“What is the best phone?”

Such a loaded question, but it’s probably the first thing anyone who meets me asks. It’s a fair query, but there’s so many things to consider for each potential buyer out there that there’s no true answer. Heck, that’s why you’re at Android Authority in the first place: Android phones offer a level of choice that simply can’t be matched by Apple, and the array of options is dizzying. There’s no one-size-fits-all phone out there.

We’re here to help guide you through it.

How we determined award winners

We haven’t finished releasing awards articles yet, so check back here as the days march on for more content. These are the award categories we considered:

After subjecting each phone to a battery of objective and subjective tests, we normalized the scores so that each assessment is as fair as it possibly could be. For example, we didn’t want anything you can’t perceive to make a difference in how we award our phones.

Though it’s a little less visible this time around, our testing is now far more serious. We drew help from our friends in the industry to ramp this up, including display experts SpectraCal, digital imaging pros Imatest, the brains behind Geekbench (Primate Labs), and our colleagues at SoundGuys to run each phone through a super-deep performance gantlet. We’ve moved from a test bench to two labs that can even detect fraudulent benchmark performance you won’t get in the real world.

This year's crop of devices is exciting in ways that only the Android ecosystem can be.

We found that unlike in previous years, most 2018 phones do pretty well, which means now it’s about finding which phones have something truly special to offer. Only phones that truly earned their spot were given awards, but this year that number expanded due to the fact that this year’s crop of devices is exciting in ways that only the Android ecosystem can be.

OnePlus 6 vs Pocophone F1 Benchmarks

We put every phone through its paces, no matter the model.

We nearly tripled our candidates from last year, with 30 models being tested, argued over, and assessed. We had actually hoped to test more, but some models simply weren’t available. Others were disqualified if their replacements were released, or if they’re at the end of their retail lives. We feel this is the best representation of the Android field as of November 16, 2018.

Best of Android 2018: The candidates

If your eyes glazed over a bit, don’t worry: many of those phones are designed for a certain niche. Each awards article will only deal with the handsets that truly excel in each category, which typically is about 5-7 models.

Who’s your winner?

A graphic showing the bracket competition for Android Authority's Reader's Choice award.

24 phones enter, one remains after a month of head-to-head competition.

For the month of November, we’re running a bracket-style competition for the illustrious Reader’s choice award. Every day, we conduct polling on our site, and social feeds to determine which phones win in a head-to-head competition. The final remaining phone will win the award.

But that’s not all: we’re also giving away three phones this year, and you can enter the drawing every time you vote in a matchup! So be sure to check back every day to maximize your chances of winning.

We sincerely hope you enjoy our Best of Android content, and would love to hear back from you to figure out what we can improve next year. We didn’t have time to discuss every data point, but we left no stone unturned in our quest to provide you with the information you need.

All that we do is for our readers, and we hope to help you make the best decisions on your smartphone journey.