You’re searching for your next phone and all you want to know is what your best option is. Well, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of the best Android smartphones regardless of price. These devices are the cream of the crop. They’ll offer excellent performance and a long lifespan.
Without further ado, here are our picks in no particular order.
OnePlus continues to deliver flagship devices at unbelievable prices. The OnePlus 6 starts off at $529 and offers excellent specs, build quality, and a second-to-none software experience.
The OnePlus 6 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. The octa-core chip is clocked at 2.8 GHz and is fast as hell. Backing up the SoC is either 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 64, 128, or 256 GB of storage. While there’s no expandable storage here, OnePlus offers a ton of storage standard and it’s only about $50 to purchase a model with higher capacity.
On the back of the phone, we find a dual 16 + 20 MP camera setup. Both of the sensors have a f/1.7 aperture, while the main sensor has both EIS and OIS for extra stability. The front-facing camera is a 16 MP f/2.0 sensor that promises excellent selfies.
One of the biggest changes for OnePlus is going to a glass back. Previous iterations normally had metal backs, but this year we’re seeing a gorgeous black or white glass that gives the OP6 an even more premium look. Unfortunately, we still don’t have wireless charging, but OnePlus does include its excellent DASH charging that promises a day’s worth of battery in just an hour of charging.
OnePlus 6 purchase links: OnePlus
LG G7 ThinQ
Embrace the notch! LG certainly has with the LG G7. The latest flagship from the South Korean giant features a notched 6.1-inch IPS LCD with a 3120 x 1440 resolution. Last year we saw phones finally break through to the 18:9 aspect ratio, but now we’re seeing device manufacturers like LG push that to an insane 19.5:8. The display is surrounded but incredibly small bezels and features a small chin on the bottom of the phone. If you’re alright with a notch, you might agree that this is a pretty handsome phone.
Like most 2018 flagships, the LG G7 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, 4 or 6 GB of RAM, and 64 or 128 GB of RAM. A 3000 mAh battery might feel underwhelming but LG promises all-day battery life and there’s quick charge onboard for when you need to top off.
Where LG hopes to differentiate itself is in its AI capabilities. AI is starting to feel like a buzzword right now, but LG hopes that some new camera functionality and smart battery capabilities are enough to win customers over.
Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL
These phones really need no introduction. Google’s own flagships are nothing short of excellent. Despite some early issues, the Google Pixel 2 XL is the flagship of choice for many power users, while the smaller Pixel 2 gives those who want a smaller device a compelling option. No matter how big you like your screen, you can’t go wrong with a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.
The devices feature Google’s vision for the Android operating system. The small additions that Google has added into pure Android make the Pixel devices a joy to use and some of the fastest and smoothest on the market. If there’s one thing Google does right, it’s software.
Another thing that Google absolutely nailed is the speakers in the Pixels. Both devices feature front-facing speakers that rank near that best for any phone on the market. While they aren’t the loudest in history, they sound great and speakers pointed toward you are always going to sound better than ones pointed away from you. We absolutely love the speakers on the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
Last but certainly not least is the camera. The Pixels have what is widely seen as the best camera in a smartphone on the market. The camera app is dead simple and just takes great shots. A portrait mode gives a great depth-of-field effect, and pictures feel true to life and give plenty of detail. If you want the phone with the best camera, the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL is a no-brainer.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus
Samsung’s newest phones are also its best phones. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus came out less than a month ago to high praise around the tech industry. While there aren’t huge changes from last year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, there didn’t need to be for Samsung to stay atop the Android latter.
The most notable new addition to the devices is the dual mechanical aperture lens. Depending on your lighting, the lens will change between a f/1.5 aperture and a f/2.4 aperture. This allows the camera to let in more light when it needs it. In practice, pictures look absolutely fantastic, just like they did last year. The new camera setup does improve the reduction of noise in low-light situations and maintaining fine lines in pictures. While most may not notice a difference, it is there and camera hounds will know what to look for.
Read more: How to get Android 8.0 AOSP on the Galaxy S9
Another notable change is how Samsung is differentiating the two devices. While last year’s devices both featured a single camera and 4 GB of RAM, that’s not the case this year. Spending the extra ~$120 on the Galaxy S9 Plus will get you an extra 2 GB of RAM (to 6 GB total) which matches the Galaxy Note 8. It also has a dual camera system, where the S9 just has a single shooter.
Despite their differences, the devices are largely the same. Both feature the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that promises better performance and better battery life. Both have all-day battery life and Android Oreo on board, along with Samsung’s own software enhancements.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Despite the controversy that surrounds the company, Huawei churns out great devices every year. This year is no different with the Mate 10 Pro. The device is Huawei’s best phone ever and offers customers blistering speed, fantastic looks, and quality build quality.
Like most flagships released in 2017, Huawei opted for a glass and metal sandwich for the Mate 10 Pro. This gives the device an ultra-premium feel in the hand. When you pick it up, you instantly remember why you dropped $800 on the device. It feels like something that would cost that much.
Between the glass on the front and back of the device sits an absolutely gigantic battery. The battery measures in at 4,000 mAh making it one of the largest on the market today. It tops battery champs like the Pixel 2 XL and OnePlus 5T, being equaled only by the Razer Phone. Combining that big of a battery with strong background restrictions in software means that the Mate 10 Pro ranks near the top of the charts in battery life.
The Mate 10 Pro ships with the brand new Kirin 970 chips that boasts enhanced A.I. capabilities. What exactly does that mean? Huawei says that the chip has an on-board NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that allows it to process A.I.-related tasks faster than ever. This lets the Mate 10 Pro provide contextually aware smart tips, offer better noise cancelation in calls, and scene recognition in the camera application. This is one seriously smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 combines power, speed, and beauty to be one of the best smartphones of the year. Samsung simply had to put out an amazing device after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco and it delivered. The Galaxy Note 8 is expensive at a $999 initial asking price, but delivers some of the best performance available on a smartphone today.
The standout feature of the Galaxy Note 8 has to be the display. The 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display features the new 18:9 aspect ration that most phones moved to in 2017. It’s big, bright, and the colors pop unlike any other on the market. Combine a beautiful curved display with almost no bezels and you have a recipe for success. One thing to keep in mind is that the display is one of the largest on the market and even though the bezels are tiny, the phone is too big for most people to use one-handed. If you have smaller hands, you may want to consider other options.
Samsung finally joined the dual-camera club with the Galaxy Note 8. Though Samsung had featured dual cameras on some of its mid-range phones, the Note 8 was the first flagship the company produced with the camera setup. And boy did it impress! DxOMark gave the Samsung Galaxy Note 8‘s camera a 94 rating. One of the biggest reasons it scored so highly was the excellent zoom feature that the second lens enables on the device. The device also got high scores for autofocus, flash, exposure, and contrast.
While Samsung’s software skin may have been a reason to avoid its devices in the past, that has changed in recent years. Samsung made some smart design and aesthetic choices which makes using its devices fun and easy. There are still a ton of features packed in, but you don’t feel overwhelmed when setting up the phone or during daily use. Samsung gives you the tools to make the phone function exactly how you want it to.