Best 2020 phones to give as gifts: iPhone 12, Galaxy S20 FE, Pixel 4A 5G and more

Best 2020 phones to give as gifts: iPhone 12, Galaxy S20 FE, Pixel 4A 5G and more

This story is part of Christmas gift guide 2020, CNET’s gift selection with expert advice, reviews, and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

The holidays are just around the corner and if you’re thinking of buying or grabbing a phone for a loved one, there are a plethora of fantastic phones out there this year at relatively affordable prices. Yes, there are still high-end phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max and that Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. But when people become more cost conscious during the time Covid-19 pandemicPhone manufacturers have responded by bringing phones to the market at lower prices.

Most of these phones are variants of well-known flagships and can skip some features. Overall, these phones offer top notch performance and come with great cameras, fast processors and brilliant screens. Many of them also connect to the next generation cellular network. 5G.

Check out the list below to see our top deals for this year. Note that you can almost get a better deal on these phones if you shop through a cellular operator as they often have special offers and discounts. However, if you want to give away a phone quickly and easily, your best bet is to get an unlocked version. Simply replace an existing SIM card and you’re good to go. We made a shortcut to the unlocked version of each phone. Unless otherwise noted, these should run on most of the four major US wireless carriers.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Starting at $ 829, the iPhone 12 isn’t the cheapest of Apple’s new iPhone 12 variants. That title would go to the iPhone 12 Mini (more on this below). However, the iPhone 12 has a bigger screen and features the A14 Bionic processor, dual rear cameras, and 5G. Read our Apple iPhone 12 review.

Angela Lang / CNET

As the “Fan Edition” of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S20, the S20 FE offers many premium specifications such as triple rear view cameras, water resistance, a powerful processor and 5G. But it’s much cheaper than the original S20, costing $ 699 in the US (or £ 699, and AU $ 1,149 in the UK and Australia for the 5G models). Read our review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition.

Angela Lang / CNET

If you want an affordable 5G phone, the Pixel 4A 5G is worth considering. The $ 499 handset is available for pre-order and will ship November 19. It has solid battery life, fantastic dual rear cameras, and robust software support from Google.

Angela Lang / CNET

The OnePlus 8 is one of our most popular OnePlus phones of the year, and we prefer it to more expensive OnePlus devices like the 8 Pro and 8T. The device has 5G, a 90 Hz display, long-lasting battery life and a first-class processor. The unlocked model is currently available from OnePlus and costs $ 699 (£ 549 or about AU $ 1,000) for 256GB of storage. Read our OnePlus 8 review.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Available in the US for $ 445, the One 5G is one of the best and cheapest 5G phones out there. This cheap smartphone option has a total of six, even six cameras, a 90 Hz display with high refresh rate and fast charging technology. It is available now in the US from AT&T and will be released to Verizon at a later date. Read our Motorola One 5G review.

Apple

Priced at S $ 729 (£ 699, AU $ 1,1999), the iPhone 12 Mini is the cheapest and smallest iPhone 12 you can get. It has a comfortable 5.4-inch display but has nearly identical specs to the iPhone 12, including the new MagSafe feature, A14 processor, wireless charging, and water resistance. Continue reading.

Sarah Tew / CNET

In addition to the main Galaxy S20 phones, Samsung has a more cost-conscious A series. This year, the Galaxy A51 5G was unveiled, which has four cameras including a selfie camera, an on-screen fingerprint sensor and expandable storage. CNET tested the non-5G version, which was originally available for $ 399 (£ 329, AU $ 599), although we saw it go for just $ 280 in the US. Read our Galaxy A51 review.

Angela Lang / CNET

Google’s Pixel 4A was released in August and is priced at $ 349 (AU $ 599). The 5.81-inch Google Pixel phone is only available in one color (black) and has a headphone jack, a slightly larger screen and battery than last year’s Pixel 4, plus 128GB of storage right away. Read our Google Pixel 4A review.

John Kim / CNET

After a four-year hiatus between the iPhone SE 2020 and the previous one, Apple added a number of upgrades to its most affordable phone. These include wireless charging, better camera specs, and water resistance. (Sorry, if you prefer wired headphones, there’s no headphone jack.) If you’re looking to buy a new iPhone but want to save as much money as possible, the iPhone SE is yours for $ 399 (£ 419, AU $ 749) best bet. Read our review of the Apple iPhone SE (2020).

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you’re looking for a cheaper Note 20 alternative, the Moto G Stylus has a pen that you can keep on the phone, as well as a built-in Notes app to increase productivity. The phone, available in the US, is currently priced at $ 250 at Motorola. It also has triple rear cameras, 128 GB of storage and a robust 4,000 mAh battery. Read our Moto G Stylus review.

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