The Best Smartphones Of 2018

Please note that all phones included on this list are carrier-unlocked variants. The benefit of buying an unlocked device is the ability to take it with you in case you decide to switch carriers. Even more importantly, when it comes to Android phones, it also means that you don't have to deal with annoying and performance-reducing carrier bloatware.

Pretty much every phone you buy today will deliver stellar performance and a full day of battery life between charges. When shopping for your next device, consider carefully the additional features that you need the most (e.g. great camera, waterproof body, stylus, stereo speakers, etc.).

We've broken down the best smartphones for your needs and budget below.

First thing first, the top 5.

1. Apple iPhone X Smartphone

Pros: Great design and craftsmanship, industry-crushing performance, superb camera experience.

Cons: Expensive.

Bottom Line: Buy one if it fits your budget to experience top-of-the-line design, performance, and photos.

Key Specifications

  • Apple A11 Bionic chip
  • 3 GB of RAM, 64/256 GB of storage
  • 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display with HDR support
  • Two 12 MP camera sensors (wide-angle and telephoto) with optical image stabilization, 7 MP selfie camera
  • Face ID with TrueDepth camera sensor
  • Built-in stereo speakersIP 68 rating for water and dust resistance
  • Wireless charging capability

The iPhone X represents Apple's vision about the future of smartphones. It has a gorgeous OLED (a first for an iPhone) Retina display without bezels, the most powerful chipset in the business, and a striking new design. Thanks to its shiny stainless steel frame, the iPhone X also feels like a bona fide luxury object.

The iPhone X also ditches the fingerprint sensor for a sophisticated facial recognition setup, dubbed Face ID. Apple deserves credit for making the transition to the new feature from a fingerprint sensor so seamless and intuitive that it only takes minutes to get used to the new functionality.

As expected, the dual camera setup of the iPhone X is one of the best in the business. The phone can also capture amazing portrait images, including with its selfie camera. The latter utilizes the Face ID hardware to deliver a variety of cool effects.

With iOS 11 on board, the iPhone X introduces support for high-quality augmented reality apps and games. It can also keep you entertained with seriously fun Animoji, too.

In line with its price tag, the iPhone X has a fully waterproof body, fantastic stereo speakers, and wireless charging. Being an iPhone, it also comes with the best selection of accessories in the industry.

Priced a dollar below $1,000 for a 64 GB variant (the 256 GB model you want is actually $1,149), the iPhone X is the most expensive smartphone from Apple to date. However, it's also the most advanced iPhone ever, so we recommend that you grab one if it fits in your budget.

In case you don't want to splurge on an iPhone X, consider the iPhone 8 Plus instead. It will deliver a similar performance in a more affordable package. The iPhone 8, on the other hand, is made for Apple users who need a great small phone.


2. Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL Smartphone

Pros: Offers the most advanced Android user experience, great performance, exceptional camera.

Cons: No standard audio jack.

Bottom Line: As cutting-edge as Android smartphones get, this pick offers the most advanced Android user experience to date.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 4 GB of RAM, 64/128 GB of storage
  • 5-inch Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) AMOLED display (Pixel 2), 6-inch QHD+ (2,880 by 1,440 pixels) POLED display (Pixel 2 XL)
  • 12 MP camera with optical image stabilization, 8 MP selfie camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Stereo speakers
  • 2,700 mAh battery (Pixel 2), 3,520 mAh battery (Pixel 2 XL)
  • IP67 rating for water and dust resistance
  • Two-year warranty

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL by Google are the best Android phones available today. They combine cool industrial design, powerful hardware, great battery life, the best camera on any smartphone, and the latest and most advanced iteration of Android Oreo available today.

Running the most up-to-date Android version is a really big deal, as most of the Pixel 2's competitors have yet to receive it, even though it has been out for months. Google also promises to support the phones with updates for three full years after their launch.

Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipsets, an IP67 rating for water resistance, good stereo speakers, and the ability to summon the Google Assistant by squeezing their metal frame (the feature is called Active Edge).

The Pixel 2 has a 5-inch screen with 16:9 ratio, while the Pixel 2 XL sports a sharper 6-inch panel with 18:9 aspect. The latter definitely feels like the more future-proof pick of the two. Both devices can work with the Google Daydream View virtual reality headset.

The camera on the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL is nothing short of spectacular. It's the highest-rated snapper, according to the highly regarded DxOMark Mobile photography rankings. It can not only capture amazing photos and videos, but it can also allow you to add cool augmented reality stickers to your content.

The selfie camera is also excellent. It can capture superb portraits, made possible by the tech giant's use of intelligent image processing and machine learning.

Google offers the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in black or white. The white option of the Pixel 2 has a contrasting black glass element on the back. Another cool option called Kinda Blue is only available on the Pixel 2.

At launch, early Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL adopters complained about the color saturation of their displays. On the other hand, the screen of some Pixel 2 XL units showcased OLED burn-in effect. Google has addressed the issues via updates. It also backs both phones with an excellent two-year warranty.

3. Moto E4 Plus Smartphone - Budget Buy

Pros: Decidedly upmarket looks, amazing battery life, good performance.

Cons: microUSB port for charging.

Bottom Line: The Moto E4 has the battery life and performance worthy of a higher price tag.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 chipset
  • 2/3 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB of expandable storage (via microSD card)
  • 5.5-inch HD display (1,280 by 720 pixels)
  • 13 MP main camera, 5 MP selfie camera with LED flash
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Standard audio jack
  • 5,000 mAh battery

With a starting price tag of only $100, the Moto E4 offers an insane amount of smartphone value for your money. It has a metal body worthy of a higher price tag, a built-in fingerprint sensor, and, most importantly, an enormous 5,000 mAh battery.

A battery this big puts the Moto E4 in a league of its own. It allows the phone to easily last for two days between charges. Users who are mindful of their usage can make the phone last even longer between charges.

Coupled with a fairly low resolution display, the handset's entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset feels plenty capable, though it's not a great option for heavy multitasking and graphic-intensive video games. We strongly recommend that you spend a little extra for a Moto E4 version with 3 GB of RAM just in case.

The 13 MP camera of the Moto E4 does a good job in good lighting. However, its low-light performance leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, the device's selfie camera has a built-in LED flash - a really pleasant surprise for this price point.

The biggest downside that we found on the Moto E4 is that it uses a microUSB port for charging. With USB-C becoming an industry standard for Android phones for the past two years, we find the choice to be really strange.

The 5.5-inch HD display is also not wow-inducing. Even in this affordable price range, it's not unreasonable to expect a sharper Full HD screen. To be fair though, the amazing battery life of the Moto E4 makes the tradeoff well worth it (lighting up more pixels will increase power consumption noticeably).

Available in black or gold, the Moto E4 Plus works on all major carriers in the United States. In order to get the most attractive pricing, you'll need to order the Moto E4 Plus with lockscreen ads from Amazon. We highly recommend that you spend a bit extra for a variant without ads, though, as the experience is overall a lot more pleasant.

4. Samsung Galaxy Note8 Smartphone - Big Phone

Pros: Gorgeous display, amazing performance, excellent camera, superb S Pen.

Cons: Expensive.

Bottom Line: The Galaxy Note8 is hands-down the best big phone today if you have the budget for one.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage (via microSD card slot)
  • 6.3-inch QHD+ (2,960 by 1,440 pixels) Infinity Super AMOLED display
  • Two 12 MP camera sensors (a wide-angle and a telephoto one) with optical image stabilization, 8 MP selfie camera
  • S Pen stylus
  • Fingerprint sensor, iris scanner
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 rating for water and dust resistance
  • Standard audio jack, bundled AKG premium earbuds

The Galaxy Note8 is the most advanced smartphone from Samsung to date, as well as the best big phone you can buy. It features an eye-grabbing Super AMOLED display, an advanced camera setup with two optically stabilized sensors, an S Pen stylus, and elegant design with almost a complete lack of screen bezels.

The slightly curved 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display of the Note8 is currently the best you'll find in any smartphone. It has infinite contrast, incredibly vibrant colors, and HDR support. It makes every task you perform on the Note8 feel like a special occasion.

Then there's the built-in S Pen stylus. Powered by a rich software suite, the accessory gives the Note8 the ability to be more productive and entertaining than any of its competitors.

The dual 12 MP camera of the phone is handily one of the best in the business. The Note8 can consistently capture amazing images, as well as excellent portrait photos.

With a Snapdragon 835 processor and 6 GB of RAM on board, the Note8 is pretty much impossible to slow down. When it comes to heavy use and multitasking, the phone is handily one of the best on the market.

Expandable memory, wireless charging, standard audio jack, and an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance are also on board, just as you would expect from a top-shelf Samsung smartphone. The smartphone is available in black or orchid gray.

The Note8 also offers access to an amazing ecosystem of accessories. They include the Gear VR headset, a 360-degree camera, and a DeX desktop station, among many others. The latter will turn your Note8 into a desktop computer, as long as you have a monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard handy.

The awkwardly placed fingerprint sensor is our least favorite thing about the Samsung Galaxy Note8. Its price tag that's just shy of $1,000 might not be to everyone's liking either, but that's come to be the standard for a high-end phone these days.

If you don't need an S Pen stylus, consider the Samsung Galaxy S8+ instead. It'll deliver a similar experience as the Note8, sans the stylus and the dual camera, for less.

5. Samsung Galaxy S9 Smartphone - Compact Phone

Pros: Amazing design, lovely display, top-notch performance and camera experience.

Cons: Slow Android updates.

Bottom Line: The Galaxy S9 delivers style and power in a refreshingly compact package.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage (via microSD card slot)
  • 5.8-inch QHD+ (2,960 by 1,440 pixels) Infinity Super AMOLED display
  • 12 MP camera with optical image stabilization and adjustable aperture (f/1.5 and f/2.4, 8 MP selfie camera
  • Fingerprint sensor, iris scanner
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 rating for water and dust resistance
  • Stereo speakers tuned by AKG
  • Standard audio jack, bundled AKG premium earbuds

Samsung's elegant Galaxy S9 smartphone packs a ton of cutting-edge smartphone tech into a refreshingly compact body you can use with one hand. The trick is possible thanks to a curved Super AMOLED display that's practically free of bezels.

The 12 MP camera of the Galaxy S9 is nothing short of spectacular. Unlike any of its rivals, the device's snapper has the ability to change its aperture depending on the lighting condition. There are two available settings - f/1.5 and f/2.4.

As a result, the Samsung Galaxy S9 can consistently capture spectacular photos on every occasion. To top things off, the phone can also record ultra slow-motion video at a rather astounding 960 frames-per-second.

Just like in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 we just mentioned, the Galaxy S9 has an industry-leading display that's a joy to use. However, the S9 has an even more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset.

Stereo speakers are another novelty that the Galaxy S9 brings to Samsung's smartphone range. Tuned by AKG, they make the device a lot more entertaining on the go.

Naturally, the smartphone has a waterproof body, wireless charging, expandable memory, and a great selection of available accessories. Unlike many of its rivals, the phone has an audio jack, and a pair of top-shelf earbuds in its box.

Slow Android updates are the most notable downside of having a feature-packed, custom user interface like the Galaxy S9. You'll need to wait for months before you get the latest version of the mobile platform by Google. Thankfully, Samsung will deliver the essential monthly security updates on time.


Want more choices? Check out these noteworthy options below!

6. Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone - Dual-Camera Phone

Pros: Fantastic dual camera, amazing performance, sleek design.

Cons: Slow Android updates.

Bottom Line: The dual camera of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ sets a new standard for mobile photography.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage (via microSD card slot)
  • 6.2-inch QHD+ (2,960 by 1,440 pixels) Infinity Super AMOLED display
  • Two 12 MP camera sensors (a wide-angle one with adjustable aperture, and a telephoto one) with optical image stabilization, 8 MP selfie camera
  • Stereo speakers tuned by AKG
  • Standard audio jack, bundled AKG premium earbuds
  • Fingerprint sensor, iris scanner
  • 3,500 mAh battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 rating for water and dust resistance

Samsung’s latest Galaxy S9+ is the best dual smartphone currently worth your attention. In addition to its amazing camera, it offers a combination of a powerful chipset, a class-leading display, a groundbreaking dual camera, and stereo speakers. The smartphone also has great battery life, thanks to a large 3,500 mAh battery.

The most exciting bit about the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is its groundbreaking dual camera. One of its 12 MP sensors has mechanical aperture, which can adjust between f/1.5 and f/2.4, depending on the lighting. Changing the aperture is automatic, though advanced photographers can toggle it manually in pro mode.

Having an aperture as bright as f/1.5 enables the Galaxy S9+ to capture low-light photos with exceptional quality; the daytime photos are predictably excellent, too. The secondary 12 MP camera of the Galaxy S9+ has a versatile zoom lens. Both camera sensors of the phone have optical image stabilization.

The Galaxy S9+ can also capture ultra slow-motion clips at a rather impressive 960 frames per second. You can edit and easily share the videos after you capture them.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset will be this year’s most powerful option for the Android smartphone. Coupled with 6 GB of RAM, it ensures that the Galaxy S9+ will handle any task you throw at it without even a hint of slowing down. You can even pair the smartphone with a DeX docking station and use it as a desktop computer.

The Galaxy S9+ user experience includes AR Emoji and Samsung’s updated virtual assistant Bixby. With AR Emoji, you can create and share an animated version of yourself. The feature feels like a hastily put-together answer to the Animoji in Apple iPhone X.

With the addition of stereo speakers and a better-placed fingerprint sensor, the Galaxy S9+ has addressed its predecessor’s most notable shortcomings. Of course, the phone also has a waterproof body, expandable memory, wireless charging, and a standard headphone jack. The latter is complemented by a pair of great wired earbuds by AKG.

7. OnePlus 5T Smartphone - High-End Specs and Attractive Pricing

Pros: Amazing performance, good display, the fastest wired charging in the business.

Cons: Not water-resistant.

Bottom Line: The OnePlus 5T is plenty fast, but we really wish it were waterproof.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 6/8 GB of RAM, 64/128 GB of storage
  • 6-inch FHD+ (2,160 by 1,080 pixels) AMOLED display
  • 16 MP camera, 20 MP secondary camera, 16 MP selfie camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • Ultra-fast wired charging
  • Standard audio jack

The OnePlus 5T offers elegant design and great hardware at a really attractive price point. It shares the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset as today's best Android phones from Samsung and Google, but, with 8 GB of RAM in top spec guise, it's even better at multitasking. To put things in perspective, 8 GB of RAM is what most laptops have on board these days.

The 6-inch AMOLED display of the OnePlus 5T is an improvement over the one found in its predecessor. With an 18:9 aspect and tiny bezels, it dominates the front of the device almost completely. Other key features of the 5T include a speedy fingerprint sensor, the fastest wired charging in the industry, and a standard audio jack.

The OnePlus 5T's high-resolution dual camera setup produces good photos and 4K video. However, oddly, it lacks the consistency of today's best camera phones. We reckon that optical image stabilization would have come in handy in this instance.

In order to make the phone attractively priced, OnePlus has skipped handy features such as a waterproof body and wireless charging. The former in particular is pretty much mandatory on premium phones these days, so it's disappointing to see it missing on the 5T. It's worth noting that in the United States, the device works only on AT&T and T-Mobile.

8. Moto X4 Smartphone - Mid-Range Option

Pros: Really stylish in the metal, good performance, dual camera, water-resistant.

Cons: The display feels a generation behind today's 18:9 screens.

Bottom Line: The Moto X4 has great design and a waterproof body at an affordable price.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset
  • 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of expandable storage (via microSD card slot)
  • 5.2-inch Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) IPS display
  • 12 MP main camera, 8 MP secondary camera, 16 MP selfie camera with LED flash
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • Amazon Alexa integration
  • IP68 rating for water and dust resistance
  • Standard audio jack

The Moto X4 by Lenovo is a sweet-looking, affordable Android smartphone with a waterproof body, good battery life, expandable memory, and a solid dual camera. The X4 also comes with the Alexa voice assistant by Amazon, allowing you to perform a host of tasks via voice commands.

The device packs Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 630 chipset, which lacks the sheer capability of the chipmaker's high-end offerings. However, it has enough oomph to make quick work of all smartphone tasks. It's also good for gaming.

The 5.2-inch display of the Moto X4 is plenty sharp, but it feels a tad small by today's standards. With a 16:9 aspect ratio, it also feels like it's a generation behind the 18:9 offerings found in today's best smartphones.

The dual camera of the Moto X4 has a 12 MP sensor and an 8 MP wide-angle snapper. Combined, the two can also capture nice portrait shots, as well as allow you to tweak the focus of your images after you capture them. The front-facing camera has a 16 MP sensor with its own LED flash.

Priced well below $300, this particular variant of the phone is available exclusively on Amazon with lockscreen ads (you can disable them for $50). Alternatively, you can purchase one directly from Lenovo for $350. Available in black or blue, the Moto X4 is compatible with all major carriers.

9. Essential Phone Smartphone - With A Luxurious Finish and Good Price

Pros: Showstopping looks and craftsmanship, great performance, stock Android interface.

Cons: Inconsistent camera.

Bottom Line: The Essential Phone is an amazing value for your money if you don't take many photos.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage
  • 5.7-inch QHD (2,560 by 1,312 pixels) IPS display
  • 13 MP main camera, 13 MP secondary camera with monochrome sensor, 8 MP selfie cameraFingerprint sensor
  • 3,040 mAh battery
  • IP54 rating for water resistance
  • Titanium/ceramic body

Despite its mid-range price tag, the Essential Phone is handily the most luxuriously built smartphone on this list. Crafted from ceramic and titanium and sporting a head-turning bezel-free display, this newcomer to the smartphone scene looks and feels like it costs a lot more than its price tag suggests.

A cool bit about the Essential Phone is its ability to work with modular accessories, which attach magnetically to the back of the device. For the time being, you can order a 360-degree camera, though the collection is expected to grow going forward.

The Essential Phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, just like all top-shelf Android smartphones today. It runs stock Android with zero bloatware, so it feels fast and responsive on every occasion.

The IPS display of the phone has a rather unusual 19:10 aspect ratio. It also has a pretty noticeable notch on top, which is home to the front-facing camera of the device. It's a high-quality LCD screen, but we really wish it utilized an OLED panel.

The camera department is where the Essential Phone should have done a lot better. The handset's dual camera, despite multiple updates, produces seriously inconsistent results. If you're an avid mobile photographer who shares full-resolution photos, this phone isn't for you.

The device has an IP54 rating for water resistance, which means that it can handle rain or an accidental splash of water, but not complete submersion like most of today's high-end phones. The device lacks a standard audio jack, but it comes with a really nice USB-C adapter in the box.

To summarize, the Essential Phone has the best finish and tactility of any phone on this list. If you're not an avid mobile shutterbug, you need to give the device serious consideration.

10. LG V30 Smartphone - Audiophile-Grade Audio Experience

Pros: LG’s best-looking phone to date, great specs and performance, audiophile-grade hardware.

Cons: Expensive.

Bottom Line: The LG V30 is one of the best phones available today, and it's great for serious music lovers.

Key Specifications

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of expandable storage (via microSD card slot)
  • 6-inch QHD+ (2,960 by 1,440 pixels) POLED display
  • 16 MP main camera, 13 MP wide-angle camera, 5 MP selfie camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Standard audio jack, 32-bit Quad DAC
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • Wireless charging
  • IP68 rating for water and dust resistance

LG's range-topping V30 smartphone has gorgeous design and a long list of top-shelf specs that even the most nitpicky Android power users will approve of. Best of all, in a time when the standard audio jack is rapidly headed the way of the dodo, the V30 packs audiophile-grade hardware, headlined by a 32-bit Quad DAC, which can power even pro-grade headphones with high impedance.

The dual camera of the smartphone boasts an impressive set of features for videographers. They include the ability to gradually zoom on an area or object of your choosing, as well as a host of cool cinematic filters to choose from.

The key hardware specs of the LG V30 are standard high-end Android fare, making the phone fast and responsive. The 3,300 mAh battery is good for at least a full day of heavy use.

LG backs its best smartphone with an industry-leading two-year warranty. In order to get the second year of coverage, all you need to do is register your smartphone with the manufacturer.

The 6-inch slightly curved display has an 18:9 aspect and almost no bezels to speak of. It's incredibly sharp and vibrant, though it's not on the same level as Samsung's Super AMOLED panels.

Overall, thanks to a great blend of design and specs, the LG V30 is quietly one of the best Android phones you can buy.