While it can be tempting to think of Android as a small number of flagship phones from the likes of Google and Samsung, the operating system spans thousands of devices from a large number of brands, covering a range of prices from budget smartphones to more premium handsets.
The huge amount of choice on the market can make it tough to choose which phone is right for you. That’s where this guide comes in.
We’ve tried and tested countless Android phones from ones with blazingly fast performance, to ones with great cameras and sharp displays, to determine which devices are worth your money. Below you’ll find all of our top picks, including a pros and cons list and links to our full, in-depth reviews with photos.
This guide is designed to help you find a new Android phone, so if you’re a loyal iOS user, the below might not be for you. If you’re wanting to buy an Apple phone, you can head over to our best iPhones guide to see a list of our favourite Apple devices available right now.
We also have guides arranged by price for those on the hunt for the best cheap phones and the best mid-range phones, along with guides to the best camera phones and the best gaming phones for anyone wanting to prioritise their search by those features in particular. Finally, our best smartphones guide is the one to visit if you’re looking to shop the best of the best across Android and iOS. How we test
Learn more about how we test mobile phones
Every phone we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, screen accuracy, battery life, performance and camera prowess.
These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how much battery it loses per hour streaming video.
We also make sure to use every phone we review as our primary handset for at least 4 days to ensure our review is as accurate as possible. You can see a more detailed breakdown of our testing methodology in our how we test phones guide.
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraThe best Android phoneProsGreat screen thanks to WQHD+ and 120HzMuch-improved design with an attractive finishFar more versatile camera than the iPhone 12 Pro MaxConsExpensive, with many cheaper phones offering the same featuresBig and heavyNo charger included
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the most advanced phone in the S21 range and our top choice for any Android user seeking an upgrade in 2021.
The S21 Ultra is a fantastic all-rounder and offers up plenty of improvements over its predecessor. Standout features include the WQHD+ 120Hz display and versatile quad-camera, but these are packed up by Samsung’s sizable RAM and storage offerings and the capable Exynos 2100 processor.
One of the biggest upgrades found on the S21 Ultra is the adaptive refresh rate. While this feature was also available on the S20 Ultra, you couldn’t enable 120Hz while also running the display at its max WQHD+ resolutions. This time around, there are no compromises to be made with both features able to run at the same time. The quad-camera has also been dramatically improved with the addition of dual 10MP zoom lenses. We also experienced fewer issues focussing the camera and found it produced a beautiful bokeh effect when shooting with the 108MP f/1.8 lens – check out our review for some adorable puppy pics.
If you can stomach paying over £/$1000 for your phone and don’t mind the extra weight, the S21 Ultra is one of the best Android phones available.
Reviewer: Max Parker Full review: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review
Oppo Find X3 ProA worthy follow-up to the excellent X2 ProProsThin and light for a 6.7-inch phoneAdaptive 120Hz display is gorgeous and highly customisableOppo’s software has seen huge improvementsConsBattery life not as good as the Galaxy S21 UltraLoses the periscope zoom skills of the Find X2 ProVibration motor is terrible
The Oppo Find X3 Pro is one of the best Android phones around. If you’re not keen on the hefty size of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra then it does offer an alternative thanks to a far slimmer body.
It takes excellent pictures and has one of the best screens on any phone you can buy, with performance matching top releases from Samsung and OnePlus.
We heaped much praise on the X2 Pro last year mostly for its camera, and Oppo has once again impressed here. Both the wide and ultra-wide cameras are fantastic, with nice bright colour and plenty of versatility. We do bemoan the lack of a periscope zoom for superior zoomed shot though, something we loved about the X2 Pro.
What Oppo has improved in the year since the X2 Pro’s release is the perangkat lunak. The version of Android Oppo uses now is far cleaner, far more reliable and much more like Google’s vision.
Reviewer: Max ParkerFull review: Oppo Find X3 Pro review
OnePlus 9 ProOnePlus impresses once againProsExcellent screenFast wired and wireless charging is a dreamOne of the best versions of AndroidImpressive ultra-wide cameraConsThe camera can be frustratingly slow to openNo great zoom skills and better photos taken elsewhereNot widely available on contract
If you want the best OnePlus phone going then you need the OnePlus 9 Pro. When compared to the OnePlus 9, the Pro contoh has a sharper 1440p display, a full metal body, a proper IP68 water resistance rating and very fast wireless charging.
Other features here include a good Hasselblad-branded camera system with a main 48MP sensor and an excellent 50MP ultra-wide, along with a battery that can be fully recharged in about 30 minutes.
Performance is fantastic thanks to the Snapdragon 888 chipset and, aside from a slow camera app, the aplikasi is among the best you’ll find on any Android phone.
Reviewer: Max ParkerFull review: OnePlus 9 Pro review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 ProThe best cheap Android right nowProsBest in class 120Hz AMOLED display108MP camera capable of fine thingsExcellent stamina from 5020mAhBargain price tagConsNo 5GCamera disappoints in less-than-ideal lighting
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro stands out in a crowded budget space thanks to a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display, capable 108MP camera and excellent battery life.
It’s not the prettiest handset on the market, and you’ll have to be prepared to make do without 5G connectivity. Even so, there aren’t many phones on the market today that give you more for your money. In terms of pricing, the official UK price hasn’t been announced yet, however a dunia price of $279 has been set so it should around that mark.
Reviewer: Jon Mundy Full review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review
Samsung Galaxy S21A cheaper alternative to the S21 Ultra in two sizesProsMuch more affordable at launch than S20Still a great screen (and it’s flat)Snappy performanceConsLack of microSD and WQHD+ resolution make it feel like an S20 downgradeDoesn’t feel as good as previous S series phonesMinimal camera upgrades
The Samsung Galaxy S21 and its larger Galaxy S21 Plus sibling are both excellent choices if you want a new Samsung phone without paying above and beyond for the Ultra’s more advanced specs. Both these S series phones are powered by the same Exynos 2100 processor and pack the same future-proof 5G support as its Ultra sibling – all at a much more tempting price.
The S21 includes a 6.2-inch FHD+ display with an adaptive 48/120Hz refresh rate to conserve energy while offering smooth, responsive scrolling. While the 1080p resolution is technically a downgrade from last year’s S20, the screen remains suitably bright and sharp and the introduction of an adaptive refresh rate is a welcome one. You’ll find all the same specs on the S21 Plus, just with a bigger 6.7-inch display.
These phones also pack a very reliable camera housed in a newly revamped module on the back. The triple setup includes a 12MP wide sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor and a 64MP zoom sensor. There’s a 10MP selfie camera on the front and up to 8K video capabilities. The colours produced by this camera are vivid and the ultra-wide lens is one of the best we’ve tried, with detail and little blurring.
Unlike previous years, there are very few differences between the S21 and S21 Plus – hence us combining them into one entry. You do get a glass back, as opposed to plastic, on the Plus model and as it’s bigger you’ll find a bigger battery inside.
Reviewer: Max Parker Full review: Samsung Galaxy S21 review
Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson Full review: Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review