The 5 Best And 5 Worst Samsung Phones Of All Time

Samsung has become one of the world's biggest phone manufacturers. Along the road, it has had many popular phones, ranging from game-changing foldable phones to the well-loved Samsung Galaxy Note series. There have been many great Samsung phones. As one would expect, though, not all the phones the company has made have been great. There have been some Samsung phones that seemed pretty solid at launch but were plagued by issues later on. On the other hand, there have been Samsung phones that didn't seem too impressive at the time but, in hindsight, have been crucial to Samsung's smartphone success.

Samsung has made a lot of phones which have been deemed worthy of competing with the elusive iPhone. On the other hand, the company has had phones that have quite literally been deemed safety hazards. Samsung has had its share of hits and flops over the years, and both deserve to be revisited. Here's our rundown of the five best and five worst Samsung phones of all time.

Best Samsung phone #1: Samsung Galaxy S II

The follow-up to the legacy-establishing Samsung Galaxy S, the S II was a greatly improved device that was loved by many. It was among the first Android phones touted as a proper iPhone competitor. It wasn't perfect, but as the first sequel of the series, it set the Galaxy S series on a path that helped Samsung make some of the best phones ever made.

The Samsung Galaxy S II arrived at a time when Samsung was just starting to strengthen its position in the market as a serious smartphone maker. As we pointed out in our Samsung Galaxy S II Review, the phone featured a lot of Samsung's strengths. The Super AMOLED display was a standout feature for the time, and the 1.2GHz processor was powerful enough not to make the phone feel sluggish. Both also worked well with the battery of the phone and delivered brilliant battery life.

The S II was a very important phone in Samsung's journey to becoming the smartphone behemoth that it is today, and it is easily the best Samsung phone of all time.

Best Samsung phone #2: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the only time we got to see Samsung make a Google Nexus device, and it was one of the best Android experiences you could get. With Samsung's finest hardware on offer, combined with "pure" Android — a fresh breath of air from the TouchWiz experience Samsung generally offered — this phone was our first shot at what we would come to call "peak smartphone."

It arrived a few months after the Samsung Galaxy S II, and it was a clear upgrade over the S II. Most importantly, it took care of the biggest problem we had with Samsung phones at the time — TouchWiz UI. Being a Nexus phone, it arrived with the pure Android experience onboard, running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It was an amazing marriage of Samsung's finest hardware and Google's great software. In our Galaxy Nexus Review, we called it the best Android phone around at the time.

We would be lying if we said that the Galaxy Nexus still doesn't make us crave another Samsung phone running Google's untouched Android, even though Samsung's software has greatly improved over the years.

Best Samsung phone #3: Samsung Galaxy Flip 4

Flash forward to the current day; Samsung is now the clear industry leader in Android smartphones. This is well-demonstrated in the company's foldable phones, which are getting so refined that any competition that enters the industry has a high bar to meet. The latest releases in the Galaxy Flip and Fold series set a new standard, with the Flip 4 taking the cake for offering what is possibly the best value in a foldable phone today.

The Samsung Galaxy Flip 4 is the resurrection of the flip phone, except it's now perfected. The hardware, software, and value come together to make it the go-to foldable phone for most people. While foldable phones are still very expensive, the Flip 4 makes for a great value proposition and sits beside other $1000 phones while making very few compromises in the name of the novelty form factor.

In our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review, we noted that this phone takes away all the excuses we could give for not buying a foldable phone. It's not perfect, but it is nearing perfection to a point where the compromises typically attached to this new form factor don't matter as much anymore. The Z Flip 4 is a landmark in Samsung's foldable journey and definitely deserves a spot among the best Samsung phones of all time.

Best Samsung phone #4: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung's Note series has been very important in the evolution of smartphones. Not only did it popularize big phones, but it also brought forth the concept of fully decked-out flagships. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was the height of Samsung's Note series. While it hit the $1000 mark, the phone came with a lot of bells and whistles. A great phone for productivity with the notetaking features and Samsung DeX, this phone went all out.

In our Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review, we called it a supercar smartphone, which is still apt four years later, even as the Note series is no more. It was among the first phones that tried to pack in every bit of performance possible and went the extra mile. Of course, this was reflected in its eye-watering price, but $1000 phones are fairly common today. This phone had very little you could fault. It even came with a semi-exclusive Fortnite skin, if that was your thing.

The fully decked-out smartphone that truly kicked off with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has today become a common offering, and although the Samsung Note lineup is dead, Samsung keeps the dream alive with its Ultra phones.

Best Samsung phone #5: Samsung Galaxy S8

The last phone on our list of the best Samsung phones is another S series phone, and for a good reason. Samsung's S series has had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but the S8 is where the series peaked. This was the second-last phone in the series that had the base model carry more or less the same specifications as the Plus model — no Ultra needed. It was so refined that no base model in the Galaxy S series since has managed to pack in the same punch or value.

The highlight of the Samsung Galaxy S8 was the gorgeous curved 1440p Super AMOLED screen which had just the right amount of curvature. It was a fantastic phone to hold, with a hand feel that is still unmatched. The 5.8-inch screen meant the phone was quite easy to handle. While the base models of Samsung's S series still offer good value, they have some very obvious compromises over the Plus and Ultra models. The S8 was so good that the S9 changed very little and still managed to be a great phone.

In our Samsung Galaxy S8 Review, we labeled it as a "tremendously good phone." We also said that the phone had set Samsung's highest bar ever for its competitors, especially the iPhone. To this day, the S8 remains a dream phone come true, and we wish Samsung brings back the small flagship someday in the near future.

Worst Samsung phone #1: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

When it comes to listing the worst Samsung phones of all time, the top choice is a no-brainer. There's no other contender that comes even close to this one. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had a major battery issue, leading to it spontaneously combusting and subsequently being banned from flights. It was one of the worst public smartphone fiascos in history, courtesy of it being a genuine safety risk. We did a deep dive into exactly what caused the risk that led to these issues, and there was no doubt that these design flaws made the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 an easy pick for the worst Samsung phone ever.

The unfortunate thing is, outside of that deal-breaker battery issue, it wasn't even a bad phone. Without the battery issue, this device was set to be the best Android phone of 2016. In our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review, we pointed out how there wasn't much to dislike about the phone. That was, of course, the case until the battery fires started. This phone almost permanently damaged Samsung's reputation, but the company managed to make a comeback.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is easily one of the worst phone launches of all time. Samsung's follow-up phones have not had these kinds of issues — at least not at this level — although other issues qualify the rest of the phones below to be on this list.

Worst Samsung phone #2: Samsung Galaxy Fold

While the Samsung Galaxy Fold series has been a game-changing series of innovations in the smartphone world, it has had more than its fair share of growing pains. The original Samsung Galaxy Fold is on this list because, despite kicking off the foldable phone segment, it had a lot of issues that made it a really poor purchase for actual customers.

While not bad on paper, Samsung's first shot at a foldable phone was all but smooth. The phone had to be delayed due to defects in review units that ended up breaking the screen. Even after the delayed launch, the phone was deemed fragile and carried serious durability compromises thanks to the new and unperfected form factor. The weird notch on the inner screen also stuck out like a sore thumb.

The Verge's review of the Samsung Galaxy Fold review also pointed these issues out, knocking the phone for its obvious fragility. It also noted that the issue wasn't quite as bad as the Note 7 fiasco, but still bad enough not to recommend this phone. Samsung has improved the durability of these phones, but the original Fold remains one of the worst Samsung phones.

Worst Samsung phone #3: Samsung Wave S8500

The Samsung Wave S8500 is a real throwback, and unlike most phones in this list, this phone was a colossal failure when contextualized with today's smartphone landscape. It came with some decent hardware, but it was the software that made this phone a failure. It had Samsung's Bada OS on board, which simply failed to compete with Android due to its lack of features. This phone ended up being a feature phone in a smartphone's clothing and killed whatever shot Samsung had at its mobile operating system.

We have seen the iOS-Android duopoly for years now, and Samsung's Bada OS could have avoided that. Bada OS had a rocky journey, but the Samsung Wave was the nail in the coffin for Samsung's hopes of having its own smartphone OS that could compete in the market. In our Samsung Wave S8500 Review, we said it was a phone in two halves — one being the great hardware and the other being the underwhelming software.

The Samsung Wave S8500 arrived quite early on when feature phones were still relevant and smartphones were just starting to show up. It had great potential, but Samsung's terrible approach with the software makes this one of the worst Samsung phones ever.

Worst Samsung phone #4: Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S series has had a lot of hits and a lot of duds, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a bit of both. It's one of the best-selling phones of all time and yet one of the most boring Galaxy S phones of all time as well. Samsung piggybacked on the success of the Galaxy S3, a pretty great phone, to sell the Galaxy S4.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 wasn't a bad phone for the time, but it is definitely one of the less impressive phones in the range. A follow-up to the well-loved Samsung Galaxy S3, it arrived looking like a poor upgrade over the last generation. It was seen as a safe bet, but it had its fair share of issues and didn't feel nearly as premium as the competing HTC One. The plastic build, coupled with the poor haptics, made this phone feel quite cheap.

In our Samsung Galaxy S4 Review, we had predicted that this phone would be a best seller. At the same time, we had pointed out our issues with the build, the cameras, and the battery life. Despite the cash cow that the S4 was, it still earns a spot on this list.

Worst Samsung phone #5: Samsung Galaxy S6

After the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung made the S5, which was more of the same. After the company realized it had to shake things up, the Samsung Galaxy S6 arrived as quite a different kind of package, which looked great at first sight. However, this upgrade was plagued with issues, and despite the pretty looks, it failed to deliver a phone worth recommending.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 was a decidedly upgraded iteration over the S5, especially in terms of design, but it made a few compromises, including a missing IP rating, a smaller, non-removable battery, and the lack of a microSD card slot. Not just that, Samsung also bumped up the price to match Apple's pricing for the iPhone. Having an Edge model that was better-looking didn't help its case, either.

In our Samsung Galaxy S6 review, we pointed out how the phone's appearance was not enough but said the phone was still a good iteration over its predecessor. Looking back, however, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is easily one of the worst Samsung phones ever, especially when you look at the other phones the company has made.