Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

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The Galaxy S8 has slick hardware with tiny bezels that let it have a big screen in a relatively small body, but inside it still offers everything you want: a high-end processor, lots of storage, an SD card slot, full waterproofing and a top-end camera. And of course, Samsung has kept the headphone jack around.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming, you can't argue that Samsung continues to pack in hundreds of features to a single phone, making sure there's something in here for everyone's needs. Samsung continues to take this approach of offering more more more with just a few compromises — and it continues to work.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 gives you piles of features in a beautiful body, and is a great choice for a wide range of potential buyers.

One more thing: Consider the option of paying a little extra and get the larger Galaxy S8+ for a bit more screen and battery life.

Why the Galaxy S8 is the best

There's a reason why Samsung is where it is today: it makes the phones the market desires by filling it with the features that are in demand. The Galaxy S8 has stunning metal-and-glass hardware, with an "infinity display" that curves off the sides and small bezels that put a big screen in a relatively compact body. The display itself is one of the best in the business, and lets you experience the loads of features Samsung has packed into its software.

Samsung's known for packing its phones with all of the most appealing hardware features.

One of Samsung's hallmark principles is packing its phones with all of the most appealing hardware features. That means you get an SD card expansion slot, wireless charging, waterproofing and yes a headphone jack. There's no indication that Samsung's going away from this strategy, either, as it makes its phones appealing to the widest possible market.

The Galaxy S8 offers a pretty well-rounded experience, doing a whole lot of things pretty well and managing to not miss out on anything important. That can lead to a little bit of software "bloat" and too many features for some people's taste, but the company has managed to refine its software over time to hide the more advanced features and make the GS8 easier to pick up and get started with right away.

The only complaint here is the software being a bit busy and overbearing.

Between the standard Galaxy S8 and the larger Galaxy S8+ with more screen and battery, it's a one-two punch that can cover a huge portion of the market and be a go-to decision for millions of people. Keeping the headphone jack around while much of the industry moves away from it is just a perfect example of where Samsung's motivations are in making phones for the masses.

Best mainstream alternative

LG V30

LG V30

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LG's V series has traditionally been a big and brawny phone, but in 2017 the V30 is just a great overall device that has handily taken over from the G6 launched earlier in 2017. It stuck with a metal-and-glass build, but slimmed down the sides and integrated subtle curves to make it rather easy to hold despite a 6-inch 18:9 display on the front.

On the bottom you get a headphone jack that plugs into a high-quality DAC, so not only can you use all of your existing headphones but you can get the most out of them.

Internally you get top-notch specs you'd expect from any flagship, and around back LG continues to impress with a fantastic pair of cameras. The standard shooter does well despite its smaller pixels, and the secondary wide-angle camera is the best implementation LG has ever made. It offers an extremely unique perspective you just don't see anywhere else.

LG's software is capable and smooth, if still a bit clunky and uncoordinated in a few areas — but that can still be said about most phones nowadays.

Bottom line: LG does all of the basics amazingly well, and accents it with a nice body and super-capable pair of cameras.

One more thing: Keep an eye out for a "V30+" model with increased specs depending on your market and carrier.

Best with a huge screen

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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Take everything that makes the Galaxy S8 great, and scale it up — that's what also makes the Galaxy Note 8 compelling. A very familiar glass-and-metal body is wrapped around a larger 6.3-inch display, but a panel that's even better in terms of brightness and colors.

For this top-dollar phone you'll find top-end specs, great performance and super-capable software. Plus a new dual camera setup that offers you 2X zooming without losing resolution and a new "Live Focus" mode that mimics the background blur of a professional camera. None of the camera changes come at a cost of reduced primary camera quality, either.

Then you get the S Pen, of course, offering fine input, drawing abilities and new productivity tricks you simply can't get from any other phone out there. The stylus isn't for everyone, but you'll find plenty of people who swear by its capabilities.

Bottom line: For the biggest, most powerful and most capable phone Samsung makes, look no further.

One more thing: Be ready to spend the big bucks — the Note 8 is far and away Samsung's most expensive phone ever at nearly $1000.

Best for less

OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5T

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When it comes to getting specs and hardware for money, it's hard to find a better value than the OnePlus 5T. It packs the same top-end specs as the rest of the phones on this list, including Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 835 chipset and a modern 2:1 display, all at a lower price and with the company's highly acclaimed OxygenOS software to boot.

That lower price does come with some trade-offs; the OnePlus 5T lacks wireless charging and water resistance, and its secondary camera is underwhelming. Still, no other phone offers the same kind of performance as the OnePlus 5T in its price range, and it keeps all of the core features that even some high-end phones now lack, like a headphone jack.

Bottom line: The OnePlus 5T gives the rest of the phones in this list a run for their money at a lower price with few compromises.

One more thing: Though the 5T ships with Nougat, OnePlus has committed to releasing an Oreo update by January of 2018.

Conclusion

When it comes to keeping the headphone jack around, Samsung still takes the cake with the combination of the Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8. The LG V30 and OnePlus 5T deserve mentions here for keeping the port around, but Samsung's phones deserve praise for offering more as overall devices.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

See at Verizon See at AT&T See at T-Mobile See at Sprint See at Best Buy

The Galaxy S8 has slick hardware with tiny bezels that let it have a big screen in a relatively small body, but inside it still offers everything you want: a high-end processor, lots of storage, an SD card slot, full waterproofing and a top-end camera. And of course, Samsung has kept the headphone jack around.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming, you can't argue that Samsung continues to pack in hundreds of features to a single phone, making sure there's something in here for everyone's needs. Samsung continues to take this approach of offering more more more with just a few compromises — and it continues to work.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S8 gives you piles of features in a beautiful body, and is a great choice for a wide range of potential buyers.

One more thing: Consider the option of paying a little extra and get the larger Galaxy S8+ for a bit more screen and battery life.