Best smartphones of IFA 2018

We’re never quite sure what to expect at IFA on the smartphone front. Occasionally a big name will release a flagship phone, but the majority of manufacturers seem to use it as a place to unveil lesser mid-range devices or skip it altogether. Samsung has already shown off its wares, Apple and Google are due to do so within the next couple of months, but there were still some smartphones of note on show in Berlin.

Sony Xperia XZ3

The clear headliner at IFA 2018 was Sony’s new flagship Xperia XZ3. The design is a refinement of the Xperia XZ2, which saw Sony belatedly overhaul the old angular, big bezel look in favor of curves front and back. Those bezels are slimmed down slightly further in the XZ3, but it’s the screen that’s exciting as it’s the first OLED that Sony has put in a phone. It’s a gorgeous 6-inch display flanked by front-facing speakers, which makes the XZ3 a great choice for movie watching.

The main, single-lens, 19-megapixel camera is unchanged from the XZ2, but the selfie camera has been bumped up to 13 megapixels. There’s plenty of power here in terms of performance and battery life, there’s support for wireless charging, and it’s IP68-rated. It also runs Android 9.0 Pie out of the box. All in all, it’s a stylish smartphone with plenty of high notes, but the $900 price tag might prove hard to swallow.

Read our Sony Xperia XZ3 hands-on review to learn more.

ZTE Axon 9 Pro

Keen to make it clear its back is business after a highlypublicized U.S. ban, ZTE decided a new flagship smartphone was the best way to do it. This is ZTE’s follow-up to the ZTE Axon 7 – there was no 8. It jumps on the notch bandwagon with a 6.21-inch AMOLED display that ZTE promises is packed with TV smarts to help it optimize video.

It has a Snapdragon 845 inside with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a big 4,000mAh battery. There’s also a 20-megapixel front-facing camera with face unlock software and the main camera pairs 20-megapixel and 12-megapixel lenses. There’s little prospect of the Axon 9 Pro being sold in the U.S. but it is coming to Europe for 649 euros (around $750).

Find out more our ZTE Axon 9 Pro hands-on review.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite

This svelte smartphone sports a 6.3-inch notched screen with a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution. There’s a Kirin 710 processor inside backed by 4GB of RAM. There’s a dual front-facing camera with lenses rated at 24 megapixels and 2 megapixels for perfect portrait selfies. You’ll find a similar combination in the main camera with 20 megapixels and 2 megapixels, though the aperture is wider for better low-light performance.

It shows off Huawei’s skill at turning out desirable mid-range phones, and it’s a perfect teaser for Huawei’s main event – the Mate 20 Pro – which lands in October. The price is 380 British Pounds, which is just under $500.

Read our Huawei Mate 20 Lite hands-on for more.

Honor Play

If you look beyond yet another notch-toting, derivative design, there’s a real bargain to be found here. For 280 British Pounds or 330 euros – there’s no U.S. release on the cards — you can snag a 6.3-inch screen, the Kirin 970 processor, and 4GB RAM. It has been built with gaming in mind, so there’s a grippy rear and something Honor calls GPU Turbo enhancements which boost frame rate and graphical quality.

The camera features a single 16-megapixel, f/2.0 aperture lens with a secondary, f/2.4 aperture depth-sensing 2-megapixel sensor and there are some A.I. smarts in there for automatic object and scene recognition. You’ll find Huawei’s EMUI version 8.2 installed over the top of Android 8.1. There’s also a decent-sized 3,750mAh battery.

Find out more in our full Honor Play review.

LG G7 One and LG G7 Fit

We weren’t sure what to expect from LG this year, but the stripped back LG G7 One was a surprise. This stock Android phone is part of the Android One program and it’s a step down from the flagship G7 ThinQ. It looks pretty similar, with a 6.1-inch notched display and the same build materials, but inside you’ll find last year’s Snapdragon 835, with 4GB of RAM, and just 32GB of onboard storage. It also has a single-lens 16-megapixel camera, but we’re not sure about the price just yet.

The LG G7 Fit is another step down, with the two-year old Snapdragon 821 onboard, so presumably it will come in even cheaper.

Read more about the LG G7 One and Fit.

HTC U12 Life

htc u12 life news

While it won’t be coming to the U.S., the U12 Life will be a tempting, affordable option where it’s available. Ostensibly a scaled back HTC U12 Plus, the U12 Life actually has a couple of advantages in the shape of proper buttons – we didn’t like the digital buttons in the U12 Plus – and a headphone jack. It also boasts a 6-inch display, a mid-range Snapdragon 636 processor and choice of 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Rounding out a decent package, we find a fairly big, 3,600mAh battery, and a 16-megapixel camera. All this can be yours for 300 British Pounds, which is about $390 right now.

Find out more about the HTC U12 Life.

BlackBerry Key2 LE

If you’re craving some keyboard action, but the BlackBerry Key2 was out of your price range, then perhaps the Key2 LE is for you. It packs many of the same features, including the full QWERTY keyboard, into a cheaper, polycarbonate body with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor and 4GB of RAM inside. There’s a conservative slate finish and a champagne gold and blue, but it was the atomic red that caught our eye.

There’s 32GB of internal storage with a MicroSD card slot for more. The dual camera pairs a 13-megapixel lens with a 5-megapixel lens, but the front-facing camera is still rated at 8-megapixels. The battery has also dropped to 3,000mAh. All this cutting back has dropped the price by around $250, so it will cost 350 British Pounds in the U.K. and 400 euros in Europe when it launches in September. It will probably be around $400 when it launches in the U.S.

Read our BlackBerry Key2 LE hands-on.

Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.
Mobile

LG reportedly files patent for triple selfie camera on smartphone

LG has reportedly filed a patent for a smartphone with three front-facing cameras. However, if the patent turns out to be true, it may come down as just another gimmick for the struggling mobile phone manufacturer.
Deals

The excellent Moto G6 is just $99 from Google Fi for a limited time

Getting a cheap smartphone can be a great way to squeeze value out of your dollars. Motorola's Moto G-range has always been good value, but never better than this: Get the Moto G6 for just $99 from Google Fi.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Mobile

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.
Deals

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.
Mobile

These parental control apps will help keep your kids' device habits in check

Looking for extra security and monitoring on mobile devices? Take a look at the best parental control apps for limiting time and keeping watch on your child's phone usage and behavior. We have the top options for Android and iOS here.
Mobile

The OnePlus 7 Pro will have four launch events to celebrate its release

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.
Mobile

The best Bluetooth headsets of 2019, from Sennheiser to Jabra

Quality headsets are rare. Here are our picks for the best Bluetooth headsets available, whether you need something modest, cheap, or loaded with features. We highlight the best Bluetooth headsets you can get for different situations.
Mobile

Samsung begins retrieving all the Galaxy Fold review units

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Common Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e problems and how to fix them

Samsung's new Galaxy S10 range is gorgeous and extremely powerful. But they're not perfect, and you may discover some issues with your new phone. Here are some of the most common Galaxy S10 problems and how to fix them.
Mobile

Michael Kors updates its Sofie smartwatch, but still uses a processor from 2016

Michael Kors announced an update to the Sofie smartwatch, now offering heart rate monitoring, GPS, and NFC support. There's only one problem — the device still offers the Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.