Game of Phones

The best phones for streaming video

Discover the best phones for watching movies and box sets

Smartphones offer a great way to watch videos on the fly. Long commute? No problem – catch up with your favourite box set on the train. Had enough of ‘I spy’? It’s all in hand – your smartphone can entertain the kids on those long car journeys.

But which phone offers the best video streaming experience? We’ve taken a look at some of the top models for battery life, screen size, screen quality and more – to help you choose the best phone for streaming

Google Pixel 3 XL

The Google Pixel 3 XL takes entertainment to a whole new level. The 6.3-inch OLED screen lets you watch vertical video comfortably, while its QHD+ resolution means you can livestream broadcasts with perfectly crisp visuals. And whether you use your Pixel earbuds or turn up the volume on the dual front-firing stereo speakers, you’ll enjoy unmatched sound quality.

Apple iPhone XR

Bring out your inner video recording artist and shoot breath-taking high‑quality 4K videos with iPhone XR’s 12-megapixel main camera, even in low-light conditions. Watch your pictures and video come to life on the all-new Liquid Retina display – and stream them to Apple TV with AirPlay Mirroring. The powerful A12 Bionic chip offers 16 hours of smooth video playback with amazing stereo sound thanks to wider speaker placement.

Apple iPhone XS Max

With its 6.5-inch display and pin-sharp resolution, iPhone XS Max lets you view movies on the go in stunning detail. What’s more, thanks to wide colour management, the subtleties of colour and shade stand out to provide a truly lifelike viewing experience. No headphones? No problem. The improved wide stereo speakers sound amazing, too.

Huawei Mate 20 lite

With its large 6.3-inch display and wide aspect ratio, the Huawei Mate 20 lite was clearly made with movie fans in mind. FHD+ resolution lets you enjoy your favourite films as they were meant to be seen, and it’s designed to be comfortable to hold for long periods. Plus, there’s a powerful 3750 mAh battery to keep you entertained for longer.

Samsung Galaxy Note9

Watching movies is a dream on the Note9’s gorgeous 6.4-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display. A super-fast chip and up to 8GB of RAM ensure smooth streaming, and an expandable memory of up to 1 Terabyte means you’ll have plenty of space for your movie library when you’re offline. If that wasn’t enough, the Note9’s whopping 4000mAh battery delivers over 25 hours of video playback on a single charge.

Samsung Note9

Sony Xperia XZ2

The Sony Xperia XZ2 automatically upgrades any video you’re watching to near HDR quality – bringing movie-quality colour and contrast to the 5.7-inch Full HD+ display. The Dynamic Vibration System adds to the immersive experience, analysing the audio data and letting you actually feel the action too. A great choice for action movie fans. 

Huawei P20 Pro

There’s a lot to like about the Huawei P20 Pro – not least its beautiful 6.1-inch Full HD+ display. The wide aspect ratio is great for watching movies, and OLED technology provides true-to-life colours and good contrast. AI battery management means it gets more efficient the more you use it, too, so you’ll get plenty of episodes between charges.

FAQ's

Screen resolution depends on two things – the number of pixels in the display, and the size of the display.

The categories HD, Full HD, 2K and QUAD HD tell you the number of pixels, as follows.

  • HD: 1280 x 720
  • Full HD: 1920 x 1080
  • 2K: 1920 x 1080
  • 4K (also known as Quad HD): 4096 x 2160

If you see Full HD+ this means the panel displays the same 1080 pixels horizontally, but has more pixels vertically than Full HD because of the wider aspect ratio.

But this only gives you half the picture. The larger the screen, the more the pixels are spread out. If you know both the number of pixels and the size of the screen, you can work out the pixel density in PPI (pixels per inch).

For example, Samsung Galaxy S9+ has a 6.2-inch Quad HD display - which works out at 529 PPI. By contrast, iPhone X has a 5.8-inch display with 458 PPI. But since the human eye struggles to tell the difference in resolution beyond around 300 PPI, other factors such as the ability to display a wide range of colours are at least as important – if not more so.

For more on touchscreens, see our Best for touchscreens page