Best Android Phones of 2019
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 and for those with more specific needs for their smartphone check out one of our lists below.
Samsung really blew it out with the Galaxy S line this year with three different options and the top end Galaxy S10+ is the classic Samsung kitchen sink approach with every spec thrown into it. The 6.4-inch QHD+ HDR 10+ certified screen is one of the best we’ve ever seen and thankfully Samsung paired with with a massive 4,000 mAh battery to keep the phone going all day. There’s just nothing that this phone won’t handle and given the internals it should have no trouble keeping you happy with your purchase until you are ready to upgrade again.
- Amazing Display
- Fantastic Battery Life
- Unmatched Performance
OnePlus arguably broke its mold with the OnePlus 7 Pro this year as it had always been the affordable flagship killer. And while it’s easy to see why longtime fans feel that way, the reality is the goalposts for affordable just changed with flagship devices from Samsung and Apple eclipsing the $1,000 mark. And the OnePlus 7 Pro absolutely competes with those devices on specs and even surpasses them in some cases with its 90Hz QHD+ display with HDR10+ support. The 8GB or 12GB models compare favorably to the Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Note 10+ for hundreds less and OnePlus has a considerably better update track record than Samsung of late.
- Phenomenal screen
- Reliable updates
- Blazing fast performance
The Note line may not be for everyone, after all there are plenty of other big-screen phones on the market now, but for Note fans there is nothing that can possibly replace it. Others have tried and failed to duplicate the stylus experience of the Note and at this point it is hard to imagine anyone unseating it. Samsung did split the Note line this year so for those that always wanted to give the S Pen a shot, but didn’t necessarily want the massive smartphone to go with it, the standard Note 10 is another option. While it isn’t quite the spec overload that we’ve seen in years past with the Note line, the Note 10+ offers 12GB of RAM, a camera array that matches the S10+ and a unique set of video and of course S Pen related software that always makes the Note line stand out.
- Unique S Pen
- Fantastic Performance
- Excellent Battery Life
The Google Pixel 3 (and Pixel 3 XL) are definitely a case where the device is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s nothing impressive about the hardware from design to what’s inside, the Pixel 3 is very middle of the road. The standout spec for the Pixel 3 is the software that takes that hardware and produces some the best photos of any smartphone on the market. And the guarantee that you will be the first to have OS updates and security updates is worth quite a bit in the Android world. Now the initial asking prices of $799 and $899 felt a little steep respectively, but at this point you can find them for hundreds less making them a solid value even as the Pixel 4 launch gets close.
- Unbelievably Good Camera
- Pure Android Experience
- Unlimited Quality Photo/Video Storage
While the future for Huawei remains a little murky, it doesn’t change the fact that the company has been putting out some of the best devices on the market. The Huawei P30 Pro is an absolute standout this year with its insane focal range from super-wide-angle (16mm equivalent) all the way to a 5x optical zoom (125mm equivalent). This is the smartphone that can truly finally take the place of a dedicated camera without sacrifices. And for those that value battery life the Huawei P30 Pro is among the very best, easily lasting into a second day even with heavy use.
- Unmatched low-light photos
- Fantastic performance
- Powerful telephoto lens
If you’ve spent the last few years thinking you really wanted to pick up one of the Pixels from Google, but just couldn’t stomach the price, the answer finally arrived this summer in the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. For less than $400 you can buy into the consistent updates and stock goodness that the Pixel has always promised. What’s more impressive is that Google has managed to deliver virtually the same camera experience in this much more affordable device. With the top-end smartphones commanding higher and higher prices, it’s good to see such a strong option in the mid-tier.
- Outstanding Camera
- Affordably Priced
- Reliable Updates
Another one of Samsung’s Galaxy S devices makes an appearance on our list and while it is technically the bottom device on the totem pole, the Galaxy S10e actually is our favorite of the three in some ways. The side-mounted fingerprint reader and flat display may not be as futuristic-looking, but from a usability standpoint, they are awesome. And of course the price, you can frequently find the Galaxy S10e around or even below $600.
- Solid Performance
- Headphone Jack
- Affordably Priced
The Huawei P30 Pro kind of stole the thunder from the Mate 20 Pro this year. When we reviewed it back in January we were blown away by the camera and overall quality of this device, it just so happened that it was followed on by a device that took a bit of a quantum leap in smartphone photography. But the Mate 20 Pro is not to be dismissed, it’s available for quite a bit less than the P30 Pro and unless you are obsessed with that extra telephoto reach and a little extra RAM this device delivers a very similar experience to the P30 Pro.
- Face Unlock
- Awesome Tripe camera array
- Glass design feels premium
The middle child of the Galaxy S10 lineup, the regular S10 does find itself last among its siblings on our list, but it is still an excellent device. It shares most of the design for the S10+, giving it that high-end look and feel that you don’t get with the S10e. You get the vast majority of the specs found in the S10+ as well, with the exception of the depth selfie camera and a 3,400 mAh battery rather than 4,100. If you aren’t a heavy smartphone user you can save yourself $100 or more by going with the S10 and you’ll never notice the difference.
- Beautiful Design
- Powerful Performance
- Competetive Camera Array
LG doesn’t get a lot of love in the smartphone world of late with its devices failing to stand out from the crowd meaningfully. The truth is that the LG G8 ThinQ is an excellent smartphone, it simply can’t try to go toe-to-toe with the Galaxy S line on pricing and the good news is that you can now typically find it for less than $500. For that price this is a fantastic deal with a Snapdragon 855, 128GB of internal storage, a 6.1-inch QHD+ display. And for audio fans LG really is the last bastion of hope for you with a built-in HiFi DAC and of course a headphone jack. Should you need to rely on the internal speakers the phone even cleverly uses the screen to amplify its audio keeping things clear of distortion however high you crank it.
- Unsurpassed Audio Quality
- Incredibly Affordable
- Gorgeous Screen
We are rounding out the end of smartphone launch season, so there isn’t too much on the immediate horizon, but here’s what we are expecting in the coming months.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Better late and functional than never I guess, the Samsung Galaxy Fold is due to arrive in September with its reinforced protection. Given how the initial batch performed you definitely need to be a gambler to give this one a shot.
Sony Xperia 2
We love the multiple camera array smartphones, but Sony is set to test even our limits for it with the six-camera array on this smartphone that is due out before the end of the year.
Huawei Mate 30 / Mate 30 Pro
The show must go on and despite the trade troubles with the U.S., Huawei will continue to churn out devices and next up should be the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro. The devices are rumored to feature the latest Kirin 985 chipset, an aggressively curved screen and a significant camera array.
Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL
A new Pixel arrives every October and there’s no question we’ll be seeing them again this year as we’ve already seen it from pretty much every angle, including some from Google themselves. The Pixel 4 is going to feature multiple cameras, possibly a 90Hz display and then there’s the air gesture navigation tech, which remains the definite wildcard.
Huawei Mate X
Another foldable phone that we’ve known about for some time and should eventually see the light of day.