Best Smartphone 2018: The best handset for every budget

This is why you should trust our list of the best phones:

We’ve reviewed thousands of smartphones since we launched back in 2003, so it’s safe to say we’re one of the few outlets that can be trusted (no pun intended) to recommend a new product – and that’s because we aren’t paid by companies for coverage. All of our reviews are honest and unbiased. 

We should note, however, that Trusted Reviews does earn some money when you click on a link to purchase a product, which helps us fund more impartial reviews. That also means we want you to be super-happy with your purchase so that you come back to us the next time you need buying advice.

best overall smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S9

Both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are excellent smartphones. The variable aperture is the biggest feature that separates it from rivals, enabling the S9 to capture fantastic shots even in low-light conditions.

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Picking a new smartphone can often be a daunting task, and that’s because there are simply far too many to choose from. But to help make the process a little more bearable, we’ve rounded up ten of the best smartphones on the market – including the all-new Galaxy S9, Huawei P20 Pro and the four-month-old iPhone X.

How we select the best smartphones

Every handset we review is tested using the same combination of real-world use cases and repeatable benchmark tests. This means that we test everything from battery life and processor performance during the full range of everyday tasks, right up to call quality and screen calibration.

Phones are also now our go-to devices for taking photos, so the cameras are put through their paces in every situation possible. You want to know whether a phone’s camera will impress not just in bright sunshine at an exotic location, but also when taking shots of moving people at drunken parties, or just in the dull, flat light of a British winter.

Similarly, you might want to know how your phone will cope with a Netflix binge or video call, so our battery-discharge tests take that into account.

Most of all, we take these phones out and use them as our own over an extended period, living with them to learn their quirks and discover their hidden treasures.

So now you know how we select the best smartphones, let’s take a look at our highlights.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S9

Pros:

  • Fantastic screen
  • Feels great
  • Improved speakers

Cons:

  • Average battery life
  • Dual-sensor only on Plus model
  • Some lag with Samsung’s software

You can’t go wrong with either the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus, though if we had to recommend one we’d go with the latter – and that’s because it comes with a dual-camera. The extra lens, in this instance, is used for zooming, making the camera far more versatile.

Both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus sport an identical build and similar internals, with the main differences being that the Plus model is equipped with an additional 2GB of RAM, a slightly bigger battery and the aforementioned dual-camera configuration – luxuries most customers should be able to live without.

The biggest update Samsung treated the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus to is a new variable aperture setting within the camera, letting customers switch between an f/2.4 and f/1,5 aperture whenever they see fit, which should ensure images come out bright and full of detail in almost all low-light environments.

Buy now: Samsung Galaxy S9 SIM Free for £739 from Amazon

The Top Samsung Galaxy S9 Deals Right Now

Samsung Galaxy S9 – 16GB, £43pm, no upfront from Vodafone

A great way to pay no upfront cost with lots of data.

View DealBuy fromBuyMobiles.net

Samsung Galaxy S9 – 100GB, £68pm, £49.99 upfront from O2

If you need more data than you can even shake a stick at, this is the deal for you. For this money, you normally only get 50GB of data a month, but O2 is currently DOUBLING that amount.

View DealBuy fromO2

Apple iPhone X

iPhone X

Pros: 

  • Stunning screen
  • Much-improved telephoto camera
  • The best-looking iPhone ever
  • Face ID is much better than Touch ID

Cons: 

  • Software needs more optimisation for the taller screen and notch
  • No fast-charging plug included
  • Very expensive

The iPhone X is not only the best smartphone Apple has released to date; it’s also the most expensive, setting customers back £999 for the 64GB base model. But it’s well worth it. Performance is fantastic, as are the images produced by the dual-camera setup, and Face ID is (honestly) the best thing since sliced bread.

Now let’s talk about its design. The iPhone X was designed to show the market that Apple hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to innovation, introducing an edge-to-edge OLED screen, complete with a notch, as well as Face ID. That, for those unaware, is the face-recognition feature that was introduced to replace Touch ID.

Buy Now: iPhone X SIM free for £899 from Amazon

Top iPhone X deals right now

iPhone X 64GB – 30GB of data, £57pm, £104.99 upfront on Three

If you absolute need lots of data then the low upfront cost and manageable monthly cost here will check the right boxes.

View DealBuy fromBuyMobiles.net

Google Pixel 2 XL

Pros: 

  • Stunning camera
  • The best version of Android
  • Minimal bezel
  • Feels great to hold

Cons:

  • Lifeless screen
  • No wireless charging

Those looking for the most vanilla Android experience will love the Google Pixel 2 XL. It’s one of the best smartphones we’ve put through its paces to date, earning a covered nine out of ten rating in our comprehensive review, with Max Parker, our resident Mobile and Tablets Editor, praising its build, camera and performance.

Our one qualm with the Google Pixel 2 XL is the screen. It’s a bit too plain for our liking, delivering poor viewing angles. It is, however, possible to alter the colour presets using an aftermarket application – but when you’re shelling out more than £600 for a smartphone, you’d expect it to be set to the optimum out of the box.

Buy Now: Pixel 2 XL SIM free for £629 from Google

LG V30

Pros:

  • Loads of features
  • Fantastic audio
  • The nicest-looking LG smartphone to date

Cons:

  • The screen isn’t great
  • LG’s software is still ugly

While the LG V30 doesn’t have quite the same amount of power as the Galaxy S9, it’s still a fantastic flagship that’s worth your hard-earned cash. Sure, it suffers from the same flaws at the LG-made Google Pixel 2 XL in the screen department, but its Snapdragon 835 CPU and 4GB of RAM make up for that in the performance sector.

The main reason you ought to be interested in the LG V30, however, is for its dual-lens camera, which is one of the few on the market to feature a wide-angle lens. It’s superb, so much so we’re shocked more leading manufacturers haven’t rushed to adopt the tech. Seriously – once you go wide-angle, you’ll never go back.

Buy Now: LG V30 SIM free for £579.99 from Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Pros:

  • Stunning design and build
  • Great screen
  • Well-implemented stylus and software
  • Superb cameras

Cons:

  • Average battery life
  • Wildly expensive

Samsung was in a strange position after the world-famous Galaxy Note 7 debacle, having the choice to either axe the Galaxy Note range or come back with a safe bet to win then-former customers over – it chose the latter, opting to create the Galaxy Note 8, otherwise known as the best stylus-toting smartphone on the market.

And the firm didn’t disappoint, manufacturing a high-end handset with impressive internals, an incredible dual-camera setup and a fantastic square-like build, the latter of which feels nothing short of fantastic in the hand, that was awarded nine out of ten by our former Computing Editor Michael Passingham in his review.

Buy Now: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 SIM free for £642 from Amazon

Huawei P20 Pro

Pros:

  • Fantastic tri-camera
  • 128GB of storage to boot
  • Solid performance
  • Stunning design
  • EMUI interface has come a long way

Cons:

  • No 3.5mm headphone port
  • Screen needs some fine-tuning
  • No wireless charging

The Huawei P20 Pro is the first smartphone on the market to feature a tri-camera – a 40MP f/1.8 sensor, a 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor for depth and texture, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto sensor. But that isn’t its only claim to fame: it’s also equipped with a top-of-the-line processor, 6GB of RAM and a 4000mAh battery.

That means that the P20 Pro is a smartphone that can tickle everyone’s fancy. Whether you’re an aspiring or seasoned photographer, a power-hungry specs maniac or quite simply someone who’s after a handset that can last for 48 hours on a single charge, Huawei’s flagship has you covered. But it doesn’t come cheap.

Buy Now: Huawei P20 Pro SIM free for £799 on Carphone Warehouse

Best Huawei P20 Pro Deals

Huawei P20 Pro – 25GB of data, £48pm, no upfront cost on EE

More data than you can shake a stick at with no upfront cost make this a fantastic deal.

View DealBuy fromBuyMobiles.net

Huawei P20 Pro – 8GB of data, £53pm, no upfront cost on Vodafone

As this is on Vodafone's Red Entertainment plan, you get a choice of free Spotify Premium, Sky Sports Mobile TV or NOW TV Entertainment Pass as an added incentive.

View DealBuy fromBuyMobiles.net

OnePlus 5T

Lava Red OnePlus 5T

Pros:

  • Good OLED screen
  • Slick software experience
  • Excellent value
  • 3Seriously fast

Cons

  • No water-resistance
  • Average camera

The OnePlus 5T is a fantastic choice for those looking for a high-end handset on a budget. It sports a 6-inch FHD+ screen, a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 6/8GB of RAM, 64/128GB of internal storage, a dual-camera (16MP + 16MP) and a 3300mAh cell – an incredible amount of tech for a smartphone that retails for less than £450.

Buy now: OnePlus 5T SIM free for £449 from OnePlus

Huawei P Smart

Pros:

  • Great 18:9 screen
  • Heaps of value
  • Slick design

Cons: 

  • Frustrating EMUI software
  • No fast-charging
  • Some issues with build quality

Customers on a stricter budget should turn their attention to the Huawei P Smart. Sure, it doesn’t have the most interesting name, but it is  – in my opinion, at least – the best affordable handset out there, offering users access to high-end hardware, including an aluminium body, for a fraction of the cost of a flagship.

Under the hood, there’s a 5.65-inch 18:9 screen, a Kirin 659 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable internal storage and a 3000mAh battery. There’s also a dual-camera setup on the rear (13MP + 2MP) that’s not too bad in well-lit environments, but misses the mark at night. At £179, though, it’s an absolute steal.

Buy Now: Huawei P Smart for £179.95 from Amazon

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