Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018
With so many different (yet similar) smartphones from so many brands from across the globe, one may start feeling a bit lost. Which one of those many is the best phone you can buy right now, in 2018?

Early 2018 is not a bad time to get a new phone: a few months have passed and all the dust around the new fall flagships has settled and you know what you are buying. Apple has recently introduced three new iPhones, and Samsung, Google and LG have all uncovered their best devices in late 2017.

But there is no definite one-size-fits-all device, as is quite clear these days, and that's why we explore all the options, trying to help you narrow down the choice to some outstanding devices that we think won't disappoint you. With no further ado, here are the best phones you can buy right now.


Best all-around:

Apple iPhone X

Price: $1000 for 64GB, $1150 for 256GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • The notch design is controversial
  • Most apps & games are yet to be optimized
  • Feels like a work in progress
  • Very high price

The iPhone X (where 'X' is pronounced as 'ten') is the most expensive and most advanced iPhone ever built.

Its biggest advantage might be the compact size - it's just a bit larger than the iPhone 8, but it has a much bigger, 5.8-inch taller and narrower screen, the first with OLED technology ever used in an iPhone. With livelier colors, the display looks great.

One more thing has changed as well: the way you unlock this iPhone and the way you navigate around. The home button is gone and with it Touch ID is gone as well. Instead, you get a new Face ID feature that uses advanced technology to create a 3D map of your face, so the phone unlocks when you look at it. The interface looks the same, but is now driven by gestures. Then you have the dual cameras on the back, with support for the cool Portrait Mode that blurs the background of a photo to create a professional portrait look.


Apple iPhone 8

Prices: $700 for 64GB, $850 for 256GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Higher price than before
  • Still big bezels around screen
  • No headphone jack
  • Closed ecosystem
  • Less customization options than on Android


The Apple iPhone 8 is not the most exciting phone - not even most exciting iPhone - in 2018, but it's a solid upgrade that brings a big upgrade in performance with the faster new Apple A11 Bionic chip that also helps improve photo quality in a significant way.

The iPhone 8 now features a glass back and no antenna lines on the back, plus it supports the convenient wireless charging feature. We also love the new storage options: storage has been a big concern with iPhones and the new 64GB and 256GB storage options are definitely liberating.

The iOS ecosystem remains a big reason why one would buy an iPhone: you get guaranteed software updates for years on end, you get the best apps and games first and often exclusively, and the familiar iOS experience is just getting more and more refined.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Price: $670 for 64GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Performance is not perfectly smooth
  • No gesture navigation
  • Problems with fingerprint recognition on some units


The Samsung Galaxy S9 is in many ways a refinement over a successful formula: it features a thin and elegant glass and metal design, further improvements in an already excellent camera, brilliant display, fast internals and all of the features you can imagine in a flagship device. It's a compact phones as well, and the first thing to come in mind when you think of a flagship Android gadget.

What's missing is a dual camera, a feature that Samsung has reserved for its larger models, but for all else, this is one excellent phone.


Google Pixel 2

Price: $650 for 64GB, $750 for 128GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Big bezels, outdated design
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card support


The Google Pixel 2 is all about AI, refinements and improvements.There is one thing that the Pixel 2 is not: a "bezel-less" phone. Quite the opposite, it's got a big and prominent chin and forehead where two front-firing speakers are located for better sound quality. Under the hood, it rocks the Snapdragon 835 system chip, a market improvement from the Snapdragon 821 of last year.

The back of the Pixel 2 retains the glass accent around the camera that the orinal had, but makes it smaller. What is lacking here is a secondary rear camera, but the main one is improved and ranks as one of the best phone cameras ever made. It smartly uses artificial intelligence and auto HDR to capture very dynamic images, that you usually expect to see from a DSLR. And it also supports Portrait Mode.

Sadly, Google has removed the headphone jack in the Pixel 2, a feature the company touted as an advantage just last year with the original Pixel. On a more positive note: the new Pixel 2 is finally water protected with an IP67 rating, identical to Apple's iPhone 8.


LG G7 ThinQ

Price: $750

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Interface is not too exciting
  • Battery life is just average


The new LG G7 ThinQ is a powerful Android phone with a glass-and-metal design and the Snapdragon 845 system chip on board, but it differs from all the rest with its unique, dual camera system where the secondary camera is actually a wide-angle one rather than a telephoto one. You can use this camera for some great panoramic shots and you still get software portrait mode with the main camera. The G7 has an evolved interface and a very bright display, as well as a more powerful loudspeaker.



Sony Xperia XZ2

Price: $800 for 64GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Outdated design
  • Camera could be better


The Xperia XZ2 is another gradual update in the Xperia series: more refinements, much better styling, improved performance and camera, a new vibration feedback mechanism and a fast performance. If you like clear Android builds and Sony's brand and styling, the new XZ2 is among your best options, but it also costs a pretty penny.


Best big phones:

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (or Galaxy S9+)

Prices: Around $800 for Note8 and S9+

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Battery life is sufficient, but not outstandingProblems with fingerprint scan recognition on some units


The Note 8 is one of the best Samsung phones out there: it's got the S Pen for added functionality and a secondary camera for portraits and that camera supports stabilization too. But it's not much different from the S8+ apart from that, it even has a smaller battery because of that S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is the bigger of the two S9 siblings and it's a newer phone that features great refinement. Picking between the Note8 and the S9+ is a lot about the S Pen. If you can live without one, the newer S9+ seems like the better choice.


Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Price: $800 for 64GB, $950 for 256GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Higher price than before
  • Still big bezels around screen
  • No headphone jack
  • Closed ecosystem
  • Less customization options than on Android

If you can deal with its bigger size, the iPhone 8 Plus rewards you with a great battery life, and a dual cameras setup with Portrait Mode that is not present on the regular iPhone 8.

All else is identical to the smaller 8: you have the fast Apple A11 Bionic chip as well as the home button and the latest version of iOS. With timely software updates and a buttery smooth iOS experience, this phone offers stability.

The iPhone 8 Plus, however, is also more expensive than the 8 because of its larger screen, battery and dual camera system: the base model costs $800, while the 256GB one that we recommend carries a whopping $950 price tag. And the design that features those larger bezels remains decidedly outdated when compared to other phones with edge-to-edge screens. The iPhone 8 Plus also could feel too big and uncomfortable to carry in a pocket.


Google Pixel 2 XL

Prices: $850 for 64GB, $950 for 128GB

Pixel 2 XL on the right

Cons

  • Display is unsatisfactory, poor viewing angles, burn-in issues
  • Design is bulky, cumbersome
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card support

Google's larger phone, the Pixel 2 XL, is a beautifully crafted device with a "bezel-less" design (but it has more bezel than other similar phones), the latest Android software and hardware, and aspirations to have the best camera ever on a phone.

The hidden highlight of the Pixel XL, however, is without a doubt the stock Android experience with the promise for timely updates in the future and the smooth performance.


LG V30/V35

Price: $800

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • LG's interface needs a refresh
  • Some V30 displays have uneven colors
  • No Portrait Mode

LG's best phone so far, the V30 features a stylish glass and metal styling, an edge-to-edge screen with no annoying notch or any other interruption, and a dual camera system with a super wide-angle camera unlike any other phone.

The V30 is a phone that will make the most demanding techies happy: it has a high-quality audio output to make your expensive headphones pump out sound to their maximum, and it has manual video recording capabilities that will make enthusiast videographers happy. But it's also a good phone for just any other person in need of a phone. The interface is a bit strange and clunky, and photo quality is not quite the best, but overall the V30 is easy to recommend.

HTC U12+

Price: $800

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Interface looks a bit dated now
  • No wireless charging

The HTC U12+ continues HTC's quest to gain back its popularity  does not have the trendy edge-to-edge screen, but it's nonetheless a stunningly beautiful phone (even if it might be a bit too wide for comfortable one-handed use). The HTC Sense interface has not changed much and has some elements that look the same as they looked say five years ago, but if you don't mind this, it is a very fast UI. The squeeze function might be a gimmick but it works well. Battery life is solid as well.

Overall, this is the underrated overperformer of Android flagships.


Best value-for-money phones:

OnePlus 6

Price: from $520

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • Lacks full water protection


The OnePlus 6 is the first phone that comes to mind when you look for a budget alternative without any major compromises. The OnePlus 6 now features an even larger screen (yes, with a notch, but we don't mind), a thinner bezel, and a more elegant glass and metal design. It also comes with OxygenOS that brings some welcome speed optimizations that make the Android platform really fly on this phone. You also get the welcome option to use gestures for navigation rather than old-school on-screen buttons. OnePlus has also significantly improved camera quality and you get really good shots with this phone. 

Honor 10

Price: $450

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Interface takes some getting used to
  • No water resistance
  • No optical stabilization in camera

The new Honor 10 is a phone that almost seems inspired by the OnePlus success and it tries to compete with the OnePlus 6 as close as possible. The Honor 10 has definitely got the snazzy design with a stunning glass back and it even brings a dual camera magic and some powerful performance and specs on board. And yes, it also comes with a notch, but that almost seems like a necessary evil these days.

Moto X4


Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

The new Moto X4 is a stylish dual camera phone with a mid-range price of $400. It's also available on Google's Project Fi, the affordable US carriers, as an Android One device with clean Android build and the promise for timely updates.

And it's a great phone on its own: with a good-looking design and an LG-like secondary wide-angle camera that allows fitting more in the frame.

Best compact phones:

Apple iPhone SE

Price: $350 for 32 GB | $450 for 128 GB

Apple iPhone SE

Cons

  • Design feels dated with those big bezels
  • Loudspeaker is not among the best

Big phones are just not everyone's cup of tea (at least not yet), and that's why there is still a market for extremely compact devices that you can easily use with a single hand.

The iPhone SE is one of the best such phones you can get at the moment: in fact, it's the only phone of such small sizes. It stands out not just with its size: even among Android compacts, it offers the fastest performance with a great and consistently reliable 12-megapixel camera that can capture 4K video and supports the fun Live Photos.

On top of that, the small iPhone SE features better battery life than even the iPhone 6s and 6: its smaller screen size and newer silicon allow for more effective use of battery. Add to that the affordable (at least in the US) price, and you have quite the appealing small phone.


Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Price: $600

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Chubby design
  • No wireless charging
  • Seems overpriced for what it is

The most notable alternative to the iPhone SE in the compact phone market is the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact.

The XZ2 Compact has its peculiar charm: it has a clean and likable Android interface and a chubby body that is different, plus a camera that is not too bad. It just does not feel quite deserving the high price that Sony is asking for it, but if you are looking for a compact phone, this is one good option. 


Best affordable phones:

Moto G6

Price: from $235

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • No real waterproofing (nano-coat only)

The new Moto G6 series brings new life in one of the most popular affordable phones out there: the new Moto G6 features a sleeker than ever design with a thin, elegant body and a premium glass construction. It now has slimmer bezels too and a larger display for a more immersive experience, and at under $300, this phone is still a great value.Moto sticks with its clean and fast version of Android and the G6 feels very zippy. With a decent camera and good battery life, the G6 remains one of the best options for those looking for a good budget phone.


Honor 7X

Price: $200

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • No USB-C; no fast charging
  • Camera becomes very temperamental in low-light
  • EMUI 5.1 isn’t very good-looking


The Honor 7X is shaping up like an easy phone to recommend. $200 gets you a solid, good-looking phone, with a tall, 18:9 screen and peppy performance. EMUI 5.1 feels rather tired and a bit cartoonish, but the functionality and performance within give the user much customization and plenty of speed in day-to-day tasks. As for the camera, it does seem promising, but we'll have to test it further before we give it our final verdict.

Nokia 6.1

Price: $230

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Somewhat outdated designQuestionnable selection of colors

The Nokia 6.1 is a solidly build phone with an almost premium feel, up-to-the-task screen, and capable 16-megapixel camera that sometimes makes it easy to forget you're holding an affordable phone. But we never lose sight of this affordable phone status in regard to processing power: in more intensive usage scenarios, this will be most evident.


Xiaomi Mi A1

Price: €230 for 64GB

Best smartphone you can buy in 2018

Cons

  • Display quality is sub-par, bluish colors
  • Photo, video and audio recording quality is not great


The Xiaomi Mi A1 is the company's first Android One phone. That means it is free of clutter, runs fast and will get updates faster than most other Xiaomi phones. Great news!

Also, we love that it has the Snapdragon 625 on board, as the chip is very frugal and allows for some great battery life figures. The dual camera system on the back is also a luxury in this price segment, so we're glad the A1 has it.

FEATURED VIDEO


The comment section has been disabled for this story.

Latest stories