The question is whether this is enough. Several competitors have more unique solutions, more or less equivalent hardware and some of them are even more affordable. In comparison, the Nokia 8 is a mobile phone with very few faults but which still doesn't feel completely right. Nor is the mobile watertight like its competitors in the same category; instead it's only water resistant. It's a shame that the manufacturer hasn't made more use of the hardware, because the Nokia 8 is interesting both in terms of its price tag and exciting heritage.
Pure Android for a great price
Price class: Budget Screen: 5.99 inch - 1080 x 2160 pixels Processor: Name Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 4x2.2 GHz Camera: 20+12 megapixel, selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 3000 mAh Dimensions: 158.70 x 75.40 x 7.30 mm Weight: 168 g Android version: 8.1.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, IR port
The Xiaomi Mi A2 is a good value for money no frills mobile phone. Xiaomi have largely made themselves known for very good value for money mobiles with flagship performance. At the same time they have a strategy of making phones in all the other price classes too, and the Mi A2 falls into the slightly higher budget segment.
The advantage of pure Android
Unlike the majority of the other phones from Xiaomi – or any other manufacturer for that matter – there's no manufacturer-specific interface on the phone. Instead it has Android One, which is Google's attempt to provide a pure Android experience for slightly cheaper models.
Even if many manufacturers' additions provide beneficial functions and extra settings, Android One means that you avoid unnecessary extras and get updates more quickly. During our test period, the phone has Android 8, but an update is on the way.
Xiaomi have only added a couple of their own apps, including to control the IR transmitter on the top of the phone (so you can use it as a remote control for your TV, for example), which means that it's kept nice and clean right from the start. It also makes the phone really quick to use, at least compared to what we'd normally expect from this price tag.
Good build quality
The actual phone feels unexpectedly well built, with a nice if very slippery metal shell. A plastic shell is included in the packaging, and this is recommended both to counteract the slipperiness and also to reduce the impression of the huge lumpy camera on the back.
Even though the battery life is a full day, we'd have liked to see a thicker phone, both for a bigger battery and for a smaller camera on the back.
Camera with both advantages and disadvantages
The camera has two lenses, including for taking portraits with background blur. The portrait part requires good light on the subject and not too many details in the edges of the shot to give a good result.
As a standard camera it gives reasonable images in daylight, although with slightly peculiar colour reproduction in certain modes. In darker environments, photos quickly get noisy, which is an Achilles' heel for many mobile phone cameras.
At the same time, you have to take the price tag into account, and the Mi A2 really does give you a lot for your money, regardless of whether you're looking at the phone, overall performance or build quality. If you have a limited budget, this is quite clearly a good choice without too many major compromises.
The mobile phone has become an essential product for most people today. We use it for advanced tasks in our working lives. But also for things as simple as keeping an eye on the clock, passing the time and entertainment or for socialising via social media, for news, email etc. – and of course to make phone calls with.
The aspect that primarily distinguishes mobile phones from each other today is the mobile operating system they use. Apple has its own mobile operating system, which is called iOS. Google also has its own (Android), but they manufacture relatively few mobile phones themselves. The Android OS is primarily used by a number of other manufacturers, such as in mobile phones made by Sony, Samsung, HTC, ZTE and LG. However, Google sometimes chooses to produce a mobile phone in collaboration with another manufacturer. Microsoft also had its own mobile operating system, Windows Phone. It was quite popular a few years ago, but Microsoft chose to drop support for Windows Phone in summer 2017. Recent figures show that slightly more than 90 percent of the mobile phones sold today have either Android or iOS as their mobile operating system.
As well as these mobile operating systems for smartphones, there are also simpler models. These mobile phones are often suitable for older people and have fewer functions, a more scaled-down interface and big buttons. Doro is an example of a manufacturer that makes mobile phones for older people. There are also a number of really cheap mobile phones of the simpler type but which aren't specifically aimed at older people – telephones that are almost exclusively intended to communicate with, not for things such as entertainment, internet use and so on
Today's smartphones all have touchscreens and are quick and easy to use. They also have GPS navigation, good integration with social media and access to an app shop with hundreds of thousands of apps and games that you can download to expand your telephone's functionality. The Android app shop is called Google Play, and the Apple one is called App Store. In these digital shops you can find apps for everything from social media, games and videos to word processing, exercise trackers and measurement tools for DIY. There are many essential – and non-essential – apps available.
What primarily distinguishes mobile phones from each other today is the interface and performance. iOS has a unique interface that distinguishes Apple phones from the crowd. Equally, many mobile phone manufacturers choose to create their own interface on top of Android, where they give the user a number of extra functions that they would'nt have had with the straight Android OS. However, some manufacturers choose not to do this – in other words not to create their own unique view of the interface. This interface is then called Android vanilla, and the consumer gets a less well-developed and unique experience.
Mobile phones also have different performance levels. Performance depends on the hardware the manufacturer chooses to squeeze into the shell of the mobile phone, but is also a function of the software that is intended to make the best of the hardware. Almost all mobile phones are quick and have no lag in their interface today, even the majority of budget phones. This wasn't the case a few years ago. However, performance can vary when you run lots of apps at the same time, or when you run a particularly demanding app or a game that uses the latest hardware to the max.
When buying a mobile phone, it's therefore important that you know what your needs are. What do you intend to use the phone for? Do you need the best hardware, or will a mobile phone from the other end of the scale perhaps suffice – in other words a budget telephone?
You should always be careful when buying older mobile phones that can't be updated to the latest version of the mobile operating system. Operating systems are updated at regular intervals. Manufacturers fix security vulnerabilities that could otherwise cause problems for the consumer through hacking attacks, for example in the form of data loss or even financial loss. When operating systems are updated, the apps are also often updated too. It can also be the case that some apps are adapted to the new version of the operating system and stop working in older versions. So if you buy a mobile phone with an older version of the operating system and which can't be updated to a newer version, you will have a mobile phone where some apps don't work and where, in the worst case, you have security vulnerabilities in the operating system that can be exploited by hackers. So you should therefore always choose a relatively new mobile phone model – regardless of whether you're looking for a budget, mid-range or premium mobile.
Through the links under our tests, you can find the best prices for mobiles, both with and without subscriptions and prepaid. We continuously update the test with new mobile phones so that we can give you the best information about the latest mobile phones and help you buy the right phone for your needs.
We have divided mobile phones into the following price classes: