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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in hand - one of the best android phones

One of the great things about the Android market is the diversity of features, prices, and even software. There are a ton of Android phones out there, but what’s the best available in 2020 so far?

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Spec sheets and feature lists aren’t always enough to get an idea of how good a phone really is. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best — the Android phones of 2019 and 2020 you can’t go wrong with. We picked based on a combination of internal testing and subjective reviewing. Without further delay, here are the best Android phones!

Best Android phones update: March 1, 2020, 12:00 am

Added Samsung Galaxy S20 series.

Best Android phones:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
  3. Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL
  4. Huawei P30 Pro
  5. LG G8X
  6. OnePlus 7T
  7. Pixel 3a and 3a XL

Wondering why each of these Android phones made it onto the list? Read on.

Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best Android phones regularly as new devices launch.

Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus

What makes it “the best”

  • The S20 Plus is a total powerhouse thanks to a compelling blend of features, performance, and that crazy camera system.
  • It’s also a battery life champ with its massive 4,500mAh power cell that’s able to keep the phone up and running.

Samsung’s Galaxy S line side-steps perfection with the polarizing Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus. The S20 phones are super powerful, but also super expensive. There’s little the S20 Plus can’t do. Featuring the Snapdragon 865, a massive 12GB of RAM, and a 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED panel with an Infinity-O punch hole, this is a powerhouse, though some argue it isn’t exactly attractive. This high-performance machine packs only the best of the best, including a variety of storage options, a 4,500mAh battery that’s more than capable of making it through the day, and rapid wired and wireless charging.

More importantly, Samsung overhauled the camera system in a way that’s exciting and appealing. The new camera has a feature called Space Zoom that allows you to zoom in up to 30x. It also has bokeh video shooting, 8K video capture, and all the other bells and whistles to keep people creating. Once the focusing bug is sorted out via software update, it should be the camera to beat.

If you don’t need a giant phone and still want a similar Galaxy S20 Plus experience, you should absolutely check out the Samsung Galaxy S20. It’s smaller, cheaper, and easier to use. Conversely, if you want it all, the biggest of the best, then be sure to take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Why you should buy

  • Peak performance
  • Every possible feature

Why you should pass

  • The Galaxy S20 Plus is really pricey
  • You’re not a fan of phablets

Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus

What makes it “the best”

  • The Note 10 Plus is one of the best Android phones overall thanks to a great mix of features, performance, and beautiful design.

Although the Galaxy S family is the most popular line of Samsung devices, the Galaxy Note line takes the power and versatility of the S line a few steps further. This is especially true with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Featuring the Snapdragon 855 (or the Exynos 9825, depending on market), 12GB of RAM, and a 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with the Infinity-O punch hole, this is a powerful phone. The design is equally attractive, though not necessarily massively different from the S line. On the downside, Note 10 Plus doesn’t offer a 1TB option, but the 256 and 512GB options should be more than enough for most.

The camera remains largely the same as the S10 Plus, though in our review we noted it made a few improvements to processing and software. The S10 Plus had a decent camera but was considered a bit of a downgrade from the Note 9, and this will remain mostly true with the Note 10 Plus. Still, it’s not a bad camera just not as impressive as we’ve seen from Samsung in the past.

For those who love the S Pen, the Note 10 Plus continues to excel. This time around the S Pen even gets a few new tricks like gesture controls that let you do things like control your smartphone camera remotely just by waving your hand in certain ways.

Why you should buy

  • Exceptional performance
  • Feature packed
  • The only phone with an S Pen

Why you should pass

  • It’s expensive
  • You aren’t going to use the S Pen
  • You’re not a fan of Samsung’s software

Learn more

Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL

What makes it “the best”

  • One of the best Android camera phones thanks to a combination of great camera software and a quality camera sensor. That’s even more impressive considering its one of the few single-camera setups left on the market.

The Pixel 4 family pack high-end specs like the Snapdragon 855 (paired with 6GB of RAM), but that’s not what makes these phones stand out. The Pixel series has always been great at photography and this continues with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The Pixel 4/XL camera captures more detail than the Pixel 3 series, handles white balance even better, and improves on HDR, portrait mode, and selfies.

Night Sight (Google’s name for night mode) is also better this time around than it was in the Pixel 3 series, and Google now offers a killer feature called astrophotography mode.

The Google Pixel 4 XL takes stunning photos, even if you're a novice

When in Night Mode, if the Pixel 4 detects the light is low enough and the sky is visible it will enter astrophotography mode automatically. It then takes up to sixteen 15-second-long exposures, aligns and tweaks them in the background and pops out the kind of astrophotography you normally only get from a fancy DSLR and a lot of editing. The results speak for themselves and are truly incredible.

On the downside, there’s no ultra-wide sensor, unlike the iPhone 11 series and many flagship Android devices. Google also doesn’t prioritize video. While the iPhone 11 has 4K at 60fps on its front-facing camera, the Pixel 4 still doesn’t even support it on its primary camera. The Pixel 4/XL shoots decent looking 1080p video at 30, 60, and 120fps but you can only shoot 4K at 30fps. Bottom-line, if video is important to you, the Pixel 4 XL might not be the best option.

As for the rest of the experience? The Pixel 4 and 4 XL would be nearly perfect but suffer from well below-average battery life.

Why you should buy

  • Exceptional camera
  • Fast Android updates
  • Clean software experience

Why you should pass

  • Poor battery life
  • Fewer bells and whistles than the competition

Learn more

Buy the Pixel 4/XL


What makes the LG G8X “the best”

  • One of the best Android phones for audio thanks to LG’s DAC and its decision to keep the headphone jack in a world where few other flagships have it.

The LG G8X is very similar to the previously released G8, at least in terms of specs and design. The phone is a slightly bigger device with its 6.4-inch display, as opposed to the G8’s 6.1-inch screen. Other specs and features of the LG G8X include an in-display fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, IP68 water/dust resistance, and the Snapdragon 855 chipset. The phone also has stereo speakers and a 4,000mAh battery.

For music lovers, LG is always a great option and this remains true with the LG G8X. Not only does it sport a headphone jack, but it also offers a Hi-Fi Quad DAC for an improved audio experience.

The LG G8X isn’t a major upgrade to its predecessor but it makes several improvements, it also offers a detachable second screen in the box for those looking for a dual-screen experience. The second display is exactly the same as the main display, meaning it measures 6.4 inches and offers Full HD+ resolution. It even has a notch, although it’s just for uniformity, as it lacks a selfie camera.

Why you should buy

  • Excellent audio features
  • Solid specs overall
  • Great battery life
  • Dual screen is a fun extra

Why you should pass

  • Cameras aren’t the best
  • Not enough apps support dual-screen features
  • For US buyers, it’s only sold via AT&T and Sprint

Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 3a XL

What makes the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL “the best”

  • These phones provide about 85 percent of the flagship Pixel experience without the big price tags.

Ever since the Nexus 5X days, Google has pretty much exclusively focused on top-tier smartphones. The original Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 were all very pricey at launch, leaving those of us wanting a cheaper Google-made phone out to dry.

Finally, Google is back to its more affordable roots with the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. The Google Pixel 3a XL has many of the same internals as the Pixel 3, but at a much lower price. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, squeezy sides to access Google Assistant, and a nice OLED display. Oh, and a headphone jack!

The most important aspect brought over from the Pixel 3 is the camera — the Pixel 3a and 3a XL have the exact same rear camera sensors as the Pixel 3 line. That means you’re getting one of the best smartphone cameras on the market.

Why you should buy

  • Fantastic cameras
  • Durable plastic design
  • They both have headphone jacks!

Why you should pass

  • Performance doesn’t match high-end models
  • No water resistance

Learn more

OnePlus 7T

What makes it “the best”

  • One of the best value Android phones thanks to a reasonably low price tag while still featuring specs and a premium body that are normally found on high-end flagship phones that cost around $1,000.

OnePlus jumped into true flagship territory earlier this year with the OnePlus 7 Pro, and we highly recommended it on this list for a long time. While it’s still a great phone, the OnePlus 7T is now our main OnePlus recommendation for most users. The 7T gets all the features that made the Pro versions so good. A 90Hz display and an upgraded processor lend to the phone’s ultra-smooth feel. The updated triple-rear camera system is one of the best you can get in its price range. And then there’s the price point.

The OnePlus 7T starts at just $599. While the 7 Pro is just $50 more, unless you really want the pop-up camera the OnePlus 7T is probably the better choice for most users.

Editor’s note: There’s also a 7T Pro in some regions, though it doesn’t bring much new to the table, and again we’d recommend the 7T over it if you have the choice.

Why you should buy

  • High-end hardware
  • Extremely aggressively priced

Why you should pass

  • Camera isn’t quite as good as higher-end flagships
  • Not as many bells and whistles as more expensive options

Learn more

That’s it for our list of the best Android phones you can buy, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. If you’re a gamer you might want to consider a gaming phone. Budget shoppers will want to check out our guide to the best cheap Android phones. Want to know what your carrier is offering? Check out our guides to the best Verizon phones, best AT&T phones, best Sprint, and best T-Mobile Android phones. Or, if you’re in the market for a new tablet, check out our list of best Android tablets.

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