The year 2018 has been an exciting one in terms of mobile phone technology. The world’s biggest mobile brands released flagship models that broke new ground and set the bar quite high for 2019.

Speaking of those flagship releases: in no particular order, here are five of the most exciting and top-notch smartphones of the past year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9

This phone has all the trimmings necessary to make it stand out from the crowd: huge storage capabilities (up to a terabyte’s worth, if that’s what you’re looking for), superior battery life (4,000 mAh, to be exact), a beautifully clear AMOLED screen, and an improved Bluetooth S Pen that proved mightier than the blade-sharp tongues of critics.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro

2018 was the year that Huawei overtook Apple to become the second-largest mobile manufacturer, and it is poignant that 2018 was also the year that Huawei convinced sceptics of the quality of its product offering. It has been called the most feature-packed smartphone ever, and the three-camera lens set-up (one of them, wide-angle) had photography enthusiasts excited. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro features the largest battery on any of the year’s flagship releases – it packs a huge, 4200-mAh punch.

The Apple iPhone Xs

As always, the launch of Apple’s flagship iPhone Xs (and Xs Max) dominated tech news cycles, but the latest models didn’t feature quite as many bells and whistles as their predecessor did, with perhaps the most noteworthy feature being the introduction of dual-SIM capabilities. With that being said, the inherent quality associated with Apple makes the iPhone Xs the main competitor for the next smartphone on our list.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Apple rivals, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 sported the addition of AR emoji and a greatly improved camera, with the integration of Samsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby. Samsung enthusiasts loved the introduction of Bixby Vision, which would allow users to translate text that is “read” through the camera automatically, and would even enable them to count the calories in the food they took pictures of.

The Apple iPhone Xr

Released together with the iPhone Xs and Xs Max, the iPhone Xr has almost all the features of the Xs and Xs Max, albeit in a phone that does have some differences as far as some of the specifications and comparisons with its more pricey siblings go. Nonetheless, this “budget” release from Apple was a great alternative for Apple fans that thought the flagship models’ price tags perhaps a little too hefty.

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