To make your buying journey easier, we’ve rounded up 14 of the best Android smartphones you can buy in the UK today. We’ve included something for everyone, from the best Android camera phone and best Android phone for gaming, to the Google OS-powered smartphone that will get you the most bang for your buck.
Top quality display
Amazing cameras with 30x optical zoom
Impressive battery life
Charger not included
Difficult to operate with one-hand
The aptly-named Galaxy S21 Ultra is the most premium handset in Samsung’s Galaxy S21 lineup, boasting an impressive 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 120Hz display. AMOLED is one of the best screens you can get on a phone, bringing you vibrant colours and crystal clear quality that's perfect for watching movies and playing games. Plus the S21 also has a whopping five rear-facing cameras that offer 30x optical zoom, and an impressive all-day battery.
Though expensive, with Samsung S21 Ultra deals starting at £1,149 SIM free or around £45-£65 a month on a pay monthly contract, it’s arguably the best Android smartphone available in the UK right now.
Not only does it feature all of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a top-end Samsung flagship, but it’s also a gorgeous handset. The new ‘Phantom’ colours (Phantom Black, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, Phantom Brown) are sleek and stylish, while the S21 Ultra’s matte finish means fewer fingerprint marks and gives the device a sturdier and more expensive feel.
Of course, no smartphone is without its downsides, and power-hungry handset fans might be disappointed by the S21 Ultra’s Exynos chip, which delivers less oomph than the Qualcomm the Snapdragon 888 version of the phone available in the U.S. There’s also no charger included in the box as part of Samsung’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.
Solid camera setup
Impressive CPU power
Glossy design will divide opinion
Average battery life
Little-known Oppo might not be a recognisable name in the smartphone market right now, but its latest flagship - the Android-powered Oppo Find X3 Pro - gives its big-name rivals a run for its money.
Its spec sheet alone confirms how much of a powerhouse this handset is; the Oppo Find X3 Pro boasts Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 888 mobile chip, a quad-camera setup complete with two 50MP sensors, and a pin-sharp 6.7-inch OLED display that is among the best we’ve tested, delivering super-punchy colours in Netflix and impressively smooth scrolling in social media apps.
There are, naturally, some downsides to the handset. Its unique design, for starters, is sure to split opinion; gone is the vegan leather found on the Oppo Find X2 Pro and in its place is a reflective glass chassis that curves to meet the trio of main camera lenses in order to incorporate the module seamlessly into the phone’s back panel. However, there are some nice design touches; the Oppo Find X3 Pro is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance - which means it can survive up to 1.5 metres of freshwater for an hour and a half - the back is coated in Gorilla Glass for added protection, and the phone is surprisingly slim and lightweight for a super-premium flagship, tipping the scales at 193g and measuring in at just 8.3mm quick.
Check out our full Oppo Find X3 Pro review.
It’s also worth noting that the handset isn’t cheap. The Oppo Find X3 Pro is available in the UK for £1,099 SIM-free, making it one of the most expensive Android handsets on the market today - and pricier than many of its rivals. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ costs £819, the OnePlus 9 Pro costs £829 and the iPhone 13 Pro costs £949.
Excellent AI features
Only two rear cameras
Fingerprint sensor can be slow
Battery life falls short
On paper, the Google Pixel 6 doesn’t stack up to its rivals; it features a lowly 8GB RAM, boasts just two rear-facing cameras, and doesn't have much in the way of extra bells and whistles on the hardware front. However, it arguably outperforms many of its competitors when it comes to real-world performance, and is undoubtedly the best phone Google has ever made.
Not only do we adore the bold two-tone design of the Google Pixel 6, but we’re also impressed by its super-sharp, well-sized display, its excellent photography performance, and its unique AI features enabled by its custom Tensor chip. For example, the handset’s digital assistant can carry out tasks such as reading text from an image or translating languages in real time.
We're further testing the Google Pixel 6 at the moment and will have a full review next month. However, the Google Pixel 6 Pro was actually awarded handset of the year by our Uswitch Telecoms Awards judges. If the Pro is the better choice for you, check out our best Google Pixel 6 Pro deals.
Perhaps the best thing about the Pixel 6, however, is its price. Despite stacking up to its competitors in real-world performance, Google’s latest flagship costs just half the price. The Google Pixel 6 is available in the UK from just £599 SIM-free, and on pay monthly contracts it can be picked up from as little as £30 per month.
No IP rating
Huge camera bump
Not as powerful as its rivals
If you’re in the market for an Android smartphone that costs less than £500, look no further than the Honor 50. Despite its low starting price of just £449, it boasts an impressive featureset from its 6.57-inch OLED screen rate to its quad camera setup that’s headed up by a whopping 108MP main lens.
It also boasts some features typically reserved only for top-end flagships, such as built-in support for 5G connectivity, 66W SuperCharge technology that can charge the battery to 70% in just 20 minutes when using the charger provided, and a 120Hz refresh rate that makes gaming and scrolling super-smooth.
There are some downsides to the Honor 50, however. While its design is largely inoffensive - the handset features an attractive, reflective back that’s somewhat reminiscent of recent OnePlus flagships - there’s no IP67 certification, which means it would unlikely survive if it was dropped in water. It also sports a hefty camera bump, making it impossible to sit the handset flat on a table.
Check out our full Honor 50 review.
Still, for £449, the Honor 50 is undoubtedly a bargain, and if you’re in the market for a 5G-ready phone without a hefty price-tag, it might be exactly what you're looking for.
Hasselblad partnership is little more than hype
Monochrome lens is unnecessary
No major software upgrades
If you’re looking for a high-performance Android smartphone that’s ideal for gaming on the go, look no further than the OnePlus 9 Pro. Not only does the smartphone pack Qualcomm’s market-leading Snapdragon 888 processor, but it also supports a number of unique technologies that make this the ideal handset for playing power-hungry titles such as Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG.
OnePlus’ Fluid Display 2.0, for example, is being touted as a new generation of advanced mobile display for lightning-fast touch response for gaming. What’s more, it has a display feature called “Hyper Touch” that increases the syncing speed between the processor and display to 360Hz - as much as 6x faster than before. This makes gaming controls far more responsive than on other Android smartphones.
Its gaming credentials aren't all the OnePlus 9 Pro has going for it. The flagship also features OnePlus’ impressive Warp Charge 65T technology, which means the device can charge from 1-100% in just 29 minutes, and also sports an impressive camera setup that is capable of producing accurate, true-to-life shots - a feature that has been sorely missing on previous OnePlus flagships.
Check out our full OnePlus 9 Pro review.
The OnePlus 9 Pro is reasonably priced, too, as it’s available from £829 SIM-free.
Great for multitasking
Not for everyone
S Pen costs extra
Foldable phones are nothing new; Samsung’s first foldable handset made its debut in 2019, alongside other similarly-designed handsets from the likes of Huawei and Royale. However, now in its third iteration, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is undoubtedly the best on the market today - and probably the best we’ve seen to date.
Like its predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a smartphone and tablet in one, transforming from a 6.2-inch handset to a 7.6-inch slate. The handset has been designed for both work and play - it can easily run multiple apps at once, and it’s Samsung’s first foldable to offer S Pen support so you can write directly on the display (although this will set you back an extra £100).
Although the unique design won’t be for everyone, it certainly has its benefits. The large 7.6-inch screen is ideal for multitasking, and its impressive performance (the handset packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset) means it’s a great device for on-the-go gaming. It’s also sure to be a head-turner, standing out from an array of black rectangular smartphones.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.
Of course, that comes at a price - a hefty one, too. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will set you back £1,699 SIM-free, and around £60 per month on a pay monthly contract.
Impressive photograph skills
Flexible camera app
Dolby Atmos sound
No wireless charging
No fast charging
Not for camera newbies
Sony is one of the biggest names in the photography world, and that reputation holds strong with its smartphones. Aimed at those who want a handset with impressive camera credentials, the Sony Xperia 5 III 5G boasts a triple-camera setup that provides impressive results - colours are presented accurately, images are crisp and detailed, and there’s even a telephoto lens capable of variable photo lengths.
The camera app is also sure to win over photography fans. While Sony’s previous Xperia handsets featured two camera apps, one for the pros and another for the casual snappers, Sony has now merged the two into one neat package, with a separate pro app for video filming. While the professional-level app runs the risk of putting the average user off, for those with a bit of camera know-how, you can take customisation to the next level, tweaking settings such as shutter speed, exposure, white balance, and focus settings.
While Sony isn’t as big a name in the smartphone world as it once was, the camera isn’t all the Xperia 5 III 5G has got going for it. While we’re sad to see no wireless or fast charging support, the handset makes up for this with baked-in Dolby Atmos sound, a crisp 6.1-inch display, and slick performance.
Check out our full Sony Xperia 5 III 5G review.
The Sony Xperia 5 III 5G is available from £900 SIM-free. This makes it cheaper than many of its similar specced rivals, but also more expensive than many of Sony’s other handsets. If you’re looking for a pay monthly Sony Xperia III 5G deal, the handset can be picked up from £39 a month.
High quality 50MP camera
Durable build quality
No water resistance
Night Mode can be frustrating
No expandable storage
Given its affordable £399 price-tag, you unsurprisingly won’t find many flagship features on the OnePlus Nord 2. However, that’s not to say it’s not an impressive device; it comes with built-in 5G support, features an attractive durable design, and ships with a powerful 65W charger, which means it can fully charge (that’s from 0-100%) in just over half an hour.
Another highlight of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is its triple camera setup, which includes a 50MP main lens. Not only is it capable of producing well-lit, accurate images, but it also means you can shoot 4K video, which while the standard for flagship smartphones, is a nice-to-have feature on a handset of this price. However, it’s worth noting that recording 4K footage will eat up the handset’s built-in storage quickly, and there’s no option to expand via microSD.
We were also impressed by the performance of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G, especially when its price is considered. While it doesn’t pack a big-name processor - the handset features a Dimensity 1200-AI chip - the handset is smooth and fast to use, and handled everything we threw at it with ease.
Check out our full OnePlus Nord 2 5G review.
The best thing about the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is, of course, its price: the handset can be picked up for just £399 SIM-free.
No IP rating
Battery life could be better
No telephoto camera
The handset’s spec sheet alone shows how Xiaomi is going toe-to-toe with its big-name competitors; the Mi 11 sports a massive 6.81-inch 120HZ AMOLED edge-to-edge screen, a hefty 4,600mAh battery, and a triple camera setup comprising 1080MP main, 13MP ultrawide, and 5MP telemacro lenses. It was also the first smartphone to pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, which has long been proven to be the best performing Android processor available today.
Not only is it one of the most spec heavy, but the Xiaomi Mi 11 is also arguably one of the best-looking Android handsets you can buy in 2022. It is available in either Midnight Grey or Horizon Blue, and the Mi 11’s rear is coated in an iridescent frosted glass finish. Not only is this sure to turn heads, but it also feels durable and is resistant against grubby fingerprints.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 is much cheaper than most of its big-name rivals, too: the handset can be picked up from £749 SIM-free, with the higher-spec 256GB variant costing £799.
120Hz refresh rate
No wireless charging
Camera doesn’t match up to rivals
No IP rating
The Vivo X60 Pro is the ideal Android smartphone for those looking to turn heads. The ‘Shimmer Blue’ variant of the handset is especially eye-catching, reflecting a whole spectrum of colours depending on how it catches the light. It’s not just good looking, either; despite its large 6.56-inch display, the Vivo X60 Pro remains impressively thin and light, measuring in at just 7.6mm thick and tipping the scales at 177g.
Although it's cheaper than many of its rivals, the Vivo X6 Pro continues to impress throughout. It has a very strong camera comprising three lenses, a great screen, and premium features you don’t find everywhere like a 120Hz refresh rate. It packs a punch in the performance department too, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chip providing plenty of oomph and its 4,200mAh battery easily lasting an entire day.
With a retail price of £750 SIM-free, the Vivo X60 Pro is a cheaper alternative to flagships from the likes of Samsung and OnePlus.
Check out our full Vivo X60 Pro review.
MIUI 12 won’t be for everyone
No 5G support
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is the cheapest device on our list, with a starting price of just £249 SIM-free. However, this affordable price-tag is by no means reflected in the handset’s spec sheet, as the Note 10 Pro offers those on a budget a taste of the premium life. Not only does the handset sport an impressive 6.67-inch AMOLED display that is on paper with many big-name flagships, but it also offers a quad-camera setup complete with 108MP main lens, a built-in microSD slot for expanding its storage, and a beefy 5,020mAh battery that is sure to last you an entire day.
Of course, for a phone of this price, there are a few drawbacks: the built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G chipset offers average performance, and the 5MP telephoto and 2MP depth sensors don’t perform as well as those on higher-end smartphones. However, given you’re saving around £700 when compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, for example, for those after a cheap Android handset it will definitely be worth the compromise.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is available from just £249 SIM-free.
Bright, well-sized screen
No charger in the box
No Qualcomm processor
Not as impressive as the S21 Ultra
While not as flashy as its Galaxy S21 Ultra sibling, the standard Samsung Galaxy S21 remains the best Android all-rounder you can buy today. Not only are Samsung smartphones notoriously reliable, but they also never fail to impress in the specs department; the handset sports a razor-sharp 6.2-inch screen with 120Hz refresh rate, a decent triple-camera setup, 5G support, and a number of software improvements.
While it’s not a major overhaul compared to last year’s Galaxy S20, the design has been refined too; while it features a plastic chassis, compared to the higher-end glass chassis on the Ultra-branded model, it looks just as sleek and stylish, and it’s available in a number of fun colour options.
The only major downside to the Galaxy S21 is its lack of Qualcomm processor; in the UK and Europe, the handset ships with Samsung’s homegrown Exynos 1200 chip, which is not quite as powerful as the Snapdragon 888.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 can be picked up from just £779 SIM-free. There are an array of Galaxy S21 deals available too, which means you can pick it up from as little as £32 a month.
3.5 headphone jack
Average battery life
Face unlock could be improved
60Hz refresh rate
Nokia phones have been around for longer than most of us can remember, and we’re all familiar with the Finnish company’s iconic fuss-free handsets, from the Nokia 3310 to the Nokia 6300.
While Nokia phones have seen a bit of an upgrade since, they remain delightfully fuss-free. The Nokia 8.3 is one such example; not only does it boast the robust, durable feel of Nokia’s old-school handsets, but it’s refreshingly simple to use and excels at all of the basics. Its quad-camera is easy-to-use and produces crisp and bright images, its 4,500mAh battery is sure to power you through an entire day, and its stripped-back Android One software offers all the essential functionality in a lightweight package.
That’s not to say the Nokia 8.3 doesn’t pack some flagship rivalling features. For example, it’s 6.8-inch screen, though large, is crisp and punchy, and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 735G processor equips the device with plenty of power, no matter whether you’re gaming or working on-the-go.
Check out our full Nokia 8.3 review.
The most impressive thing about the Nokia 8.3, however, is its price, as it can be picked up for less than £400 SIM-free.
Great camera array
No access to Google Play
No 120Hz refresh rate
The Huawei P40 Pro is the wildcard in our list. While the handset packs all of the features we’d come to love from Huawei smartphones - from impressive cameras, a vibrant screen and plenty of power - there’s one major caveat buyers need to consider: there’s no support for Google services. This means you can't access or download apps from the Google Play Store, nor can you access popular Google services such as Maps and Gmail.
While this is sure to put many, if not the majority of potential Huawei P40 Pro buyers off, it could make the handset a must-have for those looking to set themselves free from the world of Google, all while retaining an Android handset. That could be especially true when the rest of the handset’s specs and features are considered; the P40 Pro features a gorgeous design complete with diamond-cut edges and generously sized wraparound screen, it continues to impress in the camera department, and its 90Hz screen is silky smooth.
Check out our full Huawei P40 Pro review.
The Huawei P40 Pro is available in the UK from £999 SIM-free. If the lack of Google services is putting you off, there are plenty of Huawei P30 Pro deals available.
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