The Best Sprint Android Phones – June 2019
No matter your choice in platform, this has been a banner year for smartphones. While most consumers don’t expect total revolution in their brand-new devices, the advancements and evolutions found in this year’s devices have taken imperfect ideas from 2017 and 2018 into the next level. Samsung and LG led the charge into reducing bezel sizes on your display, with bigger, longer, and taller screens than ever before. Design and build quality finally evolved from a premium luxury into a conclusive decision among smartphone manufacturers and buyers alike: design counts. And we shouldn’t discount the evolution in smartphone cameras, which have improved vastly upon their earlier counterparts from even three or four years ago. With extra features like waterproofing and wireless charging capabilities finally beginning to become standard features in smartphones, consumers are right to feel excited about smartphones again.
With so many good phones on the market today, it’s more important than ever to make sure you purchase a phone you can be proud to be using six months from now. There are enough “great” phones on the market that you can safely ignore the “good” or “adequate” models, and still manage to get yourself a great device, no matter what your price range is. Whether you’re looking for a gorgeous, crisp display, multi-day battery life, fast and smooth performance, or an excellent camera, there’s a phone for you. That said, it can be a challenge to find devices that manage to combine all of these aspects together into a great package that you can use for years to come. Still, for the most part, devices in 2019 have finally begun to hit every asking point we have of them.
Sprint has a seriously great lineup of devices this year, and you might even be able to pick up a phone from Amazon on the cheap. It’s important to pay attention to which phones do and don’t work on the Sprint network before you buy them, but once you have a solid idea, you’ll find that there’s a great Android phone no matter your budget. With all of this said, let’s take a look at some of the best devices on Verizon in 2019.
Samsung typically operates on a tick-tock release schedule, offering a redesign of their devices one year and a slightly improved model the next. We’ve seen this over the last half-decade or so, with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S8 both offering new ideas and bold designs from Samsung, while the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S9 improved and iterated on those ideas. Whether it was improving the edge display on the Galaxy S7 edge or moving the fingerprint sensor on last year’s Galaxy S9, the ‘tock’ years help to improve device ideas that have been floated previously. Of course, the ‘tick’ years, flawed as they may be, are often much more fun due to their inventiveness, and if that’s what you’re waiting for, you’re in luck: the Galaxy S10 this year is an inventive new take on Samsung’s flagship device.
Though Samsung has offered two different device sizes in the past, this year’s Galaxy S10 comes in three models: the Galaxy S10, S10+, and the brand-new S10e. It’s difficult to choose one to focus on of these three, as all of them have different selling points in which you should pick, but in order to keep this review short, we’ll be focusing primarily on the S10+, the higher end model, and the S10E, the $750 starting model. The mid-tier unit, the S10, is matched almost exactly to the larger model, but with a smaller screen and without the depth sensor next to the front-facing camera. If the S10+ sounds appealing to you but you want a smaller device, the S10 is perfect for you.
Let’s start with design. Samsung has been one of the best designers in the phone industry for years now, establishing a look for their devices with the Galaxy S6 and largely sticking to that core design while making changes every two years to keep things fresh. The Galaxy S8 really helped to bring forth the minimal bezel movement we’ve now seen on nearly every smartphone, regardless of the operating system, while also leaving Samsung as one of the few companies not to embrace the notch after the launch of the iPhone X at the end of 2017. Though the S10 lineup finally does away with the slim top and bottom bezels from the last two generations, they’ve left a small circular cutout on the right corner of the display, with a larger cutout found on the S10+ to support the included depth sensor.
The front of the phone is where you’ll find the display, easily one of the most impressive parts of these devices. On the S10 and S10+, you’ll find a 6.1″ or 6.4″ Quad HD AMOLED curved display, a nearly bezelless panel that looks stunning in both images and in person. The S10E, meanwhile, offers a 1080p Full HD AMOLED display, with slightly larger bezels than the other models. However, for anyone who has long hated the curved displays of the Galaxy S devices, the S10E model brings back a more standard design of smartphone that may appeal to you. It’s also great to see Samsung’s iPhone XR rival offering users a higher resolution AMOLED display, rather than the LCD panel on Apple’s cheaper offering.
The back of the device features the usual lineup of camera sensors, either two or three modules on the back depending on the model you pick. We’ll talk about the cameras more in a moment, but one piece you may see missing on the back of the phone is the fingerprint sensor. Samsung has moved it from the back of the device to two new locations. On the smaller and cheaper S10E, the sensor is in the power button on the right side of the display. The flagship models have an in-screen fingerprint sensor, allowing you to touch the display to unlock your device. Users have found some mixed success with the sensor, with some saying it works perfectly while others struggling to find the spot over time and having a slower response.
Inside, the S10 line comes with the standard spec bumps we normally expect. All three devices include a Snapdragon 855, with a base storage of 128GB (expandable by microSD cards), IP68 water resistance, fast wireless charging, and yes, a 3.5mm headphone jack. The S10E starts with 6GB of RAM, though higher-end models include 8GB of RAM, while the S10 models include 8GB of RAM out of the box. These are powerful devices, there’s no doubt about that, and in terms of performance, they absolutely fly. When it comes to battery, the S10E takes the biggest it here, offering just a 3100mAh unit. Battery life on the smaller model isn’t terrible, but at around 4 to 5 hours of screen-on time, it’s merely average. The S10+ really kills it here, with a 4100mAh battery that brings battery life to around 6 or 7 hours of screen-on time.
All three models of the S10 have a primary dual-aperture 12-megapixel camera and an ultra-wide 16-megapixel camera on the back of the device. The former offers f/1.5 or f/2.4 when shooting, while the latter brings a 123-degree field of view to the table. They’re also all capable of shooting 4K video with both the rear and front cameras, and offer a stabilization feature for videos shot with the ultrawide camera. The two premium devices also offer a telephoto lens for providing something akin to a physical zoom to your device, while the S10E only features digital zoom.
These specs mean nothing if the S10 can’t produce great photos, and generally speaking, it does about as good of a job as you could ask for in a flagship. It doesn’t hit the high marks of the Pixel 3, but it’s about in line with what we’ve seen with the iPhone X or XS. The video recording, however, is far better than what Google has offered on the Pixel line of devices.
Like most Samsung devices, there’s plenty of features and software tweaks to uncover when using the phone. The devices run Samsung’s latest software, One UI, on top of Android 9 Pie. One UI is designed to make it easier to use large displays on phones by offering large headers and pushing content down the display. It looks great, and it’s easily Samsung’s best software experience yet. Just keep in mind that, as always, when Android Q arrives in late summer 2019 for Pixel phones, you likely won’t see the results of Google’s latest software until early 2020. The other main software offering here is, as always, Bixby. Samsung’s assistant software hasn’t gotten much better since last year, and the best thing about Bixby we can offer this year is that, finally, you can remap the hardware button out of the box in some limited ways.
Ultimately, the Galaxy S10 line represents the best Android device on the market today, and quite possibly the best phone you can buy regardless of operating system. Though the S10 and S10+ are more expensive than ever, starting at $899 and $999 respectively, they mark a great flagship device that should keep you powered for years to come. Meanwhile, the S10E starts at $749, and while that’s by no means a budget device, it does offer users a great small device with virtually no limitations or restrictions in place outside of the average battery life. On AT&T, the carrier gives you the option to pay for your device over 30 months without interest, which lowers the price to anywhere between $25 and $41 per month.
Samsung isn’t done in 2019, of course. The Note 10 will arrive sometime this summer, offering pro-users an improved iteration on the S10+ complete with S Pen support, while the (delayed) Galaxy Fold promises to usher in the future of mobile computer for the low, low price of $1980 (you probably shouldn’t buy the Galaxy Fold). Meanwhile, a fourth version of the S10, with an even larger display and included 5G support, will launch later this year on Verizon. It’s an exciting time to be a Samsung fan, and for the time being, the company reclaims our top recommendation over Google’s Pixel phones.
- Gorgeous display
- Three size and price choices
- Improved software
- Great, not excellent, camera
- Slow software updates
What began as a passion project for Samsung back in the early 2010s with the original Galaxy Note has evolved into one of their most beloved products. After an infamously-failed launch in 2016 for the Note 7 and a return to form in 2017 with the Note 8, Samsung continued their lineup of the device earlier this year with the launch of the Note 9, and more than ever, this device is a complete beast of a product, satisfying diehard Note fans and those who waited to update their devices til this year.
Powering the 6.4″ 1440p display (the best on the market, as well as one of the largest) is a Snapdragon 845, combined with 6GB of RAM and a huge 4000 mAh. That is one of the largest on the market, and helps to make the Note’s battery last absolutely all day. This is far improved over the Note 8’s battery, which was limited to a much-smaller 3300mAh after the battery concerns surrounding the Note 7. It made sense at the time to limit the size of the battery in the new model, but with the Note 9, Samsung has brought it back to its former glory as a complete tank when it comes to lasting all day. While we have seen some phones with longer battery life, this is still one of the best you can get in any device.
As with last year, the phone features two lenses on the back of the device, the same exact camera system we saw on the S9+ earlier this year. Both lenses are 12MP sensors, differing in their abilities as either wide-angle (by default) or telephoto lenses. As with most Samsung devices, these are great cameras—they’re just not the best you can get on the market, a prize that still belongs to the Pixel lineup of phones.
We’ll be honest: for most people, the Note 9 is either an obvious buy, or way too expensive. At $999 for the 128GB and only growing in price for the (we’ll be honest, insane) 512GB version, this is a super expensive phone. It’s one of the most expensive on the market, and certainly competes with Apple’s own iPhone XS Max as one of the priciest devices you can pick up. That said, if you’re interested in using your phone mainly as your computer, it could make sense to own a device this powerful. While Samsung device’s aren’t exactly known for their timely updates, there is a lot to love about this phone.
Of course, users who are looking for a big and powerful phone on a budget should keep in mind that the S9+ is nearly as large, and while it doesn’t include the S Pen, it’s available for several hundred dollars cheaper than the Note 9. As usual, choosing between the S-series phone and the Note device is a personal decision; both are great devices and are well-worth using.
- Incredible AMOLED display
- Beautiful design
- Solid cameras
- Very expensive
- Lower capacity battery
- Some software quirks
Originally, the Pixel 3 was a weak recommendation for Sprint customers, since the device had to be purchased unlocked instead of in a carrier store. However, alongside the launch of the Pixel 3a, Google finally made it possible to purchase the Pixel devices from carriers outside of Verizon, finally putting the Pixel 3 inside Sprint stores. While it’s disappointing that this happened half a year after the launch of the Pixel 3, it’s still great to see that it’s easy to pick one up now.
Let’s start with the hardware: the displays are both sourced from Samsung this year, instead of sourcing the Pixel 2 XL’s screen from LG. This means both screens are clearer, brighter, and more color accurate than what we saw last year. The Pixel 2 XL has some serious display problem, and the Pixel 3 XL fixes nearly all of them. The display isn’t quite as good as what you’ll find on Samsung’s own flagship devices—it seems they hold the good ones for their own devices—but you won’t find us complaining about the displays.
Everything else about the device is improved too. The waterproof rating has been bumped up to IP68 instead of IP67. The speakers are a bit louder and a hell of a lot clearer, without some of the rattling we’d heard on some Pixel 2 units. The front-facing camera now has two lenses that allows you to take wide-angle selfies, fitting more people in your photo than you ever could before, which helps to make a seriously great photo out of your group shots. Both the Pixel 3 and 3 XL now use glass backs, which allows for wireless charging and helps to make the phone feel more premium than in years past. The device still remains a frosted feel on part of the glass, helping to give the impression of aluminum.
In terms of specs, these devices have exactly what you might expect in a 2018 flagship. A Snapdragon 845 powers the device, alongside 4GB of RAM (a relatively low amount of memory compared to most 2018 Android flagships), along with a 2915mAh battery on the smaller model and a 3430mAh battery on the larger. These are comparable to last year’s models, and should provide around the same solid battery life as we saw last year.
Generally speaking, the camera takes incredible photos, with Google’s HDR+ software showing better results than ever before. If you’re buying a Pixel 3, you know you’re getting an excellent camera. But Google didn’t stop there; instead, they chose to build in a series of software tweaks and improvements that are destined to help you take better and more interesting shots. Top Shot, for example, allows you to select the best version of your photo, in case someone blinks or accidentally makes a strange face. Motion Auto Focus allows you to track an object as it moves throughout the frame, keeping it in focus along the path. And Super Res Zoom is designed to be a better digital zoom than ever before, even if it doesn’t measure up to what we’ve seen from other cameras’ telephoto lenses.
Look, at the end of the day, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL aren’t perfect. The designs certainly have some flaws on them, especially in the larger sized model; the prices are costly; and of course, there’s still no headphone jack to be found. Still, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL represent great evolution in the Pixel line, even if some will find the notch on the larger model to be absolutely garish. While some will spring for our runner-up devices, will hold onto their Pixel or Pixel 2, or might even jump ship for the iPhone XR or iPhone XS, it’s no secret that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL represent the best camera and software experience for Android today.
- Unbeatable smartphone camera
- Fantastic software experience
- Great display
- Large notch on XL model
Released six months after their older brother devices, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are cheaper versions of Google’s flagship device. Starting at just $400 for the smaller model and $479 for the larger device, the Pixel 3a line is a great bang-for-your-buck offering, taking what’s great about Google’s flagship phones and just lowering the price enough to make it a better buy. The camera on the back of the device is nearly identical to what we’ve seen from the Pixel 3, albeit lacking the Pixel Visual Core that allows for dedicated photo processing. Still, despite slightly slower rendering times when taking HDR photos, the Pixel 3a is easily the best camera you can get on a smartphone for under $500—and possibly under $700.
The rest of the phone is great too, switching the glass build of the original Pixel 3 to plastic but keeping the general design language the same. The phone does take a few hits in terms of specs and other areas. Powered by a Snapdragon 675, it’s clear that the phone does run slower than flagships using Snapdragon 845s or 855s. And while 4GB of RAM is the same amount offered in the higher-tier Pixel 3 line, it’s starting to become long in the tooth in terms of speed. The phone also dumps the options for both wireless charging and water resistance, and while wireless charging seems like an obvious feature to leave behind (especially considering the plastic build), it’s really unfortunate that the phone doesn’t offer any kind of resistance to rain or an accidental drop in the tub.
Of course, in terms of software, this is a Pixel device through and through, complete with the clean build one can expect from Google. Fast updates are also guaranteed, coming months before other flagship devices are granted new versions of Android (and possibly years in the budget space). If there’s one major bummer on the software side of things, its the lack of free original resolution photo backups on Google Photos, something Google has included with all three generations of Pixel devices prior. Still, at just $400, the device is great for anyone looking for a reliable midrange Android phone, basically guaranteed to get them through two or more years of use—all while including a headphone jack.
- Best camera under $700
- Solid software experience
- Best bang-for-your-buck
- Midrange performance
- Not waterproof
We have long praised Motorola’s budget line, the G-series, for its affordability and its ease of use. The Moto G4 wasn’t the most attractive phone in the world, but the battery life was solid, the display was a sharp 1080p LCD, and the device was sold from Amazon for under $200. The Moto G5 Plus stepped up the game last year, with an improved metal design, better (if not great) cameras, and yet another low price when purchased through Amazon. Both devices, like much of Motorola’s lineup of phones, were able to work on basically every carrier in the United States (all four national carriers, plus every MVNO carrier like Straight Talk or Republic Wireless), and when Amazon revoked lock screen advertisements from their lineup of Prime-exclusive devices, the phones only got that much better.
So, for the Moto G6, expectations were set pretty high. After a few leaks that did end up basically confirming what we expected to see from Motorola in 2018, the Moto G6 was officially unveiled in April of this year, and overall, it’s an impressive device. Available for just $235 for Amazon Prime subscribers and $250 for those without Prime, the Moto G6 is a step up from the G5 in almost every way—though it’s worth noting that the G6 Plus, the natural successor to the G5 Plus, will not be arriving in the United States. Still, the G6 is a solid buy for the money. The build is all-glass, similar to Moto’s other devices, and though it looks great, it does increase the fragility of the device and works towards making it easier to break the device. Despite the glass back, however, the front of the device has seen a major improvement: an 18:9 aspect ratio, with a 1080p LCD that looks good.
The device has 3GB of RAM and runs on a Snapdragon 450, which is a strange choice for those possibly looking to upgrade from a Moto G4 Plus or G5 Plus. Because this device isn’t the Plus version of the G6, it uses Snapdragon’s 400-series line of processors, and this change is a major difference between models. The new Snapdragon 450 is a good processor, but if you’re looking to play a lot of 3D, intensive games, this might not be the phone for you. The camera is solid, but unfortunately, takes a while to actually capture a shot when taking a photo, largely because of the slower Snapdragon 450. Battery life is solid, and Motorola has finally moved their G-series to USB-C. Ultimately, the Moto G6 is a solid successor in the G-series line, though we wish the G6 Plus model had arrived on US shorts. Moto G5 Plus users may want to hold onto their devices for another year, but if you’re coming from the G4 or G4 Plus, it’s a perfect time to upgrade.
The V40 is the newest smartphone from LG, launching in October 2018 for most carriers including Verizon, and it’s about what you would expect from LG. More than ever, the V-series of devices has become a souped-up version of what we’ve seen from LG’s G-series launched in the spring, much like the pattern Samsung follows with their Galaxy S-line of devices and their Note line of devices. The V40 is one of the best phones we’ve ever seen from LG, fixing a lot of the issues that surrounded the V30 last fall. Though LG has continued to struggle in the market since powerhouse devices like the G2 and G3 from several years ago had fatal flaws that caused them to crash and end up as bricks, LG’s newer devices from 2018 are absolutely work a look—especially this V40.
The front of the phone is adored with a notch that is much smaller in shape and stature than the Pixel 3 XL notch, making it relatively easy to ignore. With a 6.4″ screen, this is a massive phone, one that is about as large as Samsung’s own Note 9 from this past summer, but thanks to the notch and the smaller chin along the bottom of the device, the phone is actually a bit smaller than what we’ve seen from Samsung. Last year’s V30 (and by extension, the Pixel 2 XL) featured an LG OLED panel that was muddy and feature poor color accuracy; this year’s panel, thankfully, fares much better, with solid color reproduction, strong black levels, and no color shifts when looking at the screen from different angles. LG has notably improved here, and that alone is making this a phone worth looking at.
Inside the device is everything you’d expect to see in a 2018 flagship device. A Snapdragon 845 powers the V40, alongside the now-usual 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage, all par for the course. LG continues to be one of the few manufacturers still giving power users what they want, alongside their competitor Samsung: a microSD card slot is here, but the phone retains its IP68 waterproof rating. Same goes for the headphone jack, still found on the device and still featuring LG’s signature quad-DAC that makes it the phone to listen to music with. The back of the phone features three camera lenses: a regular 12MP lens, a 16MP ultra-wide lens, and a 12MP telephoto lens. All of this amounts to what is a very-good camera, albeit one that can’t compete with the likes of Google and their software tweaks. It’s certainly a camera that will work in practically any setting, but keep in mind that, for the best shots, you’ll want a Pixel 3.
And of course, we can’t forget about LG’s software. While it’s better than it used to be, the V40 shares the same software and visual design we’ve seen with the G7, and it’s…fine. Samsung’s software customizations are still better, while LG plays as a knock on what Samsung has been doing for a couple years now. Meanwhile, the Pixel line of phones features Google’s software tweaks and regular updates, and for that measure, you can’t get the same experience on the V40, which still ships with Android 8.1 Oreo. Still, if you don’t like what Google’s doing with hardware design and you’re looking for something that isn’t the usual Galaxy alternatives, the V40 will be a great option—especially over the next few months, when, like clockwork, the price of the V40 begins to drop.
- Great display
- Headphone jack
- Multitude of cameras
- Expensive, especially for LG
- Camera quality not up to par with Pixel
- Software experience
While the Moto G-series might be Moto’s most successful lineup of devices, it was the Moto X line that originally attracted so much press and fanfare nearly five years ago. When the first Moto X launched, it was the first device from Motorola under Google’s umbrella, and while that ownership model didn’t last long before the company was sold to Lenovo, the first two Moto X devices were not just successful—they were legendary. When Motorola brought back the Moto X line for a fourth generation in 2017, the device had changed quite a bit. Gone were the days of Moto Maker, replaced with a glass back that came in black and sky-blue. The device was no longer the flagship of Moto’s own offerings, now being offered as a mid-range product aside Moto’s Z-series of mod-enabled phones. nb
The 2017 Moto X4 isn’t a perfect device, but it’s pretty solid for the money. For just $279 through Amazon Prime (as of writing), you’re paying just $45 more over the Moto G6 for a device that is similar in most aspects and better in many areas. The design is nearly identical, save for a standard 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to the 18:9 display on the Moto G6. It’s also smaller, measuring in at a more pocketable 5.2″ instead of the 5.7″ on the G6. The phone is IP68 water resistant, making it one of the few devices available below $300 that offers IP-certification for water resistance. 3GB of RAM is the minimum amount we would recommend in 2018, but it hits the mark, and offers a Snapdragon 630 processor for solid performance during both day-to-day activities and when gaming.
The software, like every Motorola phone, is basically stock software with some Motorola enhancements built in. The Moto X4 makes a major exception here when purchased through Amazon—you also gain access to Alexa built into the phone. The device has USB-C, a step-up from every other budget Motorola phone outside of the new Moto G6, and features a dual-lens camera on the device that takes solid shots during the day, but unfortunately, average-at-best shots at night. Overall, the Moto X4’s original price tag of $399 is simply too expensive for what you would be receiving, but at $199, it’s a really solid buy. For those disappointed by the OnePlus 7 Pro’s price increase, the Moto X4 represents a great buy at under $300. Though it was too expensive to initially add to this list, the past few months have helped to make this a great buy for anyone looking for a modest mid-range device.
- Solid build and design for the price
- Water resistant
- Okay camera performance
- Wide-angle lens is terrible
- 3GB of RAM
- Essential Phone on Sprint Flex is cheaper
As the successor to both the HTC U11 and U11+ from last year, the U12+ had a lot riding on it. The former device, released this time last year, was a quiet success in critical support if not quite in sales or carrier stock. The phone’s camera was a massive success, seemingly following in the footsteps of the HTC-developed Pixel camera from 2016, the device offered modern specs with a Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM, and the software was massively improved. The U11+, unfortunately, was not quite as much of a critical darling. The device had gone from ergonomic to slippery and massive, the display appeared washed out and dull, the massive battery didn’t attribute to much longer life in day-to-day use, and the phone never shipped in North America, making it impossible for some Android users to buy the device.
The U12+ is, fittingly, a mix of good and bad, matching the split between its status as a successor for the U11 and the U11+. This is HTC’s first phone following their hardware team’s acquisition by Google, in order to continue the development of the Pixel line through 2018 and beyond, which means this could be one of the final phones to ever ship from HTC. There are plenty of things to love about this phone, especially over the U11+ last year. The ergonomics have improved, making for a more-friendly design that’s easy to hold in your hand, and the design of the phone is absolutely gorgeous. From the red model to the translucent blue, the device looks unique as ever. The device uses a Snapdragon 845 with 6GB of RAM, and it absolutely flies in performance while offering solid, dependable battery life. And the camera is excellent, offering one of the best mobile photography kits on the market today.
So what’s not to love? For starters, HTC has included bloatware on the device called News Republic, an app that sends random news notifications to your device about “viral” stories around the internet. While the software experience is clean, this bloatware really hurts the praise. HTC also chose to replace the physical buttons with pressure-sensitive areas on the side of the phone that allow for the device to be clicked, similar to the home button on the iPhone 7 and 8.
Unfortunately, the buttons have been panned by nearly every critic and user alike as unnatural and unusable. Finally, while the USB-C headphone adapter included with the U11 sounded pretty bad, HTC has somehow made the only worse decision possible with the U12: not to include one. Ultimately, there are a lot of drawbacks here, but HTC’s hardware and software are still solid Android experiences. If you want to own something that may soon be a piece of history—the final HTC phone—the U12+ is a solid buy.
- Ergonomic design
- Long battery life
- Great camera
- Fake buttons are bad
- Bloatware and spam on device
- Unknown future for HTC