Although May has only just started it is already shaping up to be a busy month. Two new phones have already been announced and at least two more are set to be announced before the month is done. So by the time June rolls around this list could be looking very different than it has in the past few months. In either case, if you are in the market for a new phone right now, then here are our top 10 best Android smartphone picks for May, 2018.
10. Nokia 6.1
Typically speaking this list is comprised of the very best phones available and by association this normally also means the most expensive. However, every once in a while a new phone comes through which is not actually a flagship smartphone but does offer great value to consumers. Like the Nokia 6.1. At the superficial level this is more of a rebranded Nokia 6 (2018) although the fundamental difference is that it comes running on Android One. Which is good news for those looking for an affordable smartphone as the Nokia 6.1 basically employs a stock version of Android and is therefore guaranteed to receive regular updates and for at least the next two years. Besides Android One, the spec list is also not that bad as the Nokia 6.1 features a 5.5-inch display along with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. As well as 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 SoC. Best of all, though, is the Nokia 6.1 is now available to buy for only $269.
9. Samsung Galaxy S8 & Galaxy S8 Plus
When it comes to Samsung flagship devices the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have now been superseded by the Galaxy Note 8, which in turn, has now been superseded by the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. So strictly speaking, these are now considered to be older phones. Quick product cycle aside, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus remain very good options for those looking for a flagship smartphone experience and especially at a cheaper price than what the others currently go for. In fact, it can be argued that very little has changed between the Galaxy S8 and S9 lines, which means buyers can expect a very similar experience overall, but again at that cheaper price. The main choice will be which model to go for with their differences coming down to the display size and battery life. As the Galaxy S8 features a 5.8-inch display with a 3,000 mAh capacity battery while the S8 Plus features a 6.2-inch display along with a 3,500 mAh capacity battery. Otherwise, both models feature 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US), a 12-megapixel rear camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. As well as support for Samsung's Bixby and Pay services.Buy Samsung Galaxy S8 Buy Samsung Galaxy S8+ Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8 Plus Review
8. HTC U11
The HTC U11 looks likely to be very soon replaced by the next HTC U phone considering the company has now announced an event taking place this month. So those who are more of the HTC persuasion may want to hold out to see what the next U phone from HTC offers. Although, with the new one arriving now might actually be a good time to consider the U11 as is undoubtedly will be (and already has been) the subject of a price drop. Even at the full price, the HTC U11 was never an ultra-expensive phone and this means it will only become better value for money as the days and months pass. As for the phone, this one quickly became an iconic Android phone due to its dubbing as ‘the squeezable phone.’ This was due to the U11 being the first smartphone to boast a squeezing action to initiate a pre-set command. While this feature has now migrated to the likes of the Pixel 2, its versatility still remains better on the U11 with HTC letting the user choose the action. Making this a great and convenient way to kick-start a specific feature, like for example, the selfie camera. Besides its squeezable nature, the U11 also features a 5.5-inch display, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 16-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 3,000 mAh capacity battery.Buy HTC U11 Read more: HTC U 11 Review
7. Razer Phone
The Razor Phone is one of those devices that buyers will either love or hate. On the one side, this is a phone that sports a rather dated and boxy design, resulting in a far less attractive look compared to its contemporaries. On the other hand, this is a smartphone built with gamers in mind and this means it is a fairly powerful phone and in some respects, far more powerful than everything else on this list. For example, one of its big selling points is its 120Hz refresh rate which makes its 5.72-inch display much more responsive than on other phones. Likewise, this is a phone featuring 8GB RAM, along with 64GB storage and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. A core spec combination that suggests it will perform very well. Add to that expected lengthy levels of battery life thanks to the inclusion of a 4,000 mAh battery and a dual rear camera setup, and this on paper shapes up to be a solid phone.Buy Razer Phone Read more: Razer Phone Announcement
6. LG V30S ThinQ
There is a new LG phone in town and so the V30 line is no longer the newer line. This also means the LG V30S ThinQ is not the company’s newest phone anymore. Although, it is still a phone worth considering and is still new in the technical sense as pre-orders for this phone in the US have only opened recently. As for the phone, this is the latest V30 series phone and as result comes with a number of features and design traits common to other V30 line in general. For example, the design and general build quality is almost identical, as is most of the main specs. However, the RAM did get a slight boost compared to the standard V30 with the S ThinQ model featuring 6GB RAM. Likewise, the storage has also gained some and now comes in at 128GB. Otherwise buyers can expect a 6-inch display, a Snapdragon 835 SoC, a 3,300 mAh capacity battery, Android 8.0 (Oreo), and a keen emphasis on AI. So while this is not breaking the mold in any meaningful way, it does remain a viable option. Unless of course, you would rather hold out for the LG V35 ThinQ?
5. Huawei P20 Pro
The Huawei P20 and the P20 Pro represent the latest smartphones from Huawei, although unlike most of the others on this list, these two phones are not available everywhere. For example, neither P20 model is expected to make it to the US. So depending on where an individual buyer is located might determine whether these are viable purchases. Availability aside and the two P20 models seeme like solid options for those who prefer Huawei's take on design and the camera experience. Although, of the two, the Pro model is certainly the more premium option. This is again, more notable in the camera department as while the standard P20 features dual rear cameras, the P20 Pro features a triple rear camera setup. Therefore, those looking for an even more heightened camera experience will likely want to consider the P20 Pro first and foremost. As for the rest of the specs, the P20 Pro offers a 6.01-inch display along with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio and a 2240 x 1080 resolution. Inside, the P20 Pro comes loaded with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, a Kirin 970 octa-core SoC, facial recognition, a 4,000 mAh battery, and Android 8.1 (Oreo). In addition to a notch.Buy: Huawei P20 Pro (Vodafone UK) Read more: Huawei P20 & P20 Pro Review
4. LG G7 ThinQ
The LG G7 ThinQ is another new arrival to the smartphone scene, seeing it was only announced on May 2. In fact, this phone is so new that it is still not even available to pre-order although that is going to change with pre-orders set to open in the last week of May. So if you are after a new smartphone this month and like the LG way of doing things then the G7 is definitely worth considering and holding out for – as long as you are not on AT&T. However, whether you opt for the LG G7 may come down to your preference on the notch issue – as the G7 is the latest smartphone to boast a notch. To try and ensure the G7 ThinQ remains an option for everyone, the company has made the notch somewhat optional due to the G7’s ability to fade-in the background to artificially create more of a bezel look. Notch-aside and the G7 is all about the camera experience and AI, and both of these have been combined to create what LG calls “AI Cam.” Meaning the camera is more smarter than ever before and can now better analyze the environment to help users make the most of the camera’s settings, and take the best pictures. The display is also a point to note as LG reckons it is brighter than other displays while also boasting an elongated aspect ratio resulting in its 6.1-inch display being taller and slimmer. This is all in addition to remaining a size that is suited to one-handed usage. Other than that, a minimum of 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is on offer, as is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, a Quad DAC, a 3,000 mAh battery and an AI shortcut button.Read more: Hands-on LG G7 ThinQ
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 remains one of the best phones you can buy, and especially for those who are looking for a device that can do more. After all, one of the staple selling points of the Note line is its productivity and the Note 8 continues this trend with a clear emphasis on a larger display, greater multitasking capabilities, and a highly-integrated user experience with a stylus. This is literally the original and the best ‘phone with a pen’ you can buy. However, even for those that are less interested in using a pen with a phone, the Note 8 offers a heightened user experience coupled with a premium design. This is most notable in the camera department as the Note 8 was the first major Samsung phone to come to market boasting a dual rear camera setup. So not only is it capable of making use of features like ‘Portrait mode’ but the camera experience is actually packed with additional features and settings that will suit both those looking for more granular control, and those looking for more of a point-and-shoot solution – it is literally a phone built for all kinds of users. As for the specs, the Galaxy Note 8 is feature-rich in every respect. The display measures in at 6.3-inches and utilizes an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2960 x 1440 resolution. Inside, the Note 8 comes loaded with 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC (in the US). In addition, fast charging support is included, as is wireless charging, and even fast wireless charging. Not forgetting the wealth of Samsung-specific features, including Bixby and Pay.
2. Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL
When it comes down to whether you should buy the Pixel 2/2 XL or the number one choice for this month, the crux of the decision should come down to whether you prefer a more stock-like user experience or one enhanced by the manufacturer. If the answer is more stock-like then the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are simply the best phones you can buy right now. These are, after all, ‘Google phones’ and therefore come with hardware Google has specifically chosen to make best use of the software. In other words, these are not just phones which feature the best-in-class hardware for the sake of it, and then are topped off with additional features. Instead, the two have been tightly integrated to ensure a smooth and solid user experience overall. Which is why for example the Pixel 2 and 2 XL feature only one rear camera. As the software is capable of utilizing a totally artificial ‘Portrait mode’ and therefore two cameras were just not deemed to be needed. This applies to other areas of the phone as well with the two Pixel 2 models employing a squeezing action which has been tightly integrated with Google Assistant. It is these small, but useful tweaks to the software and matching up with the hardware that makes the two Pixel 2 phones such worthwhile purchases at the moment. When it comes to choosing between the two models, things could not be any simpler. As the Pixel 2 XL features a larger screen, a greater capacity battery, and an 18:9 aspect ratio for a taller and slimmer feel. Otherwise both models come loaded with an identical spec list including 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).Buy Google Pixel 2 Buy Google Pixel 2 XL Read more: Google Pixel 2 & 2 XL Review
1. Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9 Plus
Once again, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus top this list as the best Android smartphones you can buy today. These two are not only the newest flagship smartphones from Samsung, but also the richest in terms of features and specs. Resulting in significant value for money for those looking for more of an OTT experience. However, even when taking away all their additional features and Samsung-specific selling points, at the bare-bones level these are both great smartphones featuring a highly competitive spec list and a premium design unmatched by everything else listed here. Between the two, the Galaxy S9 Plus is the more expensive option although even here you are getting more for your money. For example, the Galaxy S9 Plus not only features a larger display overall and a greater capacity battery, but also more RAM (6GB) and two rear cameras – compared to the one rear camera included on the standard model.
So, yes, while these are expensive smartphones, they do offer a ton of features and a premium design that makes their cost much more relevant to the product. Not to mention, even at their expensive price, they are not technically that expensive. As some of the devices on this list cost more and offer less. In addition, there has been effectively no increase year-over-year with the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus launching for almost the exact same price the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus did in 2017.Buy Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9+ Review