Update: Happy New Year! 2017 may be behind us, but its best Android phones are still very much in the here and now. 2018 promises to bring us a raft of new Android smartphones, but it's still early days and no new launches have happened just yet.
There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition – the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.
The big names are all here; Samsung, Sony, LG and Google are at the fore. The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
2018 promises to bring us a new fleet of high-powered, highly attractive and showstopping handsets, with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9, HTC U12, LG G7, Huawei P11 and OnePlus 6 all rumored – but for now that's all they are, rumors.
Want to know our top 5 smartphones you can buy right now? Watch below!
- Best smartphone: the 15 top phones we've tested
- Best cheap phone: head here if you need a device under £200
To help find the most fitting Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are – the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.
Samsung has once again taken the top spot of the best Android phone in the world right now.
Samsung's latest Galaxy S8 is in the top position of this list thanks to an incredible design, amazing display and some truly great power packed into the phone.
Everything that has made Samsung phones great over the last few years has been packed into this 5.8-inch device – that's almost bezeless too – and comes with top of the range hardware and some easy to use Android software.
There's a new iris scanner to allow you to unlock the phone with just your eyes and Samsung has also included a new voice assistant called Bixby. It's not the perfect device some had hoped for, but it's the best Android phone you can buy at the moment.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8
- Also consider: If you budget can't quite stretch to the new Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is still an excellent option with a strong screen and excellent camera, plus it's now cheaper thanks to the arrival of the S8.
Second place goes to the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. We've loved both the Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S7 Edge, but this year we prefer the smaller device of the flagship pairing.
The size of the Galaxy S8 Plus may put some people off at 6.2-inches, but we found the device easy to use and the main reason the Plus sits in second place is its higher price.
Everything we love about the Galaxy S8 is available here as Samsung has decided to only really changed the sizes of the screens rather than fiddling with the spec inside the device.
That same powerful 12MP camera and top of the range power setup is here to do everything you want it to as well as the new biometric tech that may allow you to unlock your phone faster than ever before.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Also consider: Looking for a big screen Android phone? Then say hello to the new HTC U11 Plus. It won't be for everyone, but for those who want something a bit different the large 6-inch QHD display, punchy performance and solid camera will suit.
A big-screen handset isn't for everyone though, and for those looking for a palm-friendly phone which still boasts the power and performance of a flagship will like the look of the Google Pixel 2.
It's bezel heavy design won't exactly dazzle, but this is a phone you can comfortably use one-handed, with a crisp, clear full HD display and stock Android 8 Oreo at your fingertips.
Like its bigger brother, the Pixel 2 XL, the Pixel 2 also boasts Google's stunning 12MP camera which takes seriously impressive snaps.
The smaller size does mean the Pixel 2 carries a smaller price tag, but it's still far from cheap and when it comes to spending this amount we'd recommend plumping for the Pixel 2 XL if its size doesn't put you off.
Read our full review: Google Pixel 2
- Also consider: Another palm-friendly handset with plenty of power under the hood is the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. It too is bezel heavy, and Sony's implementation of Android isn't as slick as Google's, but when it comes to one handed use, it's top notch.
Huawei is getting really good at making competitive, high-end flagships these days and the Mate 10 Pro is its best handset to date.
The standout feature is battery life, toppling pretty much every other phone on this list, but it’s also got a decent slug of power under the hood to handle any task you can chuck at it.
For those looking for a strong camera performance from their phone need to take a look at the Mate 10 Pro as well. Phones higher up in this list offer better auto modes, but for camera enthusiasts the Mate 10 Pro provides a great selection of modes and settings.
Read our full review: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
- Also consider: After something a little smaller, and a little cheaper? Then check out the Huawei P10 – a flagship phone that fits neatly into the palm of your hand, it has a heap of power and dual cameras too.
Three Samsung phones in the top five?! It may seem extreme, but there's a very good reason why – they're all really, really good.
The Galaxy Note 8 doesn't quite hit the heights of its S8 siblings thanks to its lofty price tag and number of similarities to the S8 Plus, but it's a triumphant return to form for a series that was potentially in trouble after the Note 7 debacle.
But enough about other handsets, what makes the Galaxy Note 8 worthy of its fifth place birth? There's no question the phablet is more of a niche device, but its iconic S Pen stylus is now even better, with higher accuracy and more levels of pressure sensitivity making it great for sketching and drawing.
Then there's the massive 6.3-inch QHD Infinity Display which is superb for movies and games, and with a display this big using apps side-by-side isn't just possible, it makes sense!
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Also consider: Does the S Pen scream productivity to you? If it's a business workhorse you're looking for then the BlackBerry KeyOne delivers you an email machine with a full QWERTY keyboard for you to bash out messages on.
Just when you think it's a Samsung landslide in the best Android phones list, the LG V30 appears!
Building on the G6 from earlier in 2016, the V30 improves in a number of ways including an improved design, larger, more colorful display and an update-to-date chipset under the hood.
In short what you get is a super smartphone absolutely bursting with features, making it great for gaming, movies, photography and music.
Its design isn't quite as jaw-dropping as the Samsung's that rank higher than it, nor are its dual-cameras quite the all-round super snappers, but this is a seriously impressive smartphone.
Read the full review: LG V30
- Also consider: LG may have ditched the modular setup we saw on the LG G5, but Motorola's range of high-end handsets go from strength to strength as it grows its MotoMods catalog. Check out the Moto Z2 Force and Moto Z2 Play for some hot modular action.
The LG G6 is a top Android smartphone, with an excellent premium design, lovely QHD display and clever dual camera setup round the back giving you plenty to play with and enjoy.
However, some odd choices to go with lower-spec performance and not upgrade the camera in a meaningful way, but with more recent price drops the LG G6 is still more than good enough for our best Android phone list.
That doesn't mean the G6 isn't innovative – the screen looks great and there's raw power, from the camera to the battery to the general snappiness of the handset, rippling through this phone.
Read the full review: LG G6
- Also consider: The HTC U11 arrived around the same time as the LG G6, and while it doesn't quite make it into the top ten (it was so close though) it's an exciting alternative with squeezable sides and your choice of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
The OnePlus 5T offers a pleasing array of upgrades that keeps fans of the brand happy without reinventing the wheel or upping the price.
It's the best phone the brand has ever made, and one that can mix it with the best handsets around without looking out of place
While there are a few small compromises to consider – no QHD display, stereo speakers, expandable storage or standout camera – the OnePlus 5T represents some of the best value for money in the market. You won’t be disappointed.
Read the full review: OnePlus 5T
- Also consider: The OnePlus 5T isn't the only low-cost flagship around, and the Honor 9 only just missed out on a spot in our top 10. It's even cheaper than the 5T, and boasts a strong feature set and an eye-catching design.
Google's Pixel range has matured in 2017, and the Pixel 2 XL is the firm's top dog with its impressive, slender bezel design, dual front-facing speakers and simply fantastic camera.
If you're in the market for a new smartphone and camera quality is of high importance, STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING. The camera on the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the most – if not the most – impressive snappers we've used on a phone.
There's also a whole heap of power under the hood, and the 6-inch display gives you lots of space to operate.
The design isn't overly inspiring on the rear, it's not the most premium feeling phone in the hand – a shame considering the price tag – and the viewing angle on the screen is very narrow before a blue tint creeps in, but there's no question this is a great device.
Read the full review: Google Pixel 2 XL
The Xperia XZ Premium is the flagship smartphone Sony fans have been waiting for, bringing together an eye-popping display, strong snapper and solid battery life.
Those who love watching films and TV shows in 4K can do so on the move with the 4K screen on the XZ Premium – no other phone on this list can boast that – while the front-facing dual speakers also enhance videos and gaming.
If there's an area the XZ Premium does lack in, it's design. The flat glass front and rear are sleek, but the plastic edges of the phone detract from the 'Premium' part of the name.
Make no mistake though, this is a proper, fully-loaded Android flagship which easily holds its own against the competition.
Read our full review: Sony Xperia XZ Premium
- Also consider: If you fancy something a little smaller, and a little more wallet friendly, then check out the Sony Xperia XZ1. As the name suggests, it lives in the same family as the XZ Premium, but has a smaller 5.2-inch full HD display and 2700mAh battery.