Best Android Phones of 2016

Last updated: Dec 1st, 2016.

If you’re in the market for a new Android phone, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our picks for the best Android phones currently available as voted on by the Phandroid staff.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Android Phones | Android Phones with the Best Battery Life | Android Phones with the Best Camera | Best Rugged Android Phones

  • 1

    Android at its finest expand_more

    We’ve been treated to years of quality Nexus phones thanks to Google’s stewardship, but now they want to give it a go of their own. The Pixel and its 5.5-inch twin don’t exactly reinvent the wheel in the hardware department, but an undying desire to offer a pure version of Android which is perfectly suited for marriage with the phone it’s running on goes a VERY long way.

    It’s fast. Amazingly so. And it also has impressive battery life and what we consider to be the best overall smartphone camera on the market right now, too. Hail to the new king.

    Key Features:
    • Smooth, pure Android
    • Great Camera
    • Long-lasting battery
  • 2

    Livin' on the edge has never been better expand_more

    The Edge variant has finally surpassed the regular Galaxy S7. This year’s Edge model has a slightly bigger display and the all-important bigger battery. For a device with 5.5-inch display, it feels really great in the hand. The extra boost in battery life is a critical feature. All in all, this is the S7 you want.

    Key Features:
    • Excellent display
    • Powerful performance
    • Good battery life
  • 3

    Pure and simple expand_more

    The HTC 10 is a solid, all-around good phone. In a day and age where every phone has some kind of shiny gimmick, the 10 might seem a little boring. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. All that glitters is not gold. The HTC 10 is one of the most pleasant experiences you’ll have with an Android phone.

    Key Features:
    • Premium design and build quality
    • Excellent software
    • Good camera
  • 4

    The Galaxy has been refined expand_more

    The Galaxy S7 seems like a boring device on the outside, but that’s only because Samsung took care of everything that hampered the Galaxy S6. This is one of the most polished and refined Galaxy devices we’ve seen in a long time. It might not be as exciting as the Edge model, but it’s still a great phone.

    Key Features:
    • Excellent display
    • Powerful performance
    • Great camera
  • 5

    The bar is set high expand_more

    For all intents and purposes, the LG V20 isn’t a radical departure from the model it’s replacing, but that’s exactly what LG V10 fans wanted. It pushes the bar on performance, has a solid build, ridiculous camera, sharp display, and even a second one, for whatever reason. It also comes with Nougat out of the box, and that’s a big deal right now. Phones don’t need all these bells and whistles to impress in 2016, but it never hurts when they do.

    Key Features:
    • Top-line features
    • Great camera
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 6

    The best Nexus ever made expand_more

    The Nexus 6P is Huawei’s first attempt at a Nexus device, and they knocked it out of the park. This is the first time a Nexus can truly claim the title of best Android phone. It has an excellent camera, beautiful, big display, and a charming design. If you don’t mind big phones, this is the one to get.

    Key Features:
    • Great camera
    • Insanely fast performance
    • Beautiful display
  • 7

    The best value in smartphones expand_more

    The OnePlus 2 wasn’t the flagship killer OnePlus made it out to be, but that’s absolutely different with the OnePlus 3. At $439, you get a nice big display, a Snapdragon 821 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and all the features you’d expect from a flagship. You’d better be packing a couple hundred extra dollars for a similar smartphone from other companies.

    Key Features:
    • 6GB of RAM
    • Great build quality
    • Affordable for its specs
  • 8

    A refreshing take on modularity expand_more

    The Moto Z Force is the latest smartphone to attempt modularity. The device’s “Moto Mods,” as they’re call, can extend the functionality in an endless number of ways, including the addition of stereo speakers or even a projector. At the same time, its solid (and thin) construction and top-line specs make it a serious contender.

    Key Features:
    • Moto Mods extend functionality
    • Great build quality for being thin
    • Big battery and fast internals
  • 9

    The playground is open expand_more

    The LG G5 is a great phone that suffers from living in the Galaxy S7’s shadow. The modular design isn’t for everyone, but it’s amazingly useful for some people. The G5 doesn’t quite live up to the hype of a modular phone, but it’s still a very solid Android device.

    Key Features:
    • Great camera
    • Speedy performance
    • Modular design is a cool concept
  • 10

    Beauty without the price tag expand_more

    If you’re looking for a well-rounded flagship device and a unique camera experience, the P9 is definitely worth considering. It features dual-rear cameras made by Leica and a beautiful all-metal construction.

    Key Features:
    • Impeccably crafted aluminum and glass build
    • Competitively priced
    • Solid camera performance
  • Honorable Mentions

    expand_more
    1. Nexus 5X — A nice little device with stock Android and a fingerprint sensor, but it’s a little underpowered.
    2. Samsung Galaxy S7 Active — A great phone if you need something a little more durable, and with better battery life.
    3. LG V10 — Its sequel is on the way, but the LG V10 is still a top phone for the deals you can find.
    4. Samsung Galaxy Note 5 — The Galaxy Note 7 failed, so if you want an S-Pen this is the best Note you have available.
    5. ZTE Axon 7 — One of the only Daydream-certified phones on the market next to the Google Pixel and LG V20. It’s pretty cheap, too.
    6. Motorola Moto X Pure Edition a new contender is on the horizon, but this is still worthy of attention.
    7. Motorola DROID MAXX 2 One of the best devices you can get for under $400.
    8. BlackBerry DTEK60 A very capable smartphone with the power of BlackBerry security.
    9. HTC One A9 – Beautiful software meshes perfectly with mid-range specs to make an underrated phone.
    10. OnePlus Two – A big, powerful phone at an approachable price.
  • Upcoming Phones

    expand_more

    There are still some key phones and flagships on the way in 2016, which means there will be no shortage of great options throughout the rest of the year. Here’s a quick look at what’s on the horizon.

    Lenovo Phab 2 and Phab 2 Pro

    Lenovo is on a roll this year, with the company having revealed the first consumer-available Tango phones. These phones will deliver augmented reality experiences like none other, with depth-sensing cameras to give you the absolute most advanced augmented reality experience you can have.

    ASUS Tango Phone

    ASUS has confirmed that they will be making a Tango phone that is aggressively priced. We are expected to learn more about the device at CES 2017, so stay tuned!

  • Rumor Mill

    expand_more

    With most of the top flagships from 2016 out of the way, the list of rumored phones has shrunken a considerable amount. Still, there are a couple of juicy nuggets we’re still waiting to hear about later this year.

    Blackberry

    Blackberry is said to be working on as many as 3 smartphones this year, though the company has only confirmed 2 to date. We already have the mid-range DTEK50 and the more impressive DTEK60, while another mid-range phone is expected to have a PRIV-like keyboard.

    Nokia

    Nokia is said to have as many as 3 phones in the works, including the Nokia C1, a mid-ranger, and a more high-end option being referred to as the Nokia D1C. More info on their plans are expected to arrive at some point in Q1 2017.