As 2018's new flagship phones begin to hit Australian shelves, read on to find out what other phones are worth your investment.
Meet the team
Alex Kidman is a multi-award-winning consumer technology journalist and the Tech & Telco Editor at finder.com.au. He's been writing about consumer technology topics for more than two decades.
Info last updated 2 July, 2018.
- Phones added
Sony's Xperia XZ2 Compact and HTC's U12+ have been been added to the top 10 list
02 July 2018
SPECS: Screen: 6.2in | Storage: 64GB/256GB | Weight: 189g | Processor: Exynos 9810 | Rear cam: Dual 12MP (f/1.2 & f/2.4) | Front cam: 12MP | Battery: 3,500mAh | Screen res: 2,960 × 1,440
Last year's Galaxy S8 was a solid phone in its own right, but devices from Apple and Google managed to out-perform it to claim the top spot in this list. But Samsung has struck back in a big way, with an absolute smartphone with an incredible camera and battery life.
SPECS: Screen: 6.1in | Storage: 128GB | Weight: 180g | Processor: Kirin 970 | Rear cam: 3 Lens (40MP+20MP+8MP) | Front cam: 24MP | Battery: 4,000mAh | Screen res: 2,240 × 1,080
Chinese manufacturer Huawei was an early driver of the dual-lens camera arrays that are common today, but the P20 Pro takes smartphone photography to a whole new level thanks to its triple lens array, with a 40MP, a 20MP and a 8MP lens all combining to create some of the best photos a phone has ever captured.
Buy the Huawei P20 Pro 128GB from Amazon AU
The Huawei P20 Pro packs a 6.1-inch display, 6GB of RAM, a 2.4GHz octa-core processor and a 40MP camera.View details
SPECS: Screen: 5.5in | Storage: 64GB/256GB | Weight: 202g | Processor: Apple A11 Bionic | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 2,691mAh | Screen res: 1,980 × 1,080
Given Apple announced the iPhone 8 Plus moments before unveiling its newer flagship, the iPhone X, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the iPhone 8 Plus is an absolute powerhouse, washing away the competition in benchmark tests for both performance and battery life when it launched. Its dual camera system may have been trumped in performance by the Galaxy Note 8 in terms of low-light photography, but the end result for iPhone owners is a big phone worth bragging about.
SPECS: Screen: 5in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 168g | Processor: Snapdragon 845 | Rear cam: 19MP | Front cam: 5MP | Battery: 2,870mAh | Screen res: 2160 x 1080
Sony's Xperia XZ2 Compact manages the ultra-rare trick of offering up premium components in a smaller sized handset. Often if you prefer smaller phones you've got to put up with sub-standard performance, but this simply isn't the case for the Xperia XZ2 Compact, which outdoes even its bigger sibling, the Xperia XZ2. If you want a small powerful phone, this is the one to buy.
Buy the Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact from Sony
With the most powerful CPU you'll find in a small handset plus a 19MP rear camera and Full HD Super Slow Motion video, the Xperia XZ2 Compact shows that small phones don't have to be less powerful.View details
SPECS: Screen: 6in | Storage: 128GB | Weight: 175g | Processor: Snapdragon 835 | Rear cam: Dual 12MP f/1.75 + 16MP telephoto | Front cam: Dual 8MP | Battery: 3,500mAh | Screen res: 2880 x 1440
Many wrote HTC off after it sold off a lot of its IP -- as well as its developers -- to Google in 2017. The Taiwanese manufacturer was simply biding its time before delivering the exceptional HTC U12+, a beautifully designed handset with one of the best dual lens cameras we've ever tested, as well as an expanded "edge sense" squeezable sides feature.
SPECS: Screen: 6in | Storage: 64/128GB | Weight: 175g | Processor: Snapdragon 835 | Rear cam: 12.2MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,520mAh | Screen res: 2880 x 1440
Google reinvented its smartphone offering last year with the Pixel, and while it was a pure form of Android and introduced a real focus on the Google digital assistant, it's the second generation that has refined the device to one capable of truly trouncing high-end devices from both Apple and Samsung (although not all models, as you can see above). With an incredible camera loaded with machine learning, this is a powerful companion for anyone who lives and breathes Google's services.
SPECS: Screen: 6.3in | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Weight: 177g | Processor: Snapdragon 845 | Rear cam: Dual 16MP+12MP | Front cam: 16MP | Battery: 3,300mAh | Screen res: 2280 x 1080
OnePlus may not have the same kind of brand recognition in Australia as Apple or Samsung, but the manufacturer has the ability to create particularly good smartphones that punch above their price. The OnePlus 6 can't be picked up on a contract, but if you do purchase outright you'll get a device that performs exceptionally well at a significantly lower price than a flagship Samsung phone.
SPECS: Screen: 5.8in | Storage: 64/256GB | Weight: 174g | Processor: Apple A11 Bionic | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 7MP | Battery: 2,716mAh | Screen res: 2436 x 1125
Coming about a month after the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus hit shelves, the iPhone X is the first major rethink of the iPhone in years. With its Face ID technology, OLED display and overhauled user interface, the iPhone X is the best example of Apple's plans for the future with its smartphones. However, all that new stuff comes at a cost and given the similar performance, the iPhone 8 Plus is just a better value offer.
SPECS: Screen: 6.3in | Storage: 64GB | Weight: 195g | Processor: Octo-Core Exynos 8995 | Rear cam: Dual 12MP | Front cam: 8MP | Battery: 3,300mAh | Screen res: 2,960 x 1,440
After the explosive disaster of the Galaxy Note 7, some were surprised that Samsung kept the Note brand alive. Fortunately it did, because the Note 8 is a fantastic device with plenty of power and impressive battery life (and no explosions). Unless you're desperate for a stylus, the price premium over the last year's Galaxy S8 held it back though it has been superceded by this year's Galaxy S9.
The performance and battery efficiency of the iPhone 8 was a bit of a surprise, but it is a testament to Apple's engineering team in their ability to manage such solid performance despite shrinking the battery capacity of last year's models. The fact that the 8 doesn't have the same dual-camera and portrait functionality as the 8 Plus sees it slide down to the bottom half of the top 10, but it's still an impressive device for iOS users.
Why you should compare the best mobile phones in Australia
Ever since Steve Jobs took to the stage in 2007 and unveiled the very first iPhone to the world, the smartphone has become one of the most important tech devices you will ever own. Today's smartphones manage our very existence, connecting us with friends and family and keeping us informed throughout our day-to-day lives.
The sheer impact of the smartphone on today's society makes deciding which smartphone to purchase all the more important. These products can be expensive and are often purchased with a two-year contract, meaning you have to live with your choice for an extended period of time.
To make matters harder, there are many great mobile devices to choose from, with major technology manufacturers from around the world all producing excellent-quality devices. We're here to help you choose.
2017 was a step-change for phones. While 2016 saw devices that massively increased efficiency and power, it was also marred by the explosive Galaxy Note 7 recall. 2017 also saw Apple's impressive return, after they managed to create a series of phones that outperform Android devices on both performance and battery life.
We've passed the halfway point of 2018, and what we've seen so far has been a bumper crop of smartphones from all manufacturers. Cameras are a key battleground, with some amazing results from what are, after all, very small smartphone sensors. Even ordinary photographers can get some astonishing shots with today's very best flagship phones.
Here at finder.com.au we've reviewed all of the flagship smartphones that launch in Australia, putting them through their paces to see which is best. We've argued long and hard to create this list of 2018's best smartphones, which we update constantly.
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- Samsung Galaxy S9 review: Plans | Pricing | Specs
- LG V30+ review: Plans, pricing and specs
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- What is the Android operating system?
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: Plans | Pricing | Specs
Glossary: Key smartphone terms to consider
|Display||AMOLED displays don’t need a backlight, screen pixels are actually turned off to produce blacks, which can save energy. Super AMOLED has improved visibility in direct sunlight. LCD displays use a backlight, which reduces contrast. An IPS LCD display has truer colour reproduction and looks better when you view the screen at an angle.|
|OS||This is the operating system. The Apple iOS works seamlessly with the App Store for a dynamic and engaging mobile phone experience. Android is an open source platform created by Google, meaning anyone can play around with it. All the phones on the list use the Android OS except the Apple iPhones.|
|RAM||RAM is your phone’s short-term memory. When you use an app, instead of writing data to your phone’s internal storage or SD card (long-term memory), the data is stored in the device’s RAM so it can be recalled quickly and easily when it’s needed. The more RAM the better.The Apple iPhone has far less RAM than the Android smartphones. When the RAM reaches capacity on an Android phone, RAM is recycled through a memory heavy process called garbage collection. Apple does it differently and is able to run just as smoothly with half the RAM of most Android mobile phones.|
|Mega pixels||MP is short for megapixels and is generally accepted as a guide for image quality. More megapixels doesn’t mean a better looking photo. Megapixels are about the maximum size of the image in relation to image quality. The more megapixels, the larger you can blow up your picture without it becoming distorted.|
|Sensor size||Too many megapixels for a small image sensor will ruin the image quality.|