Best Phones of 2018

Product Use case Rating
iPhone X Best Phone Overall 9
Galaxy S9+ Best Android Phone 8
Honor 7X Best Value 8
Pixel 2 XL Best Camera Phone 8
Galaxy Note 8 Best Big-Screen Phone 9
Moto G5 Plus Best Phone Under $300 9
Apple iPhone 8 Best Small Phone 8
Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom Best Battery Life 8
iPhone SE Best Phone for Kids 8
LG V30 Best for Shooting Video 8



Updated May 16 with our first impressions of the OnePlus 6.

In the battle between Apple and Samsung for best smartphone, Apple currently has the edge with the iPhone X. This 5.8-inch flagship demands a hefty premium at $999, but in return you get the best OLED display we’ve tested along with top-notch cameras and innovative features like Face ID. Plus, this flagship’s A11 Bionic processor (also inside the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus) blows away every Android phone.

If you prefer Android, the Galaxy S9+ is a great big-screen phone, offering a gorgeous 6.2-inch display, fast Snapdragon 845 processor and a much improved camera that produces better images in low light and records awesome slow-motion video. (The regular Galaxy S9 is also good, though it has less RAM and a smaller battery, and it doesn't have dual rear cameras like the S9+.

Android purists and photographers should get the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL, which delivers the best camera we've tested and a squeeze-to-activate Google Assistant. Prefer an even bigger screen? The Galaxy Note 8 is currently the phablet to beat, thanks to its 6.3-inch display and versatile S Pen.

If you’re on a budget, check out the Honor 7X. The $199 Android phone features a big and sharp 5.9-inch screen, dual cameras and speedy performance from its Kirin 659 processor. The mid-range phone to watch is the OnePlus 6, which for $529 delivers a big 6.3-inch OLED display, a fast Snapdragon 845 processor and dual cameras for just $529.

Tom's Guide reviews dozens of new smartphones, and we evaluate them in our lab and in the real world based on design, features, performance, camera quality and battery life. Check out our top smartphone choices in multiple categories, along with new and notable phones we're planning on reviewing shortly and the latest rumors about upcoming handsets.


Smartphone News and Rumors (May 2018)

  • OnePlus 6: Targeting premium Android flagships, the new OnePlus 6 features a 6.3-inch OLED display, a Snapdragon 845 processor and up to a whopping 8GB of RAM. It does come with a notch, but you can hide it in settings. Other highlights include a new gesture interface and improved dual cameras. It will go on sale May 22.
  • LG G7 ThinQ: We've had a chance to review a pre-production unit of the LG G7 ThinQ, and there's a lot to like about this phone — specifically, its AI-powered camera and how it handles low-light images, and a thumping boombox speaker. But the design is too reminiscent of other phones to stand out, and the G7 delivered supbar battery life in our tests. There's still no price announced for this phone, which will only be available through select carriers when it goes on sale June 1.
  • HTC U12: OnePlus isn't the only phone maker with a May phone launch on the schedule. HTC will hold an event on May 23, where it's expected to unveil the HTC U12. According to rumors, the new phone will feature dual rear cameras and a design with slimmed-down bezels. Check out the HTC U12 rumors.
  • Moto G6: Motorola's new value-priced phone gives you a lot for just $249, including an elegant glass design (front and back), dual cameras, and an expansive 5.7-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The Snapdragon 845 processor should be fine for most tasks. Check out our Moto G6 hands-on impressions.
  • iPhone SE 2: Apple hasn't touched the iPhone SE since the 4-inch phone debuted in 2016, but that may change soon. The latest rumor has the iPhone SE 2 possibly arriving this month, and it could feature a new glass back to allow for wireless charging.
  • Galaxy Note 9: The Galaxy Note 9 could have a 6.4-inch screen and a 4,000 mAh battery. Check out the other Note 9 rumors.
    Google Pixel 3: Although it likely won't launch until October, some Pixel 3 rumors have started to surface. Expect Android P, a possible iris scanner and maybe three new models in the line.
  • iPhone X2: Apple is reportedly working on three new iPhone X models for later this year, and one of them could start at a more reasonable $850. Get caught up on all the latest iPhone rumors.

Buying options for the best phones of 2018:

The iPhone X isn’t just the best iPhone. It’s the best phone, period. That’s because it packs the most impressive OLED screen we’ve ever tested and fastest processor into a gorgeous edge-to-edge design that’s easy to use with one hand. The iPhone X also offers the top dual cameras you can get in a phone, plus a new TrueDepth front camera that enables everything from Face ID for unlocking the device to Portrait Mode selfies.

Another key selling point is the A11 Bionic chip inside, which delivers the fastest performance we’ve seen from a phone. This same CPU is also in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but the augmented reality apps, games and other experiences the processor enables just feel more immersive on the iPhone X’s Super Retina Display. At $999, the iPhone X is quite pricey, but it’s well worth the splurge.

MORE: iPhone X Full Review


Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and S9+ aren’t radical departures from last year’s Galaxy S8, but we’re not complaining. The S9 duo takes the nearly bezel-free design and wraparound Infinity Display from the S8 and adds the latest generation Snapdragon 845 processor and an all-new camera fitted with super slow-motion recording and adjustable aperture. The larger S9+ goes even a step further, with a second rear camera that enables Live Photos, Samsung’s take on portrait mode where you can  adjust the strength of the bokeh effect before and after the shot. Toss in stereo speakers, a repositioned fingerprint sensor that now sits under the camera (where your fingers won’t smudge the lens) and last but not least, a headphone jack, and Samsung has reclaimed the top spot among high-end Android handsets.

MORE: Galaxy S9+ Full Review

You'll be surprised how much phone you can get for less than $200. The Honor 7X gives you a big 5.9-inch display with minimal bezels and a speedy Kirin 657 processor in an aluminum design. The dual rear cameras are pretty solid, too, with a 16-megapixel main shooter and a 2-MP sensor that aids in taking portraits. At 9 hours and 21 minutes, the battery life offered by the Honor 7X is a bit below average but should be good enough to get you through most of the day. We just wish this handset included a USB-C port for charging instead of micro USB.

MORE: Honor 7X Review

Both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL offer snappy performance, a Google Assistant you can summon by squeezing the phone and an ingenious new Google Lens feature that can recognize everything from phone numbers and landmarks to restaurants in the photos you take. For our money, the Pixel 2 XL is the better choice among Google’s phones, because you get a bigger and sharper 6-inch display, longer battery life and, frankly, a much better looking design from the front with less bezels. The Pixel 2 XL lacks wireless charging, but its fast wired charging works well, and its single rear camera produces shots that give the iPhone X a run for its money.

MORE: Google Pixel 2 XL Full Review

The Galaxy Note 8 more than just redeems Samsung for the Note 7. It raises the bar for all big-screen phones. The 6.3-inch Infinity Display stretches from edge to edge and is simply gorgeous. More important, the Note 8’s dual cameras give you more flexibility than other phones, letting you adjust the Live Focus (bokeh) effect both before and after you take the shot. The S Pen is improved on this phone, too, letting you save more screen-off memos and create fun new Live Messages you can share with others. Last but not least is a battery that lasts a very good 11-plus hours. The Note 8 is pricey, but it’s worth it.

MORE: Galaxy Note 8 Full Review


The Moto G5 Plus stands out in an increasingly competitive field for value-priced phones, thanks to a super-bright screen and epic battery life that keeps the phone going for more than 11 hours. The camera also impresses, producing sharp-looking photos even in low light. The unlocked Moto G5 Plus works on all cellular networks in the U.S. If you don't mind paying a little more, the newer Moto G5S Plus offers a bigger 5.5-inch display and dual rear cameras for $279. But we still think the G5 Plus is a better value for bargain hunters.

MORE: Moto G5 Plus Full Review


If you’re not a fan of phablets, the iPhone 8 gives you the most power per inch of any device on the market. In addition to a mighty A11 Bionic chip that runs circles around Android phones, the iPhone 8 benefits from a bigger and faster camera sensor that takes fantastic-looking photos, including Live Photos with fun new effects in iOS 11. Add in above-average battery life and access to fun new augmented reality apps, and you have the best small phone.

MORE: iPhone 8 Full Review

We've never tested a phone that's lasted as long as the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom did on our battery test. Surfing the web continuously over T-Mobile's LTE network, the ZenFone 3 Zoom lasted 16 hours, 49 minutes. That’s nearly 90 minutes longer than next longest-lasting phones. You get more than an all-day charge with Asus's $329 device. Dual rear cameras offer optical zoom in a phone that won't put too big of a dent in your wallet.

MORE: Asus Zenfone 3 Zoom Full Review

With the iPhone SE starting at just $349 for 32GB, it’s a great starter phone for kids, especially since a lot tweens and teens use the iMessage app. The 4-inch display is definitely on the small side, but this handset provides easy access to all the apps your little ones want to use, whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat or Zello. The 12-MP camera also captures good-looking pics for the price, including Live Photos. The iPhone SE’s front camera could be better for selfies, but overall it’s a strong choice. If you can stand to wait a few weeks before buying, some rumors have suggested a new iPhone SE with a better processor is in the works.

MORE: iPhone SE Review

Serious content creators should take a good look at the LG V30, which boasts the best wide-angle camera in a phone yet along with a very large f/1.6 aperture for letting in lots of light. The V30 also captures stunning 4K video complete with a wide array of compelling effects and filters you won’t find anywhere else, and a recent software update added the same image recognition features LG is building into its newer G7 ThinQ phone. The 6-inch OLED display is another plus, which nearly goes edge to edge. The only thing holding this phablet back is relatively short battery life.

MORE: LG V30 Review

What Smartphones Cost

The best premium phones like the Galaxy S8, Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X cost anywhere from $750 to as much as $1,000. However, there are great values with flagship-level specs under $500. On a budget? You can get a very good Android phone for less than $250.

How We Rate Phones

We rate smartphones using a combination of subjective criteria (including design and ease of use); our own benchmarks (e.g., our battery, audio and display tests; and synthetic benchmarks (Geekbench 4 for speed, 3DMark for graphics). We also do real-world speed tests (such as video editing) and take photos in different lighting conditions to compare the results.

After we've conducted all of our testing, we rate each device based on its features, performance and overall value. Only the top-performing devices make our Best list.

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  • Niaz__
    The Best Upcoming Smartphone in 2017 is Doogee Mix because of Super Small design Looks very Beautiful And Doogee Mix Price is Much better than Xiaomi Mix Also 4Gb And a 6Gb ram version Available .
  • Lkaos
    Sony Xperias are better than any Samsung and Apple of their respective generations, it's funny how you never test them...
  • nunnuuhamnaar
    Good work continue
  • sebastherrien81
    Well you should add the repair cost in your review as "combination of subjective criteria" because for most peoples theirs life are on that things they bring in their pocket who look like a big and fragile glass, I told you this as a owner and a technician in cell phone/tablets/computer...etc repair. And in that category Samsung could fall above the average because this compagnie sold theirs parts a way over the price juste the screen assembly cost half the price of the phone "super AMOLED" cheap and stupid technology micro led connected in series like the light we put in our Christmas tree one blow nothing turn on anymore, yeah sharp and crisp screen but easily breakables and over priced... so people have the choice to do the repair for 400$ or buy another one and this is what Samsung want and peoples a willing to have more debt because in 2017 they just cannot live without a stupid smart phone !! Dont just test those phone do a background check before doing a review because even if your tests tell us that Samsung is the best smart phone every year its still a piece of shit who have all problems that other phone don't like network, charging port, wifi, bootloop, amoled screen, fake waterproof or not working at all....
  • jlovebites
    Wonder when or where you can ever find actual subjective views of phones, without the authors kissing the arse of Apple and Samsung. How I wish for a real review. I guess I can always LOL.
  • Ramachandran_3
    you have every criterion. but phone is a phone and it most essential use is TALKING. which is the best phone for TALKING., particularly for moderately hearing impaired and not using hearing aids. It is absurd to talk about camera, internet use etc etc.
  • ellwoodd
    The LG V20 is there best phone for music, and it isn't even close. I'm an audiophile and I have had very high end components and this sound quality from this phone and its capabilities deliver incredible sound, and can drive high-end headphones like the HiFiMan 400i's.
  • gabriel.morales41
    Nope, the Note is the best overall phone and camera phone. The iPhone the best camera phone?!? I don't think so!
  • King Dranzer
    XPERIA XZ PREMIUM is performance king has best and first 4K HDR display with most accurate colors possible. It has most natural camera with best stabilization. It also has best secondary cam with ultimate stabilization. Best speaker setup. One of the top 5 phones for battery backup on 100%charge(iPhone 8 or 8Plus not tested but don't think they will be in top 5 positions).

    XPERIA XZ PREMIUM is presently holding the throne of best all round smartphone.

    @MARK SPOONAUER please get you info correct and please do more research before posting.
  • kcgoat26
    is anybody else tired of cell phones being pushed at you week after week
  • rgd1101
    Anonymous said:
    is anybody else tired of cell phones being pushed at you week after week


    Usually I just don't read them.
  • jkinabru
    I'll stick with HTC..They have always treated me well and I like supporting the underdogs..
  • ihab666
    SONY, THE ONE AND ONLY........for battery life, camera, user friendliness (home screen and app config), ergonomics (buttons on correct side of phone), display, looks, reliability and well made. Pity Tom is guide only to crApple and Samdung ( yes I know crap and dung is found in toilet or on soles of shoes)
  • blueprintsrecords
    Where was LG V30?
  • Lkaos
    Anonymous said:
    XPERIA XZ PREMIUM is performance king has best and first 4K HDR display with most accurate colors possible. It has most natural camera with best stabilization. It also has best secondary cam with ultimate stabilization. Best speaker setup. One of the top 5 phones for battery backup on 100%charge(iPhone 8 or 8Plus not tested but don't think they will be in top 5 positions).

    XPERIA XZ PREMIUM is presently holding the throne of best all round smartphone.

    @MARK SPOONAUER please get you info correct and please do more research before posting.


    Right? But all people want are Samsung (One of Android's worst makers!) or iPhone (idiot's Phone)...

    And after the S7 debacle, i wouldnt touch a Samsung phone without a 10 foot pole...
  • Lkaos
    Anonymous said:
    Wonder when or where you can ever find actual subjective views of phones, without the authors kissing the arse of Apple and Samsung. How I wish for a real review. I guess I can always LOL.


    You can try GSMarena, but treat it with a grain of salt...

    www.gsmarena.com
  • whill2179
    So much slamming of phones and phablets. What's the best phone you have is the one in your hand. Deal with it.
    I personally like more ram like people like to have in their computers so 6 gigs is fine right now. Being able to input with a stylus is also a plus.
  • lzaiken
    I think a cell phone should provide phone service as a high priority. It would be nice see that feature addressed.
    Many folks live outside the center of a large city..
  • Ramachandran_3
    main function of a cell phone is for talking and messaging with loud and clear voice without distortion at any audio volume. you should give the best phone in this category
    obviously those who need this type of phone may not high end phones. so your list of best phone should be moderately price.