Best Android phones 2020
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Premium: $900 and up
Samsung's new flagship, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, tries to pack every single modern phone feature and the kitchen sink, and it mostly succeeds. It is Samsung's most expensive smartphone yet (not counting the foldables) and for the first time, the starting price is actually higher than on arch-rival Apple's top device, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Definitely one of the best Android phones of 2020.
In exchange for that high price, you get more features: the S20 Ultra comes with 5G connectivity that the iPhone lacks, it comes with a zoom camera that allows you to see things so far away that your eye cannot see them, and its screen now refreshes at double the rate for a buttery smooth experience. All of that is powered by a huge, 5,000mAh battery cell that lasts on and on.
There are a few camera kinks like a wonky autofocus in video and there are a few inconsistencies and smaller issues with the camera. Samsung has promised an update that would fix those camera issues, but while we are optimistic, we do feel like this phone has been rushed a bit. The interface is also starting to get a bit overwhelming with settings. Overall, though, the S20 Ultra will likely impress you, especially if you can stomach its $1,400 price.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
With these two key factors in mind, it's time to take a closer look at the S20 and the S20 Plus, two phones that will not get as much press as the Ultra, but phones that are likely to end up in a lot more pockets. A runner-up for the best Android phone of 2020.
First, these are the major differences between the flagship S20 Ultra and the other two:
- S20 Ultra has a 108MP main camera, while the other two have 12MP main snappers
- S20 Ultra has 100X Space Zoom, while S20 and S20 Plus max out at 30X
- S20 Ultra has a massive 6.9" screen size compared to a 6.7" display on the S20 Plus and a 6.2" screen on the S20
- S20 Ultra has a gigantic 5,000mAh battery, while the other have smaller sized cells: 4,500mAh on the S20 Plus and 4,000mAh on the S20
- S20 Ultra and S20 Plus have support for 5G mmWave, while S20 only supports 5G sub6
Apart from those few differences, all three phones share the same processor, the same amount of storage, the same awesome 120Hz refresh rate option, the same interface and the differences really mostly boil down to the size and their capabilities to zoom.
As to our thoughts on the S20 and the S20 Plus, we found them to be awesome devices. The one feature that impressed us most was the 120Hz refresh rate that makes everything run buttery smoothly. It's hard to switch back to 60Hz once you've tried 120Hz on the S20 series. Unfortunately, we also found that it takes a heavy toll on battery life, decreasing it by as much as 37% on the S20 series.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the biggest, meanest, and best smartphone OnePlus has put out thus far. At least that’s what it aims to be. It features a fantastic set of cameras, a big, gorgeous, 120 Hz AMOLED screen, the fastest possible hardware on an Android phone, and an impressive battery. Is it the best Android phone of 2020? Might as well be if you stomach the increased price in comparison with its predecessor.
But do you need to spend $900 for it, when the OnePlus 8 delivers a similar experience for $700? Well, the 8 Pro’s camera is definitely an improvement over its cheaper sibling, but it also has a bunch of quirks that you may or may not like.
The Pro is slightly bigger, it’s noticeably heavier, and its speakers are virtually the same. Indeed, I’d say that if you don’t insist on that slight camera upgrade, you can save yourself $200.
Google Pixel 4 XL
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.
The Motorola Edge Plus is a surprisingly great smartphone that checks all the boxes and then delivers more on top of that. Unlike more expensive phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 series that come with higher refresh rates at the expense of battery life, the Motorola Edge Plus strikes a perfect balance with a buttery smooth 90Hz screen, great display quality and an incredibly long lasting 5,000mAh battery.
All of that is fueled by the power of the Snapdragon 865, the most powerful chip you can get on any Android phone. The interface is clean of bloatware, with just a few small but useful signature Moto features like a double chop to turn on the flashlight or a quick flick of the wrist to start the camera.
It not only excels at these smartphone fundamentals, the Motorola Edge Plus manages to give you a massive battery size AND a headphone jack, something other companies claimed impossible. It also provides an impressively booming loudspeaker setup, 256GB of native storage, double that of most other flagships, and little delicacies like a perfectly tuned vibration motor no less impressive than Apple’s Taptic Engine. All of that at a $1,000 price, less than most rivals, makes the Motorola Edge Plus, our surprise high-end phone of the year. Read on to find out more about the details.
LG G8X ThinQ
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
Sony Xperia 10 II
If you want a phone that looks like a flagship but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you’ll love the Sony Xperia 10 II. The Omnibalance design is back and there are no notches or cutouts in the gorgeous 6-inch OLED screen of this device. With its decent triple camera system on the back, the Xperia 10 II stands tall, in every possible meaning (metaphorically and literally), and shows what a mid-ranger phone should be.
It’s pretty, very well built, and features some convenient “extras” of the recent past – a capacitive fingerprint scanner on the side and a 3.5 mm audio jack. If you factor in the IP68 protection, it becomes quite obvious that the Xperia 10 II is a really sweet deal with its $400 price tag. But let’s dig a little deeper.
Motorola One Zoom
Google Pixel 3a XL
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!