We test all of the best smartphones at Digital Trends to find out exactly what they’re capable of, and we look for all of the best models available. To find the best Android phones, we divided this list into categories based on different budgets. For each budget level, we offer our top pick and any alternatives we think are worth mentioning. We chose the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra as the best Android phone since it has a superb camera, a beautiful screen display, and impressive battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Best Android flagship
- S Pen is convenient and highly accurate
- Versatile camera takes great photos
- The latest processor for power
- Long software support
- Beautiful high refresh rate screen
- Not very fast battery charging
- Large and heavy
Why you should buy this: The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a gorgeous hunk of phone with every panel and line perfect in fit and finish.
Who is it for?: Buyers who seek the safest, most forward-looking tech purchase available.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra:
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a tough phone that will last for years. It’s all business with flat end caps, sharp lines, and squared-off corners — not the friendliest design, and not the easiest to handle, but solid. At 228 grams, it’s one of the heaviest smartphones out there. But there's a real beauty in the brutalism, and it's stylish and sleek despite all that.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s huge screen is arresting with beautiful colors, deep blacks, and features like HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos for multimedia. The same Armor Aluminum metal used on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 constructs the chassis, paired with Gorilla Glass Victus+. Its 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen has a 120Hz refresh rate and a maximum resolution of 3088 x 1440 pixels. It supports HDR10+ and is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus+, with peak brightness at 1,750 nits. Samsung promises four Android version updates and five years of security updates for superlative longevity.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with an S Pen stylus nestled within a storage slot on the bottom of the phone, letting you take neat, hand-written notes using the stylus and the screen naturally. The camera lenses are individually set in the back panel in an attractive, minimalist design — not integrated, as in the previous model. The camera takes beautiful photos with vibrant colors and balance, with an updated, customizable portrait mode, and otherwise gets the job done with a variety of versatile high-quality optical zoom modes plus the main and wide cameras.
It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. The cheapest model comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage space and does not support a MicroSD card. The battery is rated at 5,000mAh, and Samsung has equipped the phone with support for 45-watt fast charging (block not included in the package).
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra costsfor the 8GB/128GB version. For more storage, the price is $1,299 for a 12GB/256GB model, $1,399 for a 12GB/512GB model, or $1,599 for the top 12GB/1TB version. Samsung promises four Android version updates and five years of security updates for superlative longevity.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
Best Android phone for $1,000
- All the power you could want
- A stunning screen
- Very fast wired and wireless charging
- Reliable, smooth, and quick software
- Hasselblad involvement isn't that noticeable
- At $969, it faces serious flagship competition
Why you should buy this: The most complete, no-nonsense, reliable smartphone package available.
Who it's for: If you want the best current tech on your phone, but don't want to spend more than $1,000.
Why we picked the OnePlus 9 Pro:
The OnePlus 9 Pro is OnePlus at its best. It puts the latest hardware specs — a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor with 5G and up to 12GB of RAM, plus a big 6.7-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate — inside a water-resistant body made from metal and glass, then pairs it with one of the best Android 11-based user interfaces out there for a superb all-around product.
That’s before you get to the incredibly fast charging, with a wired connection taking just 28 minutes to fully recharge, or about 45 minutes using OnePlus’ own fast wireless charging stand. The battery life isn’t the longest out there, but it’ll still last you a day provided you don’t go mad on gaming.
It’s the first phone with a camera tuned by photo experts Hasselblad, and although the company has only worked on the software for now, it has improved the OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera over previous models and regularly takes stunning images.
There are two models available, an 8GB/128GB version and a 12GB/256GB model. The additional storage is welcome as the OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t have a microSD card slot, but if you’re happy with cloud storage moving forward, save yourself some money and get the 8GB/128GB OnePlus 9 Pro.
The OnePlus 9 Pro also embodies what we’ve come to expect and love about the company’s phones — overall dependability. It’s not just the slick, easy-to-use software, but also the pretty styling, sensible size, fast charging, and maxed-out specs that make the phone an incredibly safe purchase, and one that will last you for years.
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Best stylish Android phone
- Colorful, 120Hz screen
- Two-day battery life
- Camera takes shareable photos
- IP67 water resistance
- Useless fingerprint sensor
Why you should buy this: It has all the features and abilities most people need, inside a stylish and durable case.
Who it's for: Someone who wants a great Samsung phone, but without the S21 Ultra's high price.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G:
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G pulls off a very clever trick: It does almost everything you need, looks good while doing it, and the price doesn’t even come close to being four figures. The plastic case has a lovely texture and looks excellent with its molded camera module, while the 6.5-inch AMOLED screen is bright, colorful, and filled with detail, plus it has a desirable 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling.
There are five cameras on the back of the phone, and the photos it takes are very good — plenty of pop, and a strong HDR effect so they're shareable without too much editing. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G for power, has Android 11 installed, and 5G connectivity, so it’s up-to-date, speedy, and ready for the future too. Perhaps best of all is the two-day battery life, even if you spend time playing games.
That’s before you get to the water resistance, microSD card slot, and 3.5mm headphone jack. The Galaxy A52 5G really does have everything you need, and the $500 price tag is very reasonable considering. It’s highly recommended.
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Moto G Power (2021)
Best cheap Android phone
- Excellent battery life
- Stripped-back software
- Solid design
- Huge display
- Sub-par camera
- 720p display
- Missing NFC
Why you should buy this: It's a solid choice if you don't have much money to spend on a new phone.
Who it's for: The budget-conscious buyer who still wants good software and long battery life.
Why we picked the Moto G Power:
When you spend $200 on a new smartphone, you’ll always have to make concessions, and it’ll never be as technically competent as a phone that costs more. Price aside, there are some good reasons to buy the Moto G Power, most notably the big 5,000mAh battery for two days of use before recharging. The screen is huge too, at 6.6-inches, and the software does without any annoying “features” or too much clutter, for a pleasant everyday experience. For $200 you will get the base model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Pay $50 more and this goes up to 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor is good enough to play most games as well.
What are you missing out on? The screen’s 720p resolution is a disappointment, and there’s no NFC for Google Pay, and the camera doesn’t take great photos either. All this can be solved by buying the $350 Pixel 4a. However, if the budget doesn’t allow for it, then the Moto G Power (2021) will still do all the normal phone-related tasks with ease.
Moto G Power (2021)
Google Pixel 5a 5G
Best midrange phone
- Excellent camera performance
- Smooth, clean software
- IP67 water and dust resistance
- Affordable price for its capabilities
- Standard, somewhat boring design
- No high-refresh display
Why you should buy this: The Pixel 5a offers smooth performance, punchy photos, and lowlight capabilities on a budget.
Who it's for: Anybody who wants a great camera, the definitive Android experience, and 5G.
Why we picked the Google Pixel 5a 5G:
Google's Pixel A-Series is an affordable, pared-down version of the company's flagship phones, with high-quality camera hardware and software performance — characteristics that also define the Google Pixel 5a 5G. The Pixel 5a 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage packaged in a standard candy-bar design with a smooth black plastic exterior and rounded sides.
The 6.34-inch, 2400 x 1080 resolution OLED screen sports a narrow bezel with a hole-punch selfie camera at the top right, a responsive fingerprint sensor on the back, and a 3.5mm audio jack up top. The screen has a 20:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 413 pixels per inch (ppi). With a 4,680mAh cell, it’s a hefty battery, you can get around one-and-a-half to two days of regular use before needing to top up. Camera capabilities are top-notch, and one of the best we've ever seen. The primary sensor is a 12.2MP with a 16MP ultrawide camera featuring a 117-degree field of view. The 8MP front camera does well for selfies and video.
In terms of connectivity, the Pixel 5a 5G supports Sub-6 5G, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC, compatible with all the major U.S. carriers, Japanese carrier SoftBank, and Google’s Project Fi.
Google Pixel 5a 5G
Which brands make the best Android phones?
We've highlighted Samsung a lot above, and it's true that Samsung makes some of the best phones around. But really, it depends on your chosen price range. Samsung is the king of the higher Android price bracket, but head further down, and you start to notice the Google Pixels, Motorola's budget and midrange options, and even some great phones from Nokia. The bigger names you recognize should definitely be preferred, as quality can be an issue when you start experimenting with brands you've never heard of.
But really, a brand name shouldn't be what you base your decision on. After all, any manufacturer can make a bad phone from time to time. Instead, check out individual phone reviews, and decide that way. There will likely be differences between Android skins on different brands, but they shouldn't be big enough to ruin your experience.
How do you choose the right Android phone for your needs?
Price, screen size, camera capabilities, durability, and processing power are some of the most important factors to consider when buying a phone. If you work or game on your phone a lot, you’ll want a phone with speedy processing. If you take a lot of pictures or videos, the camera might be a make-or-break factor for you.
How do Android phones differ from iPhones?
Android phones run on Android, while iPhones run on iOS. But this is only the beginning. Android phones typically offer USB-C charging, while most Apple phones use Lightning charging. Users praise Apple for its clean interface, lack of bloatware, privacy, and ease of integration with other Apple devices. Users praise Android for its easy customization, easy integration with Windows and other devices, affordability, expansion, and innovation. When it comes to iPhone versus Android, it’s really a personal decision.
How long should an Android phone last?
Most modern smartphones should last two to three years.
Which Android Phone has the best camera?
Many Android phones offer exceptional cameras, including Google’s new Pixel 6 Pro. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra also has a stellar camera system, producing some of the best photos you can get out of a smartphone with a primary 108MP sensor, an ultrawide 12MP sensor, and two 10MP telephoto sensors.
Which Android phone has the best battery life?
A good phone’s battery should last you most of the day, but the Moto G Power has a 5,000mAh battery that lasts exceptionally long for an Android Phone in its price range.
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