Unveiling the Top Smartphone Picks for January 2024

Top Android smartphones 2024
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Which smartphone reigns supreme in 2024? Choosing such a device is no small decision, given the integral role phones play in our daily lives. Presently, the top smartphones on the market boast cutting-edge features, excelling in various aspects, albeit at a premium cost. On the flip side, smartphones offering excellent value for money strike a balance between price and technical specifications, catering to a broad audience. Meanwhile, budget-friendly smartphones require some compromises in functionality but prove gentler on your wallet. Below, discover a curated list of the finest smartphones of 2024, catering to both Android enthusiasts and Apple aficionados.

The telecommunications landscape in 2024 is poised for a year where Artificial Intelligence assumes an increasingly pivotal role in user experience. Already a ubiquitous presence in the photography domain, notably exemplified by the Google Pixel, AI takes center stage in the latest iteration of Samsung Galaxy S24, known as Galaxy AI. If you’re intrigued by this feature, we’ve delved into the realm of Galaxy AI. Meanwhile, Apple maintains confidence in its dominance, securing the top spot in sales within the telephone market. Xiaomi continues to enjoy popularity with its extensive range of budget-friendly smartphones, capitalizing on the departure of brands like Oppo and Realme to establish itself as a viable alternative.

Over the course of several years, our editorial team has rigorously tested numerous smartphone models. The ones featured in this selection are chosen not only based on their test scores but also for their ability to meet diverse user needs.

If you’re in pursuit of the finest high-end smartphones in 2024, irrespective of your budget, this segment offers models of unparalleled versatility that leave nothing to be desired. Enclosed is a comprehensive comparison of the top-tier phones in 2024 ā€” premium smartphones that make no compromises, accompanied by prices that align with their ambitious features.

Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

After much anticipation, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has substantiated its claim as the best smartphone of 2024, according to our comprehensive testing. Building upon the strengths of its predecessor, this model introduces improvements where needed, making it our top recommendation for those seeking the best available device.

In terms of design, the phone undergoes subtle adjustments while maintaining its established formula. The standout feature, as usual, is the 6.8-inch AMOLED panel, a cornerstone of the S24 Ultra. With adaptive refresh rates ranging from 1 to 120 Hz and QHD+ definition, it boasts an additional layer of sophistication with Gorilla Glass Armor, effectively reducing screen reflections. The device achieved a luminance of 2600 cd/m2, and in “Natural” mode, we observed an excellent color temperature of 6490 K.

On the software front, the Samsung phone offers a comprehensive experience. Powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, our tests position it among the most powerful smartphones in the market. Samsung’s commitment to longevity is evident with the announcement of seven Android versions for this model. Despite the promising introduction of Galaxy AI, we note that its functionalities are not yet entirely reliable in our assessment.

As the best Android smartphone of 2024, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra excels in photography. Equipped with four lenses, including a remarkable 200-megapixel main one, the device stands out for its versatility in capturing photos across various conditions. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, it adeptly compensates for minor shortcomings, delivering detailed photos with excellent color management.

Turning to battery life, the S24 Ultra impressively endured two full days of use during testing. However, recharging requires a separate 45W unit, taking approximately one hour. It’s worth noting that the phone comes with a high price tag, specifically $1300. If this investment aligns with your budget, rest assured that this is our top smartphone recommendation.

Despite the arrival of its successor, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra still holds appeal, particularly for its noteworthy photo quality and overall impressive technical specifications.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The latest addition to the Apple lineup, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, brings forth a suite of new features. While not revolutionary, there are compelling reasons why we recommend considering the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Driving the device is the new A17 Pro chip, delivering exceptional performance and positioning the iPhone 15 Pro Max among the most powerful smartphones currently available. The prowess of this chip was evident in testsings, allowing for a gaming experience on an additional screen comparable to that of a PS4. It’s worth noting, however, that prolonged gaming sessions occasionally led to untimely heating of the phone. With iOS, users can count on regular updates, ensuring a consistently up-to-date smartphone.

The 15 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch OLED panel is truly impressive, boasting a resolution of 2796 x 1290 pixels at 460 ppi. With a refresh rate of 120 Hz and Dolby Vision compatibility, the display earns praise for its excellent maximum brightness. The only drawback lies in the color accuracy, slightly on the colder side with a measured 6279 K, placing it logically behind the S23 Ultra in this aspect.

Distinguished as the best smartphone for video, the iPhone 15 Pro Max features three sensors in its camera setup. A 48 MP wide-angle, a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle, and a robust 12 MP 5X telephoto lens. Portrait mode delivers pleasing results, but it’s in the realm of video that this iPhone excels. Allowing filming in ProRES 4K 60 FPS when connected to an external SSD.

Autonomy remains satisfactory, with the 15 Pro Max enduring a day and a half of typical usage. However, charging speed remains a point of anticipation, as this generation caps at a maximum of 23W, despite the integration of USB-C. Following thorough testing of the new range, it is clear that the iPhone 15 Pro Max stands as the best iPhone available in 2024. Yet, in consideration of some minor daily usage quirks, the preference leans towards the S23 Ultra, according to Titouan’s conclusions.

Additionally, the 15 Pro comes in at around $200 less, presenting an excellent alternative for those seeking a more compact and affordable smartphone, now equipped with USB-C. However, it’s important to note a slightly reduced autonomy, and the X5 telephoto lens in the 15 Pro makes way for the X3.

For those on a tighter budget, the iPhone 14 Pro is also highly recommended, offering one of the best high-end Apple smartphones with an impressive quality-to-price ratio.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro

The latest Google Pixel 8 range has made a significant impact, marking a success for the American manufacturer. The phone introduces a distinctive design, characterized by increased roundness compared to the Pixel 7 generation. Both models, the 8 Pro and the standard 8, have shed weight, with our highlighted model being the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

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The Pixel 8 Pro embodies the pinnacle of Google’s capabilities, featuring a 50 MP wide-angle sensor, a 48 MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, and a 48 MP x5 telephoto lens. Noteworthy for its sharpness, contrasts, and adept color management, the portrait mode excels. The AI functionality enhances the editing possibilities, allowing users to remove or replace unwanted elements with the Magic Eraser. Additionally, a Pro mode has been introduced, providing control over a myriad of parameters. The video component is also commendable, boasting effective stabilization. In essence, the Pixel 8 Pro, and to a slightly lesser extent, the Pixel 8, offers consistent versatility in photography.

Powering the device is the Tensor G3 SoC, accompanied by 12 GB of LPDDR5X RAM. While a robust SoC suitable for everyday use and gaming, it falls slightly short of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s level of performance. The tests indicate that the chip is more energy-intensive compared to the competition, limiting the 5050 mAh battery to just about a day of usage. Charging capabilities max out at 27 W, which may be considered subpar for a phone in this price range.

The Pixel 8 Pro’s 6.7-inch OLED panel boasts impressive qualities, featuring a 120 Hz refresh rate, well-calibrated color accuracy, and an outstanding maximum brightness measured at 1770 cd/m2.

Galaxy A54

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Samsung has been making waves recently with the quality of its devices in the Galaxy A range. Offering smartphones that strike an excellent balance between features and affordability. In this regard, the Samsung Galaxy A54 emerges as the best smartphone under $500 currently available in the market.

The Galaxy A54 boasts an IP67 certification, rendering it resistant to splashes and dust. Staying true to Samsung’s reputation, the device features a high-standard 6.4-inch AMOLED panel with a 120 Hz refresh rate. The tests revealed an impressive brightness peak at 1275 cd/mĀ², making it unrivaled in its price range.

Equipped with the Exynos 1380 SoC and 8 GB of RAM, the Samsung phone offers a smooth performance experience. The 5,000 mAh battery stands out, delivering an impressive two days of usage. However, fast charging is not yet a feature, requiring 1 hour and 22 minutes for a full transition to 100%. In the realm of photography, the overall result is commendable in optimal conditions, though the main sensor struggles a bit in low light. The software aspect is noteworthy, benefiting from 4 years of major Android updates, setting a durability record for its price category.

To sum up, the Samsung Galaxy A54 earns the title of the smartphone with the best quality-to-price ratio in 2024. Titouan’s test describes it as a “balanced smartphone that meets all the requirements of this price,” making it our top recommendation for those seeking a smartphone priced under $500.

A credible alternative to the Samsung Galaxy A54 emerges in the form of the Pixel 7a. Offering a compelling rivalry at a slightly higher price point. Serving as the affordable iteration of Google’s Pixel 7, this model reclaims its position as the best smartphone for photography in its market segment. The Pixel 7a’s compact design and impressive 90 Hz OLED screen further enhance its appeal. However, potential drawbacks include concerns about battery life, coupled with the sluggish charging speed. Despite these considerations, it remains one of the best Android smartphones currently available. Providing users with a balanced and feature-rich experience.

Nothing Phone (2)

Nothing OS 2.0.2a for Nothing Phone (2)

Following a rather successful debut, the Nothing Phone (2) faces the challenging task of confirming its positive impressions. The new model retains its sublime design, offering excellent handling, and notably, the reintroduction of the “Glyph” contributes to making it one of the most elegant smartphones currently available.

The user experience is commendable, thanks to the Nothing OS 2.0 operating system. It stands out with a distinctive graphic identity, unlike most brands in the market. Furthermore, users are provided with three versions of Android, ensuring longevity. It stands as one of the best Android smartphones in terms of user experience.

Under the hood, the Phone (2) is equipped with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, accompanied by a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. This configuration not only accelerates task execution but also ensures efficient performance in mobile gaming without observed heating issues. During testing, the smartphone showcased a full day of battery life, thanks to its 4700 mAh battery. It’s worth noting that a charger is not included in the box.

Priced at $679, we strongly recommend this smartphone for its excellent value for money. Positioning it as one of the best long-term investments, especially appealing to those with a penchant for originality.

Redmi Note 12 5G

Redmi Note 12 5G

In the realm of Xiaomi’s Redmi range, representing the entry level of its catalog, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 5G stands out as our recommendation for the best inexpensive smartphone.

Continuing the trend from the previous year, the Redmi 12 series features Oled panels, and the Redmi Note 12 5G is no exception. Boasting a 6.67-inch diagonal and a 120 Hz refresh rate, the screen delivers excellent color fidelity, although brightness is somewhat less impressive. Nevertheless, it remains the best screen available for less than $200 in 2024.

Powering the device is the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chip, ensuring smooth daily performance with responsive handling of various requests. In the tests, the Redmi Note 12 5G demonstrated efficiency in gaming, albeit with some observed heating of the smartphone. However, the battery life is limited to a single day, which might be a bit disappointing, though adequate for a smartphone at this price point.

Photography expectations should be tempered, as the Xiaomi smartphone provides a good but no-frills experience. The user interface, MIUI, proves to be fluid and functional, offering a satisfactory experience. However, it’s essential to note that the phone only offers two versions of Android, limiting its updates to Android 14. Overall, considering its affordability, the Redmi Note 12 5G provides ample services for its price.

Galaxy A23

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G

In the realm of budget-friendly smartphones, Samsung remains a significant player with its A series. And the Galaxy A23 takes the lead as its flagship smartphone priced at less than $300.

The Galaxy A23 boasts a stylish design, a trademark of Samsung, characterized by clean lines and a tasteful simplicity. Despite the plastic shell, the phone offers a comfortable grip, resulting in a harmonious overall appearance. True to Samsung’s reputation, the screen quality is commendable. Featuring a 6.6-inch LCD panel with FHD+ resolution and an impressive maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. However, with a color temperature averaging 7405K, the screen tends to display cooler color tones.

Equipped with a 4-sensor setup, the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G includes a 50 MP wide-angle sensor, a 5 MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, and two sensors dedicated to portrait and macro photography. In well-lit conditions, the phone captures impressive photos with Samsung’s characteristic software processing and vibrant color accuracy. However, low-light scenarios, especially with the ultra-wide-angle lens, pose challenges. If night photography is a priority, this might not be the ideal camera. Nevertheless, for less than $300, it stands out as one of the best budget-friendly smartphones for photography.

Regarding battery life, the entry-level smartphone performed admirably, lasting a full day in the tests. Similar to its mentioned rival, it benefits from receiving two versions of Android, extending up to Android 14.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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