Switching from Apple’s iPhone or simply not a fan of iOS? Get a Google-powered alternative. Here’s how to find the right device for you, along with the best Android phones we’ve tested.
Whether you’re looking for a big or small phone, entry level or top of the line, Android offers options for everyone. And unlike Apple’s rigid release cycle, Google’s hardware partners unleash a seemingly endless stream of new devices year-round. But therein lies the persoalan: With so many options out there, how do you settle on the right one? Lucky for you, we test and review nearly every smartphone available on all the major US carriers.
Keep in mind that while the reviews above may not show your carrier of choice, most of the phones here are available unlocked and can be used with multiple US carriers. Read on for what to look for when buying, as well as our top picks for Android phones.When to Buy a New Android Phone
The Android release cycle has become perpetual, with a new set of flagship seeming to arrive every month. However, now’s a good time to buy since most manufacturers want their products on store shelves before the holidays. We’re pretty confident we won’t be seeing any big new flagships until 2022.
The Pixel 6 Pro is our favorite Android phone right now(Photo: Steven Winkelman)5G Android Phones
Pretty much any higher-end phone you buy now will have 5G. If you’re purchasing a lower-end device, don’t stress out about it too much; ATdanamp;T’s and Verizon’s current nationwide 5G systems don’t give much of a performance boost over 4G, and even lower-end new T-Mobile Android phones have started to include mid-band 5G, which is what gave T-Mobile the win in this year’s Fastest Mobile Networks tests.
If you want the best network speeds in the future, look for a phone with C-band (band N77). Coming predominantly to Verizon and AT&T starting in late 2021 or early 2022, C-band networks will potentially offer several times the speed of 4G and low-band 5G systems. The number of phones with C-band connectivity is growing quickly, but you’ll want to confirm that the particular phone you’re considering supports it. We list C-band support in all of our phone reviews to make the process easier.
You can find our favorite 5G handsets in our list of the the best 5G phones.Pricing Trends
This list has phones from under $200 up to just about $2,000. On the low end, the OnePlus Nord N200 and the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G are excellent values for the money. One tip at the very low end: carrier-branded phones (which don’t mention the name of their manufacturer) often aren’t very good.
Most of the phones sold in the US cost $600 or more, because they’re sold on monthly payment plans that hide the cost over 24 or 30 months. But there’s also a thriving market, mostly prepaid, of phones costing $300 or less. Take a look at lower-end OnePlus phones, phones by Nokia, or the ZTE models sold by prepaid carriers for decent quality at a low price.
The pandemic caused phone makers to reevaluate the sky-high flagship phone prices we saw in early 2020. The Pixel 6 and the OnePlus 9 both offer flagship features for several hundred dollars less than competitors.
ATdanamp;T and Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G systems continues to exact a “millimeter-wave tax” on many exclusive versions of sub-6GHz phones; Verizon 5G-compatible phones are often $100 more expensive than 5G phones, and ATdanamp;T adds up to $130 on top of the cost. When there’s an exception, it’s usually because the carrier or manufacturer is quietly subsidizing the phone.
For more, see our stories on the best cheap phones, the best cheap phone plans, and nine tips to get the best price on a cell phone.What Size Phone Is Right for You?
There’s been a dramatic shift in Android phone shapes and sizes over the last few years. Many manufacturers have started to make their phones taller and narrower, resulting in one-hand-friendly models with improbably large screen sizes. We go into more lebih jelasnya on the new form factors in our piece on how we need to measure phone screens now.
You can find Android phones with stated screen sizes from tiga inches (the Unihertz Jelly 2) to over 7 inches (the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3). With the new form factors, though, it’s very important to look at the width of the phone as well as the width of the screen. A tall, narrow phone can be much easier to handle than something wider.
The Samsung Galaxy A32 offers plenty of power at an affordable price(Photo: Steven Winkelman)Which Is the Best Android Version?
Not all Android is created equal. Device manufacturers such as Asus and Samsung have been applying their own visions to Android for some time now. If you want a pure Google experience, then you want to go for a Pixel device; they’re the developer models where Google makes sure to deploy upgrades first. Motorola and OnePlus also have very clean user interfaces, though they tend to add more invisible features to Android.
See How We Test PhonesRecommended by Our Editors
Android 12 is the most recent version, but few phones have it. Instead, you’ll find Android 11 on most new phones right now. Don’t buy a phone that comes with Android 10 or below, as the older the Android perangkat lunak version is, the more likely it is to have serious security flaws. Also check how many rounds of OS upgrades the manufacturer promises; Google and Samsung tend to lead the pack for multi-year upgrades.Why No Oppo, Vivo, or Xiaomi?
Three out of the world’s five biggest smartphone makers don’t sell phones in the US, and we primarily serve US consumers. In the cases of Oppo and Vivo, it’s because they’ve ceded the US market to their cousin OnePlus. Xiaomi has said several times that its business model, which relies heavily on advertising revenue and subscription services, won’t work in the US. Huawei, once near the top of the list, has been battered by sanctions that prohibit the company from using US components or perangkat lunak in its smartphones.
We do not recommend importing foreign phones for use in the US, because they often perform poorly on US carrier networks.Should You Buy Through a Carrier or Unlocked?
The US market is still dominated by carrier-sold phones, but buying your phone direct and unlocked gives you more freedom to switch carriers if you choose to do so.
Unlocked phones feature no carrier bloatware and no ongoing payment plan, so you can switch to another carrier or sell them on eBay at will. An unlocked phone is actually something you own. Every phone on this list can be bought direct, with no carrier involvement. But most people still buy their phones through carriers, which offer a single point for service and support, as well as monthly payment plans that dramatically lower the upfront prices of phones. You’ll also want to make sure your carrier (especially if you’re using an MVNO) will support the phone, and all its features, on its network; several readers have told us their carrier won’t support their unlocked device even though it’s compatible with the network.
With that in mind, choosing Android as your mobile operating system is only half the battle. If you’re still on the fence, check out our list of the best phones, regardless of OS.Race to 5G<\/strong> newsletter to get our top mobile tech stories delivered right to your inbox.”,”first_published_at”:”2021-09-30T21:18:21.000000Zdanquot;,”published_atdanquot;:”2021-09-30T21:18:21.000000Zdanquot;,”last_published_atdanquot;:”2021-09-30T21:18:03.000000Zdanquot;,”created_atdanquot;:null,”updated_at”:”2021-09-30T21:18:21.000000Zdanquot;)” x-show=”showEmailSignUp()”>Like What You’re Reading?
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