Whether you’re searching out a huge or small phone, entry stage or pinnacle of the road, Android offers alternatives for anyone. And unlike Apple’s rigid launch cycle, Google’s hardware partners unharness a apparently limitless circulation of latest gadgets yr-round. But therein lies the trouble: With so many alternatives obtainable, how do you compromise at the proper one? Lucky for you, we test and overview nearly every cellphone available on all the major US carriers.
Keep in thoughts that even as the reviews above won’t display your provider of choice, maximum of the telephones right here are available unlocked and can be used with multiple US carriers. Read on for what to look for when buying, as well as our top selections for Android phones.
When to Buy a New Android Phone
The Android release cycle has come to be perpetual; there may be a new set of flagship telephones coming every month at this point. However, now could be an amazing time to buy. The Samsung Galaxy S21 collection hit cabinets in early 2021, and Samsung is unlikely to position out prominent new, higher-cease telephones until August. Google will probable replace its Pixel lineup across the equal time. The OnePlus nine series came out some months in the past, so we consider it is going to be several months earlier than we see the subsequent OnePlus flagship. And LG is out of the smartphone enterprise.
Despite fierce opposition, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE remains a standout Android phone.5G Android Phones
Pretty lots any better-cease telephone you buy now could have 5G. If you’re purchasing a lower-cease device, don’t pressure out about it an excessive amount of; AT&T’s and Verizon’s modern-day nationwide 5G structures don’t supply a great deal of a performance improve over 4G, and even lower-quit new T-Mobile Android telephones have started to encompass mid-band 5G.
If you need the exceptional network speeds in the destiny, look for a smartphone with C-band. Coming predominantly to Verizon and AT&T beginning in late 2021 or early 2022, C-band networks will probably provide numerous times the rate of 4G and occasional-band 5G systems. At this writing, the Google Pixel 5, the LG Wing, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and A52G, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 collection all have C-band (although be aware that the OnePlus 9 and nine Pro are handiest available for T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as providers that use the ones networks). We anticipate many different phones launched this 12 months to have it as nicely.
You can find our favourite 5G handsets in our listing of the the best 5G phones.
This listing has phones from below $200 to just about $2,000. On the low give up, the OnePlus Nord N100 and the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G are wonderful values for the cash. One tip on the very low give up: carrier-branded phones (which don’t point out the name in their producer) often aren’t superb.
Most of the phones bought inside the US price $600 or greater, because they may be offered on month-to-month charge plans that conceal the price over 24 or 30 months. But there may be also a thriving marketplace, in the main prepaid, of phones costing $300 or less. Take a have a look at decrease-quit OnePlus phones, phones by means of Nokia, or the ZTE models bought with the aid of pay as you go companies for respectable nice at a low charge.
The pandemic triggered cellphone makers to reevaluate the sky-high flagship smartphone costs we saw earlier this 12 months. The Galaxy S20 FE, the smaller Galaxy S21, and the OnePlus nine are all resetting the “flagship” cellphone fee from $1,000 to $six hundred–$seven hundred, a fresh change in a hard economy.
Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G gadget maintains to precise a “millimeter-wave tax” on its gadgets; Verizon 5G-well matched telephones are frequently $50–$one hundred extra luxurious than 5G telephones for the alternative providers. When there’s an exception, it is usually because Verizon or the manufacturer is quietly subsidizing the smartphone.
For extra, see our testimonies at the excellent reasonably-priced telephones, the first-class cheap cellphone plans, and 9 hints to get the nice fee on a mobile cellphone.
What Size Phone Is Right for You?
There’s been a dramatic shift in Android smartphone sizes and styles over the last few years. Many producers have commenced to make their phones taller and narrower, ensuing in one-hand-pleasant fashions with improbably large display screen sizes. We pass into greater element on the new shape elements in our piece on how we want to measure phone screens now.
You can locate Android phones with stated display screen sizes from 5.6 inches to nearly 7 inches. With the new shape factors, although, it’s very vital to have a look at the width of the phone as well as the width of the screen. A tall, slim cellphone may be a great deal less difficult to address than some thing wider.
The 2.7-inch-extensive Google Pixel 4a fits properly inside the hand.Which Is the Best Android Version?
Not all Android is created same. Device producers along with Asus and Samsung had been making use of their very own visions to Android for a while now. If you want a pure Google enjoy, then you definitely need to move for a Pixel tool; they’re the developer fashions in which Google makes positive to set up improvements first. Motorola and OnePlus additionally have very smooth user interfaces, even though they generally tend to feature greater invisible functions to Android.
See How We Test PhonesSee How We Test Phones
Android eleven is the most current model, though Android 12 need to be launched within the coming months. Many telephones nevertheless have Android 10. Don’t buy a cellphone that includes Android 9 or underneath, as the older the Android software program version is, the more likely it’s far to have critical protection flaws. Also check what number of rounds of OS updates the producer is promising.
Why No Oppo, Vivo, or Xiaomi?
Three out of the world’s 5 largest cellphone makers don’t sell telephones within the US, and we commonly serve US customers. In the instances of Oppo and Vivo, it’s because they have ceded the United States market to their cousin OnePlus. Xiaomi has said several times that its enterprise version, which is based heavily on marketing revenue and subscription offerings, won’t paintings in the US. Huawei, as soon as close to the pinnacle of the list, has been battered by sanctions that restrict the enterprise from the use of US additives or software program in its smartphones.
We do now not advocate importing overseas phones for use within the US, because they frequently carry out poorly on US provider networks.
Should You Buy Through a Carrier or Unlocked?
The US market remains dominated through carrier-bought phones, however buying your telephone direct and unlocked gives you more freedom to replace carriers if you pick to do so.
Unlocked phones characteristic no provider bloatware and no ongoing charge plan, so you can switch to some other carrier or sell them on eBay at will. An unlocked cellphone is without a doubt some thing you personal. Every phone on this listing can be bought direct, without a carrier involvement. But maximum humans still purchase their telephones through vendors, which give a single factor for service and aid, as well as month-to-month price plans that dramatically lower the prematurely fees of telephones. Carriers also once in a while restrict Wi-Fi calling capabilities to phones sold by using their very own shops.
With that in mind, selecting Android as your cell operating gadget is best 1/2 the struggle. If you are nevertheless on the fence, test out our list of the quality phones, irrespective of OS.
About Sascha Segan
PCMag.com’s lead cellular analyst, Sascha Segan, has reviewed loads of smartphones, pills and other gadgets in greater than nine years with PCMag. He’s the top of our Fastest Mobile Networks challenge, one of the hosts of the day by day PCMag Live Web display and speaks frequently in mass media on cellular-cellphone-associated issues. His commentary has seemed on ABC, the BBC, the CBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, and in newspapers from San Antonio, Texas to Edmonton, Alberta.
Segan is also a a couple of award-triumphing journey creator, having contributed to the Frommer’s series of journey guides and Web sites for greater than a decade. Other than his home city of New York, his preferred …