The best Android phones in 2020
If you buy an iPhone, you’re locked into an ecosystem that’s comfortably restrictive by design in terms of what you can and can’t do with your smartphone. And the upgrade path between generations is straightforward. When it comes to Android, though, there’s a wealth of options on a more open platform that covers multiple plans and budgets.
This page is designed to guide you through all of your Android options and offer some great picks based on specific categories of interest.
Best Android mobile phone
Samsung Galaxy S20+
What is the best Android phone you can buy in Australia? If you want the best, expect to invest. Case in point: the Samsung Galaxy S20+. A $1500ish buy-in gives you access to a gorgeous and responsive 6.7-inch Infinity-O Display (with up to 120Hz refresh rate), a high-resolution 64MP camera on the back, and all-day battery life.
That cost isn’t a whole lot more than the base Galaxy S20, but you can save bucks by opting for the S20 if you don’t mind a smaller screen, lower battery capacity, and additional camera options. Tack on another $150 to the RRP for either the Galaxy S20+ or Galaxy S20 if you want 5G access today or tomorrow.
Snapdragon vs Exynos
Best budget Android mobile phone
There are some big-tick reasons why the Oppo A52 is a popular budget Android smartphone. For starters, buying outright is viable because the A52 comes in at under $300. Outside of the affordable price, the A52 is also a great starting point for iOS users looking to jump to Android because of the custom ColorOS user interface. Plus, it all looks great on a generous 6.5-inch screen.
There’s 64GB of internal memory, which is a standard amount for apps and snapshots from the quad-sensor rear camera. Expect great pics for the price you’re paying, and the A52 can also shoot 4K video. There’s a 5000mAh battery inside, too, which equates to respectable longevity, while fast charging means you can go from zero to 50 percent in 45 minutes.
Sure, it’s not as fast as top-of-the-line smartphones in terms of its specs, and the 1080p screen resolution will be noticeable by those who are used to higher-fidelity displays, but for less than the cost of certain 365-day Prepaid mobile plans, the Oppo A52 is a budget-friendly Android star.
Best Android phone camera
Samsung S20 Ultra
If you’re a budding photographer or Instagram snapper, what’s on the back of your Android smartphone will likely matter more than what’s on the front. You should also expect to spend more for top-of-the-line photography. And the best Android phone camera around right now is inside the Samsung S20 Ultra.
While the naming conventions between the Samsung S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra may suggest screen size is the main determining factor, the camera configuration on the S20 Ultra takes things to a whole new level. Counting down in megapixels, you’re dealing with a quad-lens array that has a 108MP wide-angle camera (64MP on S20 and S20+), a 48MP telephoto camera (12MP on S20 and S20+), a 12MP ultra-wide camera (same as S20 and S20+), and a Time of Flight camera (also part of the S20+). There’s also quality-preserving 10x hybrid digital/optical zoom and, if you want to get an extremely close view of something, 100x digital zoom.
If selfies are more your jam, you’ll be working with a very respectable 40MP front-facing camera which, for comparative context, is four times the quality of the 10MP camera on the front of the S20 and S20+.
Best battery-life Android phone
Xiaomi Mi Note 10
Before phones got smart, you could leave home on 20 percent battery, get lost in the wild for weeks, then come home with battery to spare. Okay, so maybe that’s stretching the truth a bit, but we’ve gotten too used to having smartphones that sometimes can’t reliably offer a full day’s charge.
Enter the Xiaomi Mi Note 10. It’s packing a big 5230mAh ultra-high-capacity battery, which translates to around two days of life for everyday use. In smartphone terms, that’s already impressive. What’s more impressive is the included 30W flash charge that can take you from no battery to full in just over an hour. In terms of cost, you’re not spending a whole lot more than the OPPO Reno Z above, and the Mi Note 10 has more to brag about than just its longevity.
There’s also plenty of power beneath the screen: 128GB of internal storage, plus a 100MP camera on the back. And it all looks pretty snazzy on a 1080p+ 6.47-inch curved AMOLED display.
Importing vs buying local
That said, one of the other perks of buying overseas or on importing outlets like Amazon AU means you can also access Android phones that aren’t sold by telcos or at retail in Australia like OnePlus smartphones. OnePlus makes popular and powerful Android phones that tend to come with dual SIM card slots as standard.
Cheaper Samsung pick
Samsung Galaxy S10
With the RRP of smartphones rising with each successive generation, there’s no need to go all in on buying the latest and greatest when there are dollars to be saved. Take the not-latest-gen Samsung Galaxy S10, for instance. It may be held back by average battery life and its camera configuration certainly can’t compete with the whizzbang wonders of the S20 line (scroll up for more on those), but for less than $1K it has big ticks in a lot of the other boxes.
It’s got plenty of power for the full array of everyday smartphone tasks, which also means it’s incredibly responsive whether you’re opening apps, multitasking between your favourites, or browsing the web. And it all looks great on the gorgeous AMOLED screen which, despite a 60Hz vs 120Hz refresh-rate difference, is basically what you’ll see on the S20 display.
There are some neat nerdy bolt-ons, too, like an Ultrasonic Sensor for fingerprint login and even inbuilt Power Sharing to turn your S10 into a mobile charging hotspot.
Best Google Android phone
Google Pixel 4 XL
It feels like $1,500 is the new minimum RRP for a top-tier flagship phone these days. Thankfully, the creators of Android (Google) don’t believe this, and you can pick up a Google Pixel 4 XL for $1,279RRP. That’s for the 64GB model, but expect to pay $1,429RRP for the 128GB version. You want to go with the XL over the regular Google Pixel 4 for more than just the bigger screen (6.3-inch display vs 5.7-inch screen).
The Pixel 4 has a comparatively small 2800mAh battery compared to the Pixel 4 XL’s 3700mAh capacity. And even though some of that battery capacity is used to power a higher-resolution screen (1440p+ on the XL vs 1080p+ on the Pixel 4), it also translates to greater longevity in side-by-side comparisons.
Outside of this, though, they have the same hardware with 6GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 855 processor, and your choice of either 64GB or 128GB internal storage, albeit with no option to expand via MicroSD (unlike other Android manufacturers). The Pixel XL is a big-screen phone that feels great in the hand (thanks, matte aluminium frame), solid built-in photography options, and a 90Hz screen that looks the business, too.
Best Android phone for gaming
ASUS ROG Phone 3
You can play the latest Google Play games comfortably on pretty much all recent-model Android phones, but there’s no need to opt for comfortable when you can gun for best in class. The ASUS ROG Phone 3 is made by a manufacturer that’s cut its teeth on building high-end gaming innards and peripherals for PC gamers. And that “ROG” bit in the name stands for “Republic of Gamers”, so you can safely guess the target market for this Android phone.
The ROG Phone 3 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform processor, which is used to make games pop on a 144Hz display that has a 1ms refresh rate. Translation: games will look smoother, feel more responsive and, ultimately, you’ll have a competitive edge if you’re playing online Android games where millisecond matter.
Because games aren’t kind on smartphone batteries, the ROG Phone 3 has a massive 6000mAh battery, as well as power-saving technology to keep your phone juice in reserve for when you need it most.