Best Android phone - which should you buy?

The top Android phones compared

Best Android phone which should you buy

Our verdict on the best Android phones - constantly updated

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 making three every second. HTC is producing award-winning handsets, and LG is bringing up the supercheap 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.

Samsung Galaxy S5

10. Samsung Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an excellent phone, that's why it continues to make it into the top ten, and it's jam packed full of tech to keep you on the cutting edge.

It's got a fantastic 5.1-inch display, super fast Snapdragon 801 processor and a high performing 16MP camera.

There are also some more unusual additions including a fingerprint scanner hidden beneath the home key, a dust and waterproof chassis and a heart rate monitor on the back - pretty pointless but fun to show off. Plus it already has Android 5.0 Lollipop, so its software is up to date.

The Galaxy S5 loses marks for its all plastic design which results in it feeling a little toy like, and the heavy TouchWiz UI which comes with a whole heap of bloatware.

Quick verdict

If you opt for the Galaxy S5 you will be very happy with what you get - especially if you're a Samsung fan - but it you want something which feels as premium as its price tag take a look at some of the better ranking entries.

HTC Desire 820

9. HTC Desire 820

This is a big phone that seems to keep on giving - it's a phablet with the price of a cheaper phone. Eight cores. 2GB of RAM. A 13MP camera - it's certainly a well-specified proposition.

The polycarbonate 'Double Shot' design is really neat too - if you can't make a phone out of metal, it should look like this instead, as it still oozes premium quality that HTC has clearly nabbed from the high end One range.

It's also 64-bit, which makes it a lot more cutting edge and able to handle some harder apps - although the functionality is a little wasted at 2GB of RAM. Doesn't hurt to have, though.

Quick verdict

The Desire 820 never suffered from slow down, and has given it the tools needed to make the most of Android Lollipop if and when it arrives - plus the design deserves an internet high five.

If you're looking for a big handset for a budget price tag, the HTC Desire 820 is likely to cross your path - it might not have the specs to fight the best on this list, but it's a fun proposition nonetheless.

OnePlus One

8. OnePlus One

It's probably safe to say that the OnePlus One took almost everyone by surprise. It arrived with little fanfare from a new company, yet it turns out it's one of the top ten Android phones on the planet.

With a full HD 5.5 inch display, 2.5GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM it's got the specs to compete with anything else out there, but what really makes it stand out is the price, because at just £229 SIM-free it beats out the Nexus 5 as the best value high end phone available.

In fact it's roughly half the price of competitors like the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5, so with that in mind it's easy to forgive the lack of a microSD card slot and the questionable call quality, and with its tweakable CyanogenMod OS it's even a little bit different.

It's set to keep on delivering too, as CyanogenMod will soon optionally be replaced by OnePlus' own OxygenOS rocking Android 5.0.

Quick Verdict

When it comes to sheer value for money it's hard to beat the OnePlus One. Its build might not be as high end as the HTC One M8 but for what it costs we're surprised it even has a screen.

Speaking of the screen, it might be a little on the large side for some users and price aside the phone isn't quite up to the standards of the HTC One M8, LG G3 or the Sony Xperia Z3, but it sure comes close.

Moto X

7. Moto X (2014)

2014's edition of the Moto X might have the same name as 2013's version, but thankfully Motorola has been more creative with the specs of its latest flagship than with its name.

Motorola has boosted the hardware in a number of key areas for the latest Moto X. It has a larger 5.2-inch 1080p screen, an improved 13-megapixel camera, and some handy new pre-installed apps – which is something we don't usually say about apps that come with smartphones.

It's also due to get an upgrade to Google' new Android 5.0 Lollipop mobile operating system any day now. Powering all of this is some pretty decent hardware including a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM. The Moto X comes in 16GB and 32GB flavours, which should be just about enough for most but remember: there's no expandable storage.

Quick verdict

The name might not have changed, but there have been improvements where it counts with Motorola's latest flagship phone. Customer feedback has influenced a number of aspects of the new and improved Moto X, with the handset sporting a bigger screen and aluminium metal frame alongside a seriously competitive price.

It's not perfect, with the camera still average and a lack of a micro SD card slot, but the Moto X does a great job of earning its place in our top ten.

Sony Xperia Z3

6. Sony Xperia Z3

Sony released its successor to the Xperia Z2 a mere six months after its release. Because of the quick turn around we weren't expecting a revolutionary new handset. What the Sony Xperia Z3 does manage to do is improve on the already excellent Xperia Z2 in some key areas.

The screen is a large 5.2-inches with a full 1080p resolution. Technology behind the screen gives a boost to the overall brightness of the display which makes it look fantastic.

The Xperia Z3 also packs some impressive specs with a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

These improved specs are all housed in a slimmer and more stylishly designed chassis, giving the Xperia Z3 a truly premium feel. It's also water and dust resistant as well.

Quick verdict

The Sony Xperia Z3 does a lot of things right, with some excellent hardware specs and a stylish design. If you own a PlayStation 4 then the Remote Play feature that lets you stream PS4 games to the handset could be of real interest - and if it's not, it should be.

It's a great phone and it's set to get even better as Sony has confirmed that it will be one of its first handsets to get Android Lollipop, but the experience isn't quite flawless enough to get it any higher in our charts with a disappointing camera and buggy software being chief among its problems.