The best Android phones no matter your budget
(Image credit: Future)
If you’re in the market for one of the best Android phones, the breadth of options can be overwhelming. But choice is one of the greatest things about Google’s mobile OS. Android provides a similar user experience across many makes and models of phones, while letting you prioritize the features that matter most to you.
- Best phonesoverall: Our top picks right now
- Longest-lasting phones: The best phone battery life
- Google Pixel 5 review: What we think
Those on a tight budget can get a good-enough Android phone for under $200. Step up to the $400 range, and the choices get considerably better, especially when it comes to camera quality. And you can get flagship-level performance starting at under $700, so long as you’re willing to live without some bells and whistles and the finest photography.
The most premium Android flagship phones start at $899, offering the sharpest and brightest displays, the most advanced photography and cutting edge features like reverse wireless charging and 120Hz screens. For now, 5G remains a mostly premium feature, but more affordable 5G Android phones with faster download speeds are steadily arriving from the likes of Samsung, TCL and Motorola.
- video playing
What are the best Android phones?
We’ve tested all of the most popular Android phones in all shapes, sizes and prices here at Tom’s Guide, and our current top pick is none other than Google’s Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4a is a modest device on paper, but the value it offers — from its camera ripped straight out of Google’s premium Pixels, to its impressive display and quality design — makes it an absolute steal for just $350. The Pixel 4a 5G — a larger version of the same phone — is coming in mid-November for $150 more, while the range-topping Pixel 5 is available for $699.
If you’re on the hunt for a more premium Android experience, though, there’s no better options than the recently-launched Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro. The Note 20 Ultra dazzles with the finest cameras of any phone on this list, as well as a big, 6.9-inch, dynamic 120Hz display. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 Pro delivers blistering performance, long-lasting battery life, and wicked-fast charging for a reasonable price, because it starts at $899.
All that said, Samsung’s other flagships still demand your attention. The regular Note 20 keeps the Ultra variant’s amazing productivity software suite but ditches bells and whistles for a lower price, while the Galaxy S20 Plus slides right in between the two Note models and should satisfy anyone who wants a high end phone but doesn’t expect to use the S Pen much.
And if you want the absolute pinnacle of mobile technology, for an eye-watering $2,000, the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the device for you. Samsung has righted its missteps with its first foldable phone/tablet hybrid, producing a much more reliable and practical device that can truly do everything well.
Bargain hunters striving to spend the absolute least can find a very good option in the Moto G Power, which lasts the whole day on a charge, but costs just $249. The TCL 10 Pro presents a solidly-built alternative to the Pixel 4a, albeit with less compelling software and gaming performance.
The best Android phones you can buy today
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
- Google Pixel 4a
The best Android phone is also one of the most affordable
Display: 5.81-inch OLED (2340×1080) | Android version: 10 | CPU: Snapdragon 730G | RAM: 6GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB / No | Rear camera: 12.2MP (ƒ/1.7) | Front camera: 8MP (ƒ/2.0) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 8:55
- Best-in-class camera
- Bright OLED display
- 128GB storage
- Low price
- Battery life could be better
You might be surprised to find Google’s midrange Pixel, the Pixel 4a, at the top of our list of the best Android phones. But at just $349, the Pixel 4a is a remarkably complete smartphone, the likes of which we’ve never before seen at this price.
For half the price of the newly-announced Pixel 5, or a third of what Samsung and Apple charge for their top models, the Pixel 4a offers a flagship-caliber camera, good-enough performance, impeccable software, a pocketable, well-built design, 128GB of built-in storage and a dazzling and bright 5.8-inch OLED display.
If the 4a suffered from one shortcoming, it’d be battery life. But in all other respects, it’s nearly perfect — and it even has a headphone jack. In previous years, you would have had to spend at least $500 on a device like, this but the Pixel 4a is an unmatched bargain among Android devices right now, and an even better deal than last year’s already-excellent Pixel 3a.
Be aware that Google has announced the Pixel 4a 5G, which starts at $499. It’s a 5G version of the Pixel 4a that actually shares a lot of features with the flagship Pixel 5 device, such as two rear cameras and a faster processor. If you can wait for the Pixel 4a 5G’s mid-November release, you may find it a better value.
Read our full Google Pixel 4a review
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The best premium Android phone
Display: 6.9-inch AMOLED (3088×1440) | Android version: 10 with Samsung One UI 2.5 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | RAM: 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / Yes | Rear camera: 108MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 12MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom (ƒ/3.0); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2) | Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:15
- Dynamic 6.9-inch 120Hz display
- Smoother S Pen performance
- Powerful 50x zoom camera and laser autofocus
- Very good battery life
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra takes the crown as the best Android phone for those willing to pay an ultra-premium price. And that’s because this device is much more than a phone. It’s a powerful note-taking tool with lots of S Pen upgrades; it’s a pro-level camera with a 108MP sensor and 50x zoom; and it’s a mini game console with the ability to stream Xbox games.
The Note 20 Ultra also boasts the best display on a phone yet, as its huge 6.9-inch OLED screen has a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate. So it’s smart enough to dial things up or down based on what’s being displayed, which saves battery life. The 4,500 mAh battery lasts a long time on a charge, and you get quick 25-watt charging out of the box. Overall, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra more than lives up to its name.
- OnePlus 8 Pro
An affordable Android flagship option
Display: 6.78-inch OLED (3168×1440) | Android version: 10 with Oxygen OS | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB, 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No | Rear camera: 48MP wide (ƒ/1.78); 48MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 8MP 3X telephoto (ƒ/2.4); 5MP color filter | Front camera: 16MP (ƒ/2.5) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:05
- Bright and beautiful 120Hz display
- Long battery life
- Strong performance
- Super fast wired and wireless charging
- Curved display causes accidental taps
The OnePlus 8 Pro may seem like a departure from previous OnePlus handsets. After all, at $899, this is one of the most expensive phones OnePlus has ever made. But the OnePlus 8 Pro is the best flagship Android phone because it packs as many high-end features as possible for an incomparable value.
In the case of the OnePlus 8 Pro, those features include a 120Hz refresh rate for its 6.78-inch OLED screen and a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 CPU. The OnePlus 8 Pro is the first OnePlus device to support wireless charging, and in the grand tradition of OnePlus pushing the battery envelope, its wireless charging standard is actually faster than many wired options.
You won’t get the best camera phone with the OnePlus 8 Pro — the Galaxy S20 Plus’ photography is a bit better across the board. However, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s four rear lenses can produce some impressive shots that measure up respectably against industry leaders. And while that $899 price may be lofty by OnePlus’ standards, it’s still $100 less than the least expensive Galaxy S20 model, not to mention $300 less than the S20 Plus.
- OnePlus Nord
One of the best Android phone values — if you can get it
Display: 6.44-inch OLED (2400×1080) | Android version: 10 with Oxygen OS | CPU: Snapdragon 765G | RAM: 8GB, 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No | Rear camera: 48MP wide (ƒ/1.75); 8MP ultrawide; 5MP depth (ƒ/2.4); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.4) | Front camera: 32MP (ƒ/2.45) and 8MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.45) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:18
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Polished design for a budget phone
- Excellent battery life
- No U.S. availability
The OnePlus Nord represents a return to form for OnePlus. While the company continues to make some of the best Android phones, it’s strayed from offering truly affordable models in recent years, like it did when it began. However, the OnePlus Nord costs just £379 — which equates to less than $490 — making it far cheaper than the company’s last several handsets.
For that money, you get quite a lot. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chipset may not quite be at the level of the more premium 865 chipset, but its still plenty fast, and supports sub-6GHz 5G connectivity to boot. 12GB of RAM ensures unencumbered multitasking, while a quad-camera system at the back offers a ton of shooting versatility, from stunning landscapes to detailed macro images. And the Nord’s battery life is impressive as well, lasting 11 hours and 18 minutes in our custom battery test.
There’s just one problem: the OnePlus Nord is only available in Europe and Asia for the time being. It may eventually reach North America, but that likely won’t happen very soon. Therefore, if you want one and happen to live in the U.S. or Canada, you’ll have to import it, which is a bit of a risk. OnePlus is reportedly working on a version of the Nord for the U.S., but its final specs may not be a powerful as what’s in this model.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Samsung’s best Galaxy under $1,000
Display Size: 6.7-inch AMOLED (2400×1080) | Android version: 10 with Samsung One UI 2.5 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB / No | Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 64MP telephoto with 3x lossless zoom (ƒ/1.8); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2) | Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 9:26
- Fantastic camera
- Useful note-taking features
- Excellent performance
- Battery life just okay
- Display only 60Hz
The $999 Galaxy Note 20 is an interesting proposition. It’s actually $200 cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus and $300 cheaper than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and for that you lose a couple noteworthy features. The regular Note 20 has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display, but no 120Hz fast refresh rate. It has a triple-lens rear camera, but no 108MP main sensor or 5x folded optical zoom lens.
However, you still get a lot for what you’ll spend on the Note 20, including a powerful Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, Samsung’s signature S Pen with new air gestures for navigation and very useful note-taking enhancements, cameras that still take fantastic pictures (even if they’re a shade behind what the Note 20 Ultra can pull off) and support for wireless DeX projection to TVs and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate streaming. The Note 20 can really do it all, so long as you’re willing to part with some buzzwordy features you may not necessarily need to begin with.
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
The all-around premier Android flagship
Display: 6.7-inch OLED (3200×1440) | Android version: 10 with OneUI | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 512GB / Yes | Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 64MP 3X telephoto (ƒ/2.0); time-of-flight VGA | Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:31
- Expansive 6.7-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate
- Long-lasting battery
- Impressive cameras
- Faster refresh rate can impact battery life
At $1,199, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is pricey, though you get a lot in return. For starters, the camera setup on the back of the S20 Plus impresses us with four lenses that produce great pictures, especially when you put that 64MP telephoto lens to work. You won’t be able to zoom in like you can with the S20 Ultra’s Space Zoom feature, but the shots that the S20 Plus yields still contain a lot of detail.
All of the other top Galaxy S20 features are available in the S20 Plus, including 5G connectivity, a Snapdragon 865 chipset that produces the best performance of any Android phone and a vibrant 6.7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, which you won’t find in the slightly cheaper Galaxy Note 20.
A 4,500-mAh battery keeps things up and running, and the Galaxy S20 Plus offered better-than-average longevity in our testing. Ultimately, the S20 Plus’ price will put it out of reach of most phone shoppers, though those who can afford it shouldn’t think twice about snapping one up.
- Moto G Power
The longest-lasting Android phone
Display: 6.4-inch LCD (2300×1080) | Android version: 10 | CPU: Snapdragon 665 | RAM: 4GB | Storage / Expandable: 64GB / Yes | Rear camera: 16MP wide (ƒ/1.7), 8MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.2) | Front camera: 16MP (ƒ/2.0) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 16:10
- The best battery life we’ve tested
- Low price tag
- Good performance and photos for the price
- Screen isn’t very colorful
- No optical zoom
Two things stand out about the Moto G Power — its giant battery and its sub-$300 price. The former allows Motorola’s budget phone to post the best time ever on our battery test, while the latter makes the Moto G Power a compelling purchase when compared to other midrange Android models.
On the battery front, the Moto G Power lasted 16 hours and 10 minutes on our battery test, in which phones continuously surf the web over LTE until they run out of power. That’s more than 30 minutes better than our previous champ for best phone battery life. (Coincidentally, that was the Moto G Power’s predecessor, the Moto G7 Power.) If you’re willing to accept less battery life for a phone with a stylus, the Moto G Stylus is essentially a carbon copy of the Moto G Power, though it does cost $50 more.
Speaking of price, you can get the Moto G Power for $150 less than the Pixel 3a, and you won’t make many trade-offs for that lower price. The Snapdragon 665 chipset inside the Moto G Power turns in comparable performance, and while the Pixel still has a better camera, the Moto G Power’s triple lens array still produces decent shots for what you’ll spend.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
The best Android phone that’s also foldable
Display: 7.6-inch OLED (2208×1768) main; 6.2-inch OLED (2260×816) cover | Android Version: 10 with OneUI 2.5 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | RAM: 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 256GB / No | Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 12MP telephoto (ƒ/2.4) | Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2) cover; 10MP (ƒ/2.2) main display | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:10
- Bigger cover display
- Flex mode adds versatility
- Improved multitasking
- More durable design
It didn’t look good for foldable phones at the outset, with the original Galaxy Fold offering a futuristic concept of mobile computing in a seriously flawed and damage-prone package. But then Samsung went back to the drawing board, refining its original design to produce the Galaxy Z Fold 2 — a device that rights its predecessors flaws, while adding some useful new features.
One of those useful additions is Flex Mode, which leverages the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s free-stop hinge to allow the device to stay in place at any position, while showing custom, split-screen controls for relevant apps, like video chatting software. But the Z Fold 2 nails the basics as well, thanks to a greatly-expanded exterior cover display that lacks the eyesore bezels on the original model, as well as a larger interior panel shrouded in Samsung’s Ultra-Thin Glass, making it more durable and pleasant to the touch.
All this innovation comes at a price of course — $1,999, to be precise. But then there’s no Android phone that can do what the Galaxy Z Fold 2 does, perched perfectly between phone and tablet.
- OnePlus 8T
The iPhone 11 of Android phones
Display: 6.55-inch OLED (2400×1080; 120Hz) | Android version: 11 with Oxygen OS | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB, 12GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No | Rear camera: 48MP wide (ƒ/1.7); 16MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2); 5MP macro; 2MP depth | Front camera: 16MP (ƒ/2.4) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:53
- Bright and smooth 120Hz display
- Super fast charging
- Slick and unobtrusive software
- Disappointing camera performance
- No wireless charging
The $749 OnePlus 8T has gains the OnePlus 8 Pro’s 120Hz display, as well as faster 65-watt charging. OnePlus’ latest Warp Charging system is enough to get the company’s latest handset to 93% in just a half hour, which makes this the fastest-charging phone we have ever tested. The OnePlus 8T is also the first Android phone this side of Google’s Pixels to launch with Android 11, which is a praiseworthy achievement indeed.
OnePlus guarantees three years of software updates for its phones, which is slowly becoming the standard on Android, especially since Samsung joined Google in making that commitment this year. However, OnePlus’ phones also benefit from their own bespoke front-end, called Oxygen OS, which adds a unique design and a number of extra features to Google’s platform, like an eye-care Reading Mode and a range of customizable always-on display options. We do wish the OnePlus 8T’s quad-lens camera system was better, but overall, this is still an impressive phone for the price.
- TCL 10 Pro
A decent Pixel 4a alternative
Display: 6.47-inch OLED (2340×1080) | Android Version: 10 with TCL UI | CPU: Snapdragon 675 | RAM: 6GB | Storage / Expandable: 128GB / Yes | Rear camera: 64MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 16MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4); 5MP macro (ƒ/2.2); 2MP low-light (ƒ1.8) | Front camera: 24MP (ƒ/2.2) | Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:47
- Impressive OLED display
- Premium design
- Strong battery life
- Cameras are hit-or-miss
- Gaming performance not the best
With the TCL 10 Pro, you’re not sacrificing all that much to get a premium design, great display and solid performance for just $449. With 128GB of onboard storage as well as a slot for a microSD card, this handset doesn’t shortchange you in terms of capacity. Its 4,500-mAh battery also lasts long on a charge, clocking just shy of 11 hours in Tom’s Guide’s custom battery test.
Unfortunately, the TCL 10 Pro’s not-so-great quad-lens rear camera keeps this phone from appearing higher up on our list. Also, while the Snapdragon 675 is quite a capable midrange chip, it takes a step back with respect to graphics performance and gaming when compared with its predecessor.
The Pixel 4a and second-generation iPhone SE are definitely better choices overall for a modest phone within this price range, but the TCL 10 Pro packs a lot of value and compares very favorably against the somewhat disappointing Samsung Galaxy A51.
Read our full TCL 10 Pro review.