Want the best Android phone money can buy?
The first half of 2019 has set the bar impressively high with regards to the current smartphone landscape and you don’t have to look far to get an excellent handset.
Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review
We’ve put every notable smartphone you can currently buy through its paces and collated this definitive list of the best Android-powered smartphones your money can grant you.
Now, not every phone in this lineup is a chest-beating high-powered flagship; the definition of ‘best’ in our opinion can mean different things to different people. As such, while we’ve got eye-catching entrants like the new Sony Xperia 1 and the subversive OnePlus 7 Pro, those with smaller budgets will also find a few notable options, like the Motorola Moto G7 Plus, for example.
- Best Android Phone: Huawei P30 Pro
- Best all rounder: Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus
- Best display: OnePlus 7 Pro
- Best for features: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- Best for Google: Google Pixel 3
- Best value: Xiaomi Mi 9
- Best value camera: Pixel 3a
- No notch on a budget: Honor View 20
- Best for the S Pen: Galaxy Note 9
- Best for movies: Sony Xperia 1
- Best for gaming: Asus ROG Phone
- Best for under £200: Moto G7 Plus
- Best value zooming: Oppo Ren0 10x Zoom
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What’s the situation with Huawei?
Due to the recent retraction of Huawei’s Android license, future Huawei and Honor phones won’t be able to access Google Play Services and as a result many Android apps including YouTube and Gmail. Both Huawei and Google have confirmed Huawei and Honor phones, like the one in this round-up, will continue to have access for this time being. Until we know more about the situation we’re leaving the scores on all our Huawei reviews and this article unchanged – however as the situation changes we’ll revisit this.
How we decide the best Android phones
Before scoring any Android handset, 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 with regards to battery performance 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 as allowing us to test manufacturers’ 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. Huawei P30 Pro
The best Android phone
- Great cameras
- Massive battery
- Slick design
- EMUI needs an overhaul
- Screen lacks the sharpness of the S10
The Huawei P30 Pro surpasses its predecessor in every conceivable way and is easily the best Android phone right now. Considering the P20 Pro was awarded ‘Best Phone of 2018’ by Trusted Reviews, that should give you some idea of how potent the P30 Pro must be.
The phone expands on its predecessors strongest aspect – the camera setup – by way of a new triple-lens setup. A primary 40-megapixel f/1.6 camera with a pixel-arrangement designed to let in more light fronts things, with an ultra-wide angle sensor and a periscopic telephoto sensor in tow, granting you up to 5x lossless zoom and an unprecedented 50x maximum hybrid zoom.
The camera really is astounding but there’s also the great performance, courtesy of the company’s Kirin 980 processor, plus a huge 4200mAh battery with impressive 40W fast-charging, not to mention wireless charging
Samsung’s current flagship phone packs a better screen and not everyone will appreciate Huawei’s EMUI Android overlay but the overall package on offer here is undeniably astounding.
- Read our Huawei P30 Pro review
2. Samsung Galaxy S10 and 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/P30 Pro
The Samsung Galaxy S10 (and the larger Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus) is already shaping up to be one of the best Android phones of 2019, thanks to a stunning screen, the sheer amount of power on offer 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 too. Plus, the latest Snapdragon or Exynos chipset (depending on region), plenty of RAM (8GB to 12GB) and at least 128GB storage mean the S10 is undoubtedly well-stocked.
The display is utterly gorgeous and remains the standout offering here. It features a Quad HD+ AMOLED panel with impressive brightness and punchy colours. It also stretches pretty much edge-to-edge, with a small circular (or pill-shaped) cutout hiding away the single (or dual) front camera(s).
Unlike optical in-display fingerprint sensors, as found on the likes of the OnePlus 6T, the S10 series use more advanced and secure ultrasonic technology. In practice, it works very well and while it isn’t as accurate as a traditional capacitive sensor, it manages to unlock the phone quickly and reliably.
Flip the phone over and you’ll find three cameras on the back. A dual pixel 12-megapixel primary sensor with OIS (optical image stabilisation) and a variable f/1.5 to f/2.4 aperture heads things up, with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor (also with OIS) onboard.
One takes ultra-wide 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 results from the Pixel 3 or P30 Pro.
The only real differences between the two phones are size, battery and the fact that the Plus version has an extra camera on the front. The S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch vs the 6.1-inch display, plus a larger 4000mAh battery, as opposed to a 3400 mAh cell inside the vanilla S10. Battery life isn’t outstanding on either however, so it really comes down to which makes for the best physical fit in your lifestyle.
3. OnePlus 7 Pro
The best Android phone for display lovers
- The 90Hz display is glorious
- Clean software
- Big battery and fast charging
- No Qi wireless charging
- It’s so big
Previous OnePlus phones have focussed on offering a high-end experience for a mid-range price. With the OnePlus 7 Pro the Chinese brand is trying something different.
With its glorious high refresh-rate display, curvy body and specs that give every other device a run for their money, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the brand’s first true ‘flagship’.
Unlike other OnePlus devices, this isn’t priced ridiculously cheaply. At £649/$699 it’s more affordable than the other equally specced phones in this list, but it’s a big jump over the OnePlus 6T.
Thankfully the OnePlus 7 Pro is still great value. It’s ludicrously fast thanks to the Snapdragon 855 chipset and plenty of RAM; has a very capable triple camera array on the back with a 48-megapixel main sensor and a roomy 4000mAh battery.
However, some corners have been cut. There’s no IP rating for water resistance and wireless charging has been ditched, and while the camera is good it’s not on the level of the Pixel 3.
It’s a very big phone, too. The curvy sides and sloped 6.7-inch display can be hard to handle and it’s so slippery. There’s a case in the box and we’d advise you use it.
- Read our OnePlus 7 Pro review
4. 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 plenty of stunning Android phones last year, however, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro was unquestionably one of the highlights.
It packs an in-display fingerprint sensor, near-unmatched battery life and even 40W charging to juice the huge 4200mAh battery in less than an hour. Oh, and there’s wireless fast-charging too.
Related: Huawei P30
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, like the P30 Pro, 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
5. Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL
Google’s best phone(s)
- 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 are 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
6. Xiaomi Mi 9
The most affordable way to an 855
- Versatile camera experience
- Superb value for money
- Fantastic performance
- No IP certification
Xiaomi’s Mi 9 pulls a OnePlus by offering flagship-quality at almost half the price of some of the rivals in this lineup. You get Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 855 chipset, a beautiful HDR display, fast wired and fast wireless charging, plus an impressive triple-camera setup, fronted by a whopping 48-megapixel primary sensor.
Priced at under £500, this phone defies logic with regards to the affordability on display, with only long-term software support and any lack of water resistance placing a question mark over whether this is one of the best and easiest flagship buys of 2019.
- Read our Xiaomi Mi 9 review
7. Google Pixel 3a
Great camera for the money
- Stunning camera
- Lovely display
- Very affordable
- No IP rating
- No Qi charging
With its excellent camera and lovely display, the Google Pixel 3a is one of the most affordable phones in this list.
We love the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3a takes a lot of what makes that such a good phone and ditches some of the more luxurious features to make the price of entry a bit more bearable.
It keeps the 12-megapixel f/1.8 camera and OLED tech of the display but ditches things like wireless charging, water-resistance and a top-end processor.
The 3000mAh battery is good enough to get you through the day, there’s a headphone and Google’s excellent version of Android 9 Pie is onboard too.
- Read our Google Pixel 3a review
8. Honor View 20
- Screen design looks great and deals with the notch
- 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 was one of the first big companies to launch a flagship in 2019 and it kicked things off right with the Honor View 20. Not only is the phone a looker but it also debuts a bevvy of interesting technologies that have taken rival manufacturers longer to get onboard with.
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 (Mi 9 notwithstanding).
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 from.
Like the Mi 9, the rear camera arrangement centres around a huge 48-megapixel primary sensor which uses a technique called ‘pixel binning’ to take super-crisp 12-megapixel shots. You can also take AI-enhanced photos at full resolution for unprecedented detail. There’s a secondary 3D ToF (time of flight) camera that supports the main snapper with depth information but it 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, the first phone (pipping the S10 series to the post) with a hole-punch setup, meaning the sensor is entirely surrounded by pixels.
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
9. 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 some, (and you’ve got at least £899/$999 to spend) then you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
The phone’s 6.4-inch display is gorgeous, Exynos 9810 platform speedy and there’s 128GB of 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, which now doubles as a wireless remote in certain situations too.
Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 10
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 shooting. 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
10. Sony Xperia 1
A phone with a 4K HDR OLED display
- Unique design
- The best camera on a Sony phone
- The display is very nice
- Camera not as good as the Pixel 3 or Galaxy S10
- Some of Sony’s software features are disappointing
The Sony Xperia 1 is the Japanese brand’s best Android phone yet. It achieves this by doing things a bit differently and focussing on those who mainly use their phone as a media device. The Xperia 1 has a tall 21:9 4K OLED HDR display and even though it measures 6.5-inches it’s a lot more manageable than other big screen phones.
There’s a big focus on cameras too, and the Xperia 1 comes with some excellent software for video recording. The triple 12-megapixel rear camera array boasts a wide-angle, super wide and telephoto lenses. The snaps are good and comfortably the best to come from a Sony phone, but they can’t quite compete with the Pixel 3, Galaxy S10 and P30 Pro. Inside the phone you’ll find a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB RAM and there’s 128GB storage too.
- Read our Sony Xperia 1 review
11. Asus ROG Phone
The ultimate choice for PUBG fanatics
- Great screen
- Innovative peripheral system
- Solid performance
- Airtrigger controls are a gamer’s 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 accessories let you do everything from adding a cooling fan to dock the ROG Phone with your TV for that full console-style gaming experience.
What’s more, Asus has done some really cool things to Android Oreo. The company hasn’t just tweaked the UI to make it more 1337, it’s also added 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.
- Read our ROG Phone review
12. 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 Full HD+ 6.2-inch display with a dewdrop notch, a simple software experience and it feels really good thanks to a 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 of 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.
- Read our Moto G7 Plus review
13. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
The P30 Pro’s camera, without the politics
- Fantastic triple camera
- Impressive battery life
- Great performance
- ColorOS is still awkward
- No wireless charging
- No water resistance
Oppo may be a newcomer to markets including the UK but in truth, this mobile behemoth is one of the biggest and most successful smartphone brands on the planet. As such, it knows a thing or two about making a capable phone and the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is the perfect example of this.
Ignoring the awkwardness of the phone’s name and instead focussing on the meaning behind it, this phone packs a serious set of cameras. It’s similar in setup to the Huawei P30 Pro’s arrangement, with the standout feature being 5x lossless optical periscopic zoom.
The collective efforts of the 48-megapixel main sensor, 13-megapixel telephoto and 8-megapixel wide-angle snapper making this a versatile camera phone that can give the best on the market a run for their money. Oppo didn’t stop there, however.
You’ll also find the latest Snapdragon 855 processor and loads of RAM to ensure rock-solid and lightning-fast performance, there’s a near bezel-free display that doesn’t suffer from a hole punch or notch thanks to its ‘pivot rising camera’ design and it’s got impressive battery life and fast-charging tech to boot.
- Read our Oppo Reno 10x Zoom 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 phones out? Let us know in the comments below.