Looking for a new phone running Android? These are all of our favourites.
2018 has already seen a slew of flagship, and budget, Android devices hit the market. It all started with the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the continued with the Xperia XZ2, Huawei P20 Pro and the LG G7. There’s also been the Moto G6 in the budget area and the OnePlus 6.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Prime Day Deal
The Galaxy S8 might have been superseded by the S9 earlier this year, but it's still a beast of a handset, and a great deal at this price.
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 benchmark and battery-burn tests.
best overall android phone
Right now, the best overall Android phone if money is no object is the Galaxy S9 Plus. The 6.2-inch OLED screen is beautiful and the overall design remains appealing. Performance is no slouch and the cameras are also excellent. The dual aperture lens make the low-light performance excellent, too.
All of these tests are repeatable, so we can accurately compare like for like.
- Much improved design
- Really good OLED
- Great version of Android
- Dash Charge
- No Qi 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 the fastest phone 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, 6/8GB 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.
The 3300 mAh battery features the excellent Dash Charge tech and takes only 90 minutes to full charge. We would like slightly better endurance though, as we often had to charge the phone by about 9pm.
Huawei P20 Pro
- Feels great
- Really good OLED
- Loads of camera features
- Buggy software
- No headphone jack
Our current favourite Android phone of 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 display is far from an eyesore. This really is Huawei’s best phone yet.
But there’s one area that really needs improvement – the software. Huawei’s EMUI is a buggy skin over Android 8.1 that renders apps like Google Maps and YouTube often unusable. Hopefully this will be sorted in an update.
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 should be for you. It has a lovely 6.2-inch OLED display, speedy Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810, plenty of RAM and a clever camera.
The new 12-megapixel camera can now switch between an f/2.4 and f/1.5 aperture, which should ensure your low-light snaps come out nice and bright. It works, mostly, but you might end up with overly bright shots if you’re not careful. There’s also a secondary 12-megapixel camera with lots of bokeh modes.
Samsung’s display tech remains some of the best and the 6.2-inch OLED display is 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. The combination of factors make 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.
Buy Now: Moto G6 for £219 / $309 from Amazon
- Great screen
- Good camera
- Large battery
- Runs latest Android version
- Uses last year’s parts
- Only a minor upgrade on the regular U11
The HTC U11+ is a spruced-up version of HTC’s older U11, which is no bad thing. Featuring a refined, near-bezel-less design, improved screen, larger battery and running Google’s latest Android 8.0 Oreo software, the U11+ is a fantastic choice for any smartphone buyer.
It’s also got one of the cleanest Android skins you’ll find. HTC’s Sense skin has long been one of our favorites, thanks to HTC’s wise decision not to load it with any duplicate applications. The end result is a UI that, outside of the addition of HTC’s Blinkfeed notifications service, is as close to native Android as you’ll find on a device that isn’t part of Google’s own Pixel range.
Add its Hi-Res Audio support and wonderfully clear omnidirectional mics to the mix and the U11+ justifiably earns its place as one of the best Android phones currently available.
- Superb screen
- Great performance and cooling
- Best in class speakers
- Terrible camera
- No IP67 rating
Despite Trusted Reviews going on about the benefits of using a close-to-unskinned Android OS for over half a decade, most big-name companies still insist on using custom skins.
Which is why we’re over the moon to see that Razer takes a refreshingly light touch with its first smartphone.
Described by Razer as “the first phone made by gamers for gamers,” the Razer Phone runs a close to untouched version of Android Nougat; an Oreo update is confirmed for Q1 this year.
Running a pristine version of Nova Launcher Prime, the handset is pleasingly free of bloatware – and what little changes Razer has made are generally to the device’s benefits.
Highlights include improved display setting options designed to help you take advantage of the Razer Phone’s super-swish variable refresh rate display, and a booster mode that lets you increase the frame rate for specific apps.
This, plus the Razer Phone’s super-slick hardware and best-in-class speakers, make this one of the best Android phones available.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
- Great screen
- Pretty design
- Powerful performance
- Above average camera
- EMUI software is still full of bloatware
It’s time as a flagship may be drawing to a close, but the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is still a great phone.
This is a huge phone with serious power, a great camera and a lovely OLED screen. It’s a shame that Huawei’s software is still one of its weaker points, even with such a focus on AI intelligence. A lot of this AI power comes from the Kirin 970 CPU, which is Huawei’s fastest and most efficient chip yet.
The f/1.7 aperture rear camera takes excellent low-light shots, and the camera app provides great freedom to alter your shots by offering numerous modes. You can also shoot pictures in pure monochrome, if you’re a fan of that retro look.
There’s no headphone jack – you’ll have to use the dongle or included USB-C headphones – and the device is rated IP67 for water-resistance.
- 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 small 3000 mAh battery. None of these components are groundbreaking, but they’ll comfortably get the job done.
Like the V30, there are two cameras on the back. One is your standard 16-megapixel sensor, while the offer takes wide-angle shots, ideal for landscape photos. It’s a decent camera and it offers some impressive video recording options, too.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Stunning design and build
- Great screen
- Well-implemented stylus and software
- Superb cameras
- Average battery life
- Wildly expensive
Following the failure that was the Note 7, Samsung had much at stake with the Galaxy Note 8. Thankfully, the device is more than up to the job. This is a stunningly beautiful, achingly fast phone that ticks all the boxes.
The big updates from the S8 include a secondary telephoto 12-megapixel camera for zoomed shots and a portrait mode, plus the useful S Pen for doodling and notes.
The Infinity Display is simply stunning; the processor is fast; and Samsung’s software is the best it has been.
Our only quibble? Battery life could be better.
Samsung Galaxy S8
- Awesome display
- A phone that feels like the future
- 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 nice price cut since the S9 launched. It has a fantastic HDR quad-HD+ 5.8-inch display with almost no bezel surround, 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 an IP68 water-resistance rating, Qi wireless charging and a microSD card slot.
The 12-megapixel camera doesn’t have dual lenses, but it’s still one of the best out there. The 3000mAh battery is again great, although you’re still likely to need to charge the S8 every night.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
- Truly amazing camera
- The best version of Android
- Nice display
- Boring design
- Huge bezel
Google’s second wave of Pixel phones are damn good. The Pixel 2 is compact device offering up plenty of power, an excellent camera and clean software.
The least surprising feature here is the excellent camera, which surpasses the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8. It’s a 12-megapixel sensor, with OIS, which captures stunning snaps in any light. 4K video looks great too, as do selfies.
The device is 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. It also look, well, a little dull. That huge bezel might hide stereo speakers, but it still looks like its from 2015.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
- Excellent screen
- Powerful internals
- Gorgeous design
- No water- or dust-resistance
- Camera could be better
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is a veritable bargain if you’re looking for flagship performance and design at a mid-range price point. Like many of its more expensive rivals, it has an eye-catching bezel-free design, maximising its display size.
It feels great in your hands as it’s constructed from some premium materials including metal for the chassis and ceramic for the back.
The display is a massive 5.99 inches leaving you plenty of space for movie watching and your apps. Inside is the very capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 paired with a generous 6GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of onboard storage, too.
Round back is a 12-megapixel camera with 4-axis optical image stabilisation to keep your photos looking sharp. There’s a decently-sized 3400mAh battery that’ll get you through the day without any issues, and then there’s Quick Charge 3.0 to top you up rapidly.
All in all, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is difficult to beat for the money.
Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
- Small and curvy
- Decent camera
- Poor design
- Lacks some camera features
If you’re looking for a phone that is on the smaller side, Sony has the only real high-end Android option in the form of the XZ2 Compact.
It has a good camera, nice 1080p screen and a lot more power than you’d normally find at this size. There’s a Snapdragon 845 inside, plus 4GB RAM, and the latest version of Android. The body is a bit plasticky though.
Android Phone buying guide
Before handing over your cash for a new Android phone, there are a few things you should consider. Chief of these is what software its running and what you need it for.
Outside of Google’s own Pixel or Nexus devices, most phones run using a custom”skinned” version of Android. The skins add custom features and rework Android native user interface. Each one comes with its own set of issues – Huawei’s Emotion UI removes the OS’ app tray, for example. But whichever one you pick will impact how quickly, or even if, the phone will be upgraded to new versions of Android. This is because the custom code needs to be tweeked to work with Google’s, a process that can be time consuming and expensive.
Generally companies are pretty good at making sure flagships get at least one Android version upgrade, but cheaper phones still have a tendency to be overlooked. You should always be aware of this when shopping for a new Android phone.
What you need it for
These days if you spend over £600 on a well know companies flagship, chances are you’ll be happy and end up with a great phone. But shopping at the lower end of the market is still a little bit of a wild west. As a result if you have a specialist need for a decent camera, or titan-battery life we’d recommend doing your research to find one that fits your specific needs. The Razer Phone is perfect for movie binges and gaming, but terrible for mobile photographers, for example.