Best Android One Phones Android Central 2020
If you're in the market for a new Android phone, you owe it to yourself to make sure it's an Android One device. Phones that are part of Google's Android One program come with a couple of significant benefits, including stock builds of the latest version of Android and guaranteed software updates/security patches. There are a lot of great Android One phones out there, but if you ask us, the Nokia 7.2 is the best you can get.
- Best Overall: Nokia 7.2
- Best Value: Nokia 6.2
- Best Display: Motorola One Vision
- Best for Photography: Nokia 9 PureView
- Best Low-Cost Option: Nokia 4.2
- Best Design: Xiaomi Mi A3
- Best in India: Nokia 8.1
Best Overall: Nokia 7.2
Out of all the Android One phones you can buy in the U.S., our top pick has to be the Nokia 7.2. The HMD Global-led Nokia brand has been kicking out a lot of great smartphones over the last couple of years, and for the North American market, the 7.2 stands out as an incredibly strong offering.
Nokia phones have a legacy for being well-built, and that point holds 100% true with the 7.2. It has a durable aluminum frame with a sleek glass back that looks and feels incredible. Around front, the 6.3-inch display is a joy to look at. Not only is it crisp with a 2220x1080 resolution, but its ability to natively play HDR10 content and convert SDR videos into HDR ones means everything is brimming with color and vibrancy at all times.
What else helps the Nokia 7.2 stand out? Its battery life is fantastic, an NFC chip enables contactless payments with Google Pay, USB-C is used for charging, and you can expand the generous 128GB of base storage up to an additional 400GB if you plan on storing a bunch of local files.
There aren't many downsides to the Nokia 7.2, but we will point out that the triple rear cameras are simply OK and that the bottom bezel below the screen is on the large side of things. Other than that, this is a stellar handset.
- Premium glass build
- HDR10 display
- Great battery
- 128GB of expandable storage
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Large bottom bezel
- Rear cameras are just fine
The best Android One phone you can buy.
If you live in the U.S. and need a good, reliable phone that won't break the bank, it's hard to do much better than the Nokia 7.2.
Best Value: Nokia 6.2
One step below the Nokia 7.2, we have the Nokia 6.2. The 6.2 isn't quite as technically impressive as its more expensive sibling, but there's no denying how good of a value proposition it brings to the table.
For all intents and purposes, the Nokia 6.2 is essentially the same body as Nokia 7.2 with some slightly downgraded specs. It has the same 6.3-inch Full HD+ display, along with support for playing native HDR content and converting SDR videos into HDR ones. You also get the same 3,500 mAh battery, triple rear cameras, 4GB of RAM, and NFC for Google Pay.
The 6.2 has a different processor than the 7.2, less internal storage, and a 16-megapixel primary camera instead of a 48-megapixel one, but for the most part, it's a similar experience. When you factor in the sizable price difference between the two, the 6.2 becomes that much more compelling.
- Excellent hardware
- HDR display
- Three rear cameras
- Large 3,500 mAh battery
- Google Pay support
- Average processor
- Camera quality is OK
The best value Android One phone.
Essentially a downgraded version of the Nokia 7.2, the 6.2 delivers one of the best values Android One has to offer.
Best Display: Motorola One Vision
The first Motorola One was a reliable Android One device that did the basics well, but from a design standpoint, wasn't very exciting. With the Motorola One Vision, Motorola retains that focus of giving you a no-nonsense handset that can do everything you ask of it while having a bit of pizazz.
Without a doubt, the most striking part about the One Vision is its 21:9 display. This is much narrower and taller than the majority of phones out there, giving it a much more cinematic experience when watching movies or playing games. It also looks great with a resolution of 2520x1080.
The Android One software experience on the One Vision is as clean as ever, but you also get some of Motorola's outstanding custom additions like Moto Display, twisting the phone twice to open the camera, and more. Specs-wise, you also benefit from a 48-megapixel (MP) rear camera, USB-C for charging, and 128GB of built-in storage that can be further expanded up to 512GB.
There is a slight catch, however. While you can buy the Motorola One Vision in the U.S., it's not officially sold here. That means two things — 1) It'll work on AT&T and T-Mobile, but your LTE connections might not be as strong in rural areas or crowded buildings. 2) The phone does not come with a warranty.
- Super narrow 21:9 display
- Motorola's excellent software features
- 48MP rear camera
- Plastic construction
- Meh cameras
- Doesn't support all U.S. LTE bands
The best and most unique display on an Android One phone.
Outfitted with a unique 21:9 display, the Motorola One Vision delivers Android One in a very flashy, very affordable package we think you'll love.
Best for Photography: Nokia 9 PureView
For a lot of people, the camera is one of the most important factors when buying a new phone. While all of the phones on this list have cameras that are more than adequate for sharing things on Twitter and Instagram, the Nokia 9 PureView is worth a look if you want to take your photography game to the next level.
Outfitted with a total of five cameras on the back, three of which are dedicated monochrome sensors while the other two capture color images, the Nokia 9 PureView manages to capture an insane amount of detail and light data with each shot you take. The automatic shooting mode is fine, but the real magic happens when you shoot in manual/RAW. This is a camera that requires a bit more work than most other phones, but if you put in the time/effort, you can capture some truly gorgeous photos.
Outside of the camera experience, the Nokia 9 PureView also delivers with its big OLED display, stunning design, and surprisingly great haptics — something that's still far too rare with most Android phones. We do wish it was powered by the newer Snapdragon 855 chipset and not the older 845, and the in-screen fingerprint sensor can be a pain in the butt.
If you can overlook those complaints, however, the Nokia 9 PureView is a unique phone that could be well worth the investment for some folks.
- Unique five camera system
- Lots of manual photo controls
- Colorful OLED display
- Striking glass design
- Great haptic feedback
- Slow in-display fingerprint sensor
- Using 2018's flagship processor
- Weak speaker
Best for Photography
The best Android One phone for photography
Although it is expensive, the Nokia 9 PureView is a flagship Android One phone that can really help take your photography to the next level.
Best Low-Cost Option: Nokia 4.2
There's no denying that the Nokia 7.2 and 6.2 are fantastic phones, but at the same time, we also understand that they may still cost too much for some people. If you'd prefer to keep your budget even lower, our top recommendation goes to the Nokia 4.2.
The Nokia 4.2 packs serious value. It has a 5.7-inch screen with a small waterdrop notch, face unlock, and a metal + glass design that looks and feels just as good as phones that cost hundreds of dollars more.
Speaking of its design, the Nokia 4.2 has some unexpected flair that we dig. There's a dedicated button for prompting the Google Assistant, along with an LED notification light that wraps around the power button. How neat is that?
Specs-wise, the Nokia 4.2 is also packing the capable Snapdragon 439 processor, 32GB of expandable storage (up to 400GB), a fingerprint sensor, and NFC for Google Pay. The display isn't the sharpest at just 720p HD and the older Micro-USB charging port is irritating, but for the price, it's hard to complain too much.
- Durable, flashy design
- Google Assistant button
- Notification light
- Waterdrop notch
- NFC chip for Google Pay
- Dual rear cameras
- 720p display resolution
- 32GB internal storage
Best Low-Cost Option
The best low-cost Android One phone.
The Nokia 4.2 is a budget phone done right. It's built well, has more than capable specs, and excellent software for a price your wallet will love.
Best Design: Xiaomi Mi A3
Following up on the excellent Mi A2 from 2018, Xiaomi's Mi A3 brings a lot of good qualities to the table, especially in the design department.
The Mi A3 is made out of metal and glass, with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5 covering the front and back of the phone. The overall fit-and-finish that's on display here is on the same level of phones that cost hundreds of dollars more. In regards to colors, the white and blue variants showcase shifts in their appearance and texture depending on how surrounding light hits them.
In other areas, the Mi A3 benefits from great battery life, the presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack, and reliable camera performance.
The 720p display is a letdown when compared to some of the other Android One phones on the market, but so long as you can get over that (and the bad in-screen fingerprint sensor), the Mi A3 is definitely worth a look.
- Fantastic design
- Long-lasting battery
- There's a headphone jack
- Reliable cameras
- Display is only 720p
- Slow in-screen fingerprint sensor
The best design for an Android One phone.
Want your phone to stand out? The Xiaomi Mi A3 has a gorgeous glass/metal design that's premium, stylish, and one of the best in this niche.
Best in India: Nokia 8.1
Last but not least, let's talk about the Nokia 8.1. This is a robust, good-looking handset that we'd kill to have, but as it stands, you can't buy it in North America. However, if you live in India, you're in for a real treat.
The Nokia 8.1 is one of the most powerful phones in Nokia's lineup, featuring specs such as the powerful Snapdragon 710 processor, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and an impressive 3,500 mAh battery. Also included is USB-C for charging, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC if you want to use Google Pay.
We love the 6.18-inch 2280x1080 LCD display on the Nokia 8.1, but its large notch does look a little out of place in 2020. Also, for this kind of money, it would have been great to have an official IP rating for water resistance.
- Fast, reliable performance
- Exquisite design
- Battery lasts up to two days
- Capable rear cameras
- Large notch
- Doesn't have water resistance
Best in India
The best Android One phone in India.
For our readers in India, one of the best Android One phones is the Nokia 8.1. Its specs, design, and features are all top notch.
You can't go wrong with any of the Android One phones on this list, but at the end of the day, the Nokia 7.2 is our top pick.
I had the chance to use the phone earlier this year, and the thing that stuck out to me the most was how well it's built. Nothing about the Nokia 7.2's design makes it feel as cheap as it is. Instead, it feels like a proper, much more expensive flagship.
As you start using the phone and get to appreciate its gorgeous display, long-lasting battery, and features such as NFC for Google Pay, the whole experience comes together to create a genuinely fantastic phone that should last you for years to come.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central's News Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email to email@example.com!
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