These are the Best Android Phones to buy in 2020

These are the Best Android Phones to buy in 2020

We've used 100s of phones, and here are our picks for the Best Android Phones you can buy right now!

One of the best things about being an Android user is that there are so many options to choose from. While an iPhone user may have two to three viable options anytime they’re looking to upgrade phones, we Android fans have dozens – and they come in all shapes and sizes, with software and features lists that are as different as night and day. This year, in particular, has seen a slew of magnificent slab smartphones and several adventurous, quirky ones that push the industry forward too.

We here at XDA have the privilege of testing just about every new release, and here are the best Android phones you can buy right now:

Navigate this guide:

Best Android Phone Overall: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Best Android Phone – Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

There were several worthy contenders for this spot. However, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra edges out some tough competition – don’t worry, we still honored them on this list in other categories – by checking more boxes. The most powerful Android chipset around? Check (if you’re buying the Snapdragon 865+ version, that is). Capable cameras that let you zoom in far or take a step back and go ultra-wide? Check. Premium, unique design, and the best screen possible? Check and check! Heck, the Note 20 Ultra even throws in a stylus to boot, which offers even more functionality most smartphones can’t claim.

Sure, we can nitpick if we want — the zoom cameras here aren’t quite at the Huawei P40 Pro+’s level; it charges much slower than the Xiaomi Mi Ultra, the boxy corners make the phone less comfortable to hold for some hands — but ultimately, no phone this year packs as much in one package with no noticeable glaring flaws.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
    If you're looking for the most capable and feature-packed smartphone and not quite ready to jump to the cutting-edge foldable category yet, then look no further than the Note 20 Ultra. It has everything you'd need out of a smartphone, including a stylus!

Best Android Phone for most people: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

 

Best Android Phone – Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

While the Note 20 Ultra is, in our opinion, the best slab smartphone money can buy, the just-announced S20 FE is likely the phone for most people as it still gives you much of what makes a Samsung flagship great. This includes that 120Hz Super AMOLED display, a responsive and well-thought-out UI, and well-performing cameras — except the S20 FE is half the price of the Note 20 Ultra.

You’ll have to make do with a plastic body and just Snapdragon 865 instead of the 865+, but these are concessions we think most would take to save $600-$700.

    Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    If you're a fan of Samsung's flagships but have found the four-digit prices hard to stomach, the Galaxy S20 FE is for you. Compromises are far and few between in this sleek and powerful mid-ranger with a 120Hz Super AMOLED screen!

Best Samsung Galaxy Phones for every budget and need (updated October 2020)

Best Android Phone for software and speed: OnePlus 8 Pro

Best Android Phone – OnePlus 8 Pro

OnePlus is a brand that’s always been all about speed, and the 8 Pro is once again the fastest phone on the market. Everything – from the way apps launch at rocket speed to how the notification panel whips up and down along with your finger swipes – in the UI here has been optimized for speed. The effect looks extra fluid this year thanks to a 120Hz panel too.

When it comes to OnePlus’ UI, OxygenOS, it’s not just about speed: it’s also, in my opinion, the best Android skin around, with plenty of customization and shortcut gestures galore. Want to use multiple different icon packs on one home screen? Or change the accent color scheme of your app drawer? Or hide apps in plain sight with a simple swipe? OxygenOS offers more ways to use Android, even more so than Google’s stock UI.

The rest of the hardware is top-notch, too, although the phone looks a bit boring due to the recycled back design. For the first time in a OnePlus phone, the 8 Pro gets wireless charging and IP68 water resistance. These new additions go well with the improved camera system and the beloved alert slider hardware button.

    OnePlus 8 Pro
    OnePlus phones have always been able to go toe-to-toe with the big boys in terms of overall performance, and this year's 8 Pro is no exception. A large 120Hz AMOLED screen, Snapdragon 865, and a 48MP ultra-wide-angle camera provide more details than the less pixel-dense ultra-wides seen in many rivals. But ultimately, what sets the 8 Pro apart is its unrivaled speed and clean yet fully customizable UI.

Best point and shoot camera phone: Google Pixel 5

Best Android Phone – Google Pixel 5

Google’s Pixel series, even back when it was aspiring to be a premium flagship, never really fully got hardware right. Whether it was the original Pixel’s outdated bezels, Pixel 2 XL‘s display problems, Pixel 3 XL‘s giant, unsightly notch, or the Pixel 4’s mediocre battery life and wonky facial recognition system, every generation of Pixel has had a glaring hardware flaw. But despite that, many reviewers and tech enthusiasts still gladly carried a Pixel over the years, because Google’s camera software processing was that good.

And that camera prowess is why the Pixel 5 cracks this list, despite a spec sheet and hardware craftsmanship that sits a tier or two below other brands’ offerings listed here. But with the Pixel 5, you know you’re getting color science that is always on point, dynamic range perfectly balanced, and the best portrait/bokeh mode around.

And for the first time, we even get an ultra-wide-angle camera in a Pixel. Throw in the usual Pixel perks like the purest version of Android and specific Pixel features, and the Pixel 5 is an easy recommendation.

    Google Pixel 5
    Google's newest brings several new features, but the most important is that Pixel camera with its glorious image processing and dynamic range is back. If you just want to point, tap the shutter button, and expect a great shot, look no further.

Best Cheap Android Phone: Google Pixel 4a

Best Android Phone – Google Pixel 4a

If you want that Pixel 5 primary camera performance but want to save a bit, the Pixel 4a (not to be confused by the larger and more expensive Pixel 4a 5G) is one of the cheapest options on this list.

You lose out on the ultra-wide-angle camera and 5G connectivity, but you still have virtually the same primary camera as the Pixel 5. If it’s just standard 1x point-and-shoot photos, the Pixel series is hard to beat. If you want to see other choices on a budget, check out our guide to the best cheap android phones!

    Google Pixel 4a
    The Google Pixel 4a brings virtually the same main camera as the Google Pixel 5, which means it's got one of the very best cameras on the market. Everything else about the phone is solid if unspectacular -- but when at this price, and with a camera performance this next level, it's hard to complain.

Best overall camera phone: Huawei P40 Pro+

Best Android Phone – Huawei P40 Pro Plus

While the Google Pixel 4a’s primary camera is arguably the king due to its color science, dynamic range, and unbeatable portrait mode, the Huawei P40 Pro+ is inarguably the most capable and versatile camera system of the year. Let’s start with the Periscope zoom lens. Other phones like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Oppo Find X2 Pro, or Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra offer a 5x optical zoom camera — Huawei’s P40 Pro+ doubles that with a 10x, thanks to a couple of extra folds and lenses inside the Periscope hardware. Other ultra-wide-angle cameras see a significant performance drop off at night? Not the P40 Pro+’s ultra-wide, which uses the same RYYB sensor tech Huawei first introduced with the P30 series that allows it to virtually see in the dark. Throw in another short telephoto lens to cover portraits, and the P40 Pro+’s cameras are a few steps ahead of the rest. That primary 50MP main camera is excellent too — it can still pull in light in pitch black scenes better than any camera — though it tends to over-process and over-sharpen, hence why we gave the edge to the Pixel 4a.

Unfortunately, the P40 Pro+ cannot run core Google Mobile Services apps due to the ongoing sanctions placed by the US government, so be sure you weigh the pros and cons before considering one.

    Huawei P40 Pro+
    With a 10x optical zoom camera and an 40MP ultra-wide-angle camera, the Huawei P40 Pro+ has the most versatile and capable cameras on the market. The rest of the package is pretty premium too -- unfortunately, there's the Google ban issue to consider.

Best Android phone for Gaming: Asus ROG Phone 3

Best Android Phone – ASUS ROG Phone 3

If you’re into mobile gaming, then look no further than the Asus ROG Phone 3, which we named “the king of gaming smartphones” in our review. So what makes this a gaming beast? Let’s start with the 144Hz display, which the handset can maintain without micro-stutters. Throw in a massive 6,000 mAh battery to handle that refresh rate without sacrificing battery life. Then add functional shoulder buttons named “AirTriggers” that give extra control to first-person shooters in ways most normal smartphones cannot, and a bunch of optional accessories that add further controls, and you have the most equipped smartphone to handle gaming at a high level.

Of course, when you’re done gaming, the ROG Phone 3 works fine as a regular smartphone too, with a reliable camera system, Snapdragon 865+, and 16GB of RAM, no app will bog this thing down.

    Asus ROG Phone 3
    A stunning 144Hz display, 6,000 mAh battery, Snapdragon 865+, 16GB of RAM and AirTrigger shoulder buttons make this the best phone for playing games.

Best Android foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Best Android Phone – Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

This is a landslide win for the Fold 2 in this category, considering the only other real option is the Huawei Mate XS, which is pricier, not on sale officially in the US, can’t run core Google apps, and has a folding-screen-on-the-outside design that looks stunning but raises serious durability concerns. The Fold 2, meanwhile, is widely available, has no software restrictions, and has a firmer folding screen made of “ultra-thin glass” that is protected when not in use.

The device feels the most polished and refined of all foldable phones released so far and has won the hearts of several of us here at XDA already. Other than water-resistance and perhaps a thinner build (neither of which are realistic requests at this time as the technology isn’t there yet), there’s not much you can fault the Fold 2 for.

    Galaxy Z Fold 2
    The most cutting edge phone of the year -- but it will cost you a pretty penny. However, if money is no object and you need to have the very best that Samsung offers, look no further than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. We love it, and so will you!

Best Android phone not sold in the US: Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra

Best Android Phone – Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra is the Chinese tech company’s 10th-anniversary commemorative device, but it should be named the Mi 120 because there’s a trio of 120-themed features that make this phone great. It has a 120Hz OLED panel, 120x max digital zoom, and 120W charging speeds. The latter is insanely fast: in our testing, the Mi 10 Ultra can go from 0 to 100 in 23 minutes, or if you’re topping up in the peak charging speed range of between 30 and 80%, expect a five-minute charge to add nearly 24% of juice.

Throw in 55W fast charging (you need Xiaomi’s specific charger to achieve this speed), a Snapdragon 865, unique clear transparent glass back, a versatile quad-camera system, and a very reasonable sub-$800 price, this is a device worth celebrating. It’s worth noting this phone only has a China version, so you’ll have to sideload Google yourself.

    Xiaomi MI 10 Ultra
    A China-only phone with a long list of specs headlined by a 120x zoom, 120W fast charging and 120Hz screen, the Mi 10 Ultra is a powerhouse that doesn't break the bank.

Best Android phone not sold in the US, runner up: Oppo Find X2 Pro

Best Android Phone – OPPO Find X2 Pro
The original Oppo Find X, released in 2018, was a quirky and unconventional smartphone with all of its cameras hidden in an elevating module. While it was a looker, the phone was a bit awkward to use. With the Find X2 Pro, Oppo’s gone a more conventional route, but in return, crafted one of the most well-rounded and polished smartphones of the year.

With a Snapdragon 865, 120Hz OLED display, a Periscope zoom lens that can achieve 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom, and maximum 60x zoom, the Find X2 Pro has all the specs needed to compete with the best of the best — and if we were compiling this list in mid-2020, this might have well taken the top spot. But in the months since the Find X2 Pro’s 65W fast charging has been surpassed by the Mi 10 Ultra’s 120W, and the display here, while gorgeous, falls a tad short of the new heights set by the Note 20 Ultra (it’s brighter and has a variable refresh rate).

The camera system here is good enough to fill every need, with the 48MP ultra-wide-angle camera producing noticeably sharper images than the ultra-wide-angle cameras of Samsung’s or Xiaomi’s phones. We are also huge fans of the orange leather back, which adds an extra touch of character.

    Oppo Find X2 Pro
    A polished and refined flagship that shows Oppo's prowess in both hardware and software, the Find X2 Pro was arguably the best Android in the first half of 2020, but alas, other releases have edged it in performance and screen brilliance.

Phones that show a lot of promise but haven’t been thoroughly tested by us yet: LG Wing and Motorola Razr 5G

Both of these phones win points right away for being different from the traditional slab smartphone. Let’s start with the LG Wing, which we’ve been testing (though not enough for a final conclusion). The Wing has a unique swivel form factor that allows the device to house two screens while keeping a relatively compact form factor. Those who multi-task often will love the ability to run two apps at the same time. And unlike large screen foldables like the Fold 2 or two-screened devices like the Microsoft Duo, the Wing can masquerade as a regular smartphone very well when it’s closed up.

The Motorola Razr 5G, meanwhile, is the company’s second attempt at a clamshell foldable, and it seems to be a vast improvement over the first-generation model, with a sturdier hinge that doesn’t make creaky sounds, an improved camera (48MP compared to 16MP last year), and newer SoC (Snapdragon 765G versus Snapdragon 710)

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.