In this list, you'll find our top picks for the best smartphones on the market right now. To help you pick the one that's right for you, in addition to simply naming the best overall devices, we've broken things down into several categories based on what users prioritize in their phone choices. Whether you want a killer camera or the best battery life, we've got you covered.
Jump to section:
- The best of the best
- The best price-performance ratio
- The best battery life
- The best for photography
- The best under $500
- The best under $250
- The best compact phone
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is, for us, the best Android smartphones of the moment. What we mean by this is that this device offers the best possible experience with the Google OS. With the addition of the new S-Pen, the Note 9 is the complete package, pulling together performance, display quality and battery life. For an all-round package that delivers every time, you can't overlook the 2018 Note 9 from Samsung.
If you have an unlimited budget, consider buying one of the crown jewels of the South Korean brand: it's the ideal solution for those who want a device with an elegant and ergonomic design, perfect for playing, watching movies and watching videos without giving up any quality, down to the last detail. Their weakness? Battery life is not their strong suit, but with some simple tips, you can get a bit more life out of them.
- My first weekend with the Note 9 as a reluctant S-Pen user
- Galaxy Note 9 vs Galaxy Note 8: Is it time to switch?
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro impressed us at first sight. It is not only elegant but also easy to use with one hand. The build quality and finish are simply impeccable. The Mate 20 Pro also features 3 rear cameras (a 40-megapixel main sensor + 20-megapixel monochrome sensor + 8-megapixel telephoto lens) that work together to improve photo quality (3x optical zoom, laser autofocus, larger pixels).
With its Mate 20 Pro, Huawei clearly is at the level of the Samsung Note 9 or the new Apple iPhone XS. In this range, what makes the difference is taste and some special features that are important to some customers. On the Mate 20 Pro, this feature could well be the triple Leica camera with AI night mode feature, plus that Kirin 980 SoC.
It must be admitted, OnePlus certainly made its mark on the mobile phone market since arriving a few years ago. Along with the Honor 10, the OnePlus 6T is certainly the best at the moment in terms of value for money. Its interface is also one of the most pleasant on the market because it's so close to Android stock.
Its screen is excellent thanks to Optic AMOLED technology. Its design is in line with modern trends, it feels good in-hand and it is one of the most powerful phones on the market. And, of course, you have to take into account the reasonable price for both the 6 GB and 8 GB RAM versions.
The Honor 9 won us over last year, and the magic happened again this year. The Honor 10 has a great mix of quality and performance for the price. With a user-friendly LCD screen of 5.84 inches, the device is visually appealing on the front, and the way the light plays on the back is sure to please the crowds. Even the camera is convincing. Plus, there's a headphone jack!
On the inside, we find the house Kirin 970 SoC (four Cortex-A73 clocked at 2.4 GHz and four Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.8 GHz) and 4 GB of RAM. It also has a solid dual camera with 12 megapixels + 20 megapixels on the back, and an 8-megapixel front shooter. Everything is accompanied by a particularly fast fingerprint scanner on the front, fast charging and a battery with a capacity of 3,000 mAh.
The latest phablet from Huawei brings battery life that should inspire all smartphones on the market. The Mate 10 Pro reaches 48 hours of life without flinching. Even better, Huawei has a system to detect and manage power-hungry apps to improve resource management. The 4,000 mAh battery can be charged very quickly thanks to Huawei's technology: in 30 minutes you can go from 0 to 58%. When fully charged, the Mate 10 Pro can play 20 hours of video, or last 2 and a half days with average use.
For the rest, the Mate 10 Pro is a complete smartphone package for all use cases. Despite its large 6-inch screen, it's completely comfortable to hold thanks to its new format, which only reinforces the good opinion that we have on the device. It takes the best of the P10, and fixes its defects: a better battery life and an improved camera made in partnership with Leica. It's all under Android Oreo, the latest version of Android. In terms of performance, the Mate 10 Pro is among the best. We just regret its heaviness, close to 170 grams, but that's the trade-off to have such a huge screen and great battery life.
Google's third generation of Pixel flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, have earned their place among the best Android smartphones, and their number one spot in the category of the best camera phones is also well-deserved.
It's no surprise that we discover the Pixel 3 phones have the best camera of any smartphone on the market. Google has managed to make a device to match even the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 thanks to a perfect balance between software and hardware prowess. The Pixel devices may not have the most striking design, but it is their pure Android experience that makes these phones impressive.
- Google Pixel 3 hands-on: the best smartphone camera just got better
- Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3XL: what's in a notch?
It's difficult to choose between the two smartphones, so that's why we included both. The Samsung Galaxy S8 can be found for $499, putting it just under our $500 mark. The S8+, on the other hand, comes in at $589 but may still be worth considering laying down a bit of extra cash for if you simply must have a larger display. Both phones still offer some of the best specs and experience you can get from an Android phone, and they offer everything you'd expect from a high-end flagship (elegant design, SD card compatibility, water and dust resistance, brilliant display, etc.).
The two are quite similar. The key difference lies in the display size. The S8+ has the larger screen (6.2 vs 5.8 inches), and accordingly, its battery is 500 mAh larger at 3,500 mAh.
The design of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ is a subtle mix of metal and glass. Both versions offer special features that help you get the most out of the unique display. Don't forget the fingerprint reader in the back, the iris scanner and its top performance. In our review, the performance of both was consistently above average.
If you hesitate between buying a Galaxy S9 or S8, you will find all the necessary information in our comparison.
With the successor of the 7X, Honor continues to set the bar very high. The brand was able to adapt once again to the needs of the digital generation. For people looking for a good, affordable phone, the Honor 8X is a nice choice. It has the advantage of offering most high-end features, but with a price-performance ratio that leaves quite a few others on the sidelines, making it the cheapest phone on our list.
With regard to specs, this Android smartphone offers a 6.5-inch Full HD+ LCD display. High performance is delivered by the Kirin 710 processor, which manages resources well enough that, when paired with the 3,750 mAh battery, can keep the phone going for a day and a half. With a dual 20MP+2MP rear camera, the quality of the photos and the videos is on par with what you might expect.
Our final entry is a matter of taste that's important to many. Even budget phones nowadays are trying to be trendy and give you the biggest screen possible. But what if you care more about portability? Well, there are still good options.
Not everyone likes big smartphones and this is where the Sony Xperia XZ3 comes in. This device incorporates a smaller screen than most devices released this year and it demonstrates that even the "small" can challenge the big flagships. Especially because, despite its size, it does not forsake high-end hardware.
The Xperia XZ3 offers a Full HD 6-inch screen, a 3,330 mAh battery, a 19-megapixel rear camera and a Snapdragon 845 processor (coupled with 4 GB of RAM) ensuring excellent performance.
Which phones will rise to the top?
We update this list regularly as we review the new devices that hit the market. There are not many upcoming smartphones for the rest of 2018 that we expect to upset the current ranking.
What do you think? What phone you would you like to see in our selection? What is the best Android smartphone of the moment according to you?
This article has been rewritten since its first publication, so some comments may no longer be applicable.