Hate Apple? Here are the best alternatives to the iPhone

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra hands on handheld front angled lock screen
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The iPhone 15 line and particularly the iPhone 15 Pro Max rank among the absolute best phones you can buy, but they’re not for everyone.

While they’re powerful, with decent cameras and a polished interface, Apple’s approach to smartphones puts off as many people as it attracts.

But if you’re not sold on Apple’s handsets then there are plenty of great alternatives from other brands, many of which match or even beat the best iPhones in various ways.

And while there are loads of Android alternatives to choose from, the five options below are among the very best.

1. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back with S Pen mostly withdrawn

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

Samsung has long been Apple’s biggest smartphone rival, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 line is arguably the most direct competitor to the iPhone 15 series there is.

You might consider the Samsung Galaxy S24 itself instead of the iPhone 15, or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus instead of the iPhone 15 Plus. But the best of these phones is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, which is a real alternative to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has an even bigger screen than the iPhone 15 Pro Max at 6.8 inches, and it’s brighter too, topping out at 2,600 nits.

Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has an extra camera, giving you a 3x optical zoom as well as the 5x zoom that both phones have. And these cameras perform well, with our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review noting that “your artistic friends may prefer the iPhone 15 Pro, but you’ll take better shots of everything if you have a Galaxy S24 Ultra."

It’s arguably more powerful too, with our review stating that “the Ultra is just as fast as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and in many ways it’s even faster.” And the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra even includes an S Pen stylus, which isn’t something you’ll get with any iPhone.

Its software isn’t as slick, with our S24 Ultra review saying “the iPhone 15 Pro with iOS 17 is not just simpler, it’s more fun and sociable,” and for better or worse the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a fingerprint sensor instead of Face ID. But if you simply want the most feature-packed non-Apple phone you can buy, this is arguably it.

2. Google Pixel 8 Pro

Pixel 8 Pro showing call screening

The Pixel 8 Pro (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are other obvious alternatives to an iPhone, as while Google’s smartphone market share is tiny, the company makes Android, so it has as much control over the software on its phones as Apple.

And while the Pixel line isn’t massively popular, it should be – these phones can take exceptional photos, have distinctive designs, and have clever software features like Call Screening (though note that not all of the Pixel 8’s software features are available globally).

The Pixel 8 Pro also has a superb 6.7-inch 1344 x 2992 screen, which our Google Pixel 8 Pro review noted was “just as good as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and maybe better.”

In any case, these are fantastic phones with intuitive interfaces and minimal bloat, making them about the closest thing you can get to an iPhone running Android.

3. Google Pixel 8a

Google Pixel 8a in aloe green showing

The Google Pixel 8a (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

While most of Apple’s phones are high-end, expensive handsets, the company also sells the iPhone SE (2022), which is a more mid-range prospect. So if you’re looking for an alternative to that, you might want to consider the similarly mid-range Google Pixel 8a.

This is a slightly pricier option than Apple’s alternative, but it’s also a far more modern phone, with a stylish design, a suite of AI tools, and a 120Hz, FHD+ screen.

The Google Pixel 8a can’t match its pricier siblings for camera performance (though it still has the iPhone SE (2022) beat), and it’s not the most powerful of phones. But for the price it’s a strong option, and with the promise of seven years of software updates you shouldn’t have to upgrade again anytime soon.

4. OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 home screen in emerald green

The OnePlus 12 (Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

According to our OnePlus 12 review, “the OnePlus 12 has amazing performance, good enough to go toe-to-toe with the latest iPhone 15 Pro in games and some productivity tasks,” yet at $799.99 / £849 (around AU$1,215) it costs quite a bit less than the iPhone 15 Pro.

In fact, in the US that’s the same price as the standard iPhone 15, yet the OnePlus 12 has a bigger, brighter, and higher resolution 6.82-inch 1440 x 3168 screen with a peak brightness of 4,500 nits. And it’s smoother too, thanks to a 120Hz refresh rate.

It also has more cameras than the iPhone 15, with the addition of a 3x telephoto lens, plus it has a far bigger 5,400mAh battery, much faster 100W charging (or a still speedy 80W in the US), and a similarly high-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. Just note that its water resistance isn’t quite as good, and it probably won’t be updated for as long.

5. Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro from the back

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro (Image credit: TechRadar)

If you’re seriously into mobile gaming then a recent iPhone is always a strong choice, as Apple’s chipsets deliver blazing-fast performance, but over on Android there are phones that are built from the ground up for gaming, such as the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro.

This has features like an incredibly high 165Hz refresh rate, Air Trigger shoulder buttons, a mammoth 5,500mAh battery, and second USB-C port positioned so it’s comfortable to play in landscape mode while charging.

The Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is also tremendously powerful, thanks to a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset and up to 24GB of RAM.

This is undeniably a niche phone, and we’re only recommending this as an alternative to an iPhone if you specifically want to game a lot on your handset. For those who do, the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro is a top choice, as it's one of the best gaming phones you can buy.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.