Best Android phone - which should you buy?

The top Android phones compared

Best Android phone 2013 which should you buy

There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.

Samsung makes loads of them. Sony's releasing three every second. HTC is producing award-winning handsets, and LG is bringing up the super-cheap superphone brigade.

On top of that, there's a glut of other names in the mix, with the likes of Acer, ZTE, Huawei and OnePlus all offering cheap smartphones - and Google's gone high end with the Nexus range.

The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.

To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.

So here they are - the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.

Xperia Z3 Compact

10. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony has done such a good job of shrinking down the Xperia Z3 into a smaller handset with only a few minor cuts to the specifications that it has, perhaps by accident, created a more desirable phone.

It has the same 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor as the Z3, along with an Adreno 330 GPU and very good 20.7MP camera. The smaller 4.6-inch screen gives the Z3 Compact a better battery life than the full size Z3, as well as being more comfortable to hold. The price has also been cut, making the Z3 Compact a more compelling purchase.

Easily the best compact Android phone on the market today. Sony has worked hard to fit some excellent features into this handset despite its smaller stature and it has paid off. This is great work from Sony, and doubly brilliant if you own a PS4 too thanks to the Remote Play feature.

Moto G

9. Moto G

Anyone looking for phone at the affordable end of the spectrum will find the Moto G offers considerable bang for your buck.

For starters, it has a winning camera that's simply better than all the similarly-specced snappers in the Moto G's price range.

With water resistance becoming rarer – we're looking at you, Samsung – it's nice to see it well implemented, with charge and headphone ports that are water resistant by themselves.

And the vanilla Android Lollipop design with a few Moto upgrades makes for a good combo. The Moto G offers a very clean experience, with near flawless performance.

OnePlus 2

8. OnePlus 2

Delivering a phone that feels more premium and has a sturdier build, OnePlus has upped its game with this second generation handset.

With a 5.5-inch display that matches the iPhone 6 Plus for pixel density – 401 ppi – the OnePlus' panel offers excellent viewing angles, although it can look washed out in direct sunlight.

The surprise inclusion of a functional fingerprint scanner is a welcome addition, and one that brings the OnePlus 2 into line with Samsung and Apple's handsets, adding to the phone's premium feel.

It's not without its flaws, but when you consider that the OnePlus 2 costs a fraction of price of certain flagship phones, you may be willing to make some compromises.

Nexus 6P

7. Nexus 6P

Google's flagship Android phablet for 2015, the Nexus 6P is (slightly) easier on your wallet than some of its competitors, and with more modest screen dimensions than last year's 6-inch whopper, the Nexus 6, it's easier on your hand, too.

Yes, you can comfortably hold it in one hand without fear of dropping it, which is fortunate because the sight of its slick chassis tumbling to the ground would be a heart-stopping experience – the P in its name does stand for 'Premium' after all.

The 6P's rear has a fast, accurate fingerprint sensor, and its face boasts surprisingly loud stereo speakers. It lacks the wireless charging and integrated optical image stabilisation found in some of its competitors, but with Android Marshmallow 6.0 making the most of its battery, and powerful specs that fall just shy of what Apple and Samsung are currently offering, the Nexus 6P is a luxury smartphone without the extortionate price tag.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The Galaxy Note 5 is the first in the series to look and feel as premium as that asking price would suggest.

That glass back feels excellent in the hand, and the 5.7-inch screen is a real beauty, sitting at the pinnacle of current Android displays – even in glaring sun.

The camera is among the best currently available, and the S Pen remains a useful tool.

Fans of past Notes will miss the microSD card slot and removable battery, but if you can get past those absences, the Note 5 is worth the outlay.