It’s 2018, which means this list has three smartphones that cost $1,000 or more.
Fortunately for many of you, however, a massive, four-figure price tag doesn’t necessarily make a phone the obvious choice. There are a bunch of sub-$1,000 smartphones that you should consider for their designs, performance, and value.
Check out our list of the top 20 smartphones you can buy right now:
20. BlackBerry Key2
The BlackBerry Key2 is arguably the most unique smartphone on this list because of its physical keyboard. The trade-off here is you sacrifice some screen space to make way for the keyboard. That might appeal to some BlackBerry enthusiasts, but not so much to regular smartphone users.
19. Motorola Moto Z3
On it’s own, the Moto Z3 is a fairly basic smartphone that boasts a nice, slim design. You can attach some of Motorola’s “Moto Mods” to give it some extra features that you wouldn’t find on any other smartphone, like a projector, an extra loud speaker, or a larger battery pack.
The flagship Moto Mod is a 5G module that will let the Moto Z3 connect to Verizon’s 5G network, which should offer blisteringly fast data speeds. The only problem is that Verizon’s 5G network will be limited to a few cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, Sacramento, and a city that has yet to be announced, when the 5G Moto Mod is released in early 2019.
18. Moto G6 Plus
- Antonio Villas-Boas
Every time I check out a new Moto G smartphone, I question why I pay so much for the high-end flagships. There was no exception when I checked out the Moto G6. When it boils down to it, Motorola’s “G” series smartphones do everything I need a smartphone to do for a fraction of the price I usually pay for a new smartphone.
17. Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Hollis Johnson
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are now more than 2 years old, but for $450 and $570, respectively, they’re still worthy of your attention.
Apple phones generally offer better apps and a better owner experience than their Android rivals, and the iPhone 7 is no different. The support you get from Apple if something goes wrong is superior to what you get from Android device makers. And unlike on most Android phones, with iPhones you can always get the latest software updates straight from Apple as soon as it releases them.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offer some compelling features, including water-resistant cases, great cameras that perform well in low light, and a powerful processor. The phones also work well with other Apple products, including the company’s wireless AirPods headphones.
The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens camera system is its distinguishing feature. It allows you to take pictures with a professional-looking “bokeh” effect, which blurs the background behind your subject. Additionally, the system allows you to zoom in on your subjects; its second camera offers a 2x optical zoom.
Unlike the digital zoom feature found in other cameras, an optical zoom allows you to enlarge an image of your subject without sacrificing picture quality.
iPhone 7 price: $450
iPhone 7 Plus price: $570
16. Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus
- The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are “old” phones now that the S9 has been released, but Samsung is still selling them for a nice little discount. They’re great phones, but despite the discount, I’d still go for the Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus. The S9 has much better facial/iris recognition, and the fingerprint scanner under the camera is much easier to reach.
Galaxy S8 price: $600
Galaxy S8 Plus price: $690
15. HTC U12+
- Avery Hartmans
The HTC U12+ sports a unique design for those who are tired of more traditional smartphone color options. It comes in three glossy colors that can shift to a different color when you hold them in a certain light.
With a dual-camera system on the front and back, the HTC U12+ is a high-end performer, and it features HTC’s signature squeezable edges that can be set to do different things, like bring up apps or smart assistants like Google Assistant and even Amazon’s Alexa.
Just note that it doesn’t work on Verizon’s network.
14. Razer Phone 2
The Razer Phone 2 is marketed as a “gaming” phone, mostly because of its unique display. The Phone can refresh its screen 120 times a second; most phones, by comparison, only refresh their screens 60 times a second. The Phone’s faster refresh rate allows it to offer super smooth gameplay.
But the Razer Phone 2 doesn’t just use the feature to make games look good. The refresh rate also affects the way it displays apps and its Android interface. It works beautifully; everything you do on the phone is ultra smooth in a way never seen before on a smartphone. In fact, Razer may have set the standard for how all phone displays should work – not just those on gaming devices.
But there’s more to the phone than just its screen. It’s also got an eye-catching industrial design that stands out when compared with the sleek and svelte designs of most other Android phones. And Razer added wireless charging, water resistance, and even fancy lighting for its logo on the back for its latest model, too.
The large borders above and below the phone’s screen may look out of step with the borderless designs of other recent phones. But hiding beneath those borders are the loudest and best speakers we’ve heard on any smartphone.
13. Essential Phone
- Antonio Villas-Boas
The Essential Phone is a gorgeous device that’s been getting the latest Android updates at the same time as Google’s own Pixel devices.
It has a nearly edge-to-edge display and a case made of ultrapremium materials – ceramic on the back and titanium on the sides. It also runs a nearly stock version of Android, which I prefer over the heavily modified versions that Samsung and LG phones tend to use.
Overall, the phone is a great first effort from Essential. It’s speedy even if it runs on last year’s Snapdragon 835 chip, and it takes great photos.
Essential recently dropped the price of the Phone to $500 from $700, and its price can periodically drop even further at times. That’s a great deal for a great phone.
12. LG G7
- Antonio Villas-Boas
The LG G7 is a great smartphone that should certainly have a place on your short list. It features everything you could possibly want in a smartphone, including performance, a great camera, and other features like wireless charging and water resistance.
It even has a headphone jack and one of the loudest speakers I’ve heard on a smartphone. As an LG phone, it also comes with a high quality audio amplifier for the best quality music through headphones compared to most other smartphones.
11. iPhone 8
- Hollis Johnson
The iPhone 8 comes with the now-antiquate iPhone 6-generation design. But it does have a refined glass-and-metal case, a superb camera, and strong performance. With it, Apple supports both wireless and fast charging – features that Android phones have long offered but had been missing from previous iPhones.