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 , 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.
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 card to expand storage up to 64GB .
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 .
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 .
For the cheapest “premium” device, go for the Honor 5X.
Since this article was published, Huawei has released a new version of the Honor smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6X.
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
Since this article was published, Motorola has released a new version of the Moto smartphone, the Moto G Plus.
For tinkerers and the spec-obsessed, the OnePlus 3 has internals 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 , the S7 Edge can easily be bought from your carrier in this case.
Best Stock Android Experience
I reviewed the 6P 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 , 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.
Most Unique Phone
After reviewing the LG G5 , 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 , 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.
Obviously, there are way more amazing phones out there than just the ones listed above, but they couldn’t all make the cut.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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