The best smartphone of 2018: 15 top phones tested and ranked

You're here to find the best smartphone around, right? One that lets you take brilliant photos, has great battery life, amazing design and a top screen.

Oh, and it needs to be reasonably priced… well, not extortionate, as many top phones are costing a little more these days.

You've come to the right place, as TechRadar's team of experts has assessed all the flagship smartphones on the market, putting each one through an incredibly rigorous testing process to find out which one is our top pick.

As you'll have probably already noticed, the best phone you can buy right now is the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which ticks all the boxes listed above thanks to a dazzling screen, amazing camera and impressive, rolling metal-and-glass design.

But we're not happy with just giving you a single option – maybe you're more of an iPhone fiend (in which case, the iPhone X is our top choice) or you're waiting for the latest version of Google's OS (set to be Android P very soon) to drop.

Or maybe you're just after something a bit more cost-effective… whatever your needs, we've got something for you right here on this list, with the best mobile phones for March 2018.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a big phone that's designed for big hands – and it takes the very best of what's on the smartphone market and puts it together in a compelling package that we've loved testing. 

Screen: The Super AMOLED 6.2-inch display has been measured as one of the very best around right now, with super colours, great dynamic range and, essentially, the very best viewing experience you can have on a mobile phone.

Battery life: The battery life on the S9 Plus is better than the smaller version, thanks to the 3500mAh battery – although it's probably the weakest part of the phone, not offering as much life as we'd have liked.

Camera: The camera on the Galaxy S9 Plus is among the best on the market, and the dual-aperture capability offers some startlingly good snaps when things get a little darker. Colours can look a tad washed out when the exposure is higher, but the power of the sensor, with memory built into it, offers very low-noise shots.

Mini verdict: If you're after a bigger phone with all the latest and greatest features on it, the Galaxy S9 is that and more.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review

The iPhone X (although it's pronounced 'ten') is the redesigned Apple phone that iFans have been crying out for. It's got an all new shape, the notch at the top and higher price… but it's the best iPhone that's ever been made too (as long as you don't miss the headphone jack).

Screen: The 5.8-inch OLED screen is the best display Apple has ever crammed into an iPhone. It’s far ahead of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for so many reasons: the sharpness, the quality, the fact that it fills the whole front of the phone, and the color reproduction.

Battery life: The iPhone X's battery life is pretty good but it's by no means best in class. If you're a very heavy user you might struggle to last more than 12 hours but for most users it'll comfortably last a whole day.

Camera: Cameras on iPhones have always been superb and the iPhone X is no different. The camera on the X is often stunning, delivering still shots that are rich with detail. Perhaps not quite as brilliant as the Pixel 2, but still right up there with the best.

Mini verdict: This is the phone to buy if you want to treat yourself to a high-end handset – a little extra per month for something you really enjoy taking out of your bag or pocket is worth it (if you can afford it). 

Read more: iPhone X review

The Samsung Galaxy S9 isn't quite the phone that the S9 Plus is – it's only got a single camera sensor, for one – but it's a more palm-friendly model that still packs the power and top screen quality of its sibling.

Screen: A QHD 5.8-inch screen takes up most of the front of the phone – and it's still a stunning design. Brighter, more colourful and capable of showing the best of movies, the Super AMOLED tech is once again showing itself to be best thing to look at on a smartphone.

Battery life: Battery life is a little disappointing for a top-end smartphone, meaning you'll need to think about a top-up during the day if you're a harder user. Wireless and fast charging capabilities help with this though.

Camera: It's only a single sensor on the rear of the Galaxy S9, unlike the Galaxy S9 Plus – meaning it's not as good at photography. But don't think the S9 takes poor photos, as they're still stunning, and in low light it's a sterling performer, with very little noise.

Mini verdict: The Galaxy S9 is a smartphone with all the top-end features you'd want, and more on top. It's not quite at the level of the S9 Plus, and the iPhone X outranks it in some ways – but for a more palm-friendly Android phone it's utterly tops.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 review

The Pixel 2 XL is all about the camera, with a wider frame and more expansive screen for watching all manner of content. You'll buy it for the pictures you can take, but the power and latest Android upgrades will impress too.

Screen: The Pixel XL 2 has an expansive 6-inch display that's decent for gaming and video playback (although a few issues have surfaced around its viewing angles), and it boasts an improved design over the smaller Pixel 2, with slimmer bezels housing its dual front-facing speakers.

Battery life: The XL has good battery life – you won't have a problem with it. It will comfortably last you a full day under normal conditions and with normal use, and its ability to save power when it's not doing anything means it'll last a few days in standby.

Camera: Like the smaller Pixel 2, the camera on the XL is stunningly good. Photos look fantastic, and they'll please both casual and more serious snappers alike. Low light conditions in particular are where this phone shines – perhaps not as competent as the Galaxy S9 pair though – and you'll struggle to take a poor snap with this phone.

Mini verdict: This phone is for you if you want to go for a pure Android experience with the best camera on the market, and with a large screen. It's a pricey phone but worth it if the above appeals. 

Read more: Google Pixel 2 XL review

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a phone that might not instantly be on your wish list, but the brand has made huge strides of late, and the battery life is something that outranks most on this list. If you're feeling that it's time for a change, this is worth checking out.

Screen: The full HD screen is a match for the Pixel 2 but not its other Android competitors like the Galaxy S9 and Note 8 phones from Samsung. As such, the screen on the 10 Pro is very good…but not spectacular.

Battery: The biggest talking point of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is its battery. It’s big at 4,000mAh, and it translates to impressive performance, with the possibility of stretching usage to two days from a single charge if you knock it to flight mode overnight.

Camera: On the rear, the dual camera setup is a solid point-and-shoot option, but it really excels if you dive into manual mode; if you're a camera enthusiast who's willing to spend time fine-tuning, you can get some great shots from the Mate 10 Pro.

Mini verdict: It's not the best looking or bristling with the most features, but the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a brilliant phone if you're looking for a big screen and best-in-class battery life. 

Read more:  Huawei Mate 10 Pro review 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was the first time the brand's phablet range was seen as a real rival for the Galaxy S phones – the larger screen and more power starting to resonate with the average phone buyer. The S Pen is the real point of differentiation, and it's cool to always have a notepad with you.

Screen:  The Note 8 maximises Samsung’s dual curved edge and nearly bezel-less Infinity Display to the point where this phone feels like a mini tablet from the future. It's more squared off than the Galaxy S phones, but still lovely to look at. 

Camera: The camera on the Note 8 is superb and near the front of the pack for all round quality. On the rear its dual lenses allow for optical zoom as well as digital zoom, as well as live focus which enables you to do all kinds of effects including blurring the background – even after you've taken the shot.

Battery life: The battery in the Note 8 isn't quite best in class – you can thank the large screen and slender design for that. But it'll still last you all day unless you're streaming a lot of video or using it with the brightness pumped up.

Mini verdict: It's an expensive phone – only just behind the iPhone X in terms of out-and-out cost. But it's a better choice than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus – its competitor in terms of overall size and quality – if you want to be able to jot things down in an instant and take beautiful bokeh photos, as well as splash the phone in water. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review 

The LG V30 is a quietly impressive phone, jam-packed with all manner of tech. It's offering some of the top specs around and does it with a strong battery life, as well as being an audio marvel… perfect if you love listening to tunes on the go.

Screen: The V30 sports the fashionable 18:9 aspect ratio complete with an attractive 6-inch OLED display with 2880 x 1440 (QHD) resolution. While there are still bezels at the ends, the phone looks and feels superb.

Battery life: The battery life is one of the LG V30's best features, easily lasting a day and if you're a light user it could potentially go two days between charging.

Camera: The V30's camera is good – you'll be able to take shots in all conditions and be happy with them. But it's not quite as good as the camera on the Samsung S9 phones, the Pixel 2 or the iPhone X.

Mini verdict: The V30 is LG's best ever smartphone. It's got the most powerful processor around, a great camera and delivers one of the best sonic performances from a phone on the market right now, thanks to the dedicated Quad DAC inside.

Read more: LG V30 review

The Samsung Galaxy S8 looked space age when it was launched last year, and the Galaxy S9 apes it in many ways. It's not the top phone in Samsung's range any more, but it's jolly close and costs a whole lot less.

Screen: The screen was the very, very best on the market and is still now a top performer, coming with the elongated, 18.5:9 ratio that stretches impressively up and down the phone. With powerful colour reproduction and contrast ratio that make everything look clear and crisp, it’s also got the QHD resolution that we expect from all the top phones.

Battery life: The battery life, despite being smaller than in previous devices from Samsung, is still pretty decent. It's not amazing, but it's not very far from the performance of the Galaxy S9 and will last around a day… although you might want a little top up wirelessly or fast charged.

Camera: The camera is still very strong, despite being usurped by the S9 – the auto mode offers clean, crisp and clear shots every time and combined with screen quality makes you want to show off your best snaps. There’s an easy-to-use pro mode as well to get the best out of your snapping.

Mini verdict: This is the phone to go for if you want a strong performer and don't mind it's a little older. As such, it's much cheaper than it was at launch and thus offers fantastic value for money. It will do the job for years to come, too – so if you buy this phone you'll manage a good couple of years out of it. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 review

So the iPhone X is the phone to buy if you want the best from Apple right now, but if you're more of a traditionalist you'll love the familiar stylings of the 8 Plus. It's got a strong camera and all the power of the X, as well as an easier-to-understand interface if you're a long-time iOS user.

Screen: The 5.5-inch screen is great and includes important upgrades to the colour reproduction and the temperature too – so images look more clean and lifelike. It's not as sharp as screens on the best Android phones but the inclusion of True Tone tech, first seen on the iPad Pro, means it still packs a punch.

Battery life: The battery life of the iPhone 8 Plus is good, but not amazing. You'll normally be able to survive a full day without topping up but on those days when you have the screen on a lot, watching video or using maps etc, you might find yourself just scraping by.

Camera: The camera on this phone is superb, with two 12MP lenses on the rear combining to deliver great images even in low light, and the double sensors creating some nice, refined blurred-background portrait shots.

Mini verdict: It's still a top iPhone and perfect for anyone who wants to upgrade but doesn't want to pay the eye-watering price commanded by the iPhone X. You won't be disappointed by this iPhone, as long as you don't mind the similar design to handsets from the last three years. 

Read more: iPhone 8 Plus review 

The Galaxy S8 Plus wasn't different enough to its smaller brother in 2017, and it remains more expensive, but it's still one of the top phones around right now. You can get incredible photos in many conditions, the screen is pin-sharp and it's a nice phablet for a little less this year.

Screen: The 6.2-inch screen, actually called an Infinity Display by Samsung, spills to the edge of the phone, and is a well-made fusion of glass and metal. It feels great in the hand, thanks to a rolling design – and like the other Galaxies in this list, is water-resistant too.

Battery life: The battery life is  better than on the Galaxy S8 and S9, thanks to having a larger power pack in there without much more work to do – it’ll easily last most people a day or so.

Camera: The camera is a top fusion of auto mode and pro settings for those that like to dig a little deeper – the quality of the snaps is more often than not pin-sharp, and the screen quality really highlights your photos. It lacks the dual sensor and low-light capabilities of the S9 Plus, but it's a terribly good performer nonetheless.

Mini verdict: Don't let the age put you off – this is still an immensely powerful phone with a strong spec list. The screen, camera and design are still premium, and while not as good as the S9 Plus, it's a lot a cheaper thanks to being on sale for longer.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review

If you want a smaller phone, the iPhone 8 continues to fill that gap. It's not the most mind-blowing in terms of some of the specs – it's only got the single sensor camera, for instance, and the screen isn't the highest-res – but it's the perfect upgrade if you just want a no-nonsense, cutting-edge iPhone. 

Screen: The screen may not be as sharp as the big-hitting Androids in this list but the iPhone 8 still delivers excellent performance with some clever refinements to improve the visual quality – and crucially its size makes for an easier in-palm experience.

Battery life: The battery life of the iPhone 8 isn't hugely impressive… but better than older iPhones. You'll just about be able to squeeze a day out of it and if you're upgrading from an iPhone 6 or 6S you'll find it a lot better (and it packs wireless charging too).

Camera: The camera is pretty comparable to that of the iPhone 7, which was itself a great camera phone. So there's not a huge step forward here, but you won't struggle to take a great picture.

Mini verdict: The iPhone 8 pales in comparison to the iPhone X, and offers fairly minimal upgrades to the iPhone 7… but still has some nice design refinements and easier charging thanks to wireless capabilities.

Read more: iPhone 8 review 

The Pixel 2 is the palm-friendly version of the higher-rated 2 XL… and it's got the same incredible camera on board. The screen isn't as high quality but you will be getting the latest version of Android as soon as it's ready for a while yet.

Screen: Unlike its chief competitors, the Pixel 2 has a lower-res screen – it's only a full HD resolution and so it's outmatched by all the Samsung phones in this list. The screen-to-body ratio is not as good as the S8 or the iPhone X, with bigger bezels top and bottom – so it looks a lot less impressive visually.

Battery life: The Pixel 2 makes fantastic use of Android's battery saving features and thus sports all-day battery life. It's not top-end, but has good enough life and will last a day with medium usage.

Camera: The seriously impressive 12MP rear camera is by far the best feature of the Pixel 2. This phone has the best camera of any phone out there, whether in low light or taking stunning portraits, so if the snapper is the most important part of a phone for you, the Pixel 2 is the phone to get.

Mini verdict: The dual front-facing speakers are great for firing audio directly at you, while a Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM keep everything running smoothly – and its water-resistant body means the Pixel 2 will even survive a dip in the bath. The Pixel 2 is a great phone and it's the camera that really stands out as best in class.

Read more: Google Pixel 2 review

There's a mid-range market for phones that's got some incredible-value phones within it, devices that can offer a lot of spec for less money. One of those new devices is the Honor View 10, and will impress in a number of ways even before you see the price tag.

Screen: The 6-inch screen on the Honor View 10 is in the new trendy 18:9 format, meaning more screen in a smaller package. It's LCD and is Full HD resolution, but it's still colourful and sharp enough for the price.

Battery life: The 3750mAh battery pack in this phone will last you up to two days if you're a little sparing – it's not great at full power, but for those that just like a few photos, podcast and music streaming it's more than capable.

Camera: The dual camera has as dizzying array of modes, and the two sensors offer great zoom, HDR and bokeh effects. They're not the strongest on the market, but still very capable and offer high spec for the lower price point.

Mini verdict: The Honor View 10 is the best mid-range phone around right now, with a great set of specs for a low, low price. It won't beat the dizzying heights of the iPhone X or S9 Plus, but it's also less than half the price…

Read more: Honor View 10 review

The OnePlus 5T offers a lot for your money, just like the Honor View 10 – a clear, 18:9 OLED display, a decent slug of battery and a good camera with a nice bokeh mode. The price is low, but many people would hanker after this brand even if it wasn't so cost-effective.

Screen: The 6-inch AMOLED display on the OnePlus 5T is fantastic, especially given the low price tag. It's the best screen ever seen in a OnePlus handset and features the same 18:9 aspect ratio seen on the other Android flagship phones. 

Battery life: Solid all-day battery life is what you'll get out of this phone. So it fits nicely in with the competition then – not as good as the LG V30 but comfortably as good as the Galaxy S9 and the rest.

Camera: The camera, again, is decent without being standout. You won't have any problems with it and you'll be able to take some amazing photos with it. It's not as good as the Pixel 2 but the far cheaper price tag will explain why.

Mini verdict: If you're willing to put up with a few small compromises then you could argue the OnePlus 5T could be even further up this list. One thing is for sure though: in terms of value for money it won't disappoint. 

Read more: OnePlus 5T review

Sony's 4K-screened phone sounds like a gimmick, but the display is packed with so much technology that it impresses despite that. The colour reproduction and pixel quality is superb, and the camera really rewards those that make an effort to get the best out of it.

Screen: This is the only phone out there with a full-blown 4K screen, and it also comes with HDR tech. The amount of HDR content for mobiles is increasing all the time, but even without that this screen makes even the most mundane image look brighter and more colourful, and the rest of the phone is impressively powerful.

Battery life: The XZ Premium does pretty well given how many pixels it's driving on that 4K screen. It'll last you a full day with a little more to spare on moderate use, thanks to some dynamic screen technology that actively alters how much is being used.

Camera: The camera is on the XZ Premium is capable of taking exceptional pictures, the slow motion capabilities are insanely great in the right light, and the raw grunt of the handset is up there with the very best. If you're a Sony fan, you'll love this phone.

Mini verdict: The square corners won't appeal to everyone but if you want to watch 4K video and review your photos in as much detail as possible, this is a great phone.

Read more: Sony Xperia XZ Premium  

You're at the end of the guide, and that means no more phones to recommend. But that doesn't mean we can't still help you – we've listed all the phones here in one easy comparison table, so you can decide between them all at once.

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