Android is firmly in control of the mobile O.S. market, with 70% of smartphones sold in 2021 being Androids. While the Apple iOS is used exclusively for their iPhone line of phones, Android is a versatile O.S. utilized by a wide range of companies. Companies ranging from Motorola to Samsung to Google use Android as the O.S. that powers their phones.
While this breadth of options is great for consumers looking to find the right phone to fit their needs, it can also be overwhelming. Every phone is different, and it is easy to feel like making the wrong decision could mean missing out on great features only offered on other devices. That’s why it is important to look at which features mean the most to you when picking a phone.
What To Consider When Choosing an Android
- Battery life
- Storage space
- 5G compatibility
For many people, the factor that outweighs everything else is the cost of the device. Android phones have a wide range of price points, with some being built specifically to be affordable to a general audience. Whenever you see an Android phone being sold for a low price, the next step is to figure out what changes that company made to make that price point possible.
When discussing cost, the balance between toned down or removed features and an attractive price point is the most important thing to consider. Try to create an upper and lower range for yourself to know how much money you are willing to spend before you start looking into other factors. Doing this will put you in a good position to figure out what other factors matter to you.
No amount of bells and whistles will be satisfied if your phone barely has the juice to stay on. Battery life has gone way down since the world transitioned to smartphones, and we accepted that as a necessary sacrifice for the incredible leap in power that our new devices have.
With that in mind, you can still get a smartphone with great battery life without losing access to a technologically advanced device. Many smartphones cater to people who prioritize battery life and the ability to remain mobile and untethered while still using their phones. Just because you want a modern phone doesn’t mean you have to deal with all expected concessions without other options.
All of the fancy new apps and features take up space on our phones, so we have had to increase our storage space so much over the past decade. As technology gets more advanced, it becomes more important to consider storage space when buying a new phone.
Some phones are built around storage space. But many of these phones are on the higher tiers in terms of quality and cost. Not everyone needs a terabyte of space, so just like with pricing, it is a good idea to figure out your acceptable range of storage space as you continue to consider your options.
The way we connect our phones to the internet is rapidly changing with the implementation of 5G into our infrastructure. In contrast to the commonly used 4G, 5G is faster, more powerful, and more accessible. 5G has not been fully integrated yet, but it will continue to be more and more common over the decade.
It is important to note that not all devices are 5G compatible. 5G has only been around since a little before the decade's start, and most devices made before that are not compatible.
Currently, we are in the final legs of 3G compatible phones, and someday we will reach the same thing with 4G. Buying a phone that is 5G compatible massively future-proofs the device, allowing you access to more upgrades and features than a phone from only a few years ago.
A factor to consider that affects all of the above is the age of the phone you are looking at. Price, battery life, storage space, and 5G connectivity are all directly tied to the age of the phone you are interested in.
On the one hand, an older phone will usually be cheaper, and there is a good chance you can get a better deal than you could for a new phone. There are also more purchasing avenues as you can find older phones used or refurbished more often.
On the other hand, battery life and storage space will be less impressive on an older phone due to recent technological advancements. Phones as recent as 2019 may not have 5G accessibility, meaning that they will very quickly fall behind other devices as 5G continues to grow.
While older phones could net you a better deal, you need to be very careful when purchasing one, given how quickly they could be rendered obsolete.
What Are the Top 10 Android Phones?
- Samsung S22 Ultra
- Google Pixel 6
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
- Nokia G20
- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
- Redmagic 7
- Moto G Power
- OnePlus 9
- Google Pixel 5a 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Samsung S22 Ultra
The Samsung S22 Ultra is one of Samsung’s most popular models on account of it being the most powerful phone they have on the market. Its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor puts it at the top of the totem pole when it comes to power, and it comes with a built-in S pen stylus. The rear camera boasts 108MP for the main, 12MP for the ultrawide, a 10MP 10x telephoto, and a 10MP 3x telephoto. The front camera sits at 40 MP, making this one of the most advanced camera systems on any smartphone.
The biggest downside is the $1,199 price tag, which is steeper than many of the options currently on the market. The Samsung S22 Ultra is a powerhouse of a phone, and with that comes a high price point. This phone also has a relatively low battery life compared to its peers, and its base storage space of 128GB is very low for a phone with this many capabilities.
If you are looking for a phone with all the bells and whistles, it is worth your money. However, for someone looking to make a more balanced decision, one of the other phones on this list could speak to you more.
Google Pixel 6
Google revamped this phone line with the Google Pixel 6, to great effect. The Pixel 6 comes in at only $599, making it incredibly affordable for such a powerful device. It runs on a first-generation Tensor chip, Google’s in-house processor, and on that front, it delivers.
It is also backed by the Titan M2 security chip, which is great for those who want that extra boost to their internet safety. The phone is modern, 5G compatible, and it has a slick new look that differentiates itself from other smartphones.
Like the S22 Ultra, the Google Pixel 6 suffers from relatively mediocre battery life. This is especially prevalent when using 5G on the phone, which people in urban areas will often do.
The camera quality is great for its price point, but it doesn’t stand up to the cameras you will see on more expensive phones. The Google Pixel 6 is more than a great middle-ground phone, with top-of-the-line processing power and features. It doesn’t have all the fancy hardware you could buy, but you won’t find a more attractive option at this price.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Sometimes gimmick phones rise above their quirkier attributes, which can be said of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. While the phone’s flip function is interesting and unique, the device also succeeds in being a very good smartphone.
While $1,000 is not the cheapest option on this list, it is actually the cheapest foldable touchscreen phone to ever come out in 2022. The phone has an inner refresh rate of 120 Hz, and it comes with a solid eight gigs of RAM.
The battery sits at 3,300 mAh, which is undeniably concerning for a phone of this type. Longevity is a concern for the Flip 3, and it is something worth keeping an eye on as the phone stays on the market.
It is also important to note that the phone only hits the $999 price tag at 128GB, which is too small for many people. Even if the gimmick of a flippable and foldable phone doesn’t appeal to you, you shouldn’t count out the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
Nokia had its heyday before the arrival of smartphones, but they are still very much alive and creating quality products. The Nokia G20 is only $200, making it an incredibly affordable option on this list.
One of its best features is its long battery life, which can last two to three days instead of the single-day battery life of its peers. It runs on modern versions of Android up to Android 13, and it has dual SIM and micro SD card slots.
This is still a budget phone, and there are very clear compromises made to keep the device at such a low price. The resolution doesn’t hold a candle to any big-name smartphones out there, and the WiFi compatibility is entirely last gen.
As 5G continues to spread, this phone will continue to connect exclusively with 4G even as that platform is phased out. As a result, it is hard to recommend this phone to people who want to use it long-term, as much of its infrastructure will be obsolete within the decade.
However, if the price is your primary concern, this is a very solid choice.
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Samsung has some pretty pricey phones on the market, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any affordable options. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G only costs $500, but it comes with many amenities expected of the Samsung Galaxy name.
As its title suggests, it is fully 5G compatible, and it has strong battery life while connected to 5G internet. It has a great 120Hz refresh rate and solid camera specs to boot. It is an affordable version of Samsung’s other offerings.
The phone's build is noticeably inferior to many of its peers, with less glass and metal and more plastic parts. It lacks the processing power of other devices on this list, and it doesn’t offer anything better than the more expensive Samsung options.
However, it is a fantastic mid-range option for people who want the features available with Samsung without the price points.
The Redmagic 7 is especially unique in that it caters heavily to gamers. The phone has a great touch response rate of 720Hz with ultrasonic triggers. The user interface is specifically built around high-quality mobile gaming, and it sits at a middle ground price point of $629.
The interface is large and built for long-term, horizontal use. It uses an ICE 8.0 cooling system to make up for the high-intensity applications it intends to be running most of the time.
This is not a phone for someone who doesn’t plan on gaming on it. Many of these features aren’t necessary if you aren’t trying to play a game, and they come at the expense of many of the features you would get on a non-gaming device.
The software at Redmagic has a history of being buggy and sometimes unreliable, in stark contrast to the phones that come out of more high-profile companies. The camera isn’t very good, and the battery life leaves a lot to be desired, given how battery-intensive games are. This phone has a specific niche, and it fits into it perfectly.
Moto G Power
When it comes to battery life, the Moto G Power reigns supreme. For only $200, the Moto G Power succeeds at being a budget phone with a great emphasis on impressive battery life. The phone will give you up to three days of battery life depending on your usage, making it way ahead of most other phones. It supports all the basic apps you would need for a smartphone, and while it won’t do anything fancy, it is more than worth the $200.
If you go with this option, there are the same concessions you would need to make for most budget phones. For one, the device is not 5G compatible, and it will become increasingly obsolete as 5G becomes the primary method of interfacing with the internet with an online device.
As far as hardware goes, you get what you pay for, as the Moto G Power has a lackluster speaker, camera, and internet options overall. Charging is also slow at only 10W, which hampers the impressiveness of the long battery life. Keep in mind these limitations when making your decision.
The OnePlus 9 is a fantastic mid-range option, with very few glaring flaws and some respectable specs and pricing. The OnePlus 9 comes in at $599, and it ships with the very powerful Qualcomm chip that puts it ahead of most of the competition.
It has great battery life and incredibly fast charging power, making it a mobile option for those who don’t want to be worried about plugging in. At 60 Watts, this device can easily go from empty to full in under an hour.
The easiest comparison to make is with the Pixel 6, which is the same price and has many of the same features. At this time, the Pixel 6 slightly edges past the OnePlus 9 in software and leaps past it in hardware, making the OnePlus harder to recommend based on the price point.
However, it is a decidedly powerful machine that can fulfill your needs with a tried and tested processor, which we know much more about than Google’s new Tensor processors. The OnePlus 9 is not the most up-to-date device on the market, but it is a powerhouse of features that you won’t find even on high-end phones for the asking price.
Google Pixel 5a 5G
The 5a is a step under the Pixel 6, but Google’s last generation entry in the Pixel series still delivers in a big way. Despite its age, the device is 5G compatible, meaning you could use it for a long time.
Because it is not the newest device in the lineup, the cost is very affordable at $450. The cameras are fantastic and similar in hardware to the Pixel 6, and the aluminum and glass design makes for a premium feel when handling the phone. It is also water-resistant and very tough.
It is inferior to the Google Pixel 6 in all ways but the price. The chipset is outdated, and it doesn’t keep up with newer phones when it comes to processing power. The display isn’t as good, and you won’t see the same speeds you’d see on the 6.
However, the phone costs a solid $150 under what the Google Pixel 6 is selling for with a huge amount of the same bells and whistles. It is a great value for people who think the Google Pixel 6 is just out of reach financially.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is a great phone that has the misfortune of being overshadowed by other great phones in the Samsung Galaxy family. It has all the great features you’d expect to find in a Samsung phone; the camera is incredibly high quality, the 120Hz screen is bright and intuitive, and the battery life is very respectable.
The Snapdragon 888 chip is powerful, allowing 4K streaming and many high-intensity apps. With 5G compatibility, this device is built to make the fastest possible internet connections with low levels of lag and accessibility from most parts of the country.
Despite being the budget version of the S21 series, the phone is still $700, putting it in the higher range for many people looking for a smartphone. Almost all of the features are inferior to the S22 series. At the same time, it fails to hit the attractive price point of the A52.
However, it is 5G compatible and very future-proof, making it a solid choice regardless of whether or not you are interested in the S22. If you are looking to thread that needle between the S22 and the A52, consider the S21 FE.
Android Phone FAQs
Which Android Phone Is Best?
Which Android phone is best is entirely dependent on your preferences; no one-and-done phone will give you all the features you want. However, there are clear winners when it comes to figuring out which smartphone is the best.
When it comes to the most technologically impressive phone on the market with the most high-tech features and user accessibility, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra takes the cake. The Samsung Galaxy name ships with an expectation of quality, and their devices are worth the money you spend on them.
While other phones make concessions regarding hardware quality, processing power, or overall design, the S22 Ultra does not. It is a high-quality phone with a great user interface, amazing processing power and internet capabilities, and premium design.
The camera is top of the line, and the new S pen stylus is the cherry on top of quality. The S22 Ultra is not a budget phone, and at $1,199, the price is likely to be a very big barrier for many people switching to Android phones.
But if the price isn’t your main concern, the S22 Ultra is the most technologically impressive smartphone you can get today with Android.
Which Android Phone Is the Best Value for Money?
There are a lot of great, affordable smartphones out there. That being said, there is a difference between being cheap and being a great value.
While phones like the Moto G Power and the Nokia G20 are very cheap compared to the competition, lower prices are seen in the quality of the devices themselves. Those are both very good phones, but their long battery lives and sturdy nature don’t change that they are phones built for a budget.
Instead, the best value for a phone is between the OnePlus 9 and the Google Pixel 6. Both of these devices have incredibly powerful processing power, and they come in at the exact same price. Either phone would serve you incredibly well, and they will both be viable devices for years to come, but which one is the best value for your money?
With that in mind, the Google Pixel 6 stands on top. It is a newer phone made with better materials, and the new, experimental Tensor chip that Google claims is the next step in mobile phone processing units.
At only $599, half the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra price, the Google Pixel 6 is an amazing value for what you are paying.
What Is the Most Durable Android Phone?
Durability is, unfortunately, something that is not prioritized by most companies developing smartphones. Instead, they are designed to be tailored to different types of cases that you can purchase separately with varying levels of protection.
Since smartphones are made with a lot of glass on the outside, getting the right protection is vital and should be done as soon as possible.
However, that doesn’t mean that all phones are created equal for durability. For example, the Google Pixel 6 advertises its water resistance, using that as a selling point and allowing people freedom regarding how they store and use their phones.
Alternatively, the cheap yet bulky Moto G Power is very large and tough, making it much harder to snap in half than some of its peers. Some phones are made from aluminum parts, while others are made from plastic, which is another reason to invest in a phone with higher quality materials.
While you won’t find any indestructible phones on this list, some are tougher than others.
Which Brand of Android Phone Is the Best?
When it comes to brands, Android has many options to choose from. So many companies utilize the Android O.S., and they all have a different approach to building hardware than can accommodate the software in new ways.
When it comes to varied and high-quality devices, Samsung is the company doing the most with Android. Samsung has the highest quality phones on the market, and they are constantly pushing the boundaries of what an Android phone can achieve.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the latest example of an Android phone that leaves all the competition in the dust regarding innovation and refinement.
They aren’t just for the upper class, and phones like the Galaxy A52 offer options for people who want the quality of Samsung without the price point. Samsung consistently has amazing cameras, processing power, and user interface options.
The Samsung Galaxy series is a dominant force in the mobile phone world that rivals Apple itself, and it continues to be at the top during this industry-shaking transition to 5G.
There is no one best Android phone, and that speaks to the versatility of Android as an operating system. Whatever your needs might be, however niche or hard to accommodate, you can bet that an Android system exists for you.
Whether you are choosing between high-profile companies like Samsung or Google, or if you are just looking for the cheapest option available, the wide breadth of Android options is staggering to see.
As we transition into a 5G world, these brands are doing more and more to try and innovate and get the next big Android phone on the market. Keep an eye on the brands above to see what they do next and how the landscape of Android phones is going to evolve.
However, consider the phones discussed above if you are interested in moving on from your iPhone and picking up an Android. While they all have their pros and cons, none of the phones on this list are bad, and all of them would be perfectly good options for your first Android phone.
Consider what you need out of your mobile phone, go back over the different Android options above, and decide from there.
Visit Navi for more information on choosing a phone and plan that’s best for you.
Mobile OS market share 2021 | Statista
Buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra | Samsung
Get your Google Pixel 6 | Google
Samsung Galaxy Cell Phones | Samsung
REDMAGIC (US and Canada) | REDMAGIC 7