The 9 Best AT&T Smartphones to Buy in 2018

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AT&T has an exceptional arsenal of smartphones. From budget-friendly to the latest and greatest, there are plenty of options whether you're a fan of the Android OS or iOS platform. To help you decide which phone is best for you (do you want the best camera? The best battery life? The most durable?), we've combed through all the options and rounded up the best ones out on the market right now.

Regarded as the biggest update to the iPhone in the device’s 10-year history, the iPhone X starts off by bidding farewell to the home button that has been an iPhone staple since the first generation. The 5.8-inch 2436 x 1125 OLED display is dazzling and has a nearly bezel-less look and feel in your hand. With the loss of the home button, the inclusion of Apple’s Face ID does not disappoint. Beyond unlocking, the iPhone X is both water and dust resistant and features Apple’s impressive 12-megapixel cameras on both sides of the device. The rear camera adds some new features, including True Depth with both Portrait mode and Animoji. Apple’s A11 processor brings the whole thing together for excellent overall performance and all-day battery life rated at 21 hours of talk time while wireless charging helps you stay charged sans the need for any cords.

Runner-Up, Best Apple: iPhone 8

While it may look and feel very similar to the iPhone models it succeeds, the iPhone 8 is far more than skin deep. While its overall design is very familiar, the inclusion of first-ever features for Apple includes the True Tone Retina HD display that assists in automatically adjusting the screen’s brightness based on ambient lighting. Beyond its arguably best-in-class display, the iPhone 8 adds a little more punch to their already impressive 12-megapixel camera with a faster sensor and new color filters for better overall results. All of these features are powered by the A11 Bionic processor which is 70 percent faster than the previous generation, the A10. To add even more incentive to prospective buyers, the iPhone 8 adds augmented reality apps and wireless charging, so you can say goodbye to cords once and for all. Throw in an IP67 rating for splash, water and dust resistance and you’re looking another great Apple product.

Best Mid-Range Price: Asus ZenFone 5Z

The Asus ZenFone 5Z fuses innovation with affordability. Featuring a Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, 6GB of RAM, and 64 GB of memory, it draws on artificial intelligence (AI) powered by the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine to elevate the smartphone experience. AI will come into play with everything from charging — it will study your habits to maximize the 3300mAh battery’s life — to adjusting color temperature in real time to correcting ringer volume based on ambient noise. AI Beautification analyzes both photos and live-streaming videos to offer over two million natural-looking potential enhancements. For the avid photographer, the dual-camera system accommodates lower light settings, and the 120° secondary rear camera provides a wide field of view, whether you’re trying to capture a landscape or get the perfect shot in a small space. Comfortable to hold, the phone features a 6.2-inch screen, a 90% screen-to-body ratio, and a new ZeniMoji feature, where users can design animated avatars mimicking their voice and movements in everything from videos to group chats. 

Best Unlocked: Huawei Mate 10

The phone market has gotten very crowded these days, and smartphones have to do a lot to differentiate themselves. It’s no surprise to see foreign manufacturers stepping up to the plate to offer amazing specs, amazing affordability, and of course, amazing flexibility for your carrier. The Huawei Mate 10 is one of the top releases of the year, and for good reason. Available in black, champagne gold, or mocha brown and only 8mm thick, this device is a looker. The 5.9-inch FullView display give you plenty of pixels at 1560 x 1440. Huawei’s impressive Kirin AI processor packs plenty of power with eight separate cores and an accompanying 4GB of RAM. As mentioned, there’s plenty of carrier flexibility with this unlocked model that supports dual-SIM functionality. There’s a dual-sensor rear camera system offering 20MP monochrome and 12MP, respectively, plus built-in optical image stabilization. Finally, the whole system is supported by a large 4,000 mAh battery to keep you going most of the day.

Best New Release: OnePlus 6

From the Chinese company OnePlus comes a new device ready to stand out in the smartphone marketplace. The OnePlus 6 is the newcomer brand’s largest phone to date, measuring 6.28 inches with a full optic AMOLED display and nearly non-existent bevels. Like many recent releases, it takes a nod from Apple and contains a notch that introduces a Face Unlock feature (although it falls short of the security afforded by Apple’s Face ID). The dual cameras — 16MP and 20MP — have received an upgrade and are capable of capturing high-quality, slow-motion video. Running on an Android 8.1 Oreo OS, the glass-and-aluminum phone boasts a Snapdragon 845 CPU with 8 GB of RAM.

While in a bid to maintain competitive pricing, it does not include wireless charging. However, it is available in three different colors — midnight black, mirror black, and silk white — along with three different memory and storage options, ranging from 64 GB to 256 GB. 

Google’s Pixel 2 is available unlocked for easy access right on the AT&T network. It's water-resistant, has wireless charging capability, as well as an updated fingerprint sensor for instant unlock; it's available in black, white and blue. The 5.0-inch AMOLED 1920 x 1080 display is a gorgeous look at what the future holds for smartphone devices with bright colors and crisp blacks. The inclusion of Android 8.0 means you’ll start right out of the box with the latest Android software, which performs exceptionally on an Android industry-leading Snapdragon 835 processor that’s paired with 4GB of RAM in both 64 and 128GB storage options. Additionally, Google-specific apps like Google Lens help you learn more about famous landmarks all by capturing a photo, while Google Assistant can you help set up a lunch date or call you an Uber using just your voice. It comes with both a 12 MP camera, as well as an 8 MP camera that's perfect for selfies.

Best Display: Galaxy S9 Plus

If you want a complete Android experience with a display that is best-in-class, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the AT&T smartphone to choose. The 6.2-inch, edge-to-edge Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display is beautifully designed to offer brighter hues, and, with a 2960 x 1440 resolution, 16 million colors mean seriously gorgeous results. Keeping the near bezel-less display in place is IP68-rated water resistant hardware sandwiched on both sides by glass, which has an aluminum frame in the middle that's durable enough to withstand small drops. The rear, 12-megapixel camera adds Super Slo-Mo at 960fps, two apertures (F/1.5 and F/2.4) for nighttime photography and a secondary telephoto lens that can focus on a subject blurring the background for a unique photo result. It can also record 4K and 1080p video at 30 fps or 60fps. In addition to housing a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the device comes equipped with powerful Dolby Atmos technology, so you can bank on high-quality sound performance.

Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Featuring a gorgeous 6.3-inch 2960 x 1440 screen, the Note 8 still feels good in your hand, thanks to the infinity display that removes all but the thinnest of bezels. Prominent Note 8 features like the S Pen allow users to send a message, draw an emoji or write on a photo and send to another Note 8 user. The 12-megapixel camera continues Samsung’s global position as one of the best smartphone cameras overall with dual optical image stabilization, a two-time optical zoom and F/1.7 aperture for outstanding results. The addition of 6GB of RAM paired with an octa-core processor keeps things performing smoothly all-day long. Speaking of all-day performance, the 3300mAh battery allows this waterproof powerhouse to stay powered up for up to 33 hours of talk time.

Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Galaxy S8

With a gorgeous 5.8-inch, 2960 x 1440-pixel Super AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S8 is miraculously only .1 ounce heavier than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S7. Because of this, and its smooth curves, it feels luxurious in your hand. (It’s also fairly slippery, so we’d recommend investing in a case.)  The screen wears down the 3,000mAh battery quickly, but with standard use, you should be able to get through a day with no problem. On the bright side, the phone charges up fairly fast, going from 0 percent to 100 percent in about an hour and a half. Better yet, the phone is built to hold a better charge over time, so while most batteries will retain about 80 percent of their charge after two years, the S8 will retain 95 percent of its original capacity.

The S8 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, bumping up the graphics. While it doesn’t have dual main cameras like Apple’s iPhone 7, its 12-megapixel rear camera takes sharp photos, even in low light settings. Its front-facing camera also gets an upgrade from five megapixels to eight megapixels. All in all, it’s the best Android phone on the market today.

Best Durability: LG V30

Military tested to handle extreme environments, including an IP68 rating for water resistance, the LG V30 is a standout device for the Android faithful looking for something new. The six-inch OLD FullVision 2880 x 1440 display features bright colors and a superb multimedia experience making watching movies or short YouTube clips exceptional. The dual rear cameras include both a 16-megapixel standard angle lens and 13-megapixel wide-angle lens for great results that look and feel like they belong to a more expensive full-body camera. LG-specific inclusions like Daydream, the company’s own virtual reality platform, pair well with the Hi-Fi Quad DAC audio experience that’s louder and cleaner than ever before. Beyond LG features, Android-staples like Google Assistant are built right in to help navigate weather, traffic and sports. LG helps differentiate the release of the LG V30 by not only providing a one-year full warranty on the device, but also giving a free second year of coverage.

Best Value: iPhone SE

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look straight at the iPhone SE. It has the same specifications and internal hardware as our Best Apple pick, the iPhone 6s. There’s a 12-megapixel camera capable of recording video in 4K. If you were a fan of the iPhone 5 or 5s, you’ll feel right at home as the phone is almost identical in size and shape. Apple’s Touch ID, the fingerprint-based method to access your smartphone without a password, is present, as is Apple Pay. In fact, if you have any cases lying around for the iPhone 5/5s, you’ll be able to slip it right in and feel nostalgic.

The 4” display might not please some of today’s “bigger is better” smartphone crowd, but finding a device that rivals the performance of the best smartphones on the market in a pocket-friendly package hasn’t been easy. In this area, Apple has succeeded and done so with spades. That the price is almost half of its larger sibling makes it an easy recommendation for the best value phone. The A9 processor, the very same as inside the iPhone 6s, is 3x more powerful than that of the iPhone 5s, which means console-class graphics and solid performance for Pokémon Go.