Want the best Android phone money can buy? We’ve got you covered.
2019 may be in its infancy but we’ve already seen a number of great Android smartphones hit the market. Most recently Samsung flooded the scene with not one, but five new Galaxy smartphones. See below if the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus made it into our list as we have now fully reviewed the largest of Samsung’s currently available flagships.
The other Samsung phones included the Galaxy S10, iPhone XR-baiting Galaxy S10e and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Other phones recently announced include the Nokia 9 PureView with its five cameras and the foldable Huawei Mate X.
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 – especially batteries and cameras, but we also run it through a series of synthetic benchmarking and battery-burn tests. These tests give us a good indication of what a phone is like during normal use, as well enabling us to test manufacturer’s performance claims.
All of these tests are repeatable, so we can accurately compare like for like between devices. You’ll see links to each full phone review below, so check them out for a comprehensive picture.
1. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Ticks every box you could ask for
- Lovely display
- Plenty of power
- Versatile camera
- Main camera can’t match the Pixel 3
The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is already shaping up to be one of the best Android phones of 2019 thanks to a stunning screen, sheer amount of power and a feature list that’ll tick pretty much every single box. There’s an IP68 water resistant body, Qi charging, expandable storage and the ability to charge other phones wirelessly. Plus the latest Snapdragon or Exynos chipset (depending on region), plenty of RAM (8GB to 12GB) and at least 128GB storage.
The display is utterly gorgeous and remains the standout thing here. It’s quad-HD+ AMOLED panel with loads of brightness and punchy colours. It also stretches pretty much edge-to-edge, with a small pill-shaped cutout hiding away the dual front camera and an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Unlike the optical in-display sensors on the OnePlus 6T, the version works very well and while it isn’t as accurate as a traditional sensor, it manages to unlock the phone quickly and reliably.
There might be two cameras on the back, but flip the phone over and you’ll find three. One takes ultrawide snaps, another shoots zoomed in and the main sensor captures everything else. The pictures are great with loads of detail and nice colour reproduction, however low-light shots can’t match the Pixel 3.
There’s a big 4100 mAh that sadly doesn’t quite match the Huawei Mate 20 Pro for endurance and the much-improved One UI software. For a more in-depth look at the S10 Plus read our review linked below.
- Read our Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review
2. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Filled with great features
- Lovely display
- Serious amount of features
- Great camera
- Unbeatable battery life
- EMUI is a poor version of Android
There were a load of stunning Android phones last year, yet the Huawei Mate 20 Pro was certainly the one with the most features.
It packs an in-display fingerprint sensor, unmatched battery life and even 40w charging to juice the huge 4200 mAh battery in less than an hour. Oh, and there’s wireless fast charging too.
What makes this phone so great is that all these features work fantastically well. The triple camera array on the back takes excellent shots and the OLED HDR display is colourful and vibrant.
The only real issue we have with this phone is the software. Huawei’s EMUI remains a weakness and it’s even more obvious on such a great phone.
- Read our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review
3. Honor View 20
- New screen design looks great and deals with the notch issue
- Good battery life and very fast charging
- Very capable camera
- A headphone jack
- No wireless charging or IP rating
- Strange performance quirks
- Software still needs work
Chinese phone maker Honor is one of the first big companies to launch a flagship in 2019 and it’s a kicked things off right with the Honor View 20. Not only is the phone a looker, but it also brings a bevvy of interesting new technologies to the table that help it stand out from the crowd. What’s more, it comes in at a snip under £500, meaning it costs half as much as some of the other contenders in this list.
First and foremost, you won’t be able to miss that reflective v-shaped pattern running down the phone’s glass back. Honor names this eye-catching finish an ‘Aurora nanotexture’ and it certainly holds your attention no matter which of the phone’s four colourways you choose.
The rear camera arrangement centres around a huge 48-megapixel primary sensor which usually uses a technique called ‘pixel binning’ to take super-crisp 12-megapixel shots, however, you can also take AI-enhanced photos at full resolution for unprecedented detail. There’s also a secondary 3D ToF (time of flight) camera that supports the main snapper with depth information, but can also be us for AR (augmented reality) experiences.
There’s also the matter of the front 25-megapixel camera, which sits within the boundaries of the 6.4-inch display – no notch, a new punch hole techniques has instead been used, meaning the sensor is entirely surrounded by pixels; it feels very cutting edge. The phone also boasts a huge 4000mAh battery for great longevity and packs one of the latest 7nm Kirin 980 processors, courtesy of Huawei.
- Read our Honor View 20 review
4. OnePlus 6T
Best value for money
- New fingerprint sensor feels cutting-edge
- Up-to-date, versatile OS
- Fast Charge is still great
- Great battery life
- Camera’s Nightscape mode needs work
- Another headphone jack bites the dust
- Fingerprint sensor needs refinement
- Poor audio capabilities
Sure, the OnePlus 6T might be the company’s most expensive handset to date but it’s still about half the price of most of the other phones in this lineup. Starting at £499, you get a Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and the latest available release of Android 9.0 Pie (with OnePlus’ own OxygenOS overlay on top).
The dual 16/20-megapixel camera is the same as the one on its predecessor but OnePlus has added in some cool new imaging technologies so that it can capture better HDR shots and better low-light shots, with a feature the company is dubbing ‘Nightscape’.
The integrated Smart Boost functionality is designed to ensure the phone stays smooth and reallocates resources based on your specific usage habits, while the improved Gaming Mode handles notifications and optimises performance too.
Two standout hardware features are its in-display fingerprint sensor, which the company claims is the fastest in the business, and the huge 3700mAh, boasts exceptional battery life that is, as ever, backed up by 20W Fast Charging.
- Read our OnePlus 6T review
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Great display and handy S Pen
- 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.
- Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review
6. Asus ROG Phone
The ultimate choice for PUBG fanatics
- Great screen
- Innovative peripherals system
- Solid performance
- Airtrigger controls are a gamers dream
- Battery life could be better
- Not enough games that take advantage of the hardware
Avid PUBG mobile player? Then you’ll want to check out Asus’ latest ridonculous smartphone: the ROG Phone.
The ROG Phone was one of the most innovative Android phones to arrive last year. Unlike the competing Razer Phone 2, which just wants to be a gaming phone, the ROG Phone wants to push Android into the lounge and be a fully functioning Nintendo Switch rival.
The ROG Phone features all the trimmings expected of a top-end flagship, plus a number of unexpected innovations. These include a super-speedy 90Hz AMOLED screen, nifty “AirTrigger” capacitive controls and a wealth of attachable peripherals. The plug-and-play peripherals let you do everything from add a secondary fan cooler to dock the ROG Phone with a TV and get the full console gaming experience.
What’s more, Asus has done some really cool things to Android Oreo. Asus hasn’t just tweaked the UI to make it more 1337, it’s also added super cool Game Centre and Game Genie features. The Game Centre lets you monitor and boost GPU and CPU performance using a custom games-focused “X” mode. The Genie lets you quickly and easily capture gameplay footage, or stream on Twitch while in-game, with a simple swipe right command.
The wealth of features and top-end hardware meant the ROG Phone easily earnt a place as 2018’s best gaming phone.
- Read our ROG Phone review
7. Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL
Google’s best phone
- 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, the Google Pixel 3 appears to have been worth the wait, now that it’s actually here.
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.
- Read our Google Pixel 3 review
8. Huawei P20 Pro
- Feels great
- Really good OLED
- Loads of camera features
- Buggy software
- No headphone jack
Not only does the Huawei P20 Pro 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. There’s one area that still 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.
- Read our Huawei P20 Pro review
9. Galaxy S9 Plus
A great all-round Android phone
- 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
The new Galaxy S10 may be out and the Plus variant sits atop this list. But the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus still remains one of the best Android phones around. It has a lovely 6.2-inch OLED display, speedy Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810 (market dependent), plenty of RAM and a clever camera.
As on the Note 9 and Galaxy S10 which followed it, the main 12-megapixel sensor can switch between an f/2.4 and an f/1.5 aperture, which ensures 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.
- Read our Samsung Galaxy S9 review
10. Honor 10
Terrific value at the price
- 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 flagships from 2018, 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. This combination of factors makes the Honor 10 one of the best value Android phones on the market right now.
- Read our Honor 10 review
11. Moto G7 Plus
The best you can buy for under £300
- Fantastic software experience
- Lovely screen
- Well built for the price
- Some performance frustrations, especially with the camera
The best Android phone for under £300 you can buy right now is the Moto G7 Plus.
Previous entries in the G series have been super devices, and the G7 Plus doesn’t break the streak. It has a lovely FHD+ 6.2-inch with a dewdrop notch, a simple software experience and it feels really good thanks to the glass body and ergonomic curves.
The Snapdragon 636 processor paired with 4GB of RAM churns through most tasks with ease, though it does struggle with some of the more intense games. There’s 64GB storage as standard, and you can also add a microSD card to expand this further.
Our only slight disappointment is with the camera. The actual photos from the shooter are good, but the slow camera app makes for a frustrating experience.
12. Pocophone F1
Impressive battery life
- 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 or 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.
- Read our Pocophone F1 review
Still not sure? Check out our guides to the following:
- Best phone
- Best cheap/budget phone
- Best Apple iPhone
- Best mid-range phone
- Best phablet
- Best camera phone
Think we missed any phone out? Let us know in the comments below.