Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Hot Smartphones For Last-Minute Shoppers

The Season For Smartphones

You've been hearing about hot new smartphones coming out all year long. Now it's time to figure out which ones are worth buying for the people on your last-minute gift list this holiday season.

To make the search easier, we're highlighting 10 smartphones that could make ideal gifts for friends and family. This year, they include several Android phones, including products from Samsung, Google, LG and other manufacturers, as well as multiple offerings from smartphone giant Apple.

In the following slides, we've got the base price of an unlocked phone for each model, along with a breakdown of carrier choices and what separates each one from other options on the market.

Apple iPhone X

Price: $999

Carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon

Why it stands out: Apple's most advanced smartphone will cost you a pretty penny. But buyers of the high-powered iPhone X will get Face ID recognition, a 5.8-inch OLED display and at least 64 gigabytes of storage. Perhaps most interesting is the phone's reliance on a redesigned user interface that ditches the familiar home button found on previous models, along with Touch ID. The all-glass design makes sturdy protection a necessity, though.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Price: $930

Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular

Why it stands out: A pricey Android phone that's jam-packed with features, the Galaxy Note 8 provides users with a dual camera setup, a 6.3-inch OLED screen, long-lasting battery life and the S Pen stylus, which has several nifty screen-writing capabilities. The Note 8 also comes with six gigabytes of RAM and at least 64 gigs' worth of storage.

LG V30

Price: $830

Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular

Why it stands out: The LG V30 is a well-rounded smartphone developed around a speedy Snapdragon 835 processor, a top-notch dual camera (16-megapixels standard and 13-megapixels on the wide lens) and a 6-inch OLED display. Like other top smart phones, the V30 has built-in water resistance, wireless charging and expandable storage up to 2 terabytes, but LG has some competitors beat on price and weight.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Price: $725

Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, MetroPCS, Cricket

Why it stands out: While it may lack a couple of the higher-end features of other smartphones – there's no dual camera and just one option for built-in storage space (64 gigs) – the Samsung S8 has a sleek design and plenty of firepower underneath the hood. A 5.8-inch display with 2,960x1,440 resolution, either a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor, wireless charging and even a fledgling AI assistant (Bixby) highlight what the S8 has to offer.

Google Pixel 2

Price: $649

Carriers: Verizon, Project Fi, Google Store

Why it stands out: Lightweight and powered by Android 8.0 Oreo software, the Pixel 2 stands out due to its Samsung-made AMOLED screen and the fact that it's the first water-resistant phone in the product line (IP67 rating). The single rear camera also has a custom chip built by Google – the Pixel Visual core – which will let developers extend camera performance and detail when it is eventually made available.

iPhone 8

Price: $699

Carriers: Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T

Why it stands out: The upgrades might not be as dramatic as what we saw with the iPhone X, but the iPhone 8 does have 64 gigabytes of starting storage, wireless charging, an improved camera, a six-core A11 Bionic processor and – for the adventurous types – augmented reality features that don't require headwear. If you're looking for a familiar smartphone at a solid price, it's hard to go wrong here.

OnePlus 5

Price: $600

Carriers: AT&T, T-Mobile (GSM-only)

Why it stands out: Although you may have to switch carriers, the OnePlus 5 boasts 18-hour battery life, 16-megapixel cameras on both the front and rear, and at least 6 gigabytes of RAM to go with the powerful Snapdragon 835 processor. The device also features a secondary 20-megapixel "telephoto" lens. Take note: That the OnePlus 5, available with 64 or 128 gigs of starting storage, does not allow for storage expansion and is not water-resistant.

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Price: $200

Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint

Why it stands out: For starters, this phone costs one-fifth of what you'll pay for the iPhone X. The Moto G5 Plus also features splash-proof coating, a 5.2-inch display with 1,920x1,080 resolution and a 12-megapixel rear camera built around Android 7.0 OS. Other phones will have faster processors and more built-in storage, but for what Motorola offers with this model, it's hard to find a better budget option.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Price: $860

Carriers: AT&T (anticipated)

Why it stands out: Developed to compete with the likes of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, the Mate 10 Pro has a beautiful six-inch screen outfitted with 2,160x1,080 resolution. The Android device also runs on Huawei's Kirin 970 Octa-core processor and the 8.0 Oreo OS. Top-notch battery life and a great camera, which can take 20-megapixel shots in black-and-white, round out a solid phone that will cost you less than the iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8.

Essential Phone PH-1

Price: $500

Carriers: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint

Why it stands out: For Android fans looking to try something a little different, the Essential Phone – the vision of Android co-founder Andy Rubin – might be for you. It sports a good-looking titanium frame, works quickly on an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and comes with 128 gigabytes of storage. The Essential Phone does have some kinks to work out, namely its camera app, but it's now available for $200 less than its initial shipping price.