The Best Smartphones of 2018

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Choosing the year’s best smartphone is largely a subjective exercise. After all, what is best for one isn’t necessarily best for all. Different users have different needs, different budgets, and so on. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite smartphones of 2018—a register that includes something for everyone.

Samsung Galaxy Note9

Even as a lifelong iPhone user, I have to admit that the Samsung Galaxy Note9 was probably my favorite smartphone of 2018. The combination of a 6.4" Super AMOLED Infinity Display, a truly gorgeous diamond-cut metal frame, and upgraded Bluetooth S Pen really sold me on the Note9. On top of that, it features a top-tier dual rear camera setup, big 4000mAh battery for all-day use, and hefty memory options that include up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage—with a microSD slot that theoretically would allow you to expand its memory up to 1TB. Now, the Note9 is on the hefty side, so it’s not for everyone. But if you are someone who’s good with a phablet-sized phone, doesn’t mind paying a premium price for premium specs, and isn’t beholden to the Apple brand, then the Note9 is probably the phone for you. But, if you do need some more convincing, or just want more info on the Note9, check out the hands-on review I did here.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Note9 wasn’t Samsung’s only top-tier phone this year. The Galaxy S9+ also deserves to be in the “best of” discussion, thanks to its innovative camera system, gorgeous design, and overall performance. On the design side, the S9+ features a Super AMOLED Infinity Display with Quad HD+ resolution that delivers fully rendered, high-definition content. It's equipped with a powerful camera setup that includes two rear-facing 12MP cameras with Dual Aperture—a feature that automatically shifts aperture based on lighting conditions—and an 8MP selfie camera on the front. For performance, it uses the Snapdragon 845 CPU, which is the most powerful chipset Samsung has ever put in a phone. And topping off its highlights are 64GB of storage and a flagship-worthy 6GB of RAM. Combine all these features in a sleek-looking body and you have a smartphone that can hold its own against any other device on the market.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ Smartphone

Google Pixel 3

Although it’s relatively new, it’s hard to argue that the Google Pixel 3 shouldn’t be in the discussion for best smartphone. For one, it comes with what is arguably the best smartphone camera on the market: a 12.2MP dual-pixel lens that yields some of highest-quality shots you’re going to see—especially in low-light conditions. Another big feature is that, because it’s a Google device, the Pixel 3 comes with the latest Android OS—no waiting for updates. All the other flagship highlights are there, as well: edge-to-edge OLED screen, Snapdragon 845 CPU, wireless charging support, and so on. The Pixel 3 comes in two variants, the standard size and XL, and both are sure to be favorites of Android purists and users who want the best-quality photos available.

Apple iPhone Xs

When I first purchased my iPhone X, my only complaint was that I wished it were larger. Well, now that complaint is no more, thanks to the release of this Apple user’s dream phone: the iPhone Xs Max. Much like its 6.5-inch screen, the Max’s bona fides seem to go on and on: the Super Retina HD OLED display with HDR10 support, the reliable, lightning-fast performance, and best of all, the camera setup, which is celebrated around the world for the quality of pics it can produce. There’s plenty more to say (and to love) about the iPhone Xs Max, but perhaps it’s best summed up by the fact that, even though it’s one of the most expensive smartphones on the market (for the 256GB model), it seems totally worth it. If you’re an Apple user, this is simply the best phone available.

LG G7 ThinQ

Although LG recently made waves with its announcement of the much-anticipated V40, our pick for 2018 phone fave is an earlier release: the G7 ThinQ. Incorporating some of the most popular trends on the market, the G7 features a large 6.1" QHD+ FullVision display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, a Snapdragon 845 processor, and dual 16MP rear cameras. It also uses AI-backed Google Lens technology—a unique feature that uses your phone’s camera to teach you about the world around you. Want to know more about that Rembrandt painting? Snap a photo and Google Lens will tell you all the interesting details. In a foreign country and want to decode a road sign? Shoot the sign with your G7 and Google Lens will translate it for you. Innovation combined with premium looks and performance rank the G7 ThinQ among the best smartphones available today.

LG G7 ThinQ Smartphone

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

When the Mate 10 Pro hit North American shores earlier this year, we posited it would finish 2018 with best-in-class honors. Well, it’s the end of year, and we’re still feeling good about our prediction. Starting with its all-glass body, near bezel-less design, and sharp 6" OLED display, the Mate 10 Pro is about as sleek as they come. In addition to its stunning build, the Mate 10 Pro also packs some serious power under its hood, including 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a hulking 4,000mAh battery. The power doesn't stop there, either. The Mate 10 Pro also utilizes an advanced dual rear-camera setup that includes 20MP mono and 12MP RGB cameras and enough photog-friendly features to rival some of the top setups on the market. Combine those features with a price tag that’s several hundred dollars less than other leading smartphones, and the Mate 10 Pro is in serious discussion as one of this year's best.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Smartphone

Nokia 6.1

Last year's Nokia 6 was one of the most welcomed surprises of 2017 because of its mostly flagship-quality specs and wallet-friendly price. Following in those esteemed footsteps is this year's Nokia 6.1, which continues that tradition of way more bang for your buck. Topping its list of highlights are a super-sleek aluminum unibody build with 5.5" display, an improved Snapdragon 630 CPU, and an upgraded 16MP rear Zeiss lens. Add in a pure Android experience, respectable 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM, and the Nokia 6.1 starts to look like a legitimate rival for some of the bigger, flashier phones, which is crazy when you consider it costs nearly a thousand dollars less than some of them.

Nokia 6.1 (2018) Smartphone

What do you think about our favorite phones? Were there any we left off? Tell us in the Comments section, below!

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