The 8 Best Sony Phones to Buy in 2018

Check out our favorite picks from Sony's most popular lineup

As one of the most well-known electronics manufacturers in the world, Sony is well regarded for their advancements in technology. These advances, whether big or small, have often found their way into the company's smartphone lineup and that’s good news for Sony customers. Sure, Sony might not have the market share Samsung or Apple has, but they're still high-quality phones that offer incredible audio and world-renowned photography, which is actually at the core of the company’s flagship Xperia lineup. So whether you're looking for the best camera, battery, value or the most compact option, take a look below to find the best Sony smartphones to buy today.

Best Overall: Sony Xperia SZ Premium

Smartphone buyers looking to grab the best Sony has to offer should look to the Xperia XZ Premium and its eye-popping 4K display resolution. Boosted by a performance that’s 50 percent faster and 25 percent smoother than previous generation Snapdragon processors (and paired with 4GB of RAM), the SZ Premium is equipped to work on GSM carrier’s LTE networks. Whichever network you choose, the SZ Premium adds some noteworthy features, including 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) with LTE Cat16 for downloading applications at three times prior hardware speeds. Inside the SZ Premium is 64GB of internal memory that’s expandable up to 256GB, thanks to an available microSD card slot. Add in a striking design and mirrored glass back panel, a 19-megapixel camera that can capture 960fps slow-motion video and front-facing speakers that stare down the competition and you have a pretty awesome all-around handset.

Runner Up, Best Overall: Sony Xperia XZs

Vying for the top slot in Sony’s smartphone lineup is another strong contender, the Sony Xperia XZs. Available unlocked for use on GSM LTE carriers in the U.S., the XZs adds a brilliant 19-megapixel Motion Eye image sensor for capturing images five times faster while adding 960fps slow-motion video capture. The 5.2-inch Full HD 1080p TRILUMINOUS display adds durable Gorilla Glass 4 for extra strong protection against bumps or drops and pairs well with the polished metal back panel for even more durable hardware. Inside the Xperia XZs is 64GB of onboard memory that can add up to an additional 256GB of storage space via microSD. A Snapdragon 820 offers LTE Cat 9 support for extra fast downloads and uploads along with providing smooth day-to-day operation of the device. The 2,900 mAh battery allows for all-day use, and when you need to juice up, there's Qnovo adaptive charging and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 for fast recharges.

If keeping smartphone costs down without sacrificing style or function is important, the Sony Xperia L1 is a sensible choice. Functional with GSM-based carriers in the U.S., the L1 adds support for LTE bands that work with T-Mobile, AT&T, Straight Talk, MetroPCS and CricketWireless. The 5.5-inch 720p HD fits nearly edge-to-edge on the side bezels for increased viewable space, which speaks to the full hardware design that fits comfortably in your hand. A non-removable 2,620 mAh battery helps keep the 13-megapixel camera going with a f/2.2 aperture and xLoud ClearAudio+ for video capturing. Under the hood is 2GB of RAM for running multiple applications at a time, as well as 16GB of internal memory and microSD storage for expanding storage space.

Best Value: Sony Xperia XA2

The Sony Xperia XA2 has a 5.2-inch, edge-to-edge 1080p display with Gorilla Glass. On the rear of the device is a 23-megapixel main camera with a 1/2.3-inch Exmor mobile image sensor that captures 24mm wide-angle photography and 4K video recording along with 120fps slow-motion video. An eight-megapixel front-facing camera offers the same Exmor sensor and a 120-degree super wide-angle lens for capturing wider landscape photos than before. Rounding out the rest of the features are a Snapdragon 630 processor, an always-on fingerprint sensor, a 3,300 mAh battery for all-day battery life and Android 8.0 software.

Best Camera: Sony Xperia X

Sony’s strength in the handheld photography market makes it no surprise they were able to adopt similar technology into their smartphones. The Xperia X has a 23-megapixel main camera powered by Sony's Exmor RS mobile image sensor that launches the camera in under 0.6 seconds. The sensor also adds a hybrid autofocus that works to eliminate blurred image results caused by fast-moving subjects. The front-facing camera is equally notable as its 12-megapixel sensor ties together with a 22mm wide-angle lens for capturing larger landscapes (and often does a better job than the rear cameras of competitive brands). The five-inch curved display of the X feels comfortable in the hand, thanks to a soft feel metal that adds a nice blend of durability and comfort. Captured photos and videos are stored in the device's 32GB onboard memory, while an additional 200GB of storage can be added via microSD.

Best Battery: Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra has a long-lasting 3,580 mAh battery that combines with software optimizations to last at least 48 hours without charging, which is a welcomed addition to an already impressive smartphone. The XA2 has a six-inch, edge-to-edge HD display that is an optimal size for movie or TV watching while on the go. A rear 23-megapixel camera is equipped with a Sony’s Exmor RS image sensor and a 24mm wide-angle F2.0 lens that is capable of 4K video recording and shooting 120fps slow-motion video. A 16-megapixel front-facing shooter adds a smart selfie flash and 120-degree wide-angle lens for satisfying selfie photography, while video recording benefits from Sony's SmartAmp technology for even more immersive sound during playback.

Best Audio: Sony Xperia XZ1

For one reason or another, each smartphone in Sony’s lineup looks to make their own mark one way or another, but it's the Sony Xperia XZ1 that hits a homerun in the audio category. Praised as one of the strongest devices in the Sony lineup with flagship-quality specs, the XZ1 adds a 5.2-inch Full HDR TRILUMINOUS display, Gorilla Glass 5, a 19-megapixel rear camera with Motion Eye system and predictive hybrid autofocus for rapid-fire burst shorts without blur. There's little doubt on paper the XZ1 hardware specs impress overall, but it's real-world SmartAmp and S-Force front surround sound is where the device really shines. Add in high-resolution audio capabilities with DSEE-HX and LDAC, digital noise cancellation and the XZ1 quickly becomes a music and movie-viewing powerhouse. Shipped with Android 8.0, the XZ1 is unlocked and LTE enabled for most GSM carrier’s LTE network.

Best Compact: Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Widely regarded as one of the most compact flagship-level smartphones in the Android universe, what the XZ1 lacks in screen size it more than makes up for in usability. It has a 4.6-inch HD TRILUMINOUS display that pairs well with the full-metal exterior and pleasantly fits right in the palm of your hand. The rear 19-megapixel camera adds Sony’s hybrid autofocus system that is great for capturing fast-moving subjects without unwanted blur, while a 13-megapixel front-facing camera allows for steady shot performance in case you want to snap the perfect selfie. It's also packed with Sony’s SmartAmp and stereo speakers for hi-res audio. A 2,700 mAh battery is equipped with Qnovo adaptive charging and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 for USB-C charging that adds hours of battery life in just an hour of charge time.

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