Top 10 Best Android Smartphones - August 2018

Nearing the end of Summer means that it's about time for the Fall phone season to kicks off. While we've only got one new phone on our list, the likelihood of seeing a number of these phones discounted in August is pretty high, as retailers will be looking to flush out inventory at reduced rates to make room for the upcoming Fall launches. Without further ado, let's check out the 10 best Android phones you can buy in August 2018.

Essential Phone

This marks the first time ever that Essential has made it onto our top 10 Android phones list, and it's for a good reason: they've worked their way up, and it shows in the results.  Essential launched its first phone just a little too early, and it felt like a beta device in every way when it launched last August. Now, a full year later, the Essential PH-1, or better known just as the Essential Phone, has come full circle and delivers a compelling experience for a price that's lower than any other phone out there. Recently selling for as low as $250 on Amazon Prime Day, the specs for the Essential Phone cannot be beaten for even the regular price of under $400. On top of this, Essential has kept an update schedule that rivals the Google Pixel line, delivering timely monthly updates, and thus far the only non-Pixel branded phone on the market with an Android 9 Pie update as well. If you're looking for a phone with fantastic specs, one of the most amazing builds in the industry, an unrivaled update schedule and a price to kill, the Essential Phone is what you want.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Sony's latest premium-grade flagship eclipses its recently released smaller cousins in many ways, not the least of which is in the price category. Retailing for £799/€900/$999, the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium pushes the base price point of Android phones up, but packs in some serious new specs to cope with that. With a large 5.8-inch 4K HDR display, you'll be blown away when watching 4K HDR content on the phone. That screen is capable of natively playing back the 4K HDR video that the new dual-camera system on the back can record, and there are quite a few additional tricks up the phone's proverbial sleeve too. It's as fast as they come and has some incredible features, but it's lower on the list because it doesn't pack the value that some of the other handsets here do.

LG G7 ThinQ or LG V35 ThinQ

LG's latest duo of flagship devices is seeing wider distribution and lower pricing when compared with July, including availability on Google's own Project Fi. Both phones offer LG's latest features running atop Android 8.0 Oreo, and both feature the same upgraded sensors in that dual-camera module on the back. This includes a new super low light mode on the secondary wide-angle camera, as well as an upgraded front-facing camera too. The G7 ThinQ packs a brand new super bright IPS LCD display in addition to what LG is calling the Boombox speaker. This new speaker is capable of delivering louder volume than many previous LG phones, as well as a distinct quality to its audio when placed on a table or other surface. Meanwhile the V35 ThinQ offers an OLED panel and a thinner, lighter build without that notch cut out of the display.

HTC U12+

HTC's U12+ garnered some mixed reviews, including our own, mainly due to some overall bugginess of the phone, including those new pressure-sensitive buttons on the side. To mitigate these issues, HTC has released an update that not only deals with the issues we experienced in regards to the buttons, but also tweaked edge sense and added a handful of other new features as well. It's not only refreshing to see such a quick response to widespread issues, but also ones that actually put in a fix rather than providing a workaround or a band-aid. HTC's U12+ features some of the absolute best video recording on the market, including silky-smooth 4K recording at 60FPS with active hybrid stabilization, as well as the ability to zoom into a video and specifically focus on an audio source. It's HTC's best phone in some time, and that transparent blue color is certainly one of a kind in an industry filled with similar looking black slabs.

BlackBerry KEY2

The BlackBerry KEY2 is BlackBerry's most intuitive phone yet, and despite what the spec sheet might initially make you think, is absolutely a flagship phone in its experience. Offering what is probably the most unique experience on Android at this time, the BlackBerry KEY2 ignores many industry trends, like a taller display and gestures, for something wholly BlackBerry at the core: a physical keyboard. This physical keyboard isn't just for typing though, it provides a convenience factor that other phones simply don't offer, with the ability to quickly launch dozens of apps and functions from anywhere on the phone, thanks to the new Convenience Key. This is just a small sliver of what BlackBerry offers with the KEY2, and one of the reasons we love it so much.

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei has recently accomplished a big sales feat, selling more than 100 million devices so far in 2018 alone. The Huawei P20 Pro is responsible for a good percentage of that, including the award of Hauwei's most successful phone in Western Europe yet. It's no wonder too, with the camera Huawei is packing on the P20 Pro, which sees constant awards and praise as the best overall smartphone camera on the market. Aside from that, Huawei has built a sleek and solid feeling phone that's both thin and strong, with a gorgeous OLED display on the front, as well as some incredible new features over previous generation phones. Huawei has also designed some absolutely jaw-dropping colors for the P20 lineup with shiny, irridescent shades and color-changing gradients. It's a stellar phone that's a sight to behold in every way.

OnePlus 6

OnePlus has long delivered one of the best values in the industry with every single release, packing the absolute latest specs while almost always coming in at a lower price than anyone other flagship phone. The OnePlus 6 is OnePlus's most expensive phone yet, but it offers some of the absolute smallest bezels in the industry, as well as a flagship-tier experience at every level. A killer camera, lightning fast performance, ultra-quick charging, and a feature set that rivals many other phones, the OnePlus 6 is a recommended buy at every level. We used the phone for well over a month before delivering the review, ensuring that it can hold up to expectations in the long run, and you can see the results in our review.

Sony Xperia XZ2

Sony surprised many with the complete redesign of the Xperia series when it launched the Xperia XZ2, a phone that packs in amazing battery life, some of the absolute best speakers in the industry, and a camera that sports the highest quality slow motion video out there. It's also got a brand new design that's not quite like anything out there, a finally a fingerprint scanner that works in the US, meaning anyone worldwide can finally buy an Xperia flagship with a fingerprint scanner that's enabled out of the box. It's Sony's fastest, most efficient phone yet, and one that consistently impresses, no matter what you're looking for in a modern smartphone.

Google Pixel 2 XL

Google's Pixel line consistently tops the charts when considering phones to recommend, and it's any wonder. Android is Google's own OS, so it makes sense that Google's own hardware would take best advantage of Android's strengths and design. Google offers two sizes of the Pixel 2, but it's the Pixel 2 XL that has the new 18:9 aspect ratio that's taller and can fit more information in, all while reducing the size of the bezels. Front-facing speakers have become a rarity in the world of smartphones, but Google has fit them on here even though it increased the screen size and reduced the bezels. On top of this, both Pixel 2 phones feature a camera that's easily in the top of the charts no matter which measurement you use, and Google's regular updates keep it on a newer version of Android than almost any other phone out there.

Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ or Note 9

Samsung has made the best overall Android devices for some time now, and 2018 is no exception. While many feel this year is a bit "boring" in terms of new things, Samsung has perfected what it does, and offers more features and a more well-rounded device than anyone else. Three devices make up Samsung's 2018 flagship trio, and while the Galaxy S9 and S9+ have both been available for a few months now, Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 will be out on August 24th, and it's sure to be the best device you can possibly buy. That doesn't mean it's going to be cheap though, and while it's not the first thousand dollar phone to make it to market, it's certainly the latest, and the $1249 version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage makes it the highest spec phone money can buy. Whichever model you choose, Samsung's phones are the undisputed kings right now in 2018, and it's going to be hard to beat Samsung after what it has delivered this year.

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About the Author
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Nick Sutrich

Event / Reviews Editor
Nick has written for Androidheadlines since 2013, is Review Editor for the site, and has traveled to many tech events across the world. His background is as Systems Administrator and overall technology enthusiast. Nick loves to review all kind of different devices but specializes in Android smartphones, smartphone camera reviews, and all things VR, both here on the site and on our YouTube channel. He is very passionate about smartphones and the continued improvement they can bring into people’s lives and is an expert on many different types of technologies, including mobile devices, VR, and cameras. Contact him at [email protected]
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