Update: Over a month into 2018 already?! Where has the time gone? The good news is that we're now even closer to the first phone phone launches of the year with MWC kicking off at the end of February. If you're in the market for a new Android phone, you may want to hang fire and see what turns up.
There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition – the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.
The big names are all here; Samsung, Sony, LG and Huawei are at the fore. The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
2018 promises to bring us a new fleet of high-powered, highly attractive and showstopping handsets, with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9, HTC U12, LG G7, Huawei P20, Sony Xperia XZ2 and OnePlus 6 all rumored.
In fact, we're just mere weeks away from seeing the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus at the firm's February 25 launch event. Will they manage to top our list of best Android phones? Only time will tell.
- Best smartphone: the top phones we've tested
To help find the most fitting Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are – the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.
Samsung has once again taken the top spot of the best Android phone in the world right now.
With average phone sizes rising, the Galaxy S8 Plus at 6.2-inches has become the gold standard.
Everything we love about the Galaxy S8 is available here as Samsung has decided to only really changed the sizes of the screens rather than fiddling with the spec inside the device.
That same powerful 12MP camera and top of the range power setup is here to do everything you want it to as well as the new biometric tech that may allow you to unlock your phone faster than ever before.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Huawei is getting really good at making competitive, high-end flagships these days and the Mate 10 Pro is its best handset to date.
The standout feature is battery life, toppling pretty much every other phone on this list, but it’s also got a decent slug of power under the hood to handle any task you can chuck at it.
For those looking for a strong camera performance from their phone need to take a look at the Mate 10 Pro as well. Phones higher up in this list offer better auto modes, but for camera enthusiasts the Mate 10 Pro provides a great selection of modes and settings.
Read our full review: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
If you don't like large phones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 should sit on top of this list thanks to an incredible design, amazing display and some truly great power packed into the phone.
Everything that has made Samsung phones great over the last few years has been packed into this 5.8-inch device – that's almost bezeless too – and comes with top of the range hardware and some easy to use Android software.
There's a new iris scanner to allow you to unlock the phone with just your eyes and Samsung has also included a new voice assistant called Bixby. It's not the perfect device some had hoped for, but it's the best Android phone you can buy at the moment.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8
Three Samsung phones in the top five?! It may seem extreme, but there's a very good reason why – they're all really, really good.
The Galaxy Note 8 doesn't quite hit the heights of its S8 siblings thanks to its lofty price tag and number of similarities to the S8 Plus, but it's a triumphant return to form for a series that was potentially in trouble after the Note 7 debacle.
But enough about other handsets, what makes the Galaxy Note 8 worthy of its fifth place birth? There's no question the phablet is more of a niche device, but its iconic S Pen stylus is now even better, with higher accuracy and more levels of pressure sensitivity making it great for sketching and drawing.
Then there's the massive 6.3-inch QHD Infinity Display which is superb for movies and games, and with a display this big using apps side-by-side isn't just possible, it makes sense!
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Also consider: Does the S Pen scream productivity to you? If it's a business workhorse you're looking for then the BlackBerry KeyOne delivers you an email machine with a full QWERTY keyboard for you to bash out messages on.
If you're in two minds over whether to buy the HTC U11, then see if you can take it for a test drive. You should only really buy it if you value your audio experience on a smartphone and don't mind using a dongle for your fancy headphones that still have a 3.5mm jack (because they ALL still do).
You'll need to not mind forking out a little more money than it's really worth… but if you wait a month or two the price should have dropped to a more palatable level.
The HTC U11 is a strong – very strong – phone. But it's still one that will only really impress those who want something that looks a bit different, have an affinity to HTC and respect good quality audio from a phone, rather than a handset that will wow you the second you hold it in your hand.
Read the full review: HTC U11
- Also consider: Looking for a big screen Android phone? Then say hello to the new HTC U11 Plus. It won't be for everyone, but for those who want something a bit different the large 6-inch QHD display, punchy performance and solid camera will suit.
Just when you think it's a Samsung landslide in the best Android phones list, the LG V30+ appears!
Building on the G6 from earlier in 2016, the V30+ improves in a number of ways including an improved design, larger, more colorful display and an update-to-date chipset under the hood.
In short what you get is a super smartphone absolutely bursting with features, making it great for gaming, movies, photography and music.
Its design isn't quite as jaw-dropping as the Samsung's that rank higher than it, nor are its dual-cameras quite the all-round super snappers, but this is a seriously impressive smartphone.
Read the full review: LG V30
- Also consider: LG may have ditched the modular setup we saw on the LG G5, but Motorola's range of high-end handsets go from strength to strength as it grows its MotoMods catalog. Check out the Moto Z2 Force and Moto Z2 Play for some hot modular action.
Combining premium design and a top-tier spec sheet with an easy to justify price tag and an excellent camera set-up, it delivers flagship experiences while undercutting many flagships.
It also offers more flexibility than the Mate 10 Pro, sporting both a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot. In fact, the only things missing on the Mate 10 are wireless charging and water resistance.
If either of those are deal breakers, then look elsewhere. If not, and you aren’t put off by Huawei’s take on Android, the Mate 10 could be the best value flagship spec'd phablet around right now.
Read the full review: Huawei Mate 10
The Moto Z2 Force proves that modular accessories aren’t just an ambitious concept, they’re a successful idea in the Z series’ sophomore year, and it still has room to grow. Motorola does this while keeping its smartphone line up-to-date with a faster chipset and improved camera. It has some neat tricks with selective black-and-white photos and a front-facing camera flash.
Attaching the Moto 360 Camera to the new phone has been fun and it’s easy to do since there’s no Bluetooth pairing required. We felt the same way about the Insta projector and JBL speaker last year. You’re just going to have to consider forking over even more money for a MotoMod battery.
The future is as expensive as it is exciting sometimes.
Read the full review: Moto Z2 Force
The Honor 9 is not an innovative handset, and it won’t offer you much you haven’t seen on a smartphone before.
However, Honor has managed to create an all-around great handset that offers everything you’d like in a phone in an attractive, easy-to-use and top-of-the-range package.
But the highlight feature is still that it’s around half the price of some of the major flagship phones, and it’s hard to find a reason not to recommend the Honor 9 if you’d like a cheaper alternative to some of the big names.
Read the full review: Honor 9
The Xperia XZ Premium is the flagship smartphone Sony fans have been waiting for, bringing together an eye-popping display, strong snapper and solid battery life.
Those who love watching films and TV shows in 4K can do so on the move with the 4K screen on the XZ Premium – no other phone on this list can boast that – while the front-facing dual speakers also enhance videos and gaming.
If there's an area the XZ Premium does lack in, it's design. The flat glass front and rear are sleek, but the plastic edges of the phone detract from the 'Premium' part of the name.
Make no mistake though, this is a proper, fully-loaded Android flagship which easily holds its own against the competition.
Read our full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium
- Also consider: If you fancy something a little smaller, and a little more wallet friendly, then check out the Sony Xperia XZ1. As the name suggests, it lives in the same family as the XZ Premium, but has a smaller 5.2-inch full HD display and 2700mAh battery.