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Best Android phones of 2016

Update: New fastest phone and best under $200

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 2 weeks ago

It's time to buy a new phone and you need to know where to place your cash. What are your criteria? Do you want the latest and greatest phone on the market? Are you looking for something small and sleek? Or do you just want the device which offers the best value? Below are our picks for the best Android phones in the world today.

The absolute best: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Why, oh why, has the latest Galaxy S flagship claimed our number one spot again? Look, it's not that we want it to be this way, it just is this way.

The Galaxy S7 delivers in so many categories. It combines looks and performance like no other smartphone currently does. And the big three, the triangle of vital criteria – camera, display and battery – are all of the highest standard.  

For the first time in a number of years, we have struggled to find serious faults in a Galaxy S phone and, of all the devices that we have seen come through the office doors, it’s the phone which most staff at AndroidPIT have the least trouble recommending. No matter what your needs, the S7 will please.

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 REVIEW 1
The Galaxy S7 combines old and new to become Samsung's best handset yet. / © ANDROIDPIT
Best price: Samsung Galaxy S7
$539.99
Newegg.com

We know it's a little naughty to have two devices occupying the first spot, but they are too similar to divide: how could we recommend one and leave the other off the list? If you want a bigger display and battery, the S7 Edge has the goods. If you want something smaller and wish to save 50 bucks, our recommendation goes to the S7 standard.

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 edge review
The Galaxy S7 Edge: Samsung's new curved display flagship. / © AndroidPIT
Best price: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
$539.99
Newegg.com

The fastest Android phone: OnePlus 3

Many people want the coolest design, others want the most impressive camera, and some just want the king of speed. After reviewing all of the major 2016 flagships, it's the OnePlus 3's performance that has impressed us the most. Thanks to a Snapdragon 820 processor and 6 GB of RAM, OnePlus's 2016 flagship killer has earned the title of fastest Android smartphone on the market.

We subjected the OnePlus 3 to various benchmarks and tests in our review and the results matched our expectations that this is indeed at the very top end of the performance spectrum. AnTuTu corroborated this in a blog post, revealing that the OnePlus 3 achieved an average score of 140,288 in its user tests – the highest smartphone average in the first half of 2016. For comparison's sake, the undoubtedly speedy Galaxy S7 Edge averaged 134,599. 

AndroidPIT oneplus 3 7923
The OnePlus 3 is the Ferrari F12 of Android. / © AndroidPIT

Best price/performance ratio: Honor 7

We've been blessed with several low-cost devices in the past couple of years that have been really impressive performers, but none more so than the Honor 7. Despite being in the sub-$400 price range, this thing looks like a $700 flagship. Huawei, the parent company behind Honor, knows how to put together a nice-looking phone at any price point.

But the Honor 7 is more than just a pretty face. It also delivers solid performance and a bunch of premium features, including a fingerprint scanner, an all-metal build, excellent battery life and a front-facing camera with an LED flash – a rarity on smartphones in any price bracket. Add to this a great 20 MP main camera, and you can see why this phone is such good value.

Honor 7 0
The Honor 7 feels a lot more expensive than it is. And we love that. / © AndroidPIT

Best for battery life: Huawei Mate 8

The almost perfect phablet, as we called it in our review, the Mate 8 truly excels in the battery department. Squeezing in 4,000 mAh of juice, it's one of the largest battery capacities you'll find in an Android smartphone, and it shows through its heady endurance.

In our tests, we found the battery to last a day and a half during intensive use, meaning that two days from one charge is comfortably within range for the moderate user. With light use, you could even be looking at a magical two-and-a-half day survival stretch.  

AndroidPIT huawei mate 8 screen new
The Huawei Mate 8 packs a 4,000-mAh battery, which can last up to two-and-a-half days. / © AndroidPIT
Amazon price for Huawei Mate 8
$488.99
Amazon

Best for photography: Sony Xperia Z5

According to you, the readers, as well as us here at AndroidPIT, the Xperia Z5 provides the best camera available in any Android device. Lightning fast autofocus, 23 MP, rock steady image stabilization and superb definition combine to make it an incomparable phone for photography.

Though the Z5 has now been succeeded by the Sony Xperia X Performance, it remains the better model as far as pictures are concerned. Check out the quality of its snaps in our gallery at the link below.

review xperia z5 PT traseira
The Sony Xperia Z5 offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to photography. / © AndroidPIT
Amazon price for Sony Xperia Z5
$576.65
Amazon
Best price: Sony Xperia Z5
$414.90
Newegg.com

Best under $300: OnePlus 2

The sub-$300 price bracket is hotly contested, and in 2016 it's included a plethora of awesome phones. But it's the OnePlus 2 that still claims this spot, as last year's flagship comes in at half the price of most current flagships. Sure, you will miss out on NFC, fast-charging and wireless charging, but that's about all the OnePlus 2 lacks.

It was one of the most hyped phones of all time, and that naturally comes with a little backlash when the phone is actually released. But the reality is that the OnePlus 2 is a very accomplished phone that hits almost all the targets it set out to hit, and is still a solid choice this year. 

AndroidPIT OnePlus 2 back cover sandstone black 2
Put the hype aside and the OnePlus is a really great phone. / © AndroidPIT
Best price: OnePlus 2
$299.99
Best Buy

Best under $200: Honor 5X

The Huawei sub-brand appears on our list once more with the best Android phone available for less than $200. Following the Honor 7's success, Honor launched the equally elegant 5X at an even better price point. Arriving with a brushed aluminum body and superb finish, the Honor 5X is immediately eye-catching, but it delivers on internal hardware, too.

The Honor 5X provides lengthy standby times thanks to its 3,000 mAh battery; a bright, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display; dual-SIM card support – or SIM plus microSD card – and a fingerprint scanner: and it just got even better thanks to a recent update to Android Marshmallow. 

Though it doesn't offer an amazing photography experience, the Honor 5X still delivers an incredible package for those who don't want to spend a fortune.

AndroidPIT honor ui 1
The Honor 5X delivers far more than you'd expect from a sub-$200 phone. / © AndroidPIT
Best price: Honor 5X
$194.99
Newegg.com

Best small handset: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

Not everyone likes a 5.5-inch phone in their pocket. For some, a sub 5-inch display is a requirement. The only problem is that pickings are pretty slim. Most Android phones with a display smaller than 5 inches are rare. Even Samsung and HTC seem to have given up on that particular niche.

Fortunately, Sony offers the Xperia Z5 Compact. The company took a different approach to the small phone concept – where other manufacturers watered down their flagship specs for their mini devices, Sony simply put flagship components into a smaller body. It's proven to be a winning formula and it means that the Z5 Compact isn't just 'good for a small handset' – it's a great Android phone all around.

ANDROIDPIT best XPERIA Z5 COMPACT 2
For a small phone that delivers big performance, you can't beat the Xperia Z5 Compact. / © AndroidPIT
Amazon price for Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
$699.00
Amazon
Best price: Sony Xperia Z5 Compact
$414.90
Newegg.com

What is your pick for best Android phone of 2016? Let us know in the comments.

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes most of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. A dedicated Android fan, Scott has never owned an Apple device, of any kind, and doesn't see this changing anytime soon.

210 comments

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  • I want sony z6. Actually I have z3plus dual but z5 dual and z5 premium is disappointing me because same SD 810 chipset same ram 3gb not improvements front facing camera with flash. Z5 not use 2k. Full HD I want QHD and amoled display like samsung. Much battery 🔋 life 3200mah. Sony does not provide us. So I want slim phone 6.00 mm thickness. I hope z6 provide us all above demand.

  • Man you gotta give the 6P and 5X some points for purity!

  • This is so old article. AndroidPIT please bring, every year, this article in August or September month as most of the flagship phones are released till 8th or 9th month of the year. Thus we get good view of best phones in the market at particular price range and specifications. Also you will not be needing to edit the article more often as this article, which needs an urgent update.

    • Scott Adam Gordon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      2 weeks ago Link to comment

      Thanks for the comment Charudatt, we update the article when we have a new device to add. I've updated it now with our latest thoughts. Let me know what you think of it :)

  • Glad to see xperia getting some justice :)

  • I still think the Blu Life Phone Series is the best. I mean at $160, for an unlocked android phone. You can't get much better. Remove one of the P's in http to have access to the link: httpp://amzn.to/1tpLpRa

  • I was looking through your list /reviews of Samsung phones but didn't see the one I was interested in. The Samsung J3.Can I have a review of this particular phone.

  • HomTom HT10 - 10 cores!
    2x 2.3 GHz ARM Cortex-A72
    4x 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53
    4x 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A53
    Main Camera Resolution - 21.46
    Display Size - 5.5 Inch
    Display Resolution - 1080 x 1920 Pixels
    Ram - 4 GB
    Rom - 32 GB
    Full specification
    www.china-prices.com/phone/6027/homtom-ht10

  • CJ Brown 2 months ago Link to comment

    LG Stylo 2 ($170) -- better specs than that piece of shit from Motorola -- Cricket Wireless will have their version available this Friday the 13th (I'm told Boost Mobile will have their version available , too)

    http://www.androidauthority.com/lg-stylo-2-cricket-690861/

  • Blu vivo 5 best budget phone at the price of $199. It outperforms some phones that cost $450 + , this is a list more like a comercial for a handful of brands what a shame cause you left off some good phones because their name isnt samsung or sony

  • Alex R. 2 months ago Link to comment

    The list can be much better !!

  • david 2 months ago Link to comment

    I have a note 5 and a iPhone 6 and can't decide which one to use

  • Alex W. 2 months ago Link to comment

    Is the camera performance exactly the same on the Z5 and the Z5 Compact?

  • Alex R. 2 months ago Link to comment

    RedMi Note 3 32Gb gold version should be in the list!!

  • Alex R. 2 months ago Link to comment

    xiaomi mi5 and redmi note 3 are missing in the list

  • Got to agree with you that the Z5 has the best camera! although a lot would disagree! daytime photos on my Z5 are fantastic and night shots which the phone comes in for a lot of criticism with some tweaking are just as good as anything. But have to say the phone itself is the best I've ever had.

  • alexander 2 months ago Link to comment

    Nexus 6p

  • Abhyuday 2 months ago Link to comment

    For god's sake. How can you actually just use the 2015 list with just the galaxy s7 added? Seriously.....horrible editorial team

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