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Home / Tips and Tricks / The 5 Best Travel-Friendly Phones for Road Warriors, Vacationers and Business Flyers «Smartphones :: Gadget-Hacks

The 5 Best Travel-Friendly Phones for Road Warriors, Vacationers and Business Flyers «Smartphones :: Gadget-Hacks

Whether it's a short car ride or an 18-hour flight, our phones are now indispensable travel companions. We no longer need a GPS device, maps, cameras, camcorders or even boarding passes. However, not all phones are the same in this regard. Some are more suitable for traveling, regardless of duration.

Traveling has its own complications that a good phone can solve. Being entertained on a long journey is just one example of the issues you are dealing with and not all phones can provide an ideal experience. Some can afford two phones, but two SIM cards are another outstanding feature because you can keep your number and use a temporary number for calls while you're away. We've tested these and many other factors, as you'll see below, and we can confidently recommend the following five phones for people who travel frequently.

Table of Contents

Comparison Chart

Picture of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Important Comparison Points

How We Selected These Phones

Initially, we focused only on US phones. Our audience is mainly based in the US. That's why we've made sure that each of these phones works both domestically and abroad. This requirement eliminated phones like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 8, which support dual-frequency GPS, a feature that enhances accuracy of location.

Secondly, we have only selected mobile phones that have GSM activation. Many phones, z. As the Galaxy S Active line, are available only through network operators. The problem with these devices is that they generally only work on the support on which you purchased them. Even if you have unlocked one of these phones, the primary cell phone frequencies in another country or region are unlikely to be supported. For this reason, mobile phones with a certain brand were excluded in order to maintain the ability to travel.

We also focused on the US variants of the phones. Most cell phones are released in several variants, each of which is for a different market. This even includes unlocked GSM devices that operate on multiple network operators. Such phones are sometimes tailored for the mobile frequencies in the region in which they were sold. To make sure you get the best possible service at home, the GSM models we highlighted here are the variants sold in the US.

Finally, we have only selected phones with final release dates. While many phones were announced at the Mobile World Congress, most could not be taken into account as the release dates were either unannounced or vague (like "in a few weeks"). While cell phones like the LG G8 ThinQ and Sony Xperia 1 could have been competitors, they were eliminated until we know the final day of their release in the US.

Phone 1: Samsung Galaxy S10 +

Few cell phones offer a more comprehensive package than the Samsung Galaxy S10 +. It is a contender for most "best phones for" categories, and travel is no different. You have the specifications you want in a phone, whether you're on a short trip, a long flight, or anything in between. Watching videos is easier with the large screen, making it easier to navigate through turns. It offers more than enough storage space for all the photos and videos you take on your journey, and absolutely top-notch cameras. And thanks to the huge battery, you do not have to worry about finding a power outlet.

  • GSM Frequencies (MHz): 850, 900, 1800
  • LTE Bands: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26, 29, 30, 38, 41, 46, 48, 66, 71
Image of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Based on DxOMark testing, the Samsung Galaxy has S10 + has the best rear view camera available on all phones sold in the US. It has managed to achieve a total score of 114 points, the highest score, and a video score of 97, which is surpassed only by Google Pixel 3 XL. With features like variable aperture and dual pixel, Samsung gives you all the tools you need to capture the best photos. Even more impressive, however, is the variability of the cameras.

We often have just one shot for a great picture, and this is even truer when traveling. Zooming, flicking, or moving the camera to take a photo is just one way to overlook the photo. With the Galaxy S10 +, however, you have a wide-angle, telephoto and an ultra-wide-angle camera for every image type you want. With a single touch of a button, you can quickly switch to the focal length you need for the best image so you never miss a memory.

As for video, Samsung has expanded its game with the Super Steady feature. As the name implies, the Galaxy S10 + uses digital stabilization technology in addition to the OIS to keep the video fluid and quiet. You no longer need a GoPro camera to record your action adventure. With the Galaxy S10 +'s IP68 rating, Gorilla Glass 6 (with Gorilla Glass 5 on the back) and Super Steady, you can enjoy stunning 4K HDR10 video from your phone.

However, this top-notch performance does not stop with the back on cameras. DxOMark also scored the highest total score for the front camera, managing 101 photo and 88 video points. In connection with the iPhone X S Max scored the same photo test with his TrueDepth camera 81, one of the best selfie cameras on the market. Thanks to the dual-pixel sensor, such good results were achieved. This image sensor allows the Galaxy S10 + to measure the differences between adjacent pixels so that a single lens can perform dual camera effects such as portrait mode. The same technology is available on both the front and rear view camera.

Picture of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

In addition, the front camera is supported by an RGB depth camera. The result is better imaging, whether you shoot a well-lit selfie or an action shot. And for the first time, the front camera on a Samsung device can record 4K video for better clarity.

In addition to the fantastic cameras, the Galaxy S10 + makes the ideal solution for traveling because it can charge other devices wirelessly. As long as the other device supports Qi charging (the standard used by the majority of wireless charging devices, including iPhones), you can use the S10 + as a wireless charger by placing the other device on the back cover of the device , This feature offers you really useful options, especially in situations where a friend's phone is dying or your wireless earphones are low on juice.

Image by Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

Samsung also offers the best phone tracking tool in case you lose your device during a trip , "Find My Mobile" surpasses Android's "Find My Device" standard and Apple's "Find My iPhone" service in key areas such as: For example, the ability to remotely secure your latest data to the cloud, retrieve copies of your call logs and text history, and even expand energy-saving mode your ability to track the device in the event of loss.

The Galaxy S10 + is a flawless device and has set a higher brand for mobile phones in 2019. With a 1 TB storage option (with expandable memory support), IP68 protection, and support Wi-Fi 6 can replace a whole host of other electronic devices when traveling. Although the lack of dual SIM cards in the US model hurts, broad support for LTE bands and GSM frequencies should allow you to use any number of international SIM cards for data plans. The only inconvenience is that you need to remove your USA SIM card first. It's the second most expensive phone on our list, but it's definitely worth it.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S10 +: Amazon | Best Buy | Samsung

Telephone 2: OnePlus 6T

Starting with the OnePlus 5, OnePlus decided not to sell any more country-specific variants of their cell phones. Instead, they focused on a global version with variants based only on memory and internal storage options.

While this has changed again for the OnePlus 6T (which received official support for T-Mobile with a separate variant), the unlocked variant continues to be a global version. Whether in Europe, China, India or the US, they use the same version of the OnePlus 6T, and that brings some advantages. Specifically, US customers now have access to a dual-SIM phone, a feature that is usually omitted here.

  • GSM Frequencies (MHz): 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • LTE Bands: 1 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18 , 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71
Picture of Stephen Perkins / Gadget Hacks

Since the OnePlus 6T is a global phone, you can be sure that it has a mobile band working in every country. The 6T supports with 27 the highest number of LTE bands on our list. Wherever you travel, you can use the LTE service as long as your mobile service provider offers it in this region. It also gives you flexibility because you do not have to pay for minutes and text messages, but opt ​​for pure data planning and use VoIP and messaging services to communicate with others abroad.

Then there is the dual-SIM feature. Only a handful of phones in the US support this feature, with most phones reserving this feature for the international variant. The dual SIM card allows you to use a second mobile service provider (with cheaper international fares) for on-board travel without having to remove the SIM card. If you want to use an American SIM card for home calls and another for data services while you're away, you can keep both and control how the phone controls each SIM card. For example, you can have SIM 1 receive calls and text but no data while SIM 2 receives data but no calls or text.

Stephen Perkins / Gadget Hacks

The OnePlus 6T also has one of the fastest charging systems implemented in a phone. With its 20 W fast charge, the 3,700 mAh battery can be recharged from 0 to 100% in less than an hour. However, with such a large battery (and the aggressive RAM management of OnePlus) you can get by on 50% and still have enough juice for the rest of the day, as the OnePlus 6T has the highest battery life tested on our phones

The camera is While not as good as other options, it can more than capture your memories. However, with its dual SIM and high LTE band account, it is not difficult to recommend this phone to those who have made some travel this year. It will last throughout the day, charging quickly at night, and helping you get around in a country that uses a language you're not used to thanks to Google Assistant. Priced at $ 549, this is almost half the cost of some of the other options on our list.

Stephen Perkins / Gadget-Hacks

Phone 3: LG V40 ThinQ

By far the least popular phone on our list, the LG V40 ThinQ does a lot for travelers. With full integration with Google Assistant, including a dedicated Google Assistant button, you can easily translate a menu or find out what someone is saying to you. With IP68 protection and MIL-STD 810G certification, it has the highest survivability in any environment. With the focus on videography, you can record professional-quality videos to work on the return journey of the aircraft.

  • GSM Frequencies (MHz): 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • LTE Bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66, 71
Picture by Marques Brownlee / YouTube [19659060] With the V40 ThinQ, the benefits begin as soon as you leave. During your vacation or business trip, you can use the 6.4-inch QHD + display. This is a POLED panel, but the second iteration and not plagued with the same burn-in issues as Pixel 2 XL and LG V30. Thanks to the microSD support, you can also save a lot of video for the trip. With 1 TB memory cards as an option, you will not worry about spending your favorite movies or TV shows.

You do not need to charge a Bluetooth headset with the 3.5mm headphone jack. This is also an improved headphone jack, thanks to quad-DAC, which enhances the listening experience as stronger headphones can be used. For those who want to watch videos, DTS: X supports Virtual Surround Sound, a feature that simulates the effects of a 5.1 surround system via headphones.

When you reach your goal, Google Assistant is just a button away. With one click, you can call Google Assistant for instructions, information, translations, and more. Do you prefer to use your voice? The LG V40 ThinQ features Super Far-Field Voice Recognition, a technology that lets your phone recognize your voice in noisy environments, up to 6 meters away.

Marques Brownlee / YouTube

The super-wide-angle and telephoto cameras are impressive, but the real star of the show is video-capturing capability. The V40 can record up to 4 KB at 60 frames per second. Video can also be recorded in HDR10, and the phone supports OIS and EIS for stationary video. There is a manual mode that lets you control photos as well as a manual mode, so you can set your video as if you were using a professional camera. You can even use the point zoom to slowly zoom the footage into a specific area of ​​the video to highlight something.

Image by Marques Brownlee / YouTube

LG V40 ThinQ is an excellent option for on the go thanks to its versatility. With protection class IP68, it will make a trip to the sea or to the mountains. Thanks to its military certification, MIL-STD 810G, it can withstand harsh environmental conditions. Battery life may not be the best, but it does offer a quick charge on Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 to get you up and running in no time. For those who travel on a long journey, you will not find many phones that offer a more enjoyable ride.

Store LG V40 ThinQ: Amazon | Best Buy

Phone 4: Google Pixel 3 XL

The gap between first and fourth place is minimal compared to the comparisons we made in the past. While other phones on our list offer a better overall package on the go, the Google Pixel 3 XL is not far away. With the Pixel 3 XL you have a first-class camera, a deep integration with Google Assistant and unlimited Google Photos storage. All this is offered for the second best price on our list.

  • GSM frequencies (MHz): 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18 , 19, 20, 25, 28, 29, 32, 66, 71

Telefon 5: Apple iPhone X S Max

Wir konnten keine Liste erstellen, ohne das neueste und beste von Apple aufzunehmen. Mit dem iPhone X S Max hat seine Einbeziehung weniger mit der Leistung des Telefons und seinem erstaunlichen Display zu tun, als vielmehr mit der Unterstützung von Dual-SIM, was es ideal für internationale Reisende macht. Kombinieren Sie dies mit der Unterstützung für QZSS, das GPS-Navigationssystem in der Region Asien-Ozeanien, das iPhone X S . Max ist eine ausgezeichnete Wahl für alle, die nicht auf Team Android wechseln möchten.

  • GSM-Frequenzen (MHz): 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • LTE-Bänder: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 20, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66, 71
Bild von Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

The iPhone XS Max has the second highest LTE band support at 26, only behind the OnePlus 6T. While the iPhone does have one band not supported by the 6T (Band 14), it lacks support for bands 28 and 46. However, with so many frequencies, traveling to different countries and regions is easier, as you can be sure to not only have support for LTE but strong signal.

For your travels, the iPhone XS Max has the largest display available on our list at 6.5 inches. Such a large screen will help you when using the GPS to navigate to an area, and flight attendants can easily scan your electronic boarding pass. Once you're on the plane, you can be sure you will have more than enough battery to watch a few downloaded movies on Netflix or listen to music, as Apple's iPhone has the second highest battery life.

Once you arrive at your destination, you will want to start capturing the memories, and there are few cameras better than the array on the XS Max. On the rear are two 12 MP cameras, one wide-angle and one telephoto. This combination provides up to 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, allowing you to get that far away shot without needing to move up. This camera managed high marks in DxOMark's testing, receiving a 110 photo rating and 96 video rating.

Image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

On the front, there's a single 7 MP camera enhanced by Apple's TrueDepth sensors. These sensors can track your face thoroughly, improving the quality of filters for those Snapchat videos you just have to take while on vacation. And thanks to the security of Face ID — which has a lower false positive rate than any fingerprint scanner — you can be sure that you and only you will be able to unlock your phone. This even includes while you sleep, as the biometrics require your eyes to be open.

This year, Apple introduced dual SIM functionality. This makes it one of only a handful of US phones which include the feature and one of only two on our list. However, unlike the OnePlus 6T, the second SIM is an eSIM. While this version of a SIM card is the future, not every carrier supports it, which can make finding an international carrier a bit of a problem. If you want to use this feature, we recommend using your primary (US) carrier with the eSIM to avoid this.

Additionally, the dual SIM capability comes with some caveats. For example, the phone has to be GSM unlocked in order for you to use SIM cards from two different carriers, a must for international travelers. Second, if you are using a CDMA carrier (Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular) on one SIM slot, the second slot won't support CDMA, leaving you either with only GSM carriers or LTE-only plan on the second SIM. While neither limitation is a dealbreaker, these problems don't exist on most Android-based dual SIM phones.

Image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

The biggest issues with the Apple iPhone XS Max are the price and the difficulty of enabling an always-on VPN. At a starting price of $1,099, it is easily the most expensive phone on our list, nearly 100 dollars more than the more recent Samsung Galaxy S10+. This makes it a hard buy for some looking to purchase a phone for traveling, where theft, loss, and damage are bigger risks. Fortunately, if you don't mind giving up the 6.5-inch screen, you can opt for its little brother, the iPhone XSwhich has a 5.8-inch display but virtually all the same specs.

However, the limitation of the VPN is a limitation of its operating system, iOS, and can not be changed. While you can use a VPN app normally by using the app to connect to its server, you won't be able to automatically have your iPhone connect to the VPN servers every time you connect to the web. This feature is known as Always-On VPN, and while it can be enabled on the iPhone XS Max, it requires you to turn on Supervised Mode, which isn't the easiest thing to do. But, if you can remember to always turn on the VPN and to watch out for the occasional drops, you can be protected abroad when using Wi-Fi at the hotel and the airport.

For those who love Apple, upgrading to the latest and greatest will improve your travels. With Face ID, dual SIM, and its strong LTE support, you can bring your iPhone wherever you go and not only be able to use it, but be protected when doing so. Ultimately, there are better options on the other side of the mobile pond which all include their fast charger in the box, but for those that don't mind the high price tag, this is the best choice offered by Apple, and a worthy entry on our list.


The differences between each phone on our list are minor when it comes to enhancing your travels. While features such as dual SIM are limited to only two devices, you can always choose to buy the international version for the capability (but you will more than likely lose any manufacturer's warranty). Each phone is well protected against drops and spills, has extensive LTE reception, shoots amazing photos and videos, and brings something to the table to justify its inclusion.

Ultimately, we ended up choosing the Samsung Galaxy S10+ because not only is it a powerhouse of a phone, but it's amazing for travels. At its entry price of $999.99, you can get a phone with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage with support for microSD cards. But for $600 more, you can upgrade to 12 GB RAM and 1 TB storage for not only a fast phone, but one you will hardly ever need to erase a photo on (especially since you can always increase its storage with a microSD card). You also get a slightly better anti-theft protection with Find My Mobile, fantastic battery life, and the ability to charge other devices wirelessly.

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on traveling with your smartphone. Check out the whole Travel series.

Don't Miss: The Ultimate Checklist for Getting Your Phone Travel-Ready

Cover image via Pixabay, screenshots by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

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