There's certainly no shortage of excellent choices when it comes to selecting the Android-powered phone that's right for you in 2018. Now that Phonetober is out of the way, we've got a massive list of amazing devices to choose from, one of which is certain to get you excited for its new features and powerful new hardware. Our lists aren't just to display the absolute best phone available though, they're primarily designed to help people looking for a specific niche or need, as many of these phones specialize in one area or another. Ready to find your next phone?
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
Google's Pixel project has long been a mainstay for Android enthusiasts, but something has changed a bit this year. It still offers the most "pure" experience you'll find among many big-name vendors, but that pure experience has taken on a bit of a different look and feel with Android 9 Pie. As the most polarizing version of Android ever, Android 9 Pie introduces some big changes to navigation and multitasking that some users are less than thrilled with, while others feel right at home with the new systems. Google has had its fair share of issues with the Pixel 3 family this year, but there's something the Pixel family has that no other Android phone can claim: regular monthly software updates. Sometimes these are just security patches, other times they aim to fix problems or introduce new features, but it's the update schedule that has had many folks sold on the idea of owning Google's own phone, regardless of the issues these updates can sometimes cause. Google also offers unlimited full-size photo and video backup through its cloud services, as well as excellent support straight within the settings menu. You can pick up the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL straight from Google, or via Project Fi and Verizon.
Unlike some devices, the HTC U12+ keeps getting better with age, as HTC has solved many of the issues folks had when the phone first launched, including fixes to those unique force-touch buttons on the side. The HTC U12+ offers a more advanced side-sensing technology than any other phone out there, offering the ability to use taps and squeezes on the sides in addition to just touching the screen with your finger. In addition to these excellent gestures, the cameras on the HTC U12+ still rank among the best out there, and the audio recording quality on videos is second to none. With the ability to not just zoom in on your subject with higher video quality, thanks to the secondary telephoto lens, but to also hone in on the audio coming from that particular spot with the amazing directional microphones on the device. It's a powerful phone with powerful features, but be sure to check out our review if you want more info!
Razer Phone 2
Gamers are certainly going to be familiar with the name Razer, and folks who are looking for the best possible mobile gaming experience don't need to look anywhere else. With an eye-watering 120hz screen up front, the frame rates from the Razer Phone 2 are going to blow your mind, delivering the smoothest gaming performance of any phone on the market, bar none. Combine this with a stellar pair of stereo front-facing speakers and a new sleeker glass build with RGB lighting, you'd got a gamer's dream all packed into one device.
Sony Xperia XZ2
Despite Sony recently releasing the Xperia XZ3, which features a significantly improved screen and sleeker design over its predecessor, the Xperia XZ2 still packs all the same main specs and identical rear-camera setup for a fraction of the price of Sony's latest. It's also got the advantage of offering a choice of two sizes, while the Xperia XZ3 only comes in one large size. There's no doubting the Xperia XZ3 is an improvement in many ways over the XZ2, but when it comes to value it's hard to argue against the XZ2's excellent price, as the larger Xperia XZ2 can be had for around $650, while the smaller XZ2 Compact is selling for around $500 at this time of writing. Compare that with the $900 price tag of the XZ3 and you'll quickly understand why the XZ2 is such a great deal. Check out our reviews to find out more!
LG V40 ThinQ
The LG V40 ThinQ is a device that shines in every possible way, from its excellent display to the 5 cameras on the body, this is a stunning phone any way you look at it. A new design that takes much from the Spring's LG G7 ThinQ combines the solid feeling of that phone with the excellent OLED displays of the LG V series, stellar vibration motors that give the phone a depth of quality most simply don't have, as well as an amazing set of cameras with powerful manual modes, tons of extra features, and the ability to use all three rear cameras in one amazing shot. Looking for a powerhouse of a device? Look no further than LG's latest and greatest, the LG V40 ThinQ.
OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T
OnePlus has released two flagship devices each and every year for the past two years, but this year is something different. While previous years have debuted a "turbo-charged" model that replaces the Spring flagship, OnePlus doesn't look to necessarily be replacing the OnePlus 6 with the OnePlus 6T, rather it's offering both phones at the same time, sporting nearly identical specs, but offering different ways of unlocking the phone. The OnePlus 6 sports a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, while the OnePlus 6T offers up an in-glass fingerprint scanner instead. The OnePlus 6T is also available at T-Mobile US officially, sold in all T-Mobile stores nationwide, marking the first time OnePlus has made an official Stateside debut. With blazing fast speed, a stellar camera, near non-existent bezels, and faster than average update schedules, both phones offer a compelling, speedy experience that certainly deserves a look, especially at the price offered. Going for $529 and $549 for the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, respectively, you'll find most flagship features on this device despite a lower price tag.
Huawei Mate 20 Family
Huawei's Mate 20 family is an incredible line of devices that covers just about every niche one could think of. Whether it's utilizing advanced 3D facial recognition or in-glass fingerprint scanning to unlock the phone, feeling the luxurious etched glass texture on the back of either phone, or taking in the near-bezelless design of both Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, Huawei has crafted another stellar series of phones that's sure to please. The rear camera configuration has been redesigned when comparing to the Spring's Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, and while it still features 3 cameras, the secondary monochrome camera has been replaced with a new RGB sensor that's behind a wide-angle lens, also capable of shooting some amazing macro photography. There's even a whole host of new AI-powered video modes that can isolate a subject and blur the background for a more SLR-like look, or even take black & white video with colorized people, zoom in on a subject and always keep them in frame automatically, and plenty more. These phones are as feature-packed as you can get, so be sure to take a look at what's available between the two because it's going to be tough to match these specs and features anywhere.
Pocophone F1 by Xiaomi
No company has covered the term "value" as well as Xiaomi, and it's their new brand that is once again redefining the word. The Pocophone F1 by Xiaomi sports identical internal specs as even the most expensive flagship devices but does so at a truly unbelievable price of $350. With a price like that it's obvious that some corners had to be cut, but most of the experience is more than just acceptable, it's generally fantastic. A 6.18-inch 2246 x 1080 resolution LCD display and dual-rear cameras match the specs of many top-of-the-line phones, and Xiaomi's MIUI 10 brings a beautiful, feature-rich software vision to the phone. With 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 845, you're going to be multitasking with power and blazing through the latest mobile games. There's little not to like here, and while it doesn't bring about the ultra-premium-feeling builds of more expensive phones or the absolute best camera in the business, it's hard to argue when you can buy 3 Pocophones for the price of a single flagship in many cases.
Samsung Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+
If you want features, value, the best displays in the business, and arguably the most well-rounded camera experience out there, look no further than Samsung's latest phones. While some years have shown Samsung devices are overrated when compared to other phones, 2018 has treated the South Korean tech giant with quite a bit of favor, and much of this has to do with Samsung doubling down on what it does best, all while finally getting rid of the stigma of the slow, clunky TouchWiz skin of old. They're going even further soon with the introduction of OneUI, a massive overhaul of basically everything from a UI standpoint, debuting with the Android 9 Pie update this coming January. In the meantime, Samsung still offers the most feature-rich experience possible, and the two sizes of the Galaxy S9 will ensure you find comfortable hardware to utilize Samsung at their best.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung's Galaxy Note line has been considered the king of Android by some for a while now, but this year truly fulfills the expectations of those folks. While it looks visually near identical to 2017's Note 8 in most respects, the Galaxy Note 9 further trims the bezels, reworks the fingerprint scanner location to be more comfortable, and improves upon the rest of the experience in every way possible. With a massive battery, a brand-new S-Pen with Bluetooth functionality, and more features and options than you can shake a stick at, Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 is the ultimate Android smartphone available today. Samsung has taken the idea of user customization and turned it up to 11. Colors, styles, gestures, icons, sounds, wallpapers, and basically anything you can think of changing is customizable on the Note 9, and you'll likely be surprised for months when thinking about what this device can really do. There's always something new to be found, and with the upcoming OneUI refresh, we're hopeful Samsung is working to add more features and options than ever before, creating the biggest and best experience around.