- Samsung Galaxy S8
Although the Galaxy S9+ sits in the top spot, the older Samsung Galaxy S8 still has some appeal. Samsung has redefined its flagship handset in the Galaxy S8, offering two sizes of handset with an 18.5:9 display, losing the bezel and offering that premium dual-edge curved design. There’s a long list of things that Samsung gets right in the S8: there’s a great camera, the battery life is good, there’s waterproofing, powerful hardware and the slickest Android of skins, fully-featured and packed full of useful functions.
The contentious point falls on the fingerprint scanner, as the location isn’t optimal, but that’s not a deal breaker given that the phones support iris scanning too. Samsung has also been a little slow to update to Oreo, so although there’s a lot of parity with the new Galaxy S9+, the S8 is still waiting for the very latest software.
The appeal comes in falling prices for this older model: if you aren’t worried about having the very latest phone, then the Galaxy S8 still offers you a huge amount.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
This might feel like a Samsung walkover, but the Note 8 is unique and very capable. It has enhancements over the Galaxy S8+, like the S Pen and more RAM, but that comes at a price – the Galaxy Note 8 is one of the most expensive phones on the market – the same price as the new Galaxy S9+. But for those S Pen skills, the Note has no rival.
One of the other advantages it has over the S8+ is the dual camera on the rear. This is not only great quality, but also offers stabilized zoom for super-sharp close-ups. That’s great and it works well, as does the bokeh mode that’s offered, but we’re not certain it’s a hugely important addition compared to the solid performance of the cheaper and more compact phones.
Ultimately, Samsung fans are well served: the Note 8 is a premium device, but the additions might be things you don’t necessarily need. And personally, we prefer the Galaxy S8’s slightly more curvy design, as it looks a little more radical.
- Google Pixel 2
The 2017 Pixel 2 models have caused a stir. The smaller handset, the Pixel 2 is a phone you need to consider carefully. It has a subdued elegance in its design, while packing in all the power of a flagship phone. It’s every bit as powerful as the top phones from Samsung, LG or the larger Pixel 2 XL, but it’s more compact thanks to that smaller display.
While the Pixel 2 XL met some complaints on launch, the Pixel 2 always faired better, and it also packs in the full potency of that clever camera and the very latest from Android Oreo. It might not be the most exciting phone around, but it could be a big hit with those wanting a small but potent handset.