Best Android Phone Under $800 Android Central 2020
Once you step down from the absolute top end of the market, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the best phone you can buy for the money. It's an exceptional phone overall that marries great hardware with a full spec sheet and excellent performance through its simple software. It draws on strengths from the history of OnePlus phones, but steps up the hardware and display quality to make it a competitor at any price.
- Best Overall: OnePlus 7 Pro
- Best Camera: Google Pixel 4
- Best Compact: Samsung Galaxy S10e
- Best Value: OnePlus 7T
- Best Battery Life: Huawei P30 Pro
Best Overall — OnePlus 7 Pro
The OnePlus 7 Pro offers an exceptional value for the money, and now it has excellent hardware and nice-to-have features that make it a true competitor at the high end regardless of price. The hardware quality and design are right up there with the best, as is its 6.67-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate.
Though it's more expensive than its predecessor, the 7 Pro easily makes up the difference with lots of added capabilities. The display is dramatically better in all respects, the in-display fingerprint sensor is great, the haptics are now some of the best you can get, and its spec sheet is the envy of everyone. At the same time, it still has OxygenOS software, which continues to be one of the best takes on Android with its clean interface and consistently speedy performance.
Yes, it's missing a few things, like wireless charging and a headphone jack, and despite the company's claims of water resistance it has no official IP rating. The cameras are also one weak point, but forgivable at this price. The OnePlus 7 is worth comparing to any phone on this list, and it's less expensive.
- Excellent 90Hz display
- Incredible value
- Consistently speedy software
- Regular software updates
- High-end specs
- Camera quality a step down from flagships
- No headphone jack
- No wireless charging
- No water resistance rating
A flagship experience for hundreds of dollars less
The OnePlus 7 Pro saves you a ton of money, but you still get a proper flagship with great hardware, wonderful specs and a 90Hz display.
Best Camera — Google Pixel 4
Google bases much of its marketing for the Pixel 4 on the camera, and rightfully so — this is the best smartphone camera you can get today. It's not as versatile as Samsung and Huawei's offerings, because it lacks an ultrawide camera, but what it's able to do with what it has is amazing. It's incredibly consistent and can shoot in any situation.
Camera aside, the Pixel 4 is a great phone overall. If the features and options found on a Samsung phone are overwhelming, you'll feel right at home here. Google doesn't include the same pile of features or customization options as Samsung, but the result is a software experience anyone can pick up in a couple minutes and enjoy for months.
The real issue with the Pixel 4, which keeps it from being a great overall pick, is its battery life. The battery is just downright too small to make it through a day, and that means you can't recommend it to everyone.
- Amazing camera quality
- Beautifully subtle hardware design
- Simple software
- Unique features
- Years of guaranteed updates
- Weak battery life for its size
- Low max screen brightness
- Oddly inconsistent software performance
- No ultrawide camera option
An amazing camera and clean software straight from Google.
Google's cameras lead the industry. Elsewhere, there's an unbelievably good software experience, but also terrible battery life.
Best Compact — Samsung Galaxy S10e
The Galaxy S10 series is a known quantity, because it's entirely standardized across three models. But when the Galaxy S10 and S10+'s price tags make your eyes water, you can always turn to the Galaxy S10e. You lose out on some extra screen real estate and battery life due to the S10e's smaller size, but elsewhere in the daily experience of using the phone it's indistinguishable from the more expensive models.
The specs, screen, hardware and cameras are all worthy of a higher price, and that helps make the Galaxy S10e such a great value. And unlike many phones that are roughly this price, the S10e has lots of crowd-pleasing features like an SD card slot, headphone jack and water resistance. It also has great camera quality, with a fun wide-angle shooter on the rear and excellent selfie camera up front.
- Excellent screen
- Fun wide-angle camera
- Compact size
- Stereo speakers
- SD card slot and headphone jack
- Battery life a step down from flagships
- Photo quality not up to Pixel 4's level
- Screen smaller than most
The full core Galaxy S10 experience at a huge discount in this compact size.
The S10e has solid hardware, a top-end display and a mountain of features. It does everything you want, but at a reasonable price.
Best Value — OnePlus 7T
The OnePlus 7T continues the company's vision of affordable, high-end Android smartphones. The 7T has all of the good aspects of the more expensive 7 Pro, but forgoes the curved-glass, bezel-less display for something more traditional, and more usable. The hardware is just as nice, and has the added bonus of being a tad smaller as well.
Typical superlative OnePlus OxygenOS software is the same as its other phones, which is a big selling point. The display running at a 90Hz refresh rate (just like the 7 Pro) adds to the smoothness of the software. There's a versatile camera system that is consistent, albeit not challenging the best out there. Plus, you're getting excellent specs and performance across the board, with enough power to run this phone for years.
- Well-designed, with premium materials
- Excellent battery life
- OxygenOS 10 is awesome
- Consistent and versatile cameras
- Great price for what you get
- Lacks official IP rating
- No wireless charging
- Loses telephoto OIS from OnePlus 7 Pro
One of the best phones you can spend your money on.
You get the same great specs as the OnePlus 7 Pro, in a slightly smaller package with a few extras cut back — but in return get an exceptional price.
Best Battery Life — Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei goes after the highest-end phones, and in many ways succeeds. The P30 Pro takes on much of Samsung's approach in giving you beautiful hardware with a packed spec sheet and huge display and adds in what is simply a better camera system. Battery life is a true winner with the P30 Pro, as is its 40W fast charging. The real downside is the software, which has improved over the years but still feels overbearing and tough to manage — not to mention it's filled with quirks that most people just don't want to deal with.
As always, the caveat here is that Huawei doesn't sell its phones directly in the U.S. Elsewhere around the world the P30 Pro is a formidable competitor with the Galaxy S10+, but in order to get it in the U.S. you have to import an international model with no warranty or support ... which isn't always advisable. But given that fact, it has depressed prices to the point where it's enticing if you're on a budget.
- Versatile camera combination
- Extreme battery longevity
- Super-fast wired charging
- Delightful design
- Huge display
- Software can be overbearing
- Not available with warranty in the U.S.
- Too large for some hands and pockets
- Uncertain software update future with U.S. policies
Best Battery Life
Filled with features, great battery life and an incredibly versatile camera.
The P30 Pro is big, but has an enjoyable and consistent camera. It's also a great overall phone with exceptional battery life.
If you have a budget that keeps you away from the highest-end phones, you can't go wrong with our top pick the OnePlus 7 Pro. It has a great well-rounded overall experience of features and capabilities that's worthy of a higher price but comes in for much less. The amount of specs and quality materials you get for this money is immense — and it's still an amazing deal even if you get the top-spec model.
The OnePlus 7 Pro still has compromises much like its predecessors, including no water resistance rating and less-than-perfect cameras, but at this point they're minor and don't in any way detract from how lovely this phone is to use each and every day. The hardware has really stepped up to the highest levels, and the huge 90Hz display is a real treat to look at. Its OxygenOS software continues to be one of the best Android experiences today, with no bloatware and minimal configuration required. Plus, its performance is consistently perfect, and you can expect years of software updates to keep it going.
This is a proper flagship phone — it just isn't priced like one.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Martonik is Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.
Daniel Bader is Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
Jerry Hildenbrand is a Mobile Nations Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.
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