Best Android Phones – January 2018

It is the start of a new year and for some, the opportunity to make some changes. If upgrading your smartphone game is something you are considering doing soon, there are plenty of great smartphones available to choose from. If anything, there is almost too many which is where this list comes in. As here we will be taking a quick look at our best smartphone picks for those looking to buy in January, 2018.

10. Moto Z2 Force

The Moto Z2 Force is an excellent phone to consider picking up. While there are better phones out there, touting better specs, and some at lower price points, the Moto Z2 Force offers something you won’t find with those other phones - the option to swap out ‘Mods’ and gain added functionality. Want a better camera experience? A bigger sound output? A larger display? Moto Mods can help and the list of Mods is growing every day making this a phone that will be just as capable throughout 2018 as it was during last year.

As for the specs, the Moto Z2 Force is equipped with a 5.5-inch display along with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. Inside, you can expect to find 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. This is also a phone which features a dual rear camera setup (consisting of two 12-megapixel cameras), as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a 2,730 mAh battery, and an added level of protection thanks to the inclusion of ShatterShield technology.

9. HTC U11

The HTC U11 is another option for those looking for a more unique smartphone as this phone comes loaded with Edge Sense. While a similar version of this feature can now be found on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, the HTC U11 was the first smartphone to properly flaunt the ability to squeeze the sides of the phone to initiate a command. Likewise, HTC’s version is far more customizable so if you have ever wanted to squeeze your phone to take a selfie - you can with the HTC U11. In fact, you can largely set the squeeze action to do just about anything you like. How's that for cutomization?

As for the specs, the HTC U11 is loaded with a 5.5-inch display along with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. Inside, you will find 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. This is one of the few devices that came through last year boasting only one rear (12-megapixel) camera, although the camera experience on offer is one which has been praised widely by consumers and reviewers alike.

8. Google Pixel / Pixel XL

With 2018 now here, the original Google Pixel line from 2016 is starting to show its age. Although that is only in time, as on paper, and in terms of the experience, these two phones remain solid contenders for those looking to upgrade and especially for those looking to spend less - as the age of the original Pixel line has resulted in a number of price drops. Right now, these are two of the best value smartphones on the market. Especially considering that at the software level there is next to no difference between the Pixel and Pixel 2 lines. As the original Pixel phones are able to be updated to the latest version of Android as and when the Pixel 2 phones are. Which means these are already Android 8.0 (Oreo) eligible and will be first in line to get the next major Android update when it is released... a selling point in its own right.

In terms of the specs, the two devices are largely the same although they do differ in display size, resolution, and battery capacity. The standard Pixel, for example, boasts a 5-inch display along with 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 2,770 mAh capacity battery. In contrast to the Pixel XL which comes loaded with a 5.5-inch display, a 2560 x 1440 resolution, and a 3,450 mAh capacity battery. Otherwise, both models feature 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

7. LG G6

For those looking for a smaller phone which packs in the specs and performance, look no further than the LG G6. While this is still a big phone, it is not quite as big as most of the others on this list, resulting in a device that offers an impressively large display for its size. This is due to the LG G6’s use of a ‘FullVision’ display which when coupled with the overall size of the device has afforded LG the ability to market this as a phone designed for use with one hand. Something which is not quite on offer with a number of the larger current flagship devices that do require two hands for use.

As for the specs, the LG G6 features a 5.7-inch display along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2880 x 1440 resolution. Inside, the LG G6 comes packed with 4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC. This is another phone which also features a dual rear camera setup (consisting of two 12-megapixel cameras), as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh capacity battery.

6. Samsung Galaxy S8 & Galaxy S8 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are due to be superseded by their next incarnations within the next couple of months and while the next in line Galaxy S devices are seemingly already shaping up to be impressive smartphones, nothing should be taken away from the current models. If anything, now is one of the best times to pick up a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus as both have been the subject of price reductions over the last few months and especially since the arrival of the Galaxy Note 8. Speaking of which, while the Note 8 is technically a better phone, it is arguably a less attractive phone compared to the sleek and stylish design on offer with the two Galaxy S8 models.

As for which phone you should choose, this largely comes down to a size preference as most of the main specs are common to both models. For example, the Galaxy S8 is the smaller of the two boasting a 5.8-inch display along with a 3,000 mAh battery, while the Plus model features a 6.2-inch display and a 3,500 mAh battery. Otherwise, both include 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US). As well as a 12-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, an iris scanner, sloped edges, Edge features, Samsung Pay support, and Samsung’s Bixby.

5. Razer Phone

The Razer Phone is a new phone in all respects as it not only launched in the latter part of 2017, but also as the debut phone to come through under the Razer branding. Although many will find the design a little familiar due to its look taking a number of design cues from the Nextbit Robin. Which means, for some, this phone will be a little squarer than they would probably like it to be. Offsetting that more boxy look is a performance powerhouse and a phone which has been built with gamers in mind. Therefore, if you are gamer and looking for a new smartphone then this should be at the very least one you do consider.

In terms of its numbers, the Razer Phone features a 5.72-inch display which not only boasts a 2560 x 1440 resolution, but also a 120Hz refresh rate - something you won’t find on any other phone on this list. Inside, the Razer Phone comes loaded with 8GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Following in the trend of a number of 2017 smartphones this is another model which features a dual rear camera setup (comprised of two 12-megapixel cameras), as well as an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, a 4,000 mAh battery, and Quick Charge 4+ support.

4. LG V30

Another strong contender for best phone of the year is the LG V30. As this is a phone which literally packs in the features, making it an ideal option for anyone and everyone. Besides the general specs which are largely on point, the LG V30 has been designed with both audiophiles and mobile photographers in mind. So both sets of consumers can expect a number of OTT features included just for them, such as a quad-DAC and more granular camera controls. Resulting in a smartphone that offers as much or as little as you need from it - those looking for a more advanced experience will be getting one, while those just looking for a standard flagship smartphone experience will be getting one too.

As for the specs, the LG V30 comes equipped with a 6-inch display along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2880 x 1440 resolution. Inside, the LG V30 features 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Once again, this phone is equipped with a dual rear camera setup (comprised of 16-megapixel and 13-megapixel cameras), a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery.

3. OnePlus 5T

Like the Razer Phone, the OnePlus 5T is another phone which arrived late but sporting the hallmarks of another smartphone - in this case the OnePlus 5. As the T model has been designed to bring an almost identical device to market albeit one which does sport a small number of improvements to enrich the experience. The most notable of which is the display as unlike the standard OnePlus 5, the T model arrived with an 18:9 aspect ratio resulting in a taller and slimmer smartphone overall, as well as a greater amount of front-panel allocated screen. One of the other changes to come into effect with the T model is the changing of one of the two rear cameras which was made to offer owners an improved low-light shooting experience. So think of this as a OnePlus 5 but with a better display and camera.

As for the specs, the OnePlus 5 features a 6-inch display along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2160 x 1080 resolution. Inside, as much as 8GB RAM is on offer, along with up to 128GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. In addition to the 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel cameras that make up the dual rear camera setup, the OnePlus 5T also sports a 16-megapixel front-facing camera, a 3,300 mAh battery, and Dash Charge technology.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 8

For some, the Galaxy Note 8 from Samsung will be the best phone to currently buy as it is one which is packed to the rafters with features, specs, and therefore offers substantial value for money. Although this is by no means an affordable phone with the Galaxy Note 8 closing in on the $1,000 marker. So while this is expensive phone, what it offers is a phone that is hard to compete against - on paper. If you are after a dual rear camera setup then the Galaxy Note 8 has one, and even comes with a number of software tweaks to further enhance the camera experience. If you are after a smartphone which maxes out on the display then the Galaxy Note 8 does, as the display comes in at 6.3-inches while maintaining an overall size which is more much akin to a smaller smartphone. While those looking to take advantage of the various Samsung OTT features, this one has them all including support for Samsung Pay and Bixby. Which is in addition to the various additional security-focused features that have also been thrown in for good measure. And of course, before even getting into the Note 8’s main selling point - its inclusion of a stylus and a wealth of stylus-related features. This really is an all singing, all dancing smartphone.

As for the specs, the Galaxy Note 8 comes loaded with a 6.3-inch display along with a 2960 x 1440 resolution. Inside, the Galaxy Note 8 features 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US). As well as a dual rear camera setup, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery which supports fast charging, wireless charging, and fast wireless charging.

1. Google Pixel 2 /Pixel 2 XL

Once again, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL remain our go-to picks for a new Android phone. While on paper they might not seem like anything too out of the ordinary, it is the overall package that makes these two devices so worthwhile. In particular how the hardware has been perfectly matched to the software. So while you will not get the number of OTT features and hardware elements offered by some of the other flagship options, what you are getting is hardware that is fine-tuned to take advantage of the best Android has to offer. The rear camera experience being a good case in point. As in spite of only boasting one rear camera the software tweaking allows owners to make use of features more commonly associated with dual rear camera setups. A level of software tweaking that led to the Pixel 2 immediately gaining rave review at launch. This is a mantra which Google has applied to the Pixel 2 line in general resulting in two phones which are smarter than your average smartphones and ones that are easily worth a recommendation to pick up.

As for their differences, size is the main one to take note of, although the size difference does also lead to a difference in display design. As the smaller Pixel 2 makes use of a 5-inch display along with a more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. In turn, this model also sports a lesser battery capacity. Compared to the Pixel 2 XL which sports a 6-inch display thanks to its use of an 18:9 aspect ratio. Which in turn results in the employment of a larger battery. Otherwise both models come running on the very latest version of Android (Oreo), and packed with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. As well as a 12.3-megapixel rear camera (with Google Lens), an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a greater degree of integration with Google Assistant through the use of Active Edge.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]