These are the best Android phones in 2019

These are the best Android phones in 2019

If you think you can kick your feet up, having decided on an Android phone over an iPhone, we have good news and bad news. The bad news? There’s a lot of Android phones to choose from, and more than ever, there are multiple great choices at every price.

Onto the good news. Because we want to make your life easier, we’ve kept this list of our top Android choices easy. We won’t drown you with options, just show you the best choices for each different kind of buyer.

The list comprises smartphones we’ve tested, including our new top pick, the recently reviewed Huawei P30 Pro. The next big launch will be the OnePlus 7 and at MWC we got news of fresh Android phones to come from Sony, Xiaomi, Nokia and more. So we’re still recommending the best of 2018’s phones but with one eye on fresh releases and upcoming launches.

WIRED Recommends is the definitive to what to buy. Read our best gadgets guide to see what we recommend in every category we’ve tested.

WIRED Recommends: Huawei P30 Pro

Pros: Brilliant screen, camera and battery life; easy to live with
Cons: You can find higher-res phone screens

Well here’s a smartphone upset for the ages – the Huawei P30 Pro (£899) has bested the Samsung Galaxy S10+ to become our current top phone pick.

It really is brilliant to live with, particularly for fans of phone photography. The big upgrades on last year’s P20 Pro concern the cameras. Here you get no less than four including an unbeatable 8MP 5x ‘zoom’ lens (with less useful 10 – 50x digital zoom) and a powerful 16mm equivalent ultra-wide angle lens. Optical image stabilisation for stills and video is superb, as is the P30 Pro’s camera performance in low light. A bonus ToF (time of flight) camera handles the background-blurring Aperture mode and AR tricks.

Away from the cameras, the 4,200 mAh battery will last between a day (of heavy use) and two days (of lighter use), again performing better than the Galaxy S10+. Day-to-day performance is flawless, no matter what you throw at it, with a faster in-display fingerprint scanner than Samsung. (Do you spot a trend here?) And the design and build are suitably luxurious for the £899 price, thanks to aluminium on the sides and curved, toughened glass on the front.

There’s no 5G to speak of – that’s reserved for the Mate line – and EMUI is inoffensive while still being not the most aesthetically pleasing. The display is a mere 2,340 x 1,080 pixels, a lower resolution than rivals like Samsung, but forget the specs, it’s still extremely good in use. All in, the Huawei P30 Pro is a supremely capable device with the most dynamic set of cameras you can get on a phone right now.

If the Huawei P30 Pro isn’t quite right for you, scroll down for more recommended smartphones.

Price: £899 | Check price on Amazon

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Also consider: Samsung Galaxy S10+

Pros: Top-class camera, screen and performance; punch hole – no notch
Cons: Very capable rivals; battery life is not the best

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ (£899) gives you something close to the perfect mix of Android and iOS: top specs and performance blended with polish and intuitive design.

The Galaxy S series has more rivals than ever with Huawei’s P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro supplying a longer battery (of up to two days) and Google’s Pixel 3 ahead when it comes to low-light photography. For lots of people, though, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ – and the rest of the line-up in the form of the regular S10 and compact S10e – will serve them well.

In a sea of high-end notched phones, the Galaxy S10+ still manages to stand out with its punch-hole for the front-facing camera, facilitating that mandatory no bezels, all-screen look. The specs column includes a huge 6.4-inch screen, one of Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays: rich, colourful and bright.

Other plus points include a headphone jack (we’re still partial to them), lots of storage and fast wireless charging. Samsung’s uncluttered One UI and top-notch mobile gaming performance, no matter which processor you end up with, complete the package.

As ever, the camera array is excellent: reliable in all conditions and fast to focus and shoot with telephoto and ultra-wide lenses. The S10+ is not a huge leap from the S9+ (which itself wasn’t a huge leap from the S8) but it’s outstanding in every department. If you want something genuinely different, save up for a Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X.

Price: £899 | Check price on Amazon

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Best budget Android phone: Motorola Moto G7

Pros: Clean Android; attractive design; good battery life
Cons: Camera is still a budget phone camera

Motorola has long owned the budget phone arena, and the Moto G7 (£240) is no exception. It’ll set you back (just) less than £250 and it gets so much right, including a sharp 6.2-inch Full HD screen, a camera that takes brilliant daytime shots and a tidy 64GB of storage.

The curved glass and metal design is a cut above most affordable phones. Android 9.0 is given space to shine with only a couple of Moto touches. And there’s more than enough power, from the Snapdragon 632 processor inside, for everything to run smoothly day-to-day with only the most demanding titles causing minor issues. The decent 3,000mAh battery won’t let you down, either – also worth a look, the Moto G7 Power (£220) has a beefier 5,000mAh battery.

The G7 isn’t flawless. The single-sensor 12MP camera is not the best companion in low light and the teardrop notch is far from small or subtle. If you can live without such niceties, though, the G7 is superb value.

Price: £240 | Check price on Amazon

Best for power users: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Pros: Excellent camera array; compact frame
Cons: In-screen fingerprint scanner isn’t perfect

For years Huawei struggled to compete with companies like Samsung and Apple when selling its most expensive phones. However, it found just the right angle with the P20 Pro and this year’s Mate 20 Pro: do more than anyone else, and do it well.

The Mate 20 Pro was the first widely distributed top-end phone with an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and its camera array is still more versatile than any, even months after launch. On the back sits a 3x optical zoom lens, a very good 20-megapixel ultra-wide camera and an unusually high-res 40-megapixel main camera. It’s the equivalent of having a camera with a couple of extra lenses, and they radically increase your creative potential.

Battery life is very good, ultra-slim screen surrounds keep the Mate 20 Pro petite for a phone with a 6.39-inch screen. And, the oddest feature of all, you can wirelessly charge other phones using its battery.

There is no headphone jack, you have to use Huawei’s own Nano Memory format if you want to expand the storage and the in-screen fingerprint scanner can be finicky. This was the most dynamic big-name Android phone, though, and remains a superb choice for 2019.

Price: £899 | Check price on Amazon

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Best camera and compact phone: Google Pixel 3

Pros: Pure Android software; contrast-rich photos; easy to hold
Cons: Battery could be better; no headphone jack

Google uses the Pixel phones to show off its software developments but they are also confident and capable pieces of hardware. The 2018 Pixel range switched from an aluminium back to a matt glass one and screen quality improved dramatically, thanks to a move from LG to Samsung panels.

The smaller Pixel 3 is our top pick for anyone who finds 2019’s current crop unwieldy. It has a pleasing 5.5-inch P-OLED display and, unlike the larger Pixel 3 XL, you don’t have to make peace with that phone’s deep notch.

The Pixel 3 runs on delightfully clean Android 9.0, complete with app use controls designed to stop us getting so addicted to social networking apps. (Or at least shift any of the blame for such behaviour away from Google.)

Some of the most interesting software tweaks are found in the camera. The Pixel 3 has only a single rear camera but it takes some of the most contrast-rich and naturally vivid looking photos of any smartphone we’ve tested. And it has a surprisingly good 2x zoom mode, which uses the optical stabilisation motor to effectively emulate additional pixels.

There’s no headphone jack here and the small 2,915mAh battery, while powering a smaller screen, doesn’t compete with the top-top-end. But, similar to the OnePlus 6T, forgoing just a few premium features really does lop hundreds of pounds off the price.

Price: From £690 | Check price on Amazon

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Best flagship alternative under £500: OnePlus 6T

Pros: Excellent value; superb performance and tons of storage
Cons: Just lacks a few extra touches

If you have never owned a OnePlus phone, the underlying concept is simple. Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus builds phones with top-end core specs, but thanks to its business practices and its willingness to leave out parts many people don’t use, prices end up half those of some of the big names.

The OnePlus 6T can go head-to-head with the Mate 20 Pro or Note 9 in most respects, particularly how it operates day-to-day. And at £499 it’s an undeniably good deal. For that outlay you get a high-end Snapdragon 845 CPU, 128GB storage, competent dual 16MP cameras and a tasteful glass and metal design with a minimal teardrop notch.

What does it lack? Not much. There’s no wireless charging, the water resistance does not extend to an IP rating that means you can drop the phone in water. And the cameras don’t match the more expensive Mate 20 Pro or Pixel 3. Still, those after a good deal without soul-searching and hours of research should buy a OnePlus 6T. Just bear in mind that the OnePlus 7 is due to launch in May.

Price: £499 | Check price on Amazon
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Best mid-range Android phone: Honor 10

Pros: Upscale design; features and performance
Cons: Garish colours

If you like the sound of the OnePlus 6, but still feel it’s a little too much money, the Honor 10 (£299) is your next bet. It can’t quite match flagship phones, but it’s very nearly as good, and £100 less than the OnePlus.

It has the now familiar edge-to-edge screen design and a notch, albeit one that can be hidden with a software setting if you prefer. WIRED is not a massive fan of some of the garish colours available, but less outrageous options cater to demure tastes, and you do get a metal build, rather than plastic.

On the inside, it uses the Kirin 970, the same processor as last year’s Huawei P20 Pro – a much more expensive, top-of-the-range phone. The 24MP and 16MP cameras aren’t as good, but they’re still excellent for the money.

Battery life is very good, thanks to a big 3,400 mAh battery, and fast charging. The 5.84-inch screen, too, punches above its weight with a decent 2160 x 1080 resolution, in-display fingerprint sensor and a mid-sized notch.

Price: £294 | Check price on Amazon

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  • Read our best smartphone guide to see how the the best Android phones compare to rivals. When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we earn a small affiliate commission. This does not impact the products we recommend.

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