Best Android phone 2018: T3's best Android smartphone picks

These are the best Android phones on the market today

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When it comes to the best Android phones of 2018, we've got a whole host of top quality handsets to pick from: Samsung, Nokia, LG, Google, Sony, HTC, OnePlus and others have all launched some seriously impressive phones in 2018.

Here we'll pick out the very top Android phones of the year, including big names like the Google Pixel 3 XL and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Whatever you're looking for in your next smartphone, all of these handsets are going to meet your expectations.

Ready to discover the best Android smartphones that money can buy in 2018? Let's dive right in.

The best Android phones of 2018: get the best Android smartphone for you

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Best Android phones

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the best Android phone in the world.

1. Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The best Android phone in the world

Specifications
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6 mm
OS: Android 9.0 Pie, EMUI 9.0
Screen size: 6.39 inches
Resolution: 1,440 x 3,120
CPU: Kirin 980
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,200 mAh
Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP
Front camera: 24MP
Reasons to buy
+Kirin 980 is fastest CPU in the world+Leica-made camera system is fantastic+In-display fingerprint reader is amazing
Reasons to avoid
-None of note

In our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review T3's own Robert Jones said that:

"When you've got a device that not only packs the world's fastest CPU, but also one with some genuine sit-up-and-take-notice features like a fantastically executed in-display fingerprint reader and futuristic reverse wireless charging ability, it's easy to see how the Huawei Mate 20 Pro rises above the me-too melee."

And rise above it does, with a simply stunning hardware, screen, camera and software package propelling it to the very top of our best Android phone buying guide.

The 4,200 mAh battery, for example, is capacious and long-lasting, while the OLED, HDR, 19.5:9 screen is a crisp, colour-rich stunner. Three powerful camera lenses on the back (40MP + 20MP + 8MP), as well as a ridiculously potent front facing lens (24MP!), make photography a dream, while the combination of 6GB of RAM with the Kirin 980 CPU means incredibly high benchmark scores.

Oh, and the in-display fingerprint reader and reverse wireless charging capability is hat-tippingly impressive, adding genuine wow-factor to a device that takes desirability in Android phones to an entirely new level.

Google Pixel 3 XL best Android phone


2. Google Pixel 3 XL

The best phone camera gets even better

Specifications
Weight: 184g
Dimensions: 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 9.0
Screen size: 6.3 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3430mAh
Rear camera: 12.2MP f/1.8
Front camera: 8MP f/1.8
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic camera+Pure Android experience
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

The Google Pixel 3 phones aren't a huge leap forward from the Pixel 2 models, but they are enough of an upgrade to warrant a place on our list of the best Android phones for 2018. The specs above refer to the larger Google Pixel 3 XL – if you prefer you can pay a little less money for the slightly smaller (and notch-free) Pixel 3 instead, as almost all the specs are the same.

Inside the phones we have the Snapdragon 845 to keep everything ticking along nicely, while Google is now using a glass backing to enable wireless charging on the Pixels for the first time. Its traditional two-tone design is still in place though, with a textured finish that feels good in the hand.

As in previous years though, it's the camera where the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL really stand out: even though it's a single-lens model, it's capable of some fantastic shots, especially with upgrades like Night Sight for low light photography. It's perhaps the main reason you would pick the PIxel 3 as the best Android phone on the market.

Another reason would be those speedy Android updates, straight from Google. There's no bloatware or extra Android skin here, so you're guaranteed a slick and intuitive software experience for years to come. Google's individual apps continue to impress too, though of course you can get them on any Android or iOS phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 best Android phone


3. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung has another hit on its hands with this powerhouse device

Specifications
Weight: 201g
Dimensions: 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.4 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
CPU: Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128/512GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP f/1.5-2.4 + 12MP f/2.4
Front camera: 8MP f/1.7
Reasons to buy
+The S Pen hits new heights+Huge, fantastic screen
Reasons to avoid
-Too pricey for some

Ladies and gentlemen: the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The third of three fantastic flagship phones Samsung has put out this year, the Note 9 excels in every department, from the quality of the components under the hood, to the fit and polish of the design, to the impressive results you can get from the dual-lens camera.

What really makes the Note 9 stand out on this best Android phones of 2018 list, though, is that superb S Pen stylus. It's been improved and upgraded this year with Bluetooth functionality, so it can now (for example) control music playback and operate the camera shutter remotely, as well as all the usual tricks.

With a screen size of 6.4 inches, and a 4000mAh battery inside, this is a phone that you can get some serious work done on. There's also some excellent audio capability packed in here, with Dolby Atmos and UHQ upscaling included. Whichever part of the Note 9 you look at, it ends up impressing.

It does have a high price attached, which is going to put some people off, and the on-board Bixby AI is definitely still lagging behind what the likes of Siri and Google Assistant can offer. Overall, though, a top-level Android flagship and well worth a place on our best 2018 phones list.

OnePlus 6T best Android phone

3. OnePlus 6T

The best Android phone for less money

Specifications
Weight: 185g
Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 9.0
Screen size: 6.41 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 3700mAh
Rear camera: 16MP f/1.7 + 20MP f/1.7
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Wallet-friendly price+Cutting-edge design
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Huawei P20 Pro Best Android phones


4. Huawei P20 Pro

It's all about that camera

Specifications
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2240 pixels
CPU: Kirin 970
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 40MP f/1.8 + 20MP f/1.6 * 8MP f/2.4
Front camera: 24MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Triple-lens rear camera gets impressive results+Huawei's design aesthetic continues to improve
Reasons to avoid
-Software quirks can be irritating

For several years now Huawei has been trying to crack European and US markets with a combination of high-spec hardware and innovative features – it was the first major phone maker to introduce a dual-lens camera on the rear, something everyone else has since copied, and the P20 Pro goes a lens further, confirming its place as one of the best Android phones of 2018.

As always with Huawei phones, the photos you can take with this phone are superb. As well as giving you great results in a point-and-shoot mode, you've also got a ton of advanced photographic effects to play around with. If you're a serious mobile photographer, the Huawei P20 Pro should be on your shortlist, and not just because of the triple-lens rear camera.

The other specs are equally impressive: Huawei's own Kirin 970 chipset, with dedicated AI component, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It's also fantastically designed – especially if you go for that cool-looking Twilight colour – and the battery life is among the best we've seen from a flagship lately.

If anything holds the Huawei P20 Pro back, it's a few quirks in the software, and the lack of a few useful features such as wireless charging. Take the package as a whole though, and this deserves its place among the best Android phones of 2018.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Best Android smartphones


5. Samsung Galaxy S9

The Galaxy series gets better and better

Specifications
Weight: 163g
Dimensions: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 5.8 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
CPU: Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64/128/256GB
Battery: 3000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.5
Front camera: 8MP f/1.7
Reasons to buy
+Sticks to a single-lens rear camera+Costs you less than the Galaxy S9 Plus
Reasons to avoid
-Bixby could use some work

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is pretty much the same phone as the Galaxy S9 Plus but in a smaller chassis. A such, if you've got smaller hands, or a tighter budget, then you might want to go for this one instead of its larger sibling.

One key difference is that the Galaxy S9 sticks to a single-lens 12MP camera, but the phone is still capable of some top-quality results in the mobile photography department, and offers a dual aperture function that's very useful in low light situations. It's still easily one of the best Android phones of 2018.

Under the hood there's an Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 chipset depending on your region, while the RAM tops out at 4GB rather than the 6GB you'll find on the Galaxy S9 Plus.

The specs aren't quite as premium as the bigger S9 Plus then, but you still get the benefit of Samsung's excellent design approach to the Galaxy series, with a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display running at a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. It's a stand-out display, with the bezels even smaller than last year.

Samsung doesn't quite score maximum points for its take on Android – updates can take a while to arrive, while Bixby remains some way behind Google Assistant – but don't let these minor points distract you from what's an excellent Android phone.

Nokia 7 Plus best Android phone


6. Nokia 7 Plus

A magnificent mid-ranger

Specifications
Weight: 183g
Dimensions: 158.4 x 75.6 x 8mm
OS: Android 8.1
Screen size: 6.0 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 660
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3800mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP f/1.8 + 13MP f/2.6
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Very good mobile camera performance+Impressive, quality-looking design
Reasons to avoid
-Display resolution is stuck at 1080p

The Nokia 7 Plus hits that mid-range sweet spot better than most, and if you want an Android phone that's affordable without skimping too much on the specs and design, then this is definitely a handset that deserves to be near the top of your shortlist.

Let's start with that design, because the look of this phone just oozes quality, and you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a lot more expensive than it actually is. It helps that you've got a choice of black or white finishes to pick from, while the copper trim really adds a touch of class to what is already a fine-looking handset.

As for the internal specs, the Nokia 7 Plus isn't going to compete with the very top-end premium handsets in our list, but it's a phone that can still very much hold its own against the competition. The handset is going to be able to power through most tasks and apps with ease, and as part of the Android One program, it's guaranteed swift updates too.

When it comes to picking the best Android phone for 2018, not everyone wants the best specs money can get – some of you are going to be more interested in the best balance between performance and price, and that's where the Nokia 7 Plus excels.

Nokia 8 Sirocco Best Android phones


7. Nokia 8 Sirocco

The comeback is real

Specifications
Weight: 177g
Dimensions: 140.9 x 73 x 7.5mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 5.5 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 835
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3260mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 13MP f/2.6
Front camera: 5MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Fine combination of hardware and software+Guaranteed future Android updates
Reasons to avoid
-Last year's Snapdragon 835

Nokia's reboot under the guidance of Finnish firm HMD Global continues to impress – while its new line of phones don't quite hit the heights of a Pixel or a Galaxy, they do offer some impressive specs, some clean design lines, and a close to stock version of Android for that pure Google experience.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is currently the most powerful and priciest smartphone that Nokia sells. You've got an all-glass body and a sharp 5.5-inch screen adding to the premium feel, while 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage should be enough for anyone. The Snapdragon 835 is very much last year's top-end processor, but it's still perfectly fine for just about anything you're going to put your phone through.

With its uncluttered version of Android, solid specs, and simple but stylish design, Nokia makes the whole building an Android phone challenge look easy. What's more, as part of the Android One programme, you know this phone is guaranteed to get at least the next two major Android updates from Google.

The 12MP+13MP dual-lens rear camera with Zeiss Optics impresses too, and mobile photography is an area Nokia has always done well in. There are some minor caveats, but overall the Nokia 8 Sirocco is a very good Android phone indeed.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium Best Android mobile phone


8. Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Sony hits the big time

Specifications
Weight: 236g
Dimensions: 158 x 80 x 11.9mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 5.8 inches
Resolution: 2160 x 3840 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 3540mAh
Rear camera: 19 MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/1.6
Front camera: 13MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic dual-lens camera system+4K HDR screen is one of the best
Reasons to avoid
-You might struggle to find it

Considering Sony makes some excellent electronics in other product categories, and provides the camera lenses used by most other phone manufacturers, you'd think it would have more success with its smartphones – and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium certainly deserves its place among the best handsets of 2018.

Inside the phone you'll find a Snapdragon 845 chipset and 6GB of RAM, while photo-taking duties are handled by a dual-lens 19MP+12MP snapper on the rear of the device – it incorporates the brand new lens system that Sony's been working on for some time, and by all accounts is capable of some very impressive low-light photographer.

As far as the design goes, the Xperia XZ2 Premium very much follows the pattern set by Sony phones of previous years, coming across as a little more boxy and angular than its rivals. This year the bezels have been shrunk up to a point though, and there are more curves in evidence than you might normally expect from Sony.

The 4K HDR screen, meanwhile, really is a market leader – measuring 5.8 inches, the LCD display packs in a massive 2160 x 3840 pixels. The only real downside is that availability might be a problem in the UK and US, which means you might have to settle for the standard Xperia XZ2.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Best Android phone


9. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Samsung scores a bullseye

Specifications
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 6.2 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels
CPU: Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64/128/256GB
Battery: 3500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.5 + 12MP f/2.4
Front camera: 8MP f/1.7
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic-looking Infinity Display+Outstanding camera performance
Reasons to avoid
-It's certainly going to cost you

Samsung has been knocking it out of the park with its phones for several years now, and the 2018 Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is further evidence of what a good run of form the South Korean multinational is in.

It's hard to pick a weak spot: Samsung's latest flagship looks fantastic, is super smooth in operation, has a camera that can't really be bettered, and offers up some cool software customisation tricks as well. It's expensive, certainly, but that's kind of unavoidable up at this end of the market.

If you pushed us to pick a highlight, it has to be that 6.2-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display, with very little in the way of bezels and a sharp 1440 x 2960 pixel resolution. Samsung has really led the pack in terms of screens in recent years and it's a display that's hard to take your eyes off.

Everything is powered by a very capable Exynos 9810 or Snapdragon 845 chipset, depending on where in the world you live, and that's coupled with up to 6GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. You can add to that IP68 waterproofing, wireless charging, and an iris scanner... it even has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Best Android phone HTC U12+


10. HTC U12+

Deserving of a wider audience

Specifications
Weight: 188g
Dimensions: 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 6.0 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 16MP f/2.6
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Takes some of the best mobile photos+Advanced audio configurations
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life good rather than very good

HTC might not attract as many headlines as the likes of Samsung or Google, but it continues to push out some top-quality Android phones, and the HTC U12+ is its flagship smartphone for 2018 (don't worry, you didn't miss the U12 – HTC went straight to the Plus version).

The phone certainly competes with the best on the hardware front, and you get a Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GB of RAM under the hood here, together with up to 128GB of storage space (and a microSD slot to add more). The 6-inch, 1440 x 2880 pixel LCD display looks the part too, and HTC has decided to avoid the display notch by keeping a thin bezel all across the top of the screen.

Around the back of the phone there's a dual-lens 12MP+16MP camera, and like several HTC phones before it, it's capable of some very impressive snaps. You also get a host of unusual features you don't get in many other handsets, like the advanced BoomSound speaker audio system, and the Edge Squeeze feature that lets you squeeze the sides of the phone to launch certain actions.

The glossy design won't be to everyone's tastes, the battery life isn't as great as some of its rivals, and HTC's take on Android isn't one of the best either – but these are minor quibbles with what's otherwise a very good Android flagship.

Best Android phone LG G7 ThinQ


11. LG G7 ThinQ

Almost everything you want in a phone

Specifications
Weight: 162g
Dimensions: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3120 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 845
RAM: 4/6GB
Storage: 64/128GB
Battery: 3000mAh
Rear camera: 16MP f/1.6 + 16MP f/1.9
Front camera: 8MP f/1.9
Reasons to buy
+Sharp, bright front display+Better audio performance than most
Reasons to avoid
-LG's take on Android could be improved

LG continues to try and keep pace with the big hitters of the Android world, and with this year's LG G7 ThinQ it just about manages it. That rather odd "ThinQ" label appended to the name refers to the additional smarts that LG is putting into its devices now, by the way.

So, for example, there are some custom Google Assistant commands here for launching different actions for the phone, and indeed a dedicated physical button for getting the Assistant up on screen – not something you get with many handsets. The AI influence extends to the camera, which can recognise the type of scene you're trying to shoot and adjust the settings accordingly.

The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset and up to 6GB of RAM, so you shouldn't have any complaints on the performance front, while the dual 16MP+16MP rear camera we've already mentioned is one of the most capable around too – though it doesn't touch the heights of the Samsung and Google phones.

We'd say this is one of the most attractive-looking Android phones on the market too, though your mileage may vary depending on your fondness for display notches. The bright, sharp 6.1-inch LCD screen comes with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels.

Motorola Moto G6 best android phone


12. Motorola Moto G6

Best of the budget phones

Specifications
Weight: 167g
Dimensions: 153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm
OS: Android 8.0
Screen size: 5.7 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 450
RAM: 3/4GB
Storage: 32/64GB
Battery: 3000mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP f/1.8 + 5MP f/2.2
Front camera: 8/16MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Large, tall, crisp 5.7-inch display+Performance does the job
Reasons to avoid
-Limited amount of internal storage

Not everyone wants top-end specs and the biggest screens, and with smartphone tech rapidly advancing, even budget phones can hold their own when it comes to speed and performance. Budget Android phones are a whole other list, but here we'll just mention one: the Motorola Moto G6.

Motorola (under the guidance of Lenovo) has carved out a niche for itself in recent years, pushing out some very competent mid-range and budget phones that are enough to leave you wondering why you would spend the extra on a flagship. The Moto G6 is no different – it combines good looks with solid performance, and is competitively priced.

That 5.7-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio is one of the stars of the show, as is the dual-lens 12MP+5MP camera around the back. The Snapdragon 450 and 3GB or 4GB of RAM isn't going to blow anyone away, but it's still enough to get through just about everything you're going to be doing with your Android phone.

Of course a few corners are cut, and you don't get serious waterproofing, or wireless charging, or much internal storage (though you can expand it with a microSD card). Take the Moto G6 as a whole though, and it's one of the best value Androids out there.