The 10 Hottest New Smartphones Of 2018 (So Far)

Top Smartphones

With Apple preoccupied with its iPhone X and iPhone 8 releases from last fall, the landscape for hot, new smartphones in 2018 has been all about Android. The first half of 2018 saw a surge of major new Android smartphone launches, with Samsung's debut of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus (featuring enhanced cameras); BlackBerry's rollout of a second-generation model in its KEY series (the KEY2); and with smartphone makers LG, OnePlus and Huawei among the other smartphone makers to unveil noteworthy new devices.

In the following slides we've rounded up our picks for the 10 coolest smartphones to hit the North American market in the first half of 2018.

(For more on the biggest news of 2018, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.").

BlackBerry KEY2

Display: 4.5 inches; LCD; 1,620 x 1,080 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 (eight-core, 2.2GHz)

Features: The KEY2 is the second generation of BlackBerry-branded phones made by TCL. Once again, the biggest thing setting the phone apart is a physical keyboard, which doubles as a trackpad. The trackpad functionality can be conveniently used for tasks such as swiping to scroll on the display and launching shortcuts to apps. Other leading features for the KEY2 include amazing battery life (the phone promises 25 hours or more per charge) and the first-ever dual camera setup on a BlackBerry device (with 12-megapixel rear cameras).


Display: 5.99 inches; LCD; 2,160 x 1,080 pixels

Processor: MediaTek Helio X27 (10 cores, 2.6GHz)

Features: If the crowds that visited the Gemini booth at CES this year are any indication, it's a good time for the personal digital assistant to attempt a comeback. The Gemini folds open to reveal a physical keyboard, similar to the Psion PDA of the '80s and '90s. The big difference this time: the Gemini PDA is a full-fledged Android smartphone. Essentially, what you get with the Gemini is a small clamshell laptop that folds back up to make phone calls. The Gemini comes in both Wi-Fi-only and 4G models, and the unlocked phone works with all major U.S. carriers, according to its manufacturer, Planet Computers.

HTC U12 Plus

Display: 6 inches; LCD; 2,880 x 1,440 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (eight-core, 2.8GHz)

Features: HTC's biggest differentiator with the U12+ is the placement of pressure-sensitive buttons on the right side of the phone, a feature known as Edge Sense 2. The feature uses haptic feedback so that when users squeeze the phone, it provides functionality such as taking photos or accessing apps. Meanwhile, the phone offers a glossy "liquid surface" display and minimal bezels around the screen, while other highlights include a dual-camera system (of 16- and 12-megapixel cameras), which has received the second-highest rating ever for a smartphone camera by research firm DxOMark.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Display: 6 inches; OLED; 2,160 x 1,080 pixels

Processor: Huawei Kirin 970 (eight-core, 2.36GHz)

Features: In our tryout of Huawei's Mate 10 Pro at the CRN Test Center, we especially enjoyed the phone's speed and smooth performance--and the device looks great too, with its large OLED display, minimal bezels around the screen and an appealing glass-and-metal body. The Mate 10 Pro also stands apart with its terrific camera system -- which features dual rear cameras of 20 and 12 megapixels, and includes unique capabilities powered by artificial intelligence. For example, the camera automatically adjusts and zooms to capture clear images, and selects settings based on object recognition (such as the recognition, in our tryout, that we were at one point photographing a cat).

LG G7 ThinQ

Display: 6.1 inches; LCD; 3,120 x 1,440 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (eight-core, 2.8GHz)

Features: LG has some highly useful new additions with the G7 ThinQ, including a dedicated key for launching the Google Assistant (the first time such a key has appeared an Android smartphone). Meanwhile, along with offering stunning display resolution, the phone's screen offers ultra-high brightness up to 1,000 nits, allowing the display to remain visible even in direct sun. Other noteworthy features include a powerful "boombox" speaker, Gorilla Glass 5 for durability and a pair of 16-megapixel rear cameras that automatically choose ideal camera settings for the situation.

Motorola Moto G6

Display: 5.7 inches; LCD; 2,160 x 1,080 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 (eight-core, 1.8GHz)

Features: Motorola's Moto G6 includes some impressive features and specs for an affordably priced smartphone. Along with a large FHD+ display and a speedy processor, the Moto G6 promises long battery life (up to a full day) and features a dual rear camera system of 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras. The device also comes with a water-protective coating, as well as Gorilla Glass 3 for durability.

OnePlus 6

Display: 6.28 inches; AMOLED; 2,280 x 1,080 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (eight-core, 2.8GHz)

Features: The OnePlus 6 boasts one of the largest displays on the market (nearly the same size as Samsung's Galaxy Note 8) and offers terrific performance--thanks not only to the Snapdragon 845 processor, but also through packing in up to 8 GB worth of RAM. Other key elements include a dual rear camera system, of 16- and 20-megapixel cameras, with features such as Smart Capture for automatic photo enhancement and Portrait Mode (available on both the rear and front cameras).

Samsung Galaxy S9

Display: 5.8 inches; Super AMOLED; 2,960 x 1,440 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (eight-core, 2.8GHz)

Features: The smaller companion to the S9 Plus, Samsung's Galaxy S9 shares many of the key features of the larger model -- such as stereo speakers and Intelligent Scan authentication. The S9 only has a single rear-facing camera, of 12 megapixels, but it does offer dual aperture and the other new camera features of the S9 Plus camera system. The S9 also has less RAM, at 4 GB, but the same ability to expand storage to up to 464 GB.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

Display: 6.2 inches; Super AMOLED; 2,960 x 1,440 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (eight-core, 2.8GHz)

Features: The Galaxy S9 Plus serves as Samsung's top-of-the-line model in its 2018 smartphone series. The smartphone features a dual-camera system, a curved edge-to-edge QHD display and a generous 6 GB of RAM. The device's pair of 12-megapixel rear cameras offers features such as a dual-aperture for automatic adjustment to different lighting conditions and improved slow-motion video capture. The Galaxy S9 Plus also includes stereo speakers, expandable storage (up to a total of 464 GB) and a faster type of biometric authentication called Intelligent Scan, which combines facial recognition and iris scanning.

Sony Xperia XZ2

Display: 5.7 inches; LCD; 2,160 x 1,080 pixels

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (eight-core, 2.8GHz)

Features: To complement its FHD+ display, Sony has designed the Xperia XZ2 with reduced top and bottom bezels from previous models. The smartphone also comes with a 19-megapixel camera that supports 4K HDR video recording; strong water resistance ratings; 4 GB of RAM; and a new "fluid 3D glass surface" design for the body. For entertainment purposes, the device supports HDR content along with some audio improvements, including stereo speakers and Sony's "Dynamic Vibration System" (which gives vibratory feedback when playing games and watching movies).