It’s funny, I remember the Nokia 3310 coming out when I was a teen (and yes, it really is as indestructible as the meme would lead you to believe).
Back then, we didn’t have the modern operating system that you see widely available today, so you mostly just bought your phone based on your budget and whether you thought it looked pretty or not. Then, of course, the first proper smartphones came along, and the world got divided between iOS and Android (and Windows at some point too, but let’s not talk about that time).
So, whether you’re an old school user like me, or you’ve already had a dozen smartphones, hopefully, this little list will help you pick a winner.
So, what are the best Best Android Phones?
Best Choice: OnePlus 6T A6010
Pros & Cons
- Really good battery life
- Great camera
- Not QHD
- Screen Size: 6.4″
- Display Resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
- Processor: Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
OnePlus 6T A6010 Review
OnePlus is a company that’s only recently entered the smartphone market with most of their offerings being in the high-end range, which means they compete with the likes of the Galaxy, Pixel and even iPhone.
Thankfully, they’ve done quite well in trying to deliver a flagship phone with a reasonable budget, and while the 6T might not have all the bells and whistles of a more expensive phone, it toes the line very well between features and value.
Sporting an AMOLED screen, the display is one of the nicer aspects of the phone and even though it’s not QHD and capped at 1080p, the pixel density means that you get a sharp image regardless.
The color reproduction and accuracy are also pretty excellent, with the AMOLED screen making the colors really shine, an impressive feat for a lower resolution screen. The 19:5:9 aspect ratio is also quite interesting, being a bit longer than most phones, though the 86% body to screen ratio isn’t great (but I doubt you’ll notice it).
Overall, the OnePlus 6T has 3 cameras; Two in the back and one in the front. The two in the back are a 16-MP sensor and a massive 20-MP lens and sensor combination, both of which have an f/1.7 aperture. The front camera is also 16-MP, which isn’t bad with an f/2 aperture.
All in all, camera performance is good and some features like Nightscape were made to compete with the Pixel 3’s Night sight, although it doesn’t quite measure up, unfortunately. Not too big an issue really considering that the 6T is cheaper than the Pixel 3 by a significant margin.
The processor is where this phone really shines, being at around 85% of an iPhone XS’ power comparatively, and if you know anything about iPhones, that should impress you. In terms of gaming, it should be able to handle the majority of games that you’re likely to run into, such as PUBG Mobile and the 8GB Ram model we’re talking about today has a lot of oomf that helps.
As for day to day use, you have really nothing to worry about, the interface is both great and snappy, and the aforementioned 8Gigs helping things run smoothly.
The OnePlus 6T is a great choice if you don’t necessarily want a budget phone in the $250-$300 range, but you also don’t want to go for a high-end smartphone that has a price tag of $800. It’s solidly built, with great processing performance, and even though it would have been nice to have a higher display resolution, it really isn’t a deal-breaker.
Premium Pick: Samsung Galaxy S10+
Pros & Cons
- Fast performance
- Great Cameras
- An actual headphone jack
- Gesture controls can be confusing
- A bit expensive
- Screen Size: 6.4″
- Display Resolution: 3040 x 1440
- Processor: Snapdragon 855
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review
Easily at the top of its class, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is quite possibly the best Android device that is currently on the market. All-screen phones have been all the rage lately, and with the S10+ we’ve come pretty much to the edge of that (pun intended), with only a very slight bezel at the bottom of the phone.
The only thing which is slightly annoying is the hole punch for the two front-facing cameras which can really stand out with bright backgrounds, which is why so many themes for the S10+ are darker at the top. Thankfully, there is a bit of a workaround if you’re willing to sacrifice some screen space, which basically introduces a black bar at the top where the icons are.
Speaking of cameras, this phone has a bunch of them, up to five in total. Starting with the two front-facing ones, you get a 10-MP shooter (f/1.8) and a secondary 8-MP depth sensor (f/2.2). Moving on to the back there are three cameras; a 12-MP shooter (f/1.5, f/2.4), a 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4) and an ultra-wide 16-MP camera (f/2.2) with a 123-degree view.
While altogether the camera performance is slightly below Google’s Pixel 3, it still manages to go toe to toe with it on a lot of things, so you aren’t giving up much if you chose to go for the S10+.
Of course, there is another area where the Galaxy S10 Plus outshines the rest and that’s in it’s processing power and performance. That can be attributed to the new(ish) Snapdragon 855 processor, which allows the S10 to outshine every Android out there and nearly all other phones, only really being beaten out by the Apple iPhone XS (which is the second-best iPhone out there).
That being said, while overall the iPhone XS wins out, the S10+ can still beat it out on apps here and there, so it will vary on a case by case basis. Overall, the S10+ is easily one of the best android phones on the market, and I doubt you’ll find anything much better.
Best Value: Google Pixel 3a
- Screen Size: 5.6″
- Display Resolution: 2220 x 1080
- Processor: Snapdragon 670
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
Google Pixel 3a Review
The Pixel 3a is not only a great cheap alternative for Pixel 3 but also an excellent budget smartphone that delivers on the important things that people expect. In essence, you could look at it as a flagship device of the middle-bracket price range.
For starters, the camera package you get is really good and while it’s not the same amount of cameras as the Pixel 3, it still uses the Pixel 3 software, so any image you take will come out just as good.
The single-camera on the back is a 12.2-MP shooter (f/1.8) that can do a whole host of things, such as great night photos in the form of Night Sight, as well as a pretty sweet digital zoom that’s almost comparable to an optical one.
Now, obviously when compared to something like the S10+, it’s clear that the S10+ has a bit more clarity and is better overall, but you have to consider that the Pixel 3a is only half the price of the S10+, which makes its performance even more impressive.
Another impressive feature is the OLED display, something you won’t easily find in this price range, and is actually probably one of the better smartphones if you’re looking to start with OLED screens.
That being said, when compared to other OLED screens on higher-end phones like the Pixel 3, you’ll clearly see that it’s not at the same level, with the overall color intensity being a bit disappointing. Similarly, at a maximum of 401 nits, it’s not the brightest device out there, and you may very well struggle to see the screen outside when the sun is shining at its brightest.
Although again, consider that the Pixel 3a is half the price of most phones that come with an OLED screen, any small niggles and nitpicks can be excused. Just remember that if you’ve seen an OLED screen on a high-end device, it won’t be at the same level, even though it’s still pretty good.
Where the Pixel 3a does fail a little bit is in the processing department, and if you’ve had a Pixel 2, you’ll be sad to find out that the Pixel 3a doesn’t quite stack up to that performance. Sporting the Snapdragon 670 processor, it does actually give you an overall experience in day to day use, so there are no issues there.
Where it will begin to struggle is with resource-hungry games or using too many of the camera’s processing features, although again, given the price range, it handles itself better than smartphones in the same bracket.
At the end of the day though, if you’ve noticed anything this little mini-review, its that I keep stacking the Pixel 3a against smartphones twice its price, and yet it still manages to do well. It really is a testament to the Pixel 3a that it can dish out some heavy punches even with the big hitters while only being half their price.
Best Budget: Samsung Galaxy A50
Pros & Cons
- Surprisingly big display
- Great performance
- Low pricing
- Battery life isn’t great
- Feels a bit cheap
- Screen Size: 6.4″
- Display Resolution: 2340 x 1080
- Processor: Octa-core: 4 x 2.3 GHz Cortex-A73; 4 x 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
Samsung Galaxy A50 Review
If the Pixel 3a is slightly out of your price range but you’re still looking for an excellent phone, the Samsung Galaxy A50 is actually an excellent choice. For starters, you’ll realize that the A50 has a much bigger screen than the Pixel 3a, which is pretty interesting and not really something you see in mid-range phones.
Similarly, the A50 has an AMOLED display, one of the few out there that does, along with the Pixel 3a. Of course, the actual pixel density between the two phones differs, with the Pixel 3a having a much higher density, meaning that there’s much more sharpness and detail which you don’t get to see in the A50.
Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still a good screen made great by the fact that it’s a sub $300 smartphone. Color gamut coverage is actually slightly better than the Pixel 3a, but the Galaxy A50 does suffer in the color accuracy department, where it can’t compete with the Pixel 3a. Even so, the A50 can get much brighter, so it certainly gains points in that department.
Another impressive aspect of the A50 is that its triple-lens on the back and one in the front, which is almost unheard of in a smartphone at this price bracket.
On the back, we have the main lens at a whopping 25-MP (f/1.7), an 8-MP ultra-wide angle lens (f/2.2) and finally 5-MP lens that is used only for measuring depth. On the front, you’ll find another whopping 25-MP lens for capturing those all-important selfies.
Unfortunately, the end product of those lenses on the A50 isn’t that great for some reason or another. Even though the technical specs of the A50 is higher than the Pixel 3a (basically double the pixels), the images aren’t of the same quality and things tend to start muddling together more as you zoom in.
I’m not sure if it’s an image-processing software issue, but whatever it is, it’s certainly not letting the camera do its job to the fullest capacity.
Finally, to touch on the processing performance, I will say that it’s very comparable to the Pixel 3a, and in fact, the specs are almost exactly the same when you compare the raw processing power. Unfortunately, the software does play a part, and the A50 can certainly have some sniggles and a bit of lag from time to time.
It’s not anything that would break a great deal here, but it is certainly something you won’t experience on the Pixel 3a. Overall, the Galaxy A50 is a really good budget phone even if you are giving up a few things here and there. In practical terms, you’re getting a Galaxy phone at less than half the price, so you have to adjust your expectations accordingly.
Best Battery Life: Moto G7 Power
Pros & Cons
- Amazing battery life
- Low price
- Good performance
- Looks a bit boring
- Isn’t the best if you want to game
- Screen Size: 6.2″
- Display Resolution: 1570 x 720
- Processor: Snapdragon 632
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB
Moto G7 Power Review
Going a small step down in price, we have the Moto G7 Power, a really good budget smartphone that skill packs enough of a punch to make it a great smartphone. Probably the first thing that stands out with the G7 Power is that it has an unusually large screen for budget smartphones, and is only 0.2” smaller than the Galaxy A50.
Of course, unlike the A50 it isn’t an AMOLED display, and the pixel density isn’t that high, so you will notice graphical artifacts and lower clarity in general. That being said, the color gamut and accuracy are pretty excellent, even for a budget phone, and the brightness exceeds expectations with a maximum brightness of 558 nits, pretty impressive.
Moving on from the display, the G7 power has an okay camera sweet, with two lenses in total. On the front, there’s an 8-MP lens which isn’t really anything fancy and isn’t super great for selfies because you tend to get a bit of blur.
As for the back, there’s a 12-MP camera (f/2.0) which is a shame, because without a secondary camera for depth of field effects, you have to rely a lot on the software, something the Pixel phones do very well and which this camera does not.
As for performance, it’s not that great in general, and certainly not for any demanding games. Again, this isn’t a high-end smartphone so I wasn’t really expecting it to perform that well on games, although within its own bracket, it actually performs on par with the average.
Of course, this only applies to demanding games like PUBG Mobile, but for the most part, day-to-day usage won’t be impacted at all and the experience as a whole should be smooth. Finally, one thing I’d like to touch on is the batter, which is probably one of the longest-lasting you’ll find out there.
In fact, Motorola has managed to cram a whopping 5,000 mAh battery in there which gives the smartphone up to 15 hours of continuous web-browsing and general use, something that’s pretty insane to fathom in this day and age of smartphones with shorter battery charges.
Above all else, I’d say the battery is probably the main reason you’d want to buy this phone, especially if you’re the kind of person who travels a lot and isn’t often around outlets except at night. I mention the night part because a large batter means a long charge time, and you’ll likely to be needing an hour or two for a full charge with Motorola’s turbo-power charger.
The Moto G7 Power is an excellent budget smartphone if you aren’t super interest in demanding games. While it does have a bit of cheap plastic feel to it, the massive battery life and big screen make up for that twofold.
Incidentally, given the battery life and screen size, you could use the Moto G7 for productivity by purchasing a keyboard made for smart devices, like the Logitech K780.
Android Phones: Buying Guide
Picking a phone might very well seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re an iOS user that’s looking to make the transition into Android. Rest easy, though, the best iOS games are (mostly) also available on Android.
Thankfully, there’s a ton of options out there with a lot of different price ranges, so here are a few things you should think about before taking the plunge.
Screen Size & Resolution
For the most part, screen size is mostly going to be down to personal preference, with the size of the screen generally dictating the size of the phone. That being said, there is something called ‘Screen to Body’ ratio, a metric that describes how much screen the smartphone actually has. I mention this because even though a phone might have a screen size of say 6.4” it might actually be a bit bigger.
What really matters though is the resolution you want to look for. Nowadays most content comes at 1080p minimum, and if you want to have a relatively future proof phone, that’s what you need to be aiming for. Another important thing to consider is the pixel density. The more pixels there are per inch, the higher the fidelity and sharpness.
If you’re planning to game a lot on your smartphone, you’ll be well served by getting as good of a processor as you can. Unlike some of the amazing PC CPUs which don’t really handle the graphics, mobile processors are different.
They tend to be a combined unit that has both a CPU and a GPU, so really, you want to get the best one you can afford.
Ram & Storage
So this one comes back to your own personal preferences in terms of storage, but for RAM, I’d say as much as you can afford. A lot of your software and apps are being loaded and run on the ram, and if you like to tab out a lot or keep the software running in the background, the more RAM you have, the less it will impact performance.
Alternatively, we already talked about other ways to speed up your phone if you already bought a model which isn’t fast enough for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Processor Is Best: Helio or Snapdragon?
This is a pretty hard question to answer without looking at specific CPUs. If I was really put on the spot, I’d say the Snapdragon is probably better, but Helio CPUs are still really good, it’s just that Snapdragon has caught up the high-end market so you hear more about it.
Which Is the Latest Snapdragon Processor?
The Snapdragon 855 is the tip-top, latest processor sold by Qualcomm. Alternatively, there are other awesome processors for Android phones. For example, in our Huawei P30 Pro review, we talk about flagship Kirin 980 which is just as good as the Snapdragon 855.
What Phone Can Support 5G?
As of right now, we really don’t know. It’s reported that HTC, Google, Samsung, and Huawei are all working on 5G phones but as for the specifics, we won’t know anything until they actually release.
I know that smartphones can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re just jumping into them now. Hopefully, though, this article has gone a little way in giving you a better idea of not only your options but also a nice pick of Android phones and a short guide for things you should look out for.
Whatever you buy though, I wish you the best of luck in your shopping experience!