Best Android smartphones 2019: Samsung, Google, OnePlus and more

Here's a lowdown of the best devices for those who can't stand Apple

The iPhone has had an indelible effect on our lives since its first unveiling over a decade ago. Turning the humble phone into a gateway to the online world that houses more power than the rockets used to first transport man to the moon was no mean feat by any standards.

Apple's iconic smartphone series has earned a deserved place in modern history, but not everyone is a devotee of iOS. Although Apple led the way, Android has become the most popular mobile platform in the world thanks to Google's open, more flexible mobile ecosystem.

This has led to the sharp rise of superb devices from third-party manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and HTC that are all making innovative smartphones that rival the iPhone.

Vendors in the smartphone market are competing on all kinds of fronts as more new features and capabilities are added to flagship devices each year. The battery life, processing speed, camera quality, design and screen resolution are compared in the finest of detail by users and media outlets at every launch.

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The second iteration of the iPhone X came out last year to fairly good reviews, but it is by no means the default choice. Below we have listed the best Android smartphones on offer, from the Samsung Galaxy S9 to the OnePlus 6T. It's not all about Apple, you know.

Asus ZenFone 6

Like the OnePlus 7 Pro, the ZenFone 6 also avoids an encroaching notch, but the front camera doesn’t pop up - in fact, there’s not really a front camera at all. Instead, the 48MP rear camera flips up and around, turning it into a front-facing selfie snapper.

It’s a nifty system that definitely helps the ZenFone 6, the latest in an oft-dull series of smartphones, stand out. What’s more, for relatively modest money you can get the flagship power of the Snapdragon 855, not to mention a lovely display that supports HDR10 content. Even battery life is first-rate, the ZenFone 6 lasting for over 22hrs in our video loop playback test.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.4in 1080p IPS

Battery

5,000mAh

Price when reviewed: £416 exc VAT

Read our full Asus ZenFone 6 review for more information.

Google Pixel 3

2018’s Google Pixel 3 was a clever little phone that succeeded largely on the basis of some very slick software and smart use of AI technology woven throughout it. However, we weren't particularly keen on the phone's rather weedy battery life. Thankfully, Google has brought out a lower-priced variant - the Pixel 3a - which not only retains all of the things we loved about the Pixel 3, but also substantially increases the battery life.

True, you have to accept a slight compromise on performance, but it's still plenty fast enough for day-to-day use, and the camera (which remains one of its most attractive features) is still just as good as it was on the original Pixel 3. All in all, not only is this mid-range Pixel an absolute bargain, it's also a better phone than the original Pixel 3.

CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM4GB
Display5.5in 1080p AMOLED 
Battery2,915mAh 

Price when reviewed: 332 (exc VAT)

Read our full Google Pixel 3a review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

We’ll be honest: 5G is far from being essential at the moment, as coverage is patchy even in the middle of London. For early adopter types, however, there are small handful of compatible Android phones to choose from, the best of them being the Galaxy S10 5G.

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Considering the standard Galaxy S10 is already a brilliant smartphone, it’s no surprise that this souped-up version is as well. Design, build quality and performance are all up to the Galaxy S family’s high standards, as is battery life and display quality. In fact, this is one of few phones that can play HDR10+ video content as it was meant to be viewed.

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CPU

Samsung Exynos 9820

RAM

8GB

Display

6.4in 1440p Dynamic AMOLED

Battery

4,500mAh

Price when reviewed: £915 exc VAT

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 5G review for more information.

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom

Oppo is building quite the little collection of great smartphones, from the Reno2 and its clever pop-up camera to this, the Reno 10x Zoom. As you can imagine from the name, this phone’s camera takes very good-looking shots, even if the manner in which it does so it quite complex: it actually only has a 5x optical zoom, but combines this with the image data from a 48-megapixel sensor to replicate a 10x optical effect in the resulting 12-megapixel photos.

Camera trickery aside, there’s a lot else to like here, whether it’s expandable storage, a massive notch-free display or big power from the flagship-standard Snapdragon 855 processor. There’s a fair amount of bloatware and no waterproofing, but these aren’t enough to take the shine off.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.6in 1080p AMOLED

Battery

4,065mAh

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Price when reviewed: £583 exc VAT

Read our full Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review for more information.

Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 was the first smartphone to adopt a 21:9 aspect ratio for its screen, making it extremely tall when held upright but also - when in landscape mode - a portable ultrawide display. As video streaming services increasingly support this more cinematic format, that along could appeal if you’re a TV and film fan.

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Fortunately, there are plenty of other qualities to the Xperia 1 that help it avoid simply being an expensive streaming device. It’s as fast and responsive as most other Android flagships, and the triple-lens rear camera is superb; the 2x telephoto sensor is particularly useful. It can also shoot 4K video, albeit only up to 30fps.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.5in 1644p OLED

Battery

3,330mAh

Price when reviewed: £708 exc VAT

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Read our full Sony Xperia 1 review for more information.

Huawei P30

It wouldn’t initially seem like the P30 is worth choosing over its bigger brother, the P30 Pro: the standard P30 has a smaller display, 6.1in to 6.5in, and it also lacks the 5x telephoto camera lens and waterproofing of the Pro version.

However, not only is it a full £200 cheaper, but it matches the P30 Pro at just about everything else. The resolution is the same, the HDR10-compatible screen looks just as bright and vibrant, and frankly there’s hardly any difference in photo quality unless you’re actually using the P30 Pro’s superior zoom capabilities. On pure value, then, the P30 deserves its place in this list.

CPU

Huawei Kirin 980

RAM

6GB

Display

6.1in 1080p AMOLED

Battery

3,650mAh

Price when reviewed: £699 exc VAT

Read our full Huawei P30 review for more information.

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom

Oppo is building quite the little collection of great smartphones, from the Reno2 and its clever pop-up camera to this, the Reno 10x Zoom. As you can imagine from the name, this phone’s camera takes very good-looking shots, even if the manner in which it does so it quite complex: it actually only has a 5x optical zoom, but combines this with the image data from a 48-megapixel sensor to replicate a 10x optical effect in the resulting 12-megapixel photos.

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Camera trickery aside, there’s a lot else to like here, whether it’s expandable storage, a massive notch-free display or big power from the flagship-standard Snapdragon 855 processor. There’s a fair amount of bloatware and no waterproofing, but these aren’t enough to take the shine off.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.6in 1080p AMOLED

Battery

4,065mAh

Price when reviewed: £583 exc VAT

Read our full Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review for more information.

OnePlus 7 Pro

The 7 Pro represents a shift in OnePlus’ usual tactics: instead of producing a straightforward flagship at a lower-than-average price, as with the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T, the 7 Pro is the closest the Chinese firm has come to an all-out, top-end phablet.

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Still, it’s much cheaper than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ or the Google Pixel 4 XL, while delivering premium flair to spare. A mechanical pop-up front camera allows for a true edge-to-edge, notch-free display (which also runs at 90Hz, not at the far more common refresh rate of 60Hz), and the inclusion of Qualcomm’s ubiquitous Snapdragon 855 keeps performance on par with the best.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.67in 1440p AMOLED

Battery

4,000mAh

Price when reviewed: £583 exc VAT

Read our full OnePlus 7 Pro review for more information.

OnePlus 7 Pro

The 7 Pro represents a shift in OnePlus’ usual tactics: instead of producing a straightforward flagship at a lower-than-average price, as with the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T, the 7 Pro is the closest the Chinese firm has come to an all-out, top-end phablet.

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Still, it’s much cheaper than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ or the Google Pixel 4 XL, while delivering premium flair to spare. A mechanical pop-up front camera allows for a true edge-to-edge, notch-free display (which also runs at 90Hz, not at the far more common refresh rate of 60Hz), and the inclusion of Qualcomm’s ubiquitous Snapdragon 855 keeps performance on par with the best.

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CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.67in 1440p AMOLED

Battery

4,000mAh

Price when reviewed: £583 exc VAT

Read our full OnePlus 7 Pro review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

While the reveal of the Galaxy Note 10+ was a bit of a surprise - the Note series has never seemed in dire need of even bigger, higher-resolution ‘Plus’ variants - there’s no denying it’s a fantastic Android phablet.

This is a luxury handset that excels in almost every area, from the beautiful, sprawling 6.8in display to the immensely powerful Exynos 9825 CPU. Long battery life and a great camera complete the essentials, and there’s plenty of extras too, including automatic transcriptions for handwritten notes you make with the S-Pen stylus.

CPU

Samsung Exynos 9825

RAM

12GB

Display

6.8in 1440p Dynamic AMOLED

Battery

4,500mAh

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Price when reviewed: £833 exc VAT

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review for more information.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

We’ll be honest: 5G is far from being essential at the moment, as coverage is patchy even in the middle of London. For early adopter types, however, there are small handful of compatible Android phones to choose from, the best of them being the Galaxy S10 5G.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Considering the standard Galaxy S10 is already a brilliant smartphone, it’s no surprise that this souped-up version is as well. Design, build quality and performance are all up to the Galaxy S family’s high standards, as is battery life and display quality. In fact, this is one of few phones that can play HDR10+ video content as it was meant to be viewed.

CPU

Samsung Exynos 9820

RAM

8GB

Display

6.4in 1440p Dynamic AMOLED

Battery

4,500mAh

Price when reviewed: £915 exc VAT

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Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 5G review for more information.

Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 was the first smartphone to adopt a 21:9 aspect ratio for its screen, making it extremely tall when held upright but also - when in landscape mode - a portable ultrawide display. As video streaming services increasingly support this more cinematic format, that along could appeal if you’re a TV and film fan.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other qualities to the Xperia 1 that help it avoid simply being an expensive streaming device. It’s as fast and responsive as most other Android flagships, and the triple-lens rear camera is superb; the 2x telephoto sensor is particularly useful. It can also shoot 4K video, albeit only up to 30fps.

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855

RAM

6GB

Display

6.5in 1644p OLED

Battery

3,330mAh

Price when reviewed: £708 exc VAT

Read our full Sony Xperia 1 review for more information.

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