We test a lot of Android phones. We like the following, but you’ll be better off with one of the options above. If you haven’t already, check out our guide to the best cheap phones to learn more.
Google Pixel 5A for $449: Google says it will continue to sell the Pixel 5A (9/10, wire recommendations) for a period of time and there they are some reasons to stick with it instead of the new Pixel 6A. First, the size. If you prefer a larger phone, the Pixel 5A’s 6.3-inch OLED display will satisfy you. Second, a bigger phone means a bigger battery: the Pixel 5A lasted us nearly two full days in testing. And thirdly, there’s a headphone jack, which is no longer present on the Pixel 6A. It will stop receiving software updates in August 2024.
Google Pixel 6 Pro for $899: The Pixel 6 is more than enough for most people. The Pro version adds an excellent 4X optical zoom camera, a larger 6.7-inch screen, and curved edges (which I actually don’t like very much). These perks aren’t really worth the $300 charge, but it’s still a very good phone.
OnePlus Nord N20 5G for $300: The Nord N20 5G (7/10, Wired Recommends) packs a ton of features despite the low price. The first caveats I have to mention are that 5G does not work on AT&T and this phone is not compatible with Verizon. It will also only get one Android OS update (although it will get three years of security patches). If none of that matters to you, you get an AMOLED screen, great performance, NFC, a MicroSD card, a headphone jack, and all-day battery life. It’s not too bad.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE for $600: The S21 FE (7/10, Wired Recommended) is frequently priced at $600 or less, so you shouldn’t pay a dollar more. It adopts many of the same features as last year’s Galaxy S21, but cuts some corners to keep the price down. It runs smoothly and has a bright 6.4-inch AMOLED display, along with a 120Hz screen refresh rate. The battery is larger than the standard S21 and comfortably lasts more than a full day. The cameras are a bit different, but you still get an ultra-wide zoom and telephoto lens alongside the main camera for a reliable imaging system. This is a no-nonsense phone that ticks all the boxes. Its software support is also excellent, with a guarantee of four Android OS updates and five years of security updates.
Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 for $488: This Motorola (6/10, WIRED Review) is a different phone than the Moto G Stylus 2022, confusing, I know. It is more expensive, but it is much better. Aside from 5G support, performance is smooth enough not to cause any frustration, the battery comes close to two full days, and the stylus stays put if you want to sign some documents on the go. It’s also one of the few Motorola phones with NFC, so you can make contactless payments. Unfortunately, it will only get Android 13 in the future and three years of security updates, which aren’t as good as others like the Pixel 5A or the Samsung Galaxy A53. Also, the cameras aren’t that good.
OnePlus 9 for $500 i OnePlus 9 Pro for $700: Last year’s OnePlus phones are solid buys, especially at these discounted prices (8/10, Wired Recommends). However, I would say you should expect prices to drop further. The cameras are solid and the rest of the hardware is excellent as usual. Neither phone has a real standout feature. You’ll only get two more Android OS updates (they just got Android 12) and three years of security updates.