The holiday season grows ever near and we here at CGMagazine have put together a number of great gift guides for all your shopping needs. 2018 has been a stellar year for new phones as there has been a wide range of top-notch releases from industry heavyweights and smaller companies alike. Here are the best smartphones to buy this holiday season!
HUAWEI MATE 20 PRO
While recent legal issues have put a damper on Huawei’s image, their Mate 20 Pro smartphone signifies a major step forward for the company. The Mate 20 Pro is a stunning looking device that has a number of futuristic features, such as the rear fingerprint scanner and its ability to wirelessly charge other phones, that makes it feel like a luxury item. Perhaps the most exciting feature is its ludicrous 24-megapixel f/2.2 front-facing camera that is among the best in the industry, and it takes truly stunning photos.
Huawei has crafted a device that feels premium throughout, from the design to the execution. Combine that with one of the best cameras I have ever seen on a smartphone, and Huawei has knocked it out of the park with this device.
If the person that you are shopping for is a fan of taking photos then there are few better options on the market then the Google Pixel 3XL. It sports a truly impressive 12.2-megapixel camera along with digital zoom, which provides some nice flexibility for your photo altering needs. Overall this is a phone that you don’t want to sleep on.From the integration to Google assistant, to the way Google apps integrate into the whole experience, it cannot be overstated how cohesive using the phone feels.
With the Pixel 3 XL, Google has nailed their flagship and made a benchmark any hardware maker needs to take into account when building on the Android platform. It’s also fairly affordable as far as smartphones go and more than worth a look.
For the mobile gamer in your life, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S9. The phone is an elegant step up from the previous S8 model and its powerful specs and great camera make it a very versatile device. It has a bright, vibrant screen with noticeably striking colours and the OLED ensures some very crisp tones. Whether you’re playing Mortal Kombat, Fallout Shelter, Lara Croft Go and even Hearthstone, you won’t experience any slowdown, stuttering or loading issues, which is extremly impressive.
The S9 is rather resilient to liquid damage so even if you end up spilling coffee on it or dropping it in the toilet, it will no doubt survive. Also, unlike a couple of its competitors, the S9 comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jacks which are properly but feature for those with high quality wired headphones.
While it may seem strange that the only iPhone on this list isn’t one of the companies new releases, the fact is that the iPhone X is a top of the line device and one that is far cheaper than its newer compatriots. One of the biggest stumbling blocks that it had when it was released was its rather hefty price tag, but it is now significantly cheaper and available on many phone plans from as little as $0.
The iPhone X is without a doubt one of the best looking phones on the market, and its dramatic design change from the previous model is perhaps the biggest in the brand’s history. With its built-in super retina display, Face ID, AR applications, stunning camera quality and use of Animoji, the iPhone X a powerhouse with lots to love for the whole family.
If you’re looking for a bit of a change of pace then look no further then the Chinese import Xiami Mi Mix 2S. For the past decade importing a Chinese smartphone for use in North America has simply not made much sense, but the Xiaomi MI Mix 2S signifies a changing of the guard and is a phone well worth a look.
The Xiaomi Mix 2S has a stunning ceramic back, near-full screen display, a powerful spec sheet, a great camera setup and a fantastic price tag. There are few hoops that you have to jump through to get it working properly but they are more than worth it.
On the less expensive side, the OnePlus 6 is a heck of a deal with its stylish design and great specs. It’s got a great 16-megapixel camera and is capable of shooting 4K video and even when the battery dies the phone’s’ 45-minute charge time will get you back up and running in no time.
The OnePlus 6 is also much less expensive than their top branded competitors and it still offers excellent hardware in a stylish package. Starting at $699 for the 64GB model, there are very few phones on the market that are this good for that price range.
The most exciting Sony phone in years, the XPERIA XZ2 has a classic feel and unlike many smartphones out there also has a more substantial weight to it. It’s hard to put into words how good this phone feels to hold and it very much looks and operates like a celebration of a more classic era of phones.
It’s also a great media streaming device as shows like Game of Thrones looked fantastic, and YouTube managed some spectacular visuals popping with colour. While it may not be for everyone, if you can look past its quirks it is a truly fantastic device that offers plenty of value for your smartphone dollar.
While not nearly as popular as a company as it once was, BlackBerry still has a couple of great new phones including the Blackberry Key 2. Like most BlackBerry devices, the Key 2 is very much built specifically for business-oriented people and it feels like the culmination of all the phones that came before it.
It offers a fantastic keyboard, a good camera, solid specs, and outstanding battery performance. The Key 2 is a phone for people who loved BlackBerry phones of days long gone, and it succeeds on this front with flying colours.