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Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL with stock Android

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 4a

Google Pixel 4a back standing up on table 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Google has set the standards yet again with the Pixel 4a. This phone succeeds and surpasses the Pixel 3a with better performance, an amazing camera performance, and an even lower price point, and even has some of our Pixel 4 XL owners amongst staff jumping across to it. This phone costs a mere $349, which is a surprising price for a phone that can take such nice photos, and of course, runs stock Android.

Google’s clean Android experience is smooth and enjoyable on the Pixel 4a, and you get all the bells and whistles of computational photography and features from the Pixel 4 series, such as Astrophotography Mode, Night Sight and the dual exposure sliders.

The Pixel 4a will compete with the Pixel 4a 5G and the Pixel 5 in time, but right now at $349 it’s one of the best phones of 2020.


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 10

 


2. Nokia 9 PureView

Nokia 9 PureView phone running stock Android

Nokia’s lineup features a number of phones with stock Android, but this one is our favorite. 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 fingerprint 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 officially released in the US. 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 10

4. Google Pixel 4 and 4XL

stock Android phones

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

If you’re looking for a flagship phone with stock Android, look no further than the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Despite all of its flaws, Google’s Pixel 4 lineup provides the absolute best Android experience, at least until the battery dies.

The latest Pixel devices add a 2x telephoto lens to the mix, and you can still expect best-in-class performance from the main camera. A new Astrophotography mode also lets you capture pictures of the stars, which is a neat feature that widens the camera software gap even further.

Apart from the camera, both Pixel 4 phones now come with Soli radar technology. This makes face unlock near-instant from a variety of angles (which is good because there’s no fingerprint reader) and enables some admittedly gimmicky gesture controls.

But the real upgrade is the screen. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL both have 90Hz displays that remain among the best we’ve tested so far. The high refresh rate screen combined with software that’s perfectly optimized for the hardware makes for a phone that any Android fan will love.

The problem? Google has officially stopped selling the Pixel 4 series, with the 4a here and the Pixel 5 around the corner. So picking one up may be trickier than you might have expected.


Google Pixel 4 specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8.1MP
  • Battery: 2,800mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Google Pixel 4 XL specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8.1MP
  • Battery: 3,700mAh
  • Software: Android 10

5. Nokia 5.3

Nokia 5.3 rear profile shot

Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The Nokia 5.3 is one of the lowest cost devices from the maker and gets you a stock Android experience for just about the lowest cost listed here. It had a big screen, quad camera, and long battery life. You’ll get by with what this has to offer on a big screen. Plus, there’s a headphone jack, notification LED, dedicated Google Assitant button, and USB-C 10W charging.

But that just about ends the good stuff. The bad stuff is that it’s pretty slow, the camera isn’t amazing, and the lowe resolution on the screen means it doesn’t look great.

Those things may not worry you given it’s a no-nonsense stock device with long-lasting battery and comes with Android 10 out of the box. As part of Android One, Nokia is promising two years of major updates as well as security patches.

There are better phones here, including the Nokia 8.1 listed below, and the coming Nokia 8.3 with 5G, which has been announced but hasn’t been released yet. But, none are cheaper than this guy.

 

Nokia 5.3 specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, 720p
  • SoC: Snapdragon 665
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Camera: 13, 5, 2MP, ToF
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

6. 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, and it’s one of a few that are upgradable to Android 10 right away. It’s available in a few regions including Europe and India, but it was not released in the US. If you can wait a little longer, the Nokia 8.3 is slated for release this summer, and it will feature 5G support with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor.


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 10

7. Xiaomi Mi A3

Best stock Android phones - Xiaomi Mi A3

Xiaomi Mi A3

This Android One phone from Xiaomi is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a cheap phone with stock Android. The 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 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

8. Motorola One Action

Rear shot of the Motorola One Action 2

In 2019, Motorola released a trio of devices (the Motorola One Action, One Macro, and One Zoom) that focused on unique camera features instead of powerful specs. Of the three, the Motorola One Action is the only stock Android phone, but it’s also the most interesting.

The Motorola One Action is a budget device featuring a GoPro-like “Action camera” that captures Full HD video at 60fps with a 117-degree field of view. It also has impressive image stabilization, so you don’t have to worry about shaky hands ruining your shots.

In an unusual move, the Action camera module has been rotated 90 degrees, so you can capture widescreen video without having to turn the phone into landscape mode. This means that the viewfinder is significantly smaller, but it’s easier to film with one-hand.

Unfortunately, the Action camera is only used for video, and the rest of the cameras on the phone are mediocre at best. Still, at just $250, or even less on a deal, it’s a great stock Android phone that won’t break the bank.


Motorola One Action specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch Full HD+
  • SoC: Exynos 9609
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 5, and 16MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 3,500mAh
  • Software: Android 9.0 Pie

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.