Smartphones: Australia’s Best-Rated

Review new smartphones from Apple, OPPO, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia on their user friendliness, battery life, camera quality, speed, appearance & style, durability/longevity, value for money and overall satisfaction with Canstar Blue’s customer ratings.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Most Satisfied Customers | Apple

Apple has reclaimed the number-one spot in Canstar Blue’s smartphone ratings, cleaning up with five-star reviews in multiple categories including cameras, style, usability and overall customer satisfaction.

Fact Checked Fact Checked

Apple reclaims title of Australia’s best-loved smartphone brand 

The smartphone world has exploded in recent years, with more Aussies now branching out to try new brands and devices. While the iconic iPhone and Samsung Galaxy series continue to be firm favourites, ‘challenger’ brands such as OPPO and Huawei – and established manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola – are offering seriously competitive alternatives across every price point. 

Many of us simply want the best phone money can buy, but that doesn’t always mean the most expensive phone offers the most value! So, how do you know which new smartphone you should splash the cash on? That’s where Canstar Blue can help. Our customer satisfaction ratings are designed to help you decide which smartphone to buy based on the experiences of people just like you. This year, we’ve surveyed over 1,500 Australian smartphone users to get their feedback on the device they own. 

Their opinions are reflected by the star ratings you see above, with brands compared across eight important categories, including camera quality, speed, user friendliness, battery life and value for money – all factors that ultimately help you decide which phone is right for you.

This year, five brands received the minimum sample size required to feature in our ratings: Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei and OPPO. We’ve tallied up the scores given by real smartphone users to determine which company was Australia’s best-loved phone brand of 2020-21. 

Best Smartphones in Australia

Best phones 2020-21 - iPhones

Here are the five best smartphone brands in Australia as rated by consumers in our 2021 satisfaction survey:

  1. Apple
  2. OPPO
  3. Huawei
  4. Samsung
  5. Nokia

After three years at the top of our smartphone ratings, OPPO has finally been dethroned – but this year’s winner is no surprise. When you think of smartphones, you think Apple – and despite an influx of smaller brands hitting Australian shores in recent years, the company remains a go-to pick for buyers wanting a trusted brand that ticks almost every box. 

While new iPhones are still far from affordable for many people (especially compared to low-priced options from OPPO, Nokia, or even Samsung), features such as industry-leading cameras, ease of use and lightning-fast performance mean many of us are happy to pay a little extra for a higher quality device. 

And with the launch of the iPhone 12 also marking Apple’s first 5G-ready phone release, expect interest in the perennially-popular brand to continue now that it can effectively compete with 5G-capable devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 range. 

In Canstar Blue’s ratings, Aussies gave Apple an outstanding five-star score for overall satisfaction, as well as five stars for speed, usability, appearance & style, and for camera quality. Apple was the only brand in our report to achieve five stars for overall satisfaction, showing that the manufacturer is still a favourite among Australian consumers. 

As for the runners-up, OPPO, Huawei and Samsung each achieved four stars for overall satisfaction, while Nokia took home three stars. Each of the five rated brands scored at least one five-star result across our eight categories, with Samsung and Apple earning top marks for camera quality, Huawei and Nokia for durability, OPPO for battery and appearance, and Nokia again for value for money. 

Smartphone Plans & Prices

So, if you want to get your hands on a brand new smartphone, what are your options? You could buy the handset outright and pick up a great SIM-only deal. Or you could sign up to a phone contract with one of Australia’s big telcos – Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone – or even a smaller provider (such as Southern Phone, TeleChoice or Woolworths Mobile).

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Samsung Galaxy S21 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 64GB iPhone 12 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows a selection of 24-month OPPO Find X2 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Which telcos sell smartphones?

If you’re looking to pick up a new smartphone on a plan, you’ll have a few choices for which provider you can go with. The big three telcos generally offer a larger range of devices on a variety of plans, while the smaller providers tend to offer some of the most popular phones and a few low-cost options. To help you compare smartphone plans, the following table lists which of the more popular smartphones brands are available from Australian telcos, plus payment plan contract lengths.

Telco Phones Available Contract Length
Telstra iPhone, Samsung, Google, Huawei, OPPO, Motorola, Nokia 12 or 24 months, outright
Vodafone iPhone, Samsung, Google, Huawei, OPPO, Motorola, LG, Nokia 12, 24 or 36 months
Optus iPhone, Samsung, Google, Huawei, OPPO 12, 24 or 36 months
Woolworths Mobile Samsung, OPPO 24 or 36 months
TeleChoice iPhone, Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, Motorola, LG, Xiaomi 24 months
Southern Phone Samsung, Nokia 24 months or outright

Apple iPhone Plans & Prices 

A white iPhone 12 with both front and back view

For the first time since 2016, Apple is back in Canstar Blue’s number-one smartphone spot, just three months after the launch of its 2020 flagship iPhone 12 series. While recent releases haven’t matched the hype of previous iPhones – and online pre-orders eliminating the need to line up outside your nearest Apple Store on launch day – the brand still enjoys iconic status in Australia, with millions of customers firmly integrated into the Apple ecosystem.

Apple continues to nail five-star ratings for user friendliness, explaining why so many Australians are remaining loyal to the iPhone brand. iPhone is also a recurring five-star achiever for appearance and style, and the sleek 12 series continues the company’s focus on fashionable designs and quality craftsmanship. 

Alongside five stars for usability and appearance, Apple also earned a five-star rating for speed and for camera quality. Apple’s iPhone cameras have long been considered some of the best in the smartphone game, so it’s no shock that Australians are loving the multi-lens options found on the iPhone 12 Pro range and on last year’s iPhone 11. 

Apple scored five stars in almost all categories in Canstar Blue’s 2021 report, with the exception of battery life and value for money. Neither of these results is a surprise: the iPhone isn’t known for offering more than a day of power on a single charge, and this year’s iPhone 12 outright pricing ranged from $1,199 for the 64GB iPhone 12 Mini, to a whopping $2,369 for the 512GB iPhone 12 Pro Max. This year’s iPhones include:

  • Apple iPhone 12 
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Apple iPhone 12 Mini
  • Apple iPhone 12 SE (2nd gen)

You can pick up 2020’s iPhones from Apple or many third-party retailers, or on plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. The 2019 iPhone 11 is also available on plans from TeleChoice. We’ve compiled some iPhone plans in the below table. 

iPhone 12 Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 64GB Apple iPhone 12 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

iPhone 12 Pro Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

iPhone 12 Pro Max Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a wide range of telco providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

OPPO Plans & Prices

OPPO Find X2 Pro 5G phone

After three years at the top of Canstar Blue’s phone ratings, OPPO has finally slipped to second place. The manufacturer is already well-established with buyers in its home market of China, but is continuing to make inroads internationally with discerning Western customers who want an alternative to the iPhone.

A variety of OPPO phones are available in Australia, including low-cost models under $300 and premium, high-end devices for serious smartphone users. No matter what your preferred price point, it’s likely that OPPO has a device to suit your needs, and the company’s stylish designs make it a popular choice for customers looking for a high-end feel in a lower-cost phone. Major OPPO devices of 2020 include:

  • OPPO Find X2 Pro 5G
  • OPPO Find X2 Neo 5G
  • OPPO Find X2 (Lite) 5G
  • OPPO A91
  • OPPO A52
  • OPPO Reno 4 5G
  • OPPO Reno4 Z 5G

OPPO was awarded four stars for overall satisfaction in this year’s ratings, and received five-star scores for durability/longevity, appearance and style, and for battery life. 

In addition to being available to buy outright, OPPO’s latest phones are also offered on plans from Vodafone, Optus, Telstra, TeleChoice and Woolworths Mobile. Plan options for selected models are available in the table below. 

OPPO Find X2 Pro Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month OPPO Find X2 Pro plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

OPPO Find X2 Lite Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month OPPO Find X2 Lite plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

OPPO A91 Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month OPPO Find X3 Lite plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Huawei Plans & Prices

Huawei P30 Pro front view

Like OPPO, Huawei is a Chinese company with a ‘giant-killer’ reputation. However, the brand has endured some serious setbacks in 2020, most notably the US ‘ban’ that saw Google pull all apps and software from new Huawei releases.

Despite this, Huawei remains a popular choice among Australian consumers looking for quality smartphones with reliable hardware and battery life. Huawei’s devices are known for offering great cameras and serious value for money, and major retailers and providers stock several key models, including:

  • Huawei P30 4G
  • Huawei P30 Pro 4G
  • Huawei P30 Lite 4G
  • Huawei Nova 3i

Huawei scored four stars for overall satisfaction in our ratings, with five-star results for durability/longevity and for battery life.

You can pair a new Huawei device with any number of plans from Vodafone, Telstra, and Optus. Examples of several Huawei devices on plans are listed below.

Huawei P30 Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month Huawei P30 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wide range of  providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Samsung Galaxy Plans & Prices

Front and back of Samsung Galaxy S21 phone in violet

Dropping from its second-place result in 2020’s smartphone ratings, Samsung is still a consistent pick for Aussie buyers, but faces stiff competition from challenger brands such as OPPO. Although the onset of mid-range and low-cost alternatives to iPhones has lessened Samsung’s dominance among Android buyers, the company’s flagship Samsung Galaxy S series continues to be a best seller in the premium price range.

Alongside the always-popular Galaxy S and Galaxy Note releases, Samsung also caters to more budget-conscious consumers with the more affordable Galaxy A series. Samsung was one of the first phone manufacturers to offer 5G devices to the Australian market, and offers niche products such as folding and flip phones, and 4G and 5G variants of most new devices. Popular releases include:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 series
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2
  • Samsung Galaxy A71
  • Samsung Galaxy A51
  • Samsung Galaxy A31
  • Samsung Galaxy A11

Achieving four stars overall for satisfaction, Samsung took home a five-star rating for camera quality, and four stars in almost all other categories. 

Samsung smartphones are available on plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Southern Phone, Telechoice and Woolworths Mobile, with price and plan options for selected phones listed in the below table. 

Samsung Galaxy S21+ Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Samsung Galaxy S21+ plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to compare phone plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products which may contain links to a referral partner.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month 256GB Samsung Galaxy S20 5G plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to compare phone plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products which may contain links to a referral partner.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Plans

The following table shows a selection of 24-month Samsung Galaxy S20 FE plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to compare phone plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products which may contain links to a referral partner.

Nokia Plans & Prices

Nokia 8.3 5G phone front and back

There’s more to Nokia than the classic 3310 — the enduring European company continues to release quality smartphones, albeit slightly under the radar. The brand has made a move into the premium 5G market with this year’s Nokia 8.3 5G, a high-end option for customers who want the reliability of Nokia combined with 5G connectivity.

Nokia has long been a go-to choice for Aussies wanting durable phones with long-lasting battery life, and robust models such as the Tough series make Nokia a wallet-friendly option for tradies, outdoor enthusiasts or even kids and teenagers. Value for money continues to be a key feature for Nokia buyers, as well as the security that the Finnish company offers to customers who prefer to go with trusted brands. Notable Nokia phones in 2020 include: 

  • Nokia 8.3 5G
  • Nokia 7.2 DS
  • Nokia 5.3
  • Nokia 800 Tough
  • Nokia 3310

Nokia scored three stars for overall satisfaction in our 2021 ratings, but did achieve five stars for durability and longevity, and five stars for value for money. You can buy Nokia devices on plans from Vodafone and Southern Phone, or outright from major retailers. 

Is buying the most-wanted smartphone a smart option?

According to Canstar Blue’s most recent survey, around a fifth of us (21%) prefer to upgrade only when our current phone plan expires, with a tiny 5% of participants upgrading each year. Unless there’s a problem with your existing phone, there’s really no practical reason for upgrading every 12 months – and with the average plan user now spending a massive $118 per month on their device, chasing the hottest handset can cost you serious dollars.

You may be surprised to learn that 39% of survey respondents always buy the same brand of smartphone, with 72% of those admitting it’s simply because they’d prefer not to learn a new operating system or device design. While it makes sense for buyers to stick with what they know, getting stuck in a phone rut could mean you’re missing out on a better option. Although Samsung or Apple loyalists may be a little reluctant to look elsewhere, there are plenty of comparable (and more affordable) alternatives available.

Interestingly, Aussies seem less committed overall to buying phones tied to a telco plan, with 58% of this year’s respondents stating that they bought their latest device outright. If you’ve got the cash handy, buying an unlocked device outright can offer you flexibility and options you might not find when purchasing on a telco plan, but can also be a major expense. The average amount Aussies spend on a phone outright is around $761, but premium devices can set you back upwards of $2,500. 

Even if you have your heart set on a specific phone, only 16% of this year’s respondents compared their handset’s cost across multiple providers. If you’re serious about finding the best deal, it is essential you compare phones, plans and perks before you sign on to a provider.

If you do buy over a standard 24-month plan (or even 12 or 36-months), you don’t need to automatically upgrade to a new phone as soon as your contract expires. If you’re still happy with your handset, you can switch to a SIM-only plan and go month-to-month, rather than locking yourself into another long-term contract. 

A contract-free, SIM-only plan is a perfect move for when you’re weighing up your options – and although only 5% of survey respondents say they regret buying their current phone, it pays to shop around before you commit.

About the author of this page

Tara Donnelly

This page was written and is regularly updated by Canstar Blue’s Telco Editor, Tara Donnelly. Having spent over seven years writing for and editing telco comparison websites, she’s an expert in all things phone & internet, including phone plans and how to find the best deal for your family. She loves to highlight the next best phone deals, while also flagging the things you need to be aware of. Tara also acts as a spokesperson for Canstar Blue.

Compare Phones on a Plan

More about Smartphones

Here are the best smartphones in Australia based on our survey of more than 1,500 phone users:

  • Best Overall: Apple was rated best for overall smartphone satisfaction, ahead of OPPO and Huawei.
  • Best Usability: Apple was also rated best on usability, with Huawei second and OPPO a close third.
  • Best Durability: Huawei was deemed best for durability, ahead of OPPO and Nokia.
  • Best Battery Life: OPPO scored best for battery life, followed by Huawei in second and Nokia third.
  • Best Value for Money: Nokia was deemed to offer the best value for money, ahead of OPPO and Huawei.
  • Best Appearance & Style: Apple was again rated best for appearance & style, with OPPO and Samsung close behind.
  • Best Camera Quality: Apple was best for camera quality, ahead of Samsung in second place and Huawei third.
  • Best Speed: Apple was also a narrow winner on speed, followed by Huawei in second and Samsung third.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a brand-new smartphone in the last 2 years – in this case, 1,520 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

Here are past winners of Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers – Smartphones ratings:

  • 2020: OPPO
  • 2019: OPPO
  • 2018: OPPO
  • 2016: Apple

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