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Best of 2020 Awards — Your Phone of the Year Is...

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Image credit: Android Central)

2018 saw hundreds of new phone releases and was a great year for smartphones. We've seen huge advancements in the camera and performance, new design languages for several leading companies and of course, lots of new features that will become the norm for flagship smartphones.

From all the devices released this year, we created a shortlist of our top picks, but we wanted to hear what you thought the best phone of the year was. We've counted the results, and the winner is...

Why the Galaxy Note 9 won Reader's Choice Phone of the Year 2018

It's nice when we all agree, isn't it? Between the AC team and all of you who voted, the Galaxy Note 9 wins our Reader's Choice award, as well as AC's coveted Best Android Smartphone of 2018 award! It's easy to see why — the Galaxy Note 9 has everything for everyone.

While others in the market have trended towards removing certain hardware features like the headphone jack, Samsung has resisted the urge and as a result, the Galaxy Note 9 has all the hardware and software features you could ask for. Samsung combines excellent hardware including a stunning display and top-notch internals with a large battery and a software experience that's one of the most polished on the market.

Granted the Galaxy Note 9 doesn't excel in one particular area — while companies like Google have nailed the camera in the Pixel 3 and Huawei have cornered battery life and recharging speeds with the Mate 20 Pro — the Note 9 offers the best of all worlds. Yes, it's not quite up there with the Pixel 3 for cameras, yet the cameras on the Note 9 are the best at open quickly, capture quickly and are consistent regardless of what they're capturing. The S-Pen and all it offers, including acting as a Bluetooth camera shutter button, is just the icing on the cake.

The Note 9 is the complete smartphone and while you do pay a premium for it, it's not much compared to other devices. The additional premium is certainly justified and it's one of the reasons 23% of you voted for it as your phone of the year!

Runners Up

Bottom line

Over 4,300 readers voted for their favorite devices and this is how the final results stand (rounded to two decimal places, the overall total % is slightly over 100% due to the rounding):

Phone% of votes
Galaxy Note 923.67%
Google Pixel 318.75%
OnePlus 6T18.22%
Huawei Mate 20 Pro16.37%
Galaxy S915.50%
Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro3.50%
LG V402.83%
BlackBerry KEY21.52%

We also had an awesome giveaway running alongside our contest, where one lucky winner would get whichever phone you voted as the phone of the year. The winner of a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is...

Blake S. from San Antonio, Texas

Congratulations Blake, we'll be in touch!

It's unsurprising the Galaxy Note 9 won the reader's choice award, but what is surprising is how close the top four actually were. 77% of the votes were for one of the top four devices, which are easily the best four devices launched this year. The close running of this contest is similar to all of these devices; the results are close but one phone usually leads slightly. More importantly, any one of these four phones would make an excellent smartphone, and be one that you can rely on!

Check out our full Best of 2018 Award winners to find out which of these devices won other awards!

Nirave Gondhia has been writing about the mobile industry for over a decade and began his career selling and fixing phones in the UK. He's used every flagship smartphone over the past five years and carries at least two phones at all times - currently, he's using the iPhone 11 Pro, [Samsung Galaxy Fold and Motorola RAZR. Say hi to him on Twitter at @nirave.

6 Comments
  • In my humble opinion the s9 series offer the most premium features of any other phones. Plus every feature works extremely well & pleasurable, plain & simple!
  • If you're judging by value (which you are when you discuss the Note 9 price) then the the no-brainer choice should be the S9 Plus. It is cheaper than the Note 9 by $200 with the same amount of RAM and a 0.1" smaller screen when comparing base configurations. All the other phones on the list have one or more hardware compromises compared with it ( be it notch, smaller battery, headphone jacke, no SD card expansion, IP rating, etc.). Best feature/price ratio if you don't need the S-Pen.
  • My only issue with this type of poll is that it likely reflects more on the ratio of device ownership vs. real comparisons by participants. Most of us don't have the ability to really compare very well as we generally own one phone and in many cases will tend to vote for the phone we own.
  • Exactly. People voted with their wallet.
  • Note9 is the best of 2018 I agree.
  • For months the Android Central crew have been vociferously touting the Google Pixel 3/3XL phones as the best available. Suddenly at the end of the year after the Reader's Poll results have emerged they make a 180 degree turnaround and say the Note 9 was their favourite all the time. Next year we'll hear about the Google Pixel 4s and once again I'll buy the Galaxy Note. It's what I like.