Samsung is one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the world, and with good reason — it makes some pretty incredible phones, combining outstanding hardware design with long lists of handy features that differentiate its phones from the competition. The Galaxy S10+ is the company's top phone, but its smaller variants and the Note 9 offer a similar experience.

Staff pick

Samsung Galaxy S10+

There's almost nothing this phone can't do.

The Galaxy S10+ does it all. It has an incredible display, three great cameras, a beautiful glass design with plenty of gorgeous color options, and a top-of-the-line spec sheet.

Who should buy this phone

The Galaxy Note 9 is one of the most powerful phones on the market, with every high-end spec you could name packed into a stunning glass and metal design. The real question is "who shouldn't buy this phone?" — it's the most well-rounded phone Samsung has ever made, and a fitting upgrade for almost anyone.

That being said, you might not need to upgrade if you're coming from the Galaxy S9+ or Note 9, unless you're really after the new triple camera system or increase in RAM and internal storage options.

Is it a good time to buy this phone?

Absolutely. The Galaxy S10 lineup is less than a month old, and there are plenty of great deals to take advantage of. Samsung is offering up to $550 when you trade in your existing phone for an S10, and carriers are offering anything from free included accessories to BOGO deals for qualifying customers.

Reasons to buy

  • Best-ever smartphone display
  • Top-end specs
  • Fun triple camera array
  • Headphone jack

Reasons not to buy

  • In-display fingerprint sensor isn't great
  • Too large for some

The phone that does it all

The Galaxy S10+ is the culmination of years of iteration and improvement. Samsung has been sticking with this general design language since the Galaxy S6, but it feels like it might have finally perfected it; the S10+ is sleek and thin, yet manages to squeeze in top-of-the-line specs and a massive 4100mAh battery.

The S10+ can last all day with plenty of juice left over, and its triple camera array allows for delightfully versatile photography.

It has the best display we've ever seen on a phone, and the camera cutout in the upper right corner means you get incredibly slim bezels without resorting to a full-blown notch. Of course, it has plenty of other great hardware features, too, including microSD expansion, water resistance, and wireless charging.

It's also one of the first phones to run Samsung's new One UI software, which shifts various elements of Android 9 Pie to the lower half of the screen to make the huge screen easier to navigate. This is Samsung's most mature software yet, and it runs buttery smooth thanks to the Snapdragon 855 chipset.

Of course, we can't talk about a Samsung phone without mentioning the cameras. This is the first time Samsung has included three rear cameras in a flagship phone, fitting the S10+ with standard, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses. This makes for an incredibly versatile shooting experience, and the combination of OIS and EIS produces incredibly smooth 4K video.

Alternatives to the Galaxy S10+

The Galaxy S10+ is easily the best phone in Samsung's lineup — and for that matter, one of the best overall phones money can buy — but if you don't want to drop a thousand dollars on your next phone, or if you just don't like the S10+'s large stature, there are plenty of other great options to choose from.

Runner-up

Samsung Galaxy S10e

The surprisingly great, pocketable addition to the S10 family.

Why spend more when you can get the same for less? The S10e doesn't have the stellar endurance of the larger S10+, but that's its only real sacrifice — this is essentially the same phone in a smaller size that's much easier to use in one hand.

You might have expected the regular S10 to be our next recommendation, but the S10e offers everything its larger siblings do (sans the telephoto camera) in a smaller form factor for $150 less. You also get a traditional fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button, along with a flat display.

Productivity machine

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

There's just no substitute for the S Pen.

It may have come out last year, but the Note 9 is remarkably similar to the S10. You still get an incredible display, along with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and, most importantly, the S Pen, which can be used from a distance to trigger functions like remote shutter.

The Galaxy Note 9 is the ultimate productivity device, combining a huge screen with Samsung's incredible S Pen that can be used for anything from signing documents to drawing and jotting down notes. It has some pretty outstanding cameras, too, and its Snapdragon 845 chipset is still one of the fastest on the market.

Bottom line

The Galaxy S10e and Note 9 are both incredible phones in their own rights, but if you want a modern jack-of-all-trades with the newest specs and most versatile camera system, there's no question: the Galaxy S10+ is the best phone Samsung makes.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and Video Editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S., for Android Central. Keeping you up to date with mobile news and analysis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @andrewmartonik .

Daniel Bader (@journeydan on Twitter) is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.

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