The 10 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.

Our Top Picks

Best Apple: iPhone Xs

iPhone Xs
 Courtesy of Best Buy

As the ostensible replacement to the iPhone X, the newest Xs boasts Apple’s most cutting-edge tech to date. First, the beautiful OLED Super Retina display gives you 2436 x 1125 pixels to play with, amounting to a 458 ppi. Combine that with software features like the True Tone color-adjusting AI function and you have a truly brilliant-looking device. The whole thing is powered by the brand-new A12 Bionic chip, Apple’s fastest chipset to date with the most connections in the neural engine, delivering faster and smarter FaceID and performance. The construction has Apple’s signature sleekness with a glass front and back, premium stainless-steel sides and an IP68 water resistance allowing up to two meters and 30 minutes of submersion protection.

We can’t talk about a flagship Apple release without mentioning the camera. A 12MP telephoto and wide-angle systems on the back offer pro-level sharpness while the 7MP system on the front offers decent-quality selfies and video calling. But the raw hardware, per usual, isn’t the whole story. Apple’s new photo software offers features that range from smart HDR layering, AI content prediction, and amazing portrait bokeh that can be adjusted independently after the picture is taken. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a premium iPhone, this is the one to consider. It’s available in 64GB, 256GB or 512GB configurations and in color choices of silver, space gray, and a new gold option.

Runner-Up, Best Apple: iPhone X

iPhone X
Courtesy of AT&T.com

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.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to choosing the right iPhone.

Best Android: Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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 Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
 Courtesy of AT&T

Whether you’re in the market for a huge, beautiful screen, a killer camera, or you’re just a Samsung fan, the just-released Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a powerhouse with no shortage of modern features. First, there’s that display: At 6.4 inches and a 2960 x 1440 resolution, supported by Super AMOLED technology, this is the centerpiece of the phone. Combine that with the brand-new Bluetooth functionality of the S Pen, and you have an amazing machine. The cameras are top-notch too, with an 8MP AF sensor on the front for selfies and video calls, and a wide-angle/telephoto pair on the back sporting 12MP sensors. It even has dual aperture on the wide-angle.

With a 64-bit Octa-Core Processor offering speeds up to 2.8 GHz, you won’t be short on performance here. You can pick up the phone with 6 or 8GB of RAM, which comes with 128 or 512GB of storage, respectively. If that isn't enough space for you, you can bump it up to a whopping terabyte of storage with a microSD card. The battery has a capacity of 4,000 mAh, and AKG-tuned, Dolby Atmos-supported speakers give you a great music system, too. Pick this up in Ocean Blue or Lavender Purple colorways.

Best Display: iPhone Xs Max

iPhone Xs Max
 Courtesy of Best Buy

The iPhone Xs Max could easily have made the top Apple spot on this list — it offers everything the XS does and more. But, when it comes to phones, the market is decidedly limited for devices that are this large. If you’re a fan of the oversized screen, then the Xs Max may be your dream come true. Sporting a massive Super Retina OLED display with a resolution of 2688 x 1242 (458 ppi), the Xs Max has finally caught up with the sharpness, brightness and color response of the flagship Samsungs of the market. There’s also some amazing software functionality here too, including HDR response and True Tone technology that reads the ambient lighting of your surroundings and adjusts the screen’s brightness and color temperature accordingly. That’s a great feature both for limiting eye fatigue and also for watching media or photographing in true colors no matter where you are.

All of that amazing functionality is supported by Apple’s new A12 Bionic chip — the fastest they’ve ever made with the most neural engine components. That means that the phone will run faster and all the AI tech, including FaceID, will be smoother and more seamless. Speaking of software, Apple has taken the time to beef up their camera system (12MP telephoto/wide-angle on the back and 7MP on the front) and make it truly shine. There are new HDR layering composite options, smarter AI-supported content prediction features, and an even better portrait mode, allowing for excellent bokeh blurring that can be adjusted even after the picture has been snapped. Grab this beautiful 6.5-inch-display device in silver, space gray, or a premium new gold finish with internal storage ranging from 64GB to 512GB. 

Runner-Up, Best Display: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S9+
 Courtesy of Samsung

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.

See more reviews of our favorite Samsung phones available for purchase.

Best Value: iPhone SE

iPhone SE
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Best Durability: LG V30

LG V30
Courtesy of AT&T.com

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.

Check out our guide to the best LG phones.

Best Alternative Brand: 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. 

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.

Read more reviews of the best Huawei phones available today.

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