16 best Android phones 2016: OnePlus 3 is number one
We've reviewed all the Android phones, and here are the best Android phones we've seen so far in 2016
At Alphr, we’re fortunate enough to be sent the latest review samples of all the best Android phones. We’re also fortunate to have world-class testing facilities and the best smartphone reviewers in the world.
Combine the two and you get is the most comprehensive list of 2016’s best Android phones. If you want to learn a little more about how we test smartphones, jump to page 2, where you’ll find an in-depth guide to what we look for in a device.
It’s also worth taking a look at our best upcoming smartphones page to avoid buying a phone when the updated model is just around the corner. Best of luck.
16 best Android phones 2016
1. OnePlus 3
Price when reviewed: 16GB, £329 inc VAT
The OnePlus 3 is a flagship smartphone for silly money. It marries top-level performance, an excellent camera, decent display quality and great design with a refreshingly simple Android skin for only £329. The only barrier to mass adoption of the OnePlus 3 is the fact you can’t buy one on contract. At this price, however, you’d be crazy to not give it serious consideration. No other phone gets even remotely close for the money. You should buy one. Now.
Price when reviewed: 16GB, £449 inc VAT
It doesn't get much better than the Nexus 6P. It's good looking, powerful and equipped with great cameras, brilliant software, long battery life and a big, top-quality display. At £449, this is very reasonably priced by flagship smartphone standards – all told, its rivals are going to have a tough time.
Price when reviewed: 16GB SIM-free, £329 inc VAT; 32GB, £379 inc VAT
It's no looker, but Google’s Nexus 5X is something of a smartphone bargain. Scrape together £329, and your reward will be a handset that sports one of the very finest cameras you'll find on any mobile phone. Factor in the assured, fluid performance and the unsullied Android 6 Marshmallow operating system and you have yourself a class act for sensible money.
Price: 32GB, from £569 inc VAT
Price aside, this is the best smartphone you can buy. The Samsung Galaxy S7 represents a big upgrade from the S6, too – its camera and performance are both better; in some respects battery life is superior; and the return of storage expansion and disaster-proofing is a huge bonus.
Price: 32GB, from £639 inc VAT
Remember when we said that the Samsung Galaxy S7 was the best smartphone money could buy? Well, it’s true. But, for an extra £90 you can get the Galaxy S7 Edge, which is the same phone, but with an additional screen down the edge of the device. Is that worth the extra money? Probably not, but that’s for you to decide.
Price: 32GB, around £400 inc VAT
If it's a smaller phone that you're craving, then the Xperia Z5 Compact may be your dream come true. The 4.6in screen means that it's far more pocketable than the current generation of 5in-and-larger phones, and the overall quality is unbeatable. The screen has a few less pixels than some, but it's bright and crisp nonetheless. The camera is stunning and battery life excellent, too. Factor in hard-knock build and water resistance, and the Z5 Compact has a lot going for it.
Price: around £510 inc VAT
The 5.2in Xperia Z5 takes everything that made Sony's high-end smartphone great and improved upon it. The camera, processor and battery life are all superior to the last generation, and the only real black mark by the Sony's name is that the competition is super tough. When you have to choose between this and the Apple iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S6, it's not easy – and then the LG G4 is nearly as good while costing almost half the price. A tricky decision indeed.
8. OnePlus 2
Price: 16GB, £239 inc VAT; 64GB, £289 inc VAT
A high-end smartphone for £239. If that sounds impossible, then trust us it isn't – the OnePlus 2 is glorious inanimate proof that great smartphones don't need to cost the earth. You no longer need an invite to buy it, either. The design is good, if not perfect, and all the usual flagship hallmarks – a very good camera, good screen and top-end processor – are present and correct. Fancy snapping up a bargain of epic proportions? Then go for it.
Price: 16GB SIM-free, £430 inc VAT
If you're looking for a smartphone that's more of a mini-tablet, and perfect for jotting down notes and quickly annotating documents with comments and feedback, then there's simply no other smartphone that's quite like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. It's an all-round good egg, and great value too.
10. HTC 10
Price: 32GB SIM-free, £570 inc VAT
The HTC 10 doesn’t quite match the best when it come to battery life. It’s merely average when compared with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. It’s also not water- or dust-resistant, and the price is quite high. But if you can’t stand Samsung’s TouchWiz software or simply prefer the look of the HTC 10, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great all-rounder.
11. LG G5
Price: 32GB SIM-free, £500 inc VAT
LG took a dramatically different approach to its annual smartphone update in 2016. Instead of sealing the internals inside the chassis and not giving its customers any leeway to upgrade, it’s reversed and opened everything up.
Not only does the LG G5 have a microSD slot, allowing you to upgrade its internal storage, but it also has a “modular expansion bay” system, which allows the battery to be replaced at the click of a button, and special add-ons plugged in.
Price: 32GB, from £350 inc VAT
You could criticise Samsung for the absent microSD slot and removable battery, but in every other respect the Samsung Galaxy S6 is a superlative smartphone – the screen performance and all-round quality are what makes the S6 deserving of all its plaudits. The competition has improved substantially since it was released, but with the price dropping as low as £350, it's still good value for money.
13. LG G4
Price: 32GB, around £340 inc VAT (for the plastic-backed edition)
For many people, the LG G4 will be the Android phone they've been waiting for. LG hasn't compromised on performance, battery life or camera quality, yet has managed to retain key features such as a microSD slot and a removable battery. It's a brilliant phone, and even more so now that prices are steadily ticking downwards.
14. OnePlus X
Price: £189 inc VAT
So, you want a smaller phone but can't stretch to the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact? The 5in OnePlus X isn't quite as tiny, but it's far more pocketable than most. Throw together some high-end hardware from 2014 with a lovely AMOLED display, and this £199 smartphone looks like a bit of a bargain. If big phones don't bother you, though, we'd snap up a £239 OnePlus 2 if you can – it's the all-round mid-range champion.
Price: 16GB, from £300 inc VAT
There's an awful lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy S5: it's good looking, tough, big and feature-rich, and we love the user-replaceable battery and memory expansion. The Galaxy S6 and others may have stolen its flagship thunder, but with the S5 getting cheaper every day, it's still well worth a place on your shortlist.
16. Blackberry Priv
Price: 32GB, around £550
A Blackberry? On an Android smartphones chart? No, it's not heresy – Blackberry has only gone and made a very decent smartphone that runs Android. Arguably the phone that the company should have made yonks ago, the Priv combines a beautiful, curved 5.4in display with some nippy hardware, a decent camera, and – most importantly of all for Blackberry die-hards – a slide-out physical keyboard. Most people probably won't give the Priv a second look, but this smartphone is earning itself an increasing number of high-profile fans – and for good reason.