We test a ton of Android phones. We like the ones below, but you’ll be better off with one of the options above. If you haven’t yet done so, check out our Best Cheap Phones guide for more.
Google Pixel 6 Pro for $ 900: The Pixel 6 is more than enough for most people. The Pro version adds an excellent 4x optical zoom camera, a larger 6.7-inch screen, and curved edges (which I actually don’t like much). These perks aren’t really worth the $ 300 upcharge but it still makes for a very good phone.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE for $ 600: The S21 FE (7/10, WIRED Recommends) frequently sits at $ 600 or less so you shouldn’t pay a dollar more. It adopts many of the same features from last year’s Galaxy S21 but cuts a few corners to lower the price. It runs smoothly and has a bright 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, plus a 120-Hz screen refresh rate. The battery is bigger than the standard S21 and comfortably lasts more than a full day. The cameras are a bit different, but you still get an ultrawide and telephoto zoom alongside the main camera for a reliable imaging system. This is a no-nonsense phone that checks all the boxes. Its software support is excellent too, with a guarantee of four Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates.
Samsung Galaxy A53 for $ 450: Samsung’s newest A-series phone (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a great alternative to the Pixel 5A, which is not available everywhere. The 6.5-inch screen gets brighter than the Pixel (and it operates more smoothly), plus it has longer software support. Its performance is solid — things can get a little stuttery when you try to juggle many apps at once — but I was satisfied overall. The battery can last more than a day, sometimes close to two depending on usage. The camera system holds its own though the Pixel 5A maintains a good lead.
Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 for $ 500: This is a different phone from the Moto G Stylus 2022 — confusing, I know. It’s pricier, but it’s much better. Performance is smooth enough to never cause any frustration, the battery comes close to nearly two full days, and the stylus remains if you want to sign some documents on the go. Better yet, this Moto has NFC for contactless payments. Unfortunately, it will only get Android 13 in the future and three years of security updates, which isn’t quite as good as the Pixel 5A or Samsung Galaxy A53. Also, the cameras don’t hold a candle to their peers.
OnePlus 9 for $ 599 and OnePlus 9 Pro for $ 799: Last year’s OnePlus phones are solid buys, especially at these discounted prices (8/10, WIRED Recommends). I’d argue you should wait for prices to dip even further though. The cameras are solid, and the rest of the hardware is excellent as usual. Neither phone has a real standout feature. You’ll only get two more Android OS upgrades (they just received Android 12) and three years of security updates.
Sony Xperia 1 III for $ 1,198: Sony’s top-end Xperia is great for anyone who loves to tinker with the settings in the camera app or prefers shooting photos or videos in manual mode. The camera experience is fun, but it doesn’t deliver better results than some of our top picks above. You do get top-of-the-line performance, a beautiful 4K OLED 120-Hz screen, loud stereo speakers, wireless charging, and a headphone jack! It’s just so darn expensive. The 5G here is just sub-6, which shouldn’t be the case considering its price (5G also doesn’t work on AT&T).