Best Android phone 2017: which should you buy?

Update: What's the best Android phone you can buy in the US as of July 2017? We have ten answers for you, ranked in order. The new OnePlus 5 has been added, but there are many more that came right before it, including the latest Samsung phones.

The best Android smartphones in 2017 are better than they were a year ago, with more advanced cameras, faster processors and fresh apps, and now some are available at cheaper prices.

That has made deciding between the overwhelming number of Android handsets a seemingly impossible task. The good news is that we're on top of it. It's sort of our job to write brilliant phone reviews.

Our official best phones list and best unlocked phones list serve their purpose for wider audiences, including iPhone lovers, and our AT&T plans, Verizon plans, T-Mobile plans and Sprint plans give you the best rates on service.

But there are also plenty of Google-powered phones with Android 7.0 Nougat and phones that run Android O that deserve extra focus. You demanded it.

1. Samsung Galaxy S8

The best smartphone – now with a 5.8-inch screen

Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Amazingly large 5.8-inch screen
The best camera and display in a phone
Extra expensive now
Fingerprint sensor in an awkward spot

The best Android phone in the US is an easy pick because it happens to also be the best phone in the US and the world. It's the Samsung Galaxy S8, the more reasonably sized and slightly more reasonably priced version of the Galaxy S8 Plus.

It has a stunning 5.8-inch display that fills almost the entire face of the device, ridding you of needless bezels and (for better or worse) the home button. We didn't like how the fingerprint sensor was relocated to the back and lies in an off-center location next to the camera lens. Also, we're still waiting for Samsung to launch the Bixby voice portion of its AI software.

There's so much to love about the Samsung Galaxy S8, though. It's curved, nearly bezel-less display is the best ever created for a phone, it has an improved camera over last year's S7 Edge (our previous favorite) and it debuts the new Snapdragon 835 chipset. Really, you can't do any better, unless you insist on owning an iPhone. Then go back to Number 2.

Full review: Samsung Galaxy S8

2. OnePlus 5

A genuine flagship killer

Weight: 153g | Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm | OS: Android 7.1 Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3300mAh | Rear camera: 20MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP

Super-slick performance
Affordable price
Not water resistant
Still 'only' 1080p display

For some, the OnePlus 5 is the best Android phone around - and to be fair, they have a point. The Chinese firm has improved on 2016's OnePlus 3 and 3T to deliver a slicker design, dual-cameras round the back and a whole heap of power.

The AMOLED display is bright and vibrant, despite still 'only' being 1080p, and the fingerprint scanner is fast.

The lack of a microSD card, and a battery which doesn't last more than a day may put some off, but considering the price you're paying the OnePlus 5 is fantastic value for money.

Read the full review: OnePlus 5

Also consider: Low-cost flagship smartphones are getting better and better, and if the OnePlus 5 doesn't tickle your fancy the Honor 8 Pro might. If offers excellent value for money with a premium build and a great display.

best smartphones in the US

3. Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

Samsung's once again takes second place, too

Weight: 173g | Dimensions: 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 6.2-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Huge 6.2-inch display
Excellent camera and specs
Annoyingly placed fingerprint sensor
Your most expensive phone ever

You're not going to find a bigger phone than the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus on the list thanks its its gigantic 6.2-inch display. Don't be alarmed, it's not much bigger than last year's Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

What Samsung has done was rid its 2017 flagship phones of needless bezel and replaced the home button and capacitive keys with on-screen buttons. We liked everything about this move except for the rear-located fingerprint sensor. It's off-center next to the camera, which makes it hard to reach and makes the camera lens prone to smudges.

But there's so much more to love about this big phone. It has the best camera on an Android and debuts Qualcomm's newest Snapdragon chipset capable of not only running your phone faster, but doing 3D VR gaming. If you want a big phone and are willing to pay for it, this is the one for you.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

4. Google Pixel

The perfect phone for Android aficionados

Weight: 143g | Dimensions: 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm | OS: Android Nougat 7.1 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 821 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/128GB | Battery: 2,770mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Supremely smooth performance
Bright, colorful full HD display
Battery life could be better
Assistant yet to realize potential

If you're looking for the ultimate Android experience without any over-complicated features the Google Pixel is the phone for you.

It takes the latest version of Google's software - Android 7.1 Nougat - in its natural form. There's no annoying third-party manufacturer overlay, it's Android as Google intended.

Add to that its premium design (although the glass patch on the rear is a little questionable), excellent camera and huge amount of power under the hood and you've got yourself a rather special smartphone.

The battery life is the weak point for the Pixel, and we'd recommend carrying a charger with you if you're out all day.

Read our full review: Google Pixel

5. Google Pixel XL

A super-sized pure Android experience

Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.5mm | OS: Android Nougat 7.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 821 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/128GB | Battery: 3450mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Streamlined Android software
One of the best phone cameras around
Peculiar design choices
No stereo speakers or waterproofing

The Google Pixel XL offers up a pure Android experience on a bigger, higher resolution display than its brother, the Pixel.

The clean, slick interface is a joy to use, while the 12MP snapper round the back delivers some quality shots.

A fingerprint scanner not only keeps the Pixel XL secure, it also uses gestures to give you easier access to the notification bar - saving you from overstretching your thumb to the top of the screen.

The price is on the steep side, it doesn't have stereo speakers and isn't waterproof. But this is a premium flagship device that's powerful in every other way, including being VR-ready for the Google Daydream View VR headset.

Read our full review: Google Pixel XL

6. Moto Z

Modular and the world's thinnest

Weight: 136g | Dimensions: 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.2 mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 2600mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Creative modular accessories
Fingerprint sensor with a twist
No 3.5mm headphone jack
Big camera bump

The Moto Z is modular like the LG G5, but it's far better with extra add-ons and a much easier to use snap-on design.

It's powerful and the modular design means you'll be able to switch out elements for future accessories and could mean you can keep this phone for much longer than other devices that will date quicker.

Usually when we talk about mid-cycle upgrades, we're strictly talking about new software. Moto Z could take on new form at any time, and new mods like the Hasselblad camera have already proved useful. It doesn't reinvent the phone, but it makes it a whole lot more phone.

This may be the world's thinnest phone, but that comes at a cost with a reduction in battery size and the loss of the headphone jack - potential issues for some users. If you can overlook these shortcomings though you'll have a truly innovative device in your hands.

Read the full review: Motorola Moto Z

7. HTC U11

A wildly impressive phone - in a sea of wildly impressive phones

Weight: 169g | Dimensions: 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 7.1 Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB/6GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 16MP

Great camera
Excellent audio performance
Edge Sense is half-baked
Screen slightly dim

HTC squeezes itself into sixth place on our best Android phone list with the gorgeous HTC U11.

It has a 5.5-inch 2K display, which makes watching video gorgeous, strength under-the-hood with 4GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, and squeezable sides (yes, really!) allowing you to quick launch apps.

The camera technology is still a big focus for HTC though. A 12MP sensor may not sound like much, but it makes some gorgeous images on the back and there's a 16MP front-facing camera to capture your selfies too.

Read the full review: HTC U11

8. LG G6

Weight: 163g | Dimensions: 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 7 Nougat | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2880 | CPU: Snapdragon 821 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 3300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Great screen
Water-resistant body
Older chipset
Expensive for what is it

The LG G6 is a top Android smartphone, with an excellent premium design, lovely QHD display and clever dual camera setup round the back giving you plenty to play with and enjoy.

However, some odd choices to go with lower-spec performance and not upgrade the camera in a meaningful way while still charging a high price stops the LG G6 from appearing further up our best Android phone list.

That doesn't mean the G6 isn't innovative – the screen looks great and there's raw power, from the camera to the battery to the general snappiness of the handset, rippling through this phone.

Read the full review: LG G6

9. ZTE Axon 7

An mighty affordable Android with equally mighty specs

Weight: 175g | Dimensions: 151.7 x 75 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3250mAh | Rear camera: 20MP | Front camera: 8MP

High-end specs at a mid-range price
Premium design and large storage
Slippery without a case
Not on Verizon or Sprint

Several $400 Android smartphones launched in 2016, and the ZTE Axon 7 was the best of the bunch. It combines a metal design with high-end specs that we've seen in flagship phones throughout the year. It also has some features not available in other pricier Androids, like dual-front facing speakers and 64GB of internal storage.

ZTE is offering a better value for a mid-range phone, and while the OnePlus 3 has nearly the same specs for an identical starting price, the Axon 7 includes a microSD card slot and and Quad HD 5.5-inch display. Sprint and Verizon users be warned, it won't work on CDMA carriers in the US, so it's AT&T and T-Mobile only. Everyone else will like this phone and its cheap price.

Read the full review: ZTE Axon 7

best smartphones in the US

10. Moto Z Play

Long-lasting battery and MotoMods

Weight: 165g | Dimensions: 156.4 x 76.4 x 7mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | Chip: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3510mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP

Cheapest Moto Z phone yet
Works with all MotoMods
Not a flagship performer
Camera won't impress you

Moto Z Play is the $400 Android phone that sometimes bests the top handsets from Samsung and LG. It's compatible with Motorola's innovative MotoMods, allowing you to magnetically fasten accessories like a battery pack, mini boom box, 10x zoomable camera or even a pico projector to the back.

Where is excels is in battery life. It's the longest-lasting phone we tested in the last 12 months thanks to a top-notch 3510mAh battery capacity and smart efficiency software tricks. No, it's not technically as powerful as the Moto Z and Verizon-exclusive Moto Z Force. However, it's fast enough for everyone who is willing to skip out on VR gaming and wants a phone that is all about endurance and creative MotoMod accessories.

Read the full review: Moto Z Play review