OnePlus 7 Pro

Best Android Phone Under $800 Android Central 2019

Once you step down from the absolute top end of the market, under $800, 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

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.

Pros:

  • Excellent 90Hz display
  • Incredible value
  • Consistently speedy software
  • Regular software updates
  • High-end specs

Cons:

  • Camera quality a step down from flagships
  • No headphone jack
  • No wireless charging
  • No water resistance rating

Best Overall

OnePlus 7 Pro

A flagship experience for hundreds of dollars less

You save a ton of money with the OnePlus 7 Pro, but you'll still get a proper flagship phone experience with great hardware and wonderful specs.

Best Camera — Google Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 XL

Google bases all of its marketing for the Pixel 3 XL 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 has just one camera sensor, but what it's able to do with that single sensor is remarkable. It's incredibly consistent, and can shoot in any situation.

Camera aside, the Pixel 3 XL is a great phone overall as well. 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 specs and hardware features leave a bit to be desired compared to some of the mid-2019 competition, with notable shortcomings in screen quality, memory and battery life. The Pixel 3 XL doesn't have enough to steal everyone away from the Galaxy S10e and OnePlus 7 Pro, but it should absolutely be considered.

Pros:

  • Amazing camera quality
  • Beautifully subtle hardware design
  • Simple software
  • Unique features
  • Years of guaranteed updates

Cons:

  • Weak battery life for its size
  • Low max screen brightness
  • Oddly inconsistent software performance

Best Camera

Google Pixel 3 XL

An amazing camera and clean software straight from Google

Google's cameras still lead the industry in overall quality. Elsewhere, Google offers an unbelievably good software experience, and anyone can benefit from it.

Best Compact — Samsung Galaxy S10e

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 for under $750. 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 for under $750. 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.

Pros:

  • Excellent screen
  • Fun wide-angle camera
  • Compact size
  • Stereo speakers
  • SD card slot and headphone jack

Cons:

  • Battery life a step down from flagships
  • Photo quality not up to Pixel 3 XL's level
  • Screen smaller than most

Best Compact

Samsung Galaxy S10e

The full core Galaxy S10 experience at a huge discount

Solid hardware, an industry-leading display and a mountain of features make the Galaxy S10e an easy choice. It does everything you can want from a flagship phone, but does it at a reasonable price.

Best With a Stylus — Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Note 9 has been generally replaced by the newer Galaxy S10+, but that also means that its price has been cut dramatically — now under $700, which makes it a fantastic phone to consider when you're on a budget. Despite having a last-generation processor and a couple older specs, the Note 9 feels exactly the same as the Galaxy S10+ in daily use. You get all of Samsung's software features, and excellent hardware that feels perfectly modern in 2019.

Plus, the Note 9 has something no other phone does at any price: the S Pen stylus. There's something to be said for having that extra input mechanism, whether you plan to use it often or sparingly. At this price, you're getting that full stylus experience for free.

Pros:

  • Unique stylus capabilities
  • Strong battery life
  • Solid specs for this price
  • Headphone jack and SD card slot
  • Fantastic display

Cons:

  • Too big for many hands
  • Only likely to receive one more major update
  • Software can be cumbersome

Best With a Stylus

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Still modern and now deeply discounted

Even several months on, the Note 9 is still appealing. It's arguably identical to the GS10+ in daily experience, all while being considerably cheaper.

Bottom line

If your maximum budget is $800, 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 less than $700 is immense — and it's still an amazing deal even if you get the top-spec model for $750.

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 andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com 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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