Apple or Android?
Whether you are looking for a big or small phone, an entry level or a top-of-the-line, Android offers an option for everyone. And unlike Apple’s rigid release cycles, Google’s hardware partners unleash new streams of seemingly endless devices throughout the year. But that’s where the problem is: With so many options out there, how can you choose the right one? Luckily for you, we test and review virtually every smartphone available in all major US carriers.
Keep in mind that while the above reviews may not show the operator of your choice, most phones here are available for, or compatible with, some US carriers. Read on for what to look for when buying, as well as our top picks for Android phones.
When to buy a new Android phone
Now is a great time! The next round of the main Android phone will come out starting in March, so you have a few months of things that are really up-to-date. Phones that Sprint and T-Mobile sell are currently compatible with their respective networks, too, so you don’t have to worry too much if the merger happens.
After most of the year with 5G, I was disappointed to say we still do not recommend the 5G phone. The current Model does not support the three types of networks planned to be launched by major carriers throughout the year 2020, meaning that all current 5G phones will end at a poor speed or range as they continue to progress. Development. The phone maker should straighten things out and send out the devices that will function on the network installed by the operator.
The list has phones starting from $249 to $1,100. In terms of models that are even cheaper, we usually recommend the Moto E series, but we are waiting to review the latest models in the lineup, the E6. One tip at the bottom end: the operator-branded phone (which doesn’t mention their manufacturer’s name) is often not that good.
Most of the mobile phones sold in the US cost $600 or more, because it is sold with a monthly payment plan that hides the fee for 24 or 30 months. This year we saw some interesting models between $200 and $300, most specifically the Moto G7 and Nokia 7.1 series. It’s a good phone for people who don’t want to be paired with a payment plan.
If you’re trying to balance payments and power, the OnePlus 7 Pro has the best advantage on the market. It’s even faster than the Samsung Galaxy S10 +, it has the same large screen, and costs $300 less.
What is the right phone size for you?
There has been a dramatic change in the shape and size of Android phones over the last few years. Many manufacturers have begun making their phones taller and narrower, producing a one-handed friendly model with an amazingly large screen size. We go into more detail on the new form factor in this is how we need to measure mobile phone screen now.
You can find Android phones with screen sizes expressed from 4.6 inches to 6-plus inches. With the new form factor, it is very important to look at the phone width and screen width. That’s the biggest screen in our list, a panel of 6.8 inches on a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 +, not overwhelming.
Which is the best Android version?
Not all Android is created equal. Device makers like LG and Samsung have been implementing their own vision to Android for quite some time now. If you want a pure Google experience, then you want to use a Pixel device; They are the developer models where Google makes sure to implement upgrades first. Motorola and OnePlus also have a very clean user interface, although they tend to add more invisible features to Android.
Android 10 (Q) is the latest version. It’s available for Pixel and OnePlus 7 Pro phones on our list. The rest of the phone has 9.0 Pie. Don’t buy any phones with older versions, as the longer version of Android software is increasingly likely to have serious security flaws. There are many cheap phones with Android 7 or even Android 6 or lower, which you should avoid.
Ongoing trade war
We have often recommended phones from the Huawei, Honor, and ZTE brands in the past — they are often high-quality products that are of high value. But over the last year, the U.S. government has essentially fought with those companies, making their future in the US market unreliable. So for now, we’ve been away from reviewing most Huawei, Honor, and ZTE products for US readers until the U.S. distribution is clearer. We have incorporated Huawei P30 on this list largely so that Americans can find out what they missed.
We also generally do not include mobile phones in this list that are not available in the US. However, we recently did a collection of seven top Chinese phones to demonstrate the kind of innovations that are happening abroad, which we cannot access.
Should you buy through the Operator or unlocked?
The US market is still dominated by phones sold by carriers, but buying your phone directly and unlocked gives you more freedom to switch carriers if you choose to do so.
The unlocked phone does not have a bloatware operator and there is no ongoing payment plan, so you can switch to another carrier or sell on eBay as you wish. This is actually something you have. Each phone in this list can be purchased directly, without operator involvement. But most people still buy their phones through carriers, which offer one point for service and support, as well as a monthly payment plan that dramatically lowers prices in advance of the phone.
Of the many shown here, most of them work on all four U.S. networks. OnePlus 7 Pro does not work on Sprint. The Nokia 7.1 only works on AT&T and T-Mobile.
Choosing Android as your mobile operating system is only half the battle. If you are still on the fence, check out our list of best smartphones, regardless of the OS.
And for help choosing carriers, check out our test results for the fastest mobile network and the best cheap phone packages you’ve never heard of.
Best Android phones in this round:
Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 3a Reviews
Editors ‘ Choice
Pros: Best camera in its class. Beautiful OLED display. Solid performance. Battery life is excellent.
Cons: Not waterproof. No microSD slot.
Bottom line: The pretty Google Pixel 3a is the best Android phone you can buy for $399.
Google Pixel 4 Review
Editors ‘ Choice
Pros: Interesting design. 90Hz screen. High end camera. Live Caption and Recorder is an excellent accessibility addition.
Cons: Not enough storage options. Battery life can be better.
Bottom line: Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL offer powerful hardware, innovative software that really makes your life easier, and the best camera you’ll find on the flagship phone line.
OnePlus 7 Pro
OnePlus 7 Pro Review
Editors ‘ Choice
Pros: Tremendous value for money. The fastest Android phone available. Smooth software. Notch screen. Lots of camera options.
Cons: Photo camera is a little less saturated. No Wi-Fi 802.11 ax. Still no headphone jack.
Bottom line: OnePlus 7 Pro is by far the best value for the premium smartphones on the market today, giving you a mobile feature for $1,000 at a price of less than $300.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Samsung Galaxy S10e Review
Editors ‘ Choice
Pros: Amazing screen colors and clarity. Industry-leading processors and modems. Wide-angle camera. Headphone socket. The right size for most hands.
Cons: Low camera performance is not as good as Google Pixel 3. Fingerprint sensors can be more accurate.
Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S10e has the best price, performance, and overall size for today’s flagship smartphones.
Motorola Moto G7 Power
Motorola Moto G7 Power Review
Editors ‘ Choice
Pros: Very good battery life. Solid performance. Sleek design. Ship with Android 9.0 Pie.
Cons: Not waterproof. The camera is mediocre. No NFC.
Bottom line: Motorola Moto G7 Power offers excellent performance, two-day battery life, and attractive design at a budget-friendly price.
Nokia 7.1 Review
Editors ‘ Choice
Pros: Upscale design. Amazing performance for the price. Software updates are guaranteed through the Android One Program.
Cons: no wireless charging. Not waterproof.
Bottom line: The Nokia 7.1 offers a winning combination of great performance, a deadly display, and the latest Android software at a reasonable price.
Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei P30 Pro Review
Pros: Innovative camera with outstanding image quality. Sharp design.
Cons: Expensive. Performance isn’t as strong as competitors that cost the same.
Bottom line: Huawei P30 Pro offers one of the most impressive smartphone camera experiences on the market.
LG G8 ThinQ
Review LG G8 ThinQ
Pros: Solid performance. Powerful Audio. Beautiful look.
Cons: Steep learning curve for air movement movement. The software update cycles are unpredictable. Relatively expensive.
Bottom line: The LG G8 ThinQ is a flagship Android flagship that faces the fierce competition of cheaper alternatives such as the Samsung Galaxy S10e.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 +
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 + Reviews
Pros: Handy S Pen Stylus. Best performance. Long battery life.
Cons: Expensive. Very large no headphone jack. The 5G situation is confusing.
Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 + is a great and powerful phone that’s great for artists and registrar.
Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung Galaxy S10 Review
Pros: Big screen. Processor and LTE fastest. Three cameras with 2x and wide angle. Headphone socket and microSD card slot.
Cons: Expensive. The In-screen fingerprint Sensor does not have a physical guide.
Bottom line: The medium size Samsung Galaxy S10 has all the interesting features of S10 + with less cost, but we still think that the smaller S10e is a better purchase.