This time of the year is an interesting time as it follows on from the main announcements made during MWC and precedes the number of Spring and Summer smartphone announcements that are due to come through. Which typically means April is a much quieter month compared to some of the others. On that note, if you are after a new smartphone this month then here are our top ten best Android smartphone picks for April, 2018.
10. Google Pixel & Pixel XL
In spite of the first Pixel 3 rumors now starting to surface the Google Pixel and/or Pixel XL remain one of out top ten options for those looking for a new smartphone. Yes, these are not the newest phones around, or the most premium spec based on today’s standards. However, they are highly capable smartphones and still remain solid options. Especially considering both phones are currently capable of running Android 8.0 (Oreo) and will be some of the first phones to see an upgrade to Android P when the next version of Android gets its general release later in the year.
As for the specs, the Pixel and Pixel XL are more alike than different with both models featuring 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. Resulting in their main differences coming down to the display, resolution and battery capacity. The standard Pixel comes loaded with a 5-inch display and a 2,770 mAh battery, compared to the Pixel XL which features a 5.5-inch display along with a 3,450 mAh capacity battery.
9. HTC U11
HTC's U11 smartphone has not quite proven to be the hit it could have been in spite of this being a very good phone overall. Some of the reasons that have likely stopped this from becoming a better-selling phone is its lack of keeping up with the neighbors. As not only does the U11 sport a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, but it is also only equipped with one rear camera. Although, HTC has paid particular attention to the phone’s camera capabilities making it a very strong contender for anyone looking for a camera-centric smartphone irrespective of the lack of a dual camera setup. In addition, the U11 was the first phone to come with the option to squeeze the sides to initiate commands resulting in its ‘squeezable phone’ dubbing. While this feature is now available with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, it is still far more customizable on HTC’s phone. As for the rest of its core numbers, the HTC U11 features a 5.5-inch display along with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. Inside, buyers can expect 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. As well as a 16-megapixel front-facing camera, IP67 certification, and a 3,000 mAh capacity battery.
8. Samsung Galaxy S8 & Galaxy S8 Plus
Like the original Pixels, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are not quite the new phones they once were. Not only have these phones been superseded by the Galaxy Note 8, but that phone has now also been succeeded by the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. However, the two 2017 models still remain highly-capable smartphones and better options to go for than a number of 2018 models from other manufacturers. Especially, if you can pick them up on sale. Also like the Pixels, these are two phones which are very similar in most respects. For example, they both come loaded with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US), a 12-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and full support for all the various Samsung- branded features, such as Bixby, Edge, and Pay. Where they differ in is the screen size and resolution with the standard Galaxy S8 utilizing a 5.8-inch display along with a 3,000 mAh battery. In contrast to the Plus model and its 6.2-inch display and 3,500 mAh capacity battery.
7. Huawei Mate 10 Pro
The Mate 10 Pro is no longer the newest Huawei phone, although, unlike the newest Huawei phone, the Mate 10 Pro is one that is available to buy in the US. So this is a selling point in its own right for buyers in the United States. Availability aside, the Mate 10 Pro is a very good option overall and another one which places its focus on its camera capabilities. This not only means it comes with newer hardware such as a dual rear camera configuration but also a fairly robust software experience and especially for those looking for greater manual control of their smartphone cameras. The Mate 10 Pro may also prove to be suitable for anyone looking for a larger phone with a smaller footprint as not only does it include a 6-inch display (along with a 2160 x 1080 resolution) but also an 18:9 aspect ratio for a slimmer and taller look and feel. The rest of the specs are padded out with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, a Kirin 970 SoC, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 4,000 mAh battery.
6. Razer Phone
The Razer Phone is not going to be a phone for everyone and it is certainly less likely to appeal to those who are after a more modern-looking smartphone. As the Razer Phone does sport a more dated appearance due to its employment of a traditional aspect ratio and a heavy reliance on bezels. That said, this is certainly a powerful phone and therefore will appeal to those looking for great computing power and specifically when it comes to mobile gaming. As one of the clear benefits of the 5.72-inch display is its 120 Hz refresh rate which is coupled with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. Likewise, the Razer Phone manages to pack in 8GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, resulting in a more than capable multi-tasking smartphone. Cameras are not bad either with a dual rear camera setup on the back and an 8-megapixel camera on the front. Completing the list is a more than adequate 4,000 mAh capacity battery and stereo front-facing speakers.
5. LG V30+
The LG V30 is a phone that is not short of variants with the standard model available, as well as a “+” model and the even newer 30S ThinQ model. Thought of the three to V30+ is a good option to go with. This one essentially comes with everything the standard model does with two exceptions. The first being it has a greater internal storage capacity (128GB vs 64GB) and the second being you get a free pair of QuadPlay headphones. Making the + model the best 'value for money' option from a line that is otherwise fairly expensive. At the display level, the V30+ features a 6-inch display along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2880 x 1440 resolution. Inside, the V30+ comes loaded with 4GB RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. While cameras come in the form of 16-megapixel and 13-megapixel rear cameras, along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. This in addition to a number of audio and camera-related software tweaks - staples of the V-series in general.
4. Huawei P20 Pro
The Huawei P20 Pro, along with the standard P20, are the latest smartphones to come from the house of Huawei. Typical of this brand, the two phones do place much of their focus on photography capabilities, and of the two, the P20 Pro is the even more powerful and capable handset. Especially considering, the P20 Pro actually features three rear cameras.
As for the rest of the specs, the P20 Pro features a 6.01-inch display along with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio, resulting in a 2240 x 1080 resolution, and a notch. Inside, the P20 Pro is loaded with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, and is powered by a Kirin 970 octa-core SoC. Additional features include IP67 certification, a fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, USB Type-C, a 4,000 mAh battery and Android 8.1 (Oreo). Those looking to buy the Huawei P20 Pro in the US will have to opt for an international model compatible with GSM bands in the US as there are no current plans for this phone to become officially available in the United States.
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
In spite of sitting in the third place this month, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is arguably one of the best phones you can currently buy. It certainly is for those looking for a stylus as the inclusion of an S Pen (and all its related features) is a massive selling point in its own right. That aside, and the Galaxy Note 8 competes with the best in virtually all departments. This is another highly intelligent smartphone with access to both Google Assistant and Bixby, as well as one which packs in the camera hardware and features, including a dual rear camera setup - the first Samsung flagship to do so. As for its more generic numbers, the Galaxy Note 8 offers a 6.3-inch screen along with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2960 x 1440 resolution. As well as 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US), an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,300 mAh battery.
2. Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL
If you ask some people the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be the best Android phones you can buy today and this is a stance that is hard to argue against. After all, these are Google’s phones for 2018 and have been designed with Android specifically in mind. While that may be assumed to be the case with all Android phones, it is not, and the Pixel 2 line is proof of this. As these phones have literally been built from the ground up with a view to ensuring the software works hand in hand with the hardware. Whether it is the design, the display, the cameras, or anything else, it has been fine-tuned for a more Android-centric experience. The end result is a highly intuitive and smooth user experience. While this was also the case with the original Pixels, the new Pixels are more different to each other than their predecessors were. So while both new models do feature 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and Android 8.0 (Oreo), they are somewhat aimed at different buyers. Those more interested in a traditional phone will want to opt for the standard Pixel 2 and its 16:9 aspect ratio 5-inch display, compared to the Pixel 2 XL which adopts more of a ‘2018 look’ thanks to its taller and slimmer use of an 18:9 aspect ratio with its 6-inch display.
1. Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus remain out go-to options for those looking for a new Android phone right now. These are two of the most premium smartphones around and ones which pretty much check most, if not all, of the boxes. Their only downside is the price although compared to previous flagships that have launched in the last year or two, they are not even that expensive. Which when combined with the wealth of features on offer make the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus two very good value options. Yes, they do cost, but you are seriously getting a lot for the money.
What’s more, the two phones are a lot more different than sibling launch phones typically are which makes it far more easier now to choose between the two. For example, if you do want a dual rear camera setup on a smartphone then the Galaxy S9 Plus is the option to go for as the standard model features one rear camera. Likewise, the Galaxy S9 Plus is a larger phone due to its inclusion of a 6.2-inch display compared to the 5.8-inch display on the standard model. Although both models do sport a now-common slimmer and taller profile. There is even more of a difference in the internals with the Plus version coming loaded with 6GB RAM compared to the 4GB RAM offered with the Galaxy S9. This is in addition to the expected battery capacity difference between the two models with the standard version boasting a 3,000 mAh battery and the Plus version, a 3,500 mAh battery. So arguably of the two new S9 variants, the Plus model is the more premium and better option to go for. That is, if you need greater RAM, a larger screen, and dual cameras. As otherwise, the more affordable standard model will be a better-suited option. In either case, both versions come loaded with all the Samsung software tweaks you would expect from a flagship Samsung phone.