Best Phones to Use with Mint Mobile Android Central 2020
Mint Mobile is all about getting great service for a fraction of the price of the big carriers, and for many, that philosophy extends to the phone they choose to use. Thankfully, tons of great Android phones embody the same idea: getting a great experience with the latest specs and features and not paying top dollar for it. The best example of this is the OnePlus 8 Pro, which offers a flagship-like experience for less than the direct competition. It's a great phone to pair with the solid-but-inexpensive Mint Mobile service.
- Best Overall: OnePlus 8 Pro
- Upgrade Pick: Samsung Galaxy S20+
- Best on a Budget: Moto G Power
- Best Camera: Google Pixel 4 XL
- Best Budget Features: Samsung Galaxy A50
- Best Value: OnePlus 8
- Best With a Stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
- Best Gaming Features: ASUS RoG Phone 2
Best Overall: OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 7 Pro is as excellent and well-designed as any high-end smartphone out today. If you know much about OnePlus, you'll be happy to know it doesn't stray from its traditional formula. Instead, it extends to its logical place in the landscape of 2020 flagships with more features and a higher price — but of course, not too high.
The hardware is toe-to-toe with any flagship, and it's punctuated by the best display OnePlus has ever used. It's bright, colorful, and has a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Inside, there are top-end specs, and that leads to amazing performance thanks to its excellent OxygenOS software — it's just a joy to use.
The 8 Pro also brings the best cameras yet to a OnePlus phone, with a new main camera that steps up to a true flagship level. The entire camera experience is a bit behind the likes of the Galaxy S20+, but then again, it's also less expensive. That's really where the 8 Pro fits. It's a true flagship from top to bottom, but for a bit less money than the traditional players with big brand names.
- Large, beautiful 120Hz display
- Greatly improved main and wide-angle cameras
- Excellent battery life
- OxygenOS is best-in-class Android software
- Wireless charging and IP68 rating
- Much more expensive than before
- Telephoto camera isn't good
- Some camera bugs still present
The best OnePlus has made, but for less
The OnePlus 8 Pro is an impressive and well-designed flagship for hundreds less than the direct competition.
Upgrade Pick: Samsung Galaxy S20+
Before the Galaxy S20, the S10 series was a proven winner — and everything Samsung did with this new generation made it easy to recommend the S20+. The S20+ makes improvements across the board, with a bigger and better display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a large 4,500mAh battery, more RAM, and a new Snapdragon 865 processor.
The big move up is with the cameras, with a new array on both sides. The new sensors are larger, which let in more light and take dramatically better low-light photos. It's not quite on the level of the Pixel 4 XL, but this is a step up for Samsung and is no longer a weak point of this flagship. You also get capable zooming at 5-10X while keeping an ultra-wide camera for fun shots.
The only way the S20+ downgrades from the S10+ is in its price and removal of the headphone jack. We're talking about a couple hundred dollar increase from last year, and removing the audio jack is a tough blow for those who rely on it. Both are a result of the way the industry is going — phones keep getting more expensive, and it was one of the last holdouts with a 3.5 mm jack.
- Best-in-class display
- Good battery life
- Exceptional performance
- Great all-around cameras
- Expensive for 128GB of storage
- Camera zoom much weaker than S20 Ultra
- Slow fingerprint sensor
- No headphone jack
Samsung's excellent all-rounder is a winner
The S20+ has a fantastic screen, top-end specs, a strong array of cameras, and feature-packed software. It's expensive but worth it.
Best on a Budget: Moto G Power
Since the Moto G8 isn't being sold directly in the U.S., the new Moto G Power fills the gap by offering a solid Android experience at an amazing price. The phone stands out in the battery department, offering multi-day endurance. Pair it with great software, fun cameras, and solid specs for the money, and the Moto G Power packs quite a punch.
That said, missing NFC and facing Motorola's infamous history with slow or nonexistent software updates could be a reason to think twice before buying one. However, if you want to save money upfront, you just can't beat what you get for this price.
- Ultra-wide and macro cameras are fun
- Two or three days of battery life
- Motorola's excellent software add-ons
- Can't beat that price
- Fingerprint magnet hardware
- No NFC in 2020 is just ridiculous
- Slow charging speeds
- Motorola's update speed
Best on a Budget
Enough for most people's needs, at an excellent price
The Moto G Power carries on a long history of superb affordable Motorola phones with solid specs and cameras.
Best Camera: Google Pixel 4 XL
The Pixel 4 XL is several months old, but it's still easily the best camera you can get. In daylight, mixed-light, and super-low-light, it consistently beats every other Android — and arguably, the iPhone 11 Pro. While we had issues with its predecessor's performance, the camera app is now fast and fluid. A telephoto lens, paired with clever software, takes good zoom shots at 5X. Its front-facing camera isn't as wide as before, but that's a marginal downside. It still takes crisp, colorful, and bright photos along with great portrait selfies.
The 4 XL, as a complete phone, is, unfortunately, let down by a few shortcomings. Its battery life is the weakest of the flagship competition, it has less RAM (6GB) and storage (64 or 128GB), and its face unlock system hasn't been adopted by many popular apps that need biometric authentication. However, that shouldn't detract from the great things it does — and it is still fully in the conversation of the best phones you can get today.
- Super-smooth 90Hz display
- Top-notch camera quality back and front
- Simple, useful and fast software
- Nice-looking and feeling hardware
- Excellent face unlock speed
- Incredibly weak battery life
- Motion Sense has little real-world use
- Low RAM and storage
- Many apps still incompatible with Face Unlock
The best camera you can get in a smartphone today
The Pixel 4 XL has great hardware and the best camera, but it's let down by poor battery life and weak specs for the money.
Best Budget Features: Samsung Galaxy A50
Samsung typically isn't associated with good inexpensive phones, but starting in 2019 the company started investing heavily in its new Galaxy A line, bringing the best features of its flagships down to a much more reasonable price bracket. The Galaxy A50 is one such beneficiary, with a beautiful 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen, along with an Exynos 9610 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a massive 4000mAh battery.
The best part is that despite its price, it has a capable triple rear camera setup, with a primary 25MP sensor, secondary 8MP ultra-wide camera, and third 5MP sensor for depth information. There's also a huge 25MP camera for selfies, neatly tucked in a display notch.
Samsung's also included an in-display fingerprint sensor, something missing on most other phones in this price range. It's also making a big deal of its One UI software, which replicates the experience you get from its high-end Galaxy S phones.
- Big AMOLED display
- Excellent triple camera setup
- Samsung's One UI is among the best Android skins around
- Huge 4000mAh battery
- Unlocked model lacks NFC
- Primary camera isn't quite as good as Nokia 7.1 or Pixel 3a
Best Budget Features
This is Samsung's best budget phone in years
Samsung finally stepped up its budget game with the A50, a fantastic device that you can pick up for under $300.
Best Value: OnePlus 8
OnePlus didn't change a whole lot in the 8 coming from the last-gen 7T, but it didn't need to. You get fresh hardware and design that keeps it in line with the 8 Pro, plus a bump in specs with the same great basics elsewhere. There's a really good 90Hz display, great battery life, solid camera performance, and amazing software.
Keeping its price relatively affordable in the scheme of ever-pricier high-end phones, you had to miss out on a few things. The cameras didn't improve from the 7T, and in some ways downgraded — you lose a telephoto camera and pick up a dedicated macro camera that isn't very useful. Unlike the 8 Pro, you don't get wireless charging, and at the same time, you have to deal with the fact that OnePlus is charging $100 more than it did six months ago for basically the same experience.
Still, if you're looking for a value-focused phone and can't step up to the OnePlus 8 Pro, this is a great phone. Alternatively, if you can find it, consider buying the OnePlus 7T at a deep discount instead.
- Fantastic software experience
- Excellent specs for the money
- Consistent camera performance
- Sleek and solid hardware
- Excellent battery life
- No wireless charging
- Minimal improvements over 7T
- No zoom camera and bad macro camera
A less-expensive entry into great OnePlus phones
The OnePlus 8 is a 7T with a few new specs and a larger battery. But even at its higher price, it still represents incredible value.
Best With a Stylus — Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
The Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra have paired up to replace the Note 10+ as top-end Samsung phones. But the Note 10+ is still a new device, and it feels modern and capable in just about every way. The hardware is very similar, the internal specs are behind on paper but not in actual real-world use, and they run the same software — and the Note 10+ will still get at least one more big platform update, so it isn't left behind.
The only big downsides compared to the newer phones are in the cameras and display. The cameras have been completely overhauled in the S20 series, with a big step up in main camera quality and low-light capabilities that are way beyond the Note 10+. The displays are basically the same in every way, except for one critical one: they have a 120Hz mode that makes all motion on the screen incredibly smooth and easy on the eyes. It's something you have to experience, and you probably won't want to go back.
On the other hand, nothing can replace the Note 10+'s S Pen. If you love the functionality a stylus brings, the S20+ or S20 Ultra isn't going to get the job done. And because the new models are now available, the Note 10+ is cheaper than it was at launch and a couple of hundred dollars less than even the S20+ — that in itself makes it appealing.
- Incredible display
- Hardware looks and feels expensive
- Best stylus experience on any phone
- Outstanding performance
- Great battery life and fast charging
- Consistent camera performance
- Low-light camera quality is weak
- Software requires lots of tweaking
- No headphone jack
Best With a Stylus
All of Samsung's great features, plus a unique stylus
For many, there's no replacement for a Note. You get great hardware and specs, with a huge display, and the unique S Pen.
Best Gaming Features: ASUS RoG Phone 2
ASUS has focused on bringing all of the mobile gaming features you could want in a phone — whether you're playing PUBG, Fortnite, or other intense titles.
The RoG Phone 2 stands out with a unique design that includes secondary charging and headphone ports along the side so they're out of the way when playing games in landscape mode, Air Trigger touch sensors that let you use the corners of your phone as customizable inputs for shooting games, and an external Aero Active Cooler accessory included in the box that keeps the phone cool for long gaming sessions.
The 6.6-inch display features a 120Hz refresh rate for the smoothest possible graphics, and the phone does a great job running games on top settings — even if the ASUS software is a bit busy. And its battery is massive, so you won't be caught dying at an inopportune time. ASUS has refined its vision for the perfect gaming phone, and it delivers. With its polarizing design and huge size, you will need to have a gaming focus to pick this over something more well-rounded, but some people take mobile games seriously and this phone is perfect for that use.
- Uniquely designed for gaming
- 120Hz display refresh rate is gorgeous
- Air Trigger controls are still innovative
- Front-facing speakers are loud
- Great battery life
- Phone design maybe too gamer
- Dedicated accessories are pricey
Best Gaming Features
A phone that goes all-in on gaming, and executes well
Excellent performance and lots of gaming-specific features like side ports and heatsinks make this a gamer's dream.
When you're using Mint Mobile, you're likely focused on getting great service for less money, and you want a phone that follows the same philosophy. That phone is the OnePlus 8 Pro, which brings a holistic flagship smartphone experience for less money than the big-name competition. Yes, it's more expensive than previous years, but it also offers much more: water resistance, great cameras, and a top-tier display.
Mint Mobile lets you bring any unlocked phone to its network, so your options are wide open. You can go through this list and find any phone that appeals to you — and your budget — and bring it to Mint without any issue. Whether that's our top pick or something else that meets your needs.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.
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