World Bulletin / News Desk
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung had much to prove after last year's Galaxy Note 7 disastrously burst into flames. Basically a cross between the Note 7 and Galaxy S8 Plus, the Galaxy Note 8 didn't revolutionize much. What it did was give 2016 Note buyers the phone they always should have had.
Apple rocked the boat this past September with one more phone than usual, the iPhone X. The 10th-anniversary iPhone had been so heavily leaked, it was practically a foregone conclusion, but that didn't stop it from launching into instant controversy.
Poor LG, forever in Samsung's shadow. The number-two South Korean phone maker may slip behind Samsung in sales and sparkle, but its phones are solid. Better than solid, in fact.
Google Pixel 2
Our ardor for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL cooled somewhat after the phones were hit with multiple reports of annoying issues. Weird sounds. Blue shift. Screen burn-in.
For the last three and a half years, OnePlus has churned out high-quality handsets that promenade many premium phone features at dramatically lowered costs. Strong ratings from CNET and others, plus savvy fan-based marketing tactics, have helped catapult this once unknown into a cult brand.
Moto 5G Plus
It's steady-on for Motorola's phones for cost-conscious buyers, and the 5G Plus rises to the top of the heap.
Even cheaper than the Moto G5 Plus, this is the absolute best deal for folks looking for the lowest-price phone worth having.
ZTE Axon M
One of the most exciting 2017 debuts, this unique device has two full-size displays that can unfold into a mini-tablet. It's got a long list of flaws, but I love its daring. Signs point to Samsung prepping something similar for 2018.
What can entice you to buy the first phone from a lifestyle gaming brand? The 120Hz screen. Oh, and the twin Dolby speakers, which demolish the competition. It's a gamer's phone at heart, but one that can provide lessons in buttery-smooth visuals for everyone else.
The guy who made Android made this phone, too (and then took leave and apparently returned, after reports of improper conduct). Aimed at Android enthusiasts who like a clean Android look and next-gen snap-on modules, the Essential debuted as an exclusive with US carrier Sprint. Falling prices and software boosts have heightened its appeal, though it's far from mainstream.
The BlackBerry brand returned in 2017 with a keyboard phone. It has some genuinely clever tricks, but not enough expertise or clout to claw BlackBerry back into the collective consciousness.
Another comeback kid, the Nokia 8 was the brand's first high-end Android handset after a slew of entry- and mid-level devices. It's totally fine, but the forgettable phone fails to keep up with the pack. Here's hoping things improve in 2018.