- Our option for the #1 Best Overall Android phone on Earth today is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, a stunning flagship with premium features and specifications.
- Flagship Android phones typically range from $700 to more than $1,000.
- You’ll find unique features and high-end hardware with phones in this class.
- Most major Android manufacturers have a premium or flagship device.
- When looking for the best Android smartphone, consider hardware, features, battery life, and how you’ll use the device.
If you want an iPhone, picking one out is easy, but the best Android phones come from a variety of manufacturers. Android gives companies a blank canvas to work with, which has resulted in some interesting designs over the years. While it’s a bit more challenging to narrow down flagship phones that run Android, after careful consideration, we compiled a list of five smartphones that are top of the class in several key areas:
History-Computer’s Top Picks for the Best Android Phones
You can find hundreds of Android smartphones available for purchase, and each year manufacturers crank new models out. When you’re looking for the “best,” that typically means newer handsets with premium features and high-end specs. While every phone on our list has those things in common, they excel in different areas from the cameras to battery life.
Best Overall Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the Best Overall Android smartphone for people who want a flagship with all the premium features. Samsung’s annual release is its best yet, and the S23 Ultra is the top variant from the new Galaxy lineup.
The S23 Ultra is a large smartphone with a gorgeous 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display. That panel has a resolution of 3,088 x 1,440 and an embedded fingerprint scanner. The phone gets its power from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, an octa-core processor. The 256GB version of the S23 Ultra has 8GB of memory while the 512GB and 1TB models have 12GB of RAM under the hood. Power is not a problem with the S23 Ultra.
Samsung wrapped those components up in a premium package as this phone has an 89.9% screen-to-body ratio. It’s waterproof thanks to an IP68 rating and has a quad-camera system along with a 12MP front-facing camera. The rear camera is comprised of four sensors including a 200MP main camera, dual 10MP telephoto sensors, and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor. This flagship smartphone comes with a stylus and has a 5,000mAh battery.
Every year Samsung drops a device that ends up at the top of the charts. The S23 Ultra is the latest in the company’s expansive Galaxy lineup and it is the best Android flagship for most consumers. While it is expensive, it’s a device you can run for years without worrying about upgrading, plus these phones hold their value well on the secondary market.
|The S23 Ultra feels like a premium smartphone.||Samsung’s bloatware can be annoying.|
|The phone’s overall specifications and the 6.8-inch display are impressive.||The S23 Ultra carries a premium price tag.|
|It has Samsung’s unique quad-camera system.|
|The phone comes with the S Pen.|
Best for Stock Android: Google Pixel 7
When you want a smartphone that runs the truest form of Android, the Google Pixel 7 Pro should be the only handset on your list. The latest version of the company’s flagship has improved on the previous generation and it’s the only phone that runs stock Android.
Hate bloatware? That’s not a problem with the Google Pixel 7 Pro unless you don’t like Google’s suite of services. This stripped-down smartphone has a bright, immersive 6.7-inch QHD display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It comes with 12GB of RAM out of the box and is available in three storage capacities from 128GB to 512GB. It has more memory than the base version of the Pixel 7, and the camera system gets an upgrade as well.
Google’s superphone has a tri-camera system on the rear with a 48MP telephoto and 50MP wide camera sensors. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide sensor on the back along with a 10.8MP camera for selfies. An IP68 rating protects from the elements while Google’s Tensor processor and M2 chip provide power and security for the Pixel 7 Pro. Google promises all-day battery life on this handset through its adaptive battery system as well.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is the most powerful handset Google has produced. It’s been a hit with fans and new consumers thanks to those cameras and the overall experience the phone can provide. The adaptive refresh rate and display are also fantastic. While the battery life is good, it’s behind devices like the iPhone 14 Pro and S23 Ultra in that regard.
|The Pixel provides users with a stock Android experience.||The battery life is not as good as advertised.|
|It has an intelligent refresh rate of up to 120Hz.||Many users felt it was too slippery without a case.|
|The phone is powered by the Google Tensor G2 processor.|
|The camera system has Macro Focus and Super Res Zoom.|
Best Budget Android Phone: One Plus 11
The OnePlus 11 is the best Android phone for consumers on a budget who want a high-end flagship. This sleek smartphone has fantastic specifications, unique features, and a competitive price tag on both the base model and Pro variant.
Whether you enjoy snapping photos or gaming, the OnePlus 11 has something to offer. A large 6.7-inch AMOLED display has Dolby Vision and Atmos support like the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The panel is rated at 120Hz, and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor provides the pop. The base model has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but there is a 256GB variant with a whopping 16GB of storage as well.
The camera system is also top-tier on this phone. It has a Hasselblad camera system with a 50MP main sensor, a 48MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 32MP telephoto lens. Unlike previous models, the phone will work on all three of the major carriers in the United States — Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. You’ll also get a fairly vanilla version of Android with the promise of four OS updates and five years of security updates.
OnePlus may have had some challenges to deal with, but they’ve addressed many of the most important ones with the OnePlus 11. It’s a phone that’s more in line with devices from Samsung and Apple when it comes to performance, even if it is stuck with an IP64 rating and doesn’t have wireless charging. The included 80W fast charging block is impressive, however.
|The phone has a 6.7-inch 120Hz display.||The OnePlus 11 doesn’t have wireless charging.|
|The phone is powerful with a Snapdragon 8 and up to 16GB of RAM.||The phone is not waterproof, only water-resistant with an IP64 rating.|
|Users can enjoy content with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.|
|The phone has an attractive price tag.|
Best Folding Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
When you’re looking for something unique, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is the best Android smartphone, and it’s not particularly close. This folding phone can do things impossible for other devices, and the tech specs are nothing to scoff at either.
The Z Fold4 has dual displays — the external one, and an internal panel that unfolds when you open it like a book. The front cover display is 6.2 inches and 2,316 x 904, while the inner panel is 7.6 inches, 120Hz, and it is just as stunning. All models come with 12GB of RAM, but storage varies between 256GB and 512GB. Given the minimal price difference and the overall cost of this phone, the 512GB is the best option.
The 50MP rear camera is solid and there are two front-facing cameras for selfies including a hidden 4MP sensor. It can do everything the S23 Ultra can, so it’s compatible with the S Pen, but has Flex Mode and can optimize apps for that massive flexible panel. With Flex Mode, you can chat while taking notes, snap a hands-free selfie, or open multiple windows on that massive display.
Flexible phones are still considered exotic, even though this is the fourth iteration in the Galaxy Z Fold collection. It’s the type of smartphone people will want to show off, and while there are devices that are faster or with better specifications, none have Samsung’s vibrant and flexible 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display.
|The phone’s folding 7.6-inch inner display.||It’s one of the most expensive smartphones on the planet.|
|It has a variety of unique features by design and through Flex Mode.||The Z Fold4 is bulky and there’s nowhere to store a stylus.|
|Plenty of power with 12GB of RAM and an octa-core processor.|
|The 50MP rear camera array on the Z Fold4.|
Best Battery Life: Motorola Edge Plus
If you want a phone that will last throughout the day with heavy usage, the Motorola Edge+ is the best option available today. This sneaky flagship flew under the radar when it hit the streets, but has turned out to be a hit on par with the top Android flagships.
Motorola took a page from Samsung’s old playbook with the design of this edged device. The Motorola Edge+ is a sleek handset with a borderless display and curved edges. Beneath that large 6.6-inch panel is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with 8 to 12GB of RAM. It performs well on benchmark tests and the base model comes with 512GB of internal storage. The phone certainly has flagship specifications, especially when you factor in the OLED display and Dolby Vision capabilities.
Cameras are a major selling point, and Motorola gave this handset a huge front-facing camera. You can take 60MP selfies or 4K videos at 60 frames per second. The rear features three cameras with two 50MP sensors and a 12MP telephoto sensor. It’s waterproof and has quick charging through a 68W TurboCharger which provides a full day’s charge in only nine minutes. The large 5,100mAh battery is optimized, and will still have a charge after other handsets on our list have shut down.
Having a phone with high-end features won’t do you much good if the battery dies halfway through the day. That will never be a problem with the Motorola Edge+, and it checks all the right boxes in other key areas as well. The Motorola Edge+ has a reasonable price tag, and while it doesn’t set itself apart from a design standpoint, it provides users with an excellent all-around experience.
|The battery life on this phone is fantastic and it recharges quickly.||The design doesn’t stand out.|
|The Edge+ has a 60MP front-facing camera.||The update cycle is shorter compared to Samsung and others.|
|Motorola’s dual 50MP rear camera system is excellent.|
|It has a large, 6.8-inch OLED 2,400 x 1,080 display.|
How to Pick the Best Android Phone: Step by Step
Some of the areas to consider when searching for the best Android phone are common sense. Nobody wants a sluggish handset or one with terrible battery life. While those are important, you should think about usage, hardware, and features as well.
- Battery Life
We’ll take a look at each one in greater detail below.
Are you the type of person who never lets your phone out of your sight? These devices can be addicting whether you enjoy matching jewels in a mobile game or posting on social media. Before you consider a brand or what’s under the hood, think about how you plan to use your new Android phone and how you use your current device.
If you only use an Android phone for making calls, texting, and posting on social media platforms, you don’t need something with a lot of power. An octa-core processor and 12GB of RAM will keep things moving along nicely, but they aren’t necessary for light to moderate usage. Phones with high-powered specifications are better suited for users looking for a handset that will last more than a few upgrade cycles.
If you find your phone frequently low on storage space, you may want to forgo an Android phone from a big brand unless you love the cloud. That’s because most major manufacturers got rid of microSD card slots. Smaller brands still use that feature as a selling point, along with massive batteries and dual-SIM card slots.
With the specifications or hardware on an Android phone, you’ll want to pay close attention to the processor, memory, and storage space. Just like with a PC, these components act as the heart of your phone and have an impact on how it performs on a daily basis.
Most premium Android phones use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips and higher model numbers have typically been considered better until recently. At this time, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the hottest mobile processor around in the Android ecosystem, whereas a few years ago it was the Snapdragon 865 and 888.
Octa-core chips are the most popular, and it’s not uncommon to find that many of the best Android phones have at least 8GB of RAM. Storage space varies from one manufacturer to the next, but the options always remain the same. In most cases, you can choose from 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of internal storage.
When that runs out, you’ll need to turn to the cloud for additional storage with most major brands. You can’t upgrade the processor or memory on smartphones, and connectivity options are fixed as well. On that front, you’ll want to look for a phone with a newer version of the Bluetooth standard and dual-band Wi-Fi.
You can find a lot of smartphones with high-end specifications and they make devices geared towards certain use cases as well. One thing that can help thin the herd quickly is battery life, especially for people who are on their phones for half the day.
Remember when you could remove the battery from a smartphone and slide in a new one? Those days are long gone, so manufacturers have learned to optimize battery life. While many companies promise “all-day” battery life, a quick look through reviews proves that generally isn’t the case. With premium Android phones, the batteries may be larger, but features and displays can drain a battery quickly.
With battery life, you should factor in the display and how often you use your phone daily. A large panel can take a toll on battery life, especially if it’s a 2K display.
Every smartphone has a selling point, and many of them come in the form of features. On a budget-friendly device, it could be the fact it has an FHD display or 5G, but with the best Android phones, those features are in the premium category.
Cameras are something almost every smartphone user takes advantage of. It’s not uncommon to see handsets with 3-4 cameras on the back with sensors well over 40MP. That’s impressive, but don’t be fooled by big digits. The quality of those sensors and the technology driving them plays a large part in the caliber of the camera.
The ability to record in 8K is something we’ve seen from more smartphones, even if 8K television sets are a long way from becoming standard. It’s a feature you could make use of in the future, but a fingerprint scanner or water resistance will come in handy immediately. Before getting bowled over by a cool feature, think about how often you’ll use it, and don’t overpay for marketing hype.
What to Know Before Buying an Android Phone
Our main piece of advice to anyone looking for the best Android phone on earth today is to be aware of pricing. Android manufacturers are very competitive with pricing, which means you’ll see devices on sale multiple times throughout the year. You’ll also want to keep the upgrade cycle in mind, considering many companies roll out new versions of their smartphones each year.
While every phone on our list runs Android, the user experience can be extremely different depending on the UI. Every company has its take on the operating system, which often results in unwanted apps on your new phone. The OS and bloatware can take up a significant amount of space, which is important considering the lack of options with microSD expansion slots.
Using the Best Android Phones: What It’s Like
If you’ve been using a midrange or “regular” Android smartphone, the best Android phones will provide a completely new experience. How different it is from what you’re used to depends on your previous handset, but it can be shocking.
A phone with 12GB of RAM and an octa-core processor will feel completely different in hand from the majority of smartphones on the market today. Devices with excellent specs are more responsive and allow users to open more applications without slowing down.
The same applies to connectivity, cameras, and other features of these phones. The overall experience will be better, and these premium phones hold their value longer as well.
|Best Overall||Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra|
|Best for Stock Android||Google Pixel 7|
|Best on a Budget||One Plus 11|
|Best Folding Phone||Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4|
|Best Battery Life||Motorola Edge Plus|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Mr.Mikla/Shutterstock.com.