Android Buying Guides

What’s the Best Android Smartphone in 2016?

Skye Hudson 16-08-2016

Buying an iPhone is simple Why I Bought My iPhone Straight from Apple (And You Should Too) Rather than buying my new iPhone 6s Plus from my carrier, I bought it straight from Apple themselves. It turned out to be a great decision — here's why. Read More — if you want the best device, you buy the newest one iPhone 6s Review and Giveaway Spoiler alert: if you like iPhones, you’re probably going to love the iPhone 6s. But are you really surprised? Read More . If you want a cheaper one, you buy one that’s a year or two old Should You Choose The iPhone 5s Over The iPhone 6? Before you go straight for the new iPhone 6 or even the 6 Plus, why not look into the iPhone 5s instead? That's what I did – and I couldn't be happier. Read More .


But for those of us who prefer Android, the choice is a bit more complicated. With so many manufacturers out there making Android devices of different sizes, running different software Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More , and sporting completely different features, it’s hard knowing which to pick.

So we’ve done the searching for you and sorted the results depending on what you’re looking for. Here are all the best Android smartphones of 2016.

Best Budget Phone

Given that most smartphones nowadays cost around $600-700 for the base model, picking just one best budget phone could prove difficult. Is a $400 phone the best budget option, or a $100 phone? To solve this, we’ve found one for every budget, ranging from under $100 to $850.

Under $100

Did you know that you can buy a fully functioning smartphone for $70? Granted, it won’t be the best smartphone in the world, but it’ll work.



The Blu Advance 5.5 is the phone for folks on a tight budget who just want something to get the job done. With only 8GB of internal storage,you can’t install a lot of apps or store tons of pictures, so you might want to spring for a microSD 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a MicroSD Card Buying MicroSD cards may seem simple, but here are a few critical mistakes to avoid if you don't want to regret your purchase. Read More card to expand storage up to 64GB Your Next Phone Needs a MicroSD Card Slot -- Here's Why Some popular phones don't have microSD card slots -- but a lot still do, and you need one! Read More .

The good news is that it does have a quad-core processor, a 720p HD IPS display, 8MP rear-facing camera and 2MP front-facing camera, and it’s made of metal instead of plastic. It even runs the newest operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow: What It Is and When You'll Get It Android Marshmallow is here -- but why should you care? Read More .

Buy: Amazon

BLU Advance 5.5 HD -Unlocked Dual Sim Smartphone - US GSM - Grey BLU Advance 5.5 HD -Unlocked Dual Sim Smartphone - US GSM - Grey Buy Now On Amazon $299.98


Under $200

Huawei is known for making great budget phones in China, but they’ve only recently come to the US with the Honor 5X — and it’s a surprisingly great device. Reviewers rave about how powerful it is for the price.


It has two SIM card slots, one nano and one micro, as well as room for a microSD card. It also sports an aluminum body for a premium feel, a 1080p Full HD IPS display, a super quick fingerprint scanner, and even a 13MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. The biggest downside is that it still runs Android 5.1 Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop is here, but only on Nexus devices. What exactly is new about this operating system, and when can you expect it to arrive on your device? Read More .

For the cheapest “premium” device, go for the Honor 5X.


Buy: Amazon

Honor 5X Unlocked Smartphone, 16GB Dark Grey (US Warranty) Honor 5X Unlocked Smartphone, 16GB Dark Grey (US Warranty) Buy Now On Amazon $140.00

Since this article was published, Huawei has released a new version of the Honor smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6X.
Honor 6X Unlocked Smartphone, Dual Lens Camera and Dual SIM Standby, 3GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, Gray Honor 6X Unlocked Smartphone, Dual Lens Camera and Dual SIM Standby, 3GB RAM, 32 GB ROM, Gray Buy Now On Amazon $259.00

Under $300

If you’re willing to spend up to $300, you can get a really high-end device. This is probably the sweet spot between budget and premium because you get nearly all the features of flagship devices for half the price.


The Moto G4 Plus comes in multiple configurations, but the one I’m recommending here is the version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Those would be good specs for a $700 phone, but they’re mind-blowing specs for a $300 phone.


Plus, the 16MP rear-facing camera is stunning, the 5MP front-facing camera is wide-angle, and it comes with TurboCharging (Motorola’s fancy way of saying quick charging). Not to mention it has a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, a large 3,000mAh battery, a fingerprint scanner, and it supports microSD cards up to 128GB. Honestly, this is the phone to beat in terms of value. You can even customize it on Moto Maker for free.

Buy: Amazon | Moto Maker $299
Moto G Plus (4th Gen.) Unlocked - Black - 64GB - U.S. Warranty Moto G Plus (4th Gen.) Unlocked - Black - 64GB - U.S. Warranty Buy Now On Amazon $304.55

Since this article was published, Motorola has released a new version of the Moto smartphone, the Moto G Plus.
Moto G Plus (5th Generation) - Lunar Gray - 64 GB - Unlocked Moto G Plus (5th Generation) - Lunar Gray - 64 GB - Unlocked Buy Now On Amazon

Under $400

For tinkerers and the spec-obsessed, the OnePlus 3 has internals OnePlus 3 Review OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 were tricky to get hold of, despite attracting favorable reviews. This time around, things are different. Read More that blow most smartphones out of the water — and you can even root it and flash custom ROMs without voiding your warranty.

Check this out: 6GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 64GB of storage, a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C with Dash Charging, a 3,000mAh battery, a 1080p Full HD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, a 16MP rear-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, an 8MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, and an all-metal design.

Seriously, this thing is a beast. It might be a little overboard for the average consumer, but at this price, it really should be a phone for the masses.

Buy: OnePlus ($399)

Best Premium Phone

If price doesn’t factor into the equation, then what’s the best Android smartphone you could get? Many would say the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Samsung dominates the Android phone market, and as such, the Galaxy S7 is probably the most well-known phone on this list. That’s in part due to Samsung’s massive marketing campaigns, but they also don’t make bad devices.

When I reviewed the S7 Edge back in March, I found it to be powerful, have good battery life, and have a host of cool features like Multi Window. The software looks nothing like Stock Android, but it’s nowhere near as bloated as it used to be. TouchWiz nowadays is just a colorful, rounded twist on Android.

For a basic phone that you know is widely used and reliable, go for the S7 Edge. While we’d recommend buying most phones unlocked Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Unlocked phones can cost a fortune, but the savings more than make up for it. You can save thousands by not signing a contract. We've got six phones that come contract free! Read More , the S7 Edge can easily be bought from your carrier in this case.

Buy: Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge unlocked smartphone, 32 GB Silver (US Warranty - Model SM-G935UZSAXAA) Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge unlocked smartphone, 32 GB Silver (US Warranty - Model SM-G935UZSAXAA) Buy Now On Amazon $234.95

Best Stock Android Experience

Tired of all these different versions of Android and updates taking forever Why Hasn't My Android Phone Updated Yet? The Android update process is long and complicated; let's examine it to find out exactly why your Android phone takes so long to update. Read More ? Then you need a Nexus. The best one currently available is the massive 5.7″ Nexus 6P.

I reviewed the 6P Nexus 6P Review Google's newest high-end Nexus phone is here, but is the fingerprint sensor enough to make this pure Android device worth it? Read More back in December of last year and found it to be huge — even for my phablet tastes. It’s also pretty slippery, so you might want to get a case for it, but it has powerful speakers, a beautiful screen, a great fingerprint scanner, and perhaps best of all, a clean stock Android experience. As soon as Android Nougat is released Everything You Need to Know About Android N Want to install Android N or just learn about the next Android version? We've got your back. Read More , this phone will be the first to see it.

For those of you who don’t want the bells and the whistles of a Samsung device, the Nexus 6P is for you. Plus, it’s a little cheaper than most other flagship devices, with the 32GB version starting at just $399 on Amazon (though we’d recommend springing for at least the 64GB version due to the lack of microSD card slot). Also note that a new Nexus might be launching sometime this fall, but who really knows with Google.

Buy: Amazon | Google Store $499

Huawei Nexus 6P unlocked smartphone, 32GB Graphite (US Warranty) Huawei Nexus 6P unlocked smartphone, 32GB Graphite (US Warranty) Buy Now On Amazon $144.99

Most Unique Phone

After reviewing the LG G5 LG G5 Review and Giveaway It's rare to see a flagship smartphone that actually innovates at this point. They're all starting to blend together as similarly-sized unibody metal slabs with nearly identical features. Read More , I fell in love with its rear-facing camera. It’s not substantially better in terms of image quality than other high-end smartphone cameras, but it has a wide-angle camera that can capture so much. On top of that, it has a module design that allows users to replace the battery without paying a technician.

In other areas, it fits right in with the flagship smartphone crowd with its powerful specs and premium design. But that camera really makes it stand out, and I found it to be a joy to use.

Best Battery Life

Most Android smartphones come with a battery that’s somewhere between 2,000-3,000mAh. Buying a phone with a battery size in that range will probably have you seeking out a charger before the end of the day. Fortunately, every once in a while, someone comes along and creates a phone with a truly massive battery.


That was the case with last year’s Blu Studio Energy, which had a 5,000mAh battery. In my testing BLU Studio Energy Review and Giveaway For only $150, the BLU Studio Energy packs a massive 5,000mAH battery that lasts for days - but is it more than just a huge battery? Read More , it lasted through multiple days of heavy use with no problems. The successor to that phone, the Blu Energy X LTE, dropped the battery down to 4,000mAh, but that’s still substantially better than most modern smartphones.

Granted, the Energy X LTE probably won’t have the best performance in the world, but it will absolutely last you all day.

Buy: Amazon

BLU Energy X LTE - 4000 mAh Super Battery - GSM Unlocked - Black BLU Energy X LTE - 4000 mAh Super Battery - GSM Unlocked - Black Buy Now On Amazon

Honorable Mentions

Obviously, there are way more amazing phones out there than just the ones listed above, but they couldn’t all make the cut.

Asus ZenFone Max

This phone has a whopping 5,000mAh battery, but sadly, it’s not available in the US. If you’re outside the US (or can find a site that will ship here), it looks to be a great phone at a low price.

Huawei Mate 8

Much like the ZenFone Max, the Mate 8 has a huge battery but isn’t available in the US. If you live outside the US, though, definitely look into it.

Galaxy Note 7

This phone didn’t make the list because, well, it’s not out yet! The Note 7 will be the successor to last year’s Note 5 (yeah, we don’t get it either), and should be released this Fall. So it could turn out to be an amazing smartphone for 2016, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

HTC 10

The HTC 10 is a high-end, premium-feeling device with solid specs, but it failed to make the list mostly just because it’s boring. Nothing about it sets it apart from the Galaxy S7 Edge or the LG G5. If simple is your thing, though, it might be worth it.

Which Is Your Favorite?

With so many Android phones out there, it’s difficult to narrow them down to a definitive list. Everyone’s preferences are going to be different, but we hope that this can help you find the right smartphone for you.

Which phone on this list is your favorite? Or did we miss yours? Let us know down in the comments!

Related topics: Android, Buying Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Barry Mason
    April 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I honestly do not know how sites can keep recommending Huawei phones, I can only assume they are basing thier reviews soley on paper specs or a very short hands on test.

    As a Huawei phone owner, I have the P8, I can honestly say it is by far the worst phone I have ever had.

    Issues and problems from day one.

    I will never purchase another Huawei phone and I personally recommend everyone avoid them until they improve them drastically.

  2. Robert
    August 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    I've had my S7 Edge for about 6 months now and while I do love the performance, the "Edge" part is just a waste of money and a pain in the backside.

    The biggest downside of the Edge is apps are constantly getting activated or moved. The extra exposure of the screen apparently allows EVERYTHING to touch it. And heaven forbid you don't have a case for it, you basically can't hold the phone without touching the screen.

    As for upsides to the Edge... well... I guess it "looks" kinda cool... it has that going for it.

    Bottom line, the problems far out weigh the one benefit. Just get the normal S7.

  3. Anonymous
    August 23, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Decided on the ZTE Axon 7 instead of OnePlus 3

  4. James Van Damme
    August 23, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Most Blu phones are dual sim, if that interests you. I just got a Dash X. 70 bucks, and what more do I need?

  5. Christian Cawley
    August 17, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Having just reviewed the OnePlus 3, it is almost certainly at the top of the pile. Awesome handset.

  6. Spencer2302
    August 17, 2016 at 1:47 am

    ZenFone 3 Deluxe is the top Phone I have seen. 23 MP cam and 6 GB of RAM are you kidding me. 2.4 GHz snapdragon 821 power horse. When you power up this phone and its plugged into your house your lights in your house will actually Dim lol jk.

  7. AB
    August 16, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    The Honor 5X now runs Marshmallow.

  8. V24
    August 16, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Obi SF1

  9. Paulson Paul
    August 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Why do you guys ignore Xiaomi ? They make some pretty decent phones and have a great community to back it up. I myself have been using the Redmi note 3 for a while now and i must say it's an amazing phone !!

  10. Tahir Hussain
    August 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Although I believe Galaxy S7 edge would be a great phone, I am personally using Huawei mate 8 and I must say that I am very happy with it. 6 inch screen but still small enough to be used by one hand, good camera, latest software and excellent battery life (2-3 days) with excellent looks makes it an excellent choice. Very happy with it

  11. Mic Rophone
    August 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note numbering skip :
    Maybe the chronological order ...Galaxy S7 ...Note 7 ...Galaxy S8 ...Note 8 ...
    will be less confusing than ...Galaxy S7 ...Note 6 ...Galexy S8 ...Note 7 ...
    (regarding the novelty and performance-wise)

  12. Anonymous
    August 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Other pluses for the LG G5:

    It's entirely user repairable. It's held together with screws. No glue. This is a damned miracle compared to contemporary Samsung, Apple and HTC phones. Taking one apart isn't even hard.

    It has both a card reader and a removable battery. No other premium Android phone of the current hardware generation still has both.

    Users can swap in a modular upgrade to replace the camera, but also the headphone amplifier.

    The whole device is incredibly customizable in a way a lot of people seem to say they like.

  13. Bassey
    August 16, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I recently got a Xiaomi Redmi Pro 3S. It's an all metal phone, 5" HD IPS display, Octacore Qualcomm 430 processor which supports QuickCharge 3, it has Android 6.0 with an update to 7 confirmed for Q1 2017, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage, fast fingerprint scanner, 4100mAh battery, 13MP rear and 5mp front cameras, supports dual SIM (or 1 SIM & 1 MicroSD upto 128GB) and it flies along. All that for just $150!!! Downsides? The screen isn't gorilla glass so I added a tempered glass screen protector for about $3. The camera has no OIS so low-light photos pretty well suck. But It really is astonishing value for money. I've only had it a couple of weeks (it arrived with an English language ROM) but if it holds up well I'll be getting Chinese imports in the future 'cause I really can't see what I'm missing out on from the phones $300 and up.

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 18, 2016 at 5:25 am

      From what I read, the Redmi Pro 3S still has reinforced, scratch-resistant glass. Gorilla Glass is Corning's patented product. Xiaomi is using a different company's glass, which is also scratch-proof. That said, a tempered glass screen protector is a good idea no matter what :)