With Android thoroughly dominating the mobile industry, picking the best Android smartphones is almost synonymous with choosing the best smartphones, period. While Android phones have few real opponents on other platforms, internal competition is incredibly fierce. From sleek devices that impress with premium design, to powerhouses brimming with features, to all-around great devices, and affordable phones that punch above their weight, the Android ecosystem is populated by a staggering variety of attractive phones. But which of them are the best smartphones of 2018?
“Greatness” is subjective, and sometimes spec sheets and feature lists are not enough to make an idea of how good a phone really is. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best — the Android phones of 2018 you can’t go wrong with.
Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list as new devices launch.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are Google’s latest and best flagship smartphones, and they’re great at just about everything. They don’t have as many bells or whistles as some of the other entries on this list, but if you’re in the market for a simple Android phone, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL are great options.
The Pixel 2 and 2 XL have 5- and 6-inch OLED displays, front-facing speakers, and top-of-the-line specs under the hood — a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM, as well as 64 or 128GB of on board storage.
They also have two of the best Android smartphone cameras available. Not only have these phones been named two of the best smartphone cameras on the market according to DxOMark, we found the Pixel 2’s main camera to be incredibly impressive in most situations. There’s even a portrait mode on the front and back cameras, even though the phone doesn’t have a dual-camera setup.
Despite the handful of issues with the Pixel 2 XL’s display, we’d still happily recommend either phone to anyone looking for the best Android phones of 2018 out there.
- Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL review: The way Android is meant to be
- Google Pixel 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8: the flagship battle
- Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL specs: Google’s vision for the modern flagship
- Google Pixel 2 cases: here are some of the best you can buy
- Google Pixel 2 XL cases: here are some of your best options
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus
The biggest improvements in the Galaxy S9 have to do with the camera. The S9 sports a single Dual Pixel 12MP autofocus sensor with OIS, along with support for two apertures at f/1.5 and f/2.4. This mechanical iris lens is able to switch between apertures depending on the lighting conditions. If you need something even more powerful, the Galaxy S9 comes with a dual-camera setup on the back.
Samsung also included its own creepier version of Apple’s Animoji, called AR Emoji, allowing you to make GIFs and send cartoony videos to your friends.
These are new Samsung smartphone flagships, so it’s no surprise that they feature the most top-of-the-line specs currently available. They come with 5.8- and 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED displays, 4 and 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and both are powered by either the Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 SoC depending on your region.
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review: Top-notch notch-less
- Samsung Galaxy S9 release date, price, and availability
- Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus specs: All about refinements
- Bixby on the Samsung Galaxy S9: It’s not all bad
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus vs Pixel 2 XL: Two of the best
Huawei P20 Pro
For starters, these are some of the most eye-catching devices we’ve see so far. Both models are available in a few different colors, but the P20 Pro comes in a unique twilight edition that features a glossy blue-to-purple gradient that changes tone depending on the lighting condition. That’s not the only reason the P20 Pro will be a head-turner, either. The higher-end model comes with three rear-facing cameras at 20, 8, and 40MP. The 20 and 40MP cameras do lack OIS, but Huawei says its AI-assisted stabilization will make up for users’ shaky hands.
These are Huawei’s first 2018 flagships, so both phones have some killer under-the-hood specifications, too. The P20 comes with a 5.8-inch Full HD+ LCD display, 4GB of RAM, and a 3,400mAh battery, while the P20 Pro sports a 6.1-inch Full HD+ OLED display, 6GB of RAM, and a 4,000mAh battery. Both devices are powered by Huawei’s Kirin 970 SoC, which can also be found in the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.
- Huawei P20 Pro review: The Galaxy S9 killer
- Best Huawei P20 Pro cases
- Huawei P20 vs P20 Pro: Do you need the triple camera?
- Huawei P20 Pro vs Galaxy S9 Plus: All the camera features you could want
- Huawei P20 Pro vs iPhone X: Notches galore
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
After a controversial 2016, Samsung’s Galaxy Note line is back in full force. With top-of-the-line specs, a stunning design, a dual-camera setup, and new software features, the Galaxy Note 8 is still one of the best Android phones you can buy right now.
The Note 8’s near-bezel-less 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Infinity Display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio is one of our favorite parts about this phone. DisplayMate agrees with us too. It’s big — maybe too big for some people — but at least the company puts that screen to good use. There’s a new App Pairing feature that allows you to open up two favorited apps in multi-window at the same time, and there are a few new S Pen features that will satisfy the stylus users out there.
What’s more, the dual-camera setup on the back performs incredibly well. While picture quality isn’t a huge step up from what we saw on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the extra 12MP sensor with OIS allows you to take clear, concise photos and impressive bokeh shots in just about any situation.
No, it’s not perfect, but no phone is. Samsung’s fingerprint sensor placement on the Note 8 is still super annoying (luckily it’s been fixed with the S9), and this phone is expensive. If those things don’t matter to you though, the Note 8 might be the right phone for you. Check out our full review below!
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: Do bigger things at a bigger price
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 specs: Perfection on paper
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 color comparison
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs the competition
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Essential Phone
The V30 is the current flagship Android phone from LG, which has been struggling to compete, at least in sales, with its biggest Android rival Samsung. It is also the successor to 2016’s LG V20, which included a secondary 2.1-inch screen on top for showing app shortcuts, media controls, and more. The V30 does away with that secondary display, and instead has one nearly bezel-free 6-inch screen, using LG’s new Plastic OLED (pOLED) panel. LG offers a slide-out menu on the phone’s display (called the Floating Bar) that floats around the screen as a substitute (sort for) for folks who might miss the secondary display.
In terms of hardware specs, the LG V30 has everything you would expect from a flagship phone in early 2018. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with 4GB RAM, along with 64GB of onboard storage, a 3,300mAh battery, and a IP68 dust and water resistance rating. LG is heavily promoting the advanced camera and photography features on the V30, too. It has a dual rear camera that includes a 16MP sensor with a f/1.6 aperture, along with a 13MP sensor with a f/1.9 aperture. The rear camera has a Crystal Clear Lens instead of plastic, which should mean you should get more realistic looking photos with the V30. Video creators should have fun with software features like Cine Video, which allows users to quickly put in video effects, along with Point Zoom, which will let owners zoom into any point in a video.
Audiophiles should also be happy with the LG V30, as it has support for Hi-Fi Quad DAC tuned by B&O Play. It is also the first smartphone to support MQA, which is supposed to let users stream high-res audio, but with a smaller file size and no loss in quality. It’s still one of the best smartphones of 2018.
- LG V30 review: A photography and videography dream
- LG V30 specs: A true multimedia machine
- Five reasons why the LG V30 is better than the Galaxy Note 8
- LG V30 vs Galaxy Note 8: camera features
- Best LG V30 cases
The OnePlus 5 was a solid smartphone, but it wasn’t really up to 2017’s standards on the design front. That’s why OnePlus changed things up quite a bit with the OnePlus 5T, making it one of the top Android phones.
The first thing you’ll notice with the 5T is its bit 6.01-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This makes the device look more in line with other 2017 devices, especially because its predecessor came with a more traditional 16:9 screen. The under-the-hood specs are mostly the same as the OnePlus 5’s, but OnePlus decided to switch up the camera setup this time around. Now, in place of the OnePlus 5’s telephoto lens, the 5T sports a secondary 20 MP sensor that uses a fancy new technology called Intelligent Pixel Technology. Basically, it takes better low-light photos than before.
The other big change with the 5T is in regards to biometric security. Not only has the fingerprint sensor moved around to the back, you can also unlock the 5T using face recognition. It’s super fast, but we’ve found it to miss a handful of times for some unknown reason.
Perhaps the biggest missing feature on the 5T is an IP rating for dust and water resistance, which is a feature pretty much every other flagship device has. If you can get past that, the OnePlus 5T will be a great option for most people — especially because it costs a fraction of the price of most competing smartphones.
- OnePlus 5T review: It’s all about that screen
- Best OnePlus 5T cases
- OnePlus 5T specs: 18:9 display and still no water resistance
- OnePlus 5T price, release date, and deals
- OnePlus 5T vs OnePlus 5: worth the upgrade?
Cast your vote, and participate in our giveaway!
There you have it — our picks from the best Android phones of 2018. Out of those listed, which do you feel is the very best smartphone of 2018? Be sure to sound off in the poll below. Each month we will also be conducting a giveaway, giving our readers a chance to win the phone with the most votes.
Congratulations to Adrian L. (Australia), winner of our April 2018 giveaway!
Looking for something more specific than just the best phone of 2018? Maybe the best cheap phone, a dual-SIM phone, or something specific to your carrier? No matter what you’re looking for, we have you covered:
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