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11 Best Android Phones in 2016

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Only interested in Android smartphones? If so, our best Android phone round-up has all the top handsets all in one place. Your next mobile is on this list.

You might want to wait a few weeks before choosing a new Android phone, though. While the likes of the Nexus 6P are still fresh and new, many of last year's Android smartphones are due an update now.

That's where MWC 2016 comes in, the annual mobile phone show where many brands choose to launch their next big product. We're certain to see the Samsung Galaxy S7 launch at MWC in February, so we wouldn't recommend buying a Galaxy S6 right now.

There's also a good chance we'll see the LG G5 at MWC and new phones from the likes of Huawei, HTC and even HP.

Bottom line: If you want one of the new Nexus phones then you're on pretty safe ground, but if not then wait to see what happens at MWC.

Watch our smartphone buyers guide

Best Android Phone 2016: What you need to know

Not sure what you need, or even how to choose from the selection above? Here are a few pointers to get you started.

What size Android phone should I buy?

Smartphones in general are getting bigger and bigger. Some of you might remember Steve Jobs explaining at the launch of the original iPhone back in 2007: "It’s got a three-and-a-half-inch screen on it. It’s really big."

Fast-forward to the present day and 4-inch smartphones are the smallest, and often cheapest, handsets out there. They’re good for children and users who don’t care for games and multimedia content, but even 'mini' Android phones like the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact have at least 4.5-inch screens.

5-inch screens are far better for watching movies and playing games on, but they’re right on the edge of too big if you have small hands. Anything between 4.5 and 5.1 inches is generally considered the perfect combo of portability and a display that's good for browsing, gaming and more.

You can, of course, go even larger than this. Phones with 6-inch screens, often called "phablets", are growing in popularity. They’re a good option if you have a long commute, as their larger screens are perfect for watching films, playing games and reading. However, we recommend trying one out in a shop first if you’ve never owned a phone this big before.

Related: 6 Best Phablets in 2015

Will I get the latest version of Android?

Google is constantly looking at ways to improve the Android operating system, and releases major software updates on a regular basis. But that doesn’t always mean the phone you're buying will get that update.

The latest version is Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is making its way onto existing smartphones. However, many current handsets still run Android 5.1 Lollipop or even 4.4 KitKat.

Read our Marshmallow update guide to find out if and when your phone will get the latest version.

Related: Best Mobile Deals: Top Smartphone offers this month

Other things to consider

Finally, you need to think about extra features. Things like NFC, water-resistance, fingerprint scanners and microSD card slots may just seem like bonuses, but they can dramatically improve the overall user experience of a smartphone.

A microSD card slot is a good idea if you want to watch lots of downloaded videos or music, and it’s an essential feature on some cheaper phones that have limited built-in memory. Any phone with 4GB or less of storage will need a microSD card slot.

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