We’ve collected together the best phones and most important mobile tech innovations of 2018 in one place, just for you. 2018 was the year of big screens, augmented reality apps and wireless charging – adding up to some major smartphone milestones. Mobile phone giants released their largest ever displays, processors got faster than ever, AI-driven cameras pushed boundaries and all-day batteries became the standard. Plus some truly iconic mobile phones made a welcome return, too.
Curious what’s coming up next in 2019? Find out from our roundup, covering the smash hits of 2018 and the next big things on the horizon.
The best phones of 2018
iPhone models of 2018
For the first time in history, Apple launched three new phones in September 2018. iPhone XS and XS Max sport Super Retina displays, while iPhone XR comes equipped with a Liquid Retina - both designs covering the entire surface of your phone so you have more space for the things you love. They all boast powerful A12 Bionic chips that use real-time machine learning to give you an even smoother performance.
2018’s Samsung Galaxy family boasts powerful tech and hefty all-day batteries that can keep pace with your life, however you live it. Enjoy a faster gaming experience with the AI-based performance adjuster, and immerse yourself in sound with the AKG-tuned Dolby Atmos stereo speakers. Express yourself with the S9 and S9 Plus that turn you into an AR emoji, and control your apps with the Note9’s Bluetooth S Pen.
Huawei has coupled up with Leica to push the boundaries of creative mobile photography - with dual and triple cameras delivering amazing details. Zoom in to get extreme close-up shots from 2.5 cm, and fit more in the screen with the ultra-wide-angle lens. You can shoot blur-free shots with AI Image Stabilisation, while the 3D Portrait Lighting lets you turn your quick selfies into studio-quality portraits.
Google released its flagship Pixel 3 and 3 XL at the end of the year, offering a full-fledged Android Pie experience. Book a table and buy tickets with Google Assistant, or shoot portraits like a pro with the brilliant dual-camera – the algorithm automatically adjusts your photos. Also, you can set timers on apps to focus more on time with family and friends.
2018 marked the return of the iconic feature phones we know and love. Do a digital detox with the no-nonsense Palm that runs on Android and literally fits in your palm, sporting a 3.3-inch LCD screen. Or answer your phone by sliding open the signature folding case of the Nokia 8110 4G. The legendary Snake game comes pre-loaded and you can download all the rest of essential apps from the KaiOS store.
In 2018, big brands introduced their largest screens to date. Get great colour accuracy and true, vivid blacks on iPhone XS Max’s 6.5-inch Super Retina, and see your photos in striking detail on Note9’s 6.4-inch Infinity Display. The 6.39-inch AMOLED of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro looks as natural as a printed page, while the Pixel 3 XL lets you wind down by switching its 6.3-inch OLED to grayscale.
The AI-powered cameras of 2018 work with sensors, processors and algorithms to automatically adjust the colours, brightness and contrast of your shots. Capture detailed and blur-free images with Samsung’s Dual Aperture camera even in low-light, and top your selfie game with iPhone’s enhanced portrait mode. Or use Huawei’s Leica triple camera to take perfect landscape and group shots.
AI-driven processors and all-day batteries were the key trends of 2018. Experience smooth streaming with the Kirin 980 mobile chip and Apple’s Bionic A12 that uses real-time machine learning. And enjoy peace of mind with the Snapdragon 845 that securely stores your biometric data. Go on all day without needing to plug in your mobile, or power up a friend’s phone with Huawei’s two-way wireless charging.
There are rumours about Samsung’s foldable phone and Google’s Ultra Pixel coming in 2019 - and the next big thing in mobile tech will be 5G. Expect much faster internet service and data transfer, with the power to download a full HD film in less than a minute. AR apps will continue to extend your reality, while behavioural biometrics will make your phone even more secure. Your future phone will recognise you like an old friend can - by the way you type, scroll, talk and communicate.