This year has seen its fair share of impressive smartphones and the holiday season is a great time to upgrade. Picking the best smartphone for your lifestyle is a tough task. If you want to know the best for every major category, take a look at our shortlist.
Best for Apple Users: iPhone X
iPhones have long been criticized for their lack of innovation in terms of design. They may have the best chassis, but their unchanged look each year has left much to be desired.
The iPhone X is changing that narrative. Not only is it a scary combo of excellent software and unparalleled hardware, it looks nothing like its conservative predecessors. It’s bold, brash and beautiful, which is why it’s also the most expensive iPhone to date.
If you’re wondering how an iPhone will look like with an OLED, all-screen display, the X will surprise you.
Best for Android Fans: Samsung Galaxy S8
It’s the next step in smartphone design and it doesn’t get any more stunning. The Galaxy S8 is the best Android smartphone right now.
Its brilliant edge-to-edge display makes it an instant head-turner. It runs on cutting-edge engines and tech experts call the S8 a complete package. The only downside is the poor Bixby implementation.
Best for Photography Enthusiasts: Google Pixel 2
Most flagship phones these days come with excellent cameras. The Pixel 2’s 12.2-megapixel shooter stands high above the rest. It has virtually zero shutter lag and we’ve seen it deliver astonishing results.
Google’s latest smartphone has HDR+ technology. It’s highly capable of producing noise-free images and eliminating overexposed/underexposed parts simultaneously. This isn’t all because of the phone’s camera. Google’s image processing does all the heavy lifting on all your snapshots. It’s software optimization at its best.
Best for Extended Battery Life: Moto Z2 Play
It can be a nuisance having a phone that forces you to scramble for a charger or a power bank several times a day. The Moto Z2 Play is the best way to get rid of that burden.
Even with heavy usage, the handset’s massive 3,000mAh battery can last an entire day. For moderate to light users, the smartphone easily surpasses two days of runtime. When you run out of juice, it has TurboPower fast-charging technology.
The Z2 Play is powered by a Snapdragon 626 processor and a 3GB RAM (plus 32GB internal storage). You can cruise through everyday tasks with this smartphone, but it gets even better when you bring in Moto Mods.
Best for the Budget-Conscious: OnePlus 5T
A cheap handset that houses some of the best smartphone trends pretty much sounds like a rip-off. Luckily, OnePlus 5T isn’t one.
It has a dual-camera setup, a 6-inch edge-to-edge display, a fingerprint sensor, and a genuinely premium design. What’s more impressive is that you get all that amazing specs for less than $600. If you’re hesitant throwing away a fortune on a new phone, the OnePlus 5T is your best bet.
Best for Audiophiles: LG V30
With most of us using our smartphones to listen to music, it’s sad that only a few companies take smartphone audio seriously. Luckily there are brands like LG that care about your listening experience.
The LG V30 is the best-sounding smartphone of the year. Although music played over its average single speaker is passable, the sound quality kicks into a higher gear the moment you plug in a pair of headphones. Tap the V30’s Quad DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and sounds get noticeably louder and gain a massive clarity boost. Audiophiles will also like that this LG phone lets them tweak music with a couple of additional sound filters. It’s also great for shooting videos, thank its outstanding depth and control.
Best Small Phone: iPhone SE
If you have small hands, you have problems reaching all four corners of a 5-inch screen. It’s a minor issue, but there are mobile users who aren’t fans of phablets for practical reasons.
If you prefer a smaller phone without compromising high-end hardware, the iPhone SE is the smartphone for you. It has a 4-inch screen, but it easily matches the iPhone 6S under the hood. You’re getting similar goodies—Retina display, 2GB RAM, 12MP rear camera, and an Apple A9 chip—for something so reasonably small. Best of all, it remains the cheapest phone Apple has on the shelves.
Best for Mobile PC Experience: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
The mobile PC experience is a feature some flagship phones do well, but the Mate 10 Pro’s setup stands out. All you need is a USB-C to HDMI cable (instead of a powered, expensive dock) to tap into its mobile PC mode. That makes it the more practical option for most entrepreneurs on the go.
You’ll also like the phone’s Leica-branded dual camera and its ever-improving OS. Did we mention that its battery has been tested to last up to two days? Its premium design is also a bonus.