Which New Phone is Best for you?


William Hsieh, Director of Photography

Smartphones have become an essential part of daily life; every year, new phones are released by companies such as Apple, Google and Razer. The iPhone XS, Google Pixel 3 and the Razer Phone 2 rise as some of the best options on the market, each presenting its unique pros and cons.

When comparing phones, the “Five Pillars of a Smartphone” are often used to determine which is the best phone to buy: Build, Battery, Camera, Display and Performance. Price is also an important factor when considering whether or not to buy a phone.

Build Quality

The build quality of these phones is great. All have glass backs, which enables wireless charging. The Pixel 3 has a two-tone back with frosted glass covering most of the back. The Razer Phone 2 features an RGB logo on the back that can be controlled via software, but it is also the thickest of the three. However, none of these phones has a headphone jack.

The iPhone XS and Pixel 3 have curved corners and rounded edges, while the Razer Phone 2 is more blocky and rectangular. These phones are durable with one exception: the “frosted glass” on the back of Pixel 3 scratches easily, but a simple case or skin will help protect it. They all have solid tactile buttons and are water resistant for up to thirty minutes.


Battery Life

The battery life on each of these phones is more than enough to get through a whole day without charging. While the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 are better optimized for software, the Razer Phone 2 makes up for the lack of optimization with an enormous 4000 milliamp-hour battery, which is 33% bigger than the iPhone XS and Pixel 3. A larger battery means more screen time, and less times you will need to plug it in to charge.



The Google Pixel 3 takes the crown for having the best camera in any smartphone right now, with the iPhone XS trailing right behind. The Pixel 3 is the only flagship in 2018 that has one camera, and it achieves its superior picture quality through software, which also creates the depth of field in portrait mode shots. In contrast, phones with two cameras use both to measure depth and create blur. The iPhone XS camera is a significant upgrade over its predecessor because of its new sensor and improved software. The camera on the Razer Phone 2 is decent but cannot compare to the Pixel 3 or even the iPhone XS.



The OLED (organic LED) display on the Pixel 3 is greatly improved from last generation’s. The iPhone XS also features an OLED display from last year’s iPhone X. Only the Razer Phone 2 uses an LCD display, but it has a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This insanely fast refresh rate along with a 2,560 by 1,440 display makes the Razer Phone 2 feel snappy for watching videos, playing games or even just swiping through the home screens. It is also brighter than the original Razer Phone, so it is more usable outdoors.



Finally, the performance. Each phone has the latest processors, with the A12 Bionic processor on the iPhone XS and the Snapdragon 845 processor on the Pixel 3 and Razer Phone 2. While the iPhone XS and Pixel 3 only have 4GB of RAM (analogous to short-term memory) each, the Razer Phone 2 has 8GB. Performance is similar for now, but as time passes, more RAM may benefit the Razer Phone 2. Both the Pixel 3 and Razer Phone 2 have stereo front-facing speakers, which is phenomenal for playing games, watching YouTube, or just listening to music. The Razer Phone 2’s speakers are louder and clearer than those of the Pixel 3 and iPhone XS.

Which phone is the best for you? If you are looking for an Apple device, there is not much of a choice: the iPhone XS is the only new phone you can get. It is a slight upgrade, but not large enough to justify it over the iPhone X. The Pixel 3 has the best camera and comes with stock Android Pie (the latest operating software) and is also a big upgrade over last year’s Pixel 2. Finally, the Razer Phone 2 is for gamers and content creators. The 120 Hz display is one-of-a-kind, and its speakers allow for a unique gaming and media experience.