Best Android phone 2020: which should you buy?

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The best Android phones sport ever-smaller bezels and debut startling new design quirks. With more fantastic Android smartphones coming out every few months, it’s tough to pick the best one to suit your needs, but we’ve had lots of hands-on time to list the best that stand out from the rest.

Samsung has once again kept the top spot thanks to its practice of blending features, high specs, and exciting design alongside some stunning cameras – all exhibited in its reigning Samsung Galaxy S20 line. But it may have a tough time keeping the crown against the upcoming Huawei P40 Pro and OnePlus 8 Pro. 

Later in the year, Google Pixel phones and perhaps a rumored Motorola flagship might also challenge Samsung’s flagship. One thing is clear: the roster of best Android smartphones will continue to debut exciting – and competitive – handsets. 

If you’re shopping for a new Android smartphone, be sure to check each of these handsets out, as you’ll see some you might not have been aware of or taken seriously – but we can assure you they’re all top quality picks.

You can also compare the list to our best phones and best unlocked phones to see how Android and iOS devices stack up. And, if you need mobile service to go with your phone, we can help you find the best unlimited data plan.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best Android phones on the market right now.

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1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

The best Android phone of 2020

Release date: March 2020 | Weight: 186g | Dimensions: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 3200×1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 865/Exynos 990 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128/512GB (up to 1TB with card) | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 16MP + TOF | Front camera: 10MP

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Fantastic specs and screen

3x optical telephoto with up to 30x digital zoom

120Hz refresh rate display

Price bump is big

No more 3.5mm jack

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is the best of the best: great speed, features, and telephoto capabilities. The $1,200 pricetag is notably higher than last year’s Galaxy S10 Plus, which is tough to swallow – but that’s partially because the S20 Plus is now 5G-capable. It can connect to both sub-6 and mmWave networks, while the standard S20 can only link up to the former. That’s why the S20 Plus is our pick for the top slot.

But the specs tell the story: a Snapdragon 865 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and 128GB or 512GB of storage set the bar high for other phones to come in 2020. But it’s the camera suite that truly sets the S20 Plus apart: the 3x optical telephoto lens is a nice upgrade, but its 64MP pixel density means it can crop zoom up to 30x digitally – which is muddy at the extreme but outperforms other phones at lower zoom levels.

Not all is good, from the aforementioned price hike to the dropping of the 3.5mm jack – at long last, Samsung has joined its competitors. But with a 4,500mAh battery and a host of refinements, it’s a price worth paying.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Note: the S20 Plus and the standard S20 are functionally identical apart from size: a 6.7-inch display for the bigger phone compared to a 6.2-inch screen for the smaller handset, as well as a more limited 4,000mAh battery. If you want to deeply compare, check out our Samsung Galaxy S20 review.

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Best Android phone

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2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Big, fast, premium, and pricey

Release date: August 2019 | Weight: 196g | Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 3040×1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 855/Exynos 9825 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128/512GB (up to 1TB with card) | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP + TOF | Front camera: 10MP

The best screen on a smartphone

The best selfie camera around

Fun-to-use rear cameras

Handy S Pen stylus

Supremely expensive

Big and slippery design

Camera isn’t ‘the best’

Limited software ecosystem

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is the most supreme this smartphone series has been, with a big gorgeous display, four rear cameras, and the same reliable S Pen stylus. Even into 2020, this phone is still a killer device.

Following the Samsung Galaxy S10’s lead, the Note 10 Plus adds a 16MP ultrawide lens and a Time-of-Flight depth sensor. And the phonemaker has really leaned into the premium edge with the Plus, as it starts at 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM.

Otherwise, not much will surprise you about this phone, which is okay: it’s less thick, has a bigger screen, and is more stylish than ever. It’s pricey yet powerful, with a bit more S Pen functionality. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Note: the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are functionally the same smartphone, so we went with the larger version for its bigger battery. If you’d like the same stylus-paired flagship, take a look at our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review.

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Best Android phone

3. OnePlus 7 Pro

The somewhat-affordable flagship reaches new heights

Release date: May 2019 | Weight: 206g | Dimensions: 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.67-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6/8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 16MP | Front camera: 16MP

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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

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4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Premium phone at a premium price

Release date: March 2020 | Weight: 220g | Dimensions: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.9-inch | Resolution: 3200×1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 865/Exynos 990 | RAM: 12/16GB | Storage: 128/512GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 108MP + 48MP + 12MP + ToF | Front camera: 40M

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Ultimate specs

Incredible 5x optical telephoto manages 100x ‘Space Zoom’

Enormous 6.9-inch screen

Wildly expensive

Not terribly exciting design for premium price

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is a colossal phone: 6.9-inch display, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage – it’s exactly what a flagship phone looks like when you’ve dialed it up to 11. Of course, for a premium device you’ll pay a premium price of $1,400.

Hence its ranking here below lower-specced phones which are nonetheless within more consumers’ budgets. But if you do pay the equivalent of a midrange laptop’s pricetag, you’ll get the baddest phone this side of a OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition.

You’ll get unparalleled telephoto capabilities with a 5x optical lens that manages to zoom in 100x in the so-called ‘Space Zoom.’ Granted, the images at the upper limit are muddy and not at all presentable, but that just means the phone can shoot sharper images at 50x than most other phones can do at 10x. It’s spectacular – just not necessary for most consumers.

Read our full review: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 

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5. Google Pixel 4 XL

The best camera phone without the notch

Release date: October 2019 | Weight: 193g | Dimensions: 160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3,700mAh | Rear camera: 12.2MP + 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

Top-of-the-line cameras

Simple, no-nonsense design

Face Unlock is finicky, no fingerprint sensor

Low storage options

Battery life is barely adequate

The Google PIxel 4 XL still takes incredible photos, but its curious features and disappointing battery life make this year’s version a bit tougher to recommend. New Soli radar components and a return to a thick top bezel instead of a notch make this a more conservative, but still stylish, phone.

The fingerprint sensor is gone, replaced by facial recognition unlocking that’s not quite on par with Apple’s Face ID – and not yet recognized by many banks, meaning the phone doesn’t have biometric authentication for financial apps. The new Motion Sense lets you control audio and alarms via aerial hand gestures, but it’s not used for much more than that – and works erratically to boot.

Other new features are neat, like Live Caption and live transcribing in the Recorder app, though those features are coming to the Pixel 3 series. Still, the Pixel 4 XL is a great phone with a minimal design style compared to the flashier flagships out there, and with a Snapdragon 855 chipset and 6GB of RAM, it’s powerful enough to get the job done. Just be prepared to recharge: the phone rarely lasts more than a day at full capacity, which is why we recommend the XL over the Pixel 4’s pitiful 2,800mAh battery.

Read more: Google Pixel 4 XL review

Note: since the regular Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are virtually the same phone, we went with the larger one for its significantly better battery. But if you prioritize smaller phone size, check out our Google Pixel 4 review.

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6. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Still fantastic, just overshadowed

Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 175g/198g (ceramic) | Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3040 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 128GB/512GB/1TB | Battery: 4,100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP wide + 12MP 2x telephoto + 16MP ultrawide | Front camera: 10MP + 8MP

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Five cameras! All useful

Killer battery

Cool in-screen fingerprint sensor

Expensive

While the Samsung Galaxy S series has only made incremental improvements in recent years, the Galaxy S10 Plus makes a bit more of a substantial leap ahead with new features and an even sleeker look. While the other models in the series have their advantages, the S10 Plus is simply the best of the best – top specs, an expanded camera suite and some shiny new tricks. But if you want a smaller phone, the standard S10 is only a bit below the Plus in our ranking.

The Snapdragon 855 at the phone’s core competes with the Apple A12 for the fastest chip you can get in phones, and the 8GB RAM makes browsing and gaming speedy. The baseline 128GB of storage is great, but you can also pick up the phone with 512GB – or even 1TB, if you pay for the premium ceramic-backed version (which boosts the RAM to 12GB). If that’s not enough, storage can be boosted by 512GB via microSD, bumping potential storage to 1.5TB…whoever should need it.

The phone has few drawbacks, with a huge 6.4-inch screen in the smallest frame we’ve seen thanks to a 93% screen-to-body ratio. The in-screen fingerprint sensor is cool, the ability to wirelessly charge other devices using the new Wireless PowerShare feature is even cooler, and we just love the clean look of the phone. Aces all around…if you’re willing to pay the (very) high price.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Note: why is the Galaxy S10 Plus higher-ranked than the regular Galaxy S10? Two words: bigger battery. But otherwise, the phones are similar enough, so if you want a direct comparison, check out our Samsung Galaxy S10 review.

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Best Android phone

7. Huawei P30 Pro

A killer camera that’s aging well

Release date: April 2019 | Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.47-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Battery: 4,200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP + TOF | Front camera: 24MP

Huawei P30 Pro Amber Sunrise…

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HUAWEI P30 Pro Mobile Phone

Four (FOUR!) cameras

Top specs, slick design

Huge battery

Limited carrier support in US

Only Full HD display

Huawei’s P series has always taken photography seriously, and the P30 Pro takes that to an extreme. Where other phones have struggled to fit more than a 3x optical zoom in ever-slimmer phones, Huawei circumvented that limit with a novel design: lay its lens stack along the phone’s length and use a mirror to reflect it out the rear cover. Hence the “periscope” lens, which manages 5x optical zoom, a 10x digital zoom and a baffling 50x full digital zoom.

The phone is no slouch in other departments, either, sporting Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 chip to reach speeds on par with Apple and Samsung flagships. Respectable RAM and storage round out the phone’s specs, but you’ll pick up the P30 Pro for its astounding photo capabilities, which include impressive DSLR-level ISO, per Huawei’s claims. 

Alas, Huawei phones aren’t the easiest to get in the US – you’ll have to pick them up wholesale from a retailer, since no carrier currently sells the company’s devices and network support is limited. If not for that scarcity issue, this phone would likely rank higher in our list. But if sourcing your phone isn’t much of an issue, the P30 Pro looks to be a great choice.

Read our full review: Huawei P30 Pro

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HUAWEI P30 Pro Mobile Phone

Best Android phone

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8. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Flagship specs at a lower price usable one-handed

Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 150g | Dimensions: 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 3,100mAh | Rear camera: 12MP wide + 16MP ultrawide | Front camera: 10MP

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2019 flagship specs at 2016 prices

Most of its pricier siblings’ features

Small size for one-handed use

Misses out on in-screen fingerprint, etc

Smaller screen size worse for gaming/media

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is essentially the iPhone XR for Android: flagship specs at a lower price, with a few features shaved off to cut costs. And yet, the S10e is less of a compromise. It retains an AMOLED display (the XR’s is LCD), starts at 6GB of RAM and packs a second ultrawide rear camera to the XR’s single wide lens.

There are several things the S10e lacks compared to its pricier siblings, most of which aren’t too egregious to lose: its side-mounted sensor is still more reliable than the in-screen fingerprint sensor on the S10 and S10 Plus, while the 2x telephoto lens on its bigger siblings isn’t as useful as the ultrawide sensor the S10e keeps.  

But most importantly, it’s a cheaper, smaller phone in a sea of Android phones that are getting larger and pricier. The S10e is a more distinct alternative to the S10 Plus than the standard S10, which ends up being a middle child that doesn’t quite earn its price hike from its budget flagship sibling. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S10e

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9. LG G8 ThinQ

Release date: April 2019 | Weight: 167g | Dimensions: 151.9 x 71.8 x 8.4mm | OS: Android Pie | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3120 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: 16MP+12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Vibrant OLED display

Portrait mode for video

Boring design

Too pricey

The recent LG G8 isn’t the company’s strongest offer in recent years. It launched with a design that wasn’t keeping up with its contemporaries, yet it had a price that was just about as expensive.

All the same, it comes with the latest Android experience and all the power that’s offered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. That combination is enough to make it a worthwhile consideration as an Android phone.

The screen may have a notch cut out of the top, but it’s otherwise bright, sharp, and decently large. The cameras aren’t top-class, but with a wide angle lens on one, they offer some handy versatility. If you can find the LG G8 at a discounted price, some of its detractors get easier to forgive.

Read more: LG G8 ThinQ review

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