First, let me apologize. We usually try to get these lists out at the start of each quarter but, given the barrage of devices that OEMs have been kicking out, we needed to wait a bit until we had reviews of the possible contenders. I’m sorry. Now we have them all in, though, and we’ve picked out the very best of the bunch.
Oh, and just a reminder, please keep in mind that this list is in no particular order. There are so many incredible smartphones out right now that it’s hard enough narrowing it down to five, which is why I’m continuing with the Wild Card section.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s the list of the top 5 Android smartphones that you can buy right now.
This one is easy. How could we possibly not include the most powerful pure Android smartphone on the market? You get Marshmallow now and future updates before anyone else. You get a really good camera, a fingerprint reader, a Quad HD display, a metal body, support for Google Project Fi. No wireless charging or expandable storage, which isn’t a big deal for some folks, though I actually prefer both on my smartphones. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the next phone on this list.
Ha! Did I surprise you? I hope so. I love this phone and I’m not ashamed to admit it one bit. Really digging the keyboard, fawning over the big Quad HD display (just wish it got brighter), pumped that it has expandable storage and love BlackBerry’s focus on trying to keep the thing locked down. Stop prying into my stuff, NSA. Really, though, save for some (minor) software bugs, this is definitely a top 5 Android phone right now in my book, and my colleagues agree.
I think the Galaxy Note family has always held a spot on this list. So good job, Samsung, for creating another awesome phone that fits right in. The Note 5 not only offers top-notch trimmings like a killer Exynos processor, fast charging, wireless charging, plenty of RAM and one of the best cameras on the market, it also supports the Gear VR and has a really useful S Pen. Oh, and it’s probably the best-looking Android smartphone, so bonus points.
LG took the Nexus 5, a favorite among the Android community, and beefed it up to serve as the entry-level Nexus this year. You get the same awesome camera as the Nexus 6P and, like that phone, you’ll always get the latest Android versions when they hit. Toss in a fingerprint reader and a really solid price tag, and you have a really well-rounded and affordable Android phone that rocks the competition in its price range.
Gotta love what Motorola (Lenovo, really) continues to do with the Moto X family. This year’s top dog is the Moto X Pure, which continues to offer plenty of customization options through Moto Maker, a bloat-free Android experience, and even support for microSD cards so you can pump up your phone with plenty of storage for games, movies, TV shows, pictures of your dog and music.
I was going to just put the price here and call it a day, but I figured our editor-in-chief Sean Aune would send this right back to me. But here it is: $249. That’s all you’ll pay for a really, really solid Android phone that packs a lot of specs of last year’s flagships. You’re looking at a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, OxygenOS, 16GB of expandable storage and a 13-megapixel camera. You could buy like four of these for the price of some of the fully-configured smartphones on this list.