The EE Pocket-lint Gadget Awards will be taking place at the end of November for the 15th year, celebrating the best devices over the last 12 months across 18 categories. The categories span phones, tablets and games to cameras, smarthome and cars and as usual, we are giving you a run down of all the nominees in each category through a series of features.
Best game, best camera and best soundbar were up first so you can read all about the nominees of those categories in their individual features, but here we are concentrating on the best smartphone of 2018, while tomorrow will look at the best mid-range smartphone of 2018.
Apple iPhone XS Max
As an overall experience, then Apple iPhone XS Max is hard to fault. It's fluid, fast and effortless, and is a premium package that looks and feels great in the hand.
It may be too big for some, or too expensive for others, but there's always the iPhone XS for those who think the former, and the upcoming iPhone XR for those who think the latter. If you want the biggest, baddest iPhone in town, the XS Max is the one for you. It's glorious.
Huawei P20 Pro
In the P20 Pro, Huawei has arguably produced the best phone of 2018. It looks great, lasts an age per charge, the camera is a top-ranking effort, and there's all the performance you could need.
Criticisms are few and far between: Face Unlock isn't a patch on Apple's solution, why there's no wireless charging in a glass design is an oddity, there are minor software quirks that may irk the Android hardcore, and the notch may be divisive, but, well, that's about it. Snap up this phone over a Google Pixel 2 XL or a Samsung Galaxy S9 and you wouldn't regret it for one second.
The OnePlus 6 is an awesome phone and would - quite frankly - be a competitive flagship even if it was priced to match its competitors. It's not, and as such its £469 starting price point makes it complete no brainer. This is the company's first no-compromise smartphone.
To match the camera performance of devices like the Huawei P20, it needs to improve at low light photography, but that's not to say it's bad. Its performance virtually matches, and in some ways betters, its more expensive competition. The OnePlus 6 is an easy phone to recommend. It's not just a flagship killer, it's a killer flagship.
Samsung Galaxy S9+
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is possibly the most fully-featured smartphone on the market. It offers out-of-the-box functionality that exceeds most other devices. It's one of the leaders of a new generation of hardware, pushing one of the nicest quality designs with one of the best displays around.
The user interface is one of the most loaded with features giving vast customisation to this slick and powerful handset, which benefits from the introduction of excellent speakers. Boosted audio brings a lift to games and movies, giving immediate appeal. We can't hesitate to recommend the Samsung Galaxy S9+: it will be many things to a great many people.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a catalogue of successes. With a premium build, an absolutely excellent screen, a mature software experience, great cameras, all the power you could possibly need, excellent battery life and fabulous AKG-tuned speakers, there's little it gets wrong.
The Note 9 is expensive - very expensive, really - but it offers an experience like no other. Besides, the iPhone XS is just as much without as rich a feature base, and we'd still recommend that to the right user. The ultimate sense with the Note 9 is that it's a superb Android phone that we'd recommend in a heartbeat.
Sony Xperia XZ3
The Sony Xperia XZ3 is the Xperia flagship we've been waiting a very long time to see. It finally pushes design boundaries, resulting in a stunning device with a great display and lots of top features.
The XZ3 really is an excellent device at an attractive price point. It might have taken a few years longer than others, but the XZ3 is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most exciting Xperia device for years. Welcome back to the game.
Voting in the 15th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Smartphone award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 13 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 2 November.