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Best Android phones of 2018: Our mid-year top picks

The best of the best

  • The best price-performance ratio
  • The best battery life
  • The best for photography
  • The best under $500
  • The best under $250
  • The best compact phone
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+ and Huawei P20 Pro: tied for the top – ★★★★½

    Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+

    The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are, for us, the best Android smartphones of the moment (along with the Huawei P20 Pro). What we mean by this is that both devices offer the best possible experience with the Google OS. The two devices are virtually the same except for the size of the screen, the battery capacity (and the dual camera, too). The S9+ has a 6.2-inch screen and a little more hefty battery (3,500 mAh instead of 3,000).

    samsung galaxy s9 vs s9 plus front c2vx
    The S9 and S9+ are attractive and powerful devices. © AndroidPIT

    If you have an unlimited budget, consider buying one of the crown jewels of the South Korean brand: it’s the ideal solution for those who want a device with an elegant and ergonomic design, perfect for playing, watching movies and watching videos without giving up any quality, down to the last detail. Their weakness? Battery life is not their strong suit, but with some simple tips, you can get a bit more life out of them.

    Huawei P20 Pro

    The Huawei P20 Pro impressed us at first sight. It is not only elegant but also easy to use with one hand. The build quality and finish are simply impeccable.The P20 Pro also features 3 rear cameras (a 40 megapixel main sensor + 20 megapixel monochrome sensor + 8 megapixel telephoto lens) that work together to improve photo quality (3x optical zoom, laser autofocus, larger pixels).

    AndroidPIT huawei p20 pro 3066
    The P20 Pro looks like iPhone X.  © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

    With its P20, Huawei clearly is at the level of the Samsung Galaxy S9 or the new Apple iPhone. In this range, what makes the difference is taste and some special features that are important to some customers. On the P20 Pro, this feature could well be the triple Leica camera. Although the design seems a lot like Apple, the P20 Pro is chic and premium.

    OnePlus 6 and Honor 10: quality without a huge price tag – ★★★★

    OnePlus 6

    It must be admitted, OnePlus certainly made its mark on the mobile phone market since arriving a few years ago. Along with the Honor 10, the OnePlus 6 is certainly the best at the moment in terms of value for money. Its interface is also one of the most pleasant on the market because it’s so close to Android stock.

    AndroidPIT OnePlus 6 8003
    A smartphone that could delight any user. © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

    Its screen is excellent with a definition of 1080 x 2280, combined with Optic AMOLED technology. Its design is in line with modern trends, it feels good in-hand and it is one of the most powerful phones on the market. And, of course, you have to take into account the reasonable price for both the 6 GB and 8 GB RAM versions.

    Honor 10

    The Honor 9 won us over last year, and the magic happened again this year. The Honor 10 has a great mix of quality and performance for the price. With a user-friendly LCD screen of 5.84 inches, the device is visually appealing on the front, and the way the light plays on the back is sure to please the crowds. Even the camera is convincing. Plus, there’s a headphone jack!

    AndroidPIT honor 10 6110

    The Honor 10: now that’s a good-looking phone! / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

    On the inside, we find the house Kirin 970 SoC (four Cortex-A73 clocked at 2.4 GHz and four Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.8 GHz) and 4 GB of RAM. It also has a solid dual camera with 12 megapixels + 20 megapixels on the back, and an 8 megapixel front shooter. Everything is accompanied by a particularly fast fingerprint scanner on the front, fast charging and a battery with a capacity of 3,000 mAh.

    Huawei Mate 10 Pro: when battery life matters most – ★★★★

    The latest phablet from Huawei brings battery life that should inspire all smartphones on the market. The Mate 10 Pro reaches 48 hours of life without flinching. Even better, Huawei has a system to detect  and manage power-hungry apps to improve resource management. The 4,000 mAh battery can be charged very quickly thanks to Huawei’s technology: in 30 minutes you can go from 0 to 58%. When fully charged, the Mate 10 Pro can play 20 hours of video, or last 2 and a half days with average use.

    AndroidPIT huawei mate 10 pro review 1833
    Those looking for long battery life can look no further. / © AndroidPIT

    For the rest, the Mate 10 Pro is a complete smartphone package for all use cases. Despite its large 6-inch screen, it’s completely comfortable to hold thanks to its new format, which only reinforces the good opinion that we have on the device. It takes the best of the P10, and fixes its defects: a better battery life and an improved camera made in partnership with Leica. It’s all under Android Oreo, the latest version of Android. In terms of performance, the Mate 10 Pro is among the best. We just regret its heaviness, close to 170 grams, but that’s the trade-off to have such a huge screen and great battery life.

    Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: the photography king – ★★★★ 

    Google’s second generation of Pixel flagships, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, have earned their place among the best Android smartphones, and their number one spot in the category of the best camera phones is also well-deserved.

    AndroidPIT Google Pixel 2 XL 1598
    The Pixels have the best camera on the market. / © AndroidPIT

    It’s no surprise that we discover the Pixel 2 phones have the best camera of any smartphone on the market. Google has managed to make a device to match even the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 thanks to a perfect balance between software and hardware prowess. The Pixel devices may not have the most striking design, but it is their pure Android experience that makes these phones impressive.

    Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+: for those who want to pay under $500 – ★★★★½

    It’s difficult to choose between the two smartphones, so that’s why we included both. The Samsung Galaxy S8 can be found for $499, putting it just under our $500 mark. The S8+, on the other hand, comes in at $589 but may still be worth considering laying down a bit of extra cash for if you simply must have a larger display. Both phones still offer some of the best specs and experience you can get from an Android phone, and they offer everything you’d expect from a high-end flagship (elegant design, SD card compatibility, water and dust resistance, brilliant display, etc.). 

    The two are quite similar. The key difference lies in the display size. The S8+ has the larger screen (6.2 vs 5.8 inches), and accordingly, its battery is 500 mAh larger at 3,500 mAh.

    AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 vs S8plus 2062
    The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ still offer one of the best Android experiences available. © AndroidPIT

    The design of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ is a subtle mix of metal and glass. Both versions offer special features that help you get the most out of the unique display. Don’t forget the fingerprint reader in the back, the iris scanner and its top performance. In our review, the performance of both was consistently above average.

    If you hesitate between buying a Galaxy S9 or S8, you will find all the necessary information in our comparison.

    Honor 7X: the best for budgets under $250 – ★★★★ 

    With the successor of the 6X, Honor continues to set the bar very high. The brand was able to adapt once again to the needs of the digital generation. For people looking for a good, affordable phone, the Honor 7X is a nice choice. It has the advantage of offering most high-end features, but with a price-performance ratio that leaves quite a few others on the sidelines, making it the cheapest phone on our list.

    AndroidPIT honor 7x iso
    The Honor 7X is the cheapest phone on the list. / © AndroidPIT

    With regard to specs, this Android smartphone offers a 5.93-inch Full HD+ LCD display. High performance is delivered by the Kirin 659 processor, which manages resources well enough that, when paired with the 3,340 mAh battery, can keep the phone going for a day and a half. With a dual 16MP+2MP rear camera, the quality of the photos and the videos is on par with what you might expect. 

    Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact: small but powerful – ★★★★ 

    Our final entry is a matter of taste that’s important to many. Even budget phones nowadays are trying to be trendy and give you the biggest screen possible. But what if you care more about portability? Well, there are still good options.

    Not everyone likes big smartphones and this is where the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact comes in. This device incorporates a smaller screen than most devices released this year and it demonstrates that even the “mini” can challenge the big flagships. Especially because, despite its size, it does not forsake high-end hardware.

    AndroidPIT sony xperia xz2 compact 2688
    Small but powerful. © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

    The Xperia XZ2 Compact offers a Full HD 5-inch screen, a 2,870 mAh battery, a 19 megapixel rear camera (f / 2.0 aperture) and a Snapdragon 845 processor (coupled with 4 GB of RAM) ensuring excellent performance.

    Which phones will rise to the top?

    We update this list regularly as we review the new devices that hit the market. There are a few upcoming smartphones that we expect to upset the current ranking, including the Galaxy Note 9 and Pixel 3, of course. We’ve made a list of all the smartphones coming up this year, which you can find here.

    What do you think? What phone you would you like to see in our selection? What is the best Android smartphone of the moment according to you?

    This article has been rewritten since its first publication, so some comments may no longer be applicable.

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