Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G in the pink

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

With Android thoroughly dominating the mobile industry, there are countless great Android smartphones to pick from in the UK phones market. From sleek devices that impress with premium design, to powerhouses brimming with features, to all-around great devices, and affordable phones that punch above their weight, the best Android phones in the UK offer a staggering variety of attractive phones.

Not all smartphone models are available globally, for reasons ranging from modem and networks through to supply chains and marketing. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best Android phones you can buy in the UK.

Best Android phones in UK:

Editor’s note: We will be regularly updating this list of best Android phones in UK as new devices launch and become available in the country.


1. Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs Galaxy S20 Plus vs Galaxy S20 FE

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Galaxy S21 family makes some marked departures from its predecessor.

The updated design smoothens the large camera bump into the metal rails. However, if you opt for the standard Galaxy S21, you’ll be getting a plastic back as opposed to the glass back found on both its predecessor and the larger Galaxy S21 models. Other changes include the switch to 1080p 120Hz displays from the predecessor’s 1440p units, and the controversial omission of an included charger.

Samsung's Galaxy S21 is characteristically well-rounded.

All three devices are powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 (Snapdragon 888 in other regions), though the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus house 8GB of RAM with the Ultra model coming with 12 or even 16GB of memory. The Galaxy S21, s21 Plus, and S21 Ultra have 4,000, 4,800, and 5,000mAh batteries, respectively, and all can charge at a maximum of 25W. That said, you’re required to provide your own charger.

Samsung’s Galaxy line has always been known for having some of the most well-rounded smartphones. This generation is no exception. With fantastic cameras, great displays, solid performance, and good battery life, the Galaxy S21 series should be high up on your list for your next smartphone purchase.

Continue reading: Samsung Galaxy S series: A history of the biggest name in Android

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, FHD+
  • Chipset: Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, FHD+
  • Chipset: Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, and 12MP
  • Front cameras: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,800mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, 12, and 10MP
  • Front camera: 40MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 8 Pro

OnePlus 8T rear hero shot

OnePlus’ 8-series duo is a fantastic pair of smartphones. Like their predecessors, the OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 8 Pro push towards flagship territory in both price and performance. 

The OnePlus 8T betters its predecessor with a flat 90Hz Full HD+ AMOLED panel that doesn’t suffer from the same curved display glare problems as the previous model. It’s got the same Snapdragon 865 and either 8 or 12GB RAM as its predecessor, but adds faster 65W charging, a larger battery, and the new Oxygen OS 11 skin based on Android 11. The OnePlus 8T ‘s quad-camera array includes an optically stabilized 48MP main sensor, 16MP ultra-wide camera, and a 16MP selfie shooter.

The OnePlus 8's 90Hz panel works with the Snapdragon 865 and OxygenOS to make for a snappy user experience.

The OnePlus 8 Pro takes this further with a curved 120Hz Quad HD+ AMOLED panel with a pixel density figure of 513ppi, and also supports HDR 10+. The OnePlus 8 Pro debuts OnePlus’ 30W wireless charging and features a much more comprehensive camera system. Included are 48MP wide, 48MP ultrawide, 8MP telephoto, 5MP color filter, and 16MP selfie cameras. It also has a larger 4,510mAh cell and is the first OnePlus device to sport an official IP68 water and dust resistance rating.

Both devices have a punch hole in the top left instead of a pop-up mechanism, and both have Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back. Both also have very thin bezels around the display and a center-positioned camera bump on the back. The OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro also sport UFS 3.0 storage, Warp Charge 30T charging, and OxygenOS 10 atop of Android 10. Other shared features include in-display fingerprint scanners, and WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and 5G support.

Check OnePlus 8T Pricing


OnePlus 8T specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 16, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

OnePlus 8 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Camera: 48, 48, 8, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,510mAh
  • Software: Android 10

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - best UK phone

The Galaxy Note line has historically been the best of what Samsung can offer.

This time around, though, the Korean firm has chosen to split its Galaxy Note series into a standard and an Ultra model, with more differences than you might imagine. Because of the Note 20’s poorer specs, we’ve picked the Ultra variant for today’s list.

The £1,179 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes with a massive 6.9-inch 120Hz Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, though it can only be used at either Quad HD+ at 60Hz or Full HD+ at 120Hz. This larger device has a glass back and a 4,500mAh battery with both wireless charging and fast charging capabilities. One of the Note 20 Ultra’s biggest upgrades over the Note 20 is its camera system. It gets boosted to a 108MP main camera, 12MP 5x periscope zoom, and 12MP ultrawide camera. The 10MP selfie setup stays the same, however. 

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is far superior to the Galaxy Note 20.

The Note 20 Ultra comes with an Exynos 990, 8GB RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage. This is very similar to what we had last year with the UK variant of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. This means that you’d be getting worse performance and battery life with the UK Note 20 Ultra than the US’ Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 model. It’s a shame, but it’s what Samsung has given us.

If you were thinking about purchasing a Galaxy Note 20-series device, then we recommend the pricier Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for its far superior display and camera setup. It’s without a doubt one of the best Android phones in the UK to get.


Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.9-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Exynos 990
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

4. Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a -- best phone in the UK

Last year’s Google Pixel 3a was a brilliant mid-range smartphone, so it’s no surprise that its successors are equally great. 

Read more: Google Pixel 4a vs Pixel 4a: Should you upgrade?

Google’s Pixel 4a is a fantastic mid-ranger with a top-notch screen and a formidable camera system. It only sports a total of one camera on either side, but their image quality is unmatched in this price range. Its Full HD+ AMOLED display comes with a punch hole in the top left and is very accurate. The Pixel 4a‘s panel managed to peak at 719 nits in our brightness testing, which is far beyond the competition and Google’s own Pixel 4!

The Pixel 4a is one of the best sub-£400 smartphones that you can buy right now.

With three years of guaranteed software support, 18W fast charging, great haptics, and a polycarbonate build, the Pixel 4a packs in a great user experience at just £349. It doesn’t have the fastest processor or the smoothest display, but it has a headphone port, fast capacitive fingerprint scanner, and clicky, tactile buttons. It comes with the Snapdragon 730G, 6GB RAM, and 128GB storage, which is enough for day-to-day tasks and taking plenty of photos.

Related: Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Perfectly balanced, as all pixels should be

In case the Pixel 4a isn’t enough phone for you, Google has recently released its Pixel 4a 5G which adds to the already great Pixel 4a hardware. Included is a new ultra-wide camera, a bigger display, a much larger battery, and the Snapdragon 765G processor which supports 5G connectivity. The £499 mid-ranger sits comfortably in between the cheaper Pixel 4a and the pricier Pixel 5.


Google Pixel 4a specs:

  • Display: 5.81-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 730G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,140mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Google Pixel 4a 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,885mAh
  • Software: Android 11

5. Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi Mi 11 hero shot

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is one of the highest-spec phones on this list.

Xiaomi packed in the latest Snapdragon 888 flagship chipset from Qualcomm 8 or 12GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage. It also features a 6.81-inch 1440p 120Hz AMOLED display which combines a high pixel-density with a fast refresh rate. This panel is both larger in physical size and in resolution than the previous model‘s. This creates a really well-rounded device packed with specs.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a 2021 version of the brilliantly balanced Mi 10T Pro.

The Mi 11’s camera setup has stayed mostly the same as its predecessor. The rear shooters comprise of a 108MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide, and 5MP depth camera. The Mi 11 can record video with the main camera at 8K at 30fps or UHD 4K at 60fps. There’s also  On the front, there’s a 20MP camera that can shoot 1080P at 30fps. This isn’t the most versatile camera setup on the planet but for around £600 in the UK, it’s enough to compete with devices like the Asus Zenfone 7 Pro and the OnePlus 8T.

We gave the MI 11’s predecessor our coveted Recommended badge for balancing many of its features to make one of the best-balanced smartphones of last year. The Mi 11 seems to be an extension of this with a better display, cleaner design, and beefed-up internals.

Keep in mind that the phone isn’t officially available in the UK yet, but it’s already listed on Xiaomi’s website and should go on sale any day now.


Xiaomi Mi 11 specs:

  • Display: 6.81-inch, Quad HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 108, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Software: Android 10

6. Oppo Find X2 Pro

Oppo Find X2 Pro UK phone

The Oppo Find X2 Pro is the best of what BBK offers.

The device is based on the OnePlus 8 Pro and so comes with lots of bells and whistles. It sports a 6.7-inch Quad HD+ 120Hz AMOLED display with a pixel density figure of 513ppi. The Find X2 Pro comes with top-class camera hardware that we called wonderful in our review! Its great 48MP main and 48MP ultra-wide sensors are backed up by a 13MP 5x periscope zoom camera that takes fantastic zoom images. 

There’s no lack of performance, here. The Oppo Find X2 Pro sports a Snapdragon 865 5G chipset with 8GB or 12GB of RAM with up to 512GB of storage. It’s running ColorOS 7.1 which is a huge leap in quality vs its predecessor. This new version is running on Android 10 and has all of the customization options that you’d really want.

If you have deep pockets, you should at least consider the Oppo Find X2 Pro.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro comes with a large 4,620mAh battery and super-fast 65W charging that charges the cell from 2% to 92% in just 30 minutes. Oppo decided to leave out wireless charging on the Find X2 Pro and said that there is no need to have a lower-voltage charging option when the phone charges at 65W. However, its competition — the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro — has wireless charging and so it really is missing out on a common feature.


Oppo Find X2 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 48, 48, and 13MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,620mAh
  • Software: Android 10

7. Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5 standing up back on table 2

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 5 is unlike previous flagship devices from the big G. For £599, Google’s premier device sports a mid-range chipset, an ultra-wide camera, and a bunch of external tweaks to put it more in-line with the company’s mid-range devices.

The Pixel 5 is an interesting approach to Google's premier device.

The Pixel 5 has an aluminum chassis with a plastic coating. There’s a cutout beneath the coating near the middle to allow for the wireless charging passthrough. The 90Hz AMOLED display is excellent — something we’ve come to expect from Google Pixel devices over the years. The Pixel 5’s battery is far larger than that found in its predecessor and so battery life has significantly improved over last year.

Related: Google Pixel series camera shootout: Three generations of progress

Another big improvement over the Pixel 4 is the camera setup. Though still not the most versatile smartphone camera, Google has at least included a new ultra-wide camera and improved video. Google continues to stick with its main Sony IMX363 camera sensor, which hasn’t changed since the Google Pixel 3. However, Google’s processing is where the Pixel 5’s camera really shines, just like with its predecessors.

Overall, the Pixel 5 is a fantastic buy for £599. What you give up in raw horsepower you get back in software support, camera performance, and display quality.


Google Pixel 5 specs:

  • Display: 6-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,080mAh
  • Software: Android 11

8. Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony Xperia 5 II rear profile

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

We were thoroughly impressed with Sony’s Xperia 5 II. Complicated name aside, the pricey device is one of the best devices that the Japanese firm has ever produced. 

It’s got a flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8GB RAM, 128 or 256GB storage, a 4,000mAh battery, and an excellent 120Hz OLED display. The device is thin and tall making it feel different in the hand to other devices on the market. Unfortunately, the device ships with Android 10 out of the box instead of Android 11, but we don’t believe this to be a deal-breaker when discussing the viability of the Xperia 5 II.

The Sony Xperia 5 II is one of the best devices that the company has ever made.

Sony’s Xperia 5 II has a triple rear camera array comprised of three 12MP sensors. There are wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras on the rear of the device which take fantastic photos. Sony’s Pro apps bring in fine controls and settings from the company’s high-end alpha camera series enabling users to take control of the photography experience.

As an overall package, the Sony Xperia 5 II is a fantastic option at the high end with a great screen, solid camera, and good performance, all in a unique form factor and design.


Sony Xperia 5 II specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

That’s it for our look at the best Android phones in UK. We’ll add more top phones available in UK stores as they hit the market.

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