Because Android is such a popular smartphone operating system, this list has a lot in common with our list of the best smartphones overall. This is a rundown of the best mobiles out there that aren’t made by Apple.
If you want to work out what the best Android phone to buy is based on your budget and needs then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve fully tested and reviewed all ten phones on this list and judged their displays, cameras, battery life and more to decide which we think is best.
- Best smartphone: the 15 top phones we've tested
Compared to buying an iPhone, buying an Android phone can be a dizzying choice thanks to the huge array of different devices from different manufacturers. While there are mid-range and budget Android options, this list is our collection of the best Android phones overall, so they’re higher in price as they have the best current features like top cameras, displays and build quality.
And more phones will likely be added soon. Huawei announced it's Google-free P40, which looks very strong, and Nokia has announced new phones. We’ll be reviewing these soon, so check back then to see if and where they rank.
For now, these are the ten very best Android phones in the world.
1. Samsung Galaxy S20 & S20 Plus
These are the very best Android phones
Release date: March 2020 | Weight: 163g/186g | Dimensions: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm/161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.2-inch/6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990 | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 128GB (S20) or 128GB/256GB/512GB (S20 Plus) | Battery: 4,000mAh/4500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP
The Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus are – along with the Galaxy S20 Ultra – Samsung’s latest and greatest flagship phones, so it’s no wonder they top this list.
While the S20 Plus has a slight specs edge, thanks to a larger 6.7-inch screen, a bigger 4,500mAh battery, a fourth camera lens (for depth-sensing) and optionally more storage, they’re largely very similar phones, so they’re fit to share the top spot.
Both have a highly capable camera array, with 12MP standard, 12MP ultra-wide, and 64MP telephoto sensors, and both also have top-end power, thanks to a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 chipset (depending on where in the world you are) and up to 12GB of RAM.
They also both have a stunning 1440 x 3200 display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. At the time of writing this is arguably the best screen you’ll find on any smartphone.
The design is premium too, and they’re both packed full of features, like reverse wireless charging, 5G, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and water resistance. They might not quite be the very best at everything, but they’re certainly the best Android phones overall.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S20 review
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus review
2. Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei's best Android phone ever
Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.47-inch | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 4,200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP + ToF | Front camera: 32MP
The Huawei P30 Pro could be the best Android phone we've used when it comes to photography. Its 5x and 10x zoom capabilities are staggeringly good. It also performs fantastically well in low light.
For those who really want to get up close to their subject, the P30 Pro also offers a 50x digital zoom, and although quality is reduced it's still impressive.
You also get plenty of power under the hood, an in-display fingerprint scanner, premium design and wireless charging with the ability to wireless charge other devices from the back of the P30 Pro.
It's a top, top Android phone and only narrowly misses out on top spot due to the Galaxy S10 Plus' overall slicker and more rounded smartphone experience.
Read more: Huawei P30 Pro review
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
A top Android phone, and the best with a stylus
Release date: August 2019 | Weight: 196g | Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9825 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,300mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP + 3D ToF | Front camera: 10MP
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus may not top our list of the best Android phones, that's only because it's a bit too niche to recommend to everyone, with its huge price tag and S Pen stylus.
There's a lot to love in Samsung's Note phablet, from its beautiful 6.8-inch screen to the powerful selfie camera and the S Pen stylus which transforms your smartphone experience.
Sure, the cameras aren't as good as the Huawei P30 Pro, and the body leaves a bit to be desired with its huge frame and slippery design, but this is still a great smartphone if you can stomach the price.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review
4. Huawei P30
Another top Huawei phone
Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 165g | Dimensions: 149.1 x 71.4 x 7.6mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 64/128/512GB | Battery: 3,650mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 16MP + 8MP | Front camera: 32MP
What's this? Another Huawei phone in the top ten? Your eyes do not deceive you, the Huawei P30 really is sixth in our best Android phone rundown.
It has a smaller screen than the P30 Pro, and makes do with just the three rear cameras (rather than four) and a maximum zoom of 30x, but it's still a great Android phone.
There's heaps of power, a handy headphone jack (something the Pro can't boast) and a more manageable form factor for one-handed use. And of course, it's a little cheaper too.
Read more: Huawei P30 review
5. LG G8X ThinQ
Release date: December 2019 | Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 159.2 x 75.8 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.39-inch | Resolution: 2340x1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 13MP | Front camera: 32MP
LG's flagship G-series phones often go overlooked despite being superb pieces of tech and very well priced against competitors. The G8x sports the top end Qualcomm 855 CPU found in many other flagships, and that's supported by 6GB of RAM all packed into a slender package with a quality 6.39" AMOLED display. It's a tall design ratio (19.5:9), which is particularly pocket friendly and feels very manageable even in smaller hands .
Its mistakenly argued that LG gets ignored because it is merely as good as competitors, but offers nothing better. We beg to differ. Historically every G-series offered something innovative, and the G8X is no different.
Palm unlocking (called Hand ID by LG) allows you to pass your hand past the selfie cam where the time of flight sensor reads your palm print to unlock the phone. Its a bit hit and miss, sure, but certainly innovative. You can also use this technique to control some phone functions.
Even more exciting is the dual screen folio cover supplied as standard, which adds a second 6.4" screen in a hinged mechanism made of sturdy matte plastic and metal, LG's answer to its competitors folding designs. This system is not flawless but works great for browsing and gaming, obviously.
Read more: LG G8X ThinQ review
6. Samsung Galaxy Note 10
All-screen, and it's a true flagship
Release date: August 2019 | Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 151 x 71.8 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP | Front camera: 10MP
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is beaten in many ways by the Note 10 Plus, earlier on this list, the Note 10 Plus does have a way higher price too.
The 'basic' Galaxy Note 10 loses a rear camera from its bigger sibling, and has a lower res display less RAM so it's not exactly as powerful in a few ways.
At its core though, the Galaxy Note 10 is the same device as the one sitting at our third slot on this list, with an S Pen stylus, good-looking design, and all of Samsung's software, so if the price of the Note 10 Plus puts you off, this is a great alternative.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review
Two top Android phones
Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/512GB/1TB | Battery: 4,100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP
The Samsung Galaxy S10, and in particular the plus-sized S10 Plus, was for a long time the best Android phone you could buy, and while the S20 range has now superseded them, they're still great phones.
The Galaxy S10 Plus is a big phone that's designed for big hands - and it takes the very best of what's on the smartphone market and puts it together in a compelling package that we've loved testing.
The Super AMOLED display has been measured as the very best around (at least, at the time), with super colours, plus there's a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display.
Battery life is an improvement over the S9 Plus, thanks to the larger battery inside, and you also get Samsung's new Wireless PowerShare, allowing you to wirelessly charge other devices on the rear of the handset.
The trio of cameras on the rear of the Galaxy S10 Plus are also great, offering loads of features, shooting modes and overall clarity. The standard S10 is a very similar phone - a slight step down in a few ways, but also cheaper.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S10 review
Release date: Feb 2020 | Weight: 199g | Dimensions: 163.7 x 76.1 x 8.7mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | CPU: Exynos | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 32MP
We like the idea of a scaled back Note 10. Until the launch of the S20 series the Note was Samsung's most expensive phone, sporting the usual line up of top shelf components and turbocharged performance. But we think there is a niche of small business operators who appreciates the virtues of the Note: the big squared-off screen format combined with stylus functionality, but without the monster price tag. At R12,000 the Note 10 Lite is 30% cheaper than the Note 10.
On the Lite you are still getting full-strength multimedia handling, including an excellent triple rear camera with all Samsung's usual camera smarts for helping you capture great shots without trying too hard, and a massive, silky 6.7-inch super AMOLED screen at better-than-HD resolution (that's bigger and better than the Note 10). There is even a headphone jack!
The Note 10 Lite has a 4500mAh battery, again, bigger than the Note 10, and the fractionally downscaled CPU (Exynos 9810) runs more lean than the full Note 10 CPU too. Other than screen scribbling the S-Pen stylus performs all the same tricks, like advancing music tracks and PowerPoint slides, and remote-snapping photos.
Altogether it's on our list as a great-value, powerful and professional business tool.
9. LG G8s ThinQ
Release date: September 2019 | Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 155.3 x 76.6 x 7.99mmmm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.21-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2248 | CPU: Snapdragon SM8150 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 3.550mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 13MP + 12MP | Front camera: 8MP
The "lite" version of LG's G8X flagship this model maintains the brands reputation for excellent build quality, and still holds on to many of the key features found on the more pricey version.
It sports a triple rear camera arrangement including a 2x telephoto which is not available on the G8X. The other sacrifices are not deal breakers for us. It has a smaller 3550mAh battery which works out okay since its powering a lesser CPU and a slightly smaller 6.21 inch screen at a slightly lower resolution (1080 x 2248).
You're still scoring LG's sturdy build and the innovative palm recognition system (called Hand ID by LG, you pass your hand over the front of the phone where the front facing sensor reads your unique vein patterns to unlock the phone). Add in LGs powerful audio decoding subsystems, using specialised processors, then check the price and it's more obvious how this "lite" phone made our top 10 list.
Read more: LG G8S ThinQ review
10. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 189g | Dimensions: 72.3 x 157.8 x 8.6 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.39-inch | Resolution: 3120 x 1440 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP | Front camera: 24MP
This handset is two years old already, so it's easy to forget how technologically advanced the Mate 20 Pro was for its day. Competing with Samsung's Note this model was one of the AI camera pioneers, with a phenomenal a three-camera system on the back combining great low light performance with extreme hybrid optical and digital zoom.
It was a particularly well-built handset, with an unusual look from it's shimmering colour schemes to the square camera module on the back. The 6.39-inch OLED screen had phenomenal pixel density of 538 PPI, the best of any flagship phone. It shipped with Android 9, but now runs 10, thankfully.
It was one of the first phones with an under-screen fingerprint reader although face unlocking was also pretty good. Whether or not you're a fan of artificial intelligence in smartphone photography the Mate 20 Pro pushed the limits for better scene recognition, and then optimised the camera set up accordingly.
We think the Mate 20 Pro still goes toe to toe with many of today's flagship phones, and therefore deserves a place on our list.
Read more: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- Best smartphone: the 15 top phones we've tested