Best Android Phones 2017: 9 of the best Android smartphones

Our Best Android Phones roundup has all the top handsets in one place. Your next mobile is sure to be on this list.


The year 2016 saw the launch of all manner of superb Android handsets. The Samsung Galaxy S7, OnePlus 3T, HTC 10 all greatly improved on their predecessors, plus Google created its first ever in-house smartphones: the Pixel and Pixel XL.

We’ve yet to see smartphone manufacturers pause for breath, with 2017 already seeing the unveiling of a fresh wave of stellar-looking handsets. Highlights so far include the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8%2B, near-bezel-less LG G6, and the refined Huawei P10 and P10 Plus in the top end of the market; and new Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus at the budget end.

This Week’s Best Android Phone Deal

Buy Now: HTC U11 on EE (3GB) – £125 upfront, £27.99/month
Buy Now: LG G6 on EE (8GB) – £10 upfront, £37.99/month
Buy Now: Samsung Galaxy S8 on EE (10GB) – £0 upfront, £37.99/month

Score

Best Google Experience Phone

Key features:

•    5-inch Full HD 1080p screen
•    8-megapixel camera with decent low-light camera performance
•    Powerful enough to run apps smoothly

The Nexus 6 is not exactly in the same price bracket, so the Nexus 5 still has the qualities to make it a phone worth considering for the pure Android feel.

At £299.99 or less if you shop around, it’s cheaper SIM-free than all the other Android big hitters like the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. It’s an excellent performer overall, has a smart design and is undoubtedly still one of the best Android phones you can buy, even if it is getting a little old now.

Designed by LG, the Nexus 5 is just 8.6mm thick and has a super-slim bezel making it far from a chunky affair. The screen is exceptionally sharp and viewing angles are perfect making it primed for movie-watching.

It will give you around a day’s battery life, which isn’t quite up there with the best, and the camera doesn’t quite compete either, but it still has everything to make it a high-end Android phone bargain.

Price: £265 (£299.99 at time of review)

Read the full Google Nexus 5 review

LG G6

2 of 8

Score

Key features:

  • 5.7-inch, quad-HD display
  • Minimal bezel
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Snapdragon 821 CPU & 4GB RAM
  • Review Price: £649.99

LG has finally made a great flagship phone, free of silly gimmicks and leather clad backs. The G6 stands out due to its 18:9 display, which crams a quad-HD 5.7-inch panel inside a much smaller body than you’d expect. It’s look great, and it’s HDR 10 enabled too.

Inside you’ve got a Snapdragon 821 CPU, 4GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a 3,300 mAh battery. None of these components are groundbreaking, but they’ll comfortably get the job done.

Like the G5, there are two cameras on the back. One is your standard 13MP sensor, while the offer takes wide-angle shots making it perfect for landscape photos.

Read the full LG G6 review

Score

Best Small Android Phone

Key features:

  • 4.6-inch 720p screen
  • 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Great battery life

Sony caused a stir with its Xperia Z1 Compact, finally delivering a small (ish) Android phone that didn’t scrimp on other specs. Now the Xperia Z3 Compact has carried the flag forward, and it’s not just the best small Android phone but in fact one of the best phones in general.

It all starts off with the smaller screen and thus a smaller body. At 4.6 inches, its not exactly tiny but it’s markedly smaller than other flagship phones like the full-size Sony Xperia Z3. This makes the Z3 Compact so much easier to handle.

The screen quality is decent too, though the use of only a 720p resolution is a stop or two below the options on the biggest phones. Still, with a pixel density of 319ppi, it’s still sharp enough and doesn’t look at all fuzzy or grainy.

The other headline feature is the waterproofing and dustproofing. This phone will last for up to 30 minutes in over a a metre of water, making it one of the best-protected phones of its type on the market.

The two key areas where this phone doesn’t scrimp compared to bigger models is the camera and processor. Both are up there with the best, making this a unique proposition among small Android phones. Battery life is also class-leading. You can get two days out of this handset quite easily and three if you’re careful.

All told, if you’re not a fan of phones getting bigger and bigger, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is the one for you.

Price: £365 (£430 at time of review)

Read the full Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review

Score

Best Cheap Android Phone

Key features:

•    Great 5-inch 720p IPS screen
•    Improved 8-megapixel camera
•    Still amazing value for money

Building on the success of the original Moto G, the Moto G 2 provides a bigger, albeit same resolution, screen and a vastly improved 8-megapixel camera with a handy HDR mode.

Apart from that, there’s little else that separates the old and new Moto G but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It does still have micro SD card support and a new dual SIM mode if you want to switch between domestic and international calling.

You still get slick performance thanks to the Snapdragon 400 processor with near pure Android 4.4 KitKat, strong battery life with additional power saving modes and it’s wrapped up in a solid, well-built design to give it the look of a more expensive phone.

If you can live without 4G as well, the new Moto G sets the bar for other budget phones. If you still want a great cheap phone that’s more pocket-friendly, then the first Moto G could be a better shout.

Price: £140 (£144.99 at time of review)

Read the full Moto G 2 (2014) review

HTC U11

5 of 8

Score

Key features

  • Snapdragon 835
  • 4GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch quad-HD display
  • 64GB and microSD expansion
  • 12-megapixel camera
  • Review price: £649.99

The U11 is the phone HTC needs. It’s simple, yet impressive, and focuses on areas the brand knows well. It’s not as eye-catching as the G6 or S8, but the BoomSound speakers and fantastic audio experience help set it apart. The quad-HD LCD display is bright, the 3000mAh battery enough for the day and the 12-megapixel camera can take some really good photos.

We just wish there was a headphone jack.

Read the full HTC U11 review

Honor 8 Pro

6 of 8

Score

Key features

  • HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • Generous 6GB RAM
  • 5.7-inch quad-HD display
  • 64GB and microSD expansion
  • Dual 12-megapixel camera
  • Review price: £474.99

The Honor 8 Pro is Honor’s attempt at a flagship phone and in many ways it can be considered a success. It’s an attractive, well-built 5.7-inch phone that manages to come in slimmer than many competing phones.

There is a dual-lens camera around the back that pairs a 12-megapixel RGB and monochrome sensor and this manages to deliver punchy, sharp photos.

Performance is impressive thanks to a Kirin 960 processor and 6GB of RAM. This means the Honor 8 Pro can go up against even the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 that’s used in certain Samsung Galaxy S8 models. There’s 64GB of storage built-in with a microSD slot that can add a further 128GB.

A massive 4000mAh battery is also included, which will get you easily through a day of heavy use and a little beyond. The Honor 8 Pro is the best phone Honor has released to date.



Read the full Honor 8 Pro review

Score

Best Android Phone for Battery Life

Key features:

•    Good 20-megapixel camera
•    5.2-inch Full HD screen still sharp and vibrant
•    Slick overall performance
•    Hi-Res Audio support

Sony’s latest flagship landed just six months after the Xperia Z2 and made some minor changes in the process, which means it might not be an essential upgrade for Xperia Z2 owners.

The same Snapdragon 801 processor is included in the Xperia Z3 but has been clocked slightly higher to still deliver that blisteringly fast performance, particularly for gaming.

For taking pictures, the 20-megapixel camera is still included and now includes a 25mm focal length to fit more in and can shoot at a higher ISO sensitivity to aid low-light shooting. You can still shoot 4K video although it experiences some overheating issues, which Sony now notifies users about before they start filming.

Despite a slight drop down in battery capacity, you can still get two days of power at times without having to dip into the useful power saving modes. All of that is wrapped in a slimmer and lighter body to help make this the best flagship phone Sony has come up with.

Price: £440 (£525 at time of review)

Read the full Sony Xperia Z3 review

Score

Best Android Phone for Selfies

Key features:

  • Dual 13-megapixel cameras with dual two-tone flashes
  • 5.2-inch IPS 1080p screen
  • Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Water resistant

Selfies are here to stay and HTC became the first company to fully embrace the idea. Rather than opting for a lower resolution front-facing camera, the HTC Desire EYE uses identical 13-megapixel snappers on the front and back, and even has dual-tone flashes for both too.

Gone, though, is the premium metal finish of the HTC One M8 and in its place is a plastic back. It still looks and feels okay but the buttons are a little mushy.

However, this may be because the phone is waterproof. It’ll survive in up to a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. It also doesn’t even need flaps to cover the headphone and microUSB sockets, which makes it easier to use than other waterproof phones.

Elsewhere the phone is up there with some of the best, sporting a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and HTC’s signature BoomSound stereo speakers. 

Battery life is only average and, with a 5.2-inch screen, this is a big phone that requires a lot of power, but otherwise it’s very well-equipped. 

Billed as a phone for selfie lovers, the HTC Desire EYE is actually a great phone all round, so long as you like them big.

Price: £350

Read the full HTC Desire EYE review

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