Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Galaxy Note 8

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Samsung's Galaxy Note series is back in style, with an enormous near bezelless display, new S Pen features and Samsung's first dual camera system in a smartphone. The Note 8 takes everything we loved about the Galaxy S8+, including the slick industrial design and futuristic-looking software, and ramps it up further. The display is the best you'll find on any phone, with brightness up to 1200 nits, ensuring visibility even in the most challenging summer conditions.

The Note 8 features everything you'd expect from a modern Samsung phone — water resistance, wireless charging, and 64GB of storage, plus microSD. It's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip in the U.S., or Samsung's own Exynos equivalent internationally, with a hefty 6GB of RAM for smoother performance.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is just about the most expensive Android phone you can buy right now, but with good reason — it's also one of the very best.

One more thing:If you're buying in the U.S., you'll miss out on some of the more exotic color options, like blue and gold. (In Europe, you'll have black and gold to choose from.)

Why the Galaxy Note 8 is the best

A gorgeous phone loaded with features, and top-notch performance.

The enormous screen size (and equally sizeable price) won't be for everyone, but the Galaxy Note 8 delivers expandable storage and top-tier performance, speedy software and impressive features in a phenomenal hardware chassis. This is a phone which excels at everything it does, despite some concerns over the placement of that rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.

That the Note's slightly wonky biometrics stand out as a major criticism just shows how great the rest of the phone is. Samsung's symmetrical metal and glass design language has reached new heights this year, and the company's SuperAMOLED "Infinity Display" provides an enormous 6.3 inches of display realestate in a handset that's still (just about) pocketable.

There's 64GB of space built in, but that SD slot will ensure your Note 8 should never run out of space for photos, videos and music.

Best smaller phone

Samsung Galaxy S8

Huawei Mate 9

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The Galaxy S8 is the best-looking small Android phone out there. With a 5.8-inch screen inside a small physical body, the S8 is all screen. On the inside, it has the same core internals as the Note 8, only with 4GB of RAM and only one rear camera. (The same main camera as its S Pen-toting brethren.)

Yes the fingerprint sensor is slightly awkward to use, but the GS8's iris scanner is dramatically improved to make up for it. And it only takes one look at the industry-leading display to start to forgive Samsung's decisions on the back.

Though its software can be a little overwhelming to novices, 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: If you don't want to deal with the added size or expense of a Note 8, the GS8 gives you almost all the features of the larger model in a smaller package, for less dough.

One more thing: Want a bigger battery and an almost-Note-8-level screen? You'll want to check out the Galaxy S8+.

Other great alternatives

Here's the thing about microSD slots in Android phones: They're not exactly a rarity. In fact, the majority of our favorite flagships from the past year have included expandable storage. A few great, recent examples include:

The mid-range option

LG G6

LG G6

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LG's high-end offering from earlier in 2017 now firmly fits into the "mid-range" category — meaning it doesn't perform quite at the level of some of the others on this list, but it is possible to track down a G6 for considerably less than its higher-end rivals.

The features a tall yet ergonomic 18:9 aspect ratio, and it's powered by the still-capable Snapdragon 821 processor, and 4GB of RAM. All that technology is wrapped up in a sturdy metal and glass design that's both functional and beautiful.

Bottom line: The LG G6 is a solid all-rounder with capable cameras, and a hand-friendly 5.7-inch display, thanks to its 18:9 aspect ratio.

One more thing: Depending on which country you buy in, your G6's feature set may differ. In the U.S. it comes with wireless charging. In Asia it comes with a Quad DAC for better wired audio. (In Europe, you get neither. Womp womp.)

Best budget pick

Honor 6X

Honor 6X

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The Honor 6X doesn't feel like a budget phone in that it has a premium anodized aluminum chassis and dual cameras at the back. The internal hardware is also astonishingly good, with the phone featuring a 14nm Kirin 655 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage, and a 3340mAh battery. The 5.5-inch Full HD display is one of the best in this segment, and the main 12MP camera at the back is joined by a 2MP secondary sensor that adds depth information to images, leading to a bokeh effect.

The Honor 6X has a hybrid dual-SIM card slot, which means that the secondary SIM card slot doubles up as a microSD slot. And now that it's updated to EMUI 5.0 and Android 7.0, the software is a lot more accessible.

Bottom line: The Honor 6X offers a lot of value for its $199 price tag.

One more thing: Like other Huawei phones sold in the U.S., the Honor 6X will not work on Verizon or Sprint.

Conclusion

If you want a phone that has expandable storage, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is still your best option. Sure, it's expensive, but the Note 8 boasts top-of-the-line hardware, a stunning metal and glass design, and two of the best cameras in this space. Water resistance and fast wireless charging make it an even more compelling choice. Add all that and throw in a microSD slot that supports up to 256GB of expandable storage and it's easy to see why the Galaxy Note 8 is the most feature-rich Android phone around.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Galaxy Note 8

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

Samsung's Galaxy Note series is back in style, with an enormous near bezelless display, new S Pen features and Samsung's first dual camera system in a smartphone. The Note 8 takes everything we loved about the Galaxy S8+, including the slick industrial design and futuristic-looking software, and ramps it up further. The display is the best you'll find on any phone, with brightness up to 1200 nits ensuring visibility even in the most challenging summer conditions.

The Note 8 features everything you'd expect from a modern Samsung phone — water resistance, wireless charging, and 64GB of storage, plus microSD. It's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip in the U.S., or Samsung's own Exynos equivalent internationally, with a hefty 6GB of RAM for smoother performance.

Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is just about the most expensive Android phone you can buy right now, but with good reason — it's also one of the very best.

One more thing:If you're buying in the U.S., you'll miss out on some of the more exotic color options, like blue and gold. (In Europe, you'll have black and gold to choose from.)

Update, October 2017: Our new champion is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, with the S8 closely following for folks who prefer something smaller. We've also refreshed this page to focus on phones that have SD expandability, not necessarily adoptable storage.