CNET: Best phones for 2018

Feb 08, 2018
  • By CNET.com
  • Tribune News Service
iPhone X is an overdue and winning evolution of the iPhone, but you ll need to leave your comfort zone to make a jump into the face-recognizing future. (CNET/TNS)

2017 was a banner year for flagship phones. Nearly every manufacturer debuted at least one marquee handset that wowed our CNET Reviews team, either for photographic gymnastics, a brilliant screen or any number of other features that set them apart — and often several of the above. So without further ado, these are the four top-rated phones that will take you through 2018 and perhaps beyond.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-galaxy-note-8/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The Galaxy Note 8 tops Samsung’s already excellent S8 and S8 Plus with dual cameras and a boatload of stylus tricks. It’s the most feature-rich Android phone you can buy.

The bad: An expensive phone, the Note 8 has more features than most people will need. Samsung’s portrait mode can be finicky. The poorly placed fingerprint reader repeats the Galaxy S8’s worst design flaw.

The cost: $820 to $949.99

The bottom line: The Galaxy Note 8 retakes the throne as the ultimate Android phone for now, but some intense competition is just over the horizon.

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Apple iPhone X

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/apple-iphone-x/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: A great blend of handheld comfort and a big, gorgeous OLED screen. Rear telephoto camera outshoots the 8 Plus in low light, and the front camera snaps impressive portrait selfies. Face ID generally works fine.

The bad: New interface and no home button mean major adjustments, and key features such as the Control Center are harder to reach and use. It’ll take time for most apps to be optimized for notched screen. The phone is hella expensive, and the all-glass design means a case and an insurance plan are musts. Shorter battery life than iPhone Plus models.

The cost: $999 to $1,099.99

The bottom line: iPhone X is an overdue and winning evolution of the iPhone, but you’ll need to leave your comfort zone to make a jump into the face-recognizing future.

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OnePlus 5T

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/oneplus-5t/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The OnePlus 5T has a bigger screen and its camera takes better low-light photos than the 5. Its few software tweaks are useful in small ways.

The bad: The phone’s face unlock doesn’t authorize payments and its dual camera’s digital rather than telephoto zoom is a step back. There’s no expandable storage, and it’s not rated for water resistance.

The cost: $599.99

The bottom line: The OnePlus 5T is a superb, affordable phone for new buyers, despite only minor changes from the OnePlus 5.

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Samsung Galaxy S8

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-galaxy-s8/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The best-looking phone around crushes it in performance, battery life, water-resistance and wireless charging. An external storage slot lets you keep more photos, videos and music.

The bad: Its awkwardly placed fingerprint reader leads to camera smears and longer unlock times, which is aggravating when you use it to unlock your phone dozens of times a day.

The cost: $749.99 to $756

The bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S8’s fast speeds and fantastic curved screen make it a top phone for 2017, but the annoying fingerprint reader could sour your experience.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Section Editor Jessica Dolcourt, Senior Associate Editor Lynn La, Senior Editor Scott Stein and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.