I myself am looking at phones right now also, so I can let you know my feelings at this point to hope it helps.
I discounted out the U11 and essential phones because while they seemed like nice phones, the features and abilities just werent all what I was looking for.
I played around with a oneplus and it was okay, the stripped down software was nice, but I couldnt justify the price of a feature phone for a stripped variant.
I have no experience with Huawei so I didnt bother even looking at one, nor could I pull the trigger on an iPhone (yet lol)
I am narrowed down to the Galaxy line and the Pixel line. Both are very similar, come in 2 screen sizes and have all of the features I am looking at. As it stands I do believe the Pixel is the one I look at most; they are bloat free, have guaranteed updates for longer than the galaxy, and I really have yet to hear someone complain about one in the circles I run. Galaxies have nice battery life, a longer history of producing solid phones (discounting the note 7 of course), and they have a seemingly never ending supply of accessories and add ons. The thing I dont like is the bloatware and what can only be described as a "hit or miss" reliability.
If you were on a budget, you could also look for Pixel XL 1st gen. They are about 275 to 300 USD certified refurb on amazon, still have update support through this year and have most of the same abilities as the Pixel 2XL.