Picking the best Android smartphones is almost tantamount to choosing the best smartphones. But while Android phones have few real opponents on other platforms, internal competition is incredibly fierce.
But “greatness” is subjective, and sometimes spec sheets and feature lists are not enough to make an idea of how good a phone really is. In this roundup, we’re looking at the absolute best – the Android phones you can’t go wrong with.
#1 LG G6
Throughout 2016, the LG G5 struggled to take on the Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and all the other flagships released that year. The phone would have been more widely accepted if it nailed the modular implementation, but unfortunately the whole module-swapping process was wonky and the three “Friends” that launched with the G5 weren’t all that appealing. With the G6, LG has gone back to the basics.
Certainly the most standout feature on the G6 is its 5.7-inch Quad HD LCD display, with its interesting aspect ratio of 18:9 and rounded corners. It also comes with a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4 GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage, an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and dual 13 MP rear cameras.
It’s worth noting that not all LG G6s are created equal. For example, the G6 that’s coming to the U.S. is the only variant that supports wireless charging, while the Hi-Fi Quad DAC is exclusive to South Korea and certain markets in Asia. What’s more, the G6n with 64 GB of storage is only available in a handful of markets.
This isn’t a phone that introduces a bunch of gimmicky features that you’ll never use. It’s simply a solid, well-built smartphone that nails the main areas users care most about.
#2 BlackBerry KeyOne
The new KeyOne, which will be available in April, runs Nougat 7.1 and resembles a thinner version of the BlackBerry Passport, retaining the clever under-keyboard touch trackpad to help navigate the screen and scroll through apps.
Although it has a mid-range Snapdragon 625 processor, its £499 price tag is anything but. Then again, those after the KEYone are unlikely to care. The BlackBerry brand elicits a fierce loyalty from its now small customer base.
#3 Huawei P10 and P10 Plus
Huawei’s new P10 and P10 Plus feature improved software, a new-and-improved dual camera setup, and top-tier specs.
The P10 and P10 Plus are the first devices to launch with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 interface on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. Compared to EMUI 5 on the Mate 9, Huawei says the improved interface brings some notable performance improvements, as well as a smarter theming engine that will adapt to the color of your phone.
Under the hood, these devices sport the Kirin 960 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage and microSD expansion. Plus, both phones come with dual 12 and 20 MP rear-facing camera setups (co-developed with Leica, of course), with optical image stabilization. Both devices also have Leica-branded 8 MP front cameras.
Huawei currently has plans to bring the P10 lineup to around 30 different countries, but the U.S. isn’t on that list.
#4 HTC U Ultra
HTC said the U Ultra release date will land around ‘mid-February’ in Europe, although it should be available in Asia prior to that.
HTC considers itself ‘the master of metal’ but the design mantra of the U series phones is ‘Liquid Surface’, achieved with glass. Although the U Ultra has a metal frame similar to recent devices, the big selling point here is the eye-catching rear cover which is ‘ultra thin’ and ‘visually sheer’ using ‘3-axis symmetry’. A Sapphire Glass limited edition of the U Ultra will be available featuring 128GB and Sapphire front glass.
You do get a pair of USonic headphones which utilise the reversible port. The U Ultra retains HTC’s BoomSound stereo speakers but like the flagship 10, only one faces forward.
The HTC U Ultra is a phablet by the firm’s own admission with a 5.7in LCD 5 screen that has a Quad HD (1440×2560) resolution. While that’s pretty normal for today’s standard, the Ultra has something more distinct about it. Reminiscent of the LG V10/V20, the phone has a second screen above the main one which is 2in (1040×160) which is there for various reasons. In short, it’s able to provide information and shortcuts etc.
#5 Google Pixel/Pixel XL
Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are here, and they truly are some amazing smartphones.
Not only are they the first phones to ship with the Google Assistant on board, they also come with plenty of exclusive software features and some of the best smartphone cameras in existence.
Under the hood, they sport some killer specs, too. Both devices have an AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4 GB of RAM, plenty of on-board storage and long-lasting batteries. The overall design of these phones may not be the most unique, but they do feel like premium phones through and through.
There are a few things about these phones that will turn some people away, though. For starters, they only sport an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning they’re not nearly as waterproof as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge.
There are ways around that, but none that will make the devices truly waterproof. Plus, if you buy the Verizon model, you’ll have to deal with a small amount of bloatware (though you will be able to uninstall it), you won’t be able to unlock the bootloader, and Verizon will be handling all Pixel and Pixel XL software updates (though the company