XDA's Top Smartphones of 2018

The yr is coming to an in depth and shortly we’ll be heralding the arrival of 2019. With new smartphone tendencies already on the horizon, it’s about time that we mirror upon the yr passed by. We’ve seen the arrival of many new applied sciences, whereas we’ve additionally stated goodbye to some older ones. Our telephones have gotten quicker and smarter, and there’s no signal of that progress slowing down any time quickly.

However there are such a lot of smartphones launched yearly. Should you’re on the lookout for a brand new smartphone within the coming weeks, then how are you going to probably determine what to get? There are such a lot of to select from, and all of them have their very own quirks and downfalls. Right here at XDA, we took a while to mirror on the previous yr and requested all of our writers to decide on what their favourite smartphones of the yr have been. Whereas you could have a tough concept of what you assume is the most effective telephone of the yr in every class, our writers might shock you.


Contents

Contents

Mishaal Rahman

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Worth: OnePlus 6T

I consider the OnePlus 6T is one of the best system on this class. It’s a superb performer, has nice battery life, maximizes the display actual property as a lot as attainable with the least obnoxious notch design, and its software program is probably the most acquainted for somebody who has been a Nexus/inventory Android fanboy for years. There are a couple of units available on the market which might be higher than the 6T in sure features, particularly regarding the digital camera, however I don’t assume there are any units which might be higher in each approach. Thus, why spend a whole lot of dollars additional to get a telephone that’s solely marginally higher than the OnePlus 6T?

OnePlus 6T XDA Boards

Greatest Flagship System for Options: Huawei Mate 20 X

The Huawei Mate 20 X is my private favourite this yr. It has the almost bezel-less waterdrop notch design of the Huawei Mate 20 mixed with the Huawei Mate 20 Professional’s digital camera setup. It additionally has the newest Kirin 980, making it one of the only a few big flagship smartphones. I really like massive telephones, and the Mate 20 X is one of the best huge Android smartphone available on the market. It makes the Galaxy Notice 9 look tiny as compared. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the Mate 20 Professional like 40W quick charging, wi-fi charging, or 3D face unlock, however its giant 7.2” show simply can’t be crushed. It’s the primary smartphone I truly really feel snug watching TV exhibits and films on.

Huawei Mate 20 X XDA Boards

Greatest General Mid-range Gadget: Asus ZenFone Max Professional M1

Xiaomi has lengthy been the king of mid-range smartphones, however the Asus ZenFone Max Professional M1 gave the Redmi Observe 5 Professional a run for its cash. Asus opted for close to inventory Android on the ZenFone Max Professional M1 and caught an enormous 5,000mAh battery in it. It’s not one of the best at taking footage or making movies (EIS is disabled by default), however Google Digital camera ports might help elevate its mediocre digital camera to a suitable one. It’s a rattling disgrace that the most effective mid-range units by no means come to America, the place the one respectable mid-ranger that doesn’t value an arm and a leg is the Nokia 7.1.

ASUS ZenFone Max Professional M1 XDA Boards

Greatest General Low-end Gadget: Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite

The Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite is an unimaginable gadget within the low-end tier. If you find yourself shopping for a price range system, you typically sacrifice long-term software program help. That’s not true of the Mi A2 Lite, although. It’s an Android One gadget which means it runs principally inventory Android and has 2 years of assured software program updates and month-to-month Android safety patches. Though the Snapdragon 625 is pretty previous by this level, there’s a purpose it’s so extremely utilized by Xiaomi—it’s no slouch. The Mi A2 Lite has a good four,000mAh battery that helps the telephone simply final by means of a whole day.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite XDA Boards

Greatest Design: Xiaomi Mi Combine three

This can be a shut race between the Honor Magic 2 and the Xiaomi Mi Combine three. Each smartphones have an virtually solely bezel-less entrance because of the slider mechanism, however the Honor Magic 2 has a neat gradient colour end whereas the Xiaomi Mi Combine three has Xiaomi’s signature ceramic physique end. The Jade Inexperienced Mi Combine three has one of the best general design for my part, however the Honor Magic 2 in Gradient Blue is admittedly shut behind.

Xiaomi Mi Combine three XDA Boards

Greatest New Software program Function: Night time Sight

Though they weren’t the primary to the scene with an evening mode digital camera function, Google was the primary to nail it with Night time Sight on the Pixel three. OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei/Honor all have their very own night time mode options, though Huawei’s is the closest to Google’s in phrases of high quality. Night time Sight is that this yr’s must-have function, and that’s evident by the truth that so many modders are dashing to port the newest Google Digital camera app to their very own units. Google has confirmed that a smartphone with a single rear digital camera can take photographs which are just-as-good, if not higher, than smartphones with twin, triple, and even quad rear cameras.

Greatest New Hardware Function: Slider Cameras

I’m excited to see which design development will dominate 2019. 2018 is clearly the yr of the notch, however because the yr ends, we’re seeing two new developments emerge: slider digital camera telephones and show holes. The previous is championed by the Vivo NEX, Honor Magic 2, and the Xiaomi Mi Combine three, whereas the latter is championed by the Samsung Galaxy A8s, Huawei Nova four, and Honor View 20. I’m an enormous fan of the slider design, and I see additional refinements of it as the best way ahead. It’s a light inconvenience to cope with in the event you take selfies regularly or depend on face unlock, however the flip aspect is that the producer can pack all types of sensors behind the show slightly than sacrificing show actual property by way of a bigger show cutout.

Most Improved: Huawei

Undoubtedly, Huawei has improved probably the most in 2018. If you examine year-on-year enhancements that different producers have made to their smartphones, you’ll principally discover that they’ve made incremental enhancements to efficiency, battery life, and the digital camera high quality. However Huawei has made a number of radical modifications to their smartphone lineup in only a single yr. Examine the Huawei Mate 10 Professional to the Huawei Mate 20 Professional, for example. The Mate 20 Professional provides an in-display fingerprint scanner, 3D facial recognition, quicker 40W wired charging, wi-fi charging, reverse wi-fi charging, substantial digital camera enhancements with the addition of a 40MP most important sensor as half of a triple rear digital camera setup, wi-fi desktop mode, and clearly all the usual incremental enhancements like a greater SoC, bigger battery, and so forth. For many units, the subsequent era mannequin is hardly well worth the improve. The Huawei Mate 20 Professional is an exception as a result of it’s considerably higher than the Huawei Mate 10 Professional from final yr.


Joe Fedewa

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Worth: OnePlus 6

OnePlus makes simply sufficient compromises to supply a tool with some high-end flagship specs at a mid-range worth. I truly choose the OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T. The rear fingerprint scanner is best and it has a headphone jack. If efficiency and worth are an important issues to you, the OnePlus 6 is a no brainer.

OnePlus 6 XDA Boards

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Options: Pixel three

I’m not going to attempt to persuade you the Pixel three has extra options than you may discover on a Samsung flagship, however for the options I care about, the Pixel three is the most effective. I would like an ideal digital camera, a telephone that’s not too massive, frequent and quick updates, and the most effective Google expertise. For that, the Google Pixel three is the right flagship telephone for me.

Google Pixel three XDA Boards

Greatest General Mid-range System: Nokia eight.1

Software program and updates can typically be a problem with mid-range units, so beginning with Android Pie is an effective factor. The Nokia eight.1 may even obtain regular updates from HMD International as half of the Android One program. The design of the gadget is very nice for a mid-range gadget as properly, with comparatively slim bezels and high-quality construct supplies. You even get twin cameras on the rear.

Nokia eight.1 XDA Boards

Greatest General Low-end Gadget: Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite

You’ve in all probability found out that software program is an enormous deal to me, so Android One is a must have at this vary. Low-end units are low-powered, so that you don’t need the software program to lavatory it down. The Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite is a really good system with twin cameras, an enormous battery, and a great show. The gadget was launched over the Summer time with Android Oreo, however Xiaomi has already rolled out the Android Pie replace.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite XDA Boards

Greatest Design: Xiaomi Mi Combine three

Once I take into consideration telephones from 2018 that appeared futuristic and funky, the Mi Combine three is what pops in my head. The entrance is nearly all show and the sliding mechanism for the digital camera is a superb concept, to not point out enjoyable to fidget with.

Greatest New Software program Function: Night time Sight

Night time Sight is the primary digital camera “mode” that I’ve persistently used. Lots of digital camera modes are gimmicky and don’t have many use instances, however Night time Sight is genuinely mind-blowing. I like it.

Greatest New Hardware Function: Show holes for entrance digital camera

I may be within the minority on this one, however I feel the show holes (a.okay.a. gap punch) look fairly cool. I definitely favor the look of the show holes over the dreaded notch. You continue to can’t use the display area that’s blocked by the show gap, however I simply assume it appears higher.

Most Improved: Important

The Important Telephone recieved a ton of updates over the previous yr. It’s all the time a classy decide for “best cheap Android phone” because it goes on sale so typically, and that’s thanks largely to Important’s help. I don’t know if there shall be an Important Telephone 2, however Important has carried out quite a bit to develop into a fan-favorite OEM.


Max Weinbach

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Worth: OnePlus 6

One of the best flagship gadget for the worth goes to should be the OnePlus 6. The one cause why it will even be thought-about one of the best is the worth and hardware. The digital camera just isn’t good, the system feels low cost, haptics are dangerous, audio system aren’t good, and the show isn’t nice. Nevertheless, it does have the Snapdragon 845 and enormous battery for a low worth for the hardware. It even has a headphone jack.

OnePlus 6 XDA Boards

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Options: Huawei Mate 20 Professional

One of the best flagship system for the options is the Mate 20 Professional. The telephone has a triple digital camera system, the newest model of Android, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, true face ID hardware, and the quickest Android SoC available on the market. It has the identical options each different telephone has plus extra. I feel it’s by far the most effective gadget with the perfect options.

Huawei Mate 20 Professional XDA Boards

Greatest General Mid-range System: Samsung Galaxy A8s

The Samsung Galaxy A8s is the most effective mid-range gadget by far. It’s one of the primary units utilizing the brand new punch gap show format and it has the Snapdragon 710. The Galaxy A8s is operating Android eight.1 and is deliberate to obtain One UI very quickly. It additionally has a triple digital camera system with some of one of the best mid-range cameras.

Greatest General Low-end System: Huawei P20 Lite

The most effective low-end system is the Huawei P20 Lite. This system is operating EMUI eight and has some of one of the best options on the low-end scale. It’s a quick and excellent gadget for the worth you’ll be spending. If the mid-range and flagships are out of your worth vary, that is the perfect telephone to get.

Huawei P20 Lite XDA Boards

Greatest Design: Samsung Galaxy Word 9

The design awards have often gone to Samsung and I feel this yr is not any exception. The Samsung Galaxy Observe 9 is a pleasant and enormous gadget in a single of the nicest blue colours I’ve ever seen. The curves are good on this iteration of what actually began with the Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s virtually completely symmetrical and simply feels nice to carry.

Samsung Galaxy Observe 9 XDA Boards

Greatest New Software program Function: Name Screening

The most effective software program function, by far, is Name Screening from the Pixel three and Pixel three XL. That is one of the best function as a result of it’s truly helpful. Most different telephones get these random AI options which are truthfully ineffective. Name Screening is one thing that works on each pals and spammers. It’s nice for trolling and for precise use.

Greatest New Hardware Function: Face ID

The most effective new hardware function, particularly to Android telephones, is the face ID sensor within the Mate 20 Professional. This know-how is presently within the newest iPhones and iPad Execs, however hasn’t actually made it to Android units but. Huawei managed to get it working and it really works nice. It’s quick and handy with the profit of being safe.

Most Improved: Xiaomi Mi Combine three

The Mi Combine three is probably the most improved gadget over the Mi Combine 2. In a yr they have been capable of bump the specs, design, cameras, and software program up a notch with out including a notch. They used a sliding telephone mechanism and a ceramic again with out growing the worth.

Xiaomi Mi Combine three XDA Boards


Eric Hulse

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Worth: OnePlus 6

Sure, the OnePlus 6, not the 6T. The midrange class has crept up in worth through the years, however when a Notice begins at $1,000 dollars, $529 is “midrange.” So far as the OnePlus choices this yr, they’re nice units. Each telephones run one of our favourite varieties of Android with OxygenOS. Each have tons of RAM and a Snapdragon 845. The 6T this yr brings a barely greater battery, a much less dependable fingerprint reader within the show, and the removing of the headphone jack. For me, between the 6 and the 6T, having used each, the 6 is a greater purchase.

OnePlus 6 XDA Boards

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Options: Samsung Galaxy Notice 9

This one is straightforward for me. Truthfully, this telephone has completely every little thing. The Notice is the top of Samsung’s smartphone work. In case you purchase the very costly Notice 9 you’ll need for nothing – SD Card, tons of RAM, large storage, a Snapdragon 845, S-Pen, water resistance, stereo audio system, wi-fi charging, nice digital camera, a headphone jack, and extra. The show is nice, the construct high quality is prime notch, and whereas the software program was already nice (from a former TouchWiz hater), OneUI is superior. This telephone is as shut to price $1,000 as potential. Purchase one.

Samsung Galaxy Word 9 XDA Boards

Greatest General Mid-range System: Nokia 7.1

I don’t have a ton of expertise with price range telephones. The straightforward selection is the Motorola G collection, however this yr I’m extra inclined to advocate the Nokia 7.1. It’s an fascinating wanting gadget and Nokia has been performing some actually fascinating issues with Android and updates. The Nokia 7.1 is loaded with Android One and a few nice construct high quality.

Nokia 7.1 XDA Boards

Greatest General Low-end Gadget: Motorola One

It’s an unlocked gadget with an enormous, modern-looking show. It’s additionally received an SD Slot and is Twin SIM. It’s an Android One units, so we’re taking a look at quick updates and clear Android. It additionally comes outfitted with “turbocharging,” an honest sized battery, and a headphone jack.

Greatest Design: Huawei Mate 20 Professional

I can’t say sufficient about how beautiful this telephone is. The Twilight end is beautiful and distinctive, and the inexperienced and blue choices with the textured glass are additionally nice. The digital camera array on the again seems to be distinct. It’s not my favourite telephone, however I do assume it’s a looker.

Huawei Mate 20 Professional XDA Boards

Greatest New Software program Function: Name Screening

One of my favourite, maybe lesser recognized, options is name screening from Google. In an age of robocalls from spammers, it’s nice to have the ability to display the robots with a robotic. The function simply works, and it feels futuristic once you use it.

Greatest New Hardware Function: Google Pixel three Digital camera

This one is a bit of a mixture of hardware and software program to be trustworthy, however I’m simply always and perpetually happy with the outcomes of this digital camera. It’s an absolute dependable pleasure to make use of. That is to say nothing of Night time Sight, which is usually a software program function.

Most Improved: Razer Telephone 2

Razer took their first telephone and improved completely every thing about it with out altering the core id of the gadget. We stored the beautiful excessive refresh fee show and added: wi-fi charging, water resistance, a chroma emblem, improved cameras, a Snapdragon 845, larger brightness, and an enormous cooling chamber. The telephone is fairly nice at a reasonably nice worth.

Razer Telephone 2 XDA Boards


Doug Lynch

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Worth: Xiaomi Pocophone F1

The Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is one of the shock releases of the yr, that includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset at an extremely low worth. It has a poor construct high quality for starters, however the firm needed to reduce corners to get its worth as little as potential.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 XDA Boards

Greatest Flagship System for Options: Samsung Galaxy Notice 9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 encompasses a superior show to most smartphones, an S-Pen with much more options over this system’s predecessor, and all of the Samsung Expertise and OneUI options. It’s a no brainer – the Samsung Galaxy Notice 9 is the most effective flagship of the yr for me.

Samsung Galaxy Notice 9 XDA Boards

Greatest General Mid-range Gadget: Honor 8X

Perhaps a controversial decide, the Honor 8X options 2018’s fashionable notch with skinny bezels and good construct high quality. It’s an incredible system for the cash and appears lovely.

Honor 8X XDA Boards

Greatest General Low-end Gadget: Xiaomi Redmi Notice 5

Even with its complicated naming scheme, the Xiaomi Redmi Word 5 (Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus in China) is a superb gadget at a fair higher worth. The official improve help and group developer help can’t be crushed by just about some other telephone on the market.

Xiaomi Redmi Notice 5 XDA Boards

Greatest Design: Xiaomi Mi Combine three

The Xiaomi Mi Combine three has a hefty really feel, slim bezels, and the most effective design I’ve seen up to now for hiding the front-facing digital camera.

Xiaomi Mi Combine three XDA Boards

Greatest New Software program Function: Google Playground/Night time Sight

This can be a tie for me between Google Playground and Night time Sight. Whereas Google Playground is enjoyable to play with, it might, extra typically that not, be a gimmick function. Night time Sight is practical, which is why I’ve additionally chosen that.

Greatest New Hardware Function: In-display fingerprint sensor

I’ve all the time most popular the sensor on the again, however being a minimalist has led me to understand the sensor being hidden beneath the show.

Most Improved: ASUS ROG Telephone

I don’t assume it can promote properly however the quantity of equipment they’re launching with it exhibits that they’re making a real effort.

ASUS ROG Telephone XDA Boards


Adam Conway

Greatest Flagship System for Worth: OnePlus 6

Having used each the OnePlus 6 and the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 6 takes the cake for me as the perfect flagship of 2018 for worth. A quick fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack are what pushes this one over the sting for me. The OnePlus 6T contains a barely bigger battery, however the bigger battery doesn’t justify these trade-offs for me. Having used each units, I can confidently say that I want the OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T for worth for cash, particularly provided that it’s barely cheaper as nicely.

OnePlus 6 XDA Boards

Greatest Flagship Gadget for Options: Samsung Galaxy Word 9

I feel selecting the Samsung Galaxy Word 9 here’s a no-brainer. It has every part, and by every part, I imply actually every thing. A quick fingerprint sensor, a stylus, an excellent digital camera, a big battery, and even a headphone jack. The Samsung Galaxy Word 9 might be the telephone of the yr for me.

Samsung Galaxy Observe 9 XDA Boards

Greatest General Mid-range System: Xiaomi Mi A2

I’m an enormous fan of Xiaomi, and the Xiaomi Mi A2 is one of the corporate’s greatest units launched this yr. With an unimaginable digital camera for the worth, the one factor this system lacks is a headphone jack. If you will get over that, then this can be a strong decide. If a headphone jack is a should, then I’d advocate the Xiaomi Redmi Observe 5 Professional as an alternative.

Xiaomi Mi A2 XDA Boards

Greatest General Low-end Gadget: Xiaomi Redmi Notice 5

The Xiaomi Redmi Notice 5 is an attractive system powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, and it’s an ideal smartphone for the cash. When you’re on a finances, you’ll be able to’t go mistaken with this one.

Xiaomi Redmi Word 5 XDA Boards

Greatest Design: Xiaomi Mi Combine three

I’ve the Xiaomi Mi Combine 2S, and I assumed that was lovely. The Xiaomi Mi Combine three is the best-looking smartphone of 2018 for me, with its magnetic sliding digital camera being the best-looking answer for foregoing the notch but.

Xiaomi Mi Combine three XDA Boards

Greatest New Software program Function: Night time Sight

This isn’t a tough selection for me in any respect. Night time Sight is an superb function. It’s one of probably the most shocking options of 2018, and one of probably the most highly effective as nicely. I’ve even gotten quite a bit of use out of it, one thing that I by no means anticipated.

Greatest New Hardware Function: In-display fingerprint sensor

Whereas I personally dislike the OnePlus 6T’s in-display fingerprint sensor, I like the thought and assume it’s very cool. I can see producers enhancing on it additional, and already in smartphones just like the Huawei Mate 20 Professional are we seeing it get quicker, extra correct, and simply general higher.

Most Improved: Razer Telephone 2

My expertise with the Razer Telephone 2 is above and past what the Razer Telephone as soon as was. It appears good, it’s quick, it’s simply an general nice expertise with the 120Hz show as properly.

Razer Telephone 2 XDA Boards


Everybody has totally different standards for what makes a telephone the “best.” We made our picks and now we need to hear yours! Share your prime smartphones of 2018 within the feedback under!

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