Looking for a new Android phone? We’ve rounded up all the best right here
While there’s a renewed spirit of variety among 2018’s iPhones; the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR, Android continues to be the platform for those who truly value choice. We’ve seen a wealth of worthwhile handsets from affordable to flagship hit the market this year and we’ve still got the likes of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus 6T to look forward to.
Things kicked off with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the larger Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus but other key players like the Sony Xperia XZ3, Huawei P20 Pro and LG G7 have all left their mark as contenders for phone of the year.
Related: When will my phone get Android Pie?
best overall android phone
The Huawei P20 Pro is our current best overall Android phone pick thanks to its triple array of cameras that takes excellent shots. This is paired with a great screen and design.
How we test Android phones
Before scoring any Android phone one of our expert reviewers will spend at least a week using the handset as their primary smartphone. During that time we see how the phone handles with everyday use, but we also run it through a series of synthetic benchmarking and battery-burn tests.
All of these tests are repeatable, so we can accurately compare like for like between devices.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Lovely display
- Loads of power
- Clever S Pen
- Big battery
- Bixby button is an annoyance
- Uncomfortable to hold
If you’re on the hunt for an Android phone that ticks all the boxes (and you’ve got at least £899/$999 to spend) then you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
The huge 6.4-inch display is gorgeous, Exynos 9810 platform speedy and there’s 128GB storage as standard. It also impresses with endurance, comfortably lasting the day thanks to its 4000mAh battery. You’ve even got an enhanced S Pen: a handy stylus that’s great for drawing or taking notes and now doubles as a wireless remote for certain functions.
The camera system is very similar to the S9 Plus: you’ve got two 12-megapixel cameras on the back, one for lossless zoom and one for regular shots. That main camera can also switch between apertures of f/1.5 and f/2.4, making it great for letting lots of light in when shooting in low light. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the front that’s good for selfies and you can also record super slow-motion video or footage at up to 4K at 60fps.
Google Pixel 3
- Google’s Android is the best Android
- Breathtaking cameras
- Fast wireless charging
- No form of face unlocking
- Scratches easily
Even though it was leakier than a bullet-ridden bucket ahead of launch, now that it’s here the Google Pixel 3 appears to have been worth the wait.
Sure, it’s pricier than we would have liked starting at £739 for the 64GB model (with the 128GB version costing a £100 more) but this 5.5-inch handset is a looker that leverages Google’s impressive machine learning smarts to offer up one of the best smartphone cameras of the moment.
Unlike the larger Pixel 3 XL, the standard Pixel forgoes that gruesome notch while retaining a gorgeous extended Full HD+ resolution HDR-capable OLED display. There’s a pair of dual front-facing cameras, including a new ultra-wide angle offering for easier group shots. You can also expect speedy wireless charging and exclusive features as part of its Android 9.0 Pie user experience.
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- Much improved design over 5T
- Really good OLED display
- Great skinned Android experience
- 20W Fast Charge
- No wireless charging
- No official water-resistance
With a price of £469, the OnePlus 6 is easily the best value smartphone you can buy right now. It looks fantastic, has a slick version of Android and is arguably one of the fastest phones you can get at any price.
The 6.3-inch OLED might have a notch but it remains gorgeously bright and colourful. There’s a Snapdragon 845 inside, 6GB or 8GB RAM and storage versions that top out at 256GB. Our only real complaint is the camera, which still lacks the quality of pricier phones. It can still take very good pictures, though – especially since its most recent update.
The 3300 mAh battery features the excellent Fast Charge tech (formerly Dash Charge) and takes only 90 minutes to fill up completely. We would appreciate slightly better endurance though, as we often had to charge the phone by about 9pm after a full day’s use.
Huawei P20 Pro
- Feels great
- Really good OLED
- Loads of camera features
- Buggy software
- No headphone jack
Our current favourite Android phone in 2018 is Huawei’s P20 Pro. Not only does it have three cameras on the back but the main 40-megapixel sensor gives you serious freedom with your shots. There’s even a fantastic night mode.
The shiny back is lovely, the sides perfectly curved and the even the notched 1080p OLED display is far from an eyesore. This really is Huawei’s best phone yet – or at least until we’ve reviewed the impressive-looking Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
But there’s one area that really needs improvement – the software. Huawei’s EMUI is a buggy skin over Android 8.1 that still needs work to make this and future Huawei devices truly competitive against the likes of Apple’s and Google’s native software experiences.
Galaxy S9 Plus
- Feels great for a big phone
- The OLED display is great and highly customisable
- Numerous camera features on offer
- Battery life could be better
- AR Emoji are just bad
- Some lag with Samsung’s software
If you want a complete Android phone in 2018 then the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus could be for you. It has a lovely 6.2-inch OLED display, speedy Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810 (market dependent), plenty of RAM and a clever camera.
As the Note 9 which followed it, the main 12-megapixel sensor can switch between an f/2.4 and an f/1.5 aperture, which should ensure your low-light snaps come out nice and bright. It works well most of the time but you might end up with overly bright shots if you’re not careful. There’s also a secondary 12-megapixel sensor that can be used for telephoto shots and add bokeh around subjects too.
Samsung’s display tech remains some of the best in the business and the 6.2-inch OLED display at play on the S9 Plus is simply gorgeous. It’s brighter than previous Samsung phones and supports HDR content too.
This is certainly one of the best Android phones around, although the battery life doesn’t compare well with some of 2018’s other flagships.
- Sleek design
- Powerful hardware
- Good value
- EMUI Android skin is bloated
- Some performance bugs
If you like the look of the P20, but can’t stomach spending more than £600 on a phone, then the Honor 10 is the device for you.
It has a similar mixed metal and glass design to most other 2018 flagships, and ticks nearly all the right boxes when it comes to hardware. Highlights include a wonderfully bright and clear 5.84-inch 2280p x 1080p FHD+ screen, all-day battery life, and above-average rear camera.
The 24-megapixel and 16-megapixel, f/1.8 dual-camera doesn’t have the third sensor seen on the P20 Pro and is completely absent of any Leica branding. For the money, however, you’ll struggle to do better.
Thanks to the addition of a nifty AI mode, the camera is able to automatically optimise its settings for the shot you’re going for. It does have a tendency to overexpose in bright light, however; but for the most part, the tech works a treat.
The Kirin 970 CPU also makes it every bit as fast as Android phones that are close to £300 more expensive. This combination of factors makes the Honor 10 one of the best value Android phones on the market right now.
- Fantastic software experience
- Lovely screen
- Well built for the price
- Some performance frustrations, especially with the camera
The best Android phone for under £250 you can buy right now is the Moto G6.
Previous entries in the G series have been super devices, and the G6 doesn’t break the streak. It has a lovely FHD+ 5.7-inch 18:9 display, a simple software experience and it feels really good thanks to the glass body and ergonomic curves.
The Snapdragon 450 processor paired with 3GB of RAM churns through most tasks with ease, though it does struggle with some of the more intense games. There’s 32GB storage as standard, and you can also add a microSD card to expand this further.
Our only real disappointment is with the camera. The actual photos from the 12-megapixel shooter are good, but the slow camera app makes for a frustrating experience.
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- Lovely screen
- Stunning audio
- Nice wide-angle lens
- Ugly software
- Cheap design
- Average battery life
The LG G7 stands out as a result of its 18:9 display, which is an impressive 1000 nit LCD panel. This is one of the brightest displays around and it can display HDR content through Netflix and YouTube.
Inside is a Snapdragon 845 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage along with a fairly conservative 3000mAh battery. None of these components are groundbreaking but they’ll comfortably get the job done.
Like the V30 before it, there are two cameras on the back. One is your standard 16-megapixel sensor, while the other takes wide-angle shots, ideal for landscape photos. It’s a decent camera and it offers some impressive video recording options, too.
Samsung Galaxy S8
- Awesome display
- Stunning camera
- It’s actually innovative
- Awfully placed fingerprint sensor
- Bixby is a bit of a dud
It may be last year’s model but the Galaxy S8 is still a great phone that has had a nice price cut since its successor launched. It has a fantastic HDR WQHD+ 5.8-inch display with next to no bezel (or notch, for that matter), and a sleek metal and glass design that’s curvy in all the right places.
It’s fast, too – obviously – and retains handy features such as IP68-certified dust and water resistance, fast wireless charging and a microSD card slot.
The single 12-megapixel sensor on the back may now lag behind 2018’s finest mobile snappers but it’s still a thoroughly capable camera overall. The 3000mAh battery is again great, although you’re still likely to need to charge the S8 every night.
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Google Pixel 2
- Truly amazing camera
- The best version of Android
- Nice display
- Boring design
- Huge bezel
Another phone freshly replaced by a 2018 successor but the Google Pixel 2 is still worth a punt in its own right – especially following a tempting price cut.
A staple of the Pixel line, the least surprising feature here is the excellent camera, which despite being a year old continues to impress. It’s a 12-megapixel sensor with OIS (optical image stabilisation), which captures stunning snaps in any light. 4K video looks great, as do selfies as well.
The device is still fast, too, thanks to the combination of speedy Snapdragon 835 CPU, 4GB of RAM and software built by Google.
Android has never looked so good, and the neat tricks Google has added simply make it even better. You can squeeze the sides to bring up the Assistant and Lens can identify what’s in your photos. A 2700mAh battery lasts the day, while charging is snappy.
It’s IP67 water-resistant, which is great, but there’s no headphone jack and no wireless charging – a feature Google finally added on the newer Pixel 3 and 3 XL for 2018. It also looks, well, a little dull. That huge bezel might hide stereo speakers, but also makes it look as if it’s right out of 2015.
Sony Xperia XZ3
- Great OLED screen
- Good performance
- Decent battery life
- Comes with Android 9.0 Pie
- Pre-installed bloatware
- Camera can be a little slow
- Poor fingerprint scanner placement
- Side Sense is unreliable
Sony has finally seen sense and produced a flagship smartphone fitting of 2018, with a beautiful extended HDR-capable OLED display, decent performance, a capable camera, the latest Android and a distinctive design.
Our only real issue is that the Sony Xperia XZ3 should have arrived much earlier in 2018; it’s what the Xperia XZ2 should have been, so while we’re glad it’s now here and it’s an undeniably solid Android flagship, it might not catch your eye as readily as some of the entrants on this list.
- Excellent value for money
- Superb performance
- Fantastic battery life
- Decent cameras
- MIUI for Poco will take some getting used to
- Thick bezels
- Plastic build
- No NFC
Taking a leaf out of OnePlus’ playbook, the Pocophone F1 places performance and affordability above all else. Fronted by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, this thing flies and is more than equipped to handle the latest games and other intensive apps – usually benchmarking around the same of higher than entrants like the Galaxy Note 9 and OnePlus 6.
The phone also boasts liquid cooling, a whopping 4000mAh battery that can last up to two days and best of all it comes in at just £330/$370.