As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome another new year, we like to reflect on the last 12 months of tech releases. Here at AndroidPIT, we are uniquely placed to offer cross-nation analysis. We have put together a round-up of the phones our readers voted as the best of 2018, country by country.
It’s been an interesting experiment. What do, for example, readers in France think compared to readers in Italy? What is it about a smartphone that resonates with German readers and not with those reading in an English-speaking country?
I’ll be honest, when I first started looking into the poll results for this article, I was expecting to find familiar picks at the top of every list. Yet, there were a few surprises in store. Let’s take a look.
Our English-speaking readers in America, the UK and around the world voted the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 as the best smartphone of 2018. The flagship is certainly impressive but it came with a rather hefty price tag. It is likely, however, that as the price began to fall, more and more people picked up this phone and fell in love with it.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which was voted the third best smartphone of 2018, is surprisingly high on the list given that the Chinese manufacturer is effectively banned from the United States, where a lot of our readers live. The OnePlus 6, which performed very well across all of our domains, was the second most popular choice for English-speaking readers.
One of the most surprising results of our end-of-year polls came from the Italian language version of AndroidPIT. Our Italian readers also chose the Samsung Galaxy Note9 as the number one smartphone of 2018, but more unexpectedly, it had to share top spot with the HTC U12+. We liked the HTC when we reviewed it back in the summer, but you’d probably have to go back to the Desire days to find a year when HTC topped a list for best smartphone on the market. Mamma Mia!
Our German readers provided the biggest margins of victory for a smartphone of 2018 of any market. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro took the title with 26% of the vote. The OnePlus 6 in second place was some way behind with 15%. Third place was taken by the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which received 13% of the vote.
Our German editors were also the only team to include Apple’s smartphones in their poll. The 2018 iPhone XS and XS Max, a combined entry, took 5% of the vote - enough to tie for the 7th spot with the Sony Xperia XZ3.
The Nokia 8 Sirocco secured 11% of the vote in France, which is a good result when you compare that share with how it performed in our other markets. Only 1% of English-speaking readers and 1% of Italians went for the compact Nokia, whilst in Spain, absolutely nobody voted for the Sirocco. Manufacturers of small smartphones should look to France to market their dinky devices, it seems!
Near the top of the charts in France are Samsung and Huawei, the two biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world right now. However, both were beaten by the OnePlus 6, another 2018 smartphone that polled well in every region. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro tied for second with 15% of the vote each.
It was a similar story in Spain, where the big boys dominated but were again beaten by the plucky OnePlus 6 from China. The OPPO subsidiary’s 2018 flagship scooped first prize with 21% of the vote, closely followed by the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
It was two Samsung phones that found themselves battling for a bronze medal. In Spain, it was the Note 9 (15% of the vote) that pipped the S9 (12%) to take third place. Also interesting in Spain was the performance of the Xiaomi Mi 8, which earned 7% of the vote. Xiaomi has made big moves in Spain over the last year or so, and I expect its 2019 phones to gain even more ground in this market next year. The Mi 8 only got 1% of the vote on our English language domain.
It was all about Samsung for our Portuguese readers in Brazil. Like a Williams one-two at Interlagos, it was two phones from the Korean manufacturer topping the podium. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 took first place, with 19% of the vote, followed by the S9 with 12%.
The Brazilian market was interesting in terms of its contrast to our European and North American audiences. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which performed well in Europe, only secured 8% of the vote on our Portuguese language site, as did the OnePlus 6 and 6T.
The overall winners and losers of 2018
When we analyze the results across all the countries in which we polled readers, the results begin to look a little different. The best smartphone worldwide, according to AndroidPIT readers? It’s the Mate 20 Pro! The result was thanks to excellent performances in Germany and Spain.
What is also interesting is the performance of Google’s own Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The Made by Google smartphones, which launched in late 2018, polled disappointingly across the board and did especially poorly in Italy. Sony and LG, which typically attract smaller, more hardcore fanbases, did not pull up any trees in our polls either.
We need to give a special shout out to the Razor Phone 2, which did not receive a single vote across any of the six domains. We’ll leave you with a list of the top seven smartphones of 2018, based on merged poll results across our six domains for English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese. Percentages are for the total share.
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro (16.1%)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (16%)
- OnePlus 6/6T (14.8%)
- Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ (11.1%)
- Google Pixel 3/3 XL (6.3%)
- Sony Xperia XZ3 (2.8%)
- LG G7 Thinq (1.6%)
What do you think about the worldwide results? Are you surprised? Let us know in the comments.