13 best Android phones: 2018’s best buys
If you want to buy a smartphone in 2018, you’ve got two (sensible) options: iOS or Android. If you pick the former, there’s only a handful to choose from, for the latter, there are literally hundreds.
Have no fear, if you want the best Android phone in 2018 then you’ve come to the right place. As new handsets appear every month, we’ll be sure to update this page as new movers and shakers emerge – for now, some of 2017’s standouts still are worth a look, and we’ve included them too.
So without further ado, here are the best Android smartphones you can buy in 2018 so far.
13 best Android phones 2018
1. OnePlus 6
Price when reviewed: 64GB, £469
A OnePlus phone always sits somewhere near the top of our pile, but even by the Chinese company’s high standards, it’s outdone itself this time. The OnePlus 6 is a better phone than its predecessors in every way, and manages to come in at just £19 more. To put that into perspective, this is a phone that’s nearly as good as the Samsung Galaxy S9 for nearly £300 cheaper.
Okay, it’s camera isn’t quite as good (though there’s not much in it), it only has water resistance rather than true waterproofing and there’s still no space for a microSD slot, but given the price, these are cuts that most people should be happy to live with.
Price when reviewed: £739
It’s expensive, but it barely puts a foot wrong. The Samsung Galaxy S9 is an all-round powerhouse with a great screen, as fast a processor as you could want and a fantastic camera. Throw in wireless charging; expandable storage; IP68 water and dust resistance; and a 3.5mm headphone jack and it’s hard to know what else you could ask for.
The only problem is the high price. When that comes down, the S9 will become a no-brainer, but for the moment it’s just the best to buy if money is no object. For everyone else, in truth, the Galaxy S8 (6th in the list below) is a more sensible buy, as it does everything nearly as well as Samsung’s 2018 flagship.
Price when reviewed: £629
You might expect to find the Pixel 2 XL here along with its smaller sibling, but unfortunately, its display is hampered by an annoying blue-ish tint. As such, we’d struggle to recommend it to anyone for the high price. You can read Jon’s full review of the Pixel 2 XL here.
The Google Pixel 2, on the other hand, is an outstanding device. Its camera is capable of taking phenomenal snaps even in tricky light conditions and we love its simple stock Android interface – unlike many of its competitors, the Pixel 2 doesn’t come loaded with bloatware, and everything is easy to find. You’ll also get software updates and the latest versions of Android before anyone else. Just don’t be tempted to buy the larger XL version.
Price when reviewed: £799 inc VAT
Huawei’s handsets have been showing solid signs of improvement for years, and the P20 Pro is now ready to compete with the very best of them. Featuring the very best camera in the business (for static photos, video is a bit more patchy), it’s an easy recommendation for those with deep enough pockets.
In fact, the only reason it doesn’t land higher is that the Kirin processor isn’t quite a match for this year’s Snapdragon 845 – it’s more on par with last year’s Snapdragon 835. Most people won’t notice over the course of a two-year contract, but objectively it’s a nose behind.
Price when reviewed: £869 inc VAT
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is up there with the best phones we’ve ever reviewed: it’s got a huge, brilliant screen, it looks the part and its camera is simply superb. Why, then, is it languishing all the way down in fifth place? Price.
£869 above wasn’t a typo. That’s really how much Samsung is charging. Of course the S8 started out at £689 and then came down rapidly, so there’s a chance that the Note 8 will follow suit. Then it will definitely be worth a look.
But, for now, is it nearly £300 better than the S8? Or the Xperia XZ Premium? Or the HTC U11? Unquestionably not. It may be the best, but you’d have to really view money as no object to pick the Note 8 ahead of any of them.
Price when reviewed: £689
Is the Samsung Galaxy S8 a weaker phone than the S9? Yes. Is it £239 worse? Definitely not. With the S8 frequently available for under £500, this is one of the most tempting Android phones you can buy today, and ever after its first birthday, it remains both stylish and competitively powerful, with one of the best cameras around.
Price when reviewed: £529
There’s no doubt about it: phones are getting bigger. When the original Samsung Galaxy Note was released in 2011, it was seen as freakishly big at 5.3in. Seven years later, and the “Compact” version of Sony’s flagship is just 0.3in smaller.
Still, the XZ2 Compact is a fantastic phone by every metric. It’s also one of the cheaper ways of getting the very latest Snapdragon 845 processor in a mobile phone today, thanks to its smaller size and 1080p screen. A solid camera and expandable storage round off the list, though you will have to say goodbye to the 3.5mm headphone jack. Et tu, Sony?
Price when reviewed: £699
The Sony Xperia XZ2 is the same as the Compact, but bigger and more expensive. That means it still has the fast Snapdragon 845 processor and decent camera, but will take up that bit more pocket space.
In truth therefore, it’s down to personal preference. Our personal preference is saving £170, but your mileage may vary.
Price when reviewed: £699
Probably the biggest surprise of 2017 was Huawei’s spectacular Mate 10 Pro, a phone that marked the point in time when Huawei finally cracked the big time. The Mate 10 Pro is not only a handsome handset, clad in glass at the front and rear and available in a range of eye-catching colours, it also takes spectacular photographs and the battery life is brilliant. This phone regularly delivers true two-day battery life without needing to be hooked up to the mains.
For a phone with a 6in display, the resolution of 1,080 x 2,160 looks a little on the low side, but that’s our only criticism – but most people won’t notice any pixelation and the OLED panel delivers excellent picture quality as well.
10. HTC U11
Price when reviewed: £649
Last year, HTC made its best phone in years: the U11 is an absolute belter. Not only is it just a gnat’s wing slower than the Samsung Galaxy S8, but its camera is actually better, and arguably even finer than our favourite the Pixel. It gets added IP68 water resistance, and as per usual with HTC the sound is top notch.
There’s a “but” here, but it’s relatively small in the greater scheme of things. The screen is a little weak for a flagship, and it has no 3.5mm headphone jack. Add to that a price that is just £30 lower than the Samsung Galaxy S8 and it can’t quite reach the summit of our list, but make no mistake: this is a five-star phone and proof that there’s life in HTC yet.
HTC has technically superseded this with the HTC U11 Plus, but the differences are so minor that you’re best off saving a few quid with the vanilla version.
11. LG G
Price when reviewed: £650
LG’s most recent handset ditches the nod to modular elements seen in the LG G5, and it’s all the better for it. It’s got a great screen, a decent camera, and it’s reasonably speedy. Sadly the removable battery is a casualty, but you can’t win ’em all. That’s the price you pay for water resistance.
Like the S8, the LG G6 price has plummeted quickly, making it far easier to recommend than it was when it launched at £650. Right now if you shop around, you can buy LG’s latest for around £300. And at that price, despite not being as hot as the Samsung Galaxy S8, it’s an absolute bargain.
Price when reviewed: £219/£269
If money is tight, then there’s really only one choice: the Moto G6. Or if money is slightly less tight, then the Moto G6 Plus.
No, you won’t get the performance of the phones above, but for the price Motorola manages to pack one hell of a punch into a pair of handsets that are both stylish and affordable, managing to go toe-to-toe with handsets £100 more expensive. Most impressively of all the camera is by far the best we’ve seen in a handset in this price bracket, offering very impressive shots in all conditions. No, the pictures aren’t as good as the S9, but A) You can mention them in the same breath without it seeming ridiculous and B) You can buy three Moto G6s for the price of one S9. That’s nothing short of astonishing.
Price when reviewed: £270
Speaking of bargains, the Honor 7X fits neatly into that category. With an RRP of just £270 (and an actual price that’s often lower) this is probably as good as you can get for sub-£300.
Featuring nippy performance, a decent camera and a fancy 18:9 display for its 6in screen, this is a handset that looks like a flagship, but costs a whole lot less. No, it’s not a Samsung Galaxy S, but it’s a solid phone in its own right and a bargain for the price.