The best Android phones for 2020



When you are looking for a new Android phone, we are here for you. We test the best smartphones at Digital Trends to find out exactly what they are capable of and we like to compare them. We have divided this list into five categories based on different budgets. For each one, we provide our top pick and all the alternatives we think are worth mentioning. We chose the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra as the best Android flagship phone ever since, it has an array of features and a huge, beautiful screen.

If you’re waiting for a sale, check out our predictions for smartphone deals we’re expecting from the Black Friday sale this year. If you don’t settle for an Android phone and feel like giving an Apple iPhone a try, check out our advice on buying the best iPhone here.

The best Android smartphones at a glance

The best Android flagship: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s the best of all worlds, with a beautiful big screen, great software, lots of features and a strong camera.

For who is it: Anyone who wants one beautiful phone for productivity, gaming, video and more niche features like digital art. The Note 20 Ultra has you covered.

Why we chose the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra:

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra lives up to both its name and the legacy of the Note phones that preceded it. As the largest in the series to date, it is definitely an “ultra” phone, with a massive 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED display and a seriously heavy weight of 208 grams. Go beyond the phone’s overall size and you have one of the most powerful and capable phones you can buy today.

It has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus processor and 12 GB of RAM, and a massive 4,500 mAh battery that has enough power for at least a hard day’s use, plus it also has 5G connectivity. The S Pen stylus defines the Note series and here it is better than ever, with a low 9 millisecond response time and multiple uses including note-taking, art and even playing games and acting as an external shutter for the camera.

That extra-large camera module on the back has a 108 megapixel main camera, a 12 MP zoom camera and also a 12 MP ultra-wide angle camera, plus a new laser autofocus system. It can take 5x optical zoom photos, 8K resolution video, and you can also have fun with Samsung’s Single Take mode. The camera is one of Samsung’s best to date and you will be satisfied with the results in any environment.

All of this is before looking at the many extra features, from the Wireless DeX mode that connects your phone to a monitor for a desktop computer-like experience, to the absolutely stunning display and wireless reverse charging to other gadgets on the Action. It’s hard to want much more.

Cons? Size aside, the biometric security systems are frustrating, but that’s just about all. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is expensive though and you pay at least $ 1,299 to own one, but you really get the best Android phone available right now. Looking for an alternative? The Galaxy S20 Ultra is worth seeing, but you get more bang for your buck with the Note 20 Ultra, and if gaming is your main interest, the Asus ROG Phone 3 has similarly large amounts of power and capabilities.

Our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

The best Android phone for $ 900: OnePlus 8 Pro

Andy Boxall / DigitalTrends.com

Why you should buy this: The most complete, no-nonsense smartphone package there is, for an affordable price.

For who is it: If you want the best current technology on your phone but don’t want to spend more than $ 1,000.

Why we chose the OnePlus 8 Pro:

Yes, the OnePlus 8 Pro is more expensive than the OnePlus 7T Pro and all previous OnePlus phones. There’s a good reason for that: it includes the latest technology and some features are missing from previous models. For example, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the first OnePlus phone with an IP68 rating for water resistance and also wireless charging. OnePlus has also added 5G connectivity to both new phones, keeping them fresher for longer.

Besides these new features, the OnePlus 8 Pro excels with its screen. It has a 120Hz refresh rate for super smooth scrolling and gameplay, plus stunning colors, crisp white, and excellent contrast from the 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED panel. The Snapdragon 865 processor packs a ton of power and up to 12 GB of RAM, as well as fast charging. The battery performs very well and with moderate use it is possible for two days before it needs to be connected.

The camera is unusual. The main 64-megapixel sensor is excellent. It comes with a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens, plus a lens with a different color filter. This will remove the color from your photos for a completely different look. Ignore this, and you’ll be left with a very capable camera, which we would say is the best yet on a OnePlus phone. There are two versions available, and we recommend paying $ 1,000 for the 12 GB / 256 GB model if possible, as it lasts longer with the extra storage space; but the $ 900 8GB / 128GB model is otherwise identical.

OnePlus is not going to launch a “T” version of the Pro in 2020, so the 8 Pro remains the company’s flagship until 2021. However, it has launched the $ 749 OnePlus 8T, and while not as technically impressive as the 8 Pro, it’s a bit cheaper and still an excellent buy.

Read our full OnePlus 8 Pro review

The best Android phone for $ 700: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Why you should buy this: It’s a Galaxy S20 at a cheaper price.

For who is it: Anyone who wants a compact phone with a lot of power from a major brand

Why we chose the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE:

When is a Galaxy S20 not a Galaxy S20? If it’s the Galaxy S20 FE, a slightly stripped-down version of Samsung’s beautiful flagship phone for 2020, with a different spec sheet and a lower price. The name is confusing, but the S20 FE is arguably even better than the standard $ 999 S20. For starters, it costs $ 699 and comes in six different colors, and has the same overall design as the S20.

The 6.5-inch, 120Hz Super AMOLED screen is larger but has a lower resolution, while inside is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 6 GB or 8 GB RAM. The rear module contains three camera lenses: a standard 12-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel telephoto and an ultra-wide-angle 12-megapixel lens. It’s not quite as high-spec as the more expensive Galaxy S20, but we liked the results.

The 4,500 mAh battery has enough energy to last a day, there’s wireless charging and 25W fast wired charging, plus Samsung’s solid One UI 2.5 software via Android 10. The Galaxy S20 FE (FE stands for Fan Edition, by the way, as the phone was created using feedback from Samsung fans) is a high-quality, well-specified smartphone from a desirable manufacturer at a reasonable price.

The Galaxy S20 FE has stiff competition, and we recommend looking at the Google Pixel 5 and the OnePlus 8T as well. We used all three of them to see which one was best to live with, and it was an exciting battle between them. The Galaxy S20 FE is best for most people, but the Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8T have slightly different strengths and may be a better fit for you depending on your preferences.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review

The best Android phone for $ 400: Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a Back
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: A great camera and great software, all packed in an affordable package.

For who is it: Someone who wants a great all-round mobile experience without spending a lot of money.

Why we chose the Google Pixel 4a:

The Google Pixel 4a luckily fits in our $ 400 category as it costs $ 349, plus there’s a new Pixel 4a 5G version that adds 5G and an improved camera for $ 499, making the Pixel 4a family the best phones out there. you can get for both prices. While the design and materials are no-nonsense, the camera and software are anything but.

Google’s Pixel cameras are already known for high performance and the Pixel 4a is no exception, but it’s not until you use it that you realize just how capable it really is. It takes great photos day and night, even though it only has one camera lens, and it’s all because of Google’s software qualities.

This capability extends from the camera to the Android software in general. The Pixel 4a and the upcoming Pixel 4a 5G use Android 11 – which no other phone on this list has received to date – and will get fast updates for new versions in the next two years. The Pixel 4a’s software is clean, simple, beautiful, and easy to use.

The only real let down is the screen, but it’s far from awful, and its modest size helps extend battery life to about two days with moderate use. For the price, the Google Pixel 4a is an incredible phone.

Read our full Google Pixel 4a review

The best Android phone for $ 200: Nokia 5.3

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Why You Should Buy This: It’s a good choice if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a new phone.

For who is it: The budget-conscious buyer who still wants good software, future updates and capable hardware.

Why we chose the Nokia 5.3:

If the $ 350 Google Pixel 4a is a little out of reach, you can still get a good Android phone for less, and one with software that rivals the Pixel too. Step ahead with the Nokia 5.3, which costs $ 199 and uses Google’s Android One software, which means it looks and works like the Pixel 4a, and will also receive timely updates for the next two years. It is scheduled to receive an update to Android 11 between now and the end of the year.

That already puts it ahead of the competition, and is before we get to the decent 6.55-inch screen to please those who think the Pixel is a bit small, as well as its light weight at 185 grams. Surprisingly, it has four camera lenses on the back, and despite not having the features of a more expensive phone, you can still get decent photos.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor and up to 6 GB of RAM means the phone will play most games and is fast enough for everyday use, while the 4,000 mAh battery is good enough for two days of average use. The Nokia 5.3 is a reliable everyday companion for anyone not going to demand too much from their phone, and at $ 199, it’s a great price.

Read our full Nokia 5.3 review

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