Unlike the iOS ecosystem, where Apple's iPhone is the only game in town, one of the best things about the Android phone market is the wide range of different devices and manufacturers to choose from. That said, when it actually comes time to upgrade, that wealth of options can make it a bit more difficult to choose the right handset for you. If you’re looking for a new phone and don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best Android phones for every budget.
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Best Android phone overall
Best mid-range Android phone
Google Pixel 7a
Best budget Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Best premium Android phone
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best foldable Android phone
What to look for in a new Android phone
When it comes to picking our favorite Android phones, the main things we look for are pretty straightforward: good performance (both compute and AI), a nice display, solid design, sharp cameras, long battery life and a significant commitment to ongoing software support. For performance, not only do we look at benchmarks and other metrics, but we also evaluate phones based on responsiveness. Regardless of whether you’re reading, text messaging, scrolling through social media or playing a game, no one wants a device that feels sluggish.
When it comes to displays, we generally prefer OLED panels that can produce rich, saturated colors with at least 600 nits of brightness, though many of our top mid-range and high-end phones can hit 1,000 nits or more. And more recently, most of our favorite devices also support screens with fast refresh rates of 90Hz or 120Hz, which adds an extra level of smoothness and fluidity.
Now we will admit there is a bit of subjectivity when deciding which phones look the best, but there are other design aspects like dust and water resistance or screen durability that can make a big difference to long-term survival. It’s also important to consider things like support for wireless charging, power sharing (aka reverse wireless charging) and UWB connectivity, which can have an impact on how your phone interacts with your other devices.
Obviously, for photos we’re looking for sharp, colorful shots in both bright and low-light conditions. And we want video clips with high dynamic range, rich audio and smooth image stabilization. Extra cameras for ultra-wide and telephoto lenses are a plus. It’s also important to consider features like dedicated night modes, support for various video recording resolutions, and additional photo modes like timelapse, slow motion and more.
Battery and software
Finally, in terms of battery life, we’re looking for all-day longevity on devices that also delivered great results on our local video rundown test (at least 16 hours on a charge, but more is obviously better). Wireless charging capabilities have become almost ubiquitous over the past few years, and most of our top picks have this extra perk. Finally, with people holding onto their phones longer than ever, we like to see companies commit to at least three years of software support, upgrades and regular security updates.
The best Android Phones to buy right now
Best Android phone overall: Google Pixel 8 Pro
Thanks to the Tensor G3 chip, updated sensors and a host of new AI-powered features, the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have even more to offer for both photography and everyday use. The new Magic Editor makes it astonishingly easy to remove distracting objects from your pics, while the Audio Magic Eraser cuts down on annoying ambient sound in videos. And for all those group photos, Best Take ensures that everyone looks their best, even if they weren’t smiling during the first shot. On top of that, Google’s Call Screen has gotten smarter while Assistant features, like being able to summarize or real articles aloud make it easy to stay on top of news however you want. Add to that a more refined design, brighter displays, better battery life and improved performance, and Google’s latest flagship phones might be the most well-rounded Android phones on the market.
Processor: Google Tensor G3
Display: 6.7-inch Super Actua, up to 120Hz
Cameras: Rear array (50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 48MP telephoto), 10.5MP front camera
Best mid-range Android phone: OnePlus 11
For those who want a phone with a big screen, excellent cameras and great performance, but for less than a traditional flagship, the OnePlus 11 strikes a good balance between budget phones and more premium devices. In a lot of ways, the OnePlus 11 is like a more affordable Galaxy S23+. Not only do you get a similar 6.7-inch 120Hz display, it also features a speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a big 5,000 mAh battery. Meanwhile, thanks to OnePlus’ blazing 100-watt wired charging, it juices up faster than any phone from Google or Samsung. And on the camera side, the company’s ongoing partnership with Hasselblad has resulted in notable improvements in image quality.
The main shortcomings of the OP11 are that its IP64 rating for dust and water resistance falls short of what you get from competing devices, and the camera’s 2x optical zoom lens feels a bit on the short side. But with OnePlus adding wider carrier compatibility and committing four years of OS upgrades and five years of security patches, the OP11 is a well-equipped option that costs significantly less than its rivals.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display: 6.7-inch QHD+, up to 120Hz
Cameras: Rear array (50MP main sensor, 48MP ultrawide, 32MP telephoto), 16MP front camera
Best budget Android phone: Google Pixel 7a
The $500 Pixel 7a delivers everything we look for in a great, affordable Android phone (if you have less money to spend, check out our best cheap phones guide). New features include a faster Tensor G2 chip, a smoother 90Hz display and for the first time on one of Google’s A-series phones: support for wireless charging. And with a refreshed design with IP67 water resistance, it looks and feels like the standard Pixel 7 but for $100 less. You also get great support thanks to five years of security updates and at least three years of software updates. The Pixel 7a's only shortcomings are rather small and include a lack of a dedicated zoom lens and no support for mmWave 5G (unless you purchase a slightly more expensive $550 model from Verizon).
Processor: Google Tensor G2
Display: 6.1-inch FHD+, up to 90Hz
Cameras: Rear array (64MP wide, 13MP ultrawide), 13MP front camera
Best premium Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
With a starting price of $1,200, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is very expensive, but it has excellent performance, a great camera system and practically everything you could ever want or need in a smartphone. Its specs include a huge 6.8-inch OLED display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, a total of five cameras (main, ultra-wide, 3x zoom, 10x zoom and a selfie shooter) and a built-in S Pen stylus for drawing and note-taking. It also features a huge 5,000 mAh battery that delivers some of the longest runtime we’ve seen on any phone. And with Samsung’s renewed commitment to software support, you can expect a minimum of four major OS upgrades and five years of regular security patches.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display: 6.8-inch QHD+, up to 120Hz
Cameras: Rear array (200MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto), 12MP front camera
Best foldable Android phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Despite increased competition from the Pixel Fold, for people who want to maximize their mobile productivity, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still the best big foldable phone on the market. On the latest model, not only has Samsung added two new gestures for launching into side-by-side multitasking or switching from a full screen to a windowed app, it has also increased the number of recent apps you can see on the taskbar from two to four. The Z Fold 5’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset also delivers faster performance than on the Pixel Fold, and even though this Samsung phone has a smaller power cell (4,400 mAh vs 4,800 mAh), it has better battery life, too. But the biggest change for this generation is Samsung’s new Flex Hinge, which allows the phone to close completely flat and makes it thinner to boot. Unfortunately, its camera system is largely unchanged from last year, and with prices starting at $1,800, the Z Fold 5 isn’t even remotely close to being affordable.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display: 6.2-inch HD+ front display (up to 120Hz), 7.6-inch QXGA+ main display (up to 120Hz)
Cameras: Rear array (50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto), 10MP (Cover) + 4MP UDC (Main) front camera