The best Android phones are handhelds that encompass some of the biggest names and best options available today. From top-of-the-line options to budget-friendly picks, choosing which Android phone is best for you is an adventure all of it own.
From some of the best Google phones, best Samsung phones, Huawei, Nokia, LG, Sony, and newer brands breaking into this elite club. variety is the spice of the life in the Android world and with so many great options to choose from figuring out which is the best Android phone for you can be a bit of a challenge.
Determining which Android device is the best phone for you means choosing from a long list of options. From the functionality you're after down to the color you want and everything in between, whatever features are most important to you our guide is here to help you find the perfect Android phone.
As Back to School sales gear up, many of these top picks will also be on sale in the coming weeks. Students hoping to snag a new Android phone cheap just might get lucky if they play their cards right, so be sure to check back for deals on some of our top picks below!
Best Android phones 2022
"The Samsung Galaxy S22 is a top performer across the board. It's a people-pleasing smartphone that packs everything you could need into a compact and good-looking device. The screen is stunning, it's powerful and the camera takes excellent shots. The only reason I'd tell you not to buy this would be if you just bought the S21 because it's not different enough to be worth the upgrade." – T3's Samsung Galaxy S22 review (opens in new tab)
The Samsung Galaxy S22 has flagship-level specs without an eye-watering price tag, and it's small enough to fit in your pocket. You'll get a stunning screen, a feature-heavy camera system and Samsung has used repurposed ocean-bound plastics like discarded fishing nets to manufacture it.
While it hasn’t changed that much from the Samsung Galaxy S21, the system and design has had a bit of a refresh to bring it right up to date.
Gone is the plastic build, the phone is now made from Armor Aluminium and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, both are tough and durable so it should be able to cope with knocks and bumps. And it's IP68 rated so is waterproof and dust resistant as well.
Powering it is the latest 4nm processor, which will either be the Exynos 2200 or the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, depending on where in the world you are. That’s been paired with a new NPU which is supposedly twice as fast as on the S21 and help to boost the efficiency of the phone’s AI-based features like the Night Mode on the camera.
The price is also very approachable and, all that considered, that is why we recommend the Samsung Galaxy S22 as the best Android phone for most people.
"The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is the most affordable phone in the S21 series - its specs and features have been streamlined to keep the cost down. While it may not be as good value as we'd have hoped for it's still a very capable piece of kit with a decent camera, powerful processing and a long-lasting battery." – T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review (opens in new tab)
Every phone in the Galaxy S21 series has its plus points, but for many, the prices will be off-putting. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, otherwise known as Fan Edition, was launched almost a year after the rest of the series and gives you all the benefits of the S21 in a more streamlined, affordable package.
It's the first Samsung phone to ship with Android 12, so you get all of the new customization in Google's latest software as well.
The superb display on the Galaxy S21 FE absolutely steals the show – it's just as good as what you get on the S21 – and you can add to that top-tier specs and a camera that produces some excellent results for the most part.
The battery life holds up well too – something that continues to be a concern for smartphone buyers everywhere. If you're put off by the extravagant features and price points of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, this might be the perfect buy for you.
"The OnePlus 9 Pro is a mature evolution of last year's flagship that doubles down on the area where the Chinese maker has traditionally been weaker than its main rivals – the camera system. The Hasselblad partnership sees OnePlus address this head on and, as a result, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers the best camera system of any OnePlus phone ever made." – T3's OnePlus 9 Pro review (opens in new tab)
As T3 noted in its full OnePlus 9 Pro review, this is the handset where Chinese maker OnePlus has finally got a flagship camera system right, with its clever partnering with photo taking masters Hasselblad elevating it to the top table.
Last year's flagship had been a superb all-round phone, and one that won plenty of plaudits, but the one area where it couldn't compete was in terms of camera system, with rivals outgunning it. The OnePlus 9 Pro, though, fixes that, and while its camera system isn't the best on the market, it is comparable.
Alongside the new Hasselblad Camera for Mobile camera system, the OnePlus 9 Pro delivers what OnePlus is now renowned for – lighting fast performance, buckets of power, and a stunning screen.
Indeed, the QHD (3216x1400) 120Hz AMOLED is absolutely gorgeous, while a the top-spec variant of this handset comes with a app and games-crushing 12GB of RAM. Paired with the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, Adreno 660 GPU and up to 256GB of storage space, and you've got a seriously capable phone.
Maybe the most impressive thing about the OnePlus 9 Pro, though, is its charging capabilities. Not only does this phone offer 65-watt Warp Charge over wired connection, which can fill a phone from 0-100 per cent charge in just 29 minutes, but it also supports 50-watt wireless charging, too, which can do the same in just under 45 minutes. That's incredible, and basically guarantees that you're never going to left short on time to charge you handset.
Overall, then, the OnePlus 9 Pro easily makes it claim of the best premium Android phone crown, and providing you don't want to go ultra-premium with a handset like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (see below), then it is a no-brainer purchase.
To see how this phone's predecessor fares against the latest from Samsung, then check out our Samsung Galaxy S21 vs OnePlus 8 Pro comparison feature.
"The Pixel 6 offers the most premium and polished experience we've seen from the Pixel series so far, keeping the best bits of the Pixel 4 and 5 – namely excellent photo-taking and clean software – then packaging it in more premium design." – T3's Google Pixel 6 review (opens in new tab)
As we note in our official Google Pixel 6 review, "the Pixel 6 offers the most premium and polished experience we've seen from the Pixel series so far, keeping the best bits of the Pixel 4 and 5 – namely excellent photo-taking and clean software – then packaging it in more premium design."
In that review we specifically called out the Google Pixel 6's excellent new Tensor processor, which is made by Google itself, as well as the phone's "great camera", "bold display" and "purest version of Android" operating system.
Here at T3 we also think the Pixel 6 is quite a looker, too, with a distinctive bold design that doesn't look like any other brand. That's a good thing in our book.
What's also a good thing in our book is the Pixel 6's affordable price point, which while still not exactly in cheap phone territory, is very competitive when you compare it to other flagship Android phones.
Overall, if you're a photography fan and like a streamlined, pure version of Android, the Pixel 6 is the phone for you.
"The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the phone that the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra should have been. Last year's phone was a massively powerful handset that, in some areas, was coarse around the edges – and as such fell from grace in terms of receiving a perfect score. The S21 Ultra, though, while not perfect, builds on and refines what was there last year, as well as offering functionality that up until now has been the preserve of the Galaxy Note series alone. It's still a very expensive flagship, and certainly not for everyone, but now it's one with less flaws and more overall usage potential." – T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review (opens in new tab)
Samsung's latest top-of-the-range flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, is an absolute beast of handset and successfully bludgeons Android rivals into submission with a hyper-powerful hardware and software armory of tech weapons.
First off the phone delivers 5G connectivity, and that's all 5G standards too, including sub-6, mmWave and NSA. Rapid mobile data connections are guaranteed. Next, the phone comes with a simply stunning 6.8-inch 120Hz display, which is as buttery smooth as it is big and immersive.
From there the S21 Ultra wields a rapid Snapdragon 888 CPU and Adreno 660 GPU, and in its max-spec form, drops a gigantic 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage space. Its battery is equally as impressive, too, with a huge 5,000 mAh stack ensuring the phone has plenty of juice.
And that is saying nothing of the phone's MP-packed camera system, which delivers four powerful lenses (including a 108MP main!), as well as a large 40MP front-facing selfie camera.
The S21 Ultra also has a very unique new feature that is only shared by Samsung's Note series of phones – it supports digital stylus usage. That means users can use Samsung's S-Pen digital stylus on the S21 Ultra. Unlike the Note series of phones, though, the S21 Ultra does not come with a stylus, and cannot store the stylus in its body, either.
Throw in the wonderfully refined Android 11 OS, as well as Samsung's own best-in-class One UI skin, and it is easy to see why the S21 Ultra has been so well received.
To see how this handset compares to the standard S21, be sure to check out T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comparison feature.
"If you want a phone that excels across the board then look no further than the Oppo Find X5 Pro. The ceramic design is elegant, the screen is stunning, the camera takes fantastic shots, the battery will last for days and it’ll take barely any time at all to charge." – T3's Oppo Find X5 Pro review (opens in new tab)
Anyone on the hunt for a stunning flagship-level smartphone should consider the Oppo Find X5 Pro.
Reflective ceramic covers the body of the phone, and you'll get the choice of two elegant colours: black or white. The curved 6.7-inch screen is just as good-looking thanks to the QHD+ resolution with a peak brightness of 1,300 nits - the Oppo Find X5 Pro is a beauty from every angle.
If you’re big on smartphone photography the Oppo Find X5 Pro can take some incredible shots with its 50MP main camera, 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera and 13MP telephoto camera. You’ll also get a 32MP front camera to snap selfies on and you can film video in resolutions up to 4K, even in low light.
Powering it is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset so it’s fast and will handle everything from photo editing to mobile gaming. What’s more, is that the battery could last you up to two days of casual use, and it’ll recharge in just over half an hour.
The price won't be for everyone, but the Oppo Find X5 Pro is worth every penny.
"The OnePlus Nord N10 5G sees OnePlus expanding its range even further, giving you 5G and decent performance for not very much money at all. However, if you're in a part of the world where the original Nord is sold, that phone might be the better option for you." – T3's OnePlus Nord N10 5G review (opens in new tab)
While the first OnePlus Nord wasn't released in the US, we did get the OnePlus Nord N10 5G which is a little cheaper and it doesn't make too many compromises along the way.
What you do get is 5G and some very decent specs for this price point, as well as a large 6.49-inch screen that has a 90Hz refresh rate for super-smooth animations and scrolling (that's definitely above average for what you're paying). During our time testing the phone we were also impressed with the lengthy battery life.
The camera is decent without being spectacular though, and there's nothing here in terms of waterproofing and wireless charging. If you want to spend a little less, there's also the Nord N100, which drops the 5G and has a lower res – but still 90Hz – screen.
"Although not the most impressive phone from the S21 series, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G will definitely appeal to the most people. This is a phone that combines a palatable price tag with higher-end specs like a 120Hz refresh rate and powerful CPU as well as an excellent camera - you'll get everything you could need in a smaller, cheaper package." – T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review (opens in new tab)
The Samsung Galaxy S21 isn't the largest or most flagship S21 device, but it is the cheapest and it delivers 90 per cent of what its bigger brother phones, the S21 Plus and S21 Ultra, do in a great all-round package.
First off, you get 5G connectivity – so you are 100 per cent sorted in terms of future-proofing. If you live in a 5G area and have a 5G data SIM card then you can tap into lighting fast network speeds with the Galaxy S21.
Next up it has a really strong dynamic AMOLED HDR10+ FHD+ 2400x1080 resolution screen that has a pixel density of 421ppi. Simply put, it's a brilliant screen for general phone usage, browsing the internet and social media, streaming films and TV shows, playing games, viewing and editing images and more besides.
This screen is then partnered with a rapid processor, which is either the Exynos 2100 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 depending on where you are in the world, 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256Gb of storage space depending on what model you plump for. That's a really strong core spec that crushes any mobile game and delivers buttery smooth navigation in the phone's OS.
And, talking of OS, you get the very latest version of Android on the Samsung Galaxy S21, Android 11.
Throw in a really powerful and versatile camera system, which has triple lenses on the rear and a single selfie lens on the front, a good 4,000mAh battery and IP68 water and dust proofing, and it's easy to see just how great the all-round package is.
The price is also very approachable and, all that considered, that is why we recommend the Samsung Galaxy S21 as the best Android phone for most people.
"The Oppo Find X2 Pro is every inch a flagship smartphone – the design, camera system, performance and features all combine to make this one of the best phones on the market. Even with its successor almost upon us, it's a really tempting smartphone upgrade." – T3's Oppo Find X2 Pro review (opens in new tab)
Oppo's ultra-premium offering contains one of the best screens we’ve ever seen on one of the fastest Android handsets we’ve ever used. The Oppo Find X2 Pro doesn’t always outstrip its competitors in the performance or camera stakes, but it’s an eye-catching, high-spec, wonderful handset.
The bright, clear 6.7" QHD+ screen, houses its “True Billion Colour Display” technology, said to be able to create depth and detail within color like never before. It is a sumptuous screen, and the buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate is as good as advertised. The rear camera array consists of a 48MP wide-angle lens, a 48MP ultra-wide angle and a periscope 13MP telephoto lens with up to 60x digital zoom. It doesn’t quite have the enormous power of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s frankly tremendous 100x “space zoom” functionality, but at mid-range, the camera shines.
It’s obviously not the cheapest smartphone on the market, but it's worth the money if you’re already considering a premium Android bit of equipment and don't want to splurge on a phone like the S20 Ultra or the Huawei P40 Pro Plus.
"OnePlus has done it again: a superb smartphone at a very appealing price point. Although it has one or two weaknesses, and doesn't improve on its predecessors in any major way, the all-round package of the OnePlus 8T (and its retail price) mean that this is a winner." – T3's OnePlus 8T review (opens in new tab)
Every phone that OnePlus launched in 2020 has been a hit in our eyes, and the OnePlus 8T is in some ways a combination of everything that came before this year: a mix of the OnePlus 8, the OnePlus 8 Pro, and the OnePlus Nord. It combines some excellent features with a very reasonable price in the mid-range section of the market.
The headline features are perhaps the 120Hz refresh rate on the 6.55-inch AMOLED screen, and the 65W fast charging. You can juice up the phone from zero to full in the space of just half an hour or so, and that means you might not need to put your phone on charge overnight ever again.
There are plenty more specs to like as well, including the top-tier Snapdragon 865 processor and plenty of RAM and storage. You do miss out on some flagship-level extras, like IP68 waterproofing and wireless charging, but everything considered (including the price) this is one of the best Android phones around.
"The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is everything you'd expect from a flagship smartphone and more. New features like the slot for the S Pen along with the latest hardware make this perfect for productivity, while the new camera features make for incredible photos and videos. It's very expensive which will put some people off, but if you're willing to spend the money, you won't regret it." – T3's Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review (opens in new tab)
Not everyone is on a budget, and those who want the best Android smartphone money can buy should look towards the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s a big-screened beauty that comes with an S Pen neatly tucked away in its body.
Whether you’re a creative, a professional or a smartphone enthusiast the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a flagship that can do it all. Flick between open documents, write up quick notes, snap fantastic shots, edit your photos or play mobile games - the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the hardware and software for pretty much any task.
Packing the latest 4nm processor (Exynos 2200 in Europe or the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 elsewhere) 5G and Wi-Fi 6E, you’re guaranteed good speeds wherever you are and whatever you need to do. And with a 5,000mAh battery, you'll be up and running all day.
Made with super-strong Armor Aluminium and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, it's a tough and durable device, and the IP68 rating means you'll be protected against water and dust.
The camera system is killer too, while it uses the same tech as its predecessor, the S22 has packed in tons of new and improved features like a Night Mode that works across photography and video. You'll even be able to use some of the camera features directly from your social media apps.
Elegant and fit for purpose, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's design looks like a miniature notepad and comes in a few different colors, those being Burgundy, Phantom Black, Phantom White and Green.
"The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has everything most people will need. The stunning design, powerful performance, and excellent camera system make this a great smartphone. If you can't quite convince yourself to spend big on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, you should definitely consider the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus." – T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review (opens in new tab)
There's buckets to like about the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, but foremost among them is its large, 6.7-inch, HDR10+, 120Hz AMOLED display. It's an absolute star and makes using the phone in any capacity a joy, be that streaming movies from Disney Plus or playing the very latest mobile games.
Away from the screen, though, the S21 Plus delivers big. The phone comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100 processor depending on which region it's sold in, which is super fast, as well as 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage space, too. Combined these mean the phone runs like a dream, with super-fast navigation, loading and installing.
The camera system is also good, too, with a triple-lens rear array joining a single-lens selfie camera to provide comprehensive image and video-taking capabilities. Director Mode even allows the S21 Plus to record video from the front and back lenses simultaneously, which is ideal for capturing reactions to live events.
Naturally for a Samsung phone, it also comes loaded with the very latest Android 11 OS, too. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is one of the best Android phones on the market today.
"The Nokia 7.2 impresses in plenty of areas, but has plenty of competition around the same price point and slightly higher." – T3's Nokia 7.2 review (opens in new tab)
If you're looking for a great budget Android phone on the market at the moment. and don't fancy the Google Pixel 3a, then we make a very strong case for the Nokia 7.2. That's because it combines strong performance with clean software, a good camera, and a design that makes the phone appear much more expensive.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise though, as Nokia (now owned by HMD Global) has an excellent track record in recent years of producing top-notch handsets at rock bottom prices. Every year the majority of phones in the Nokia range get a well-judged update, and this phone is no different.
The 6.3-inch screen sported by the Nokia 7.2 is a definite highlight, but really it's the quality of the all-around package that makes this phone stand out. You don't get useful extras such as waterproofing or wireless charging, but you do get plenty of bang for your buck.
"Oppo has produced another impressive smartphone in the shape of the Reno 4 Pro 5G, with decent levels of performance and camera quality, and amazing 65W fast charging – but do other phones at this price point offer packages that are more compelling overall?" – T3's Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G review (opens in new tab)
We do like most of what the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G has to offer – including of course that 5G connectivity. The phone also boasts 65W super-fast charging, which means you can get the battery from zero to full in the space of just 30 minutes or so. It's a real game-changer, and you might never have to charge this phone overnight.
At this mid-range price point, the phone has pretty much the specs and the camera performance that you'd expect, but the display was definitely a pleasant surprise – thin bezels, bright colors, strong contrast and a 90Hz refresh rate that makes everything scroll by really, really smoothly.
The triple-lens 48MP+13MP+12MP rear camera does its job really well too, especially in low light and nighttime conditions, with strong HDR processing and color reproduction. There are a lot of really good Android phones around this price point, but we reckon the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G is one of the best.
"Depending on the final price – which we don't have yet – the LG Velvet could be the phone for you, if it ticks the boxes that you need: a headphone jack, an almost-unique Dual Screen accessory, and performance that will be more than enough for most users." – T3's LG Velvet review (opens in new tab)
The 5G-ready LG Velvet is something of a departure for the South Korean electronics giant, marking a change in direction for its design language and a bid to find success in the mid-range market rather than with a top-end flagship – the Snapdragon 756G processor is evidence of that.
That's not to say the LG Velvet is a sub-standard phone, just because it does have the very fastest CPU on the market. It comes packed with plenty of power, a decent camera and battery life, and nice bonuses such as wireless charging and an IP68 rating. It even has a headphone jack and, like several LG phones before it, works with the nifty Dual Screen accessory for twice as much screen room.
"The Sony Xperia 5 II packs in a great screen, an excellent camera, decent battery life and plenty of performance into a phone that's on the expensive side but still worth considering – as long as you can take full advantage of all the features that it brings to the table." – T3's Sony Xperia 5 II review (opens in new tab)
Last year’s Xperia 5 had a well-deserved spot in our best Android phones round-up, and its successor, the Sony Xperia 5 II, is one of the best Android phones in 2022. It doesn’t look much different from its premium predecessor but it’s an improvement in several key areas.
The first improvement is in the extremely wide 21:9 display. As before it’s a 6.1-inch OLED running 2520 x 1080, but this time it has a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling, gaming and video. It ships with Android 10, not 9, and the processor is a Snapdragon 865 with Adreno 650 graphics; the previous Xperia was powered by an 855 and 640 respectively.
The superb cameras are largely unchanged but the main camera has better low light performance, and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth now support the latest versions. The battery’s bigger and charges more quickly than before, and overall performance is notably better than last year’s model. It’s hardly revolutionary but it’s an excellent evolution of an already superb smartphone.
"The Oppo Find X3 Pro doesn't come cheap, but sometimes it's worth paying for quality – in return for your hard-earned cash you get a smartphone that excels in pretty much every area, including camera capabilities, performance, battery life, and the overall design." – T3's Oppo Find X3 Pro review (opens in new tab)
If you're in the market for one of the best Android phones you can buy, then we'd like to draw your attention to the Oppo Find X3 Pro: it'll cost you a significant chunk of cash, but it'll also give you excellent levels of performance, 5G download and upload speeds, and plenty more besides. You'll struggle to find a more premium smartphone this year.
Everything is powered by the latest Snapdragon 888 processor and up to 12GB of RAM, and the phone impresses just as much on the outside – the curved lines, the lightweight feel, the gorgeous 6.7-inch AMOLED display and so on. It's the sort of phone you're going to want to show off to friends and family.
Then there's the quad-lens rear camera, which not only takes great shots in any and all lighting conditions, but which also has a special 60x microscopic mode that lets you get ultra-close to fabrics, surfaces, skin, and anything else you want to put it up against. Although a bit gimmicky, it's still a lot of fun to use.
"The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best and most well-rounded phone the Chinese maker has ever produced, partnering simply mind-blowing speed and performance with the best display ever shipped on a smartphone and a suite of flagship features which, in part, had been missing from previous devices." – T3's OnePlus 8 Pro review (opens in new tab)
The OnePlus 8 Pro completes the Chinese phone maker's ascension to the very top table of smartphone makers, with this handset blowing the competition away with a complete package of top hardware, superb software, and an attractive and premium design.
The star of the show, though, is the OnePlus 8 Pro's best-screen-ever-seen-on-a-smartphone 120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+ display, which manages to outpunch even the best panels from Samsung, Sony and Huawei. Where other phones have managed to deliver one or two of that holy trinity of screen technologies, here the 8 Pro does them all at once and, remarkably, does so while also delivering a good battery life.
Internally the mixture of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 CPU, Adreno 650 GPU, 12GB RAM and 256GB of UFS3.0 storage means the OnePlus 8 Pro absolutely smokes any game or application you throw at it, with even the most graphically intensive titles running as if they were on steroids.
The OnePlus 8 Pro doesn't skimp on high-end features, either, with the best camera system OnePlus has ever made partnered with IP68 dust and waterproofing and both wireless and reverse wireless charging.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is a truly brilliant smartphone and is easily recommended as the best Android phone on the market today for those shopping with a premium budget.
"If you want a compact phone that doesn’t skimp on hardware then the Sony Xperia 5 III will be a great choice. It has a high-end processor, takes excellent photos and even though it is quite small, the screen is good too. You won’t get days and days of battery but even so, this is an impressive small handset that can compete against the flagships." – T3's Sony Xperia 5 III review (opens in new tab)
Bigger isn’t always better, and the Sony Xperia 5 III seeks to prove that. It’s a small phone that manages to pack in loads of high-end hardware including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset and a truly excellent camera system. And you can use it completely one-handed.
When it comes to performance, it’s just as efficient as any of the phones towards the top of this list, you'll get plenty of speed. The only thing it doesn’t do so well at is battery life, which is just okay.
The screen isn’t quite big enough to spend too much time watching video on it, but the narrow 21:9 aspect ratio is the perfect shape for it, so it'll still be good for watching TV and movies on your commute.
Sony is famously good at making cameras and they’ve managed to combine those skills with their smartphones. The Sony Xperia 5 III does exactly that, producing impressive shots through the in-depth Photography Pro camera app. All in all, this is an impressive, compact handset.
"Joining the race to be the biggest and best smartphone of them all is the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. The second display on the back camera module sets it apart from the crowd. But that’s not all it has to offer, it’s also lightning fast with an excellent camera - so naturally, it has an eye-watering price tag to match." – T3's Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review (opens in new tab)
Straight off the bat, it's worth knowing that the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra isn't for everybody. This is a hyper-premium smartphone and its price tag is eye-watering.
So who is it for? It's for photography enthusiasts, social media influencers and mobile gamers. It has a triple-lens camera system that takes superb shots, and you can use it to take selfies too. The miniature display on the back of the phone means you'll rarely need to use the front camera because you can now see a preview of your shots on the back. In use, photos came out looking incredibly detailed and balanced.
Using the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra doesn't skimp on performance either. In fact, it's one of the most powerful handsets on this list. It'll easily handle any task you throw at it.
There are a few downsides though, the first being the sheer size of it. If you have small hands then steer clear. Another is the camera notch because it packs in so much tech, it's a major eye-sore on the back of the phone. If you can look past that and you're not on a budget, then it'll be a great choice.
"The Xiaomi 11T Pro is far from being a slim or sleek smartphone, it's actually quite bulky. But all of that space means it can pack in plenty of power, a decent camera system and a long-lasting, fast-charging 5,000mAh battery. If it's an all-around performer you're after, then this is exactly that." – T3's Xiaomi 11T Pro review (opens in new tab)
The Xiaomi 11T Pro is a smartphone out to impress when it comes to its specs and performance. Powered by the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, it offers fast speeds similar to some of the top entries on this list as well as a seriously long-lasting battery and ultra-fast charging.
While that's all great to have, there’s nothing that makes this really stand out against the crowd. Everything has been done before from the 120Hz refresh rate display to the triple-lens camera system. And it’s not a looker either. In fact, the chunky design is sure to be off-putting for some. It also makes it very hard to use the phone one-handed.
Despite that, this is still a good phone. It’ll be ideal for streaming TV shows and movies on the large FHD+ screen while the side-mounted fingerprint sensor is quick and effective. When it comes to performance, it’s impressive across the board.
"The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is surprisingly good across the board. While this isn’t intended to be a gaming phone, it will actually be suited to mobile gamers because of the big 144Hz display and speedy performance - but other than that there's nothing that will make you go 'wow'." – T3's Motorola Edge 20 Pro review (opens in new tab)
While the Motorola Edge 20 Pro isn’t the most impressive smartphone on this list, it does deserve its spot here. With a 144Hz refresh rate and high-end chipset, it will be good if you dabble in mobile gaming, but it’ll also be great for those who need their phone to do a bit of work on or to watch TV shows on their commute.
Another great feature worth knowing about is the fact that it is compatible with Motorola’s Ready For. That means you’ll be able to project the display onto a bigger screen as and when you need it, which alongside the 6.7inch screen it already has, makes this phone very well-suited to productivity.
It’s not all good though, this phone does lack some bells and whistles like wireless charging and it’s not waterproof either. And if you have small hands then steer clear because you won't be able to use it one-handed. On the flip side though, if you think bigger is better then this will be a great choice and it won't cost you as much as more premium flagships.
"The Oppo Find X3 Neo 5G has a near-flagship quality camera, display and performance, yet it costs a fraction of the price because you miss out on a couple of features you'd get elsewhere. If you want a slightly smaller phone, and you like its more rectangular design then it’s a really fantastic choice." – T3's Oppo Find X3 Neo 5G review (opens in new tab)
The Oppo Find X3 Neo 5G is an impressive phone across the board, it could have had us fooled for a much more expensive handset.
The quality of the 6.55in display is stunning, and the high 90Hz refresh rate makes for ultra-smooth scrolling and swiping. Anyone big on photography, or snapping shots of friends and family will love the point-and-shoot capabilities from the camera system. It's not quite the same level as this phone's flagship sibling, the Oppo Find X3 Pro, but it's not that far off either.
All of that is paired with really speedy performance, so this phone has loads going for it. The only area that it doesn't excel in is the battery life, but even that is still going to be good enough for most people. For this sort of price, you won't get many phones that are better.
"The Huawei Mate 40 Pro excels in terms of its design, camera and battery, though software issues continue to keep it from being a five-star phone offering. Make sure the handset offers everything that you're going to need before investing in this pricey smartphone." – T3's Huawei Mate 40 Pro review (opens in new tab)
It's worth saying right from the outset that the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is a fantastic phone from a purely hardware point of view: with a large 6.76-inch OLED screen that curves around the edges of the phone, and some fantastic colour finishes, this is a handset that looks and feels premium. It's also packed with one of the fastest processors on the market at the moment.
The rear camera represents another stunning effort from Huawei, almost guaranteeing you great shots no matter what kind of lighting you're up against – from bright daylight to the darkest night. You get full waterproofing, wireless charging and enough battery life to make it well beyond a day too.
The big problem, as with every Huawei phone recently, is that it can't run regular Android apps from the Play Store, and Google's own apps are missing too. Sideloading can ease some of this pain, but make sure you're fully aware of the software situation before parting with your money on this – we think for some users the hardware quality will outweigh the app annoyances.
"The OnePlus 9 is the perfect combination of speed and beauty in a flagship smartphone, with a slightly more accessible price tag. Building on its predecessor with more impressive specs and a much better camera system, OnePlus has knocked it out of the park with this one." – T3's OnePlus 9 review (opens in new tab)
The OnePlus 9 runs on Oxygen OS 11, a light Android skin that feels very familiar. It offers tons of fantastic functionality as well as a stunning 6.55 inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, the OnePlus 9 has made massive leaps in performance, with every swipe, tap and click giving you immediate results. Then, there’s the battery. You can take it from empty to fully charged in only 29 minutes, which certainly makes up for the relatively average battery life.
If you need a good camera, the OnePlus 9 ticks that box too. They’ve partnered up with Hasselblad to create a reliable, high-quality system with impressive detail and vivid colors. It’s hard not to recommend the OnePlus 9.
Not sure if you’d be happy with the OnePlus 9, or whether you would benefit from spending the extra cash on the OnePlus 9 Pro. Take a look at T3’s OnePlus 9 vs OnePlus 9 Pro: the differences explained.
"The Nokia 8.3 5G hits a lot of the features Nokia phones are known for: good value, a decent camera, and a clean software experience. If you want to get involved with 5G but want to spend as little money as possible, then this is a phone worth looking at." – T3's Nokia 8.3 5G review (opens in new tab)
Nokia flies under most people's radar these days, but it's been quietly improving its smartphone range to offer more than just low-priced budget phones. The Nokia 8.3 delivers an impressive specification for a good price, and the Zeiss cameras are particularly impressive: there are four rear cameras with resolutions ranging from 2MP to 64MP and the front camera is 24MP.
Performance is pretty good thanks to a Snapdragon 765G and 5G connectivity, backed with 6GB RAM and Android 10 (the Nokia is Android 11 ready). The large screen is powered by a sturdy 4,500mAh battery and you can add up to 512GB of external storage. And because it's a Nokia, it has its own FM radio too.
Nokia may not be the force it used to be but it's making some pretty impressive devices right now. The Nokia 8.3 is definitely worth considering if you're looking for a serious snapper that won't break the bank.
"The TCL Pro 5G’s crowning glory is its glossy 6.67-inch curved display. It’ll be perfect for streaming TV on your commute, plus it has very long-lasting battery life. Admittedly with average performance and an okay camera, it’s still not surpassing the competition in any way." – T3's TCL 20 Pro 5G review (opens in new tab)
The TCL 20 Pro 5G is an Android phone for the screen-obsessed.
Its curved edges make it look like a much more premium handset than it is, with the FHD+ resolution paired with AI visual enhancement making it truly lovely for watching videos or browsing the web. It wasn't just the screen that impressed, the 4,500mAh battery provides you with a full day of charge and it supports wireless charging too.
In terms of performance, you get what you pay for. This won't be a good choice for those on the hunt for a powerful Android phone. Nor for aspiring photographers, as the camera was just fine as opposed to anything mind-blowing.
On the whole, though, this is a fantastic-looking phone with a very convincing price tag.
"The OnePlus Nord 2 has everything you could need from a phone and manages to squeeze it all into a more affordable package. You do have to make a few sacrifices and everything about this phone is good rather than great, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it does well in all the key areas." – T3's OnePlus Nord 2 review (opens in new tab)
OnePlus knows their stuff when it comes to making quality budget Android smartphones, and the OnePlus Nord 2 is a prime example of that.
Following on from the massively successful OnePlus Nord, the second generation shakes up the camera system, improves on battery life and speeds up the performance. What was already a fantastic phone is now even better.
The OnePlus Nord 2 does lack some features like there’s no official waterproofing nor is there wireless charging. You do get fast internet though thanks to Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support.
The camera is decent, photos won’t always come out perfectly yet you will be able to take some social media-worthy shots, play around with plenty of different camera modes and shoot video in resolutions up to 4K.
So why is it so cheap? Well, everything about this phone is good rather than great. You can’t expect it to smash any of the records set by the most expensive flagships but what you will get is a solid, reliable handset that is excellent value for money.
"The Pixel 4a looks to have hit the sweet spot in terms of price and performance, offering a very capable phone and an excellent camera at a bargain price. There are some compromises along the way though, so be sure to weigh up the competition as well." – T3's Google Pixel 4a review (opens in new tab)
The Google Pixel 4a was delayed several times before it saw the light of day, but we're glad that it's here now – it follows the template set down by the Pixel 3a, in that it combines a great camera with a decent design and pure Android software. Perhaps the best part is the price though: just $349.
That makes it a very attractive proposition: it's capable of taking some fantastic photos, especially in low light, and with enough performance to handle the majority of smartphone tasks, what else do you need? It's not quite as polished or as powerful as the flagships, of course, but it costs an awful lot less.
Google is adding an increasing number of exclusives to the Pixel too: the Night Sight mode for the camera for example, and the Recorder app that can convert speech into text in real-time. You don't get 5G though – you'll have to wait for the Pixel 4a with 5G later in the year for that. If you're wondering how it stacks up against the higher-end Pixel 5, here's our Pixel 4a vs Pixel 5 guide.
"From its impressive battery life to good point-and-shoot photography, for such an affordable phone, the Realme 8 Pro has a lot to shout about. It may not have the fastest speeds but it certainly is fantastic value for money." – T3's Realme 8 Pro review (opens in new tab)
It didn't disappoint. Perfect if you are on a tight budget but want a smartphone with a great camera for point-and-shoot photography, shots came out looking super sharp and lifelike in natural light. It didn't cope so well when it came to ultrawide photography though, so bear that in mind if you take a lot of those.
With 1,000 nits brightness, the 6.4 inch AMOLED display was incredibly vibrant, although truth be told did lack the clarity of other, more expensive handsets. One area it truly excelled at though was in battery life, it'll last you about 20 hours of video playback and can recharge in as little as 47 minutes. So if you're the type who constantly forgets to give your phone some juice, it's hard not to recommend.
If you like the look of this phone but you're not so keen on spending even this much then the Realme 8 5G is its cheaper sibling which could be worth considering instead.
How to choose the best Android phone for you
Whether you're a camera aficionado who needs the highest quality images and zoom capabilities, a movie fan who wants crystal clear playback and great sound quality, a budget-conscious shopper looking to just get a solid Android phone cheap, or a high roller who just needs to have the best of the best – T3 has you covered.
The best Android phones for you may not necessarily be the most expensive or most advanced phone, however you’ll find plenty of options on our list including top-of-the-line brands. From some of the best Samsung phones to the best gaming phones for Android users, we’ve taken great care to include a phone for every kind of shopper and for every type of budget.
Thanks to ever advancing tech in the mobile smartphone space, the Android phone market is incredibly competitive. That means plenty of options to choose from all at great prices. Many may not realize that the Android operation system powers many of the best cheap phones you can buy today, and many of the best compact phones run on this exceptional smartphone platform.
When it comes to choosing the best Android phone, budget will probably be the single biggest factor that guides your hand. Will you go for the cutting-edge ultra-premium model? Or the second-highest tier of still being premium, but without the most ridiculous features? Or are looking for a great bang-for-buck mid-range set? Or do you have a strict lower budget in mind? That will narrow things down dramatically – you can see in a guide like our OnePlus 8 Pro vs Google Pixel 4a breakdown how a flagship phone and a great budget phone match up.
Then, two of the biggest factors are the size and the cameras. Phones are still creeping up and up in size, and some people want the biggest they can get, while some want to find a more one-handed phone, or a middle ground. And with the cameras, we all want something that can take excellent shots, right? But do you need fancy zoom lenses, or are you happy with a simpler array as long as it takes great shots?
What is the best Android phone to buy in 2022?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G currently holds the crown in our list, offering an excellent balance of power, performance, versatility and value for the price.
Along with 5G connectivity, Samsung's latest smartphone features an upgraded AMOLED screen for incredibly clear picture and image quality. Complete with HDR10+ support, this 2400x1080 screen is a massive upgrade over previous Galaxy phones.
For the price, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G drives a hard bargain for those looking for a premium Android phone experience at a fair price.