The smartphone market has been in a somewhat strange position this year. We're gradually reaching the ultimate form of smartphones, a journey that the original iPhone was first to kick off. This has meant that we've been able to calmly shrug when a friend asks which phone he or she should buy because all of the current-generation phones are actually pretty good. Whether you choose to get a cheap Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, a OnePlus 7T, an iPhone 11, or a Samsung Galaxy S10, you're pretty sure to have a good experience.
Despite this, of course, there are those that stand out from the crowd, which is why we ended up with a top list of phones that excelled in the year that's about to pass. Here are our favourite smartphones released in 2019.
Winner: Asus ROG Phone II
Over the past few months, Asus' ROG Phone II has been hailed as the "spec king", and thus, seems to be the model that's been bringing together the most impressive specifications in a gaming phone package.
However, we soon found out, after getting our hands on it, that it's so much more than that and that the specifications tell but half the story. The ROG Phone II is robust, lightning-fast, has a decent camera, has a battery life of several days from one charge, and has a 120Hz display that's close to the industry's most responsive display.
After having tried the phone out for three weeks, we sat down and compared it to some of our other favourites, and found that, in this case, we had to bow to the superior specifications of the ROG Phone II, as they lead to an excellent user experience overall.
Runner-up: Samsung Note 10+
In our review of Samsung's Note 10+, we dwelled on the form factor, the design language that we now consider to be a market standard. At the same time, we looked at the Note 10+ as being the ultimate version of this and we wanted to acknowledge Samsung's flagship for this.
Although Samsung is among the very first manufacturers to move on from this established design with its Galaxy Fold, it nevertheless provided us with the Note 10+, a phone which, despite displaying a number of obvious flaws and shortcomings, managed to give us an impressive user experience thanks to a phenomenally well-calibrated display, a beautiful camera and a solid implementation of Samsung's own Infinity-0 technology.
Runner-up: iPhone 11 Pro Max
We were prepared to write off the iPhone 11 Pro Max the second it was revealed because more than ever before, it was clear that this would be the last phone bearing the design of the classic iPhone with next year's model most likely pushing the boundaries of Apple's design.
So, when the phone arrived, it was a bit of a surprise for us to be captivated by the iOS operating system, the wonderful new ultrawide camera, the solid battery life and the fast A13 Bionic processor that continues to mop the floor with Snapdragon competitors.
With that, Apple still manages to be the best on a number of important parameters, which is why it's among our favourites of the year.
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