Update: Say hello to the HTC U11 and OnePlus 5! HTC’s squeezable smartphone has squeezed its way into our top 10, as has OnePlus’ latest affordable flagship. Read on below to find out where they’ve made it in our best Android phone rundown.
There’s one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition – the number of phones out there running Google’s hot mobile OS.
The big names are all here; Samsung, Sony, LG and HTC are all right at the fore. On top of that, there’s a glut of other names in the mix, with the likes of Lenovo, Motorola and OnePlus all offering cheap smartphones – and Google’s gone high end with the new Pixel range.
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
- Best smartphone: the 10 top phones we’ve tested
- Best cheap phone: head here if you need a device under £200
To help find the most fitting Android phone for you, we’ve rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are – the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.
Samsung has once again taken the top spot of the best Android phone in the world right now.
Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 is in the top position of this list thanks to an incredible design, amazing display and some truly great power packed into the phone.
Everything that has made Samsung phones great over the last few years has been packed into this 5.8-inch device – that’s almost bezeless too – and comes with top of the range hardware and some easy to use Android software.
There’s a new iris scanner to allow you to unlock the phone with just your eyes and Samsung has also included a new voice assistant called Bixby. It’s not the perfect device some had hoped for, but it’s the best Android phone you can buy at the moment.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8
- Also consider: If you budget can’t quite stretch to the new Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is still an excellent option with a strong screen and excellent camera, plus it’s now cheaper thanks to the arrival of the S8.
For some, the OnePlus 5 is the best Android phone around – and to be fair, they have a point. The Chinese firm has improved on 2016’s OnePlus 3 and 3T to deliver a slicker design, dual-cameras round the back and a whole heap of power.
The AMOLED display is bright and vibrant, despite still ‘only’ being 1080p, and the fingerprint scanner is fast.
The lack of a microSD card, and a battery which doesn’t last more than a day may put some off, but considering the price you’re paying the OnePlus 5 is fantastic value for money.
Read the full review: OnePlus 5
- Also consider: Low-cost flagship smartphones are getting better and better, and if the OnePlus 5 doesn’t tickle your fancy the Honor 8 Pro might. If offers excellent value for money with a premium build and a great display.
Second place goes to the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. We’ve loved both the Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S7 Edge, but this year we prefer the smaller device of the flagship pairing.
The size of the Galaxy S8 Plus may put some people off at 6.2-inches, but we found the device easy to use and the main reason the Plus sits in second place is its higher price.
Everything we love about the Galaxy S8 is available here as Samsung has decided to only really changed the sizes of the screens rather than fiddling with the spec inside the device.
That same powerful 12MP camera and top of the range power setup is here to do everything you want it to as well as the new biometric tech that may allow you to unlock your phone faster than ever before.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Also consider: Looking for a big screen Android phone? Then say hello to the HTC U Ultra. It won’t be for everyone, but for those who want something a bit different the large 5.7-inch QHD display, punchy performance and solid camera will suit.
The Moto Z is modular like the LG G5, but it’s far better with extra add-ons and a much easier to use snap-on design.
It’s powerful and the modular design means you’ll be able to switch out elements for future accessories and could mean you can keep this phone for much longer than other devices that will date quicker.
Usually when we talk about mid-cycle upgrades, we’re strictly talking about new software. Moto Z could take on new form at any time.
It may be the world’s thinnest phone, but that comes at a cost with a reduction in battery size and the loss of the headphone jack – potential issues for some users. If you can overlook these shortcomings though you’ll have a truly innovative device in your hands.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto Z
- Also consider: Surprised not to see the LG G6 in our top ten? Well you can read our reasoning here – but it’s still worth considering. It’s 5.7-inch QHD display is bigger than the Moto Z’s 5.5-inch offering, plus its water-resistant body is handy. It sure is pricey though.
The Xperia XZ Premium is the flagship smartphone Sony fans have been waiting for, bringing together an eye-popping display, strong snapper and solid battery life.
Those who love watching films and TV shows in 4K can do so on the move with the 4K screen on the XZ Premium – no other phone on this list can boast that – while the front-facing dual speakers also enhance videos and gaming.
If there’s an area the XZ Premium does lack in, it’s design. The flat glass front and rear are sleek, but the plastic edges of the phone detract from the ‘Premium’ part of the name.
Make no mistake though, this is a proper, fully-loaded Android flagship which easily holds its own against the competition.
Read our full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium
- Also consider: If you fancy something a little smaller, and a little more wallet friendly, then check out the Sony Xperia XZ. As the name suggests, it lives in the same family as the XZ Premium, but has a smaller 5.2-inch full HD display and older Snapdragon 820 chipset.
HTC squeezes itself into sixth place on our best Android phone list with the gorgeous HTC U11.
It has a 5.5-inch 2K display, which makes watching video gorgeous, strength under-the-hood with 4GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, and squeezable sides (yes, really!) allowing you to quick launch apps.
The camera technology is still a big focus for HTC though. A 12MP sensor may not sound like much, but it makes some gorgeous images on the back and there’s a 16MP front-facing camera to capture your selfies too.
Read the full review: HTC U11
There’s one reason to buy this phone: a genuine, actual, real two day battery life. Not in optimum conditions or if you’re a light user… it’ll just keep going and going for two whole nights.
The phone itself is very cheap as well, making it our top budget buy, and while some of the specs are downgraded to hit that price point (the chipset won’t please everyone and the camera isn’t the best) we think it’s worth it.
Not the best out-and-out Android phone on the market right now, and it is heavy thanks to the larger battery – but it’s kind on the wallet and will mean you spend far less time tethered to a charger.
Read our full review: Lenovo P2 review
If you’re looking for the ultimate Android experience without any over-complicated features the Google Pixel is the phone for you.
It takes the latest version of Google’s software – Android 7.1 Nougat – in its natural form. There’s no annoying third-party manufacturer overlay, it’s Android as Google intended.
Add to that its premium design (although the glass patch on the rear is a little questionable), excellent camera and huge amount of power under the hood and you’ve got yourself a rather special smartphone.
The main reason you’d buy this phone is for the camera though – it’s one of the best, if not the best, around at the moment and excels in low light specifically.
The battery life is the weak point for the Pixel, and we’d recommend carrying a charger if you’re out all day.
- Also consider: The Pixel a little on the small side for your tastes? Then you’re in luck, as Google also has the Pixel XL with a 5.5-inch display and the same power and camera as its smaller brother.
The biggest highlight is the innovative magnetic clip-on accessories that can give you a new camera, a speaker system or even a projector. It’s so smart and may well be the best way of doing modular phones we’ve seen so far.
It’s a low price compared to many other phones on the list and without the accessories on the back it’s a really thin phone.
Buy the Moto Z Play if you’re looking for something a little bit cheaper and it’s genuinely different to almost everything else on the market.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto Z Play
The LG G6 is a top Android smartphone, with an excellent premium design, lovely QHD display and clever dual camera setup round the back giving you plenty to play with and enjoy.
However, some odd choices to go with lower-spec performance and not upgrade the camera in a meaningful way while still charging a high price stops the LG G6 from appearing further up our best Android phone list.
That doesn’t mean the G6 isn’t innovative – the screen looks great and there’s raw power, from the camera to the battery to the general snappiness of the handset, rippling through this phone.
Read the full review: LG G6
By John McCann
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