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Best Android phone 2019: which should you buy?

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Best Android phone

The best Android phones sport slimmer bezels and introduce startling new design quirks. With the growing number of killer Android smartphones, it can hard to pick the best one to suit your particular needs, but we’ve had plenty of hands-on time to list the best – and the rest.

For now, Samsung is still holding strong thanks to its talent for blending features, high specs, and exciting design alongside some stunning cameras in its new S10 line. But given the advancements coming from competing Google Pixel and Huawei phones, the roster of best Android smartphones will keep getting more interesting. The new OnePlus 7 Pro is a scrappy contender in its own right. 

If you’re shopping around for a new Android smartphone, be sure to check all of these handsets out, as you'll see some you might not have known about or haven't taken seriously - but we can assure you they're all quality picks.

You can also compare the list to our best phones and best unlocked phones to see how Android and iOS devices stack up. And, if you need mobile service to go with your phone, we can help you find the best unlimited data plan.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best Android phones on the market right now.

Best Android phone

(Image credit: Future)

1. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

The best of the best

Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 175g/198g (ceramic) | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 128GB/512GB/1TB | Battery: 4,100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP wide + 12MP 2x telephoto + 16MP ultrawide | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP

Five cameras! All useful
Killer battery
Cool in-screen fingerprint sensor
Expensive

While the Samsung Galaxy S series has only made incremental improvements in recent years, the Galaxy S10 Plus makes a bit more of a substantial leap ahead with new features and an even sleeker look. While the other models in the series have their advantages, the S10 Plus is simply the best of the best – top specs, an expanded camera suite and some shiny new tricks.

The Snapdragon 855 at the phone's core competes with the Apple A12 for the fastest chip you can get in phones, and the 8GB RAM makes browsing and gaming speedy. The baseline 128GB of storage is great, but you can also pick up the phone with 512GB – or even 1TB, if you pay for the premium ceramic-backed version (which boosts the RAM to 12GB). If that's not enough, storage can be boosted by 512GB via microSD, bumping potential storage to 1.5TB...whoever should need it.

The phone has few drawbacks, with a huge 6.4-inch screen in the smallest frame we've seen thanks to a 93% screen-to-body ratio. The in-screen fingerprint sensor is cool, the ability to wirelessly charge other devices using the new Wireless PowerShare feature is even cooler, and we just love the clean look of the phone. Aces all around...if you're willing to pay the (very) high price.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Best Android phone

2. Google Pixel 3

The best camera phone without the notch

Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 148g | Dimensions: 145.6 x 68.2 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 2,915mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 8MP + 8MP

Google's great camera got better
Great one-hand-friendly size
Battery life not as good as 3 XL
Design a little bezel heavy

If you hate the smartphone notch, you can still get the best smartphone camera without it. Google’s Pixel 3 comes in smaller and more affordable than its bigger sibling, but it offers the same best-in-class camera performance.

The design of the Pixel 3 isn’t quite up to par with the rest of the new flagships from 2018, as it has sizable bezels above and below the screen. It fits a 5.5-inch display with a resolution slightly above Full HD. 

Though it’s not winning any contests for its looks, the internals are up to the task, with a Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM to power through most tasks quickly. Google’s phones also get timely and ongoing updates to the operating system, so the Pixel 3 may remain relevant longer than some of its competition.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 review

Best Android phone

(Image credit: TechRadar)

3. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Flagship specs at a lower price usable one-handed

Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 150g | Dimensions: 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 3,100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP wide + 16MP ultrawide | Front camera: 10MP

2019 flagship specs at 2016 prices
Most of its pricier siblings' features
Small size for one-handed use
Misses out on in-screen fingerprint, etc
Smaller screen size worse for gaming/media

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is essentially the iPhone XR for Android: flagship specs at a lower price, with a few features shaved off to cut costs. And yet, the S10e is less of a compromise. It retains an AMOLED display (the XR's is LCD), starts at 6GB of RAM and packs a second ultrawide rear camera to the XR's single wide lens.

There are several things the S10e lacks compared to its pricier siblings, but nothing you'll terribly miss: its side-mounted sensor is still more reliable than the in-screen fingerprint sensor on the S10 and S10 Plus. The 2x telephoto lens on its bigger siblings isn't as useful as the ultrawide sensor it keeps. 

But most importantly, it's a cheaper, smaller phone in a sea of Android phones that are getting larger and pricier. The S10e is a more distinct alternative to the S10 Plus than the standard S10, which ends up being a middle child that doesn't quite earn its price hike from its budget flagship sibling. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10e

Best Android phone

Image credit: TechRadar

4. OnePlus 7 Pro

The somewhat-affordable flagship reaches new heights

Release date: May 2019 | Weight: 206g | Dimensions: 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.67-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6/8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP

Notchless display w/ pop-up selfie cam
In-display fingerprint scanner
All-day battery life
No headphone jack
Less affordable than previous models

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the pinnacle of the company's design ethos: top-tier specs and software at sub-flagship prices. While the latter is still true - and you can get the standard OnePlus 7 a little cheaper, if you want - the pricetag for the elite OnePlus 7 Pro is creeping closer to the competitors it had previously outvalued.

But arguably, the upgrades from last year's OnePlus 6T are worth it. The new handset adds a third ultrawide camera (following the Samsung Galaxy S10 line and Huawei Mate 20 Pro before it), retains its in-display fingerprint sensor, and even bumps up the resolution to an impressive WQHD+ (1,440 x 3,120) for a sharper-than-ever picture.

The OnePlus 7 Pro's real innovation is a seamless, no-notch display - made possible by a persicope 16MP selfie camera. It pops up when taking selfies, but also when unlocking the phone with facial recognition. It even auto-retracts when the phone's gyroscope detects it's been dropped, though we haven't tested how effective this is. 

All in all, the phone is a solid upgrade over its predecessor, though its extreme value over leading flagships has diminished somewhat.

Read more: OnePlus 7 Pro review

Best Android phone

5. Samsung Galaxy S10

A fantastic phone with a less-clear identity

Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 157g | Dimensions: 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB/512GB | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP 2x telephoto + 16MP ultrawide | Front camera: 10MP

Powerful and handy
Great suite of cameras
In-screen fingerprint sensor is cool
Unclear purpose compared to siblings
Too few upgrades for price bump from S10e

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is an incredible phone – a true flagship that ticks all the boxes and even has a few new tricks that make it a bit more than just an incremental upgrade over the Galaxy S9. But with the addition of the 'budget flagship' S10e to the S10 line, the standard edition is a bit harder of a sell.

Don't get us wrong, it's still a fantastic phone. Packing the latest Snapdragon 855 chip and doubling the RAM to 8GB makes the standard S10 a powerful device, and the baseline 128GB of storage is very welcome. The new in-screen fingerprint scanner is pretty cool, and the extra 2x optical telephoto and ultrawide lens are reasons alone to pick this over last year's Galaxy S9. The new Wireless PowerShare is very handy in a pinch to charge other devices.

But for a noticeable price cut, you aren't missing much if you opt for the S10e; and on the other side, for a bit higher price, the S10 Plus offers a slightly larger screen, another selfie camera for portrait depth, and a higher spec ceiling. Thus, the standard S10 is likely for folks who want a flagship that's not too big, not too small, yet is powerful enough to last years of use.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10

Best Android phone

6. Huawei P30 Pro

A killer camera that's aging well

Release date: April 2019 | Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.47-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Battery: 4,200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP + TOF | Front camera: 24MP

Four (FOUR!) cameras
Top specs, slick design
Huge battery
Limited carrier support in US
Only Full HD display

Huawei's P series has always taken photography seriously, and the P30 Pro takes that to an extreme. Where other phones have struggled to fit more than a 3x optical zoom in ever-slimmer phones, Huawei circumvented that limit with a novel design: lay its lens stack along the phone's length and use a mirror to reflect it out the rear cover. Hence the "periscope" lens, which manages 5x optical zoom, a 10x digital zoom and a baffling 50x full digital zoom.

The phone is no slouch in other departments, either, sporting Huawei's latest Kirin 980 chip to reach speeds on par with Apple and Samsung flagships. Respectable RAM and storage round out the phone's specs, but you'll pick up the P30 Pro for its astounding photo capabilities, which include impressive DSLR-level ISO, per Huawei's claims. 

Alas, Huawei phones aren't the easiest to get in the US – you'll have to pick them up wholesale from a retailer, since no carrier currently sells the company's devices and network support is limited. If not for that scarcity issue, this phone would likely rank higher in our list. But if sourcing your phone isn't much of an issue, the P30 Pro looks to be a great choice.

Read our full review: Huawei P30 Pro

Best Android phone

7. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Big, fast, premium, and pricey

Release date: August 2018 | Weight: 205g | Dimensions: 162 x 76.4 x 9mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 2960×1440 | CPU: Exynos 9810 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 128/512GB (up to 1TB with card) | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Much better battery
Improved S Pen
Hefty device to hold
Mostly iterative upgrades

The Galaxy Note 9 may not reign supreme after other phones have surpassed it this far into 2019, but its high specs and handy stylus keep it on our list of best Android devices.

With a sharp, 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, the Note 9 offers a great viewing experience for anyone that’s on the go often. Inside, it’s powered by the same components as the Galaxy S9 Plus, but with larger storage capacities available, a bigger battery, and more RAM optional. 

The Galaxy Note 9 sets itself apart with the S Pen, which enables some handy hands-free features and smooth note-taking. The cameras on front and back are just as impressive as the Galaxy S9 Plus shooters. For everything that the S9 Plus offers and a little bit more, this is a winner if you have the wiggle room in your budget.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Best Android phone

8. Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei's best phone and camera

Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 189g | Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.39-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP | Front camera: 24MP

In-screen fingerprint scanner
Great triple cameras
The UI needs refinement
High price

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro isn’t the easiest to get your hands on in the US, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive a phone. It’s the best we’ve ever seen from Huawei, and stacks up well against all other Android phones.

It’s QHD display measures 6.39 inches and supports HDR10 for a great visual experience, as long as notches aren’t an issue There’s a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display as well. Inside, it’s offering impressive performance with Huawei’s own Kirin 980 chipset and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. It comes with plenty of storage and a large battery as well. 

The camera offering on the Mate 20 Pro is truly impressive, with a combination of three cameras on the back and a super-sharp 24MP selfie camera. The rear camera system combines a 40MP wide-angle sensor, an 8MP telephoto sensor, and a 20MP ultra-wide sensor. The result is an incredibly versatile snapper with AI backing it up.

Read more: Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

Best Android phone

9. Google Pixel 3 XL

The best camera, a big screen, and a big notch

Release date: November 2018 | Weight: 184g | Dimensions: 158 x 76.7 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 2960 | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,430mAh | Rear camera: 12.2MP | Front camera: 8MP + 8MP

Superb camera phone
Solid battery life
Notch is hard to ignore
No headphone jack

Google’s Pixel 3 XL is a bit bigger and blockier than its smaller sibling, with sizable bezels that are less and less ignorable in 2019. The phone still has one of the best camera setups on the market, and it does that with just one rear sensor, two front-facing sensors, and a whole lot of software optimization, so credit where credit is due. 

The design of the Pixel 3 XL isn’t quite as dazzling as the other offerings on this list, but it’s passable. It boasts a 6.3-inch OLED screen, but has a glaring notch at the top. The dual front-facing speakers help make up for that unsightly notch.

The internals are also competitive with the other flagship phones. And, with regular operating system updates guaranteed by Google, the Pixel 3 XL may have a longer life than some of the competition. 

Read more: Google Pixel 3 XL review

Best Android phone

(Image credit: Future)

10. LG G8 ThinQ

LG's latest

Release date: April 2019 | Weight: 167g | Dimensions: 151.9 x 71.8 x 8.4mm | OS: Android Pie | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: 16MP+12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Vibrant OLED display
Portrait mode for video
Boring design
Too pricey

The recent LG G8 isn't the company's strongest offer in recent years. It launched with a design that wasn't keeping up with its contemporaries, yet it had a price that was just about as expensive.

All the same, it comes with the latest Android experience and all the power that's offered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. That combination is enough to make it a worthwhile consideration as an Android phone.

The screen may have a notch cut out of the top, but it's otherwise bright, sharp, and decently large. The cameras aren't top-class, but with a wide angle lens on one, they offer some handy versatility. If you can find the LG G8 at a discounted price, some of its detractors get easier to forgive.

Read more: LG G8 ThinQ review