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Mobile phones tested and ranked

Cell phone users in the Cayman Islands know their products but being on a Caribbean island user may not know what the latest models are.

So, at the start of a new year, what are the best smartphones available right now? Read on to find out.

We know that it's not all about the high-cost, super spec phones all the time so we've made a handy list of the top smartphones that you can get on the market right now, assessing what really matters to the buyer.

We test these phones rigorously, checking every feature - but most importantly, considering whether they've got a decent battery, great screen, strong design and a cracking camera.

On top of that, they can't be too exorbitant in price either - not everyone wants or can afford a supercar of a handset, so we've made sure there are plenty of options for you there.

 

1. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The best smartphone around? Certainly, for android fans.

Release date: March 2018

Weight: 189g

Dimensions: 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm

OS: Android 8

Screen size: 6.2-inch

Resolution: 1440 x 2960

CPU: Snapdragon 845 / Exynos 9810

RAM: 6GB

Storage: 64GB/128GB

Battery: 3,500mAh

Rear camera: Dual 12MP

Front camera: 8MP

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is still the best smartphone available right now.

It's a big phone that's designed for big hands - and it takes the very best of what's on the smartphone market and puts it together in a compelling package.

Screen: The Super AMOLED 6.2-inch display has been measured as one of the best around, with super colours, great dynamic range and, essentially, the best viewing experience you can have on a mobile phone.

Battery life: The battery life on the S9 Plus is better than that seen on the smaller S9, thanks to the 3,500mAh battery in the Plus model - although it's probably the weakest part of the phone, not offering as much life as you’d expect.

Camera: The camera on the Galaxy S9 Plus is among the best on the market, and the dual-aperture capability offers some startlingly good snaps when things get a little darker.

Colours can look a tad washed out when the exposure is higher, but the power of the sensor, with memory built into it to make it smarter than most rivals, offers very low-noise shots.

Mini verdict: If you're after a bigger phone with all the features that matter on board, the Galaxy S9 Plus is that and more.

Approx price: $840

 

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

One of the highest-spec phones on the market.

Release date: August 2018

Weight: 205g

Dimensions: 162 x 76.4 x 9mm

OS: Android 8.1

Screen size: 6.4-inch

Resolution: 2960×1440

CPU: Exynos 9810

RAM: 6/8GB

Storage: 128/512GB (up to 1TB with card)

Battery: 4,000mAh

Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP

Front camera: 8MP

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of the best phones we've ever tested - and also one of the most expensive. However, for that money you're getting an extraordinary spec list, including the first mainstream phone to offer 1TB of storage and an incredible screen.

Screen: The screen is beautiful. Yes, it's a bit narrow if you're coming from the Note 5 or similar, but the way it wraps around the frame, the smaller bezels and the impressive colour reproduction and brightness make it a real favourite.

Battery life: With 4,000mAh power, the Note 9 has one of the biggest batteries Samsung has ever thrust into a device, meaning it can easily last through the day (plus it has new cooling tech to help it last longer in gaming sessions. You can also charge over wireless easily, and fast charging boots in 17 percent battery in 15 minutes.

Camera: The cameras on Samsung phones are part of the reason they rank so highly on the list - the sheer capability and low light performance is impressive. Photos are more on the colourful side, but there are more AI smarts in the mix to help you get the right shot at the right time.

Mini verdict: It's hard because it does so much and we've not even touched on the new, camera-remote-enabled Bluetooth S Pen. The expansive, quality screen, the battery life and the camera all combine to make this a stunning smartphone... if you can afford it.

Approx price: $720

 

3. Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The best Huawei phone to date.

Release date: November 2018

Weight: 189g

Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm

OS: Android 9

Screen size: 6.39-inch

Resolution: 1440 x 3120

CPU: Kirin 980

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 256GB

Battery: 4200mAh

Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP

Front camera: 24MP

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the best phone from the Chinese firm to date, offering up a heady mix of design, power and performance with a few party pieces thrown in too.

Screen: It builds on the excellent P20 and P20 Pro, offering up even more screen, enhanced triple rear cameras and an in-display fingerprint scanner. It has an extraordinary amount of space for gaming and movies, and its QHD resolution and HDR10 support ensures everything looks great. There is a wide notch at the top of the display though.

Battery life: You'll get great battery life from the Mate 20 Pro, possibly of a day and a half of usage from a single charge.

Camera: The Mate 20 Pro comes with three cameras on the rear, nabbing the excellent 40MP wide-angle and 8MP telephoto lenses from the P20 Pro - but the third sensor is new. It's an ultra-wide 16MP snapper allowing you to cram even more surroundings into each shot.

Mini verdict: The Mate 20 Pro is a full-featured phone for a full-featured price - it even has a few tricks you won’t see elsewhere, and more powerful specs than most of its competitors.

Approx price: $750

 

4. iPhone XS / iPhone XS Max

The best iPhones Apple has ever made.

Release date: September 2018

Weight: 177g/208g

Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm

OS: iOS 12

Screen size: 5.8/6.5-inch

Resolution: 1125x2436/1242x2688

CPU: A12 Bionic

RAM: 4GB

Storage: 64/256/512GB

Battery: 2658/3174mAh

Rear camera: 12MP+12MP

Front camera: 7MP

Pronounced ten S (like tennis), the iPhone XS and XS Max are the incremental upgrades to Apple's game-changing iPhone X from 2017.

They build on the all-screen, notch-laden, almost bezel-free design with more power under the hood, improved cameras, a new storage option and, in the case of the XS Max, a huge screen and even huger price tag.

Screen: The 5.8-inch OLED screen on the iPhone XS is the same as the one you'll find on the iPhone X, so it's the 6.5-inch offering on the XS Max which is fantastic for video streaming and gaming.

Battery life: It has improved a little on both handsets over the iPhone X, but you'll still find yourself plugging both phones in each night to ensure you'll get through a whole day in the morning.

Camera: The dual camera setup on both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is sensational. The Smart HDR mode makes images even clearer, brighter and more detailed, and Apple's famously intuitive interface makes snapping great shots a breeze.

Mini verdict: If you're after the latest and greatest iPhone, look no further. And if your hands are as big as your bank balance, the iPhone XS Max takes Apple's smartphone to a whole new level with plenty of additional screen space.

Approx price: $1,120

 

5. Huawei P20 Pro

An excellent flagship smartphone with top-notch triple cameras.

Release date: April 2018

Weight: 180g

Dimensions: 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm

OS: Android 8.1

Screen size: 6.1-inch

Resolution: 1080 x 2240

CPU: Kirin 970

RAM: 6GB

Storage: 128GB

Battery: 4,000mAh

Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP

Front camera: 24MP

The Huawei P20 Pro is one of the best phones the brand has ever produced. Even if you've never heard of this brand before, the P20 Pro is a phone that deserves its place among the best brands out there.

Screen: The 6.1-inch display is only Full HD, but that does help with battery life. This is probably one of the weakest parts of the phone, as it lacks the colour reproduction of its rivals, but it does come with a screen protector pre-fitted, which is a nice touch.

Battery life: The Huawei P20 Pro gives a day and half of light to moderate use - it goes down after a full month's effort, filling it with apps.

Camera: The camera is the standout feature on the Huawei P20 Pro, offering three lenses... and they're useful. The resolution is pin sharp thanks to brilliant image stabilisation, the software photo optimisation is excellent and having that 40MP sensor has been boosted well by Leica for good low light performance.

Mini verdict: The main issue you must overcome with the P20 Pro is you might not be familiar with the brand, but not only is Huawei a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung, but it's the most likely to get the bigger price drops first.

Approx price: $850

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