When comparing smartphones, there are a few features shoppers usually have top of mind: screen size, camera quality and the technology and features inside the phone itself. This year, some of the biggest names in the game released phones that delivered in all categories, with a few extra surprises that make our lives easier and more enjoyable. When comparing smartphones, there are a few features shoppers usually have top of mind: screen size, camera quality and the technology and features inside the phone itself. This year, some of the biggest names in the game released phones that delivered in all categories, with a few extra surprises that make our lives easier and more enjoyable. In choosing the top four phones of the year, we not only looked at the obvious criteria like camera and screen quality, but speed, legacy, special features and what was improved over previous generations.
Here are the four smartphones that topped our list for 2018.
Google Pixel 3
When Google launched the Pixel 2 in 2017, they challenged consumers to "Ask More of Your Phone.” With the advent of Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL this year, the company seems to have taken their own advice. With a 5.5-inch, a higher-quality screen with an OLED display, excellent design, and an impressive camera, the Pixel has moved from being a great option for Google fans to an easy choice for all. Part of the improved visuals is due to its new color mode called “adaptive,” which increases the vibrancy of most images without distorting them. It also features an adaptive battery, which limits battery for apps you use less often, and wireless charging capabilities.
Razer Phone 2
Razer began the smartphone gaming craze when they released their flagship phone in 2017, and the brand new Razer Phone 2 continues that legacy. Built for gamers who love to play their favorite titles on the go, this smartphone boasts a brighter 120Hz display, 8GB of ram and a 5.7-inch screen. It also comes with several upgrades over its predecessor: a Snapdragon 845 processor, a new camera setup, improved cooling (which means higher frames per second) and water resistance.
Besides its ability to organize and optimize games, the Razer Phone 2’s most defining feature has to be its Chroma system which displays brilliant light in millions of different colors. You can also customize how it reacts to different events and notifications, whether that’s with static, spectrum cycling or “breathing” light.
The iPhone XS is smaller than the other new phones in Apple's lineup (the XS Max and XR), coming in at just 5.8-inches, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. The screen on the XS is exceptionally bright, with vivid Super Retina OLED panels delivering crystal clear images.
Like the Razer 2, the iPhone XS has dual 12MP cameras, though these come equipped with Smart HDR for greater detail and color in your photos. It also features Apple’s signature Portrait mode, TrueDepth camera, and a wide-angle lens. Considering Apple has built the iPhone brand on their picture quality, you can expect nothing but the best here. An A12 Bionic processor keeps the phone running at top speed, significantly outperforming other smartphones in the category.
If you want to expand the storage on your phone this guide on the best micro SD cards is an invaluable resource.
Samsung hasn’t reinvented the wheel when it comes to the Galaxy S9. They have tweaked some of the phone’s features to deliver a more enjoyable user experience, however. If you’re already satisfied with your Galaxy S7 or S8, you’re going to love the newest model.
This phone excels when it comes to design and display. Made with curved glass on both the front and back, the device is comfortable to hold and manipulate, albeit less durable than a metal-backed phone. The OLED panels provide a stunning picture (what else would you expect from the consumer electronics giant?) and a bright, easy to read display. The Galaxy S9 is also an excellent choice for gamers, featuring a Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of ram, the same as the Razer.
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