Editor’s Note (June 2017): This list will be updated on a monthly basis or when necessary. Each time there’s a change, we will note where that happened.
Samsung Galaxy S8
The best phone you’ll find practically anywhere in the world today is the Samsung Galaxy S8, coming with high-end specifications for a very high price. It’s the 2017 flagship for the mobile industry as a whole. Between a groundbreaking design and performance you see beat for another few months, the Galaxy S8 represents everything a high-end device should be.
Stunning look? Check, it’s all metal and glass. Top-notch processor? Check, it’s the Snapdragon 835 from Qualcomm. Versatile camera? Check, it’s an upgraded Dual Pixel module. Samsung didn’t leave anything out of the Galaxy S8. The company took last year’s Galaxy S7 and made improvements that may not seem extremely valuable but certainly are. And, instead of just having curved edges, the Galaxy S8 boasts the Infinity Display. Top and bottom bezels are minimal while the side bezels flow off into the body, so it looks like you have a phone that’s all display.
Samsung knows there people who like compact devices and there are people who like bigger devices, so you get two options for this phone. The larger model, labeled as the Galaxy S8+, features a roomier 6.2-inch display and a bigger 3500mAh battery. The screen’s resolution is the same, but you may want to go for the Galaxy S8+ if you care about maximizing battery life. Both are admirable in terms of longevity, but the Galaxy S8+ can last much longer.
Don’t let its large price tag fool you. Samsung’s 2017 flagship is worth every penny. If you want a phone that’s unbeatable and will impress those who see you using it, get the Galaxy S8.
Moto G5 Plus
On a budget? The Moto G5 Plus is the only phone we believe worth the small price. This is a budget phone that doesn’t look, feel, or behave like a budget phone. The Moto G5 Plus is made of aluminum (and a hint of plastic), leaving you with nothing but a premium vibe. Performance, too, is way ahead of what you’d expect from a sub-$300 device.
The phone features a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625, a 12MP rear camera with two-tone flash, a 5MP front camera, a 3000mAh battery, and Android 7.0 Nougat with minimal changes. With Lenovo, you get a phone that doesn’t aim to reinvent what Google already figured out. The Moto G5 Plus ships with Google’s own apps and only a few from its maker. We like Moto devices for the quiet-but-useful additions like Moto Display.
If you have a Prime membership with Amazon, you can get the Moto G5 Plus for as little as $184. But you’ll have to live with lock screen offers and advertisements. Otherwise you can get the 2GB + 32GB model for $229. The smart choice, though, would be to get the 4GB + 64GB model for $299 (or $239 if the Prime flavor is acceptable). No matter which you choose, you’re getting the absolute best budget phone for half of what most high-end devices cost while not losing much quality.
It took a little bit of discussion between the team at Talk Android, but we’ve ultimately decided to name the LG G6 as one of the best Android phones you can buy. There’s no doubt it’s better than its predecessor, the G5, and upholds flagship quality at a price that’s less Samsung’s Galaxy S8. The G6 is less than $700 outright.
Not many phones are as comfortable to hold as this one. LG implemented a metal and glass design, and the back is curved so the G6 lays cozy in your hands. There aren’t any sharp corners or points sticking into you. It seems like LG could use the G6 as a benchmark for the design of future phones. It works so well. And, while glass, the back is unlikely to break or scratch as Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 is the specific variety used. The metal frame might get bruised, but you shouldn’t worry about having a cracked phone.
The G6 was built to be a phone that nails the necessities, and that’s accomplished for the most part. The Quad HD+ display completely exceeds expectations while other areas are better than expected. Like the Galaxy S8, you get a screen with 18:9 aspect ratio. Unlike the Galaxy S8, the entire front is flat. This might be beneficial, though, because not everyone enjoys curved displays.
Furthermore, the G6 has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821. Now, yes, that’s a 2016 processor. You’re not going to realize the difference between last year’s and this year’s high-end processors anyway. Enough optimization was done to keep the G6 plowing through everything sent its way.
We get that Samsung isn’t the go-to for all, so then we recommend LG’s G6. It’s still a high-end phone from a respected brand, the design is definitely on the premium side, and the price isn’t completely draining your bank account. You might even find an ongoing promotion now where the G6 is discounted or bundled with freebies.
Moto Z Play
The surprise hit of 2016 was the Moto Z Play from Lenovo, and it remains one of the most consistent recommendations in 2017. Ask people what they want out of a phone. Chances are smooth performance and long battery life sit at the top of the overall wish list. The Moto Z Play perfectly executed both on a budget with the Snapdragon 625 and a 3510mAh battery.
Lenovo’s Moto Z Play is $449 in unlocked form. Though, you’re probably going to see it for less. Multiple retailers constantly bring the price down to $399. We’re keeping this phone on our list at least until we get our hands on the Moto Z2 Play, its successor. The two are very similar, but the newer device has a smaller battery. So we’re going to let you know if enough optimization was done to keep the Moto Z Play’s favorite features alive.
Keep in mind, too, that the unlocked model of the Moto Z2 Play won’t be available until August or September. The impatient will have to jump on the Moto Z Play today.
A list of the best Android phones isn’t complete without Google’s Pixel being mentioned. The Pixel, depending on who you ask, is the Android phone. It finally feels as if Google has produced an Android equivalent of the Apple iPhone. Why? That’s obvious, but we’ll remind you. Google controls both hardware and software for the Pixel, which is what so many people have wanted for years. When those two are made for each other, you magical things happen.
The Pixel is on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for. The processor is going to hold up, you get unlimited photos and videos cloud storage at full resolution, and software updates are guaranteed through at least late 2018.
Those are our picks for the best Android phones around. What’s your pick for number one? Let us know in the comments section.