All of these phones have been fully tested according to our criteria below. Before rating any Android handset, one of our expert reviewers will spend at least a week using the handset as their primary smartphone. During that time we see how the phone handles in terms of everyday use – especially in terms of battery performance and cameras – and we also run it through a series of synthetic benchmarking and battery-burn tests.
These tests give us a good indication of how a phone performs during normal use, as well as allowing us to test manufacturers’ claims.
The best Android phone
Even though the OnePlus 7T Pro is a minor update to the excellent OnePlus 7 Pro, it still takes our number one spot as it builds on an already fantastic smartphone. The new features here include a chipset bump to the Snapdragon 855 Plus, a new macro camera mode and a slightly updated colour.
It retains the glorious high-refresh-rate display, curvy body and fantastic specs, and continues to give all other Android phones a run for their money.
Unlike other OnePlus devices, this isn’t ridiculously cheap but, at £649/$699, it’s more affordable than the other equally specced phones in this list and offers great value. It’s also ludicrously fast thanks to the Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset and plenty of RAM, plus it has a very capable triple camera array on the back with a 48-megapixel main sensor and roomy battery.
While wireless charging and water resistance aren’t part of the equation, it has one of the nicest displays you’ll find on a phone, is a superb performer, offers great battery life and the camera is always improving. The OnePlus 7T Pro shows that the growing company is able to bring about meaningful changes and greater competition, without losing the factors that make the brand and its devices so uniquely appealing.
A fantastic big phone that’s packed with great features
As the name suggests, the Plus is a larger, more feature-packed take on the standard Note 10, complete with optional 5G. This is a great phone and one of the finest all-round Android devices we have reviewed. It’s powerful, has just about every feature going and doesn’t skimp at all. In terms of negatives, it’s big and expensive. The display, while fantastic, doesn’t have any fancy fast refresh-rate tech like that of the OnePlus 7 Pro. But there isn’t much better out there if you want a big phone that’s the best of the best.
This brute of a phone has a lovely display, plenty of grunt, huge battery, Qi charging, water resistance and comes with USB-C buds. There isn’t a whole lot new when compared to the S10, but this still stands as the true high-end Samsung phone for the start of 2020. Its position could be set to change, however, with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, so watch this space for full reviews and scores of these new products.
The S Pen is the headline feature of the Note series, which is pretty much the only flagship around that lets you draw and take notes with a pen on the display. It’s a pleasure to write and doodle with, thanks to fantastic responsiveness and excellent palm-rejection. With the Note 10 Plus, you can now also plug your device into a Windows computer or Mac for access to a PC-like DeX UI. This is a nice idea and very handy for replying to messages quickly and moving photos off the phone. The app did, however, prove unreliable.
There are also some new gaming features and the added ability to stream games to the phone from a compatible PC.
A phone with all the specs and features you could want
If you’re on the hunt for the Android phone with the most going on, you should seriously consider the Galaxy S20 Ultra. This high-end flagship from Samsung packs the latest Exynos 990 chipset, up to 16GB RAM and a camera array that includes a main 108-megapixel sensor on the back and a 40-megapixel one on the front – plus some really impressive zooming skills.
The camera here is clearly Samsung’s big focus and it is a big improvement on its previous efforts. You’ve got three cameras on the back. Plus an extra 3D sensing sensor for aiding with depth. The phone can shoot video at resolutions up to 8K – a first for any phone – and comes with a whole host of camera modes that you can endlessly tweak.
Our highlight is the 6.9-inch OLED display, which is the best we’ve seen on any Android phone. It’s 120Hz, rather than the standard 60Hz, giving it a much smoother look. Enabling this 120Hz mode does come with a few downsides though – it can only be used when the resolution is set to FHD+ and it eats through the 5000mAh battery.
When the battery does hit 0% you’ll be able to get it back to 100% in about an hour thanks to the included 25w charger. There’s wireless charging too, and Wireless Powershare for charging other devices like Qi-enabled Bluetooth headphones and smartwatches.
Internally this is the most impressive Android phone currently available. It’s fast, supports 5G and packs storage options up to 512GB. There’s even a microSD slot if you want to increase that even further or shoot lots and lots of 8K video.
Audio from this phone is merely OK and this seems to be a side effect of having basically no room for speakers. The same goes for call quality, which can often come across as slightly distorted. Wi-Fi and cellular strength are excellent, though.
Samsung has finally ditched the headphone jack from the Note’s design, meaning you’ll have to rely on wireless headphones or a pair with a USB-C connection. There’s a perfectly decent-sounding pair of AKG branded USB-C headphones in the box, although there’s no 3.5mm dongle. Unlike the smaller Note 10, the Note 10 Plus retains a microSD slot for upping the base storage.
Boasting a whopping 6.8-inch display and huge 4500mAh battery, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is Samsung’s most feature-packed phablet yet.
The best low-light camera
The Huawei P30 Pro surpasses its predecessor in every conceivable way and is one of the best Android phones available right now.
The phone expands on its predecessor’s camera setup – its strongest aspect – by way of a new triple-lens offering. A primary 40-megapixel f/1.6 camera with a pixel arrangement designed to let in more light fronts things, with an ultra-wide-angle sensor and a periscopic telephoto sensor in tow, granting you up to 5x lossless zoom and an unprecedented 50x maximum hybrid zoom.
The camera really is astounding and the company’s Kirin 980 processor contributes to its great overall performance. There’s also a huge 4200mAh battery with impressive 40W fast-charging and wireless charging.
Samsung’s current flagship phone packs a better screen and not everyone will appreciate Huawei’s EMUI Android overlay, but the overall package on offer here is undeniably superb.
Best for Google
The reason we didn’t love the Google Pixel 4 and its larger Pixel 4 XL sibling as much as we’d hoped is down to one thing – poor battery life, which is probably due to the addition of gesture tracking and facial unlocking, plus a 90Hz capable display.
However, there’s still plenty to like. The camera remains one of the best on the market and the main 12-megapixel f/1.7 camera has been joined by a telephoto camera to help with portrait mode and zooming. The pictures it captures are gorgeous, with loads of detail and lovely colours.
You also get a clean build of Android 10 with a few nice Pixel enhancements and a good face unlock system. We just wish the battery life was better.