In the market for an Android upgrade? Competition has never been stiffer, with all manner of makers vying for your prestigious pocket space – and wanting to be named best smartphone on sale. Which makes selecting the best Android phone a tricky task.
Spoilt for choice? We’re here to help. We’ve tested all of the latest Android handsets and rated our favourites in the list below. That includes premium flagships from the likes of Google, Samsung and Sony, plus a handful of more affordable Android alternatives.
Whether you’re ready to shell out on a top-end telephone or shopping for maximum value from a mid-range mobile, the list below will help you find your ideal Android phone.
If you’re looking to save money you can read Stuff’s guide to the best cheap smartphones.
The best Android phones you can buy today:
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Pick a superlative and it probably applies to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: this is the best Android phone right now, bar none. Spiritual successor to the Note, it’s an undeniably large yet supremely solid smartphone. Like the Note, it ships with an S Pen – and the stylus is more responsive than ever. Bright and sharp and brilliant, the AMOLED display is simply sublime, whether you’re scribbling or scrolling. Silicon is cutting-edge as well; with Samsung going exclusively with Snapdragon for 2023, the Ultra blasts fast but cool through almost any app or game. And the list goes on. Maximised by a new neural processing unit, the versatile camera setup yields too many highlights to cover here, including a 200MP main sensor and 10x telephoto. Even the front camera is exceptional. There’s no denying the serious outlay required to own one, but if you’re an Android fan willing to pay for the best, this is the smartphone to get.
Jam-packed with premium features, Samsung’s range-topping S23 Ultra is all the Android smartphone you could want – and then some
Tech spec:Screen: 6.8in, 1440×3088 AMOLED, 120Hz • Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 • RAM: 8/12GB • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB • Software: Android 13 with OneUI • Cameras: 200+12+10+10MP (rear), 12MP (front) • Battery: 5000mAh • Dimensions: 163x78x8.9mm • Weight: 234g
Google Pixel 8 Pro
This year’s Pro-grade Pixel has climbed firmly into flagship territory, with a higher price to go with its top-tier cameras and undeniably slick styling. The Pixel 9 Pro is all metal and frosted glass, with the distinctive camera shelf setting it apart.
Algorithm-assisted shooting modes help its three rear cameras deliver fantastically detailed images in all conditions, raising the already high photographic bar set by its predecessors. The Tensor G3 silicon might not match Qualcomm’s top chips for raw power, but multitasking is a breeze, and Android 14 is wonderfully smooth in action. With a 5000mAh cell, battery life is no longer a footnote, while the palm-spanning 6.7in OLED display delivers impeccable contrast, vibrant colours and dynamic refresh rates.
It continues Google’s run of phenomenal phone photography and is more AI-assisted than ever, but the 8 Pro isn’t a value champ like previous Pixels.
Tech spec:Screen: 6.7in, 1440×3120 LTPO OLED, 120Hz • Processor: Google Tensor G3 • RAM: 12GB • Storage: 128/256/512GB • Software: Android 14 • Cameras: 50+48+48MP (rear), 10.5MP (front) • Battery: 5000mAh • Dimensions: 163x77x8.8mm • Weight: 213g
The latest OnePlus flagship ditches the Pro moniker, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still compete with the big boys. An all-screen frontage is very much in the modern mobile mould, while the firm’s classic alert slider remains present and correct. The sizeable circular camera bump at the back is home to three capable lenses, plus Hasselblad branding which hints at enhanced shooting modes. Low-light performance has improved from last year, while daylight snaps are sharp and colourful.
Its 6.7in display looks simply brilliant, with consistent brightness and colour complemented by dynamic refresh rates of up to 120Hz. Performance is unsurprisingly ace, while battery life proves impressively frugal. If you can handle its heft, the OnePlus 11 is a truly top-drawer device.
Offering a killer combo of specs, design and price point, OnePlus hits another home run with its latest Android flagship
Tech spec:Screen: 6.7in, 1440×3216 AMOLED, 120Hz • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 • RAM: 8/12/16GB • Storage: 128/256/512GB • Software: Android 13 with OxygenOS • Cameras: 50+32+48MP (rear), 16MP (front) • Battery: 5000mAh • Dimensions: 163x74x8.5mm • Weight: 205g
Google Pixel 7a
A streamlined vision of vanilla Android excellence, the Pixel 7a is yet more proof that Google makes the best Google phones. With a design distilled from its premium Pixel siblings, the 7a goes easier on your wallet without cutting corners. Its composite construction does a convincing impression of glass, while the shelf styling ties it into the Pixel family. A Tensor G2 CPU inside stomps on almost everything in the same price bracket, running undiluted Android 13 without a stutter. It also continues Google’s track-record of camera excellence, using both a high pixel count sensor and powerful algorithms to extract impressively detailed stills. a 90Hz refresh rate means the screen is a big step up over last year’s Pixel 6a, too.
A wallet-friendly winner that pretty much means there’s no reason to buy the pricier Pixel 7
Tech spec:Screen: 6.1in, 1080×2400 OLED, 90Hz • Processor: Google Tensor G2 • RAM: 8GB • Storage: 128GB • Software: Android 13 • Cameras: 64+13MP (rear), 13MP (front) • Battery: 4,385mAh • Dimensions: 153x72x9mm • Weight: 193g
Xiaomi 13 Pro
With a giant 1-inch main camera and Leica-assisted portrait telephoto as backup, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is an exceptionally well-rounded mobile shooter. It’s also packing a capable ultrawide that doubles as a macro lens, so there’s little it can’t capture. Made from premium materials like ceramic, it looks every bit the flagship too. An impeccable display, the latest Qualcomm silicon and some mighty impressive charging times put it up there with the very best in the Android world. It also undercuts the rival Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra by a fair margin, making it a very tempting choice for anyone who’s not fussed about S Pen scribbles.
A no-compromise flagship with a simply stunning set of cameras, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is up there with the very best phones 2023 has seen so far.
Tech spec:Screen: 6.73in, 1440×3200 LTPO AMOLED, 120Hz • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 • RAM: 8/12GB • Storage: 128/256/512GB • Software: Android 12 with MIUI • Cameras: 50+50+50MP (rear), 32MP (front) • Battery: 4820mAh • Dimensions: 163x75x8.7mm • Weight: 229g
Sony Xperia 1 V
Sony’s top-spec smartphones aren’t for everyone. But if you’re happy to pay for the privilege, the Xperia 1 V is a phenomenally capable Android handset. A flagship in all respects, it delivers exceptional performance, a cinematic 4K display and day-long battery life, all wrapped up in distinctively slick packaging. Android puritans will be pleased by its light-touch interface, but photographers are the true target market: rapid burst shooting, expansive manual options and stellar image quality make it a win for serious snappers. As well as a continuous optical zoom lens, which lets you get closer to subjects without the need for digital trickery, it benefits from an all-new main sensor that fares better in low light. Photography fans with deep pockets won’t be disappointed.
Unapologetically premium, Sony’s no-compromise flagship excels with an exceptional feature set, cementing its position as the ultimate Android camera phone
Tech spec:Screen: 6.5in, 1644×3840 OLED, 120Hz • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 • RAM: 12GB • Storage: 256GB • Software: Android 13 • Cameras: 52+12+12MP (rear), 12MP (front) • Battery: 5000mAh • Dimensions: 165x71x8.2mm • Weight: 185g
Nothing Phone 2
Nothing took everything we liked about the wallet-friendly Phone 1 and ramped it up a little bit for the sequel – without going into full-on flagship territory. Phone 2 is packing last year’s flagship CPU as a result, but that’s still plenty of performance for the cash. Improvements have been made to pretty much every area: the screen is larger, with skinnier bezels; the battery is bigger, lasts longer and charges faster; the pair of 50MP rear cameras have uprated image processing; and NothingOS 2.0 is as cohesive and complete as any Android skin we’ve used this year. The Google Pixel 7 still edges it on the photography front, but for sheer pocket presence Phone 2 is a genuine alternative.
A beautiful big-screen blower with unique style and plenty of substance. Rivals have it beat in one or two areas, but none have Phone 2’s charm.
Tech spec:Screen: 6.7in, 2410×1080 LTPO AMOLED, 120Hz • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 • RAM: 8/12GB • Storage: 128/256/512GB • Software: Android 13 with NothingOS 2.0 • Cameras: 50+50MP (rear), 32MP (front) • Battery: 4700mAh • Dimensions: 162x76x8.6mm • Weight: 201g
OnePlus Nord 2T
Staying true to OnePlus’ classic value formula, the Nord 2T isn’t a massive upgrade over its predecessor. Instead, it tweaks the recipe to cement its rep as a formidable mid-range mobile. With a glass back impersonating more expensive handsets, the 2T benefits from a tidy design – apart from the inelegant camera rings on the rear. Unchanged from the Nord 2 is its colourful OLED panel. Not the brightest nor the fastest around, its 90Hz refresh rates are smooth enough for everyday use. Results from the 50MP main Sony sensor remain reliably decent, while the 32MP selfie camera is a significant improvement. There’s no wireless charging, but 80W refuelling is a speedy selling point. And with MediaTek Dimensity 1300 silicon powering proceedings, software flies along too.
A neatly designed 5G smartphone with solid specs at a fair price: the Nord 2T is one of the best mid-range Android phones you can buy
Tech spec:Screen: 6.43in, 1080×2400 AMOLED, 90Hz • Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 1300 • RAM: 8/12GB • Storage: 128/256GB • Software: Android 12 with OxygenOS • Cameras: 50+8+2MP (rear), 32MP (front) • Battery: 4500mAh • Dimensions: 159.1×73.2×8.2mm • Weight: 190g
Motorola Edge 30 Ultra
It’s been a while since Motorola was top of the handset pack, but the new Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is a superb smartphone that wins back plenty of street cred for the Moto brand. It’s got practically everything going for it, including a premium build, a very capable camera setup (including a pixel-packed 200MP main camera and 60MP selfie cam), along with insanely nippy 125W fast charging. Oh, and a punchy pOLED display with a super-slick 144Hz refresh rate. Phew.
Our only minor gripes are the lack of a waterproof build and expandable storage. Zoom fans will also find the 2x optical zoom lacking. For everyone else though, this is an absolutely cracking handset, especially for the price. Well done Moto.
A rapid-charging powerhouse of a phone with a superb set of cameras… for a tantalising price
Tech spec:Screen: 6.67in, 1080×2400 pOLED, 144Hz • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 • RAM: 8/12GB • Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB • Software: Android 12 • Cameras: 200MP+50MP+12MP (rear), 60MP (front) • Battery: 4610mAh • Dimensions: 162x74x8.4mm • Weight: 199g
What’s the best foldable Android phone?
Oneplus came out of nowhere with the Open, bringing a fantastic form factor, superb snappers and some of the best software to truly take advantage of the large internal screen. That’s because the phone is badged as an Oppo Find N3 elsewhere in the world, with the parent company having tested the water with several foldable generations already.
It has great battery life, fast wired charging, and a fantastic design to boot. The fact this is cheaper than either of Samsung or Google’s efforts makes it something of a smartphone slam dunk.
Lower price, brilliant build: the OnePlus Open is the finest foldable we’ve seen yet.
Tech spec:Screen: 7.82in, 2440×2268 AMOLED, 120Hz (main), 6.3in, 2484×1116 AMOLED, 120Hz (cover) • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 • RAM: 16GB • Storage: 512GB • Software: Android 13 with OxygenOS 13 • Cameras: 48MP+64MP+48MP (rear), 20MP+32MP (main/front) • Battery: 4805mAh • Dimensions: 153x143x5.8mm (unfolded) • Weight: 245g