If you want to get your hands on the best Android phone, the Google Pixel 6 is the best option right now. It's a device that delivers all of the high-end specs and features you could ask for in a flagship smartphone, all while undercutting its rivals by a significant amount. That said, if you're in the market for the best budget Android phone with differentiated software or a more unique design, there are plenty of other options to consider.
There are many contenders for the best Android phones, but we think the Pixel 6 is the best option for most people. The phone is available in limited countries around the world, and it isn't the most premium you can buy today — that honor would probably go to the Galaxy S21 Ultra or Galaxy Z Fold 3. That being said, it has a unique design that allows it to stand out, the latest hardware, and cameras that are better than just about any phone today.
But what makes the Pixel 6 truly stand out is that it costs significantly less than rivals like the Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 Pro. The phone is also the first to run Android 12 out of the box, and it will get three years of Android version updates and five years of security updates.
If you have a few more dollars to spend and want something even more impressive, our next pick is the Pixel 6 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The S21 Ultra is one of the most powerful Android phones currently available, and that's evident with virtually every facet of the S21 Ultra. It has Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 888 chipset, and it comes with a Quad HD+ display that can run at 120Hz and a camera system that's practically guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
We should also mention that the Google Pixel 5a is in a completely different smartphone category than the true flagships. It has lesser specs across the board and a cheaper design, leading to a vastly lower price. If you want a great Android phone that can do everything you ask of it while spending as little as possible, the Google Pixel 5a is the phone to get.
Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central
Google Pixel 6
The best Android phone
Bottom line: The Pixel 6 lowers the barrier to entry for the best camera on Android. The 50MP primary camera takes truly amazing photos in any situation, and you get the best hardware in this class backed by a gorgeous 90Hz AMOLED panel, making it the best overall Android phone.
|Category||Google Pixel 6|
|Display||6.4-inch AMOLED, 2400x1080, 90Hz refresh rate|
|Cameras||50MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide|
|Charging||30W wired, 21W wireless|
|Dimensions||158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm|
- Truly amazing cameras
- Best value in this category
- Class-leading hardware
- More updates than its rivals
- IP68 and wireless charging
- Bigger than its predecessor
- Low availability at the moment
The Pixel has to be the best value you can find today, and when you factor in the hardware and the amazing cameras, it is an easy choice for the best Android phone. The phone has the same 5nm custom Google Tensor chipset and an identical 50MP camera at the back as the Pixel 6 Pro, but it costs significantly less, making it a highly enticing value.
Back that up with a 90Hz AMOLED panel, Android 12 out of the box, and the same three platform updates and five years of security updates, and there's no reason to look at any other phones. The Pixel 6 has all the hardware you're looking for — including IP68 dust and water resistance and wireless charging — and you get stunning cameras and a bold design backed by class-leading updates.
There isn't a lot missing here, and when you factor in the affordability, this is a deal you don't want to miss.
Best overall Android phone
Google Pixel 6 128GB
The Pixel 6 is the best value you'll find on Android today; seriously, buy it for the cameras alone.
2. Google Pixel 6 Pro
The ultimate camera smartphone
Bottom line: With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google has finally delivered an Android phone that beats its rivals not just in the camera, but in most other areas as well. This is the best phone right now if you're looking for truly world-class cameras.
|Best overall||Google Pixel 6 Pro|
|Display||6.71-inch AMOLED, 3120x1440, 120Hz refresh rate|
|Cameras||50MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 50MP telephoto|
|Charging||30W wired, 23W wireless|
|Dimensions||163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm|
- Best cameras you'll find on any phone
- Latest internal hardware
- Sublime 120Hz AMOLED screen
- Will get more updates than other Android phones
- Costs less than its rivals
- Low availability right now
- Build quality not on par with rivals
Google's earlier Pixel phones had great cameras, but as phones, they were lacking in several areas. The hardware wasn't on par with what Samsung, Xiaomi, and others that were offering in the high-end segment, and they were plagued by a lot of quality control issues.
With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google is changing all of that. The phone has the same caliber of hardware as the latest flagships from Samsung and Xiaomi, but that doesn't come at the cost of camera innovation; if anything, Google has managed to deliver huge upgrades on that front. There's now a 50MP primary camera that takes outstanding photos, and you'll also find an ultra-wide lens that holds up just as well and a 48MP zoom lens with 4x optical zoom.
That means that the Pixel 6 Pro has the best cameras you'll find on any phone today, but it isn't just a phone with great cameras; the rest of the hardware is also refined. You'll discover a gorgeous design at the back with a wide camera bar, the screen is a 6.71-inch AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate, and you also get a large 5000mAh battery with 30W wired and 23W wireless charging.
A true differentiator is the internal hardware; the Pixel 6 Pro is the first phone to feature Google's custom Tensor platform, and it is on par with the latest from Qualcomm and Samsung. It features two Cortex X1 cores along with A76 and energy-efficient A55 cores, basically ensuring that it can handle anything you throw at it with ease.
Google messed up with memory and storage in the past, but it isn't making those mistakes with the Pixel 6 Pro. The phone comes with 12GB of RAM as standard, and you can pick it up in 128GB or 256GB storage configurations. The Pixel 6 Pro has a distinct edge in terms of updates: it comes with Android 12 out of the box and will get three Android platform updates and five years of security updates. Combine all of that with the fact that the Pixel 6 Pro costs less than the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and you have a standout winner.