Your guide

Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL side by side from the front. Two of the best stock Android phones available.

Most phone makers add a custom UI on top of Android — such as OnePlus’ OxygenOS or Samsung’s One UI — with extra features and a different design. However, these so-called “skins” often come with pre-installed apps you may never use or make changes that worsen the overall user experience.

That’s why there’s a strong demand for phones with stock Android, which is the basic version of the OS that was developed by Google and hasn’t been modified by another manufacturer. As well as being bloatware-free, a key advantage of stock Android phones is that they are among the first to receive operating system updates.

If you’re in the market for a phone running stock Android, keep reading: you’ll find the best ones below that should fit any budget.

Best phones with stock Android:

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


1. Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL and Pixel 3 -- phones with stock Android

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are the best stock Android phones you can buy at the moment. In addition to packing plenty of power under the hood, the devices also feature a fantastic camera.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sport the same 12.2MP single rear camera as the Pixel 2, but they feature a ton of camera software improvements. These include Top Shot mode that takes multiple pictures of your subject and recommends the best one and Night Sight, which brightens low-light scenes thanks to computational photography. There’s even a Motion Auto Focus mode that helps the Pixel 3 focus on a subject in a video, no matter how much they move around.

The Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch Full HD+ screen, while the Pixel 3 XL has 6.3-inch QHD+ display with a big ol’ notch at the top. Both phones also come with Qi wireless charging support and front-facing speakers, but no headphone jack. Best of all, Google has guaranteed updates for these phones until October 2021, even though they were released last November. 


Google 3 specs:

  • Display: 5.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front cameras: 8 and 8MP
  • Battery: 2,915mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Google 3 XL specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front cameras: 8 and 8MP
  • Battery: 3,430mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


2. Nokia 9 PureView

Nokia 9 PureView in a person's hand, one of the best phone stock Android phones.

This is currently the best phone in Nokia’s lineup. The Nokia 9 PureView sports plenty of power under the hood, has a gorgeous design, and stands out from the crowd thanks to its five rear cameras.

Its cameras were developed in partnership with optics pros Zeiss and L16 camera developer Light. Two of the sensors capture full-color photos, while the other three are monochrome sensors that aid with depth, contrast, and exposure. Combined, they can capture spectacular images, just not every time — learn more here.

The Nokia 9 is made of glass and metal, supports wireless charging, and comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner. It also features an IP67 rating for protection against water and dust but does not have a headphone jack.


Nokia 9 PureView specs:

  • Display: 5.99-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: Five 12MP sensors
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 3,320mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


3. Motorola One Vision

Motorola One Vision in hand

The Motorola One Vision has a lot going for it. In addition to being an Android One device, which means it runs a stock version of Android, it also offers a classy design, great cameras, and solid performance. It’s powered by the Exynos 9609 chipset and comes with 4GB of RAM.

The display measures 6.3 inches and has a punch-hole to house the 25MP selfie snapper. The phone is IP52 certified — meaning it’s splash resistant — sports a rear-mounted fingeprint scanner, and features a headphone jack. Other specs and features include 128GB of expandable storage, NFC, and a mediocre 3,500mAh battery.

The phone is available in Europe, India, and a few other regions, but it was not released in the U.S. You can get it from Amazon via the button below.


Motorola One Vision specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Exynos 9609
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48 and 5MP
  • Front camera: 25MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


4. Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3 front

The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are the best mid-range stock Android phones you can get in our opinion. The most impressive thing about them is that they offer almost the same camera experience as the regular Pixel 3. The hardware, coupled with Google’s superb camera software features like the ever-impressive Night Sight, serve up photos far beyond what you might expect for phones in this price range — check pricing below. 

They can’t compare with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL in terms of processing power, but they are more than capable enough for the average user. They feature the Snapdragon 670 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. You even get a headphone jack that’s missing on the Pixel 3 series. You can also expect to get fast updates direct from Google until May 2022.

There are a few omissions, though, which are expected due to the price tags of the phones. There’s no wireless charging or an IP rating. The phones also don’t feel quite as upmarket because of their plastic backs. 


Pixel 3a specs:

  • Display: 5.6-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 670
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


Pixel 3a XL specs:

  • Display: 6.0-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 670
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Rear camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


5. Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 in a person's hand with a firey wallpaper.

The branding of this phone is confusing: The Nokia 8.1 is not in the same league as the older Nokia 8 or the Nokia 8 Sirocco. Rather, this is a mid-range stock Android phone, but it is the best such phone HMD Global has launched in this price range.

The Nokia 8.1 has a 6.18-inch display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2,246 x 1,080. Inside, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. It has two rear cameras: a 12MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture and a 1.4 micron pixel size, and a 13MP depth sensor with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). There’s also a 20MP front-facing selfie camera and a 3,500mAh battery.

The Nokia 8.1 is one of a growing number of Android One smartphones, shipping with a stock version of Android 9.0 Pie out of the box. It’s available in a few regions including Europe and India, but it was not released in the U.S.


Nokia 8.1 specs:

  • Display: 6.18-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 710
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 13 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


6. Xiaomi Mi A3 

The Xiaomi Mi A3 in various colors. One of the best stock Android phones you can buy.Xiaomi

The latest Android One phone from Xiaomi is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a cheap phone with stock Android. The recently launched Xiaomi Mi A3 packs a 6-inch HD+ display, the Snapdragon 665 chipset, and 4GB of RAM. Its display represents a notable dip in resolution compared to its Mi A2 predecessor, which features a Full HD+ display, but you’re due a marked improvement in battery life; the Mi A3 sports a 4,030mAh battery, which is roughly 1,000mAh larger than the one of its predecessor.

The phone features an impressive triple rear camera setup with 48MP, 8MP, and 2MP sensors, a 32MP front shooter, and up to 128GB of storage. It also supports expandable storage, has a headphone jack, and comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner.

Though the Mi A3 makes concessions on its predecessor in the display resolution department, it more than makes up for it in other areas. The phone is already on sale in a few European countries via Amazon as well as Xiaomi’s website and retail stores.


Xiaomi Mi A3 specs:

  • Display: 6.0-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 665
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,030mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie


7. Motorola One and One Power

The Motorola One with a sea blue wallpaper standing upright on a desk.

The Motorola One isn’t the flashiest smartphone in the world, with modest specs and a less than 80 percent screen-to-body ratio, but it’s another inexpensive entry point to stock Android and fast updates. It packs a 5.9-inch, HD+ display, Snapdragon 625 chipset, 4GB RAM, and dual rear cameras — it’s a solid core package. The handset is also bolstered by little additions like microSD card support, a 3.5mm headphone port, and premium feeling glass rear.

If you want a little bit more power, the Motorola One Power is a better option for you. It has a faster Snapdragon 636 chipset, sports a bigger display with a higher resolution, and packs a massive 5,000mAh battery. You also get better cameras. In terms of design, the two phones look more or less identical.

The Motorola One is available in a number of regions including the U.S. and Europe. The Motorola One Power, on the other hand, is only available in India and a few other Asian countries.


Motorola One specs:

  • Display: 5.9-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 625
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 13 and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo


Motorola One Power specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 636
  • RAM: 3/4/6GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 16 and 5MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

Honorable mention: ZTE Axon 10 Pro

If you don’t want or need true stock and are okay with near-stock, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro is a wonderful alternative to any of the phones listed above. It sports a beautiful design, excellent battery life, and a blazing fast Snapdragon 855 processor. 

 


These are the best phones with stock Android in our opinion, although there are a few other great ones out there as well. We’ll be sure to update this list with new models once they are released.