Fall is soon to be upon us, and that means the hottest phone release season of the year. We're hot on the heels of Samsung's big Fall release, the Galaxy Note 9, and are expecting big things of flagships from Huawei, Sony, Google, Xiaomi and plenty of others too. If you're in the market for a smartphone now though it doesn't always make sense to wait, especially since there's not much in the pipeline for huge hardware improvements before the year is over. Let's take a look at what the best Android phones for the month of September 2018 are!
vivo NEX S
Looking for something a little different from the norm this Fall? How about a phone with no notch, no bezels, a pop-up camera, in-glass fingerprint scanner and killer specs to go along with it? vivo has produced one of the most stunning phones to come out in 2018, and it's a phone that has no real compromise in its design. It's got powerhouse performance, killer battery life with that huge 4,000mAh battery, an awesome camera and tons of user-friendly features, but it's definitely not the phone for everyone. 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage are near the top of the charts as far as specs go, and the Snapdragon 845 inside paired with an OLED display mean that you'll be enjoying gorgeous high-definition content without slowdown. It works perfectly on T-Mobile and AT&T's US LTE networks, and any GSM-based MVNO in the US as well. If you want the most cutting edge design and features that you'll find on any phone right now, this is absolutely the phone to consider.
LG G7 ThinQ or LG V35 ThinQ
LG continues to offer two of the most compelling flagships of 2018 with the V35 ThinQ on AT&T or Project Fi, and the G7 ThinQ on T-Mobile. Both phones are available unlocked as well and will work on virtually any network that utilizes SIM cards, and while both of these phones feature near-identical specs when it comes to processing and cameras, they each offer unique features that might make one more compelling than the other. LG's V35 ThinQ sports a gorgeous notch-less OLED panel up front and a super thin and light body all around. The LG G7 ThinQ Utilizes an ultra-bright IPS LCD display with smaller bezels all around, albeit a notch up top, and improves the speakers on body by adding in what LG calls a "Boombox speaker." The V35 features a 300mAh larger battery than the G7, but the rest of the specs are identical outside of this. Depending on your carrier of choice, LG has two fantastic phones to choose from this year.
HTC has been making incredible flagship Android phones since the original Android phone to hit the market, the HTC Dream. Often you'll find that HTCs phones sport at least one major feature that other OEMs simply don't have, and it's here where we find Edge Sense 2.0's shining example of innovation. While some scoffed at the "squeezable bezels" when HTC launched the U11 last year, this year's U12+ improves upon those features and adds in a new double-tap gesture as well. The HTC Edge Launcher is probably one of the single most convenient ways to launch up to 22 of your favorite apps or perform actions, and all the other little goodies HTC has packed inside are well worth the price of entry. It's also got class-leading video recording options, including silky smooth 4K 60FPS recording that's incredibly well stabilized too. Don't forget the amazing colors HTC is packing, including both the transparent blue we had for review, as well as the stunning Flame Red color too.
It's been quite some time since BlackBerry has made a show-stopping device, but the BlackBerry KEY2 absolutely fits that description in just about every way. Sporting a very uncommon form factor in 2018, the BlackBerry KEY2 focuses on speed, convenience and security to wrap up the package nicely, and it's these areas where the phone shines above and beyond others on the market. It's difficult to describe just how convenient that keyboard is in a short span of time, but it's not just about physical keys for typing. The new Convenience Key allows for instant launching of up to 55 apps or other shortcuts or actions by pressing it alongside any other key on the keyboard. It's this sort of amazing multi-tasking that brings the KEY2 into the limelight, making this phone one of the fastest phones on the market, not because of raw power, but because of ways to perform actions and get things done without having to fuss with the home screen or shuffling through apps for specific features, as this can all be done from that physical keyboard.
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei's P20 Pro is easily one of the classiest devices on this list, with a range of colors that will make even a jeweler blush. Huawei has just launched 4 new colors to coincide with the celebration of 10 million P20 units shipped. Between the two models, that's a pretty incredible number, and it shows that Huawei can still perform well under adversity, despite the issues it has seen when trying to enter the US market. Huawei's P20 family both sport top-of-the-line specs, including Huawei's own in-house Kirin 970 SoC, as well as class-leading cameras all around. EMUI 8 packs in tons of features, and the upcoming EMUI 9 update brings Android 9 Pie alongside a bunch of other major headlining features as well. With 2-day battery life and a sleek and slender build, the P20 Pro is easily one of the best phones you'll be able to buy this year, even with the Mate 20 just around the corner.
OnePlus continues to make its value-focused phone even more valuable with consistent updates and regular feature additions. The recently released Android 9.0 Pie beta further shows this, as OnePlus has been among the elite few who have had Android 9.0 Pie betas throughout the development period this summer, and now OnePlus's own OxygenOS skin is available in beta for the new Android version as well. Outside of this, the OnePlus 6 offers among the fastest experiences on the market, a feature-rich and gorgeous skin on top of Android, and a camera that's in the top of the charts for quality, not to mention sporting a software design that's faster and more intuitive than any other out there. It's OnePlus's most expensive device yet, but it's easily among the best devices they've ever produced.
Sony Xperia XZ2
Sony may have just announced the Xperia XZ3 at IFA 2018, but that doesn't make the Xperia XZ2 any worse of a buy right now, especially considering the significantly cheaper price you'll be able to get the XZ2 for when compared to the upcoming XZ3. Sony has absolutely hit its stride with the Xperia XZ2, a phone that debuted Sony's new Ambient Flow design language, and sports some of the fastest and smoothest operation of any flagship, as well as killer battery life and the only family of smartphones on the market with the ability to record in 4K HDR quality. Sony is also one of the elite few to have an Android 9 Pie beta during the summer beta period, and should have their official feature-filled update out soon as a result.
Google Pixel 2 XL
It's a no brainer that, when you think of buying an Android phone, buying one of Google's own Pixel phones certainly makes the most sense. As the creator of Android, it logically follows that buying Google's own phone would deliver the most pure experience possible, and it's this, combined with the camera prowess that Google commands, that puts the Pixel 2 XL in the running for best Android smartphone around. Monthly security updates, major OS updates without delay, excellent support from Google, and a handful of exclusive features like unlimited full-quality photo and video backup from Google are just the tip of what makes the Pixel experience one-of-a-kind.
Samsung Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+
In a survey asking people what company they first think of when the name "Android" is said, the likelihood is that Google wouldn't be the first, despite being the creator and proprietor of the business. Rather, you're more likely to hear Samsung than any other name, and that's with good reason. While Samsung's marketing muscle may have been what brought some folks to their flagship Galaxy phones, it's the features and wide compatibility with accessories and exclusive services that keep many on the Samsung train, and it's in these ways that Samsung has one-upped themselves once again with the Galaxy S9 family, which builds upon the strengths of the Galaxy S8's design, and packs a few more features in as well. It's the most feature-packed phone you can get, ouside of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and it's these features that often put Samsung in a class of their own when it comes to phones.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung's Galaxy Note line has been the king of the hill for some time now, and this year is an exceptional entry into an already exceptional heritage of phones. Sporting a 30% larger battery, bigger screen with reduced bezels, and an S-Pen with Bluetooth technology inside, the Galaxy Note 9 is the phone that can do everything you need, and plenty of things you didn't know you needed as well. It's far easier to list the things this phone can't do rather than give the epic laundry list of options available, and Samsung is packing in more than ever, all while doubling down on sustained performance over the life of the phone with a new water-carbon cooling system inside. Bottom line is this: you'll pay a lot, but you'll get a lot, and it's here where the power users will find their niche in the Galaxy Note 9.