Best Android phone 2021: Which is the top Android phone?


(Pocket-lint) – The world of Android phones is very different to the world of Apple phones. Apple aims to give you the same experience across its devices whereas Android embraces variety, with phones from different manufacturers having a very different personality – and different features.

That means personal brand preference plays a big part, aside from the core Android experience. Pricing is hugely competitive, presenting you with a lot of choices.

Here’s our run down of the very best Android phones you can buy and the reasons why they deserve your attention.

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OnePlus 8 Pro


The OnePlus 8 Pro is undoubtedly the company’s most complete smartphone to date and one of the best Android phones out there. It has a big and brilliant display, long-lasting and fast-charging battery, IP68 waterproofing, a great main and wide-angle camera on the back, plus software that’s fluid and lightweight.

There are a few things that stop this device being perfect – the color filter camera seems like it’s only there for the claim of quad, the telephoto camera isn’t class-leading either and not all will see the benefit of a 120Hz screen.

Overall though, the OnePlus 8 Pro delivers a true flagship experience that offers everything you could want and it’s still less expensive than its big-name competition.

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Samsung Galaxy S20+


The Samsung Galaxy S series has long been the flagship series to beat in the Android world. And with Samsung still commanding a sizeable chunk of the market, it’s one that’s easier to recommend buying. 

With the big-name comes a big experience. The awesome display on the front dominates the available space, with the hole-punch camera being only a minor distraction from an otherwise glorious display. 

Inside, you get all the power you could wish for, and performance to match. It’s fast, fluid, goes all day and has one of the most versatile cameras available on any smartphone.

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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE


The S20 FE joined the S20 family to offer a more affordable entry point to the series. It offers much the same spec and performance as the top models, but makes a few compromises to offer a more attractive price point. 

Those are compromises we think are worth taking, because the use of plastic on the rear isn’t a huge loss and the 1080p display is a great performer with that 120Hz refresh rate.

While there’s no 3.5mm headphone socket, you get microSD, flagship Qualcomm hardware (globally), good speakers and waterproofing.

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Oppo Find X2 Pro


Oppo has adjusted quickly to the western market. It’s quickly adapted its software to more closely match what the European market prefers from an Android phone, and now, its ColorOS user interface is much better than the mess it used to be. 

The Oppo Find X2 Pro has a stunning 120Hz OLED screen that delivers in resolution, color and refresh rate, while the powerful hardware and solid battery innings will take pretty much anything you throw at it. The versatile triple camera system is impressive too, even if night mode can’t beat the competition.

With Huawei’s presence looking more questionable in Europe, it looks as though Oppo has come out fighting to take that spot in the flagship phone space. The X2 Pro’s problem? That the OnePlus 8 Pro exists for less money.

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Google Pixel 4a 5G


In Google’s Pixel family, it’s the Pixel 4a 5G that appeals. It offers the same experience as the Pixel 5, but it has a larger display, has better speakers and costs less money. It misses out on a few things – it only offers a 60Hz display, there’s no wireless charging and no waterproofing, but otherwise, it’s a great experience.

Importantly, you get the full Pixel camera experience, so you can rest assured that this sub-flagship phone will offer some of the best images you’ll get from a smartphone and all at a price that’s hard to argue with.

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OnePlus 8T


The OnePlus 8T updates OnePlus’ regular device shifting the design to be a little more on trent, while offering an excellent flat display. 

Importantly, this is a fast and fluid flagship-grade device, but still offers great value for money. The cameras still need a little work, but there’s plenty of quality in the build.

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Google Pixel 4a


It might not sport a flagship processor under the hood, but being able to get an almost full Pixel experience at a fraction of the cost of the full Pixel 4 is fantastic. This phone is all about lowering the price barrier, enabling you to get to that excellent Pixel camera without needing hefty wad of cash. 

It runs the same clean, enhanced version of Android as the Pixel 4 family, and there’s some AI smarts being used to ensure that the software and animations all runs as smoothly as you’d expect from a more powerful phone. 

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OnePlus Nord


After years of climbing the price ladder with its standard and Pro model phones all sporting flagship Qualcomm processors, the OnePlus Nord is the first device from the company that doesn’t.

Instead, the Nord joins the flurry of mid-range phones with the Snapdragon 765 chipset under its hood and it offers a highly competitive experience for its price tag.

It’s got 5G, lots of storage, a big and fast display, fast-charging, and a software experience that’s fluid and clean. Its main camera is good, too, even if the others are just a distraction. As affordable phones go, the Nord is easily one of the best phones in its price range. 

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Moto G 5G Plus


It might be easy to overlook the Moto G 5G Plus, but this is an attractive device, offering a lot for your money, including 5G and access to the hugely popular Snapdragon 765 hardware, for a great performance. 

The display is good considering how affordable this phone is, but the cameras are a little over-sold, promising a little more than they can deliver.

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Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite


As the market hots up to deliver more affordable 5G phones, Xiaomi’s Mi 10 Lite offering is high up the scale. There’s a great OLED display, the main camera is very capable, there’s a decent battery life and there’s an under-display fingerprint scanner.

You miss out on microSD expansion, the software is a little bloated and the notch looks a little dated, but this phone delivers class-leading spec for its price and everything runs smoothly.

Ignore the name for a moment and focus on what matters: the Mi 10 Lite delivers class-leading spec in an altogether tempting package.

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Motorola Moto G8 Power


The Moto G Power or G8 Power in the UK, might not be the flashiest, all-singing all-dancing phone on the list, but for the money, it shows that the Moto G brand is still the king of budget smartphones. 

It sits right in budget phone territory, has a big screen, expandable storage, clean and fluid software and enough power to make it useable on the daily.

It’s got a slightly weak camera, slow Wi-Fi and no NFC, but the battery life is absolutely phenomenal for a smartphone and it improves upon the Moto G7 in most departments – screen, design, storage. If you’re shopping on a budget: the Moto G8 Power is the class-leading affordable phone.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20


Samsung had two Note 20 devices, the Ultra – with a big camera and glass back – and the regular Note 20, which has a plastic rear and a more sensible camera offering, resulting in a better overall device.

There’s plenty of power and performance in the Note 20, a decent camera and excellent display – but it’s really the skills of the S Pen that you’ll buy this phone for.

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 9


The Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 offers a lot for your money, with impressive hardware, design and power that leaves many rivals in the dust.

The camera system is perhaps a little oversold, the speaker doesn’t deliver the best sound quality and the software brings a lot of bloat.

The Redmi Note 9 offers a premium design though, along with a great battery life, plenty of power and excellent value for money.

Writing by Chris Hall.

This article originally appeared on

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