If you're buying for or as a business smartphone user you'll require a different set of features from your personal phone to be proactive and productive as a professional. Your business phone will need to charge quickly, offer you versatile business apps, and have hefty storage space as well as a high quality screen—and that's before you get into the details of the specific security software you'll need for your work phone. Don't forget the all important aftersales and support, too.
Not all business smartphones tick all these boxes, which is why this list isn't just a copy of our guide to the best smartphones. No, the best business smartphones need a little bit more, and they need to keep providing it for a long time too, not just when you take it out the box for the first time.
It can't always be easy to tell how useful a handset and its features will be for you though, which is why we've drawn up this list of the best business and work phones you can buy right now.
- If you landed here looking for best business phones (the good old fashioned landline models that sit on a desk in an office), then try our best VOIP phone guide.
All of these should be more than capable of running the latest business apps (opens in new tab) for Android as well as iOS apps for iPad (opens in new tab)/iPhone as applicable, everything from PDF apps (opens in new tab) to privacy services (opens in new tab), as well as connecting with your business phone service (opens in new tab). We've also got a list of the best business tablets if that's more useful to you.
With phone makers offering ideal for employees of all levels, we’ve updated this guide to give you the very latest buying advice to help you choose the best smartphones for business use. We'll keep updating it too when new phones come out, as long as they're great for business, so perhaps see the Samsung Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12 on this list too.
Although some of these selections may overlap with our best phones for casual use, we've identified how these picks will help your business too, as not everyone needs the flashiest smartphone trick.
- We've also featured the best rugged smartphones (opens in new tab).
Best business smartphone at a glance
- Nokia XR20
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- iPhone 12
- Samsung Galaxy S20
- Motorola Defy
- Google Pixel 5
- iPhone SE (2020)
- OnePlus 8
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Planet Computers Astro Slide 5G
HMD Global, which now runs the Nokia brand, has launched Nokia's first rugged smartphone. The Nokia XR20 is a Qualcomm-powered, 5G enabled, shockproof and water resistant smartphone that sets itself apart from other rugged smartphones thanks to the addition of four years of security updates and three years of OS updates.
While the Nokia XR20 is a bit lacking in the storage department with just a 64GB and 128GB model available, the device does include a microSD slot. You can also run dual SIM cards on this device but you can't have two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time. HMD Global has included a 3.5mm audio port as well as a dedicated Google Assistant button and a programmable button on the top of the device.
If you're worried about dropping your phone or even breaking your screen, the Nokia XR20 may be the perfect business smartphone for you as it's built to withstand drops and HMD Global is offering a free one-year screen replacement just in case.
Read the full review: Nokia XR20 5G rugged smartphone (opens in new tab)
Samsung's Note line has always been designed for business users, with top specs and the S Pen stylus bringing plenty of features and tricks, and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra represents its top device from 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a top chipset, a 108MP main camera, a super high-res screen and more, enough so that it can be useful for you no matter what your job or profession.
The downside is that this phone is super expensive, enough to put some people off, but if your budget stretches to the Note 20 Ultra, we'd recommend it as your first port of call.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The newest main-series device from Apple is a great business phone, with some improvements on the iPhone 11 that are great for productivity, like 5G compatibility and a better-looking OLED display.
The iPhone 12 has great rear cameras and some snazzy color schemes, and its
magnetic MagSafe system could be great for handily charging your phone on the go.
Read the full review: Apple iPhone 12 review
If you're looking for a 5G phone that's great but also won't break the bank then the Samsung Galaxy S20 could be for you. The most affordable of Samsung's 2020 flagship range, it has a top-end processor, fantastic display, great cameras and 5G connectivity all for a price below that of other 5G phones.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S20 review
With help from the Bullitt Group, Motorola has revived its iconic Defy product line with a new rugged smartphone. While the original Defy was one of the first rugged smartphones, this new device does its best to blend in with the crowd thanks to its sleek design.
In addition to being water, dust and drop proof, the new Motorola Defy features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor, a 5,000mAh battery and runs Android 10. Although it's not as powerful as other mid-range smartphones from Motorola, the all-new Defy offers excellent protection from everyday wear and tear in a thin and light form factor.
Read the full review: Motorola Defy (opens in new tab)
The Google Pixel 5 was a shift from the company from top-end premium phones to mid-rangers, and the phone will be great for people who want a clean and easy-to-use Android experience without the high price.
Featuring a top-class camera and metal body, the Pixel 5 is great to use and to look at, though its processing power doesn't match most the other phones on this list.
The phone is also 5G-compatible, so it'll give you access to the next generation of data connectivity. Nowadays, that's almost mandatory on a great business smartphone.
Read the full review: Google Pixel 5 review
If you or your employees need an iPhone for iOS apps or functionality, but don't need a top-end smartphone like the iPhone 11, a decent alternative is the iPhone SE (2020), which is similar to the iPhone 8 in many ways but comes with a modern chipset and software to keep it relevant nowadays. It's not exactly a powerhouse in all departments, but if a mid-range phone is all that's required, this could be it.
Read what you need to know: Apple iPhone SE (2020)
If you're looking for a reliable Android smartphone to use for your business, you can't go wrong with a OnePlus phone, and the OnePlus 8 blends a mid-range price with some great features you might find useful.
There's a smooth UI as well as a 90Hz refresh rate on the screen for your viewing pleasure, and the 4,300mAh battery and great processing power are also useful for a range of tasks. It's also a 5G phone, for an even lower price than Samsung's Galaxy S20 units, so if you really need that quick and reliable internet connection it'd really be useful.
Read the full review: OnePlus 8 review
If the best business phone for you has a huge screen, large battery capacity, several top-end cameras including a 108MP main, fast processing power and 5G functionality - if there are any jobs that need all those in one - then the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is for you. The most top-end of Samsung's 2020 flagship series, it's packed to the brim with top-end specs.
Sure, it's not an affordable phone by any definition of the word, which is why we've placed it last in this list. But it certainly is a top phone for people who need it all, and if you need this for yourself or your employees, this is the phone to get.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
The product of a company with several ex-Psion people, the Astro Slide 5G takes a modern Android platform and gives it a retro PDA makeover.
Sacrificing elegance for a full slide-out keyboard, this is a premium-priced device that those who regret the passing of Psion and Blackberry might well embrace.
It features a powerful octa-core SoC, high-resolution AMOLED technology screen and a 48MP camera capable of capturing 4K video.
We have two reservations about this phone, one being the relatively high price that places it directly in competition with the latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The other issue is that while the keyboard might make typing long replies easier, it also makes this device much less convenient to place in a pocket.
Our view would be that those that type extensively on their phones need to embrace the Chromebook, but for some users, the Astro Slide 5G might be an easier carry.
Read the full review: Planet Computers Astro Slide 5G (opens in new tab)