The 15 Best Android Phones to Buy in 2018

Not a fan of the iPhone? These Android phones don't disappoint

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Pixel 2 at Amazon, “You can charge the battery for 15 minutes and get a full 7 hours of charge.”
  • Best Budget: Motorola Moto G6 (Unlocked) at Amazon, “Perfect for those who are looking for a smaller form factor.”
  • Best New Release: OnePlus 6 at Amazon, “The 16 MP front-facing camera allows for face recognition technology.”
  • Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 at Amazon, “The display gives you a 2960 x 1440 resolution and a pixel density of 516 ppi.”
  • Best for Photos: Huawei P20 Pro at Amazon, “Features a 6.1-inch OLED screen running at 2240x1080 for top-notch visuals.”
  • Best Value: Moto Z3 at Motorola, “The screen provides bright, dynamic colors, and color temperature and saturation.”
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus at Amazon, “lets more light in for every image and video and produces excellent nighttime photographic results.”
  • Runner-Up, Best New Release: LG G7 ThinQ at Amazon, “It brings an impressive set of specs to the table.”
  • Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S8 at Amazon, “It’s super speedy, thanks to its octa-core 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM.”
  • Runner-Up, Best for Photos: LG V30 at Best Buy, “the main camera is going to give you some serious Instagram edge.”
  • Best Audio/Sound: HTC 12+ (Unlocked) at Amazon “Creates an immersive and high-quality audio experience.”
  • Best for Gaming: Razer at Razer Zone “the first Android smartphone with UltraMotion technology.”
  • Best Phablet: Pixel 2 XL at Amazon “The XL shows off with a six-inch P-OLED screen and a resolution to match at 2880 x 1440 pixels.”
  • Best 2017 Phablet: Galaxy S8 Plus at Amazon “Offers fast performance with an octa-core 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM.”


Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Pixel 2

5

The Pixel 2 runs on the Android 8 Oreo OS, and will probably be the smoothest phone to do so because the hardware is designed by Google to work with the software. Speaking of running, the Snapdragon 835 processor is more than quick enough for the phone. Google claims you can charge the battery for 15 minutes and get a full 7 hours of charge, which will be clutch when you’re trying to juice up your phone on your Uber ride. There’s a 12.2 MP camera on the back (complete with a software-forward dual pixel function that tries to recreate that multi-lens feature found on the latest iPhones) and an 8 MP camera on the front, so your video calls to be smooth and crisp.

The phone looks pretty slick and has a unibody aluminum design (that doubles as a way to keep dust and water out of the device), and the five-inch AMOLED screen is the perfect balance between “not too big” and "wow, this thing looks good,” with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. There’s a nicely intuitive squeeze function called Active Edge sensors that calls up Google Assistant with the tightening of your hand and there’s even a proprietary Google Security chip built-in with three years of included security updates. The phone comes in 64GB and 128GB models, and it is a proper answer to the huge iPhone announcements of this year.

Best Budget: Motorola Moto G6 (Unlocked)

4.5

There are some corners of the smartphone market saved for top brands like Samsung and LG. But, despite often lower specs and less power, Motorola manages to remain in the conversation. That is, for the most part, because of its price point and reliability. The G6, Moto’s flagship offering, is no exception.

Sporting a comparatively small 5.7-inch display, this phone is perfect for those who are looking for a smaller form factor. How small? It's only 8.3 mm thick and weighing only 167 grams. The display is full HD+ (1080 x 2160), so while it won’t win any pixel races, it should hold its own for basic media consumption. They’ve rounded out the build with a USB-C port for charging and even maintained the headphone jack. The screen is made from Gorilla Glass 3 with a water-repellent coating, with a fingerprint reader on the front. The cameras, spec-wise, aren’t much to write home about, but Moto has kept up with the times offering some AI software for recognizing subjects in photos and optimizing the presets. The whole thing runs Android Oreo on 3GB of RAM with 32GB of internal storage (which you can expand 128 GB via micro SD card). Plus, as usual, Moto’s take on Android is very light, and thus has been built to last.

Check out our other reviews of the best Motorola phones available on the market today.

Best New Release: OnePlus 6

4.8

After much anticipation, the OnePlus 6 has been released. The company’s latest flagship is also its biggest phone thus far and one that is proving itself worthy competition to Android stalwarts like the Galaxy S9 and Pixel 2. The latest model from the Chinese company, which is just over four years old, pairs a Snapdragon 845 CPU with 8GB RAM and a 6.28-inch AMOLED screen for fast speeds and vibrant colors. The phone also features a camera that rivals others on the market: the 16 MP front-facing camera allows for face recognition technology. The OnePlus 6 can record slow-motion video, capturing footage up to 480 fps, and comes with its own video editing tools.

At 7.88 millimeters thick, the phone, which is primarily glass except for painted aluminum edges, isn’t as thin as other competitors but feels sturdy and comfortable to hold. The Android 8.1 Oreo OS keeps things moving swiftly as there is no extraneous bloatware, animations, or apps. However, the phone’s 3300mAh isn’t the strongest battery on the market, and the OnePlus 6 doesn’t come with IP67/68 certification or support for wireless charging.

Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

4.3

When it comes to new Samsung releases, the brand seesaws back and forth between a new Galaxy S and a Galaxy Note every year. That makes it pretty hard to draw a line in the sand when choosing the “best Samsung phone on the market,” but the Note 9’s updates are pretty spectacular. The 6.4-inch, Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display gives you a 2960 x 1440 resolution and a pixel density of 516 ppi. The front camera operates with an 8MP sensor at an aperture of f/1.7, while the back sports two camera systems — a super-speed Dual Pixel 12MP sensor behind a wide-angle lens that shoots at a switchable f/1.5-to-f/2.4 aperture, along with a 12MP AF sensor supporting a telephone lens shooting at f/2.4 aperture. They’ve both got optical image stabilization and the ability to shoot stunning 4K video.

Behind the scenes, the phone runs on a super-fast 64-bit Octa-Core Processor (cooking up speeds that max out at 2.8GHz). You can pick it up with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and the storage capacity can be 128GB or 512GB. Plus, if you want to add a MicroSD card, you can score up to 512GB more storage. The updated S Pen gives you great on-screen control, plus the added benefit of external Bluetooth functionality for completely new features. You can pick up the whole package in either Lavender Purple of Ocean Blue.

Take a peek at some of the other best Samsung phones​ you can buy.

Best for Photos: Huawei P20 Pro

4.6

The Android smartphone market is a saturated one, but Huawei’s latest P20 Pro shows that there’s still room to stand out. The sleek, glass-bodied phone, which comes in several standard colors, along with a gradient “Twilight” finish, features a 6.1-inch OLED screen running at 2240x1080 for top-notch visuals — literally. While the phone possesses a notch, allowing for space for the 24-megapixel front camera and the earpiece, it can be obscured completely for those who aren’t notch fans.

The hardware is relatively standard, with a Kirin 970 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, but it’s the Leica triple-camera system that differentiates the phone from its competitors. A 40-megapixel RGB camera, 20-megapixel monochrome camera, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera are paired for extraordinary photos. If the “Pro” title doesn’t apply to your photography skills, the phone’s Master AI plays assistant, adjusting the camera’s settings depending on whether you’re shooting a portrait, your brunch, or the sunset. Among the many features is a “hybrid zoom,” which combines the 40MP and 8MP cameras for the perfect faraway shot. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Boasting a beautiful, 6.2-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity display, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is one of the most attractive smartphones ever made. Capturing photos like a pro is now easier than ever, thanks to a rear 12-megapixel camera and dual apertures at F/2.4 and F/1.5, which lets more light in for every image and video and produces excellent nighttime photographic results (there's even optical image stabilization, so a shaky hand won’t result in a shaky video). Plus, viewing images on the edge-to-edge, 2960 x 1440-pixel display is an immersive experience, with incredible, lively colors.

Running the Galaxy S9 is a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage that's expandable up to 400GB using a microSD card. The addition of an IP68 rating allows the Galaxy S9 Plus to withstand up to five feet of water for a maximum of 30 minutes without damage. The 3,500mAh battery can last 18 hours on video playback, 25 hours of talk time or 15 hours when you're using the Internet over Wi-Fi.

Runner-Up, Best Budget: Nokia 7.1

When it comes to the budget Android phones, a lot of them cut corners and ultimately force you to compromise. But they don’t have to. Our pick for the second best Android budget phone is the Nokia 7.1. With a brand name like Nokia, you might think this phone is old school, but this phone runs top-of-the-line stock Android and is even part of the Android One program, which gets you two years of Android updates and three years of security patches.

Under the shell, you’ll find 4GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, and 64GB of internal storage. This phone has a 5.84-inch HDR screen with 2,220 x 1,080 resolution that is higher quality than almost all budget Android phones. It also impresses with a dual-lens camera, with one 12-megapixel camera and one 5-megapixel camera that work together to capture bright, clear imagery in any setting. And if selfie quality is important to you, the camera also has an 8-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera.

Runner-Up, Best New Release: LG G7 ThinQ

Ever since the G3, LG is widely considered in the top five phones (Android or iOS), and somehow they’ve held strong, even with the entrance of Google flagship phones and surprise third parties like Huawei and One Plus. The G7 ThinQ is a proper successor to the last flagship, and it brings an impressive set of specs to the table, even though it doesn't really break any brand-new ground.

The 6.1 QHD+ screen looks huge and bright, even though LG has opted to skip on OLED tech for this round. They’ve also followed Apple’s lead in their attempt to make a phone bezel-less by including a notch at the top. It’s an odd design trend, but LG has provided a software option that uses the notched area as a notification bar and effectively makes it invisible (though that feature only works with LG’s apps). There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core 2.8 GHz processor and 4GB of RAM. The phone comes standard with 64GB of internal storage with the ability to expand with micro SD. The battery is 3,000 mAh, and has actually tested well in real-world scenarios, but it is a little disappointing considering LG previously gave the option to remove it and now they don’t. The camera specs are pretty serious with a 16 MP, dual-lens, rear-facing cam system and an 8 MP selfie system. But, even though LG has in the past been considered the frontrunner in photos, their attempt at AI and the software handling of their photos seem to trail behind Apple and Google. 

Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S8

There’s a new monarch that rules over Android country, and its name is the Samsung Galaxy S8. With a top-tier display, powerful performance and the latest version of Android, it’s the envy of the kingdom.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Samsung Galaxy S8 is its stunning 5.8-inch quad HD screen, which is bezel-less and takes up almost all the room on the front of the phone. You’ll next notice that it’s super speedy, thanks to its octa-core (2.3GHz quad + 1.7GHz quad) 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM. Other big-ticket features include an eight-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies, a 12-megapixel back camera, 4K video recording and a microSD card slot for adding more storage on the fly. The phone comes in the following five colors: midnight black, orchid gray, coral blue, arctic silver and maple gold.

The only potential hang up for the Galaxy S8 is its 3,000 mAh battery, which lasts about a day on a charge. This will work for most people, but if you use your phone heavily throughout the day, it’d be smart to invest in a great portable phone battery charger too.

Runner-Up, Best for Photos: LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

 Courtesy of Best Buy

The LG V40 ThinQ is taking the smartphone camera game to a new level. Differentiating itself in a big way, the LG adds five cameras to its newest flagship device. Three cameras on the rear help capture standard, wide-angle and telescoping photos. The front of the phone adds two more cameras: one is for standard photos while the other is wide-angle for capturing group selfies. The ability to shoot photo scenes up to three different ways makes the LG one of the most flexible smartphone cameras around.

Fortunately, the device is more than just a camera. Its gorgeous 6.4-inch display adds 3120 x 1440 resolution for vibrant colors that really show off when viewing photos. That’s on top of impressive hardware powered by 6GB of RAM and a 3300mAh battery. The addition of IP68 ruggedization even helps the V40 stay afloat underwater for a short time.

A dedicated Google Assistant button, microSD slot for expanding the 64GB internal storage and Android 8.1 continue to make the LG stand out.

Check out our other reviews of the best LG phones​ available on the market today.

Best Value: Moto Z3

Moto Z3

 Courtesy of Motorola

Smartphone technology changes fast — and the Moto Z3 wants to change faster. It promises to be the first smartphone to offer 5G capabilities, as long as you’re willing to wait. A Moto Mod will be available early next year to allow users to tap into speeds ten times faster than previously possible, but until then, the Moto Z3 is an option that's both affordable and reliable. The 1080p, six-inch screen provides bright, dynamic colors, and color temperature and saturation can be adjusted to meet your preferences. Although it runs on last year’s Snapdragon 835, it still has fast processing speeds and a substantial 64GB of storage.

5G capabilities aside, Moto Mods help distinguish the phone from its other mid-price competitors, and the new phone is backwards compatible with all that have been released thus far. These Mods include everything from external batteries to 360-degree cameras to projectors to help tailor the phone to your needs.

Best for Gaming: Razer Phone 2

The Razor Phone 2 builds upon last year’s Razor Phone, which emerged as a gaming powerhouse. The Snapdragon 845 and 8GB of RAM makes for a nearly unparalleled gaming experience, and a new vapor chamber cooling system keeps the phone from getting too hot when gaming for a long period of time. The visuals are equally striking. Its 5.7-inch LCD display has a 16L aspect ratio, a 2,650 x 1,440 resolution, and a 120Hz display, which improves its visibility outside.

Other specs include 64GB of storage, which can be upgraded with 2TB microSD cards, and IP67 water resistance. The phone boasts wireless charging and a large 4,000-mAh battery, but it drains quickly if used for full-time gaming. However, if the phone is used for everyday purposes, the battery is capable of lasting all day. The chunky, eye-catching device houses some of the most powerful speakers you’ll find on a smartphone. The back, made of Gorilla Glass 5, has a logo that lights up when you get notifications, customizable in color, brightness, and whether the logo brightens and dims or maintains a static glow. 

Best Phablet: Google Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL

 Courtesy of Best Buy

In 2017, our choice for this category was a close race between the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and the Google Pixel XL. Well, a new year means it’s time to pick a new reigning champion. For 2018, the Google Pixel 3 XL has successfully claimed the title. With a 6.3-inch screen, you'll most likely want to use two hands when operating this device, but its rich colors and 2960 x 1440 resolution is well worth it. The Pixel 3 XL also boasts an increased aspect ratio, 18:9, which adds another level of visual quality for streaming videos.

In terms of hardware, the Pixel 3 XL features most of the same specs as the standard Pixel 3: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM, and the option for either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. The battery offers 18-watt power for extra-fast charging, and is compatible with Qi wireless devices. The front and dual rear-facing cameras also hold the same HD specifications, promising 4K resolution for photos and videos. You’ll also be able to enjoy the same smart features available on the Pixel 3, such as Google Assistant, Google Lens, and Playground. 

Best Screen: Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony has defined itself as a force to be reckoned with thanks to its premium headphones and TVs, and with its new Xperia XZ3 — the brand's first Bravia OLED effort — its phones now fall into the category, too. The 6-inch 18:9 screen is the device’s most stunning feature, resulting in realism, vibrancy, and depth whether you’re streaming videos or playing your favorite game. To capture your own memories, the 13MP front-facing camera includes a background blur option and improved digital stabilization, and videos can be recorded in 4K HDR.

The Xperia SZ3 features a Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and microSD support up to 512GB. The 3,330mAh battery is combined with wireless charging. Striking and sleek, the phone is water-resistant and encased in Gorilla Glass 5. It also has a physical camera button and includes an easily-removable SIM card/microS card tray. The Xperia intelligence engine can monitor your usage, displaying different apps — such as the weather, maps, Urber, or Spotify — depending on the time and your location.

Best Sound: HTC 12+ (Unlocked)

 

HTC has been something of an underdog for three or four generations of smartphones, but through sheer will to innovate, HTC sticks it out year after year. The HTC U12+ is a proper flagship, with some software shortcomings, and a few eyebrow-raising features that might just make it worth a look.

What are those newer features? Well, for starters the U12+ boasts HTC's best audio yet, with a BoomSound Hi-Fi speaker system has a separate woofer and tweeter to deliver powerful sound, much better than you'd expect from a typical smartphone. That, paired with the included noise-canceling USonic earbuds, creates an immersive and high-quality audio experience. The U12+ also features Sonic Zoom, which lets you "zoom in" on a sound while filming video, amplifying voices for a true-to-life effect. And, speaking of video, the U12+ isn't messing around when it comes to its cameras, either. The camera system employs four lenses (two on the front and two on the back). The selfie cams are both 8 MP and will give you some great depth of field and portraiture. The back cameras give you pro-level autofocus and have 12MP and 16MP sensors. They’ve also achieved what HTC is claiming to be the highest smartphone camera rating on the market. The other interesting feature to consider is that HTC has made the side buttons pressure-sensitive, giving you the option to employ some squeeze gestures to make your interactions with your phone that much more multi-dimensional. Pair that with top-of-the-line features like a 2880 x 1440, 6-inch display, a 2.8 GHz octa-core processor from Qualcomm, and 6GB of RAM, and you have a high-end device with some interesting innovation.

Check out our guide to the best HTC phones you can buy today. 

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 120 hours testing five of the most popular Android smartphones on the market. They used them at home and on the go, experimenting with texting, calling, and taking photos. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these Android smartphones — like user interface, size, and speed — to evaluate what their and strengths and flaws really were. We've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.


What to Look for in an Android Phone

Hardware - When picking the perfect Android device for your lifestyle, keep a close eye on the hardware. If you’re a photography enthusiast, go for a device with a superb camera and screen. If you’ll be firing off emails constantly, consider one with a large screen and excellent battery life.

Software - Different manufacturers customize their Android smartphones in various ways. Before you buy a phone, look at its interface and think about whether you’ll enjoy using it on a daily basis. Also, consider additional software features that some manufacturers might include such as face unlock, virtual assistants, and the ability to pay for purchases with your device.

Carrier - Not all smartphones will work with your mobile carrier. Whether you have T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or another service provider, double-check that your selected device will work with your existing network.

Test Results: Pixel 2 (Best Overall)

Pixel 2
5

What We Like

  • Excellent battery life

  • Amazing camera

  • Vibrant screen display


What We Don't Like

  • No headphone jack

Pixel 2 with hand
Pixel 2 back
Pixel 2 front
Pixel 2 side
Pixel 2 top

One of our reviewers, who used an iPhone previous to testing the Pixel 2, was especially impressed with the difference she noticed in battery life. “The battery lasts all day and then some,” she reported. “It will even give you a warning a couple of hours before it estimates that the phone will die.” Another big plus was camera quality: “I have a hard time taking a bad photo with this phone,” raved one of our testers. One important thing our reviewers flagged was that this phone doesn’t have a headphone jack. It does, however, come with an adapter that you plug into the charging port — you just need to remember to bring it with you.

Test Results: Motorola Moto G6 (Unlocked) (Best Budget)

4.5

What We Like

  • Charges quickly

  • Great camera quality

  • Fantastic price

What We Don't Like

  • Only 3GB of RAM

  • Slippery texture

  • Sound could be louder

Motorola Moto G6 (Unlocked) parts
Motorola Moto G6 (Unlocked) screen
Motorola Moto G6 (Unlocked)

This phone was beloved by our testers for its ability to charge quickly, its camera quality, and its overall value. Even our reviewers’ largest concern with this phone — the fact it has only 3GB of RAM — didn’t affect the bottom line: That, for the price, this phone is the best in its class. “You’d be hard-pressed to find another phone this capable for this price today,” declared one tester.

Test Results: OnePlus 6 (Best New Release)

4.8

What We Like

  • Beautiful display

  • Impressive battery life

  • High-quality photos

What We Don't Like

  • No wireless charging

  • Lower speaker output

OnePlus 6 taking photo
OnePlus 6 parts
OnePlus 6 bottom
OnePlus 6 screen
OnePlus 6 size

Our reviewers liked that this phone had all the features they cared about — including a large OLED bezel-less display, long battery life, and a great camera — for about half the price of an iPhone X. Even though our testers wished the phone’s speakers were louder, and also that it had the capability for wireless charging, they would “absolutely” recommend this phone to family and friends.

Test Results: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Best Samsung)

4.3

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Superb battery life

  • Immaculate display

What We Don't Like

  • Delicate build

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 back
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 bottom
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 pen
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 screen

A seamless setup process, stellar battery life, and a vibrant screen display were some of the things our testers loved about this phone. They also enjoyed watching videos: “Streaming felt really luxurious,” one reviewer noted. “It didn't feel like I was watching videos on a phone, but on a really nice tiny TV.” One thing our testers were nervous about was the phone’s durability. “It feels a little too delicate to be able to comfortably utilize it to its full capacity,” said one tester. “I think it might end up being more of a liability for accident-prone people.” (If that’s you, make sure to invest in a case right off the bat!)

Test Results: Huawei P20 Pro (Best for Photos)

4.6

What We Like

  • Sleek design

  • Excellent camera

  • Comes with a case

What We Don't Like

  • Camera lens on back of phone sticks out

  • No headphone jack

Huawei P20 Pro hand
Huawei P20 Pro screen
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei P20 Pro back
Huawei P20 Pro parts

This phone’s camera quality, according to our testers, was “awesome.” One reviewer broke down the best part of it for us: “There's an AI feature in the phone that calculates the best shot for you in a second. This is good for a user who doesn't understand settings for cameras such as aperture, correct lighting, and zooming.” Other highlights included the phone’s sleek design, fast speed, and the fact it comes with a case. In terms of downsides, our users didn't love that the camera lens on the back of the phone stuck out a bit and that there was no headphone jack.