The 12 Best T-Mobile Smartphones to Buy in 2018

Pick out which T-Mobile phone is best for you and your budget

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best iOS: iPhone Xs at T-Mobile, "The new image stabilization and software updates make it a great tool for selfies and video calls."
  • Runner-Up, Best iOS: iPhone XR at T-Mobile, "A cheaper alternative to Apple's most high-end smartphone models."
  • Best Android: Google Pixel 3 (Unlocked) at Google, "The Pixel 3’s front-facing camera features an 8-megapixel lens, as well as two rear cameras."
  • Best Samsung: Galaxy Note9 at T-Mobile, "The new-and-improved S Pen, giving you 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity (perfect for sketching), and more range with Bluetooth functionality."
  • Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Galaxy S9 at T-Mobile, "Dolby Atmos speakers create an immersive audio experience during video watching."
  • Best LG: G7 ThinQ at T-Mobile, "If selfies are more your jam, the front-facing 8MP camera will be more than sufficient."
  • Best Camera: LG V40 ThinQ at T-Mobile, "Puts the camera capabilities front and center with a whopping five lenses and sensors right onboard."
  • Best New Release: iPhone Xs Max at T-Mobile, "You’ll get the benefits of a large phone without the massive bezels of the competition."
  • Best Mid-Range: OnePlus 6T at T-Mobile, "For those looking for something outside the realm of Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 6T is a worthy replacement."
  • Runner-Up, Mid-Range Price: Asus ZenFone 5Z at Amazon, "Dual-camera system features the flagship Sony IMX364 image sensor, which enables HDR shots at night."
  • Best Budget: LG G6 at T-Mobile, "Comes with a great camera app called Square Camera that has some fun tools aimed specifically at Instagram power users."
  • Best Small Screen: iPhone SE at T-Mobile, "Uses the same powerful A9 processor and 2 GB RAM that is housed in the iPhone 6s."

Our Top Picks

Best iOS: iPhone Xs

iPhone Xs
 Courtesy of Best Buy

The iPhone Xs represents an incremental but solid step up from the iPhone X. Its 5.8-inch OLED display offers Super Retina resolution of 2436 x 1125, a pixel density of 458 ppi, plus Apple’s new True Tone technology that helps to adjust your screen’s brightness and color temperature to optimize it for the ambient lighting around you. Apple has also made this phone IP68 water and dust resistant, so if you drop your phone into water (up to two meters for as long as 30 minutes), it will still work just fine. There’s a new A12 Bionic chip powering everything, giving you a boost in neural engine capabilities to improve the Xs AI performance.

The cameras are the real centerpiece here, with two 12MP sensors on the back (one for a telephoto lens, the other for a wide-angle lens) to give you some truly professional-looking snaps. The front-facing camera isn’t really a step up at 7MP, but the new image stabilization and software updates make it a great tool for selfies and video calls. Apple has made the software a real focus of the Xs, updating the HDR functionality to give you composite light response, stepping up the AI picture tailoring, and even giving you the ability to adjust the background bokeh blur on your portrait pictures after you’ve already taken them. It’s all powered by iOS12 and you can pick up the phone with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. The Xs is available in silver, space gray, or gold.

Runner-Up, Best iOS: iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

 Best Buy

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Apple's most high-end smartphone models, then the XR is a great option. This new release features the same iOS 12 software as the X, along with Apple’s most recent upgrades, such as Group Facetime, Siri Shortcuts, Face ID, and more. The XR also comes equipped with the Apple-designed A12 Bionic chip, which is their fastest, most energy-efficient mobile processor. For everyday use, this translates into a long-lasting battery life and lag-free performance, especially when running demanding apps or games.

Design-wise, the XR’s specs are just slightly different from its predecessors. It features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display with 1792 x 828 resolution and 625 cd/m2 brightness. The XR’s resolution is HD but a decent amount lower than many of today's smartphones. Frankly, this is the only major flaw we could find (and ultimately translates into lower pricing). The XR also boasts an IP67 rating, meaning it is almost completely waterproof, and it is Qi-compatible for wireless charging.

Want to take a look at some other options? Check out our guide to figure out which iPhone you should buy

Best Android: Google Pixel 3 (Unlocked)

Google Pixel 3

 Courtesy of Google

The unlocked versions of the Google Pixel 3 and XL have recently hit the market, and are compatible with all four major carriers. This latest model features a 5.5-inch screen with the same sharp HD resolution as the Pixel 2. It also features Google Assistant, which turns your phone into a portable digital assistant. Just say, “Hey Google,” then give a command: you can play music, set reminders, ask a question, or take a group selfie without touching the device.

The Pixel 3’s front-facing camera features an 8-megapixel lens, as well as two rear cameras: a wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, and a second with just f/1.8. Both these cameras boast 12.2-megapixels, capturing professional-grade landscape photos and 4K video at 30 frames-per-second. The Pixel 3 also offers unlimited storage with Google Photos.

In addition to these special apps and features, the Pixel 3 is, overall, a reliable device. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor (an upgrade from the previous model) and contains an 18-watt, Qi-compatible battery for wireless charging.

Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Note9

Samsung Galaxy Note9
 Courtesy of T-Mobile

These days, we expect our smartphones to be tiny computers in our pockets, and we want the multitasking capabilities to match — the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 actually manages to fit the bill. The massive 6.4-inch screen is perfect for multitasking, and with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 (516 ppi), you’ll have plenty of crispness across all of the screen’s real estate. Another key multi-tasking tool is the new-and-improved S Pen, giving you 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity (perfect for sketching), and more range with Bluetooth functionality (great for switching slides in a presentation).

The cameras are also great for multimedia multitasking. The front-facing selfie cam features an 8MP AF sensor with f/1.7 aperture. On the back, there are two different camera setups: a 12MP wide-angle system (with dual f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture) and a 12MP Telephoto system (with f.2.4 aperture). With all the productivity on this phone, you’ll need power and juice to support it. There’s a 64-bit Octa-Core Processor running at speeds up to 2.8GHz and a massive 4,000 mAh battery making sure you have as much power as you need.

You can pick up this phone in 6GB/128GB or 8GB/512GB configurations, and with the ability to expand that memory up to 512GB with microSD, you shouldn't ever encounter any problems with storage limitations.

Runner-Up, Best Samsung: Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9
Courtesy of Samsung 

The eye-catching Galaxy S9 adds new features such as AR emoji, so users can create a cartoon-like emoji that looks and sounds just like them and send it around as a GIF for friends and family for text messaging fun. As Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9 has the top-of-the-line hardware, including a Snapdragon 845 processor, a 5.8-inch, Quad HD+ Super AMOLED, 2960 x 1440-pixel display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage that's expandable to 400GB with a microSD card. Samsung adds a 3.5mm headphone jack for use with any existing headphones, while Dolby Atmos speakers create an immersive audio experience during video watching. It has a water and dust-resistant of IP68. The S9 has a 3,000mAh battery for up to 22 hours of talk time, measures 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm and weighs just 63 grams.

See more reviews of our favorite Samsung phones available for purchase.

Best LG: LG G7 ThinQ

LG G7 ThinQ

Courtesy of T-Mobile 

The LG G7 ThinQ is a powerful flagship, offering an eight-core-based Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 2.8 GHz alongside a whopping 4GB of RAM for more intensive operations. There’s 64GB of solid-state storage on-board and the option for micro SD expansion. The battery is plenty big at 3,000 mAh, though it’s disappointing to see LG move away from its past flagships and not make the battery removable. The screen is, per usual, one of the most eye-catching features, and even though this iteration is not OLED like the other top phones, it’s still bright and sharp. It’s a 6.1-inch QHD+ FullVision display with a resolution of 3120 x 1440 (offering you a pixel density of 564 ppi). They have a dual-lens camera system on the back offering 16MP of resolution and a wide angle lens that’ll make your Instagrams pretty cinematic. And if selfies are more your jam, the front-facing 8MP camera will be more than sufficient. Finally, LG’s take on Android, from a software perspective, is really refreshing because they’ve taken a light touch on the skin, bringing you as close to the stock Android of the Pixel as possible. Overall, it’s a great flagship phone from a brand that has carved itself out a nice share at the top of the market.  

Best Camera: LG V40 ThinQ

LG V40 ThinQ

 Courtesy of T-Mobile

Smartphone cameras nowadays are only getting more advanced — when you get a closer look at specs, you’ll see apertures and megapixels that would have blown our mind even a few years ago. The LG V40 ThinQ puts the camera capabilities front and center with a whopping five lenses and sensors right onboard. There are three setups on the back: a 12MP standard, a 12MP telephoto, and a 16MP super-wide. This means that you can snap pictures of virtually any subject with a lot more versatility, and LG has loaded up some interesting software features that take advantage of these three lenses in interesting ways. You can activate the triple shot function and take three pictures from all three systems at once and choose later. The selfie cameras are pretty impressive too, employing both a super-crisp 8MP standard selfie cam and a 5MP wide-angle camera for taking group shots and wider-background selfies. And the display LG has included to view all of these amazing photos on? It’s a 6.4-inch QHD with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels. It’s all powered by 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 845 processor so the feel of the device is quick too. Round that out with a pretty decent 3300 mAh battery, Gorilla Glass back/sides, an aluminum frame, and pretty loud front-firing speakers, and you’ve got a great phone that happens to also be an extremely capable camera system.

Best New Release: iPhone Xs Max

iPhone Xs Max
 Courtesy of Best Buy

If you like large-screen smartphones, the Xs Max combines all the great upgrades of the Xs with the gigantic display of your dreams. In terms of the camera system, the Xs Max is very similar to the smaller iPhone Xs. There’s a 12MP sensor for both a telephoto and a wide-angle lens (the same as the Xs), and the front-facing selfie cam is still 7MP. The IP68 water resistance is also the same, offering protection for up to two meters of submersion for as long as 30 minutes. Even the chipset — Apple’s A12 Bionic with its impressive AI-focused neural engine — is the same between the two latest Apple phones.

But what’s different, and what makes this phone a real focal point as a new release, is that 6.5-inch display. It’s larger than the Galaxy Note 9 while maintaining a footprint that's roughly the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus. The device accomplishes this by employing Apple’s signature notch design, giving you a nearly edge-to-edge display. That’s 2688 x 1242 of Super Retina OLED resolution to play with (a whopping 458 ppi), meaning it’s arguably the largest, most brilliant phone out there.

The Xs Max is available in silver, space gray or the brand-new gold color, with 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Pick up this amazing new release and you’ll get the benefits of a large phone without the massive bezels of the competition. (Just be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it.)

Best Mid-Range: OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T

 T-Mobile.com

For those looking for something outside the realm of Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 6T is a worthy replacement. The OnePlus 6T can’t compete with the LG V40 ThinQ’s five cameras, but it can still deliver stunning photos. The device contains a 16MP front-facing snapper, and a 16 + 20MP dual lens at the rear. Like most smartphones, the OnePlus 6T has a host of special features like Portrait Mode, Smile Capture, and Face Retouching to capture flattering selfies. Or, for landscapes and night shoots, the 6T debuts several smart filters: AI Scene Detection, Nightscape, and Studio Lighting, which automatically adjust the camera settings to capture the best possible photo.

The OnePlus 6T has a 6.41-inch display that showcases a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution at 402 ppi for crisp, true-to-life visuals. The device also holds a Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, and a 31.7-hour battery.

Runner-Up Mid-Range Price: Asus ZenFone 5Z

The Asus ZenFone 5Z is a solid mid-range model with some interesting extra features that make it stand out. The 6.2-inch smartphone combines a Snapdragon 845 CPU with 6GB of RAM for snappy processing, along with minimized bevels and two five-magnet stereo speakers for immersive visuals and audio. But where the Asus ZenFone 5Z really differentiates itself is through its use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI analyzes everything, from your charging habits (in order to maximize the 3300mAh battery’s life) to the ambient light and sound (to adjust color and ringer volume).

Along with an eye-catching design, the smartphone prioritizes recording memories: the dual-camera system features the flagship Sony IMX364 image sensor, which enables HDR shots at night and can capture videos in 4K UHD resolution. With both videos and photographs, the ZenFone 5Z has image stabilization systems to ensure the final result is sharp, steady, and crisp.

Best Budget: LG G6

LG G6
Courtesy of T-Mobile

In all honesty, the Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8 have pretty remarkable cameras. If you end up with one of those phones in hand, you’ll take impressive pictures. But if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t want to sacrifice a camera feature in your next phone, the LG G6 is a solid bet. It’s tall, slim and water-resistant (rated at IP68) and its 5.7-inch display takes up 80 percent of its face, meaning there’s very little wasted space. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 delivers fast performance and a 3,300mAh battery will provide long-lasting power, though unfortunately it isn’t removable like in previous versions.

On the back of the phone, the home button sits just below two cameras: a 13-megapixel shooter and a 120-degree wide-angle lens. You can easily switch between those two cameras as well as its five-megapixel front-facing camera that also has a wide-angle option. It comes with a great camera app called Square Camera that has some fun tools aimed specifically at Instagram power users.

Check out our other reviews of the best LG phones available on the market today.

Best Small Screen: iPhone SE

iPhone SE
Courtesy of T-Mobile

The iPhone SE is the perfect phone for everyone tired of the phablet fad. It harkens back to a bygone era (2011) when phones could fit in pockets and be operated easily one hand. Although Apple went all-in on the large screen for its flagship product, they have also cornered the market on the four-inch screen with the iPhone SE.

Design-wise, the SE looks similar to the 5S, with flat sides and a matte finish. The phone uses the same powerful A9 processor and 2 GB RAM that is housed in the iPhone 6s, which means you get the exact same powerful speed for hundreds of dollars less. You also get a bright and colorful 1136 x 640 resolution. The 12 megapixel camera is barely a downgrade from the premium, and it captures gorgeous 4K video. The 1.2 megapixel FaceTime HD Camera is a pretty serious downgrade from other phones in the category, but it is adequate.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for?