Best Phones 2018: Top Smartphone Reviews & Buying Advice


There are so many good phones to choose from including the Galaxy S9, iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 but which one is the king of the castle? See our full ranking below.

Your buying guide for the best phones in 2018

When choosing a phone you probably have a mixture of these factors on your list: build quality and design, ease of use, features, performance and value. 

Generally speaking a flagship phone will cost between £600- and £800 but can be over £1,000 in some cases (the iPhone X). On contract you’re looking at between £30- and £50 per month on average but can spend a lot more.

We think buying a phone outright is the best value, but you’ll obviously need a SIM to go in it. If you don’t already have one, check out our best SIM-only deals.

If the latest phones are too expensive, consider and older-generation phone. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is better value than many of the phones in this chart because it’s now available under £400 SIM-free. 

For this reason we move all older-generation smartphones to our best mid-range phones chart. Phones like the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are in that chart when they are £400 and under.

The Galaxy S8 is already very cheap and we’ll add it to the mid-range chart once it drops below the threshold. 

Should you buy a phone running Android, iOS or Windows?

There’s more than one mobile phone operating system, but really only two worth talking about: Android and iOS. Windows phones account for around one percent of all phones sold, so it makes more sense to go with Android or an iPhone.

The vast majority of phones today run Android; Oreo is the latest version. While Apple’s iOS platform has a much lower market share, developers almost always release their apps on iOS so it has one of the best app stores you’ll find.

If you have an Android phone or and iPhone and want to move to the other type of phone, it’s fairly easy move your contacts and other data from one to the other. What you can’t move is paid-for apps, so keep this in mind if you’re considering a change of platform.

Best phone 2016

Why you should buy an unlocked phone

An unlocked phone is one which is not tied to any particular mobile operator, such as Vodafone or EE. Buying unlocked usually means buying the phone outright without a SIM.

The most important point is that an unlocked phone is almost always a better deal than buying a phone on contract.

The only real exception to this are Apple’s iPhones – because of their traditional popularity, operators do often subsidise the cost of buying an iPhone in order to lock you into a lucrative long-term deal.

Generally speaking, however, if you can afford the upfront cost of the handset, you will pay less over the life of your phone by buying unlocked. 

More importantly, you are not locked in. If you want a new handset at any time, you can buy one without having to up-purchase your way out of a contract, or commit to another two years. 

SIM-free vs unlocked

One thing to be sure of when purchasing an unlocked or ‘SIM-free’ phone is that not all SIM-free handsets are unlocked.

The excellent Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 is a classic example of this. It is SIM-free, but if you want to use it for any network other than Vodafone you have to first use it for a month with a Vodafone SIM, and then pay £20 to get it unlocked.

EE’s own branded phones are similar. In both cases it may well still be better to buy network branded phones and go through the pain of getting them unlocked, than to buy on contract.

The right SIM

One other thing to consider is the size and shape of the SIM required for your phone. Make sure you get a nano-SIM if a nano-SIM is what your phone requires.

If you get that wrong it is easily solvable – every network will gladly send over a different-sized SIM. SIM cards tend to come in all three sizes – you simply pop out the one you need.

But that’s assuming you are getting a new SIM, and if you’re looking for a SIM-free phone or unlocked phone you probably already have one.

You can buy adaptors that let you fit a Nano-SIM or Micro-SIM in a Micro-SIM or full-size SIM slot for a very small charge.

More important is to make sure that if you want 4G you get a 4G-enabled phone and SIM.

Best phone 2016

Looking for a larger phone specifically? We’ve got a separate chart especially for larger devices, aka phablets, so you can see them ranked here.

Best phones 2018 UK – best phone reviews

1. Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

2. Huawei P20

Huawei P20

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

4. OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5T

5. Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2

6. LG V30

LG V30

7. Apple iPhone X

Apple iPhone X

8. Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

9. Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL

10. Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8



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