The best Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and Chrome OS tablets you can buy right now (Winter 2020)
The best smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearables for Android (Early 2020)
The best wireless headphones, USB-C earbuds, and smart speakers you can buy (Early 2020)
The best Android smartphones you can buy right now (Spring 2020)
The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Spring 2020)
- View All 7 Articles In This Series
There are a lot of Android phones on the market, and while it's great there are so many choices, the abundance of phones can sometimes feel overwhelming. Is the Galaxy S10 still a good phone to buy? Which of OnePlus' four devices is best? We're here to answer those questions (and many others), with this list of the best Android smartphones to buy. There's something for every budget and taste, and we have all of the information you need to make an informed purchase.
Samsung Galaxy S20
Samsung's Galaxy phones are the most popular Android devices worldwide, and for good reason: they're usually fantastic. This year's S20 series checks nearly every box, while pushing the all-screen design to its limit. There are three models available, but the base S20 is the one most people should get — it's the best bang for your buck.
The entry-level S20 has a 6.2-inch AMOLED screen with ultra-smooth 120Hz, a Snapdragon 865 processor, 12GB RAM, 128GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD), and a 4,000mAh battery. Three rear cameras are included: a 12MP ultra-wide, a 12MP wide-angle, and a 64MP telephoto. You also get full 5G support, if your carrier has a 5G network in your area. However, the trusty headphone jack from the S10 series is no more, so you'll have to adapt to the #donglelife.
The base Galaxy S20 is available in four colors: Cosmic Gray, Cloud Pink, and Cloud Blue. It normally costs $999.99, but the price will likely start to do down over the next few months, as is usually the case with flagship phone launches.
OnePlus' product lineup is a bit confusing at the moment, with some models only being sold in some countries, but the phone most people should care about is the $599 OnePlus 7T. Even though prices for OnePlus phones continue to rise a little bit every year, the 7T still manages to be hundreds of dollars cheaper than its main competition from Samsung and Google, and remains an excellent choice going into 2020.
The OnePlus 7T is powered by a Snapdragon 855+ processor, 8GB RAM, and 128 or 256GB of internal storage. The screen is a large 6.55-inch 1080p AMOLED display (with an in-screen fingerprint sensor), and there are three cameras on the back — a 48MP regular, a 12MP telephoto, and a 16MP wide-angle. The 3,800mAh battery should easily get most people through an entire day of heavy use, and the 'Warp Charge' feature quickly tops up the phone.
In our review, Ryne wrote, "If you aren't super picky when it comes to the screen (and most people aren't), the 7T is a good value and a great phone at $600. For half what some other phones cost, you get the best performance, pleasant software, frequent updates, and a smooth, bright display. I can't say it's the best phone you can get today, and it isn't my personal favorite, but it's one of the better choices you can make."
The OnePlus 7T is available in Frosted Silver and Glacier Blue. An unlocked variant is available from OnePlus' website that works with most major carriers (Sprint being the main exception). T-Mobile also sells the phone, but that version has a bootloader that can't be unlocked until the phone is completely paid off.
Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung is taking a page from Apple's playbook this year, by continuing to sell its 2019 flagships as a budget alternative to its 2020 phones. The Galaxy S10 series is still in production, and prices have been reduced across the board. Last year's mid-range option, the regular S10, is now available for around $750.
The Galaxy S10 is equipped with a Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage (with microSD support), a 6.1-inch 1040x1440 AMOLED screen, and three rear cameras. The S10 also has two main features that the S20 series dropped: a headphone jack and heart rate sensor. It also received Android 10 last year, so the software experience is almost identical to the S20's.
For the moment, all four colors from last year seem to still be available: Black, White, Flamingo Pink, and Prism Blue. You can get them from the links below.
Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are Google's return to Nexus-era pricing, with the smaller model costing $399 and the larger version set at $479. It doesn't have flagship-level hardware, but it's close enough to the Pixel 3 that most people wouldn't notice a difference.
Both phones have a Snapdragon 670 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a headphone jack (can't take that for granted these days), NFC for Google Pay, a rear fingerprint scanner, a 12.2MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera. The smaller model has a 5.6-inch screen and a 3,000mAh battery, while the XL has a 6-inch screen with a 3,700mAh battery.
In our review, David wrote, "While the photos you’ll take with the Pixel 3a will have you impressed from day one, I think getting those three years of OS updates - and just as fast as every other Pixel phone - will leave you feeling like you made the right call. Google gets a lot of flack for bugs on its smartphones - and not unjustifiably, at times - but while every Android phone has bugs and glitches, basically none of them are going to see the level of software support this one will - even proper “flagships.” It’s hard to put a dollar value on that, but Google has: half the price of our other phones. I think that makes the Pixel 3a and 3a XL a pretty good deal, and pretty much without compare in the sub-$500 price bracket."
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL work on pretty much every carrier, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Both versions are available in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and 'Purple-ish'. It's worth noting that sequel models may arrive soon, but the Pixel 3a still has over two years of software support left.
Motorola One Action
Nokia is generally regarded as the best maker of budget Android phones — not counting Xiaomi, Oppo, and all the others that don't sell phones in the United States. However, the company doesn't have any worthwhile options around the $200-300 price range. The $189 Nokia 4.2 would have been our top pick, but that phone suffers from performance issues and poor battery life.
As such, the Motorola One Action is probably the best option for anyone on a tighter budget. While the price is technically $350, it's marked down to $300 at most retail stores. It has an Exynos 9609 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a headphone jack (yay!), and a 6.3-inch 2520x1080 IPS display with a camera hole in the corner. The camera setup is impressive for a mid-range phone, with a 12MP main sensor, a 5MP depth sensor, and a 16MP ultra-wide camera. It runs Android 9 Pie though — no Android 10 quite yet.
In our review, Scott wrote, "It’s pretty rare to get so much RAM and storage at this price, and you won’t find many other phones with triple rear cameras on this budget either. If you take a lot of videos, the Action Cam is nice to have, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s worth buying the phone for that feature alone."
The major catch is that the Motorola One Action is only an Android One device in the UK and Europe, but in the US it runs Motorola's usual software stack, so updates will be slower and less frequent in 'Murica. On the bright side, the One Action works on all major carriers, including Verizon and Sprint.