The best Android phone: our top recommendation
And the best Android phone on the market is...
1. Samsung Galaxy S9
The Galaxy S9 is a fantastic device even though it's not perfect. It’s got a brilliant display, great camera, brilliant performance all-round, and in a body that’s easily one of the most elegant ever released.
Samsung didn’t have any reason to change the design up from the Galaxy S8, it was comfortably one of the best looking phones launched last year - and that’s why we only see a subtle evolution in the company’s 2018 flagship.
The top and bottom bezels are a little slimmer, and the fingerprint sensor has been placed more sensibly on the back, but that’s about it.
Like the design, the display remains largely unchanged from last year. It’s Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology, built into a 5.8-inch 18.5:9 panel that completely dominates the front of the phone. With its resolution of 1440 x 2960, it boasts an incredible pixel density of 570ppi, and this in a screen that takes up almost 85 percent of the entire front surface.
The Galaxy S8’s camera was always going to be a tricky act to follow. It was comfortably one of the best, if not THE best mobile camera available in 2017. This year, the company took the pretty much the same sensor, and beefed up the optics.
Specifically, there’s now some added DRAM which enables Super Slow-mo shooting at 960fps. In reality, this is a feature that takes a little practice and a lot of purposeful framing. When you get it right, it’s fantastic in bright light.
Its stereo sound makes such a difference to media consumption too.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9 review
And the best of the rest Android phones
The Samsung Galaxy S9 isn't for everyone though, even if 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. Samsung Galaxy S9+
The Samsung Galaxy S9+ brings the same gorgeous eye-catching design as the Galaxy S9 but in a slightly larger 6.2-inch format, making it the better option for those that want a bigger device without compromising on design.
This year there's more than just a size difference between these two handsets, with the larger Galaxy S9+ model getting a secondary camera for 2x optical zoom.
But with prices rising, those with a Galaxy S8+ needn't to rush to upgrade, for while there's a lot that's new, many of the important features Samsung nailed the last time around.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9+ review
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is undoubtedly one of the best phones of 2017, taking everything from the Galaxy S8+ and pushing things a little further. It is bigger, a touch more powerful, packs in more camera and adds the S Pen, while still offering Mobile HDR support for excellent entertainment.
It isn't the strongest performer when it comes to battery life however, with the Galaxy S8+ lasting that little bit longer and we also think the older device has the slight edge when it comes to design too, offering more curves for a more striking profile.
The Note 8 is also £100 more expensive than the S8+, but if you're a die hard S Pen fan, burnt by the Note 7's demise and patiently waiting, then the Note 8 is everything you wanted and more. It's a pleasure to use, packed full of innovative features and practical functionality. The Note 8 hits the ball out of the court with power, camera performance and its customisation options.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review
4. Google Pixel 2
Last year's Pixels were fantastic. Perhaps the first time in years that Google's "pure" line of phones had no compromises. Great screens, great build, amazing cameras, good battery life and pure Android in one proper flagship package. This year, it's a similar story, though there's not a huge amount of improvement.
The Pixel 2 is the slightly less exciting of the two Pixel devices in terms of design, offering a 16:9 display instead of the 18:9 found on the Pixel 2 XL, but it offers a natural display performance combined with minimalist, clean looks and a great camera, while the Pixel 2 XL's display is lack lustre.
It might not be as visually appealing as a lot of its competition, but the Pixel 2 offers a pure Android experience like no other, and it takes some of the best photos and selfies we've seen. It's a phone that won't wow you from the outset, but will grow on you as time goes on, like a good second album.
Read the full review: Google Pixel 2 review
5. Huawei Mate 10 Pro
- Pre-order the Huawei Mate 10 Pro for £699 from Carphone Warehouse
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a defining handset; a flagship every bit as capable as its Samsung, HTC, LG and Apple competition. Which is a serious accomplishment for a company that has been yo-yoing between on-the-money and on-the-lam over the last couple of years.
The Mate 10 Pro stands out among its peers for sleek design, considerable power and a raft of veritable features. The battery life is better than you'll get from most, while the software, finally, is at a point where it feels like a more natural and non-interfering Android experience.
The glass back may be divisive, the lack of any physical home key may sometimes irk, and the questionable connectivity is the biggest drawback of all but Huawei has finally cracked this category with the Mate 10 Pro. It's a flagship to seriously consider buying above and beyond its similar-priced competition.
Read the full review: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6. Google Pixel XL
Google came out all guns blazing with the Pixel and the larger Pixel XL and while they have both now been succeeded, last year's larger phone has greater appeal than the Pixel 2 XL thanks to a now lower price tag and a 5.5-inch Quad HD display that offers the punch and vibrancy its successor appears to miss from its 6-inch, 18:9 ratio screen.
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 biggest draw with the 2016 Pixel XL. 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 you also have to consider that there is a newer model available (positioned a little further down this list), but given the Pixel XL's price has dropped quite a bit since it first launched, it is definitely worth your consideration.
Read the full review: Google Pixel XL review
7. OnePlus 5
For many, the OnePlus 5 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 835 chipset and an impressive dual-camera experience, but at a fraction of the price of the big name rivals.
The OnePlus 5 offers a fairly clean, fast and fluid Android experience, but it introduces 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.
There's no avoiding the price though, which is this device's biggest accolade. Even with a slight increase over the OnePlus 3 and 3T, the OnePlus 5 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 super-fast Dash Charge will make up for it. One word of warning though: this device is about to be replaced with the OnePlus 5T with pre-orders starting on 16 November so it might be worth waiting.
Read the full review: OnePlus 5 review
8. LG V30
- Buy the LG V30 for £799.99 at Carphone Warehouse
With big phones increasing in popularity, the LG V30 lands in a space that's more competitive than ever before. The Samsung Galaxy S8+ and the Note 8 are particular rivals and there's competition from devices like the more affordable Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
The V30 is a phone with heaps of power, a good battery life and a camera with creative options not available elsewhere. The camera isn't the best performer though and the display isn't the best you'll find on a device at this size either, even if it doesn't make the same mistakes as the Pixel 2 XL.
The overall experience of the LG V30 is a positive one, though. We love the design and that full-screen design that others have failed to embrace. It's a phone that feels good in the hand, offering waterproofing and the convenience of that 3.5mm headphone socket, which sounds truly excellent.
Read the full review: LG V30 review
9. HTC U11
The HTC U11 is one of the Taiwanese company's latest flagships, succeeding the HTC 10, though there is also the HTC U11+ to now consider too. The standard U11 offers a unique eye-catching design thanks to the colour variation and all the models feature squeezable sides, which even though are gimmicky, bring something a little extra to the standard rectangular slab.
There's waterproofing on board, fantastic sound quality as many will now expect from HTC and there's plenty of power too, with a fluid operation to boot. The HTC U11's battery life could be better and the Sense Companion feature feels unnecessary, but overall this device brings with it some of the core components you'd want from a flagship.
HTC does very little wrong with the U11. It's a flagship device that is up there with the best and although it's got some stiff competition and a "squeezable" phone might not be for everyone, it will be a perfect phone for a great many people.
Read the full review: HTC U11 review
10. Google Pixel 2 XL
The Google Pixel 2 XL brought with it a great deal of excitement at launch, with a sense of ambitious design, embracing the 18:9 display and moving things forward, as well as adding that waterproofing to keep pace with the best out there.
While the design is good, it's not as adventurous as the Samsungs of this world. The Pixel 2 XL won't quite turn heads for the right reasons. While the shift in display aspect brings some glamour, it hangs onto bezel that it should have perhaps tried to eliminate for more radical looks. The colour balance on that display is also lacklustre in daily use, resulting in a device that doesn't quite deliver.
The Pixel 2 XL was supposed to be the device to fend-off the iPhone X. As it is, it doesn't feel like it's a strong enough rival. If Google can fix the display using software to make it more joyous to use every day, then this would become a more exciting phone, but launching into a market of great devices, this model isn't Pixel perfect, making it difficult to highly recommend.
Read the full review: Google Pixel 2 XL review
11. LG G6
The LG G6 was the first truly great flagship of 2017, pipping South Korean rivals Samsung to the post in terms of announcement. LG's flagship offers an impressive glass and metal design with a more conveniently-positioned rear fingerprint sensor than the Samsung devices.
There's a lovely standout 2:1 aspect ratio display on the LG G6, making it another brilliant device for entertainment, while its compact body allows for easy one-handed operation. To top it all off, you'll get excellent results from the dual-rear cameras and an all-day battery life, as well as slick performance from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor.
Despite the up-and-down G-series history, LG knocked it out of the park with the G6. It's a great phone that's every bit the flagship and one that is a little cheaper than its competition too.
Read the full review: LG G6 review
12. BlackBerry KeyOne
If you thought BlackBerry was dead, think again. The KeyOne is a brilliant device that is well-worthy of your consideration if you want an Android device with a built-in physical keyboard. In fact, it's your only consideration if that's number one on your priority list.
The keyboard implementation and programmable shortcuts are brilliant, the software additions enhance the excellent Android software and the battery life is great. About the only bad things we have to say about the KeyOne are you have to stretch to reach some parts of the screen and the power button is in the wrong place.
If there was ever a device to convince BlackBerry loyalists to jump onboard Android, the KeyOne is it. It won't be for everyone, granted, but for the ones the BlackBerry KeyOne is made for, it's quite simply masterful.
Read the full review: BlackBerry KeyOne review
13. Sony Xperia XZ Premium
- Buy the Sony Xperia XZ Premium from around £570 from Amazon.co.uk
- Buy from around $580 from Amazon.com
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium brings stacks of spec appeal to the flagship smartphone playing field. There is a brilliant 4K display with HDR technology that is great in most part, waterproofing and all the power you could want tucked under the hood.
The software experience is good and will be very familiar for Xperia fans, while the battery life is also up there with the best thanks to Sony's Stamina mode. The design hasn't moved on much from the original Xperia Z smartphone, meaning it doesn't carry the same eye-catching beauty of some others on this list, but the super slow-motion video feature makes up for this as it's excellent.
There is plenty to love about the Sony XZ Premium, especially if you're a Sony fan and into that flat-slab design. It's a flagship device with some great features, some of which can't be found elsewhere.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium
14. Motorola Moto G5 Plus
- Buy the Motorola Moto G5 Plus from around £235 from Amazon.co.uk
- Buy from around $300 from Amazon.com
The Lenovo-owned Motorola Moto G5 Plus is the best Android device you can get for the money. Its sub-£250 price tag brings a solid metal build quality, great app and game performance and a good battery life.
It might not have the most vibrant screen on the market, or the best camera close up focusing, but it has a fingerprint sensor and gesture controls work well, while its software experience delivers much, if not more than most will ever need.
If you need a device for further under £250, you could always consider the slightly lower-specced Moto G5, but for this price tag, you won't find a better device. It's a affordable phone that addresses its predecessor's issues resulting in a best-in-class proposition.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto G5 Plus review
15. Honor 9
The Honor 9 is a beautiful looking device with a striking design that makes it stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons, even if its prone to picking up scratches.
The performance is brilliant for its £380 price tag and although the graphics aren't always 100 per cent smooth, its a pleasure of a phone to use. It offers a good battery life and its camera performance is solid too, even without the Leica certification found on parent company Huawei's P10 models.
The Honor 9 is a siren in the mid-range phone market. It's not far from perfection, with only graphics and user experience needing a little tweak in our opinion in order to achieve it. It's a mid-range marvel.
Read the full review: Honor 9 review
16. Honor 8 Pro
- Buy the Honor 8 Pro from around £475 from Amazon.co.uk
The Honor 8 Pro is another lovely-looking Honor device with a super slender design at sub-7mm. It's feels wider in the hand than some of the other devices on this list, but it offers a great finish nonetheless.
Its 5.7-inch Quad HD display is fantastic, it delivers strong battery performance with QuickCharge and its dual cameras are great fun. The EMUI interface isn't our favourite and it's a little heavy handed but this is still a decent, affordable device.
If you're looking for a big-screen phone that's long-lasting and powerful, but which won't destroy your bank account, the Honor 8 Pro is well worth considering.
Read the full review: Honor 8 Pro review
17. Motorola Moto Z2 Play
The Motorola Moto Z2 Play is all about the Moto Mods, which are specially-designed (pricey) accessories that snap onto the back of the device. Some don't for perfectly but they do work with minimal fuss and there are a few that are genuinely useful, like the battery Mod.
The Moto Z2 Play's battery life on its own is exceptional though, its fingerprint sensor and gesture controls are also great and it delivers flagship-level smoothness and operation, with a slightly lower price tag than some of its rivals.
If you find Moto Mods enticing then the Z2 Play is a super phone with plenty to offer beyond its quirky unique selling point. There are little to no slip-ups in use, securing it a commendable position in the mid-range market.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto Z2 Play review
18. Huawei P10 Plus
The Huawei P10 Plus makes up one of three 2017 flagship smartphones from Chinese company Huawei. It offers a great-looking, slender design that is available in some interesting colour options, though perhaps not as eye-catching as the more recent and cheaper Honor 9, nor the Mate 10 Pro.
The P10 Plus delivers an excellent battery life though, smooth operation, and ample power on tap. It also has the most mature software offering from Huawei to date. There are a few fingerprint issues and the screen loves to smear, but visually, it's one of Huawei's best by far.
For those after a smaller option, the P10 might be a better fit, but after using both, we consider the P10 Plus to be the better device. The P10 Plus shows that Huawei has put in the legwork and for the most part this is a solid example of a 5.5-inch phone, even if it is expensive.
Read the full review: Huawei P10 Plus review
19. Samsung Galaxy A5
The Samsung 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.
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 S8, but don't want to compromise too much.
The biggest drawback might be the dominance of the OnePlus 5 and Honor devices at these more affordable prices. The Galaxy A5 sells itself on delivering a Samsung experience though, with the added benefit of a microSD card slot.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy A5 review
Want to check out the Apple options? Then look at Which iPhone is best for you? iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 8 or iPhone X?