Samsung Galaxy Note 9 next to Google Pixel 3 XL - best Android phones UK

With Android thoroughly dominating the mobile industry, there are almost countless great Android smartphones to pick from in the U.K. 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 U.K. offer a staggering variety of attractive phones.

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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 U.K. phones for Android.

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

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro triple camera - best Android phones UK

The Huawei Mate 20 series may never reach U.S. shores, but the rest of the world, including the U.K. phones audience, is in for a treat. These are, without a doubt, the best Huawei phones the company has produced so far, and in the case of the Mate 20 Pro, arguably the best Chinese Android phone ever made.

The Mate 20 Pro is an absolute powerhouse powered by the Kirin 980 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage (expandable), and a huge 4,200mAh cell. As well as a gorgeous 6.39-inch OLED display, the Mate 20 Pro also features an in-display fingerprint scanner, 3D facial recognition, and reverse wireless charging. Like the P20 Pro before it, the Mate 20 Pro also sports three cameras on the rear – a primary 40MP lens with a f/1.8 aperture, a telephoto 8MP shooter with a f/2.4 aperture and OIS, and a 20MP ultra-wide lens with a f/2.2 aperture.

Related: Google Pixel 3 Night Sight vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro Night Mode

If you want to save a few pennies, the regular Mate 20 ditches OLED for an IPS LCD display, the in-display fingerprint sensor for a physical one, and loses reverse charging, but aside from a drop in megapixels in the camera department, it’s mostly the same phone with blistering performance and a much smaller notch to boot.

These phones are not cheap, however. In the U.K., you can get the Mate 20 Pro at Amazon for a whopping £899, while the Mate 20 is priced a little lower at £699 without a contract. Other retailers that sell U.K. phones like Carphone Warehouse, John Lewis, Argos, and Clove Technology are also selling the phones for similar prices. The Emerald Green version is exclusive to Carphone Warehouse, but you can grab the Black or Twilight colorways from whichever retailer is offering the best deal.

As for the rest of the Mate 20 series, you can buy the enormous, gaming-focused Mate 20 X from Amazon for £799, while the slightly underwhelming Mate 20 Lite goes for as low as £279.

Specs:

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

  • 6.39-inch Super OLED display with 3120 x 1440 resolution
  • 2.6GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor
  • Mali-G76 720MHz GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB of built-in storage, expandable via nano memory card slot (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • dual-SIM (dual standby)
  • 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP triple rear cameras, 24MP front-facing camera
  • 4,200mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm, 189grams

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rear - best Android phones UK

We couldn’t make a “Best Phones” list without including our overall Best of Android 2018 winner, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. It might be expensive, with the top model pushing standard Android phones past the £1,000 mark for the first time, but the Note 9’s insane specs and features form an all-round package that can’t be denied.

Editor's Pick

The Note 9’s sports a near-bezel-less 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, which is a perfect pairing for the newly upgraded S-Pen with remote control support via Bluetooth. Inside you get the same Samsung Exynos 9810 SoC we saw with the Galaxy S9 in the U.K., complete with 6GG/8GB RAM and 128/512GB storage, backed by a chunky 4,000mAh battery.

It also borrows the Galaxy S9’s excellent dual-lens camera suite, so top-quality photos are guaranteed. They even fixed the Note 8‘s dumb fingerprint sensor placement.

We’re apparently in for something a bit special for the Galaxy series’ tenth anniversary, but for now, the Note 9 is the best phone Samsung has ever made. Check out our full review below!

The regular Note 9 model retails for £899, while the 8GB/512GB variant pushes the price up to an eye-watering £1,099. You might find a deal if you’re prepared to wait, but don’t expect to see huge discounts on the premium phablet for some time.

Specs:

  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution
  • 2.7GHz octa-core Exynos 9810 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP 18
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 128/256/512GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD card up to 512GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • 12MP and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front-facing camera
  • dual-SIM (dual standby) – hybrid slot
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm, 201grams

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL in white and pink - best Android phones UK

Yes, the larger version has a massive, indefensibly ugly “bathtub” notch. Yes, they still lag behind in the specs department in some key areas. They’re also a little too expensive compared to rival devices.

But, if you want a phone that takes wonderful photos every time, there’s nothing that can match the Google Pixel 3 series.

While seemingly every other OEM is in a rush to make smartphones with as many lenses as possible, the big G stuck with a single shooter for its third-generation Pixel phones, instead relying on computational photography to once again give it the edge. It worked — the Pixel 3 offers the most consistent camera experience of any phone on the market, complete with Pixel-only features like the see-it-to-believe-it Night Sight mode.

Editor's Pick

Google has also managed to exorcize the display issues we saw with the Pixel 2 XL.

Both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL sport P-OLED displays, with the former a little smaller at 5.5-inches and a lower pixel per inch total (443 ppi vs 523 ppi).

The Pixel 3 XL’s QHD+ 6.3-inch is better on paper, but the harsh reality is you’ll have to deal with the notch (or turn it off and live with a larger top bezel).

Aside from a slight difference in battery life, you’re essentially getting the same great phone whether you go for the Pixel 3 or its larger twin. That also means you’ll get the same Snapdragon 845 SoC and front facing speakers — as well as the same meager 4GB of total RAM.

Google’s habit of over-inflating its prices in the U.K. also returns with the Pixel 3 series, with the entire range starting from £739. Thankfully, most other retailers (notably not Amazon, because reasons) offer better deals.

Specs:

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2160 x 1080 resolution (Pixel 3)
  • 6.3-inch AMOLED display with 2960 x 1440 resolution (Pixel 3 XL)
  • 2.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 12.2MP rear camera, dual 8MP front-facing cameras
  • 2,915mAh battery (Pixel 3)
  • 3,430mAh battery (Pixel 3 XL)
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm, 148grams (Pixel 3)
  • 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm, 184grams (Pixel 3 XL)

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OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T display - best Android phones UK

The OnePlus 6 is still a fantastic phone, but its latest T series phone — the OnePlus 6T — takes its predecessor’s blueprint to the next level. Mostly.

New features include an in-display fingerprint sensor, a larger battery, and a slightly chunkier design. It also has a much smaller “waterdrop” notch, which still won’t assuage die-hard notch haters, but looks much better than a larger, rectangular cutout.

Editor's Pick

Unfortunately, one other change between the 6 and 6T went down less well with fans.

The reasoning behind the headphone jack’s removal is pretty shaky, but OnePlus isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last OEM to drop the 3.5mm port.

With similar specs, software, and an identical camera, there’s no a huge incentive to upgrade to the OnePlus 6T if you already have a OnePlus 6. For anyone looking for bargain, however, the OnePlus 6T isn’t just one of the best U.K. phones — it’s one of the best value phones full stop.

The OnePlus 6T starts at £499 for the 6GB RAM/128GB storage model. You can bump up the RAM count to 8GB for an extra £29, or go all out for 8GB RAM/256 ROM for a total of £579.

Specs

  • 6.4-inch AMOLED display with 2340 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 64/128GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 16MP and 20MP dual rear cameras, 16MP front-facing camera
  • 3,700mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm, 185grams

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Honor View 20

Honor View 20 rear - best Android phones UK

Taken the mantle of the newest smartphone on this best U.K. phones list is the latest flagship from Huawei sub-brand Honor. The youth-focused company has been pumping out incredible value phones with flagship specs and features for years and has already built a solid reputation in the U.K.

That continues with the Honor View 20 — and then some.

The Honor View 20 is a sublime phone with a gorgeous V-pattern design, a vibrant 6.4-inch 19.25:9 LCD display, a meaty 4,000mAh battery, and a Sony-made 48 megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture paired with a 3D TOF sensor. That’s all powered by Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 SoC and backed by either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. It even has a headphone jack and an IR blaster!

More: Specs comparison: Honor View 20 vs Honor View 10

The other big win for the Honor View 20 is the lack of a notch. Instead, Honor has opted to stick with a near bezel-less design but shift the selfie camera inside the display. This “hole-punch” design looks set to be a trend in 2019, but Honor will have always got there first.

There are some downsides — the lack of an IP rating for waterproofing, no wireless charging, and Magic UI being a little too iPhone-like for some — but at just £499 for the 6GB RAM/128GB ROM model, the View 20 is an enticing alternative to the OnePlus 6T.

Specs

  • 6.4-inch IPS LCD display with 2310 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.6GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor
  • Mali-G76 720MHz GPU
  • 6/8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB built-in storage, not expandable
  • 48MP and TOF 3D stereo camera, 25MP front-facing camera
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1mm, 180grams

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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S9 - best Android phones UK

Samsung’s 2018 flagships are showing their age a little, but even with the Galaxy S10 just around the corner it’s hard to deny the winning combo of the Galaxy S9 series. Solid battery life, high-res screens, impressive camera performance have been hallmarks of Samsung’s design for some time now, but the S8 range updated the look with a more modern design that went on to inspire the Note 9 and beyond.

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus feature top-of-the-line specifications, killer cameras, and gorgeous, notch-free displays.

Samsung included a curved screen on both the S9 and S9 Plus, with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio that allows for a much more comfortable in-hand feel. Under the hood, these devices come with the Exynos 9810 SoC (Snapdragon 845 in other regions), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of on-board storage, and were recently updated to Android 9.0 Pie.

If you shop around you can pick up the Galaxy S9 Plus for under £600, while the regular S9 retails for under £500. It’s hard to argue with those prices.

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Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Pocophone F1 front - best Android phones UK

Want all the power of a £1,000 flagship phone for less than a third of the price? Look no further than the Pocophone F1 — the best budget U.K. phone by a country mile.

When Xiaomi officially launched in the U.K. in 2018, it brought with it the first phone from its Pocophone sub-brand, which immediately overshadowed the rest of Xiaomi’s phones.

Starting at just £329 (and going as low as £279 in frequent sales), the Pocophone F1 offers a frankly bonkers price-performance ratio. It’s powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC that featured in almost all the biggest flagship phones of 2018 and is backed by 6GB of RAM. It even went toe-to-toe with the big boys in our Best of Android testing.

Related: Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro vs Pocophone F1: Which is better value?

It’s not just the silicon that belies the phone’s price tag either. The 6.18-inch LCD display and 4,000mAh battery are both far above anything else in the low-to-mid-tier market.

Of course, there are sacrifices to be made to get those features at this price point. The most obvious one is the dual-lens camera, which, while by no means terrible, won’t produce the kind of results you’d expect from other Snapdragon 845 phones. Xiaomi’s MIUI skin is also a little hit-and-miss, even with the new features added specifically for the Poco Launcher, and the overall design is a little bland.

However, if you want a phone that’ll go hard, all day, and still have a bundle of cash left over, the Pocophone F1 is absolutely one of the best U.K. phones.

Specs

  • 6.18-inch IPS LCD display with 2246 x 1080 resolution
  • 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6 RAM
  • 64/128GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • 12MP and 5MP rear cameras, 20MP front-facing camera
  • dual-SIM (dual standby) – hybrid slot
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8mm, 180grams

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Best UK Android phones – Check out our related guides:

Looking for something more specific than the best Android phones in U.K.? Maybe the best cheap phone, a dual-SIM phone, or something specific to your carrier? No matter what you’re looking for, we have you covered.

That’s it for our look at the best Android phones in U.K.. Sound off in the comments on your opinions for U.K. phones.

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