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5 best Android phones you can buy right now

by Brandon Russell | April 1, 2018April 1, 2018 11:00 am PST

With Mobile World Congress now behind us, one thing is very clear: there are a lot of excellent smartphones available right now (or soon to be available). Which, as always, makes it difficult to choose just one. Figuring out which smartphone to buy is easily one of the most important decisions you’ll make all year, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The good news is that many of today’s top phones excel in three of the most important categories: design, battery life, and camera. Diving deeper into each phone’s other features, such as wireless charging or, in the case of the Galaxy S9, a variable aperture, will help inform you about how these devices are different.

With no major releases expected in the near future—excluding the Galaxy S9 which just shipped—now’s a pretty good time to buy a new smartphone. Below are our top five choices for Android. Our picks are in no particular order.

Galaxy S9/Galaxy S9 Plus

With a gorgeous design, improved camera, and AR emoji, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is the company’s best phone yet. Some people might say this year’s release is boring. But after coming so close to making the perfect smartphone in 2017, Samsung only had to make a few tweaks to achieve mobile nirvana. The Galaxy S9 is clearly the best smartphone Samsung has ever made, and if our review is anything to go on, it’s going to be a massive hit.

  • Processor: Snapdragon 845
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh (S9)/3,5000 mAh (S9 Plus)
  • Camera: S9: 12 MP f/1.5 and f/2.4, OIS; S9 Plus: dual 12 MP f/1.5 and f/2.4 + 12 MP f/2.4, dual OIS
  • Price: $719 for S9 and $839 for S9 Plus

Essential Phone

Andy Rubin’s newest project hasn’t exactly been a hit with consumers, but that doesn’t mean the Essential Phone isn’t any good. After shaking off some early launch jitters, the Essential Phone has evolved into a powerhouse, offering the best design on the market (even better than the iPhone X), clean software, and a camera that has improved significantly compared to when the device launched. At $499, you won’t find better value. [Review]

  • Processor: Snapdragon 835
  • Battery: 3,040 mAh
  • Camera: 13MP dual RGB + monochrome with f/1.85
  • Price: $499

Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2’s design may be underwhelming, but Google more than makes up for it with a great camera and software. What’s great about Google’s Pixel lineup is that it gets the latest Android updates soon after new versions are available, which is something you can’t say for most Android phones on the market. The Pixel 2 also offers a squeezable frame and a really clever music recognition feature for your lockscreen. If a pure Android experience is what you’re after, the Pixel 2 can’t be beat. [Review]

  • Processor: Snapdragon 835
  • Battery: 2,700 mAh and 3,520 mAh
  • Camera: 12.2 MP f/1.8
  • Price: Pixel 2 is $649 and Pixel 2 XL is $849

OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T marked a series of firsts for OnePlus: it was the company’s first phone to feature an edge-to-edge display, and it was also the company’s first phone to feature a dual-camera setup. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of other flagships phones, such as wireless charging, but at $499, the OnePlus 5T is a reliably great phone with one of the best software experiences around. [Review]

  • Processor: Snapdragon 835
  • Battery: 3,300 mAh
  • Camera: 16 MP f/1.7 with EIS + 20 MP f/1.7
  • Price: $499

Galaxy Note 8

Everything about the Galaxy Note 8 screams quality, from its robust design to its productivity features. The Note 8 epitomizes the company’s classic approach of giving users as many features as possible, making it the ultimate Samsung experience. And with S Pen support, the Note 8 offers something no other devices does, blurring the lines between a full-fledged tablet and a feature-rich smartphone. [Review]

  • Processor: Snapdragon 835
  • Battery: 3,300 mAh
  • Camera: Dual 12 MP wide angle f/1.7 + telephoto f/2.4
  • Price: $950

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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