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Best premium all-rounders 2019 – buyer’s guide

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A bit of an arbitrary distinction here – what’s a premium phone that can do it all, how does it differ from the true top-dogs, where do the aggressively-priced models that can pass for ‘flagship killers’ go? Well, we tried to make some sense out of it, so here’s our selection of all around excellent smartphones at premium prices.


Editors’ choice

  • Awesome display – 90Hz, very bright, can be quite accurate too
  • Great battery life, 30W Warp fast charging
  • High-end internals, performance-oriented thermal policies
  • Very capable camera overall, ultra wide has autofocus too
  • No official IP rating
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Single color option

The OnePlus 7T is so good in so many areas that we can’t stop recommending it. It’s our top pick for an almost-flagship – a premium device with a lot of the makings of the high-end models, but not quite as all-out. As such, it’s missing few things from the 7T Pro – most notably the 3x telephoto, opting for a standard 2x instead. In any case, all three cams on the 7T are bound to leave a smile on your face.

Then there’s the OP7T’s awesome 90Hz display with high brightness and great color accuracy. Battery life is also robust and the 30W Dash charging is plenty fast. You’ll also get Qualcomm’s latest high-end chip, and you’ll be able to enjoy its performance over long periods thanks to OnePlus’ relaxed throttling policies.

The 7T keeps some of the Pro’s drawbacks also – it’s missing official ingress protection, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot. And if you like being spoilt for choice when it comes to colors, the OnePlus 7T doesn’t quite cut it – it only comes in a single color option.

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  • Great display
  • Triple camera in a compact flagship body
  • A feature set no one can match – microSD slot, IP68, 3.5mm jack, two-way wireless charging
  • Fingerprint reader could be frustrating at first
  • Battery life is merely average, charging is the old 15W QC2.0-based solution
  • Ultra wide camera could use autofocus
  • Robust design with improved resistance to the elements
  • The chipset is among the most potent on the market
  • Excellent battery life, fast charging support
  • Very good image quality, Night mode is pretty capable, selfies are great too
  • Class-leading video quality and stabilization
  • Unchanged looks, huge notch, thick bezels/li>
  • Low-res screen, particularly for the asking price
  • 5W charger in the box is an insult
  • No telephoto camera, ultra wide cam lacks autofocus

Almost there

  • Great battery life, speedy top-ups
  • 5x periscope tele is the longest around, AF on the ultra wide cam
  • Excellent image quality, day and night
  • Uncertain software future
  • No stereo speakers
  • No 4K60 and overall non-competitive video recording

With so many premium all-rounders, the P30 Pro couldn’t quite make the cut, despite being one of our favorite spring-time models. Part of that is due to the newly released hardware that came after it, part of it has to do with Huawei’s black sheep status when it comes to US technology, even though the P30 Pro does appear to be getting the Android 10 update.

It does have its flaws outside of that too, though, and no resolution of the US-China trade conflict will give the P30 Pro stereo speakers, plus we can’t see it affecting its less than impressive video recording capabilities either.

The P30 Pro does take superb photos, though – with all its cameras and in all conditions. It gets points for having the longest telephoto camera on the market, and an autofocusing ultra-wide, which the big names are yet to come up with. The P30 Pro can also last a lot on a single charge and doesn’t waste time topping up either.

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Best phones by category

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