Switching from Apple’s iPhone or simply not a fan of iOS? Get a Google-powered alternative. Here’s how to find the right device for you, along with the best Android phones we’ve tested.By Sascha Segan & Steven WinkelmanUpdated April 6, 2021
- Related Mobile Phone Picks:
- Best Phones
- Best 5G Phones
- Best Camera Phones
- Best Cheap Phones
- Best Unlocked Phones
- Best Phones for Seniors
OUR 10 TOP PICKS
Best Android Flagship
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
$499.99 with Eligible Trade-In at SamsungSee It$999.99 at Amazon The Galaxy S21 Ultra delivers a high-quality superzoom camera that truly works, supports Samsung’s excellent S Pen, and sets the bar for smartphone features in 2021.Read Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Review
Best 5G Budget Phone
OnePlus Nord N10 5G
Best Midrange Phone
TCL 10 Pro
Best for Stock Android
Google Pixel 4a
Most Power for the Price
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
$699.99 at AmazonSee It$499.99 at Best Buy Free ShippingThe Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G delivers all the phone performance most people need at a price more people can afford.Read Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G Review
Best Ultra-Wide Camera
OnePlus 9 Pro
$1,069.00 at OnePlusSee ItThe OnePlus 9 Pro holds its own against other flagships with a spectacular ultra-wide camera, smooth performance, and impressively fast wireless charging.Read OnePlus 9 Pro Review
Best Phone Under $200
OnePlus Nord N100
Best for Artists
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
$549.99 at SamsungSee It$1,295.00 at Amazon The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra delivers the most high-end phone experience money can buy in a year when money is tighter than ever.Read Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review
Best for One-Handed Use
Samsung Galaxy S21
$149.99 with Eligible Trade-In at SamsungSee It$799.99 at Amazon The Samsung Galaxy S21 packs plenty of power into its small stature and sets the stage for better 5G phone performance in the future.Read Samsung Galaxy S21 Review
Best Folding Phone
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
$999.99 with Eligible Trade-In at SamsungSee ItThe Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 fixes many of the flaws of the original to deliver a foldable big-screen experience that really works, for the first folding phone we recommend.Read Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 ReviewPROS & CONS COMPARE SPECS
Regardless of whether you’re searching for a major or little telephone, passage level or first in class, Android offers choices for everybody. Also, dissimilar to Apple’s unbending delivery cycle, Google’s equipment accomplices release an apparently interminable stream of new gadgets all year. In any case, in that lies the issue: With such countless alternatives out there, how would you choose the right one? Fortunate for you, we test and survey practically every cell phone accessible on all the significant US transporters.
Keep in mind that while the reviews above may not show your carrier of choice, most of the phones here are available unlocked and can be used with multiple US carriers. Read on for what to look for when buying, as well as our top picks for Android phones.
When to Buy a New Android Phone
The Android release cycle has become perpetual; there’s a new set of flagship phones coming every month at this point. However, now’s a good time to buy. The Samsung Galaxy S21 series hit shelves in early 2021, and Samsung is unlikely to put out prominent new, higher-end phones for another six months or so. Google also seems to be taking a breather now that the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 are on the market. The OnePlus 9 series also just came out, so it’ll be several months before we see more flagships from OnePlus. And LG is out of the phone business.Despite fierce competition, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE remains a standout Android phone.
5G Android Phones
Practically any better quality telephone you purchase presently will have 5G. In case you’re buying a lower-end gadget, don’t worry about it to an extreme; AT&T’s and Verizon’s present cross country 5G frameworks don’t give a very remarkable presentation help over 4G, and even lower-end new T-Mobile Android telephones have begun to incorporate mid-band 5G.
The Best Android Phone Deals This Week*
- Samsung Galaxy S21+ Plus 128GB 5G Unlocked Phone — $799.99 (List Price $999.99)
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G 128GB Unlocked Phone — $599.99 (List Price $699.99)
- TCL 10L 64GB Unlocked Phone — $174.99 (List Price $249.99)
- Motorola Moto G9 Plus 128GB Unlocked Phone — $219.99 (List Price $299.99)
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
If you want the best network speeds in the future, look for a phone with C-band. Coming predominantly to Verizon and AT&T starting in late 2021 or early 2022, C-band networks will potentially offer several times the speed of 4G and low-band 5G systems. At this writing, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, the Pixel 5, the LG Wing, and the OnePlus 9 series all have C-band (though note that the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are only available for T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as providers that use those networks). We expect most other phones released this year to have it as well.
You can find our favorite 5G handsets in our list of the the best 5G phones.https://mashable.com/videos/blueprint:jznR4ZDjox/embed/?player=pcmag
This rundown has telephones from under $200 to pretty much $2,000. On the low end, the Nokia 5.3 and OnePlus Nord N100 are brilliant qualities for very little cash. One tip at the low end: transporter marked telephones (which don’t make reference to the name of their maker) regularly aren’t awesome.
The vast majority of the telephones sold in the US cost $600 or more, since they’re sold on regularly scheduled installment designs that conceal the expense more than 24 or 30 months. But on the other hand there’s a flourishing business sector, generally paid ahead of time, of telephones costing $300 or less. Investigate lower-end OnePlus telephones, telephones by Nokia, or the ZTE models sold by prepaid transporters for respectable quality at a low cost.
The pandemic caused telephone producers to reconsider the high as can be lead telephone costs we saw recently. The Galaxy S20 FE, the more modest Galaxy S21, and the OnePlus 9 are altogether resetting the “leader” telephone cost from $1,000 to $600–$700, an invigorating change in an extreme economy.
Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G framework keeps on demanding a “millimeter wave charge” on its gadgets; Verizon 5G-viable telephones are frequently $50–$100 more costly than 5G telephones for the other two transporters; when there’s a special case, it’s typically on the grounds that Verizon or the maker is unobtrusively financing the telephone.
What Size Phone Is Right for You?
There’s been a dramatic shift in Android phone shapes and sizes over the last few years. Many manufacturers have started to make their phones taller and narrower, resulting in one-hand-friendly models with improbably large screen sizes. We go into more detail on the new form factors in our piece on how we need to measure phone screens now.
You can find Android phones with stated screen sizes from 5.6 inches to well over 6 inches. With the new form factors, though, it’s very important to look at the width of the phone as well as the width of the screen. A tall, narrow phone can be much easier to handle than something wider.The 2.7-inch-wide Pixel 4a fits nicely in the hand.
Which Is the Best Android Version?
Not all Android is made equivalent. Gadget producers, for example, LG and Samsung have been applying their own dreams to Android for quite a while. On the off chance that you need an unadulterated Google insight, you need to go for a Pixel gadget; they’re the engineer models where Google tries to send redesigns first. Motorola and OnePlus additionally have exceptionally clean UIs, however they will in general add more imperceptible highlights to Android.
Android 11 is the most current version, and it’s becoming more widely available. Many phones have Android 10. Don’t buy a phone that comes with Android 8 or below, as the older the Android software version is, the more likely it is to have serious security flaws. Also check how many rounds of OS updates the manufacturer is promising.
Why No Huawei, Oppo, or Xiaomi?
Three out of the world’s five biggest smartphone makers don’t sell phones in the US, and we primarily serve US consumers. In the case of Huawei, it’s because our government has declared them telephona non grata. Xiaomi has said several times that their business model, which relies heavily on software and subscription services, won’t work in the US. Oppo has ceded the US market to its cousin OnePlus.
We have yearly gatherings of unfamiliar telephones to assist Americans with getting what they might be absent. We’re dealing with one at this point. We don’t suggest bringing in these telephones for use in the US, since they frequently perform ineffectively on US transporter organizations.
Should You Buy Through a Carrier or Unlocked?
The US market is as yet overwhelmed via transporter sold telephones, yet purchasing your telephone immediate and opened gives you more opportunity to switch transporters in the event that you decide to do as such.
Unlocked phones feature no carrier bloatware and no ongoing payment plan, so you can switch to another carrier or sell on eBay at will. An unlocked phone is actually something you own. Every phone on this list can be bought direct, with no carrier involvement. But most people still buy their phones through carriers, which offer a single point for service and support, as well as monthly payment plans that dramatically lower the upfront prices of phones. Carriers also sometimes restrict Wi-Fi calling features to phones sold by their own stores.
With that in mind, choosing Android as your mobile operating system is only half the battle. If you’re still on the fence, check out our list of the best phones, regardless of OS.
COMPARE SPECSThe Best Android Phones for 2021
|Our Picks||Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSee It$499.99 with Eligible Trade-Inat Samsung||OnePlus Nord N10 5GSee It$299.99at OnePlus||TCL 10 ProSee It$449.99at Amazon||Google Pixel 4aSee It$349.00at Google Store||Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5GSee It$699.99at Amazon||OnePlus 9 ProSee It$1,069.00at OnePlus||OnePlus Nord N100See It$169.99at Amazon||Samsung Galaxy Note 20 UltraSee It$549.99at Samsung||Samsung Galaxy S21See It$149.99 with Eligible Trade-Inat Samsung||Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2See It$999.99 with Eligible Trade-Inat Samsung|
|Editors’Rating||EDITORS’ CHOICE4.5Editor Review||EDITORS’ CHOICE4.5Editor Review||EDITORS’ CHOICE4.0Editor Review||4.0Editor Review||EDITORS’ CHOICE4.5Editor Review||4.5Editor Review||4.0Editor Review||4.0Editor Review||4.0Editor Review||4.0Editor Review|
|Operating System||Android 11||Android 10||Android 10||Android 10||Android 10||Android 11||Android 10||Android 10||Android 11||Android 10|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Qualcomm Snapdragon 690||Qualcomm Snapdragon 675||Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Qualcom Snapdragon 460||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+|
|Dimensions||6.5 by 2.98 by .35 inches||6.4 by 2.9 by 0.3 inches||6.24 by 2.85 by 0.36 inches||5.7 by 2.7 by 0.3 inches||6.29 x 2.93 x .33 inches||6.42 by 2.89 by .34 inches||6.5 by 3.0 by 0.3 inches||6.5 by 3.0 by .3 inches||5.97 x 2.8 x .31 inches||6.26 x 2.7 x .66 inches|
|Screen Size||6.8 inches||6.49 inches||6.47 inches||5.81 inches||6.5 inches||6.7 inches||6.5 inches||6.9 inches||6.2 inches||7.6 inches|
|Screen Resolution||3200-by-1440||1,080 by 2,400 pixels||2,340 by 1,080 pixels||2,340 by 1,080 pixels||2,400 by 1,080||3,216 by 1,440||1,600 by 720 pixels||3,088 by 1,440 pixels||2,400 by 1,080||2,260 by 816; 2,208 by 1,768|
|Camera Resolution (Rear; Front-Facing)||108MP, 12MP, 10MP, 10MP; 40MP||64MP, 8MP, 2MP, 2MP; 16MP||64MP, 12MP, 5MP, 2MP; 24MP||12.2MP; 8MP||12MP, 12MP, 8MP; 32MP||48MP, 50MP, 8MP, 2MP; 16MP||13MP, 2MP, 2MP; 8MP||108MP, 12MP, 12MP; 10MP||12MP, 12MP, 64MP; 10MP||12MP; 10MP|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||11 hours 20 minutes||10 hours, 8 minutes||11 hours, 29 minutes||8 hours, 58 minutes||13 hours, 31 minutes||9 hours 40 minutes||15 hours||12+ hours (video streaming)||10 hours 20 minutes||11 hours, 30 minutes|
|Where to Buy||$499.99 with Eligible Trade-Inat Samsung $999.99at Amazon||$299.99at OnePlus $279.99at Amazon||$449.99at Amazon $314.99at Best Buy||$349.00at Google Store||$699.99at Amazon $499.99at Best Buy||$1,069.00at OnePlus||$169.99at Amazon $179.99at OnePlus||$549.99at Samsung $1,295.00at Amazon||$149.99 with Eligible Trade-Inat Samsung $799.99at Amazon||$999.99 with Eligible Trade-Inat Samsung|