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XDA's best smartphones in 2018



The year is going to close, and soon we will get to know the arrival of 2019. With new smart tendencies already on the horizon, it is time that we reflect all year round. We have seen the emergence of many new technologies, while we have also said goodbye to some older people. Our phones have become faster and smarter, and there is no evidence that growth is slowing down soon.

But there are so many smartphones released every year. If you're looking for a new smartphone in the coming weeks, how can you decide what to get? There are so many to choose from, and everyone has their own knowledge and imprints. Here at XDA, we took some time to reflect on the past year and asked all our authors to choose what their favorite smartphones of the year were. While you may have a rough idea of ​​what you think is the best phone of the year in each category, our authors may surprise you.


Mishaal Rahman

Best flagship unit for value: ] OnePlus 6T

I think OnePlus 6T is the best device in this category. It's an excellent performer, has a good battery life, maximizes screen real estate as much as possible with the least unpleasant notch design, and the software is the best known for anyone who has been a Nexus / stock Android fanboy for many years. There are some devices on the market that are better than 6T in certain aspects, especially when it comes to the camera, but I don't think there are any devices that are better in every way. So why spend hundreds of dollars extra to get a phone that's only marginally better than OnePlus 6T?

OnePlus 6T XDA Forums

Best Feature Flagship Unit: Huawei Mate 20 X

Huawei Mate 20 X is my personal favorite this year. It has the almost internal coating design for the Huawei Mate 20 combined with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera setup. It also has the latest Kirin 980, making it one of the few small flagship smartphones. I love big phones, and the Mate 20 X is the best big Android smartphone in the market. That makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small in comparison. It does not have all the watches and wings of the Mate 20 Pro such as 40 W charge, wireless charging or 3D unlocking of the face, but the large 7.2-inch display cannot be turned on.

Huawei Mate 20 X XDA Forums

Best Overall Mid Range Device: Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1

Xiaomi has long been the first smartphone I actually feel comfortable watching TV shows and movies . king of medium sized smartphones, but Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 gave Redmi Note 5 Pro a run for their money. Asus chose nearby Android on the ZenFone Max Pro M1 and stuck a large battery of 5000mAh in it. It is not best to take pictures or create videos (EIS is disabled by default), but Google Camera ports can help raise their mediocre camera to an acceptable level. It's a damn shame that the best mid-range devices never come to America, where the only decent mid-ranger who doesn't cost an arm and a leg is Nokia 7.1.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 XDA Forums [19659007] Best Overall Low-End Device: Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite is an incredible device in the low-end tier. If you end up buying a budget unit, you often sacrifice long-term software support. That's not true for Mi A2 Lite, though. It is an Android One device that means it basically runs Android and has 2 years of guaranteed software updates and monthly Android security updates. Although Snapdragon 625 is quite old at this point, there is a reason it is so highly exploited by Xiaomi-it's not slash. Mi A2 Lite has a respectable 4000mAh battery that helps your phone last a long day.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite XDA Forums

Best Design: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

This is a close race between the Honor Magic 2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. Both smartphones have an almost completely internal shape, thanks Be the sliding mechanism, but the Honor Magic 2 has a fine gradient color, while Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has Xiaomos signature ceramic body finish. Jade Green Mi Mix 3 has my best overall design, but the Honor Magic 2 in Gradient Blue is very close.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 XDA Forums

Best New Software Feature: Night Sight

Although not the first to stage with a night mode camera feature, Google was the first to nail it with Night Sight on Pixel 3. OnePlus, Xiaomi and Huawei / Honor all have their own night mode features, although Huawei is almost Google's quality in terms of quality. Night Sight is the must-have feature of the year, and it is clear that there are so many runners rushing to send the latest Google Camera app to their own devices. Google has proven that a single back camera smartphone can take pictures that are as good, if not better, than dual, triple or even four-camera smartphones.

Best New Hardware Function: Slider Cameras

I am thrilled to see which design trend will dominate in 2019. 2018 is clearly this year's notch, but as the year comes, we see two new trends ahead: slider camera phones and screen holes. The former is championed by Vivo NEX, Honor Magic 2, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, while the latter is championed by Samsung Galaxy A8s, Huawei Nova 4 and Honor View 20. I am a big fan of slider design and I see further improvements to it as the way forward. It is a gentle disadvantage to handle if you take selfies often or rely on face locking, but on the back, the manufacturer can pack all kinds of sensors behind the screen, rather than sacrificing screen-proof property through a larger screen cutout.

Most Enhanced: Huawei

Huawei has undoubtedly improved most in 2018. When comparing year-on-year improvements that other manufacturers have made on their smartphones, you'll find that they've made most incremental improvements to performance, battery life and camera quality. But Huawei has made several radical changes to their smartphone in just one year. Compare Huawei Mate 10 Pro to Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for example. Mate 20 Pro adds a fingerprint scanner to the screen, 3D face detection, faster 40W wired charging, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, significant camera enhancements with the addition of a 40MP main sensor as part of a triple rear camera setup, wireless desktop mode, and obviously all standard Incremental improvements like a better SoC, bigger battery, etc. For most devices, the next generation model is hardly worth the upgrade. Huawei Mate 20 Pro is an exception because it is significantly better than last year's Huawei Mate 10 Pro.


Joe Fedewa

Best Flagship Unit for Value: OnePlus 6

OnePlus makes enough compromises to offer a device with some high-end flagship specifications at a mid-range price. I really prefer OnePlus 6 over OnePlus 6T. The rear fingerprint scanner is better and it has a headphone jack. OnePlus 6 XDA Forums

Best Flagship Device for Features: Pixel 3

I'm not going to go out and praise the most important things for you. OnePlus 6 is a no-brainer. to try to convince you that Pixel 3 has more features than you might find on a Samsung flagship, but for the features I care about, Pixel 3 is the best. I want a great camera, a phone that's not too big, frequent and fast updates, and the best Google experience. Google Pixel 3 XDA Forums

Best Overall Mid Range Device: Nokia 8.1

Software and updates can sometimes be a problem with mid-range devices, so starting with Android Pie is a good thing. Nokia 8.1 will also receive a smooth update from HMD Global as part of the Android One program. The design of the unit is also very good for a medium sized unit, with relatively slim frames and high quality building materials. You even get two cameras on the back.

Nokia 8.1 XDA Forums

Best Overall Low-End Device: Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite

You've probably found that software is a big deal for me, so Android One is a must-have on this area. Low-end devices are low-powered so you don't want the software to bog it down. Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite is a very nice device with two cameras, a large battery and a good screen. The device was released over the summer with Android Oreo, but Xiaomi has already rolled out the Android Pie update.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite XDA Forums

Best Design: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

When I think about phones from 2018 that looked futuristic and cool, Mi Mix 3 is what pops in my head. The front is almost all screens and the slider mechanism for the camera is a good idea, not to mention the fun of fiddling with.

Best new software: Night Sight

Night Sight is the first camera mode "As I have consistently used. Many camera modes are gimmicky and do not have many usage events, but Night Sight is sincere to think about.

Best New Hardware Feature: Front Camera Hole

I can be in the minority of this, but I think the ac hole punch looks pretty cool, I prefer the appearance of the screen holes over the dreaded You still can't use the screen space that is blocked by the screen hole, but I just think it looks better.

Most Improved: Essential

Essential Phone received lots of updates over the past year. is always a trendy choice for "best cheap Android phone" since it goes so often on sale and it is largely thanks to Essentials support, I do not know if it will be an Essential Phone 2 but Essentia l have done a lot to become a fan-favorite OEM.


Max Weinbach

Best flagship unit of value: OnePlus 6

The best flagship of value must be OnePlus 6. The only reason it would be best rated is the price and the hardware. The camera is not good, the device feels cheap, the haptics are bad, the speakers are not good, and the screen is not good. However, it has Snapdragon 845 and large battery for a low price for the hardware.

OnePlus 6 XDA Forums

Best Feature Flagship Unit: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The best flagship feature for the features is the Mate 20 Pro. The phone has a triple camera system, the latest version of Android, a fingerprint scanner on the screen, real face ID hardware and the fastest Android SoC on the market. It has the same features each other phone has plus more.

Samsung Galaxy A8s

Samsung Galaxy A8s is the best center.

The Samsung Galaxy A8s is the best middle device – rank the device far. It is one of the first devices to use the new hole in the display format, and it has the Snapdragon 710. The Galaxy A8s are running Android 8.1 and are scheduled to receive one user interface very soon. It also has a triple camera system with some of the best mid-range cameras.

Best Overall Low-End Device: Huawei P20 Lite

The best low-end device is Huawei P20 Lite. This device runs EMUI 8 and has some of the best features on the low end scale. It is a quick and very good unit for the price you want to spend.

Huawei P20 Lite XDA Forum

Best Design: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Design prices have usually gone to Samsung and I think this year is no exception. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a nice and great device in one of the finest blue colors I've ever seen. The baskets are perfect in this iteration of what really started with the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 XDA Forums

Best New Software Feature: Call Synchronization

The best software feature is far from Call Screening from Pixel. It is almost perfectly symmetrical and just feels good to hold. 3 and Pixel 3 XL. This is the best feature because it is actually useful. Most other phones get these random AI features that are honestly useless. Call Screening is something that works on both friends and spammers.

Best New Hardware Feature: Face ID

The best new hardware feature, especially for Android phones, is the Face 20 sensor in the Mate 20 Pro. This technology is currently in the latest iPhone and iPad pros, but has not yet made it to Android devices. Huawei managed to make it work and it works well. It's fast and convenient to be safe.

Most Enhanced: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Mi Mix 3 is the most enhanced device over Mi Mix 2. In a year, they could steady specifications, designs, cameras and software without adding a notch. They used a sliding phone mechanism and a ceramic back without increasing the price.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 XDA Forums


Eric Hulse

Best Flagship Unit for Value: OnePlus 6

Yes, OnePlus 6, not the 6 T . The middle-class category has created price over the years, but when a note starts at $ 1000, $ 529 is "medium-sized". Compared to the OnePlus offers this year, they are great devices. Both phones run one of our favorite types of Android with OxygenOS. Both have tons of RAM and a Snapdragon 845. 6T this year brings a slightly larger battery, a less reliable fingerprint reader in the display and removal of the headphone jack. For me, between 6 and 6T, after using both, 6 is a better buy.

OnePlus 6 XDA Forums

Best flagship device for features: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

This is easy for me. Honestly, this phone has absolutely everything. The note is top of Samsung's smartphone work. If you buy the very expensive Note 9, you will have it for nothing – SD card, lots of RAM, great storage, a Snapdragon 845, S-Pen, water resistance, stereo speakers, wireless charging, great camera, headphone jack and more. The screen is great, the build quality is top notch, and while the software was already good (from a previous TouchWiz hater), OneUI is great. This phone is as close to $ 1,000 as possible. Buy one.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 XDA Forums

Best Overall Mid range Device: Nokia 7.1

I do not have much experience with budget phones. The simple choice is the Motorola G series, but this year I am more inclined to recommend Nokia 7.1. It's an interesting looking device, and Nokia has done some very interesting things with Android and updates. Nokia 7.1 XDA Forums

Best Overall Low-End Device: Motorola One

It is an unlocked device with a large, modern look. show. It also has an SD slot and is Dual SIM. It's an Android One device, so we look at fast updates and clean Android. It is also equipped with "turbocharging," a decent sized battery and a headphone jack.

Best design: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

I can't say enough about how lovely this phone is. The Twilight finish is amazing and unique, and the green and blue options with the textured glass are also great. The camera on the back looks clear.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro XDA Forums

Best New Software Feature: Call Synchronization

One of my favorite, perhaps lesser known, features is that it's not my favorite phone, but I think it's a glance . call screening from Google. At the age of robocalls from spammers, it is great to be able to shield the robots with a robot. The function only works and it feels futuristic when you use it.

Best New Hardware Feature: Google Pixel 3 Camera

This is a bit of a mix of hardware and software to be honest, but I am just constant and always happy with the results of this camera. It is an absolutely reliable pleasure to use. This is to say nothing about Night Sight, which is mostly a software feature.

Most Improved: Razer Phone 2

Razer took his first phone and certainly improved everything about it without changing the device's core business. We maintain the great new update speed display and added: wireless charging, water resistance, a chroma logo, enhanced cameras, a Snapdragon 845, higher brightness and a large cooling chamber. The phone is pretty great at a pretty good price.

Razer Phone 2 XDA Forums


Doug Lynch

Best Flagship Unit for Value: Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is one of the shock releases of the year, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset for an incredibly low price.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 XDA Forum

Best Flagship Feature for Features: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 [19659005] Samsung Galaxy S9 has a superior display for most smartphones, an S-pen with even more features over this device predecessor and all Samsung Experience and OneUI features. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the best flagship of the year for me.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 XDA Forums

Best Overall Mid Range Device: Honor 8X

Perhaps a controversial pick, the Honor 8X 2018 has trendy notches with thin frames and good build quality. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

Even with the confusing naming system, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, it is a great device for the money and looks beautiful.

Honor 8X XDA Forums

Best Overall Low End Device: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

(Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus in China) is a great device at an even better price.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 XDA Forums

Best Design: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has a hefty feel, sleek touch and the best design I've seen so far to hide the camera in front .

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 XDA Forums

Best New Software Feature: Google Playground / Night Sight

This is a tie for me between Google Playground and Night Sight. While Google Playground is fun to play with, it can, more often, not be a gimmick feature. Night Sight is functional and therefore I have chosen it as well.

Best New Hardware Function: Fingerprint Sensor on the Display

I've always preferred the sensor on the back, but being a minimalist has led me to appreciate that the sensor is hidden under the screen.

Most improved: ASUS ROG Phone

I don't think it will sell well, but the amount of accessories they launch with it shows that they are

OnePlus 6

After using both OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, OnePlus 6 takes care of itself.

the cake for me as the best flagship in 2018 for value. A quick fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack are what push it over the edge for me. OnePlus 6T has a slightly larger battery, but the larger battery does not justify these departures for me. Having used both devices, I can safely say that I prefer OnePlus 6 over OnePlus 6T for value for money, especially because it's a little cheaper too.

OnePlus 6 XDA Forums

Best flagship device for features: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

I think choosing Samsung Galaxy Note 9 here is a no-brainer. It has everything, and with everything I mean literally everything . A fast fingerprint sensor, a pen, a great camera, a large battery, and even a headphone jack. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is probably this year's phone for me.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 XDA Forums

Best Overall Mid Range Device: Xiaomi Mi A2

I'm a big fan of Xiaomi, and Xiaomi Mi A2 is one of the company's best devices released this year. With an incredible camera for the price, the only thing that this device lacks is a headphone jack. If you can get over it, this is a solid choice. If a headphone jack is a must, I would recommend Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro instead.

Xiaomi Mi A2 XDA Forum

Best General Low Time Unit: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is a beautiful device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, and it's a great smartphone for the money. If you're on a budget, you can't go wrong with this one.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 XDA Forums

Best Design: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

I have Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and I thought that was beautiful. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is the best looking smartphone for 2018 for me, with the magnetic slider as the finest solution for predicting notch yet.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 XDA Forums

Best New Software Feature: Night Sight

This is not a difficult choice for me at all. Night Sight is a fantastic feature. It's one of the most surprising features of 2018, and one of the most powerful ones as well.

Best New Hardware Function: Fingerprint Sensor on the Display

While I personally dislike the OnePlus 6T's fingerprint sensor on the display, I have used a lot of it once. , I like the idea and think it's very cool. I can see manufacturers who improve it further, and already in smartphones like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, we see that it gets faster, more accurate and just generally better.

Most Improved: Razer Phone 2

My experience with Razer Phone 2 is beyond what Razer Phone once was.

Razer Phone 2 XDA Forums


Everyone has different criteria for what makes a phone the "best". We've made our choices and it's good, it's fast, it's just a great big 120Hz screen experience. now we will hear yours! Share your best smartphones in 2018 in the comments below!

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