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Digital Subscriptions > Stuff > December 2019 > Call on me

Call on me

Selecting the best phone to buy has suddenly got extra-tough, so we’ve weighed up the latest contenders and picked out the cream of the crop

There’s something strange going on with the 250th-issue Stuff smartphone supertest.

Rather than being filled with flagship phones released throughout the year, most of the mobiles paraded here have landed in the last few weeks. Whether it’s a desperate bid to beat Brexit stealing all the column inches or the insatiable pursuit of your Christmas cash, tech companies have gone a little bit launch-crazy.

So an apology: Nokia, LG, Samsung and others don’t feature because we only have so much paper. All make wonderfully unique phones – and if you don’t believe us, head over to and trawl through our encyclopaedia of reviews to find your perfect match. We’ve also largely ignored 5G due to its current niche status.

No prizes for guessing that most of the phones featured get five stars; but before moaning that we’re going soft in our old age, a reminder that the first iPhone arrived in 2007, and after 12 years and countless billions in R&D it’s little wonder makers have started to get the hang of this.

In tests, our USB-C fast-charger took us from 2% battery life to 50% in just 30 minutes. Shame it’s still a Lightning connection on the other end *sigh*.

Sweet camera skills make this an extra-tasty Apple

So the iPhone has followed almost every other area of Apple’s device empire and gone ‘Pro’, but what does that actually mean? Well, this is Cupertino’s elite handset, its gladiator, a knight in recycled aluminium charging into battle against the Android enemies vying for the smartphone throne.

OK, we may have re-watched a Marvel movie or two recently, and on the surface this thing does look a lot like last year’s iPhone XS, but flip it over and you’ll see a triple-camera array that’s up there with the best we’ve tested this year. And with Apple finally catching up on the competition and developing some sharp Night Mode photography tech, it’s the best all-round smartphone camera, full stop. The A13 Bionic chip comes out on top in benchmark testing too, bringing about untouchable speeds. The fact there’s no 5G option doesn’t bother us for now (but ask us again in 12 months), while its fast-charging capabilities are a godsend that iPhone fans have been waiting for.

Anyway, #slofies aside (that’s slow-mo selfies shot with the front camera, for the benefit of those living life at a similar pace), this is a serious and solid phone in every meaning of the word – and one most definitely worthy of wearing the ‘Pro’ moniker.

In short, it’s a smartphone that’s going to take wicked photos in any scenario and carry out all your daily tasks with finesse.

APPLE iPHONE 11 PRO FROM £1049 ★★★★★

Night Mode is automatically enabled when the 11 Pro detects it’s dark. Depending on the available light, it then takes several seconds to render an image.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

from £1149 /

The 11 Pro Max is the 11 Pro with a bigger 6.5in display and battery. Delve a tad deeper and you’ll discover that display matches the 11 Pro’s 458ppi resolution and you’re getting around five hours more usage than the old XS Max. So this is the best iPhone you can buy if you have the metaphorical and physical deep pockets required.

Stuff says ★★★★★

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