Best Android phones

Best Android phones
 What is the best Android phone to buy in late 2019 and early 2020?

There are so many phones and new one keep on coming up, so it might be hard to pick just one. We are here to help. We have reviewed and tested hundreds of Android phones and we can recommend some great ones, tell you about their alternatives and even about those phones that you should absolutely avoid.

Of course, there is no one right phone for everyone: some phones are bigger, others smaller, some focus on camera quality, others on battery life and so on. We will tell you about these and other note-worthy features of each phone listed here, so... let's get started.


Premium: $900 and up


Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Price: from $1,099


 

Pros

  • Gorgeous OLED screen
  • Amazing cameras
  • Fastest storage on a phone
  • Very fast charging
  • S Pen

Cons

  • Very high priceBig body and thin bezels leads to phantom touches
  • Lacks exciting innovations like 90Hz screen, super-zoom camera
  • Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanner is not as fast as 2nd gen optical fingerprint readers



The Note line has been called "The King" for years now for a reason — Samsung always crams all of the tech it possibly can in its latest Note phone. Though, this was an arguable point in 2019. The Galaxy Note 10 did away with the headphone jack — something that Samsung was stubbornly holding on to and its fans loved — and stealthily removed the heartbeat sensor from the phone's back.

Still, the Galaxy Note 10+ is a gorgeous gem — especially in its Aura Glow color — that runs fast and has an extremely feature-rich software suite. It's a phone for the productive user, Samsung says, giving you tools like the S Pen or DeX Mode to expand your smartphone usage to a desktop setting. Its triple camera module is among the best smartphone shooters available and Samsung added a ToF camera on the back for better depth detection that would make accurate AR apps possible.


Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Price: from $949


Pros

  • Gorgeous OLED screen
  • Amazing cameras
  • Smaller, lighter, easier to handle
  • Fastest storage on a phone
  • Very fast charging
  • S Pen

Cons

  • Big body and thin bezels leads to phantom touches
  • Lacks exciting innovations like 90Hz screen, super-zoom camera
  • Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanner is not as fast as 2nd gen optical fingerprint readers
  • No microSD card slot



The "small" Note 10 was a kind of an off-shoot this year that only added fuel to the controversy of the Note line "cutting back on features". The Note 10 is a smaller, with a few feature downgrades and an easier-to-swallow price-tag. 

It still has an S Pen and the full software suite, all in a body that's only slightly bigger than the standard Galaxy S10. In other words, it's thin and feels light as a feather. It lacks a ToF camera, a microSD slot, and its screen resolution has been downgraded to 1080p. In all fairness, that still makes for a very crisp, 400 pixels per inch image, but it just doesn't look good when Samsung has been using a QHD resolution on its flagships for 5 years now.

In any case, if you want a smaller, lighter version of the Note 10+ that still has an S Pen, an outstanding camera, and the same pretty design — the Note 10 is available for $150 less than its bigger sibling.


Google Pixel 4 XL

Price: from $899


Pros

  • Buttery smooth performance
  • 90 Hz screen refreshFantastic camera
  • Android updates arrive on day one
  • Software support for three years

Cons

  • Big notch has been replaced by a big forehead
  • No 4K60 video option
  • Lacks ultra-wide-angle camera



Google's latest Pixel phones are — as always — buttery-smooth and snappy. It's Android the way Google intended it to be, super-powered by extra features of the Google Assistant. Of course, the Pixel line also tends to be a bit divisive with its design. The Pixel 4 line doesn't have a notch or anything, but a straight-up "big forehead" on both phones. This, of course, houses the gesture-detecting radar, which is underwhelming right now, but may or may not become something greater down the line.

Pixels have always had amazing cameras thanks to Google's magic algorithms, and the Pixel 4 is no different. It's certainly one of the benchmark smartphone cameras in 2019. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an ultra-wide-angle lens, which happens to be the hot trend nowadays. But if you don't care about that, the regular camera and telephoto lens will deliver some awesome photos for you to enjoy.

Both phones are still a bit on the expensive side and be warned that Google no longer gives you free Original Quality storage for its Photos service. You will either need to pay for Drive space or compress the photos down to High Quality like the rest of us.

Asus ROG Phone II

Price: $899


Pros

  • Most powerful hardware on an Android phone right now
  • Huge battery
  • A small ecosystem of accessories available
  • 120 Hz refresh on an AMOLED screen
  • Loud, front-firing stereo speakers

Cons

  • The gamer aesthetic may not be for everyone, phone is heavy
  • Some of the available accessories are flimsy or not very useful
  • No water resistance
  • Not compatible with Verizon or Sprint



The Asus ROG Phone II is just insane in terms of specs — one of the very few phones to have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+. It's also the first handset with an AMOLED screen to offer a 120 Hz refresh rate. Needless to say, moving around its many interface elements feels like whizzing around at double the speed of most other flagships.

Its gamer aesthetic might not be for everybody, but at least you can tone it down on the software end with a "Classic" theme that's pre-installed. The phone does have a plethora of gaming-oriented accessories you can buy for it, but you can also get by perfectly with its physical shoulder triggers.


High-end: Around $700


Samsung Galaxy S10

Price: around $700


Pros

  • Elegant design
  • Amazing cameras
  • Gorgeous AMOLED screen

Cons

  • Performance is not perfectly smooth
  • Lacks exciting innovations like 90Hz screen, super-zoom camera
  • Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanner is not as fast as 2nd gen optical fingerprint readers



The Galaxy S10's MSRP is $799, but as we are deep into the phone's lifecycle, you can find it at a discount or deal price more often than actual retail. It's Samsung's jewel of a phone from the first half of 2019 and it was a pleasant surprise. Not only is the new design cool to look at, it's very thin and very light, bringing back fond memories of the Galaxy S7 edge

Also, the S10 series happens to be the last top-tier Samsung device line to have a headphone jack... or at least that's how it appears it'll go down in history. 


Sony Xperia 5

Price: $749 - $799


Pros

  • A compact-ish top-tier phone
  • Great cameras
  • Pretty and rather unique design

Cons

  • Software needs fleshing out
  • Fingerprint scanner is terrible
  • The stereo speakers are weak



The Xperia 5 is Sony's 2019 take on a somewhat "compact" flagship. Yes, its screen diagonal measures at 6.1 inches, but Sony now uses an extra-long 21:9 aspect ratio. This means the Xperia 5's display is actually rather narrow and the phone's body measures at 2.68 inches across. In other words, it's pretty easy to use with one hand save for those moments when you need to reach something at the top of the screen.

The phone has flagship-grade, top-tier internals and really great cameras. Where we found it lacking was in the software — we witnessed a certain amount of bugs or crashes, which we found to be inexcusable on a $800 handset. The fingerprint scanner experience is also next to abysmal.

Yet, the Xperia 5 is a representative of a very, very narrow niche of smartphones — one for compact devices with top-tier specs. Kudos to Sony for keeping it alive.


LG G8X ThinQ

Price: around $700


Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • Still has headphone jack
  • No camera bump (flush design)
  • Loud and boomy speakers

Cons

  • Slow fingerprint reader with no biometric alternative
  • Secondary screen is more of a gimmick
  • Cameras are good but not top notch



The LG G8X ThinQ is sort of a hotfix in a couple of different ways. For one, it's basically a G8 ThinQ without the gimmicky, broken Air Motion gesture controls. It also has stereo speakers — LG was betting hard on the BoomBox mono speaker up until the G8's release, but finally caved in. And it offers a kind of a foldable experience without being a foldable phone itself — it comes with a case that holds a secondary screen inside its flap. It can run two apps at the same time or show you different information from the same app on one screen, provided it's optimized for the hardware.

In general, the G8X ThinQ is good bang for the buck, especially considering the secondary screen is included. It's a good alternative to the Galaxy S10 if you are getting a bit tired of the curved screens, but be aware that the G8X only has a dual camera module with wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses; no telephoto.


Upper mid-range: Around $500


OnePlus 7 Pro

Price: from $549


Pros

  • Great value for the money
  • Impressively fast performance
  • 90 Hz OLED screen
  • Very fast charging
  • Physical mute switch is super useful

Cons

  • The phone might just be too big for some people
  • No wireless charging



The OnePlus 7 Pro is absolutely no joke — it packs powerful internals and a beautiful AMOLED screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Its cameras are also quite good — maybe not the best, but definitely way above average. To top it off, it charges up insanely fast (as long as you use its stock wallplug) — you can get from 0% to 60% in just 30 minutes. All of that starting at $550 is just insane for 2019.

Some people may not be happy with the curved screen — and the curve is definitely very pronounced on the OnePlus 7 Pro. If that's the case, maybe look at the $600 OnePlus 7T, but really — we feel the 7 Pro is a much better value. Others might not enjoy that the phone is rather large and on the heavy side. It's kind of annoying that OnePlus went with a super-slippery glass back, yet didn't include wireless charging to at least put some positives behind the fingerprint-collecting material.

Asus ZenFone 6

Price: from $499


Pros

  • Great bang for the buck
  • Excellent battery life
  • No notch, cameras mounted on motorized hinge
  • Still has headphone jack

Cons

  • Underwhelming camera performance
  • No water resistance



A fairly underrated phone from the first half of 2019, the ZenFone 6 is great bang for your buck. Just like with the OnePlus 7, you get flagship specs for a lowly $500. Not to mention, the ZenFone 6 was the first fairly "mainstream" phone to do away with the notch and have a mechanical pop-up camera of sorts — its main camera module is attached to a hinge, which can circle around to make the rear-facing camera into a front-facing one. Also, ZenUI 6 provides a pretty clean, stock-looking Android experience and we can't forget to mention that it offers fantastic battery life.

Pictures taken with the phone are not bad, provided you have plenty of light, and the camera experience is kind of underwhelming. But with that aside, the ZenFone 6 is a pretty solid handset that went under the radar for most of the smartphone community.

Motorola One Zoom

Price: $449

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Pros

  • Distinct looks, solid build
  • Impressive 10x hybrid zoom on a midranger
  • Protects the legacy of the headphone jack

Cons

  • Some issues with ergonomics
  • Ultra-wide camera is sub-par
  • Performance can be beat by $500 competitors


Motorola launched a few midrangers that each specialize in one thing or another. The Moto One Zoom's super-power is a 10x hybrid zoom, which gave us some surprisingly sharp results. On the design front, it has a beautiful and bold look with a glowing Moto logo on the back. As for the internals — it's not a heavy performer, but a pretty decent midranger.

You will notice that it does have a quad camera setup. One sensor is used solely for depth detection and the other is a sub-par ultra-wide-angle camera. The telephoto lens delivers the previously mentioned zoom, which we found to be pretty decent, and the main 48 MP camera is quite OK.


Google Pixel 3a XL

Price: $479


Pros

  • Great cameras in the midrange segment
  • Good battery life
  • Fast recharge times
  • These have a headphone jack
  • Snappy interface

Cons

  • Plastic shell
  • Performance can be beat by $500 competitors



Google shook up the midrange segment of the market when it released the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. Why? Because despite having a hardware downgrade and a plastic body, these phones still pack the excellent cameras and computational photography of the "big boy" Pixel models. The 3a series are probably the best camera phones that you can find in the $400 - $500 price range. And, while they don't perform as snappy as a top-tier Pixel 3, they still run quite well as long as you don't demand heavy gaming from your phone.

And yes, we did list the Pixel 3a XL here, but if you want to get a more compact phone, or save up some cash, the Pixel 3a is just as great and priced at $399!

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