Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
Every carrier has to offer the latest Galaxy, and for good reason: this is the top-end phone everyone knows and lusts after, right alongside Apple’s latest iPhone. T-Mobile, of course, offers both the Galaxy S9 and larger S9+, but which size you want is purely personal preference — the experience is ultimately the same on both.
Inside you obviously get all of the latest specs, including Samsung’s go-to features like wireless charging, waterproofing, and an industry-leading display. It’s expensive, but you just can’t skip over considering the latest Galaxy when shopping for a flagship phone.
Bottom line: The S9 and S9+ are as top-of-the-line as it gets, packed with every feature under sun.
One more thing: Neither phone has stellar battery life, but each should be enough to last you through the day — even if just by a hair.
Why the Galaxy S9 is the best
There’s no better marriage of form and function than the Galaxy S9 and larger S9+. The curved edges on both sides of the phones are engineering marvels, and feel sleek in the hand. The 18.5:9 displays fill almost the entire front of each phone without having to bother with controversial notches, and the dual aperture cameras take phenomenal photos.
On top of that, there’s no shortage of hardware features, both new and old, on the Galaxy S9. You want wireless charging? You’ve got it. Water resistance? Check. MicroSD expandability, flexible mobile payments, and a headphone jack? All present. There’s even a blood pressure monitor. You may not use every single feature on the Galaxy S9, but it’s always better to have too many features than not enough.
Best for productivity
Samsung Note 8
After the unprecedented recall of the Note 7 due to battery issues, all eyes were on Samsung to deliver something spectacular with the Galaxy Note 8. They delivered. Building on the Galaxy S8 design, the Note 8 is a refinement in all the right places with a large, almost bezel-less display in a package that still fits comfortably in your hand.
The beautiful look is complemented by powerful specs and features. A whopping 6 GB of RAM, dual 12MP cameras, and Samsung’s impressive S Pen technology make the Note 8 the phone to buy if you need the best entertainment or productivity tool.
Bottom line: The Galaxy Note 8 is large and in charge with ultra high-end specs and productivity features galore.
One more thing: If the Note 8 is too big for you or you don’t care for the S Pen, you’re probably better off buying the Galaxy S9 or S9+.
Best for video
A multimedia powerhouse — both for consuming and creating — the V30 brings LG’s superb 120-degree wide field-of-view dual-camera design into a package that offers LG Cine Log mode capture for video results that rival professional techniques. And unlike other manufacturers that are discarding the 3.5 mm headphone jack, LG is embracing it and offers a high-quality quad-DAC package to play your music the way it deserves to be heard.
Of course, everything you expect from any premium LG phone is on-board. Wireless charging, IP68 water-resistance and a great OLED display are standard with the V30. It’s also the first phone available that has support for T-Mobile’s 600MHz network expansion.
Bottom line: With so many options for video capture, the V30 is a content creator’s dream — and a great phone for the rest of us, too.
One more thing: Some people have noticed contrast issues with the display at darker brightness levels.
Best battery life
Galaxy S8 Active
While it may not be as new and fancy as the Galaxy S9, last year’s S8 Active is still the longest-lasting phones in T-Mobile’s lineup, with a whopping 4000mAh battery to keep it going all day and into the next. It’s also the only flat screened model in Samsung’s flagship lineup, meaning curved edge critics can rejoice.
Aside from a larger battery and flatter, more industrial design, the S8 Active offers an identical experience to the standard Galaxy S8. The 12MP camera is still an absolutely terrific shooter, and the S8 Active is backed with water resistance, wireless charging, and plenty of other hardware amenities.
Bottom line: If battery life is your top priority, the S8 Active might even be a better buy than the newer Galaxy S9.
One more thing: The S8 Active is a bit harder sell when you consider that it still costs a whopping $850.
Update, April 2018: The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are T-Mobile’s new champions, and we’ve added the S8 Active to the list for its battery performance.
April 28, 2018 at 06:05AM