The best Android phones available in Australia
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. Though if you’re a Samsung fan with eyes on the latest Galaxy handsets, we’ve got a guide to the best Samsung phones too.
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Google Pixel 5
Best Android phone
It feels like $1,200 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 5G-enabled Google Pixel 5 for just $999. And despite that lower price, it still holds its own as not only one of the best Android phones, but also one of the best phones full stop.
Google’s Pixel series has always been known for sporting killer camera software that never fails to produce stunning photos, and the Pixel 5 is no different. That’s despite a somewhat uninspiring hardware setup (one 12.2MP dual-pixel lens and one 16MP ultra-wide) when compared with the 108MP quad-lens behemoth found on the S21 Ultra.
With the Pixel 5, Google has packed in a ton of flagship-worthy features (including wireless charging) into an attractive, waterproof design with an even more attractive price tag. Check out our review to see why we scored it five stars.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Best Samsung Android phone
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 S21 Plus. A $1,300-ish buy-in gives you access to a gorgeous and responsive 6.7-inch AMOLED Display (with up to 120Hz refresh rate), a high-resolution 64MP quad camera on the back, and all-day battery life.
That cost isn’t a whole lot more than the base Galaxy S21, but you can save bucks by opting for the S21 if you don’t mind a smaller screen, lower battery capacity, and additional camera options.
Snapdragon vs Exynos
Best budget Android mobile phone
There are some big-tick reasons why the Oppo A53 is a popular budget Android smartphone. For starters, buying outright is viable because the A53 comes in at well under $300. Outside of the affordable price, the A53 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 90Hz screen.
There’s 64GB of internal memory, which is a standard amount for apps and snapshots from the quad-sensor rear camera, which delivers great pics for the price you’re paying. There’s a generous 5000mAh battery inside, too, which equates to respectable longevity, while fast charging means you can go from zero to 50 per cent in 45 minutes.
Sure, it’s not as fast as top-of-the-line smartphones in terms of its specs, and the 720p 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 A53 is a budget-friendly Android star.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Best Android camera phone
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 on top-of-the-line photography. And the best Android phone camera around right now is inside the Samsung S21 Ultra.
While the naming conventions between the Samsung S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra may suggest screen size is the main determining factor, the camera configuration on the S21 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 S21 and S21+), a 12MP ultra-wide camera (same as S21 and S21+), and a 10MP 3x telephoto lens and 10MP 10x telephoto lens (as opposed to the single 64MP telephoto lens found on the S21 and S21+).
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 S21 and S21+.
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.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite
Best Android phone for battery life
Before phones got smart, you could leave home on 20 per cent 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 Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite. It’s packing a big 5,000Ah ultra-high-capacity battery, which, thanks to some Motorola magic under the hood, translates to up to three full days of battery life with everyday use. In smartphone terms, that’s already impressive. It’s a perfect first phone for kids or a device for seniors, as it offers most of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a smartphone, all for less than $250 and with the added benefit of far fewer charging cycles.
There’s also plenty of power beneath the screen: 64GB of internal storage (expandable to 256GB), plus a 16MP tri-lens camera on the back. And it all looks pretty snazzy on a 6.5-inch 720p LCD display.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Cheaper Samsung pick
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 S20 FE, for instance. It can’t exactly compete with the whizzbang wonders of the S21 line (scroll up for more on those), but for around $850 (slightly more for the 5G variant) 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, with its 120Hz refresh rate, is basically what you’ll see on the S21 display.
There are some neat nerdy bolt-ons, too, like an inbuilt PowerShare feature to turn your S20 FE into a wireless charging hotspot.
ASUS ROG Phone 3
Best Android phone for gaming
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.
If you’re keen on getting the latest and greatest, though, keep an eye out for the upcoming ASUS ROG Phone 5, expected sometime in April.