What's the best Android phone you can buy in the UK?

  1. Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
  2. Samsung Galaxy S7
  3. LG G5
  4. OnePlus 3T
  5. Xiaomi Mi5s

Jump straight to our full best Android phones chart

Your buying guide for the best Android phones in 2017

Android has the largest market share in the smartphone world, but whereas Apple’s share is divided between just a few iPhones with obvious differences between them there are hundreds of Android phones available to buy. And the choice gets even more confusing when you consider that each Android phone manufacturer has multiple Android phone product lines, each with its own features and benefits. Also see: Best smartphones 2017 UK

Before you buy any Android phone you should note that this is probably the wrong time of year to do so: the recently announced LG G6 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium are not yet on sale, the Samsung Galaxy S8 won't be announced until the end of March, and we'll be waiting a little longer for the annual update to the HTC and OnePlus flagships. (We won't be adding any of these phones to this chart until we have completed our full reviews.)

Also see: Best Phone Deals

In our best Android phones chart we focus primarily on flagship devices, with the exception of where a phone lower down the range stands out for its excellent value (see the OnePlus X and Moto G4), feature set or performance. The phones in this group are those most likely to be bought on a contract, however, and their initial cost will be largely irrelevant.

If you are buying them SIM-free you should check out our best SIM-only deals, but if budget is a primary consideration for you, also see our round-up of the best budget phones

Best Android phones 2016 UK

Specifications to look for in an Android phone

When we talk about flagship smartphones, we really just mean the top model in a company’s phone line-up. You’d usually expect to pay between £500- and £600 for it SIM-free, or around £40- to £50 a month on a contract.

But cheaper phones can have flagship specs - and especially when you consider some of the surprisingly affordable Chinese phones we review. 

In 2017 a flagship Android phone specification will look something like this: 

• Android 6.0 Marshmallow (Android Nougat will increasingly be available on new Android phones soon)

• Slim, lightweight metal frame

• 5-5.5in Quad-HD IPS display with Gorilla Glass 4

• Qualcomm Snapdragon 820/821 quad-core processor or comparable octa-core chip (we'll soon see the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy S8)

• 4GB+ of RAM

• 32GB of storage, plus microSD support

• Fingerprint scanner

• 12Mp-plus primary camera with dual-tone flash, optical image stabilisation, laser autofocus and large apertures, plus support for 4K video recording

• 5Mp selfie camera

• 4G LTE Cat.9

• Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi

• Bluetooth 4.2

• NFC, GPS, GLONASS, OTG

• Circa-3000mAh battery with fast charging

Best Android phones 2016 UK

We’ve placed the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge at the top of our list because it is the fastest Android phone in our benchmarks, with the longest battery life, the best camera quality, and it has a load of extra features such as the dual-curved-edge screen, heart-rate scanner and new always-on display (also seen in the standard Galaxy S7 and LG G5).

We love its premium metal-and-glass, waterproof build, and although there isn’t a huge amount new in this year’s model Samsung really didn’t need to make any huge improvements to retain its crown for best Android phone. Also see: Best kids' phones 2017.

But that’s not to say the other phones in our list are not worth a second look, and especially now that we get closer to the point where it’s impossible for phone makers to differentiate their devices on traditional grounds such as performance (all are excellent).

The LG G5, for example, has a cool new modular design that lets you bolt-on accessories to expand its functionality, and it’s one of few flagship phones to feature a removable battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a large screen with stylus support for enhanced productivity, while the HTC 10 supports Hi-Res audio, and the Sony Xperia Z5 ties into PS4 Remote Play.

For the ultimate in screen quality, the Premium variant of the Xperia Z5 has a crazy-high-resolution 4K screen.

The Xiaomi Mi 5s is significantly cheaper than the competition here, but offers many of the same features. This is the International Edition, which ships with Google Play support and, as such, most users will quickly find themselves in its MIUI 8.0 UI.

For a pure Android experience there can be no better than Google’s own Nexus 6P, Pixel and Pixel XL, and as Google devices they will always be first to receive new operating system updates. 

(Also see: What's the fastest smartphone 2017 for comparison with more Android phones.)

Of course, with all the best Android phones on a similar level of awesomeness, your choice may come down purely to how it looks - and that’s something we can’t help you with, other than to point out the build quality information not visible from the PR shots and offer our own opinion on how they look. Click on any phone in our list of the best Android phones to read our full reviews.

Also see: Best new phones coming in 2017.

Best Android phones 2017 UK - best Android phone reviews

1. Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 12 January 17
  • RRP: £639, US$780

The Galaxy S7 edge is no longer the semi-gimmick it was before. Although some of the main features are things from the Galaxy S5 – Micro-SD and waterproofing – Samsung has given fans what they want. It's now a refined, sophisticated and highly desirable piece of technology. The battery isn't removable but the phone lasts longer than before and has seriously powerful specs under the hood. It has almost everything you could want from a phone even though the IR blaster is gone. We're also very impressed with the new camera and unless the screen is too big for you (despite some software features to help out) we think it's worth getting the S7 edge for the extra £70 with its gorgeous looks and extra functionality. Right now, this is the best smartphone money can buy.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review.

2. Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 12 January 17
  • RRP: £569, US$670

The Samsung Galaxy S6 was the best phone of 2015 and, although it’s still early days, the Galaxy S7 is a serious contender for best phone of 2016. Samsung has taken into account what its fans want, addressing the three main areas of concern: removable storage, waterproofing and battery life. It’s also upgraded the core hardware and photography gear, added an always-on display and some useful software. Right now the Galaxy S7 is simply unbeatable.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S7 review.

3. LG G5

LG G5
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 May 16
  • RRP: £529

The LG G5 is one of the most radical phones to come along in a while and we’re glad the firm has shaken things up with the modular design. The G5 is innovative and interesting with unique features but it’s a shame the design and build feels unfinished in areas. It’s a top-notch device which can hold its own with the best phones in performance and cameras, but it’s LG’s modular design which is the real selling point here. There is bags of potential but the future of this is unclear so it’s hard to be definite right now. The G5 is one of the best phones around but for completely different reasons to the Galaxy S7.

Read our LG G5 review.

4. OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3T
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 28 March 17
  • RRP: From £399, From US$439

The OnePlus 3T will be unfairly compared, for now at least, to the phone that came before it. So let’s ignore it. On its own, the OnePlus 3T is everything a modern smartphone should be; slim, fast, and responsive, with above average battery life and cameras that produce stunning images. And then there’s the price. OnePlus may not like being known for it, but £399 remains an absolutely amazing price point for the phone on offer.

As long as you don’t want an iPhone, this Android handset stands side by side with the Samsung Galaxy S7 as the best example of a smartphone on the market today – once we’ve all got over that it came a little sooner than we had expected.

Read our OnePlus 3T review.

5. Xiaomi Mi5s

Xiaomi Mi5s
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 29 November 16
  • RRP: £282.75, US$352.69

We cannot recommend the Xiaomi Mi5s enough. This is the smartphone every 2016 flagship wanted to be, and it comes with a price tag half that of theirs. Fantastic build quality, fantastic performance, fantastic storage, battery and connectivity options - the Xiaomi Mi5s gets a big thumbs-up from us.

Read our Xiaomi Mi5s review.

6. Google Pixel

Google Pixel
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 17 February 17
  • RRP: £599, US$649

The Pixel has plenty going for it: it’s small, well built, speedy and has excellent cameras. It also supports Google’s Daydream VR headset and runs the plain version of Android 7 – complete with Google Assistant - and will get timely updates. But it isn’t waterproof, doesn’t have a microSD slot or stereo speakers and we’d have preferred a quad-HD screen for VR use at this price. If those downsides don’t bother you, and the OnePlus 3T is too large, then the Pixel is a fine choice and a great Android phone.

Read our Google Pixel review.

7. Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 12 January 17
  • RRP: £599.99, US$599.99

Huawei’s Mate 9 is, in our opinion, the best in the Huawei line-up, boasting an impressively large battery alongside powerful internals, an improved dual-camera setup and a sleek, gorgeous design. The benchmark results were some of the best we've seen, bringing excellent value for money. EMUI 5 makes a huge difference to the overall experience too, and we can’t wait to see whether Huawei’s new technology will actually improve the performance of the smartphone over time.

Read our Huawei Mate 9 review.

8. Google Nexus 6P

Google Nexus 6P
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 28 April 16
  • RRP: From £449

Originally, Nexus phones stood out for being excellent value at a price that was low, but not the lowest. They weren't an alternative to flagship phones, but they had the advantage of running stock Android and getting the next version more quickly. The 6P, though, is not only a flagship, but is arguably the best Android phone to buy at the moment. It won't suit everyone due to its size, nor those looking for a phone with dual-SIM slots or a removable battery. There's no support for wireless charging either. But the excellent screen, front-firing speakers, quick charging, great cameras, speedy performance and Android Marshmallow add up to make this a phone that's a pleasure to use. And yes, it's also cheaper than its rivals, so unless you think it's worth shelling out extra on the Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ or iPhone 6S Plus, the Nexus 6P is the one to buy.

Read our Google Nexus 6P review.

9. HTC 10

HTC 10
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 24 January 17
  • RRP: £569

There's a lot to like with the new HTC 10 including a number of hardware upgrades across screen, camera and audio, plus a Nexus-like stock Android experience. However, we're not totally sold on the design and it's tough at the top these days. While the HTC 10 is a solidly good phone and a respectible upgrade for M9 owners, it doesn't blow the competition out of the water. The features which appeal the most are more niche than mass market.

Read our HTC 10 review.

10. Xiaomi Mi Note 2

Xiaomi Mi Note 2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 13 March 17
  • RRP: £497.04, US$619.99

The Mi Note 2 was wrongly overshadowed at its launch. This is a gorgeous big-screen Android phone with very decent performance, a great camera and plenty of storage. We'd like to see a Quad-HD screen on Xiaomi's flagship phone, but this one should prove plenty sharp and clear. Google apps are not preinstalled, but there is a workaround if you are happy to do some tweaking.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Note 2 review.

11. Huawei P9

Huawei P9
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 27 April 16
  • RRP: £449, US$680

When comparing the P9 to other flagships, it’s important to remember the £449 price which makes it considerably cheaper than many of its rivals (but not the identically priced Nexus 6P that's also made by Huawei). Overall, we're impressed with the phone: it's well built, feels good and looks good. The cameras aren't the absolute best out there, it doesn't top the charts in game tests and the screen isn't Quad HD, but these minor quibbles are outweighed not only by the price but also because, unlike the Nexus, the P9 lets you stick in a microSD card to expand the storage. If you can afford it, the Galaxy S7 is a better phone overall, but this is a great choice if you can't.

Read our Huawei P9 review.

12. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 15 October 15
  • RRP: £484.99, US$585

So, what do we think of the Galaxy Note 5? We’re very fond of just about every aspect of the Galaxy Note 5, from its curved and sleek design to its vibrant display and high-resolution camera. It can handle almost anything you can throw at it thanks to its CPU, GPU and 4GB of RAM and we experienced no lag during our testing. The only bad point is that the Note 5 would sometimes falsely detect the S Pen detaching – and to point out such a minor fault says a lot about the quality of the handset. With this being said, we’re both surprised and sad that the Galaxy Note 5 won’t be heading to UK shores any time soon.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review.

13. Honor 8

Honor 8
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 September 16
  • RRP: £369.99, US$399

The Honor 8 is a fantastic smartphone, but the price has gone up from the Honor 7. In return for the additional expense you get a fantastic dual-camera, a sleek and stylish design, a faster fingerprint sensor and a beautiful display, which combined make the Honor 8 a worthy competitor to the OnePlus 3.

Read our Honor 8 review.

14. Sony Xperia XZ

Sony Xperia XZ
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 31 October 16
  • RRP: £539, US$599

The Xperia XZ is an attractive phone in design if you can get on with the angular style and while it's cheaper than rivals such as the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, you can get better value with some older phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7. While the hardware is decent, we can't help but mention the very similar Xperia Z5 will save you a lot of money.

Read our Sony Xperia XZ review.

15. Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 17 February 17
  • RRP: £719 (32GB) £819 (128GB), US$769 (32GB) $869 (128GB)

While the Pixel XL is an attractive phone (if you can get used to the glass section) with decent combination of hardware and software, we can't help but feel a bit disappointed. It's very similar to the much cheaper Nexus 6P and OnePlus 3. You can get plenty of other Android phones for less which have extra features like waterproofing and expandable storage. Sorry Google, but things have gone a bit wrong here.

Read our Google Pixel XL review.

16. Moto Z Play

Moto Z Play
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 11 November 16
  • RRP: £379.99, US$449.99

The Moto Mods accessories are the main reason to buy the Moto Z Play, but it's a decent mid-range phone regardless. For an affordable price Lenovo offers premium design, good specs and a well-rounded software experience. You only really need to splash out on the Moto Z for the Quad HD screen, Snapdragon 820 and OIS camera should you feel the need for those features (but also bear in mind the more expensive version has no headphone jack and a smaller battery).

Read our Moto Z Play review.

17. Sony Xperia Z5

Sony Xperia Z5
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 29 April 16
  • RRP: £549

There's no doubt that the Xperia Z5 is a solid flagship smartphone from Sony and an improvement on the Z3+. We certainly like the new frosted glass rear cover and the addition of a fingerprint scanner in that slim power button. The camera isn't great compared to the best phone cameras out there though, and you can get a better phone for similar money. The price has dropped, and it's now a decent-value waterproof flagship with a Micro-SD card slot. However, you can't use it underwater, and there are newer rivals which are better value, take better photos and have better performance.

Read our Sony Xperia Z5 review.

18. Motorola Moto G4

Motorola Moto G4
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 18 November 16
  • RRP: £169, US$245 (TBC)

Although the new Moto G4 is more expensive than the third-generation, Motorola is offering a Full HD screen, better processor, more storage and memory. Not everyone will enjoy the jump to 5.5in or the lack of full waterproofing but this is still a brilliant phone for under £200. Just bear in mind that the 3rd-gen Moto G is now a great buy at £149 and the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 offers similar specs for just £125 (albeit SIM-locked).

Read our Motorola Moto G4 review.

19. Lenovo P2

Lenovo P2
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 January 17
  • RRP: £199.99

The Lenovo P2 is really being sold on the strength of its battery, and the great news is that it lives up to the company’s hype, offering you days of usage and a power bank in a pinch. Throw in the premium design and build quality, and you have a phone that delivers tremendous value for money. It may not boast flagship performance, but by the time you hit your third day without charging, you’re not likely to care that much.

Read our Lenovo P2 review.

20. Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 22 October 15
  • RRP: £429

The Xperia Z5 Compact is the best small phone around, but then there's not much competition in this area anymore and there are a number of phones offering decent specs for a lot less. Those looking for Z5 design and specs in a smaller frame will be pleased but it's a shame about the chunky design with the sharp edges. The fingerprint scanner is a great addition and the Snapdragon 810 with almost stock Android provides slick performance. However, the camera isn't as good as Sony makes it out to be.

Read our Sony Xperia Z5 Compact review.