We’re not even halfway through 2018, but there have already been several excellent premium and budget smartphone releases, at least a few of which will surely be remembered as the best smartphones of 2018. For this article, we’ve selected 3 premium and 2 budget smartphones released recently to provide you with an overview of the current state of the smartphone market and perhaps even help you decide on your next smartphone purchase.
Samsung Galaxy S9
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is arguably the most anticipated smartphone release of 2018, and for a good reason. The Galaxy series is known for introducing cutting-edge smartphone technologies that other manufacturers try to copy. This year, Samsung fans from around the world have one more reason to break open their piggy banks because the Galaxy S9 is basically everything that was great about the S8, only better.
Featuring the Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (or the Exynos 9810 Octa, depending on the market) chipset, the Galaxy S9 is decisively the most powerful Android device currently available, and Samsung puts all the processing power to good use. In response to Apple’s iPhone X and its Animoji, the Galaxy S9 introduces its own collection of AR emoji, leveraging the 8 MP front-facing camera with f/1.7 and 1440p video recording capabilities.
The rear-facing camera has a modest resolution of 12 MP, but faithful Galaxy users already know that the number of pixels alone doesn’t tell the full story. Indeed, the Galaxy S9 not only shoots sharper and more vibrant images than many smartphone cameras with twice as many pixels, but it can also capture up to 960 frames per second when recording HD video.
Even though the Galaxy S9 is water resistant up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, the smartphone will still accept your wired headphones because it has a 3.5 mm audio jack. It also has pro-tuned stereo speakers by AKG and support for Dolby Atmos.
Apple iPhone X
The iPhone X is among the more polarizing product releases from Apple, but it can’t be denied that Apple has once again managed to set a direction for other to follow, making the camera notch mainstream and essentially forcing Google to add support for it to the upcoming version of the Android operating system.
But the iPhone X can offer a lot more than an unmistakable design. The notch houses Apple’s TrueDepth camera, which projects and analyzes more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of user’s face to enable Face ID, a facial recognition system and a type of biometric authentication technology intended to succeed Touch ID.
Powering the iPhone X is the Apple A11 Bionic chipset with its six processing cores and three dedicated graphics cores. The powerful chipset ensures smooth performance even though the iPhone X has a higher resolution screen than all previous iPhones. The 5.8-inch Super AMOLED screen has a resolution of 1125 x 2436 pixels and support for HDR content.
On the back of the iPhone X is a 12 MP dual-sensor camera with optical image stabilization and 2x optical zoom. The camera can record 4K video at 60 frames per second, and it also supports slow-motion video at 240 frames per second. As you might expect from an iPhone, the image quality is excellent, and the camera copes extremely well with low-light conditions.
Google Pixel 2 XL
When a group of the most popular tech YouTubers voted the Google Pixel 2 XL as their favorite smartphone over the iPhone, the world listens. It’s just a shame that Google’s marketing game is so far behind Apple’s because the Pixel 2 XL is genuinely wonderful smartphone that deserves more attention than it gets.
To start with, it’s one of only a few smartphones that work with Google’s Project Fi, a mobile virtual network operator by Google, providing phone, messaging and data services using both Wi-Fi and cellular networks belonging to Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Three. If you’re not entirely happy with your current mobile operator, the Pixel 2 XL may be just what you need to make a switch and potentially save a lot of money every month on your phone bill.
According to DxOMark, the Google Pixel 2 XL has the second-best camera of all smartphones, bested only by the recently released Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. The rear 12.2 MP sensor has optical image stabilization, phase detection and laser autofocus, and dual-LED flash. The sensor’s large pixels capture fine details where other smartphone camera sensors see nothing but noise, and we also welcome the ability to record video at 30 frames per second in 4K and at 120 frames per second in Full HD.
Motorola Moto X
Another smartphone that supports Google’s Project Fi is the Moto X, an affordable performer from Motorola. In fact, the Moto X is the cheapest smartphone with support for Project Fi, costing only $299.
Despite its modest price tag, the smartphone offers a very balanced set of features and surprisingly decent specifications. It features the Snapdragon 630 octa-core processor, which is the successor to the incredibly popular and energy-efficient Snapdragon 625. As the first processor in the 600 series of mobile platforms, the Snapdragon 630 contains a Qualcomm Spectra ISP as well as a Snapdragon X12 LTE modem for up to 600 Mbps downlink speeds, up to 30 percent higher graphics performance, and twice the LTE downlink speed.
Apart from confident performance, the Moto X is also IP68 water resistant and comes with a sharp Full HD 5.2-inch display with vivid colors and high contrast. Taking well-lit selfies in the dark is easily possible thanks to the presence of a front LED flash right next to the 16 MP front-facing camera. The main camera on the back has 16 MP, and it’s accompanied by an 8 MP secondary camera with a wide-angle lens.
Since Nokia abandoned Windows Mobile in favor of Android, the beloved company has released several highly rated smartphones, and the Nokia 6 is its budget release. The smartphone has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal storage space. It also features a vibrant HD display with 2.5D glass on top. On the back of the Nokia 6 is a 16 MP camera sensor with a dual-zone LED flash, and above the display on the front side of the smartphone is an 8 MP front-facing camera.
The Nokia 6 ships with a pure version of Android 8.0 Oreo, giving you a smooth stock Android experience with only a few pre-installed Amazon apps added to it.