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Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S9+

The Galaxy S9+ is all about giving you the most features in the most beautiful package with a really big screen to take it all in. You get top-end specs across the board, plus all of the hardware features you expect: waterproofing, wireless charging, an SD card slot, a headphone jack and more.

The camera is all-new this year, with a sensor that does fantastic processing to remove noise and sharpen fine detail. It's aided by a dual-aperture lens to get the best combination of light and detail in different shots, and is paired with a secondary telephoto lens for zoom and portrait mode shooting.

You don't get the clean and simple software experience of the Pixel 2 XL, which may take some extra customization and tweaking on your part, but the Galaxy S9+ is far less polarizing overall — just about anyone looking for a high-end phone will love using it.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S9+ doesn't require much thought — it can do everything, and looks great doing it, with few real downsides.

One more thing: You may be tempted by the Note 8 (or upcoming Note 9), but unless you really need the S Pen you should just stick with the Galaxy S9+.

See at Amazon

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Why the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is the best large screen (phablet) Android phone

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ builds on years of Samsung's excellence making some of the most popular and best-selling phones around the world. It starts with a gorgeously sculpted metal and glass body, available in three colors, that's waterproof but still includes great features like dual speakers, a headphone jack and an SD card slot. Inside are the latest and greatest specs, plus a standout pair of cameras on the back and the best display on the market around front.

Samsung designs its phones to be appealing to the widest possible audience.

Samsung designs its phones to be appealing to the widest possible audience, and that makes the Galaxy S9+ a great device for just about anyone. It has a big and beautiful display that's quite simply the best in the industry, but with very small bezels and curved edges it fits into a relatively compact size.

Internally, it has all of the latest specs to handle any app or task you need. It also has a pair of cameras on the back that are in the mix as the best available today. Samsung has also kept around crowd-pleasing features like wireless charging, waterproofing, an SD card slot and a headphone jack. Really, the Galaxy S9+ does a great job at being all things to all people.

Best of all, if you don't care for the larger size of the Galaxy S9+ for whatever reason, you can simply buy the smaller and less expensive Galaxy S9 instead and get the same core experience with only a few changes.

Is it a good time to buy?

Yes. The Samsung Galaxy S9+ launched the first week of March 2018, meaning it is still the latest and great phone that Samsung makes. The Galaxy Note 9 is expected to be on sale in late August 2018, which will likely be only a marginal improvement over the Galaxy S9+, and the Galaxy S9+'s successor will not be unveiled until March 2019.

8 reasons to buy

  • Big, best-in-class display by all measures
  • Sleek and beautiful hardware in multiple color options
  • Top-notch specs, waterproofing, wireless charging and more
  • Up to 256GB of storage available, plus an SD card slot
  • Fantastic dual cameras that take great photos
  • Every software feature you could ask for
  • Dual speakers and a headphone jack
  • Available in just about every region on every carrier imaginable

3 reasons not to buy

  • Lots of unnecessary apps and features
  • Long-term software update speed is a concern
  • Curved screen can be difficult for some to use

Runner-up

Google Pixel 2 XL

No phone is perfect for everyone's needs, and if you find the Galaxy S9+'s software to be overwhelming or grating, you'll want to look at the Google Pixel 2 XL instead.

Google's take on Android is clean, fast and a pleasure to use every day — as you'd expect, it also perfectly integrates with Google's apps and services. The Pixel 2 XL doesn't have a fantastic screen or headphone jack like the Galaxy S9+ does, but that's one of the trade-offs you make in order to get this fantastic software experience. The screen is physically smaller as well, at just 6-inches to the Galaxy S9+'s 6.2.

The camera on Google's flagship is just as good, though, and some would say that the overall experience, aided by that great software, is more consistent and approachable. You also get three years of guaranteed software updates, which provides excellent peace of mind.

Bottom line: The best Android software experience comes straight from Google. Top-notch performance and camera add to the experience, but the screen and more limited availability detract.

One more thing: Even though we recommend the larger Pixel 2 XL, the smaller and cheaper Pixel 2 is just as good, and easier to use with one hand.

See at Best Buy

Best value

OnePlus 6

These top-end phones are expensive, but that doesn't mean you're stuck paying top-dollar for your next upgrade. The OnePlus 6 provides nearly the same experience as these other devices at a substantial discount — just $529.

Even with the lower price, the screen is still very big at 6.28-inches diagonally, though it does have a display notch to take up a tiny bit of that top portion.

You get all of the latest specs inside, and it's wrapped up in a beautiful metal-and-glass frame not unlike the Galaxy S9+. There are a few shortcomings, like an average display, basic speaker and subpar vibration motor, but the software experience is more akin to the Pixel 2 XL than the Galaxy S9+ — and that's a good thing.

OnePlus has dramatically improved its camera offering to where the OnePlus 6 is just a stone's throw away from the top-of-the-line phones, which just adds to the great value this phone offers.

Bottom line: The OnePlus 6 is the phone to buy if you want something cheap, fast, and stylish that still has a huge screen.

One more thing: The OnePlus 6 doesn't work on Verizon or Sprint, and is only available directly from OnePlus.

See at OnePlus

Amazing camera

Huawei P20 Pro

You may think that the "Leica" branding is a bit of a joke at first, but don't let that turn you away — the Huawei P20 Pro has an amazing set of cameras that can produce the best photos of any smartphone today. The combination of a 40MP main sensor, an 8MP telephoto camera and a 20MP monochrome sensor give you unending shooting options, and the software pulling it all together knows all of the tricks to create stellar photos.

The screen comes in at 6.1-inches diagonal, which is a tad smaller than the Galaxy S9+, and it also has a display notch at the top that takes up a bit more screen real estate as well.

The rest of the phone experience isn't subpar, either — Huawei's built a beautiful phone here with powerful specs. It's just let down as ever by the Huawei software that heavily tweaks and modifies Android — to a fault. Some can look past that to get those wonderful cameras, though, and will even go so far as to import an international version to the U.S.

Bottom line: With three rear cameras that are all amazing and EMUI software that's more than tolerable, get this phone for the photos, stay for everything else.

One more thing: The P20 Pro has a 4000mAh battery that should last nearly two days if you go easy on it.

See at Amazon

Best with a stylus

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Just 6 months after launching, the Galaxy Note 8 was almost entirely supplanted by the Galaxy S9+ — which is of course our top pick here. The Note 8 is a fantastic phone, but with the addition of features and specs, the Galaxy S9+ is the same or better across the board with a larger battery, newer camera, faster processor and slightly more compact body.

The only trump card the Note 8 can play is that it has a stylus, which is obviously a big deal for a small number of faithful Note owners. For some, having a big screen without the precise input of a stylus is worthless, so the Note 8 lives on for those who need that feature.

Bottom line: If you have to have a stylus, there's no substitute for the Galaxy Note 8.

One more thing: The Galaxy Note 9 will be announced on August 9 — if you can wait to buy and want the latest and greatest, we recommend that you hold off until then.

See at Amazon

Conclusion

The best large screen (phablet) Android phone for most potential buyers is the Samsung Galaxy S9+, as it provides the best experience and most features with a big screen — it's also available everywhere, from any carrier or retailer you could imagine.

If you're a bit more discerning about the software experience, you'll want to look at the Google Pixel 2 XL instead — you'll have to buy from Verizon or unlocked, and get a little smaller display, but that Google software is worth it for many people. For less money, the OnePlus 6 gives you a near-flagship experience and also has great clean software on a large display. The most versatile camera imaginable can be found in the Huawei P20 Pro, and the rest of the phone isn't exactly bad — you'll just have to put up with some software quirks to take advantage of that great imaging.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy S9+

The Galaxy S9+ is all about giving you the most features in the most beautiful package with a really big screen to take it all in. You get top-end specs across the board, plus all of the hardware features you expect: waterproofing, wireless charging, an SD card slot, a headphone jack and more.

The camera is all-new this year, with a sensor that does fantastic processing to remove noise and sharpen fine detail. It's aided by a dual-aperture lens to get the best combination of light and detail in different shots, and is paired with a secondary telephoto lens for zoom and portrait mode shooting.

You don't get the clean and simple software experience of the Pixel 2 XL, which may take some extra customization and tweaking on your part, but the Galaxy S9+ is far less polarizing overall — just about anyone looking for a high-end phone will love using it.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S9+ doesn't require much thought — it can do everything, and looks great doing it, with few real downsides.

One more thing: You may be tempted by the Note 8 (or upcoming Note 9), but unless you really need the S Pen you should just stick with the Galaxy S9+.

See at Amazon

Update June 2018: Keeping in like with our overall best Android phones picks, the Galaxy S9+ takes over the top spot here on account of its wide availability and broad appeal. The Pixel 2 XL remains as a solid backup choice, and we've added the Huawei P20 Pro as an option with an amazing camera. The Note 8 remains, for now, as the choice for people who want a stylus.