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Here are the best smartphones offering a near-stock Android experience

Keep it clean and simple with stock Android.
By
July 2, 2022
Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro review outdoor with autumn leaves - Phones with stock Android
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

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 that impact the overall user experience. That’s why there’s a demand for phones with stock Android, which another manufacturer hasn’t modified.

If you’re in the market for a phone running stock Android, you might be sad to hear true stock Android is pretty hard to find these days. Even Pixel handsets come with the Pixel UI launcher. Save for Android One handsets, which are affordable and meant for emerging markets, pretty much all devices come with some modifications. This is why we’ll be mainly focusing on phones that come with a “near-stock Android” experience, as well as some Android One alternatives.

Also read: The best Android phones available

The best phones with stock Android

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

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on red leaf background - Phones with stock Android
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Pixel line-up has been known for sporting high-end specs, including powerful processors and all the features you need. The Google Pixel 5 didn’t meet these high standards, but Google is back at it with the Pixel 6 series, and this time we’re not disappointed at all.

These devices are made with premium materials and offer a design that will make most competitors jealous. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are also the first to come with Google’s own Tensor chipset, which isn’t the best on the market but is good enough for demanding users. They run Android 12 and are guaranteed to get three major OS upgrades. 

To make matters even more enticing, the prices are very competitive. These are hands-down the best phones with a near-stock Android experience.


Google Pixel 6 specs:

  • Display: 6.4-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Google Tensor
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 50 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,614mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Google Pixel 6 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.71-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Google Tensor
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 50, 48, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 11.1MP
  • Battery: 5,003mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Google Pixel 5a

the google pixel 5a on a bench with water splashed droplets - Phones with stock Android
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Those looking for a Google smartphone that will keep the wallet healthy should look at the Pixel 5a. It has enough power to keep most casual users happy, supports 5G, and is one of the best phones with a near-stock Android experience.

You get a pretty sizeable 4,680mAh battery, a headphone jack, and an IP67 rating, all of which are rare to see in a budget phone. Like all other Pixels, it also features a camera that is way too good for this price range, and challenges even high-end phones.

More: The best budget phones you can find

Of course, Google had to make some sacrifices somewhere. The design isn’t as premium, and the phone is mainly made of plastic. It also has no wireless charging, which has become an essential feature to many users.

Keep in mind that the Pixel 6a has already been announced but is not available yet. Sales officially kick off on July 28 — learn more here.


Google Pixel 5a specs:

  • Display: 6.34-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,680mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Asus ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro

Asus ROG Phone 5 product shot of the rear of the device at an angle
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

If what you want is a true gaming powerhouse that fits in your pocket, you must take a look at the Asus ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro. These devices are out of this world!

Related: The best gaming phones

They come with a Snapdragon 888+ chipset, up to a whopping 18GB of RAM, massive 6,000mAh batteries, and nice screens. You’ll also enjoy gaming features like shoulder pads, Armoury Crate optimizations, and a plethora of accessory options.

The best part? Asus is known for offering some of the best phones with near-stock Android, and even this gaming-centric phone keeps pretty close to the true Google experience.

Just keep in mind that the ROG Phone 6 series is just around the corner, so you may want to hold off on your purchase. 


Asus ROG Phone 5s specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888+
  • RAM: 8/12/16/18GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Asus ROG Phone 5s Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888+
  • RAM: 18GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Asus Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 31
Luke Pollack / Android Authority

You don’t have to get a fancy, expensive device to enjoy a near-stock Android phone. The ZenFone 8 series features a couple of great devices at very reasonable price points. These are the Asus Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip.

Both devices come with great specs, including a capable Snapdragon 888 processor, Super AMOLED screens with high refresh rates, and plenty of RAM, which come as nice additions given the price points.

The Flip version also features a camera that turns to face the user, making for a great alternative to those who want a capable selfie shooter. You also get large batteries and stereo speakers.


Asus Zenfone 8 specs:

  • Display: 5.9-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 6/8/12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 8, and 12MP
  • Front camera: N/A
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Sony Xperia 1 III and 5 III

Sony Xperia 1 III vs Sony Xperia 5 III cameras
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Sony makes some quality smartphones, and they also happen to produce some of the best phones with stock Android experiences. Their UI is super clean and keeps things as simple as they get. The Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III also come with great specs, a solid build quality, and plenty of features, especially for photo/video enthusiasts.

Also: These are the best camera phones around

Specs include a Snapdragon 888 processor, a 4,500mAh battery, large screens, and plenty of memory. The Xperia 1 III is the highest-end of the two, featuring 12GB of RAM, a larger 6.5-inch screen with a 4K resolution, and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s also a costly device, though.

Those who want to save a bit won’t have to sacrifice much with the Xperia 5 III. The mid-end version comes with a 6.1-inch 1080p display (also 120Hz), 8GB of RAM, and a capable camera system.

The Xperia 1 IV has already been announced as is available in Europe. However, we haven’t reviewed it yet and the phone isn’t available in the US at the moment, so we’re keeping the older Xperia generation on this list for now.


Sony Xperia 1 III specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP + ToF
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Sony Xperia 5 III specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Motorola Moto Edge Plus (2022)

Motorola Edge Plus 2022 front centered on couch
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

There’s a lot to like about the Moto Edge Plus 2022. Besides a stock-like software experience, the handset features a great screen, excellent battery life, strong speakers, and high-end performance. It comes with three rear cameras, supports wireless charging, and can connect to both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G technology.

It’s a great and powerful phone overall, but it has its faults. The IP rating is very limited at IP52, which makes the phone resistant to light splashing and only “limited ingress” protection against dust. The cameras are average at best and the update policy is questionable — learn more here.

However, this is still one of the best stock-Android phones for Motorola fans. But if you’re not a big fan of Moto devices, something like the Pixel 6 may be a better option.


Moto Edge Plus (2022) specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 50, 50, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 60MP
  • Battery: 4,800mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Nokia X100

nokia x100 fingerprint reader and volume rocker
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Nokia is known for not tinkering much with its software, offering a clean look and simple interface for users to enjoy. Such is the case with the Nokia X100, which is definitely among the best phones with near-stock Android.

It has a lot going for itself, considering the low price. The Snapdragon 480 isn’t a performer, but it will do fine for casual use. It also comes with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 6.67-inch Full HD+ display. Again, nothing to write home about, but you’ll save plenty of cash. And at least you get a large 4,470mAh battery.

Next: Get a phone with some serious battery life

What makes this phone so good is its value per dollar. The phone is also available in the USA through T-Mobile. Nokia phones don’t typically reach our side of the globe, so it’s nice to see this one stateside.


Nokia X100 specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 5, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,470mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Nokia XR20

nokia xr20 1
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

The Nokia XR20 packs a 6.67-inch HD+ display, the Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, and 6GB of RAM. Although the internals are solid, the real draw for the XR20 is its toughness. The device packs an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, and it’s MIL-STD 810H compliant. All this is to say that you can drop it onto concrete from up to 1.8-meters.

The phone features an impressive dual rear camera array tuned by Zeiss. You’re looking at a 48MP primary lens paired with a 13MP ultrawide option for added flexibility. It also supports expandable storage, has a headphone jack, and comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

Though the XR20 makes concessions on its cameras and its processor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another device with this much impact resistance that still looks like an everyday workhorse.


Nokia XR20 specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480 5G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,630mAh
  • Software: Android 11

If you’re not happy with any of these phones, maybe it’s time to consider going another route. The great thing about Android is you can customize it to your liking. Check out the link below to see the best Android launchers available.

Here: Take a look at the best Android launcher apps