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.
Samsung makes loads of them. Sony’s releasing three every second. HTC is producing award-winning handsets, and LG is bringing up the super-cheap superphone brigade.
On top of that, there’s a glut of other names in the mix, with the likes of Acer, ZTE, Huawei and OnePlus all offering cheap smartphones – and Google’s gone high end with the Nexus range.
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
To help find the best 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.
10. HTC One M8
The One M8 has been superseded by the M9 and as such it’s tumbled down our list, but it’s still a hugely impressive phone. We love the speed of the camera, the Duo Camera is sharp as a tack and the design… well, you have to hold it. The HTC One M8 is an excellent package
Gaming, movies, photography, browsing all work really well and HTC is committed to its baby too, as it was one of the first phones to get Android Lollipop.
The only way to know how good the HTC One M8 is, is to go into a store, pick it up and hold it for a few minutes. Take in the design, listen to the BoomSound speakers and glide around the Sense UI. The M9 of course offers better versions of the same things, but you’ll pay a lot more for it.
9. HTC One Mini 2
The HTC One Mini 2 inherits a lot from the M8, with a similarly stylish metal build and the same BoomSound speakers, but in a smaller, more affordable package.
The innards have changed, with a lesser but still quad-core processor and there’s a 13MP camera on the back in place of the HTC One M8’s UltraPixel snapper, but the key thing is that the HTC One Mini 2 is designed for those who’d prefer a more pocketable 4.5-inch display without sacrificing a premium design. On that front it passes with flying colours.
The HTC One Mini 2 looks great. In fact until the inevitable One Mini 3 arrives it’s the most stylish small-screen Android phone around. It doesn’t have flagship specs but then nor does it have a flagship price tag.
8. Google Nexus 6
The Google Nexus 6 is a super-sized version of the 2014 Moto X. The phone that everyone expected to be a super-cheap device is now firmly in the ‘Hmmm… I wonder how much can I get for my kidney?’ category – but that’s thanks to the high-end chipset, the crisply sharp QHD screen and a massive battery.
At six inches, this is very, very much a phablet – but then again, it offers so much that you’ll really start to warm to it quickly. Plus the edge-to-edge design means it’s nowhere near as large as it should be – if you can get over the price, it’s a must have.
There’s a lot to like about Nexus 6. Android Lollipop looks great on this bright, 6-inch AMOLED display and the 13-megapixel camera is more true-to-life than 2013’s Nexus 5 and Motorola’s other smartphones combined, even if it doesn’t quite measure up to what Samsung’s doing.
This is the best Nexus Google has ever crafted. And, when you think about it, you’re not going to need to hold onto your money, as you’ll require both hands to grab onto this two-handed monster.
7. Sony Xperia Z3
The Sony Xperia Z3 manages to improve on the already excellent Xperia Z2 in some key areas. The screen is a large 5.2-inches with a full 1080p resolution and the technology behind the screen gives a boost to the overall brightness of the display, which makes it look fantastic.
The Xperia Z3 also packs some impressive specs with a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. These improved specs are all housed in a slimmer and more stylishly designed chassis, giving the Xperia Z3 a truly premium feel. It’s also water and dust resistant.
It does a lot of things right, with some excellent hardware specs and a stylish design. If you own a PlayStation 4 then the Remote Play feature that lets you stream PS4 games to the handset could be of real interest – and if it’s not, it should be.
It’s a great phone, but the experience isn’t quite flawless enough to get it any higher in our charts, with a disappointing camera and buggy software being chief among its problems.
6. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Four years after the original Galaxy Note kick started the phablet craze, the Galaxy Note 4 arrives to show that Samsung still has what it takes to make excellent super-sized smartphones.
It has a fantastic 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED screen along with a 2.7GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM. With these specs it easily outperforms its closest rivals such as the iPhone 6 Plus,
The Galaxy Note 4 certainly isn’t cheap, but a fantastic screen, brilliant specs and a great camera all help justify the hefty asking price. If you’re in the market for a large smartphone then you’ll definitely want to seriously consider the Note 4.