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Best smartphone 2018: The best expensive mobile phones available to buy today

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Are you looking for the best smartphone? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll guide you through all the top mobile phones we’ve reviewed, both on Android or iOS.

And a new king is born – there’s a totally new entry at the top of our list which has usurped even the…well, scroll down and see for yourself.

In this list, you’ll find the best phone for your budget, the phone features you need, the size that feels right and the software that you like. There are the best phones for battery life, the top large screen phones and great phones for gaming, too.

We continually update our best smartphone guide to reflect recent launches, recognise price changes, and here 2018’s latest devices appear alongside the best of 2017.

And, as always, all of these top phones have been fully reviewed by us – we don’t just include stuff we think is good.

Of course, the most important factor in buying a new phone is making sure you have the right smartphone for you. If you’re in the market for a cheaper phone, then check out our sub-£400 and budget phone roundup.

Here’s our recommendation for the best all-around smartphone on the market, right now.

Huawei P20 Pro

It gives us huge pleasure to reveal a bit of a shock – the P20 Pro really has usurped the Samsung Galaxy S9+ at the top of our list after just a month on top. It may seem like we always just put the newest phone at the top of this list but that genuinely isn’t the case.

The P20 Pro blew us away – we said: “a new camera phone king is born”. If you’re seeking a genuine flagship then you’re looking right at one. Huawei has produced the best phone of 2018 so far. It looks great, lasts an age per charge, the camera is a top-ranking effort, and there’s all the performance you could need.

Criticisms are few and far between Face Unlock isn’t a patch on Apple’s Face ID, no wireless charging is poor when the phone is glass-backed anyway plus there are minor software quirks but savvy buyers should snap up this phone over a Google Pixel 2 XL or a Samsung Galaxy S9 and not regret it for one second.

Read the full review: Huawei P20 Pro

The Huawei P20 Pro isn’t for everyone though, and there are plenty of other smartphones on the market to consider whatever budget you are on. Choosing the right phone for you is every bit as important as getting the best phone and there are loads to consider.

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung’s 2018 takes everything that was great about the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and boosts it. There isn’t a huge change in design, but this remains one of the best looking phones on the market. That 6.1-inch Infinity Display still rules the roost, as Samsung adds refinement to the display making it brighter and better looking than before.

There’s power on tap, making a great smartphone to tackle daily use, with the convenience of a plenty of choices for biometric unlocking, as well as a fingerprint scanner that’s now more conveniently located than it was on the S8+. Samsung also hangs onto the basics – a 3.5mm headphone socket and microSD card slot, all wrapped in an IP68 waterproofed package.

The camera is the real point of interest. The 960fps capture might not be the most exciting thing it offers, but the new dual lens system performs well in low light conditions, while the addition of the 3x optical zoom gives this phone a feature point that sets it ahead of last year’s devices. But it’s the refinement of the package that appeals: Samsung offers the latest in Android Oreo and more features out of the box than any other smartphone manufacturer.

It may be expensive, it may not be a huge change from last year, but the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is practical all the smartphone that everybody needs.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9+

Apple iPhone X

The iPhone X was one of our top 2017 phones because iPhone X is the biggest shake-up in iPhone history. It’s unashamedly premium, from the build to the price, but it comes together in a package offering a smartphone experience that’s not matched elsewhere.

It makes the iPhone 8 looks like a relic, it betters Android competition in the same space, as Apple makes a huge change to its flagship phone.

There are power and refinement in abundance, with quality oozing from the stainless steel frame, with a fresh new look coming from the new 19.5:9 display that banishes bezels to the last decade. It’s not just the lack of bezels that are impressive about the display, but the overall quality is great too.

It’s HDR compatible, supports Dolby Vision and it’s Apple’s first OLED display on a smartphone – and it looks fantastic. You’re not let down by the camera either, which offers great photos and the advantage of stabilised zoom.

For iPhone fans, it’s the pinnacle of the mobile Apple experience, a complete step-change in what the iPhone is. It’s a phone you can’t afford … to miss out on.

Read the full review: Apple iPhone X

Samsung Galaxy S8

Although the Galaxy S9+ sits in the top spot, the older Samsung Galaxy S8 still has some appeal. Samsung has redefined its flagship handset in the Galaxy S8, offering two sizes of a handset with an 18.5:9 display, losing the bezel and offering that premium dual-edge curved design. There’s a long list of things that Samsung gets right in the S8: there’s a great camera, the battery life is good, there are waterproofing, powerful hardware and the slickest Android of skins, fully-featured and packed full of useful functions.

The contentious point falls on the fingerprint scanner, as the location isn’t optimal, but that’s not a deal breaker given that the phones support iris scanning too. Samsung has also been a little slow to update to Oreo, so although there’s a lot of parity with the new Galaxy S9+, the S8 is still waiting for the very latest software.

The appeal comes at falling prices for this older model: if you aren’t worried about having the very latest phone, then the Galaxy S8 still offers you a huge amount.

Read the full reviews: Samsung Galaxy S8 |Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

This might feel like a Samsung walkover, but the Note 8 is unique and very capable. It has enhancements over the Galaxy S8+, like the S Pen and more RAM, but that comes at a price – the Galaxy Note 8 is one of the most expensive phones on the market – the same price as the new Galaxy S9+. But for those S Pen skills, the Note has no rival.

One of the other advantages it has over the S8+ is the dual camera on the rear. This is not only great quality but also offers stabilised zoom for super-sharp close-ups. That’s great and it works well, as does the bokeh mode that’s offered, but we’re not certain it’s a hugely important addition compared to the solid performance of the cheaper and more compact phones.

Ultimately, Samsung fans are well served: the Note 8 is a premium device, but the additions might be things you don’t necessarily need. And personally, we prefer the Galaxy S8’s slightly more curvy design, as it looks a little more radical.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Google Pixel 2

The 2017 Pixel 2 models have caused a stir. The smaller handset, the Pixel 2 is a phone you need to consider carefully. It has a subdued elegance in its design while packing in all the power of a flagship phone. It’s every bit as powerful as the top phones from Samsung, LG or the larger Pixel 2 XL, but it’s more compact thanks to that smaller display.

While the Pixel 2 XL met some complaints on launch, the Pixel 2 always faired better, and it also packs in the full potency of that clever camera and the very latest from Android Oreo. It might not be the most exciting phone around, but it could be a big hit with those wanting a small but potent handset.

Read the full review: Google Pixel 2

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. That’s the mantra that Huawei has applied to recent flagship-competitors and it’s the Huawei Mate 10 Pro where this really feels like it’s paid off. The Huawei Mate 10 is the device that proves Huawei has what it takes to play with the big boys like Samsung and Apple.

It’s the best looking Huawei phone yet, presenting a big screen experience and plenty of power, with a great camera packed onto the back that’s every bit as capable as others, perhaps pipped by the Pixel 2. But importantly, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro offers an experience that’s refined to the point that Huawei’s software tinkering no longer feels like an obstruction. That makes for a capable phone we actually want to use.

Read the full review: Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus isn’t a hugely radical change in design like the forthcoming iPhone X. Instead it’s the iPhone you know and love, but better. It’s now sitting in a body with a glass black, bringing a change from the iPhone 7 Plus, but it also has all the power of Apple’s latest chip and runs iOS 11.

The display benefits from True Tone technology, so it adapts as the environment around you changes to keep everything looking great, while the shift in materials around the back also gives you the benefit of wireless charging. Not only that, but it now supports fast charging too, so using a more powerful charger and the right cable, you’ll be back to full in no time.

It’s still a big phone and it perhaps looks a little old compared to the iPhone X now, but it’s still a solid performer with a great camera. Importantly, it’s going to be more affordable than the iPhone X, so if you want to go big on Apple without spending all your money, this is the phone for you.

Read the full review: Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Google Pixel 2 XL has been mired in controversy since the day of launch. Odd colour tuning turned most off this ambitious device that didn’t really really use its designed to take advantage of the new display aspect, not like some others on this list. A software update provided the option for a display with more life and dealing with the biggest initial complaint.

On the positive side, the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, although the Pixel 2 offers just as much camera joy as this larger model. Reports of numerous problems and errors, from low-quality screens to burn-in suggest a quality control problem with the Pixel 2 XL.

Get a good one and you’ll be rewarded with power, pure Android and that wonderful camera. It is, however, expensive, which might make you think twice.

Read the full review: Google Pixel 2 XL

OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T replaced the OnePlus 5, making a shift to an 18:9 display to follow one of the hottest trends in smartphones. OnePlus likes to move fast and in this case it did, creating a viable big screen device that you can get your hands on for not a lot of cash – £449 – significantly cheaper than many big-name rivals.

There’s a dual camera system on the back which doesn’t quite keep up with the best and this is a phone that doesn’t offer any water protection like some rivals, which perhaps justifies the price. But there’s power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform it sits on and with an optimised Oxygen OS now sitting over Android Oreo. Solid build and super-fast Dash Charge is the icing on the cake, but OnePlus has found itself in a controversy surrounding data leaks.

Read the full review: OnePlus 5T


The HTC U11 is a remarkable phone. Not because HTC added the ability to squeeze to it, no. It’s a great phone because it does pretty much everything right: it has a unique rear design with those deep glass backs, a high quality of build and waterproofing. It offers a great high res display and the best sound quality you’ll likely find on a phone. Pair that will fuss-free software that’s free from bloat, if not quite as exciting as some of its rivals and you are on to a winner.

Throw in a camera that’s fast and reliable, some excellent headphones with noise cancelling and about the only thing left to complain about is the lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket. This is a phone that will serve just about anyone’s need, with lots of power from the Snapdragon 835, storage expansion and a battery life that while not quite the best, will get you through the day.

Best of all, the HTC U11 is a little cheaper than many of its rivals.

Read the full review: HTC U11

LG V30

The LG V30 now gets a global release where once it was limited. At the same time, it evolved into the favourable model, supplanting the LG G6 which got old very quickly; but contrast, the LG V30 offers 2017’s top hardware and has a design that’s still one of the most striking as we draw into 2018 – no one else has really managed to make a display that dominates the phone so well.

One of the unique elements that add appeal to the V30 is the wide-angle camera on the rear. While others offer zoom, LG’s offering gives you something you can’t capture without this special hardware. It gives you a perspective you don’t get from another phone and that’s refreshing.

Read the full review: LG V30

Blackberry KeyOne

The BlackBerry KeyOne might be something of a surprise entry, with the company struggling to find form with its recent handsets. But just as we rated the BlackBerry Priv, the KeyOne brings something unique to the Android smartphone space with that physical keyboard.

The unique offering is a natural choice for those who loved the BlackBerry if the past, with programmable keyboard shortcuts and plenty of innovation on the top of Android to make this phone stand-out. It’s not the most powerful handset out there, but at the same time, you’re not being asked to pay flagship prices for it either.

Read the full review: BlackBerry KeyOne


Honour’s march into smartphones as a sub-brand of Huawei is having a real impact. Not only is it beating the parent brand, offering much the same technology for a better price, but it’s also filling the void the ambitious brands like OnePlus are leaving behind. The “flagship killer” of yesterday is going up in price, while Honor is still offering performance for a great price.

The Honor 9 brings a lovely design, with a glossy finish that’s turning more heads than the anodised metals of the past few years. There’s plenty of power packed in as well as a camera that really performs: the result is a mid-range handset that has bags of appeal. It’s a great size for practical daily use and although you’ll find better displays on some of the devices above, it’s hard not to like the Honor 9.

Read the full review: Honor

Apple iPhone SE

Fulfilling the requirements of those looking for a smaller iPhone, the iPhone SE is about as budget as Apple gets. Starting at just over £300, the iPhone SE punches into the mid-range, but the only thing mid-range about this phone is the display size.

The iPhone SE has all the power of the iPhone 6S, giving you speed and power that smaller phones often fail to give you. It’s a full-bore iPhone experience that’s paired with an excellent camera, offering the consistency you expect from Apple. For those after the Apple experience without the hole in their pocket, the iPhone SE is an excellent choice. It’s also one of the best-selling iPhones out there.

Read the full review: Apple iPhone SE

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