Help us choose the best smartphones of 2018

With the end of 2018 in sight, we thought this would be the perfect time to choose the best smartphones of the year. If you haven’t been paying close attention, 2018 has delivered quite a few outstanding devices. Sure, the notch has been present on most of them, but that really didn’t detract too much from the amazing cameras, performance and battery life that nearly all flagship devices packed in this year. 

Our team is working on our official list of best smartphones for 2018, but we also want your input for our official “Reader’s Choice Awards: Best Smartphones of 2018” article which will be going up early next week. 

What we need from you is your vote and a comment. The results of the poll will determine the winners and select comments about individual devices will be included for each device in the final article. If the device you want to vote for is not listed in the poll, feel free to add it in the poll’s comment section. 

We’re slowly working through our selection process for the best devices of 2018, but we’d really curious to see which smartphones you guys think is worthy to be crowned best smartphone of 2018. 

Take Our Poll

Preliminary injunction stops sales of iPhones in China

The heated patent dispute between Apple and Qualcomm has been picked into overdrive today with a sales ban order issued by the Chinese courts. The courts have granted its request for two preliminary injunctions against four Chinese subsidiaries of Apple Inc which prohibits the “importation, sale and offers for sale in China of the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.” 
This is a huge blow for Apple which has asserted that the company’s products do not violate any of Qualcomm’s patents, even claiming that one of the patents in questions has been previously invalidated.
“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple said in a statement. “All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”
It’s not clear when the Chinese government will start enforcing the importation and sales ban on the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. While the court order does not affect any of Apple’s 2018 products, it will could still have a significant on Apple’s bottom line since sales of older devices make up a large portion of the company’s overall sales. Apple may be able to appeal the court order in an effort to keep its devices on store shelves, but the company has not announced that an appeal has yet need files. 
“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These Court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast patent portfolio.” – Qualcomm
The patent battle between Qualcomm is also playing out in other markets across the globe. A federal judge has set a court date of April 15th in the US to head the case. We’ll keep you apprised of any new updates as they unfold.
Source: Qualcomm, CNET
 

Apple Music is coming to Amazon Echo devices in December

Music streaming is a popular use for smart speakers, but the particular speaker you have dictates which services you have access to. Amazon’s speakers are getting better in that regard in the near future, as the company has announced that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices later this year.

Availability of Apple Music is a fairly big deal, as it was previously only streaming on Apple’s pricey HomePod speakers. Read MoreApple Music is coming to Amazon Echo devices in December was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Big changes could be coming to Google Fi

UPDATE: Google Fi has officially announced support for more Android devices.
 
Thanks to a now-pulled news piece, we may be getting a look at the future of Google Fi. According to the article that originally appeared over at BGR, it looks like Google is going to expand the lineup of phones it allows on its MVNO, Fi.
Currently, Google recommends that you purchase only the devices it sells to work on its network. Those range from Google’s own Pixel lineup to offerings from Motorola and LG. If the information in the BGR piece is accurate, you will soon be able to use devices from Samsung, OnePlus, and Apple. This change is potentially huge for customers looking for a low-cost option but are tied to a specific device. This news comes several weeks after we learned that Project Fi has been rebranded to Google Fi, implying that Google may be looking at changes to the service which will make it more appealing to mainstream consumers.
Google does give the disclaimer that you may not get the “full Google Fi experience” if your device isn’t “designed for Fi.” But what exactly does that mean? Right now, the devices that Google sells all have the ability to quickly switch between service providers. Like all MVNO carriers, Fi leases unused tower space from larger service providers. In this case, Fi leases space from T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. Designed for Fi phones are able to quickly switch between towers they’re connecting to based on which has the strongest signal. Fi offers a base of $20 per month for calling and texting and $10 per month for each gig of data that you use. Additionally, data rates are capped at $60 per month no matter how much data you use so customer costs don’t spin out of control. For users who use very little data or a ton of data, these rates are great and now the expanded choice of phones makes Google Fi even more compelling.
It’s yet to be seen if a move like this will entice customers to come on board. The quick network switching is one of the biggest reasons to join Project Fi and if you’re unable to take advantage of that, Fi looks like any other carrier. But, what do you think? Does this make you more likely to consider Fi in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Source: BGR via Droid-Life

Project Fi is now Google Fi and supports phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and even iPhones

 

Project Fi has made the leap that all fledgling Google projects aspire to – after around three-and-a-half years, it has dropped the “project” and evolved into “Google Fi,” with a brand new logo to boot. Along with the name change, Google has announced that the wireless provider now supports “the majority of Android devices,” including Samsung and OnePlus handsets, and iPhones (in beta).
The addition of phones from these new brands significantly broadens the operator’s scope, since it previously only offered service for Pixels and select Nexus, Motorola, and LG devices. Google has posted lists of all the Fi-supported smartphones by brand, including iPhones from 5S through XS, and Samsung smartphones from S6 to S9 (along with several others). Read MoreProject Fi is now Google Fi and supports phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and even iPhones was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

The Pixel Slate can’t compete with the new iPad Pro

When Google unveiled the Pixel Slate last month, I was quite excited. The new ChromeOS tablet was 7mm thick and weighed a mere 1.6 pounds, making it thinner and lighter than most other 12-inch tablets. While the Pixel Slate wasn’t really positioned as an extreme workhorse or a gaming powerhouse, Google will be offering it with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7, sporting 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. That’s more than enough power to keep up with an intense workday or gaming session, but you’ll I’m not sure too many people will be buying that version since it’s priced at $1599. Most people will opt for the $599 model which is equipped with an 8th Gen Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The basic model should still be very capable, but nowhere near as powerful.
The Pixel Slate represents the perfect middle ground between an Android tablet and a full-featured Windows device, but with the introduction of the new Apple iPad Pro, it’ll likely go unnoticed. To start, the new 12.9-inch iPad is absolutely gorgeous. Surprisingly, Apple managed to finally shrink down the bezels around the display while still including a front-facing camera and the other sensors needed for Face-ID. On top of that, you get a higher resolution camera on the back that can record 4K video at 60fps (Pixel Slate is limited to 1080p at 30fps), 512GB and 1TB high-capacity storage options (the Slate only goes up to 256GB) and support for Bluetooth 5.0. Naturally, at $999, the base model of the iPad Pro does cost more than the Pixel Slate, but the Apple A12X Bionic chip inside Apple’s tablet is faster than “92% of portable PCs.” While we would never blindly take Apple at its word, new iPad Pro Geekbench scores show that the tablet is just as fast as a 2018 Mac Book Pro running a 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7.
If we look at the number, a 2018 iPad Pro with 256GB of storage which costs $1149 offers the same (if not better) performance as the $1,599 Pixel Slate at a fraction of the cost. Now we all know that Google’s hardware products have never been positioned at being budget-friendly, but I never thought that it would lose to Apple on pricing by a 28% margin.
To be fair, the Pixel Slate’s 48 WHr battery is significantly larger than the 36.71 WHr cell inside the iPad Pro. Google’s tablet also features two USB-C posts and front-facing stereo speakers which should deliver much better audio than Apple’s new tablet and the 16GB of RAM you get with the $1599 Pixel Slate is likely a lot more than what Apple will include in the 2018 iPad Pro. But in my book, the new iPad Pro still has the advantage – mainly because it has a broad selection of apps which have been developed to work flawlessly on its 12.9-inch display. Sure, the Pixel Slate can run thousands of Android apps that can be downloaded through Google Play, but it’s still hard to find more than a few apps which truly take advantage of a larger display. On the other side, you have the iPad Pro which can run the new full version of Adobe Photoshop which can edit a 3GB PSD file without a hitch, Adobe Premier Rush (this one is coming to Android sometime in 2019) and the dozens of music editing apps available for iOS.
Apple has simply built a much better tablet ecosystem than Google.
It’s hard to say how well the Pixel Slate will perform. Google will likely push its new tablet with a huge marketing campaign, positioning it as an alternative to Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s new iPad. I don’t think the Pixel Slate will be a complete flop, but it’ll definitely look that way when Apple announced millions of iPad Pro sales before the end of the year.

Google's ARCore additions for October include the Pixel 3, LG V40, and more

Augmented Reality may not yet be the game-changer some of its proponents would hope it to be, but little by little it’s been coming into its own. AR’s been in the spotlight this month thanks to the launch of the Pixel 3 and Google’s re-branding of its AR Stickers app as Playground, but that’s just the half of it — we’ve also seen a number of new devices join the list of official AR Core-supporting hardware. Read MoreGoogle’s ARCore additions for October include the Pixel 3, LG V40, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

OnePlus has moved the 6T unveiling to October 29th to avoid Apple overlap

OnePlus has been teasing the 6T for weeks, and we were supposed to learn all the details on October 30th. Well, now you won’t have to wait quite as long. OnePlus has moved the date up a day in response to Apple’s announcement of an unusual second fall event on the 30th.

According to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, the company carefully considered how to proceed after Apple announced its event. Read MoreOnePlus has moved the 6T unveiling to October 29th to avoid Apple overlap was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Do the new iPhones pose a threat to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL?

With yesterday’s unveiling of Apple’s iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, you might be wondering how the upcoming Pixel 3 handsets from Google will stack up against the latest iPhones. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL won’t officially be unveiled until October 9th, but at this point, there’s very little we don’t know about the two phones.
To kick things off, we do need to point out that Apple introduced three new smartphones this year — the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and the iPhone. While we’d like to say that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL would be going head-to-head with the iPhone Xs (5.8-inch display) and iPhone Xs Max (6.5-inch display), the introduction of the iPhone Xr throws a wrench in those plans. The new iPhone Xr has a 6.1-inch display, a single camera on the back and its $749 base price point is significantly lower than the $999 Apple will be charging for the iPhone Xs. The other reason for the phone’s lower price is that the body of the iPhone Xr is built with an aluminum frame instead of the steel frame that the iPhone Xs is equipped with.
Pixel 3 XL versus iPhone Xs Max
Google’s upcoming Pixel 3 XL and its rumored 6.7-inch display seems to match up nicely with the iPhone Xs Max since they both will have extremely large displays. The 6.5-inch 2436×1125 pixel display on the Apple iPhone Xs Max will be slightly smaller than the Pixel 3 XL’s 6.7-inch, 2960×1440 pixel panel. Both devices come with hefty notches at the top, so you’ll definitely need to embrace the notch life if you’re planning on picking up either of these phones.
The iPhone Xs Max does have the advantage when it does to camera hardware. Not only does the iPhone has a dual-sensor setup on the back with a 2x optical zoom lens on the secondary sensor, the main sensor has increased in size, featuring the same 1.4μm pixel size as the Pixel 2’s camera sensor. Apple is also jumping on the computational photography bandwagon with a new Smart HDR feature which will mimic the Pixel’s HDR+ setting to produce better images with every shot. On top of that, the Apple’s iPhone will be able to adjust the bokeh blur when taking portrait shots. 
Pixel 3 versus iPhone Xs, iPhone Xr
The matchup between the Pixel XL is pretty straightforward, but comparing the Pixel 3 against the iPhone Xs or the iPhone Xr is a bit trickier. Google’s Pixel 3 will be smaller than both of Apple’s phones. The iPhone Xr’s $749 price tag will likely be close to the Pixel 3’s, but its 6.1-inch display will dwarf the 5.5-inch display Google’s phone is rumored to have. The only advantage the Pixel 3 appears to have is its 2160 x 1080 pixel display with a 440 ppi compared to the iPhone Xr’s 1,792×828 pixel display with a 326ppi.
When it comes to the iPhone Xs, the story is pretty much the same as last year. Apple’s phone is significantly more expensive than what the Pixel 3 will sell for, mainly due to the extra camera hardware on the back and the surgical steel used for the phone’s frame.
But in the end, the details listed here don’t really matter. The majority of Apple users will continue to buy Apple phones and Android users will likely be sticking with Android. The new Pixel 3 devices and new iPhones don’t really offer anything revolutionary that would lead to a shift in the market. Consumers tend to buy specific smartphones based on the overall experience that they offer and the final price. Besides the phenomenal camera experience that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are expected to offer, more people will be buying Google’s Pixel devices simply because they are running stock Android. ON the other side of the fence, Apple is hoping to capitalize on the notched-display form factor it introduced last year by delivering it at a price that’s much more affordable. That being said, Apple has finally caught the extra-large smartphone bug with the iPhone Xs Max which may help them retain customers who were thinking of abandoning Apple for a large-screen Android device.
How do you think things will play out between the new iPhone’s and Google’s upcoming Pixel 3 lineup?
 

Apple iPhone Xs versus the Android competition

Ladies and gentlemen, the new iPhones have landed! If you’re just now learning about the new iPhone Xs on Phandroid, there’s a good chance that you’re probably not interested in the new flagship smartphone from Apple. That being said, you might be a little curious as to how your recent Android smartphone purchase stacks up against the iPhone Xs.
To put things simply, if you’ve seen last year’s iPhone X, you’ll probably have a hard time telling it apart from the iPhone Xs. Like all of Apple’s “s” models, this new device has the same body as last year’s phone. The only real thing to set it apart is the new “gold” color option. Of course, there are a few differences on the inside. The iPhone Xs comes with an improved dual camera system on the back which takes better photos, the Face ID system has been upgraded to be slightly faster, the battery lasts 30 minutes longer than the previous model, Apple’s finally added a 512GB storage option, upgraded IP68 dust and water resistance and the new and improved A12 Bionic processor.
We’ve broken the specs down into an easy-to-digest table which shows all the most important features of the new iPhone Xs matched up again those of the most popular Android smartphones of 2018 — the Samsung Galaxy S9, Oneplus 6 and LG G7 ThinQ. Based on what you’ve seen, does the new Apple iPhone Xs have what it takes to go head-to-head against the best Android devices this year?

iPhone Xs
Samsung Galaxy S9
OnePlus 6
LG G7 ThinQ

Screen size
5.8 inches
5.8 inches
6.2 inches
6.1 inches

Resolution
2,436 x 1,125
2,960 x 1,440
1080 x 2280
3,120 x 1,440

Density
458ppi
570ppi
402ppi
564ppi

Processor
Apple A12 Bionic
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

RAM
Unknown
4GB
6 / 8GB
4GB

Storage
64 / 256 / 512GB
64 / 128 / 256GB
64 / 128 / 256GB
64GB

Battery
Unknown (20 hours talk / 12 hours internet)
3,000mAh
3,300mAh
3,000mAh

OS
iOS 12
Android 8.0
Android 8.0
Android 8.0

Rear camera
Dual cameras: Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8, 1.4μm Pixel size, Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.4
12MP, dual aperture f/1.5 and f/2.4, 1.4μm pixel size
Dual cameras: Standard 16MP, f/1.7, 1.22µm pixel size, 20 MP depth sensor
Dual cameras: Standard, 16MP, f/1.6, 1.0μm pixel size Wide-angle, 16MP, f/1.9, 1.0μm pixel size

Front camera
7MP, f/2.2
8MP, f/1.7
16 MP, f/2.0
8MP, f/1.9

Bluetooth
v5.0
v5.0
v5.0
v5.0

NFC
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Dimensions
143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm
147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm
155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm
153.1 x 71.9 x 7.9mm

Weight
177g
163g
177g
162g

Special features
IP68 certified, FaceID, Qi wireless charging, dual SIM
IP68 certified, 3.5mm headphone jack, WPC/PMA wireless charging, Iris Scanner, Fingerprint Scanner
3.5mm headphone jack, Fingerprint Scanner
IP68 certified, 3.5mm headphone jack, Qi wireless charging, 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Fingerprint Scanner