- Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
- Google Pixel XL
- OnePlus 3T
- Google Pixel
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- HTC 10
- Huawei P9
- Samsung Galaxy A5
- Honor 8
- Motorola Moto G4
- Huawei Mate 9
Our top recommendation
Here's our recommendation for the best Android phone on the market:
1. Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
The phone that everyone has been talking about is the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. This handset brings wonderful dual edge design in a range of colours and a staggering Quad HD AMOLED display, which is one of the nicest displays you'll find on any phone. It's compact, the battery lasts and the camera gives you excellent results time and again. The S7 edge is also water resistant and offers contactless charging: about the only feature it misses out on is USB Type-C.
Samsung's phone has a thorough reworking of Android, but it's considered. Although this is very much a Samsung feeling and about as far removed from the Google experience as you can get, it's very well polished and stuffed full of enhancements that make it a pleasure to use day in, day out. About the only shortcoming is that sometimes you might find the very edges of the display don't respond quite as well as the flat section.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is soon to be replaced by the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, but that means that prices will likely keep falling - and this is still an accomplished phone that looks great and is lovely to use.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review
Best of the rest...
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge isn't for everyone though, although it is our top recommendation. There are plenty of other great Android phones on the market to consider whatever your budget. They have ranging pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the best alternatives:
2. Google Pixel XL
Google comes out all guns blazing with two new phones, the Pixel and the larger Pixel XL. It's the larger phone that has the great appeal with a 5.5-inch Quad HD display and greater battery life than the smaller model. The Pixel XL has been in demand, offering a pure Android experience uncluttered with changes and additions. About the only drawback is the lack of a microSD card slot.
Pure Android means you're first in line for updates and the chance to run Android as it was intended. But that's not the big draw. For many, it's the camera experience. Without too much song and dance, and sidestepping the gimmicks, the Pixel XL has a fast shooting camera that delivers excellent results.
The design might not be for some with that divided back and it's also expensive: as we said previously, Google has struggled to have enough stock to meet demand, so you might struggle to get your hands on one.
Read the full review: Google Pixel XL review
3. OnePlus 3T
For many, the OnePlus 3T is the best Android phone of the year. This is a device that offers many premium features, like a metal body, the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset and a fantastic camera experience, but at a fraction of the price of the big name rivals from Samsung and Google.
The OnePlus 3T offers a fairly clean Android experience, but offers additional customisation through the Oxygen OS. In recent times, OnePlus has been fast to update too, meaning you have the latest from Android to make things just that little sweeter.
But there's no avoiding the price. Even in this guise, an update over the original OnePlus 3, the slight increase in price still gives you a much better deal than many of the big names. Some might criticise the full HD display as being sub-premium, but the draw of Dash Charge will make up for it.
Read the full review: OnePlus 3T review
4. Google Pixel
The smaller of the Pixel pair, there's a lot going for this 5-inch handset. Top of the list for many will be the uncluttered Android experience, free from additions or tinkering, just as Google intended. Then there's the great camera, that like the Pixel XL, just gives you great results.
The smaller handset takes a bit of hit when it comes to the battery, but this is still a keen performer. It has the added advantage of being cheaper than the XL, but you drop to a 5-inch Full HD display, making this a phone that looks rather expensive.
However, like other phones at the top of this list there's plenty of power on offer, making this a great Android workhorse.
Read the full review: Google Pixel review
5. Samsung Galaxy S7
Often overlooked, the regular flat Samsung Galaxy S7 offers a more compact 5.1-inch display, but sticks to the high specs of the S7 edge. It loses out slightly on design, so it lacks the glamour of the bigger model. There's also rumours that this flatter design will be dropped when the Galaxy S8 is launched - so this could be the last Galaxy S of this style.
Like the S7 edge, you get Android Nougat (recently updated) but it's totally owned by the Samsung TouchWiz makeover it gets. Samsung knows what it's doing better than most, however, and of all the smartphone skins on Android, Samsung's is now one of the slickest and most useful.
Aside from all those things, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has plummeted in price and it's still a great smartphone, making it a tempting prospect, despite its age.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S7 review
6. HTC 10
HTC 10 has a lot going for it, the serious solid metal body being top of the list. This is a phone that offers top spec with a 5.2-inch Quad HD display, wonderful sound quality and battery life that's surprisingly good. It now sits on Android Nougat with HTC Sense providing some light customisation, but closer to Android than its ever been before.
The camera is perhaps a notch down from the best, struggling at times to compete and there's a general feeling that HTC isn't as exciting as it once used to be. It was fast to update to Nougat, however and has also been one of the first phones to get the Google Assistant update.
The HTC 10 is a great phone and the price is falling, but we're expecting great things from HTC's next phone Ocean, that's due to be announced soon, which might leave the HTC 10 feeling a little dated.
Read the full review: HTC 10 review
7. Huawei P9
Huawei's coming of age moment appears to be on us, with the P9 being its most accomplished device to date - and a best-selling star of 2016. The P9 does what many phone-makers are avoiding these days: puts a manageable, palm-sized phone in your hand. With a 5.2-inch display and ultra-slim build, it's not an unwieldy handset, which is a huge part of its appeal.
Flip the phone over and you'll see a pair of cameras on the rear. These aren't just any old optics: Leica has paired up with Huawei to deliver an interesting colour and monochrome sensor arrangement, plus all the bells and whistles post-production options you could want.
There's ample power and reasonable battery life, but the P9 isn't as accomplished as some of the other phones on this list given its software, which is Huawei's EMUI (over the top of Android). This is a substantial re-skinning of Android, adding a lot of changes to the UI. This adds plenty of features, but it also changes a lot of things that arguably don't necessarily need changing. It'll update soon to EMUI 5.0, which will see some improvements.
Read the full review: Huawei P9 review
8. Samsung Galaxy A5
The Galaxy A5 is a solid, elegant smartphone coming in at comfortably under £400. It's easily one of the most complete mid-rangers Samsung has ever made and offers an experience close to that offered by the more high end Galaxy S series phones. It competes directly with the likes of the Honor 8, but bringing you added Samsung gloss.
Its AMOLED display is bright and punchy, the design looks and feels great and the Exynos 7880 processor is more than powerful enough to get you through any of your daily tasks. In short, it's a Galaxy for people who don’t want to spend the money on a Galaxy S7, but don't want to compromise.
The biggest drawback might be the dominance of the OnePlus 3T at these more affordable prices. Only about £40 more expensive, the OnePlus is more powerful, but the Galaxy A5 sells itself on delivering a Samsung experience, with the added benefit of a microSD card slot.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy A5
9. Honor 8
For a mid-level device, the Honor 8 lays down some solid specifications given its £370 price. But what will really hook you in from the off is its design: that glossy, ultra-shiny rear catches the light like nothing else on the market (well, except for the HTC U - but that came later).
As a day-to-day phone, the design and ability of this mid-ranger are considerable. It's an upgrade that really sets itself apart from its predecessor and shows you needn't spend a small fortune for a decent handset.
There are some slight downers, though: the battery life could be better, the processor performance lags a little at times and it doesn't offer the perfect graphics for gaming.
That said, there is plenty of merit in the Honor 8. If its design is a bit too sheeny-shiny for you then there are similar-priced competitors, such as the OnePlus 3T (£400) which may appeal yet more.
Read the full review: Honor 8 review
10. Motorola Moto G4
Motorola's Moto G4 is the fourth generation of the popular Moto G and it's bigger and bolder than the original. A 5.5-inch display is seen this time round, and it's a little more expensive too, starting at £169, but you still get a lot of bang for your buck.
The Moto G4 might not be as fast as the flagships on this list, but its octa-core processor and graphics are capable of handling most tasks and battery life is good. The Moto G4 is the king of the budget handsets and although there is the option of the G4 Plus with its improved camera and fingerprint sensor, the Moto G4 is a phone that shouldn't be ignored.
But before you set your sights on this phone, the replacement has been announced, the Moto G5. Hitting shelves in March 2017, it's a little more expensive, but brings some enhancements.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto G4 review
11. Huawei Mate 9
Where the P9 goes small, the Mate 9 goes all-out large. With a 5.9-inch design (marginally smaller than the 6-inch design of its predecessor), the Mate 9 is one big-in-the-hand Full HD handset. Shame there's not more resolution at this scale, but the metal build quality fits just what we've come to expect from Huawei.
Similar to the P9 there's dual camera technology (although this isn't the Leica version) and a slightly updated EMUI software, which works effectively enough but will grate on some. What the Mate 9 does better than its Huawei cousins is stack in the power: it was the first phone to bear the Kirin 960 octa-core chipset, coupled with more-than-capable graphics processing. We've never had an issue with the way it handles.
That big size also means a capacious battery. If two-day life is what you're after then, well, look no further: the Mate 9 is designed to last day in, day out without giving you the battery fear before the end of a working day. That makes it worth its €699 asking price, which while not cheap is less than many of its big-screen rivals.
Read the full review: Huawei Mate 9 review