A smartphone can be a great Christmas gift for many reasons. For one thing, smartphones cover the gamut of gift prices, from inexpensive to gobsmackingly generous. The models we suggest below cover the range from $89 to $2,369, or more than 25:1. (Is an Apple iPhone XS Max really 26 times better than an Alcatel 1C 3G? Maybe. But four times better than a Nokia 7.1? That’s a much harder call.)
More importantly, once you’ve given your loved one a smartphone, you can keep in contact with them by WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS or even good old-fashioned telephone calls. And that, surely, is the best gift of all.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone – $1,599
We reckon your loved one will love Huawei’s flagship, the Mate 20 Pro. It’s all screen – just about 6.4 inches of it – and just about no surround. Its performance is first class. The Mate 20 Pro comes with 128GB of storage, so there’s plenty of room for your photos and media.
And speaking of photos, the camera is class leading. Camera? We mean cameras: three of them. One has 40MP of resolution. Another delivers real 3x telephoto. The phone combines the images created by multiple cameras to create astonishing photos.
Read our review here. Our rating is an incredible 5.0/5.0.
Google Pixel 3 XL – $1,199/$1,349
In a sense you couldn’t buy a better Android phone as a Christmas gift than the Google Pixel 3 XL, because is it the demonstration Android phone. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t a fine phone in other respects. It has a highly regarded camera, a super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip and a choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage (thus the two prices).
Our reviewer says that the person who’d love this phone is one who “appreciates pure Android Pie and three year’s operating system upgrades as well as guaranteed timely security updates.”
Read our review here. Our rating is 4.3/5.0.
Samsung Note9 smartphone – $1,499/$1,799
This one is up near the top of the price range, but surely that just says how much you truly love him or her! You get a choice: 6GB of memory with 128GB of storage or 8GB with 512GB. Either way, you can add half a terabyte more via a microSD card.
The Note9 has a stylus. There’s really nothing better on the market for taking handwritten notes. But that doesn’t take away from the other virtues of the phone, such as a first-class camera and a great 6.4 inch AMOLED screen.
Read about our first look at this phone here.
Apple iPhone XS Max smartphone – $1,799/$2,369
Is your loved one an inveterate iPhone lover who also pines for the massive displays on some Android models? Well, he or she can now have that display, if you’re prepared to give them an $1,800 gift. That’s for the 256GB version of the iPhone XS Max (the 512GB version costs well over two grand.)
Yes, it comes with the biggest screen ever for an iPhone: 6.5 inches. Yet the body is barely larger than that of an iPhone 8 Plus. And it uses an OLED display for the best colours and blacks available.
Read our review here. Our rating is 4.6/5.0.
OPPO Find X smartphone – $1,099
If you are buying for someone who is a lover of beauty, a lover of design, then the Oppo Find X ought to be on your shortlist. We reckon that in a world of largely indistinguishable slab phones, this one is stand-out beautiful.