Best 2017 phones that run stock or near-stock Android


So, you're on the market for a stock Android device? We understand, the experience is unlike any other... and that's a pretty double-edged sword.

On one hand, we have the simplicity and the no-frills experience that Google has envisioned in the first place. Although the pack of Android manufacturers are upping their game with each and every year, it's hard for a custom Android skin to beat Google's vanilla Android on the same hardware.

On the other hand, it's quite easy to deem stock Android as boring or even dead due to the simple fact that  it is as bare-bones as you might imagine, with only the essential suite of features on board. There aren't any 'exciting' or intriguing added functionalities on deck, and it goes without saying that there are a tons of beneficial features LG, Sony, Samsung, and all the other smartphone makers throw in on their phones/custom Android re-skins.

Right below, you will find all the notable smartphones available or about to be released this year with bone-stock or near-stock Android running the show. Have in mind we've sorted them in alphabetical order.

Google Pixel 3




The Google Pixel 3 can be easily deemed one of the very best stock Android devices that exist these days. While it can be argued that the Android OS on the Pixels has shifted to a more bespoke firmware with certain exclusive features, we'd still regard it as a a stock Android device. While the Pixel 3 XL is a slightly more decked-out device, we are actually fans of the smaller Pixel 3 due to a few key reasons: it has a symmetrical design and no notch, the same excellent camera and stereo speakers, and while its battery endurance is humbler, the device itself is a much more compact ordeal than the large Pixel 3 XL, making it one of the better small phones released in 2018.

You can check out our full review right here.

Google Pixel 3 XL



The larger Pixel 3 has a bigger display and battery, but it also has that notch which could be one of the more controversial design choices Google has done in a long time. What does the Pixel 3 XL has on top of the Pixel 3? A larger display, a larger battery, and a larger notch - that's pretty much it.


Google Pixel 2



The Pixel 2 follows the model set by last year's first-gen Pixel, combining top-notch specs with Google's software expertise. Powered by the latest Android 8.0 Oreo (with no bloat whatsoever), the phone offers a set of promising stereo speakers, a 5-inch OLED screen, water resistance and a rear-positioned fingerprint scanner. Its highlight, however, is the 12MP camera. While it is no slower than any other high-end camera, this shooter uses multiple frame processing to create photos with better dynamics range. Portrait mode is also on board. One thing that is missing, however, is a 3.5mm audio jack.


Google Pixel 2 XL



The Pixel 2 XL is the physically larger counterpart to the Pixel 2, offering the same top-notch hardware specs, in addition to a bigger screen and a greater battery reserve. Its 6-inch display is built around the 18:9 aspect ratio, meaning that it is taller, fitting more content without being impossibly difficult to hold. Stereo speakers are on board with this one, but a 3.5mm jack isn't. A highlight of the Pixel 2 XL is the 12MP camera. While it is no slower than any other high-end camera, this shooter uses multiple frame processing to create photos with better dynamics range. Portrait mode is also on board.

Nokia 8.1




Ever since its rebirth a couple of years ago, Nokia has been riding the stock Android wave and is showing no signs of stopping, which naturally spells very good news for all the fans of the brand as well as stock Android aficionados. The fresh new Nokia 8.1, announced just days ago, seems to be retaining the same general recipe that made previous Nokia devices such notable offerings mostly in the mid-range segment. The Nokia 8.1 makes a rather strong case for itself with its specs sheet: A reasonably powerful Snapdragon 710 processor is found under the hood, along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, while the notched HDR10-compliant, 5.84-inch “PureDisplay” of the Nokia 7.1 grows to a 6.18-incher on the 8.1. The 2280 x 1080 screen resolution stays the same, but the Nokia 8.1 sports a wider cutout and narrower chin than its slightly lower-end cousin. HDR10 support is also added in the mix.

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46 Comments

1. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I think Sony qualifies to be included in this list rather than in the list of manufacturers who re-skin Android.

5. androiduser

Posts: 510; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

They should also include the htc u11

31. cocoy

Posts: 455; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

I was actually looking for sony there that's why I scrolled down until comment section. As a matter of fact sony is the first OEM to use Android Oreo and update the ZXP other than pixel phones and nexuses. Easy to update because it's near stock.

40. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

If Sony qualifies then Xiaomi Mi A1 should too. That's stock under Android One program.

2. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Stock Android ain't my cup of tea. So it's a no-go for me as far as being my daily driver.

11. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Stock Android is the best, enough said!

17. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Stock Android is the best, from a performance standpoint... But I need much more than just speed.

19. iushnt

Posts: 3085; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

I agree. Every flagships give good speed now a days. We need something more.

20. Scott93274

Posts: 6031; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I love the fluidity and the simplicity of the stock Android OS, but I can appreciate your stance as your personal opinion and not trying to pass it off as fact like Arch_Fiend tried to do. I'll test out the new launcher, but I'll probably at least overlay it with Nova Launcher eventually as I have my ideal setup already on my Nexus 6P.

23. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I was just trolling Trojan lol, not trying to pass anything off as fact, I'm not currently using an android phone nor have I owned one with stock android. Stock android is generally the best from a performance standpoint and that is a fact!

24. Scott93274

Posts: 6031; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I really am failing hard at identifying jokes recently... sigh...

28. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Stock android is not faster than normal android phones as of today. That argument is very old and invalid now. HTC U11, Note 8, Xperia XZ1, Oneplus 5 etc etc...enough said. Competition is fierce more than ever before. No one has to buy Pixel phones stating they run faster than above phones because they simply aren't. It's a lie Pixel fanboys say to win an argument....lol Value for money is the best measurement to buy an android phone these days.

30. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Lol this guy usually bashes Note 8. But now he is bashing Pixel coz it runs on stock Android. From where do you get all these thoughts?

26. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Agreed, too much crapware comes with skinned android.

27. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Crapware? skinned android? I'm lost. Stock android is normal android nothing skinned about it. OEMs like Samsung just throw their heavily customized UI on top of it, the very definition of crapware imo. Again, I'm not entirely sure what your post is even saying, just guessing at what I think you mean because you certainly aren't clear as to which version of android you are referring.

29. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Stock android is not faster than normal android phones as of today. That argument is very old and invalid now. HTC U11, Note 8, Xperia XZ1, Oneplus 5 etc etc...enough said. Competition is fierce more than ever before. No one has to buy Pixel phones stating they run faster than above phones because they simply aren't. It's a lie Pixel fanboys say to win an argument....lol Value for money is the best measurement to buy an android phone these days.

44. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I know for a fact stock android is faster than custom versions. Yes it still pertains to today which is sad. Funny how the XZ1 and OP5 are pretty much near stock android and you mentioned them lol

33. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

Stock android is very ugly. It is 2017 and still ugly

3. Matrixzonee

Posts: 10; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

I don't think any of Moto qualifies in this list. Lenovo after taking over Moto has stopped after sales supports. Devices released in 2017 are still on Jan 2017 security updates and with tons of critical bugs. No one from Lenovo is concerned. Look into the Moto G5 Plus forum where tons of uses are complaining about this.

6. domfonusr

Posts: 1083; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

If that is true, it is a shame. I like my Moto E, and would prefer to get a Moto E4 for my next phone, all because I mostly enjoy the stock Android experience (provided one has enough ROM in their phone to handle the apps they need, because sending them to my old SD card really slows them down - some, like Facebook, for instance, won't even transfer to the SD card even though they are labelled for transfer) and I like Motorola's past commitment to timely updates and the like. I think it may have been a little while since my last security patch update, so I suspect you could be right about Motorola dropping support for its phones like that. Still, the primary problem with my phone now is that I only have 8GB of ROM, and as Google services-related apps grow in size from update to update, my ROM is slowly being squeezed dry of non-Google apps, and only a handful are labelled for transfer to the SD card (and even fewer can actually make it when I give the command to move the app to the SD card). My microSD card is an ancient (circa 2010) class-2 16GB SDHC card which my grandmother gave me for the last Christmas before she passed away, so I am unusually attached to it. My phone, otherwise, does okay for a phone with Android Lollipop and 1GB of RAM.

7. KingSam

Posts: 1425; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Ill say it again Moto delivered fast updates for 3 product lines. Now look what lenovo is doing, phones everywhere. Another day, another phone.

4. wickiraman

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 03, 2016

You Missed Lenovo Stock Android Devices Released Later In This Year

8. JcHnd

Posts: 275; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Anything Motorola and Nokia... love it!

9. davide445

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 11, 2017

Sure not known outside EU but BQ phones such as Aquaris X pack nice design good features and almost stock Android.

10. TheOracle1

Posts: 2210; Member since: May 04, 2015

Stock android is the least desirable skin for me.

13. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Or just get any phone you like, and flash it with lineageOS (As long as the phone that you get is popular enough, lol)

14. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Worst of the bunch in terms of value for money are........Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 xl

15. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

iSheep Alert.

21. Scott93274

Posts: 6031; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Umm.. last year's Pixel still outperforms this year's flagship devices, It also had the best camera on any smartphone at the time of its release, just like the Pixel 2 now, and people have been able to trade in their Pixels from last year for the same credit as iPhones towards the purchase of a new phone, Throw in unlimited free full resolution photo and video storage which is not offered on any other device and it's painfully clear that your statement of worst value is clearly BS.

39. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Better value than an iToy.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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