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 cut the Ericsson ties but still is cranking out the Google-branded handsets. Then you've got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei and many others, and while HTC has ceased the practice of releasing more phones than centipedes have shoes (they do wear them, you know) it's still one of the more prominent Android manufacturers.
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
Do you physically and emotionally need a QWERTY keyboard? Are you the sort of oddball who prefers the rough pressing needed to make resistive touchscreens work? If so, you won't find much luck here, as those technologies are sadly phased out of the Android world as buyers get enamoured by fancy, glossy capacitive touchscreens.
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.
12. Sony Xperia S
The Xperia S almost has too many positive points to list, with a HD screen, 12MP camera and dual-core processor all combining to make one of the finest smartphones of 2012.
Sony has also very kindly bundled lots of software with the Xperia S out of the box, which saves you having to dash to Google Play as soon as you turn on to grab vital apps.
Battery life is the only slight wobble (if you don't mind a plastic casing), but it will generally last a day under normal conditions, and that's a solid enough benchmark for us.
It's since been bested twice with the announcement of the Sony Xperia Tand then the Xperia Z with faster innards and a better screen - but that means the Xperia S has become more of a budget winner, so don't worry about the first Sony phone just yet.
11. Motorola Razr i
Motorola's done a good job with the Razr i. It's taken a line that refuses to die quietly, injected it with a little bit of pizzaz and thrown it right out there for all and sundry.
The fact that you can expand the storage by up to 64GB makes this an attractive option. And it's an easy phone to use without too much customisation to confuse Android newbies. Plus, it works well as a phone, with good signal, and provides you with a top notch, fast internet service.
And let's not forget about that screen: with the edge to edge display, it really pops and fizzes in the palm, with the Super AMOLED display impressing.
Would we recommend the Motorola Razr i to friends and family? Yes, without a second's hesitation. Because not everyone wants a phone that will drop the kids off at school, bake you a cake and give you a massage in the evening.
It's got a lovely small footprint and a gorgeous display, so if you're not bothered by reams of high-end specs, then you're onto a winner with the Razr i.
10. Samsung Galaxy S2
Make no mistake - this is still a great phone, thanks to the Ice Cream Sandwich update, and the design has moved from cool to iconic pretty quickly. On top of that the Jelly Bean update is rolling out apace for this ageing phone, which means for the money you can buy it for, it's still a decent choice.
Don't go for a two year contract though - you could end up using a phone that's nearing hald-a-decade old.
What we love about the Galaxy S2 is the sheer amount of stuff that's packed in under the chassis - but more important is the way Samsung has used all that tech to create a phone that just works near-flawlessly.
The dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the Super AMOLED plus screen and the excellent sonic performance of the media player are still good enough for use, if you're not bothered about bleeding-edge speed.
In short, be it internet browsing, navigation, media, or social networking- the Samsung Galaxy S2 is still more than good enough for all those functions in one phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S II not only set a new bar for smartphones in 2011; it smashed the bar, recreated it in its own image and even managed to see off the competition of an Apple smartphone that doesn't drop signal all over the place - but now it's been usurped by more powerful devices.
9. Sony Xperia T
This is James Bond's phone apparently. Well, he was seen using it in Skyfall, so that's good enough for us. It packs some lower specs than others on this list, but combines them in an attractive unit.
The Xperia T heads back to the design language of the Xperia Arc, meaning it's got a lovely curved back that sits comfortably in the hand, and the large and expansive screen provides great video playback thanks to the Bravia Engine.
Sony has produced another impressive smartphone that offers the functionality and performance we're looking for in a top-level handset.
The Sony Xperia T is a very, very good phone. Despite opting for a dual-core processor over a quad-core option, the Xperia T doesn't lag and navigating the interface is smooth and easy.
8. HTC One X+
The biggest and most boastful of HTC's 2012 Android models, the One X arrived powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 chipset for the ultimate in portable kudos.
And now HTC has taken that design, thrown out the bits that don't work and had another go... while adding a "+" on the end to show it's all new and shiny. Plus some red flashes for effect.
It's addressed storage concerns with a boost to 64GB, improved the web browser efficiency and the always reliable HTC keyboard – although the battery is still a bit of a sore point, despite it being all "efficient-ized."
The design may not be any different, but we like that as the One X+ was already a handsome looking handset, with the unibody design exuding a premium air of superiority.
The beefed up processor along with the Android 4.1 and Sense 4+ UI updates makes the One X+ an even slicker, smoother and more powerful customer than its older brother.
HTC's latest version of its Sense interface is great here, with the display, fancy modern case construction and performance all combining to make a superb phone - and now we're looking at more storage and a better OS to play with too.
7. LG Optimus 4X HD
LG's attempt at stealing some of the high-end market is a rather impressive monster of a phone, combining a quad-core processor with a large 4.7-inch display that runs at a 1280 x 720 resolution.
The result is a big yet slim phone that ticks all the boxes. It's fast, it's great for web use and the keyboard's a pleasure to use on the larger screen, and although there are no stand out physical or software elements to make it a complete must have, the LG Optimus 4X HD is a slick, powerful phone that does everything well.
However, it pales in comparison to the Google Nexus 4 - although we do like the overlay LG chucks on top of its phones to hide the Android OS below, which is the main reason you'll buy this phone.
A great all-rounder, but lacking some of the polish and features that make HTC and Samsung the class leaders. Very close to greatness, though.