Android is firmly in control of the mobile O.S. market, with 71.8% of smartphones sold in 2022 being Androids. While Apple iOS is used exclusively for their iPhone line of phones, Android is a versatile O.S. utilized by many companies. Companies ranging from Motorola and Xiaomi to Samsung and Google use Android as the O.S. that powers their phones.
While this breadth of handset options is excellent 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 essential to look at which features mean the most to you when picking up a phone.
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What Should You 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 sold for a low price, the next step is determining the company's changes 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 to know how much money you are willing to spend before looking into other factors. Doing this can put you in a good position to figure out what other factors matter to you.
No amount of bells and whistles will satisfy you 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 our new devices' incredible leap in power.
With that in mind, you can still get a smartphone with fantastic 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 the fancy new apps and features take up space on our phones, so we have had to increase our storage space over the past decade. As technology advances, 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.
How we connect our phones to the internet is rapidly changing with the implementation of 5G into our infrastructure. 5G is faster, more powerful, and more accessible than its predecessor, 4G.
5G has yet to be fully integrated, but it will likely continue to grow 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 incompatible.
We are in the final legs of 3G-compatible phones, and someday we may 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.
The phone’s age can have an impact on all the above factors. 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 may be less impressive on an older phone due to recent technological advancements. Phones as current as 2019 may not have 5G accessibility, meaning they can 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.
You won’t be likely to pick up the best camera performance (features like a 12mp ultrawide lens, telephoto camera, low-light main camera, optical zoom, and other top-tier specs) on a device from last year a few years ago. However, sometimes these newest phones don’t justify their price tags.
Whether scrolling on a laptop online or through Best Buy, finding the best phone for you can be challenging. Here’s our list of the top ten Android phones to help you.
What Are the Top 10 Android Phones?
- Samsung S22 Ultra
- Google Pixel 7
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
- Nokia G21
- 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 because it is 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.
It is worth your money if you are looking for a phone with all the bells and whistles. 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 7
Google revamped this phone line with the Google Pixel 7, adding a new flagship to the company’s line of mobile phones. The Pixel 6 comes at only $599, making it incredibly affordable for such a powerful device. It runs on an upgraded version of the Tensor chip, Google’s in-house processor, called the Tensor G2.
It is also backed by the Titan M2 security chip, which is excellent for those who want that extra boost to their internet safety. The phone is modern and 5G compatible, and it has a slick new look that differentiates itself from other smartphones.
The camera quality is excellent for its price point, and it is boosted by the machine learning capabilities that come with the Tensor G2. The Pixel 7 might not be the most advanced phone, but its unique processing unit and solid performance make it arguably the best value for its cost.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4
Sometimes gimmick phones rise above their quirkier attributes, which can be said of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. While the phone’s flip function is exciting and unique, the device also succeeds in being an excellent smartphone.
While $1,000 is not the cheapest option on this list, it is the most affordable foldable touchscreen phone. The phone has an inner refresh rate of 120 Hz and comes with eight solid gigs of RAM.
The battery sits at 3,700 mAh, which is undeniably concerning for a phone of this type. 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 4.
Nokia had its heyday before the arrival of smartphones, but they are still alive and creating quality products. The Nokia G21 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. Its 5,050mAh battery is more significant than what any premium smartphone is currently packing.
This is still a budget phone, and there are apparent compromises to keep the device at such a low price. The resolution doesn’t hold a candle to any big-name smartphones out there, and just like its predecessor, the G20, there is no 5G compatibility.
As 5G continues to spread, this phone will 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 likely be obsolete within a decade.
However, this is a solid choice if the price is your primary concern.
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 has many amenities expected of the Samsung Galaxy name.
As its title suggests, it is entirely 5G compatible and has strong battery life while connected to 5G internet. It has a tremendous 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 its peers, with less glass and metal and more plastic parts. It lacks the processing power of other devices on this list and 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 for the Samsung Galaxy a53.
The Redmagic 7 is incredibly 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 built explicitly around high-quality mobile gaming and 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 run 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 excellent, and the battery life leaves much 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 can 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 essential 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 may 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.
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, respectable specs, and pricing. The OnePlus 9 comes in at $599, and it ships with a 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 quickly go from empty to full in under an hour.
The most straightforward comparison is with the Pixel 6, which has the same price and 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 (in fact, it’s not even the most recent phone from OnePlus — look toward the OnePlus 10 Pro and the OnePlus Nord for those). Still, it is a powerhouse of features that you won’t find even on high-end phones for the asking price.
Google Pixel 6
The 6 is a step under the Pixel 7, 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 significantly lower than the Pixel 7.
Even if you grab the Google Pixel 6a or Pixel 6 Pro, the price is still nowhere near the Google Pixel 7 Pro; that’s because the flagship phones, whether you’re looking at the Pixel phones or the iPhone 14, will be the most expensive on the market.
The excellent 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. Its OLED display isn’t as impressive as the 6 Pro’s AMOLED display, but both can run Android 12 and the new Android 13.
It is inferior to the Pixel 7 Pro in all ways but the price. The G1 Google Tensor chipset is outdated, and it doesn’t keep up with newer phones regarding processing power or display, and you won’t see the same speeds you’d see on the 7.
However, it is an excellent 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 with a telephoto lens, it offers wireless charging and compatibility with various fast chargers, 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. If you’re looking for a gaming phone, the Galaxy S21 FE offers the software support you need for a full day of gameplay. Additionally, 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 or S21 Ultra. If you want 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 depends entirely on your preferences; no one-and-done phone will give you all the features you want. However, there are clear winners when figuring out which smartphone is the best.
When it comes to the most technologically impressive phone 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 an excellent user interface, incredible 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; at $1,199, the price is likely to be a considerable 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 said, there is a difference between cheap and great value.
While phones like the Moto G Power and the Nokia G21 are very cheap compared to the competition, lower prices are seen in the quality of the devices. Those are excellent phones, but their long battery lives and sturdy nature don’t change the fact that they are phones built for a budget.
Instead, the best value for a phone is between the OnePlus 9 and the Google Pixel 7. These devices have impressive processing power and come at the 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 are the next step in mobile phone processing units.
At only $599, half the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra price, the Google Pixel 7 is a fantastic value for what you are paying.
What Is the Most Durable Android Phone?
Durability is, unfortunately, something that needs to be 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 have glass on the outside, getting the proper protection is vital and should be done as soon as possible.
However, that doesn’t mean all phones are created equal in 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 massive 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 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.
Regarding 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 excellent 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, 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 looking for the cheapest option, the wide breadth of Android options is staggering.
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 will evolve.
However, consider the phones discussed above if you want to move on from your iPhone and pick up an Android. While they all have pros and cons, none of the phones on this list are bad, and they would be outstanding options for your first Android phone.
Consider what your mobile phone needs, go back over the different Android options above, and decide from there.
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