So, you’re in the market for a new phone and it must run Android — we have you covered. We test countless Android smartphones at Digital Trends to find out exactly what they’re capable of and we love to compare them. We cut this list into four categories based on different budgets. For each one, we offer our top pick and any alternatives we think are worth mentioning.
At a glance
|Google Pixel 2 XL||Best Android flagship||4.5 out of 5|
|OnePlus 6||Best Android phone for $500||4.5 out of 5|
|Nokia 6.1||Best Android phone for $300||4 out of 5|
|Moto E5 Plus||Best Android phone for $200||3 out of 5|
Google Pixel 2 XL
The best Android flagship
For the ultimate, cutting-edge, and refined Android experience, you must go with Google. As the platform’s developer, Google is uniquely well-placed to design a device that can get the best out of Android. The Pixel 2 XL is the best Android phone we’ve ever used. Stock Android is elegant and uncluttered, it’s a smooth performer, and we like the crisp, 6-inch OLED screen.
What really elevates the Pixel 2 XL to the top of the Android pile is the camera. It tops our list of the best camera phones for a reason — excellent dynamic range, incredible detail, and wonderful portrait selfies. Throw in the free cloud storage, timely software updates and security patches, and we have a clear winner. All this being said, Google is widely expected to unveil the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL in early October, so you may as well wait to see if the new phones are worth shelling out for, or for a price drop on the Pixel 2 series.
Read our full Google Pixel 2 XL review
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Worth considering: The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is lightning fast, packed with features, and offers amazing low-light camera performance. Its bigger brother, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, packs in even more features and a bigger battery, so it’s well worth a look if you have plenty to spend.
The best Android phone for $500
OnePlus has redefined what you can get in a smartphone without paying top-tier prices. The OnePlus 6 is our current pick of the best cheap smartphones, though we realize $530 is still a lot of money. If you opt for this phone you’ll get yourself a 6.28-inch OLED screen, plenty of RAM and storage, and solid battery life. Performance is great, and we have been impressed by the camera. If this is your budget, you won’t find a better phone.
Read our full OnePlus 6 review
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Worth considering: The Asus Zenfone 5Z offers zippy performance, stylish design, and a decent camera. You might also want to check out the Moto Z3 Play for great battery life and Moto Mods support. The Honor View 10 offers a dual lens camera, big screen, and some A.I. smarts, though we’re not in love with the EMUI software.
The best Android phone for $300
With great build quality, long battery life, and smooth performance, the Nokia 6.1 is tough to beat at less than $300. We like the metal body with the copper accent lines and this is a durable handset. The fact that it runs stock Android as part of the Android One program means it squeezes the most from the mid-range processor, and will also get software updates ahead of many of its competitors. The camera is also capable for a phone at this price.
Read our full Nokia 6.1 review
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Worth considering: You might want to take a look at the Moto G6 with its glass design, large screen, and dual-lens camera, though we were disappointed in its battery life and performance. If it’s available where you are, and you can afford to spend a bit more, the Moto G6 Plus is a better phone.
Moto E5 Plus
The best Android phone for $200
You’ll find a 6-inch display packed into a glossy design here, but the headline feature is the enormous 5,000mAh battery, which is big enough to carry you two days between charges and it supports fast charging. There are always going to be comprises at this price, so be prepared for bloatware and poor low-light camera performance. The E5 Plus is also priced differently at different carriers, which definitely influences how much of a bargain it is, so shop around.
Read our full Moto E5 Plus review
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Worth considering: It’s slim pickings in this price range, but you might consider the Moto E5 Play, which offers day-long battery life and a decent screen for less than the E5 Plus. The aging, but still impressive, Honor 7X is also worth checking out.