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CNET reviews: Best phones for 2018

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, though pricey, has

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, though pricey, has dual cameras and plenty of features. Credit: CBS Interactive

Last year was a winner for flagship phones. Nearly every manufacturer debuted at least one marquee handset that was a wow either for photographic gymnastics, a brilliant screen or any number of other features that set them apart — and often several of the above. So without further ado, these are the four top-rated phones that will take you through 2018 and perhaps beyond.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: section editor Jessica Dolcourt, senior associate editor Lynn La, and senior editors Scott Stein and Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

CNET rating (out of 5) 4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The Galaxy Note 8 tops Samsung’s already excellent S8 and S8 Plus with dual cameras and a boatload of stylus tricks. It’s the most feature-rich Android phone you can buy.

THE BAD It’s expensive and has more features than most people will need.

THE COST $820 to $949.99

BOTTOM LINE The Galaxy Note 8 retakes the throne as the ultimate Android phone for now, but some intense competition is just over the horizon.

Apple iPhone X

CNET rating (out of 5) 4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD A great blend of handheld comfort and a big, gorgeous OLED screen. Rear telephoto camera outshoots the 8 Plus in low light, and the front camera snaps impressive portrait selfies. Face ID generally works fine.

THE BAD The new interface and no home button mean major adjustments, and key features such as the Control Center are harder to reach and use. It’ll take time for most apps to be optimized for the notched screen. The phone is also mega expensive.

THE COST $999 to $1,099.99

BOTTOM LINE An overdue and winning evolution of the iPhone.

OnePlus 5T

CNET rating (out of 5) 4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The OnePlus 5T has a bigger screen, and its camera takes better low-light photos than the 5. Its few software tweaks are useful in small ways.

THE BAD The phone’s face unlock doesn’t authorize payments, and its dual camera’s digital rather than telephoto zoom is a step back. There’s no expandable storage, and it’s not rated for water resistance.

THE COST $599.99

BOTTOM LINE A superb, affordable phone for new buyers.

Samsung Galaxy S8

CNET rating (out of 5) 4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD The best-looking phone around crushes it in performance, battery life, water resistance and wireless charging. An external storage slot lets you keep more photos, videos and music.

THE BAD Its awkwardly placed fingerprint reader leads to camera smears and longer unlock times.

THE COST $749.99

BOTTOM LINE Fast speeds and a fantastic curved screen make it a top phone.

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