Best phones in Australia 2018: the 10 top smartphones we’ve tested {thumbnail}

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Update: We've expanded our list of phones you may also like, but didn't make it into the top 10. Head on over to the last page find out which phones we also recommend!

  • If you're interested in Apple's flagship handset, then perhaps you'd be more interested in our best iPhone list.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer Google's OS, then our best Android phone roundup should be right up your alley.

2017 proved to be a stellar year for smartphones, and now, 2018 is looking to be even better. The recent launches of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus late last year mean that the humble smartphone is destined to become faster, more powerful and even more versatile than ever before.

Here at TechRadar, we check out every phone under the sun, putting the ones that matter through our vigorous testing process to create our in-depth mobile phone reviews.

However, with so many to choose from, we've spent hours whittling them down to a top ten, taking into account power, specs, design and value for money. And we'll always point you in the direction of the latest handsets – after all, nobody wants to be carting around a phone that doesn't get any updates in a year's time, right?

So whether it's one of the many slick Android handsets, the latest iPhone or one from a range of other cool manufacturers, we've extensively tested them all so you don't have to!

Here are our rankings for the best smartphones around, currently available in Australia.

iPhone SE

10. Apple iPhone SE

A simply brilliant palm-friendly phone

Weight: 113g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | Screen size: 4-inch | Resolution: 640 x 1136 | CPU: Apple A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB | Battery: 1624mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

The iPhone SE sports a tired design, has a screen that's several years old and a display size which isn't really big enough for today's apps and movies on the move.

That said, it's one of very few high-end smartphones you can get which you can use one-handed without issue. It won't be for everyone, but for those who dislike the supersized phones of today the iPhone SE is a top performer on a miniature scale.

Remember the SE has the same power, same camera and same operating system as the top of the range iPhone 6S, but in a size you can easily pocket and at a price which isn't going to break the bank.

Sure Sony has the Z5 Compact, but that still has a large-ish 4.6-inch display – the SE is a rare breed of small form and big power.

Read the full review: Apple iPhone SE
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9. Sony Xperia XZ Premium

A screen as good as the one in your living room (maybe even better).

Weight: 195g | Dimensions: 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android 7.1 | Screen size: 5.46-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3230mAh | Rear camera: 19MP | Front camera: 13MP

Like the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium before it, Sony's Xperia XZ Premium boasts an incredible 4K display, only this time it's even better than before thanks to the inclusion of HDR support. This gives the display a much wider colour gamut, allowing for greater colour detail and more vibrant and lifelike visuals overall.

Screen aside, the phone itself is quite impressive in terms of specs, with 4GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 835 processor, 64 GB of storage (microSD up to 256GB), a 3,230 mAh battery, a water resistant build and it's also got Sony's unique side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

When it comes to raw power, the XZ premium maybe not be a class-leading device. That said, its incredible 4K screen (which boasts a whopping pixel density of 807ppi) is the gold-standard for handset displays – especially when used in conjunction with XZ Premium's impressive 19MP primary camera. 

Photography is also a major selling point for the XZ Premium, with its dedicated shutter button (which you can half-press to initiate laser autofocus) and its ability to record 720p video footage at a ridiculously slow 960fps as well as 4K footage at 30fps.

Admittedly, we're not fans of its huge top and bottom bezels – Sony doesn't really make meaningful use of that space (there are some front-facing speakers tucked in there), opting to use on-screen buttons instead of touch capacitive ones. And, since its fingerprint scanner is side-mounted, that just leaves a bunch of empty space at the bottom of the handset. 

Still, the Sony Xperia XZ is a seriously slick phone with a jaw-dropping screen (backed by the same Triluminos display technology that powers Sony's 4K TVs). One look at this display and you may just be in love.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium
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8. Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Huawei's latest flagship delivers the goods

Weight: 178g | Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 8.0 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Kirin 970 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 20MP | Front camera: 12MP

Last year's Huawei Mate 9 wowed a lot of people by being an incredibly impressive handset at an affordable price point. Thankfully, the Chinese phone maker has delivered an impressively premium follow up in the Mate 10 Pro.

The first thing you'll notice about Huawei's new flagship is its stunning 18:9 display. While the regular Mate 10 offers a higher native resolution than the Mate 10 Pro, with Mate 10 Pro is saddled with a maximum resolution that’s only slighter higher than FHD (1080 x 2160), its AMOLED display makes up for it with richer colours, deeper blacks and a brighter picture overall. 

Thanks to its ongoing partnership with Leica, Huawei has once again a delivered class-leading dual camera setup for the Mate 10 Pro – even the most novice photographer can achieve professional-looking results. Combining a 12MP colour (RGB) sensor with a 20MP monochrome sensor allows users to take incredible depth-of-field shots and stark black and white photos of incredible detail. 

One of the camera’s most impressive features is how it uses the dedicated NPU (neural processing unit) embedded on Huawei’s new Kirin 970 processor to automatically adjust your camera settings based on what you’re shooting – it can even tell the difference between cats and dogs!

Huawei handsets are known for their large and long-lasting batteries, and the Mate 10 Pro continues to uphold this reputation. Its huge 4,000mAh battery kept it going for around two days of regular use, which is something that most other phones can only dream of.

While we aren't crazy about some of Huawei's choices on the Mate 10 Pro (the microSD slot has been ditched, same with the headphone jack), we love its astonishing photographical prowess and beautiful new design.

Read the full review: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
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7. Google Pixel 2

Improves on the original Pixel in (almost) every way

Weight: 143g | Dimensions: 145.7 x 69.7 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 8.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 2700mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Boasting arguably the best camera on any smartphone released in 2017, the Google Pixel 2 improves upon the original Pixel in a number of ways.

Though its bezel-heavy design is a little outdated, given that almost all of the other Android flagships (including the Pixel 2 XL) have embraced the bezel-free craze, the Pixel 2 still feels a lot slicker in terms of design than its predecessor. 

Its camera, despite being a single-lens setup, has been rated as the best on any smartphone by the renowned camera benchmarking team at DxOMark, and has proven to be exceptional in all of our tests. 

We do wish Google had made a few more advancements with this year's Pixel – there's still microSD slot and the display is only 1080p), but we're happy to say that the Pixel 2 is now IP67 certified for water and dust resistance. 

If you can look past its large bezels, lack of headphone jack and expandable memory, there's plenty to love about the Google Pixel 2.

Read the full review: Google Pixel 2
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6. Google Pixel 2 XL

A refined design and a stunning camera make the 2 XL a winner

Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 8.0 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3520mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Thanks to a beautiful new design that incorporates an 18:5 QHD+ display and smaller bezels, and an even better camera that achieves dual camera quality from a single lens, the Pixel 2 XL is a real step forward for Google's smartphone brand.

Sure, there are some downsides: the headphone jack is gone and there's still no microSD card slot, but we can now add an IP67 water and dust certification to its list of stellar features. 

Once again, fans of the 'pure Android' experience will be in heaven here, as Google's OS provides the Pixel 2 XL with slick performance and a clutter-free interface.

There are so many handsets with dual camera setups these days, and yet the Pixel 2 XL's single-lens setup manages to pip almost all of them. A brilliant portrait mode and an incredibly fast capture speed are just two of the features you can look forward to using on the Pixel 2 XL.

If you're looking for a handset that's big, offers terrific performance and will take astonishing pictures, then the Google Pixel 2 XL is the one for you.

Read the full review: Google Pixel 2 XL See the best Google Pixel 2 XL telco plans See the best Google Pixel 2 XL outright deals

iPhone 7 Plus

5. Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Undoubtedly the best iPhone currently available

OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB | Battery: 2,691mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

The iPhone 8 Plus is a great phone – there’s no doubt about that. It’s a better phone that anything Apple has produced before, and it’s, well, just done in a very Apple way.

There are some strong upgrades: the camera has been enhanced, the internal workings are now among the most powerful in the industry, and little tweaks throughout smooth off rough edges in a way that makes us feel Sir Jony Ive climbed inside his computer and lathed them off himself. 

Whether that’s a subtle haptic double buzz when pressing the shutter on the camera, or being able to ‘feel’ the numbers clicking when selecting the time on the alarm, it’s those little delights that… delight.

Those previously mentioned Portrait Lighting effects need some real power, and that’s where the A11 chip comes in. Any app that uses high levels of photo manipulation worked pretty flawlessly in our tests, with no lag when working with multiple image layers.

It’s hard to convey the usefulness of all this power for the average user, one who might not use such features regularly – but it’ll keep your iPhone singing more sweetly for the next two or three years compared to the previous generations.

The iPhone 8 Plus is a phone for the Apple fan who wants the longest battery life possible, and the most screen to look at, without having to pay the premium the iPhone X costs.

Read the full review: Apple iPhone 8 Plus
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Samsung Galaxy S7

4. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

One of the best smartphones in the world – it's a work of art

OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB |Battery: 3550mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus fits a monstrous 6.2-inch curved display into an acceptably large body that doesn’t feel too different from its predecessor, the Galaxy S7 Edge

That’s not all that’s impressive. It features the best phone display, chipset and camera of any phone to date, plus it’s still water- and dust-resistant and it features 64GB of internal storage plus a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

The battery life is very good, it can power the next generation of mobile VR games and it has software that rivals stock Android. 

Aside from Bixby and some slightly clunky biometrics, the Galaxy S8 Plus is the perfect phone for anyone looking to maximism smartphone screen real estate. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
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3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8

The biggest and best phone around, but it'll cost you

OS: Android 7.1.1 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB |Battery: 3300mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Moving past Samsung's Note-related struggles from last year, the company has, against all odds, returned with what is perhaps the best phablet of all time – the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The handset acts as demonstration of Samsung’s eagerness to move forward, seeking to put that previous mishap well in the past, while also serving as a reminder of how prestigious the Note line was, is, and (the company hopes) always will be.

Adopting a design that’s based heavily on the Galaxy S8 Plus from earlier this year, the Galaxy Note 8 differentiates itself by being slightly bigger and sporting the signature squarish look that has been synonymous with the line since its inception. Immediately, this gives the monolithic Note 8 a more professional look and feel, one that’s punctuated by the device’s retractable S Pen – one look and it’s clear that the Note 8 is ready to take care of business.

Samsung's class-leading Infinity Display is better than ever here, with the Note 8's 6.3-inch display providing absolutely jaw-dropping images from every angle. This is one screen that's bound to turn a few heads.  

The Galaxy Note 8 is also the most powerful phone that the company has ever produced, with 6GB of RAM giving it the processing edge over its S8 range. It's also the company's first flagship with a dual camera setup, allowing users to take stunning depth-of-field and portrait shots and take advantage of 2x optical zoom functionality.

If there's a downside to the Note 8, it's that Samsung has reduced the size of its battery. Given last year's battery issues, this is completely understandable, though at 3,300mAh, it’s 200mAh smaller than the battery featured in the S8 Plus, despite being a larger phone with an extra 2GB of RAM to work with. 

And at $ 1,499, it's also one of the more expensive handsets on the market. So if you can live without the included S Pen functionality, the cheaper and similarly specced Galaxy S8 Plus might be a better option for you. However, if you're set on owning the most premium phablet currently available, look no further than the Galaxy Note 8. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
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2. Apple iPhone X

Apple's most revolutionary iPhone to date

OS: iOS 11.1.1 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64/256GB |Battery: 2716mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Though the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are undoubtedly great handsets, the real update that Apple phone fans had been waiting years for finally arrived with the iPhone X, delivering the first real evolution of the world's most famous smartphone since the iPhone 6 released in 2014. 

Thanks to its mind-blowing bezel-free design, the iPhone X is an absolutely stunning phone to behold. The Cupertino company did away with its home button entirely, pushing gesture-based control into the spotlight. 

Once you've finished marvelling at its futuristic design, you may also notice that Apple has also upped its display game with a seriously gorgeous 5.8-inch OLED screen that delivers infinite contrast and vibrant colours.

The decision to ditch the fingerprint scanner also led to one of the boldest new features in the iPhone range: Face ID. Much more advanced than the facial recognition found in other smartphones, the iPhone X creates a three-dimensional scan of your face that evolves along with you. 

Big improvements have also been made to the iPhone's front-facing camera, with new TrueDepth technology allowing for some truly dynamic selfies. On the rear, its camera is quite similar to the iPhone 8, with some minor differences, including an aperture of f/2.4 and a wide-angle lens has optical image stabilisation.

Quite frankly, the iPhone X is as close to perfection as Apple has ever gotten with an iPhone, and if it weren't for its astronomical price point, it would have found itself in the top spot on this list.

Read the full review: iPhone X
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1. Samsung Galaxy S8

A turning point in smartphone design, the Galaxy S8 is truly exceptional

OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best phone in the world for a few reasons, but none more so than the display: it makes every other handset on the market look positively antiquated. Heck, it’s probably one of the best phones ever made, and will be pointed to in future retrospectives as a real turning point in smartphone design.

The camera is still excellent, the screen quality the best that can be found right now and it's smashed through all our benchmarking tests. But back to how Samsung has designed the Galaxy S8… it's just pure premium from start to finish. 

The way the front and back of the phone roll into the metal rim that sits around the outside of the phone is simply exquisite, and there's a real pleasure to be had when just rolling this phone around and around in your palm.

While it costs a lot to own, there are a lot of premium reasons for the premium price, and with the screen Samsung has managed to find some impressive innovation at a time when there's very little to be found in smartphones.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is designed for those who just want a great phone and aren’t bothered about the cost. It’s a premium handset in every sense of the word – you’re paying more to get something really lovely.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8
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We’re all about reviewing and rating all the phones here at techradar. There’s nothing we like more than brewing a pot of tea and deciding where each new phone should sit in the list.

However, sometimes they don’t make it into the top 10 – sad, we know, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a quick look to see if they fit your needs. After all, there are very few bad phones these days…

HTC U11

Say hello to your new main squeeze

OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560| RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB (microSD up to 256GB) | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 16MP

If you're after a funky phone that provides a sense of individuality, the HTC U11 might be your cup of tea. It's squeezable sides offer a unique experience, allowing you to do things like quickly take selfies without touching the screen, launch your flashlight, and more. HTC is known for providing terrific sound (especially from its own speakers), and the U11 is no exception.

Read the full review: HTC U11 review
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Huawei Mate 10

Great battery life and one of the best cameras on any smartphone

OS: Android 8 | Screen size: 5.9-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560| RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB (microSD up to 256GB) | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12+20MP dual | Front camera: 8MP

Though the Huawei Mate 10 Pro narrowly beat it for a spot on our Best Phone 2018 list, that doesn't mean the regular Mate 10 is unworthy of your attention. On the contrary, it may even be more appealing for users who don't want to give up some legacy features, such as microSD expansion and a headphone jack. Its camera is every bit as good as its big brother, and it's even got a QHD+ display. Pretty good, if you ask us. 

Read the full review: Huawei Mate 10 review
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LG G6

A stylish handset with a terrific display

OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 3,300mAh | Rear camera: 13 + 13MP dual | Front camera: 5MP

An impressive all-rounder of a phone, the only reason the LG G6 isn't in our top ten is that it lacks a standout feature. Still, it's got a gorgeous 18:9 display, small bezels, a slight design and a great camera. Admittedly, its older chipset holds it back slightly, but the LG G6 is a great handset regardless. 

Read the full review: LG G6 review
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Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S7

A true return to form from the Korean manufacturer

OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.1-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | Memory: 3GB |Storage:32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

The Galaxy S7 may have just been dethroned by the Galaxy S8, but don't count this old boy out of the race yet. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a stellar phone. It's a handset that packs great battery smarts, excellent camera abilities and loads of raw power into an increasingly affordable package.

Even though Samsung has replaced the Galaxy S7 with the new Galaxy S8, it's still worth taking a look at the 2016 flagship Samsung phone for your next big purchase.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S7 review
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