UPDATE: We now have two fantastic new phones in the top two spots of our best phones in Australia 2019 list, with the arrival of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Apple’s iPhone 11. We’re also currently in the process of testing a few other handsets which will definitely land a spot in our list, so keep an eye out for those over the next week or so! In the meantime, read on to find out what we thought of our two newest additions.
Here at TechRadar, we check out almost every phone under the sun, putting the ones that matter through our vigorous testing process to create our in-depth mobile phone reviews.
However, with so many to choose from, we’ve spent hours whittling them down to a top ten, taking into account power, specs, design and value for money. And we’ll always point you in the direction of the latest handsets – after all, nobody wants to be carting around a phone that doesn’t get any updates in a year’s time, right?
Here are our rankings for the best smartphones that are currently available in Australia in 2019.
Still one of the best phones in the world right now
Release date: August 2019 | Weight: 196g | Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Exynos 9825 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB | Battery: 4,300mAh | Rear camera: Dual 12MP + 12MP + 16MP + 3D ToF | Front camera: 10MP
Lacks headphone jack
The ultimate refinement of Samsung’s Note line, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus brings some of Galaxy S10’s best features over to the productivity-focused handset, making it the perfect phone for both work and play. While a couple of its design changes may irk long time Note devotees, it’s still the best smartphone that Samsung has ever produced.
Screen & Design: Having gotten used to the various display notches and pinhole cutouts that have smartphone manufacturers have experimented with over the last year, it’s easy to forget that 2018’s Galaxy Note 9 still had fairly sizeable bezels at the top and bottom of its screen. By comparison, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ bezel-free design feels like a drastic step up, with only a small, centred pinhole camera stealing any real estate away from its otherwise all-screen front.
And what a screen! The Galaxy Note 10 Plus sports the most gorgeous Super AMOLED display we’ve ever laid eyes on, with its QHD+ resolution offering brilliant detail in photos, videos and games. Thanks to the inclusion of HDR10+, it also produces stunningly vibrant colours, deep blacks and exceptional brightness.
In terms of shape, size and layout, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is quite similar to last year’s model, albeit with a few key differences. For one, there’s no longer a dedicated power button on the phone’s right edge. Instead, the Note 10 Plus can be powered on using the left-mounted Bixby button. The biggest and most controversial change however, is undoubtedly the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack, which has long been a mainstay of the Note series. That’s easily remedied by switching to Bluetooth headphones or using the included USB-C earbuds, but we can’t say we’re pleased to see the 3.5mm port go.
Performance: Last year’s Note 9 had a huge 4,000mAh battery – the biggest Samsung had ever implemented in a device at the time. That’s since been topped by the Galaxy S10 5G’s enormous 4,500mAh battery, however, the Note 10 Plus’ 4,300mAh pack is still quite hefty, and should keep your handset juiced well until bedtime.
In terms of horsepower, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus sports Samsung’s latest Exynos 9825 chipset, offering fantastic gaming performance when combined with the handset’s Mali-G76 MP12 GPU and 12GB of RAM. We’ve spent countless hours playing the graphically-intensive Call of Duty: Mobile on the device with nary a hiccup. The same can be said of navigating the Note 10’s Android 9-based One UI and Samsung DeX desktop mode – both of which are snappy and responsive at all times.
Camera: Like the S10 5G, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a quad-camera setup on its rear, which includes normal (12MP), telephoto (12MP), ultra-wide (16MP), and depth-sensing (ToF) lenses. While the above-listed megapixel counts may not be the highest around, these particular cameras come together to produce some truly excellent photos, particularly when it comes to night mode and ultra-wide shots.
Likewise, the Note 10’s sole front-facing camera, despite lacking the S10’s depth-sensing lens. Surprisingly, it still has access to a suite of Live Focus effects, such as the ability to blur or drain colour from the background of your selfies. Like last year’s Note, you can also remotely snap selfies using the device’s Bluetooth-enabled S Pen.
Mini verdict: With its refined form factor, powerhouse specs and unrivalled display, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus offers pretty much everything you’d want from a premium handset in 2019. If you’re a smartphone power user, look no further than the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.