Best Android phones 2024

As Android Central, we pride ourselves on knowing the best Android phones inside and out. Whether you want something simple and reliable or super-powered and loaded with features, all of the best picks are organized below for your perusal.

We've used every phone on this list and can tell you exactly where it triumphs and where it falters. At Android Central, our testing and review methods include making sure each phone lives up to the marketing claims of the company, offers good value for the money, can deliver a quality photo every time, and lasts long enough to make it through the day on a single charge. 

Sometimes, phones have a special attribute that we test separately, such as camera tech or durability. No matter what you look for in a device, the best phones in every category can be found below.  

At a glance

Best overall

OnePlus 12 back against colorful background

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)
Best overall

Specifications

Display: 6.82-inch 120Hz AMOLED; 3168 x 1440
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 12GB / 16GB LPDDR5X
OS: Android 14
Storage: 256GB / 512GB UFS 4.0
Battery: 5,400mAh
Camera: 50MP + 48MP + 64MP rear; 32MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding 120Hz OLED panel
+
Gorgeous design
+
Incredible power
+
Cameras take amazing photos and videos
+
Battery lasts two days between charges
+
100W wired and 50W wireless charging
+
Five years of promised software updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks AI features outside of China
-
Cameras aren't as good as Google or Samsung at times

If any manufacturer gets the award for "most improved," it's OnePlus. The OnePlus 12 is the company's latest flagship phone and it lives up to the hype in basically every way possible. As Harish noted in his OnePlus 12 review, "it took OnePlus a decade, but it finally created a flagship without any noticeable drawbacks."

The overall design of the OnePlus 12 is similar to the OnePlus 11, but it still stands out when compared to just about any other phone on the market. In addition to being much more eye-friendly than other OLED displays, OnePlus included what it calls the "Trinity Engine" that lets you push all games to 120Hz regardless of whether they support them or not. That's a huge upgrade from previous OnePlus phones which kept gaming locked at 60Hz.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 inside the phone is plenty powerful and lets OnePlus not only push the boundaries of mobile performance, but also improves battery life. Both Harish and I got two days on the average charge and, thanks to SuperVOOC 100W wired charging, it will only take a few minutes to top-up the battery and get another day of use. Plus, OnePlus includes that charger in the box, and the phone also supports 50W wireless charging.

You'll also be impressed by the cameras which take genuinely good pictures and video in any lighting condition. They're not quite as good as the Hasselblad branding might suggest — the more expensive Galaxy S24 Ultra and Pixel 8 Pro outclass it — but check out my OnePlus 12 camera review to get an idea of what to expect.

The only real "downside" here is that OnePlus is offering four major Android updates and an extra year of security updates, totalling five years of update promises. OnePlus hasn't always been as fast as Google or Samsung when it comes to updates, but five years of support is still very good. Plus, even though Samsung and Google offer two extra years of software updates, OnePlus won't charge you nearly as much to get its latest phone.

Best cheap phone

The shiny back of the OnePlus Nord N30 5G

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best cheap phone

Specifications

Display: 6.7 120Hz LCD; 1080 x 2400
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
RAM: 8GB
OS: Android 13
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Camera: 108MP (main) + 2MP (macro) + 2MP (depth) rear; 16MP front

Reasons to buy

+
3.5mm jack and microSD card slot
+
5G connectivity and NFC
+
Eye-friendly 120hz LCD display
+
Lots of software features
+
Great battery life and ultra-fast charging
+
3 years of security updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Gaming performance is lacking
-
Difficult to use with USB gaming controllers
-
Only one OS update

The OnePlus Nord N30 represents the best budget-minded phone OnePlus has ever made. It addresses some of the biggest issues with the OnePlus Nord N20 while offering up plenty of great new features via a brand-new version of OxygenOS that the Nord N20 will never receive.

OnePlus kept many of the company's best features intact, including fast charging, great battery life, and important features like a 3.5mm headset jack, microSD card support, 5G and NFC, and even made the display more eye-friendly year-over-year.

The biggest downside to the Nord N30 is its performance. While daily performance is just fine, gaming performance was seriously lacking. In some gaming tests, the similarly-priced Google Pixel 6a was five times as fast as the Nord N30, meaning you really shouldn't bother with the Nord if you plan to play games like Diablo, Fortnite, Minecraft, or anything else that's like a console game.

Best premium pick

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in the Titanium Grey colorway

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best premium option

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED; 1440 x 3088
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 12GB
OS: Android 14
Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Camera: 200MP main+ 10MP 3x telephoto + 50MP 5x telephoto + 12MP ultrawide; 12MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Most eye-friendly display from Samsung yet
+
Superb performance and battery life
+
Excellent camera experience
+
Useful AI features and seven-year update promise
+
Quality build with flat display
+
Near-perfect repairability score

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera still struggles to capture motion
-
Uses PWM dimming at all brightness levels
-
Expensive

If you want the best Android phone that Samsung has to offer right now, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. This premium device boasts all of the efficiency and power found in the S23 Ultra with a few notable improvements.

This year, Samsung outfitted the frame with titanium and finally flattened the display. Couple that with the included S Pen and you have the best note-taking phone on the market. Plus, the display doubles the PWM rate and adds an anti-glare filter for better long-term eye protection.

The Ultra features the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy Devices chipset, an exclusive version of the Qualcomm processor. This internal hardware gives your phone enough power to handle graphics-intensive gaming without totally annihilating your battery life or dropping in performance. Plus, it's got great new Galaxy AI features that work flawlessly with the included S Pen.

In most cases, the Galaxy S24 Ultra's camera is better than the Pixel 8 Pro, an achievement that's taken Samsung years to earn. But, as my Galaxy S24 Ultra camera review shows, it still struggles to take clear pictures of moving subjects. That's particularly problematic for households with pets or kids.

Unfortunately, one of the S24 Ultra's biggest flaws is its price. Thankfully, the best Galaxy S24 Ultra deals will help take the sting out just a bit.

Best midrange phone

The back of the Charcoal Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best midrange phone

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch 90Hz AMOLED; 2400 x 1080
CPU: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
OS: Android 14
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,385mAh
Camera: 64MP + 13MP rear; 13MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Superb build and design
+
Tensor G2 processor
+
Great price
+
Top-tier cameras
+
Meaningful features
+
Best haptics in the biz

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 5W wireless charging 
-
Some battery issues
-
90Hz display

If you're looking for bang for the buck, look no further than the Pixel 7a. Google has packed most of what makes the Pixel 7 series great into a smartphone that costs even less. Typically retailing for around $499, the Google Pixel 7a boasts the power of the ultra-efficient Tensor G2 processor (the same as the Pixel 7 Pro), the best haptics that you can expect to find in this price range, and some outstanding camera tech.

In fact, pound for pound, the Google Pixel 7a’s cameras performed just as well as the base model Pixel 7 in our tests despite costing less. You also get the latest version of Android and Google has guaranteed software updates for the next five years. It even comes with wireless charging (limited to 5W), a first for Google’s A series. 

Of course, it’s worth noting that the Google Pixel 7a only has a 90Hz refresh rate and we weren’t terribly impressed with the phone’s battery life. But it earned the top spot in our list of the best cheap Android phones for a reason. If your budget is under $500, you can’t beat the Google Pixel 7a. 

Best small phone

The Amber Yellow Samsung Galaxy S24 colorway and its vibrant display

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best small phone

Specifications

Display: 6.2-inch 120Hz AMOLED; 1080 x 2340
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 8GB
OS: Android 14
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Camera: 50MP main + 12MP ultrawide + 10MP 3x telephoto; 12MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Ideal for one-handed use
+
Powerful new Snapdragon processor
+
Stunning 120Hz AMOLED screen
+
Great cameras
+
Seven guaranteed Android OS updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited to 25W wired charging
-
No camera improvements over the S23
-
Camera still struggles to capture motion

Like a few other flagships on this list, the Samsung Galaxy S24 isn’t a dramatic departure from its predecessor, but it’s a refinement of everything that made the latter phone great.

The Galaxy S24 boasts a compact 6.2-inch AMOLED 120Hz display and the lightweight-yet-premium device feel that we’ve come to expect from the S series. Not only does 2024's smaller Galaxy S phone feature the same powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy processor inside, but it also comes packed with all the fantastic Galaxy AI features of its bigger siblings.

Samsung included the exact same 50MP primary camera, 12MP ultrawide camera, and 10MP 3x telephoto camera as the last two Galaxy S phones had, so don't expect any kind of upgrade in the camera department unless you're coming from something much older.

But, on the bright side, Samsung is now promising seven years of software updates for the Galaxy S24, so your phone will feel new even if you've had it for a while.

Best for parents

Hands-on with the Google Pixel 8

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best for parents

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch 120Hz LTPO AMOLED; 2992 x 1344
CPU: Google Tensor G3
RAM: 12GB LPDDR5X
OS: Android 14
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Battery: 5,050mAh
Camera: 50MP (wide) + 48MP (telephoto, 5x optical) + 48MP (ultrawide, 125.5-degree) rear; 10.5MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning, unique design
+
Incredible cameras
+
120Hz LTPO OLED panel is buttery smooth
+
Custom Tensor G3 chipset offers unique AI features
+
Longest-supported Android phone
+
The best camera for households with pets and kids

Reasons to avoid

-
Gaming performance is lacking
-
Some reliability issues

Google makes some pretty good phones, but the best part of owning a Pixel is the camera. Taking pictures of your kids or pets is a joy with Google's excellent camera software, which uses AI smarts to understand what it's taking a picture of, giving you better results in the end. Our Pixel 8 Pro camera review will clue you in to what you can expect here.

With that AI performance comes a suite of AI tools that no other phone can do. That includes things like Audio Magic Eraser and Magic Editor, plus great new features like Night Sight Video and Zoom Enhance round out the photo-taking experience.

Video recording quality is better than in previous years. Video Boost further improves low-light videos by using clever cloud-based processing to add Pixel magic to your videos, making them look better than ever. Plus, the Pixel 8 Pro ships with a number of exclusive features like the Pro camera mode, making it easy to make manual adjustments with just a few taps.

Google's Tensor G3 also comes with a brand-new 7-year software update promise, meaning your Pixel 8 Pro will see major Android updates until 2030. That's a huge improvement over previous years and longer than almost any other Android phone. Plus, battery life has been exceptional and charging speeds are pretty snappy at 30W.

Google also made big leaps with hardware refinements this year, flattening the display (goodbye, curved glass) and rounding out the corners so the phone feels more comfortable to use.

And while Google's Tensor chipset is known for its AI processing prowess, it's not as good at anything else compared to Snapdragon chipsets. Plus, several of Google's recent updates have been causing huge problems, causing us to demote the phone on our list of best Android phones.

Best foldable phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 apps available via labs

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)
Best foldable phone

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED; 2640 x 1080 / 3.4-inch 60Hz AMOLED; 720 x 748 (cover)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM: 8GB
OS: Android 13
Storage: 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 3,700mAh
Camera: 12MP (wide) + 12MP (ultrawide) rear; 10MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Super durable
+
Compact and comfortable to hold
+
120Hz AMOLED display
+
IPX8 water resistance
+
Improved AMOLED cover display 
+
Four Android updates

Reasons to avoid

-
No dust resistance
-
No telephoto camera
-
Display crease is still obvious

After years of refinements and improvements, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 feels like the perfect foldable for most people. Like the previous year, the Flip 5 features subtle improvements over its predecessor, but those improvements add up to something more than the sum of its parts.

First off, there's nothing quite like snapping your phone closed when you're done with it. It sounds silly, but there's a certain psychological component to folding it up and putting it away. The phone itself is more durable than ever, too, featuring an Armor Aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on both halves of the back. There's a nice boost in size to the phone's cover screen and the pre-installed screen protector has been refined and features better adhesive than previous years, hopefully keeping protectors from peeling off over the lifetime of the phone.

Samsung also packed in a nice 3,700mAh battery alongside the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, the same processor found in the Galaxy S23 series and the Fold 5 below.

Best premium foldable

OnePlus Open review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)
Best premium foldable

Specifications

Display: 7.82-inch 120HZ AMOLED, LTPO 3.0, 2440 x 2268, 2800 nits (inner) / 6.31-inch 120Hz AMOLED, LTPO 3.0, 2484 x 1116, 2800 nits (outer)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5X
OS: Android 13
Storage: 512GB UFS 4.0
Battery: 4805mAh battery, 67W fast charging
Camera: 48MP + 48MP (ultrawide) + 64MP (3x telephoto); 32MP cover selfie; 20MP inner selfie

Reasons to buy

+
Striking design and build quality
+
Smooth hinge with no visible crease
+
Excellent performance
+
Useful multitasking features
+
Fast charging with stellar battery life
+
Great cameras
+
Four Android OS updates

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless charging
-
No stylus integration
-
Games locked to 60fps

Just like any piece of technology, smartphones evolve and change as time goes on. We've seen screens get bigger, cameras get a lot more capable, and processors rival those found in computers. The next big thing for phones is the folding form factor, and so far, the best yet in this niche is the OnePlus Open.

The best way to think about the device is as a phone and tablet in one. When the OnePlus Open is closed, you're treated to a 6.31-inch 120Hz AMOLED display that you can use for anything you'd like — checking email, scrolling through Twitter, watching YouTube videos, you name it. OnePlus made its outer display much wider than Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold line and it makes everyday use of the display so much nicer. In other words, it feels like a normal phone when it's closed.

Then, when you need a tablet-sized screen, you just open up the OnePlus Open to reveal a gorgeous 7.82-inch AMOLED panel with 120Hz LTPO 3.0 tech. It's a lot like having an iPad Mini that you can fold up and take with you wherever you want, and if you ask us, that's pretty amazing. It's also a lot more eye-friendly than any of Samsung's foldable phones as it uses a higher PWM rate and several eye-friendly enhancements, despite being a Samsung-made display.

And, unlike Samsung's foldables, the display crease on the OnePlus Open is barely noticeable. Plus, OnePlus equips its phone with better battery life and faster charging. That means you can go for much longer on a single charge and take a lot less time to top it up when it needs some juice.

OnePlus customized the software quite a bit, too. There's a taskbar on the bottom of the larger display, making it operate more like a tablet or laptop than a phone, and great multitasking features because of it. You can tap and drag any icon in the taskbar to perform split screen, or simply tapping an icon on the bar to open any app installed on your smartphone within one tap. Now that's multitasking at its best.

Plus, you can pick up the Oppo Pen if you'd prefer to use a stylus. It's a little on the expensive side and the Pen isn't available on Amazon, but it's not too hard to find if you look around the web. And let's not forget the cutting-edge camera system which uses a massive sensor to achieve photo quality unlike any other foldable. It's so good, OnePlus is using it in the OnePlus 12, as well.

Best gaming phone

RedMagic 9 Pro

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)
Best gaming phone

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch BOE Q9+ 120Hz AMOLED; 2480 x 1116
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM: 12GB / 16GB LPDDR5
OS: Android 14
Storage: 256GB / 512GB UFS 4.0
Battery : 6,500mAh
Camera: 50MP main + 50MP ultrawide; 16MP front

Reasons to buy

+
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with Red Core 2 Pro packs a mighty punch
+
Much-improved software
+
Streamlined design with sealed, dust-proof cameras
+
Incredible 6,500mAh battery with 80W PD 3.0 charging
+
Headphone jack and gaming toggle live on
+
Stunning 120Hz display with low flicker and no notch
+
RGB lights inside 520Hz shoulder triggers

Reasons to avoid

-
Front camera has improved, but not enough
-
No IP rating

Nubia Redmagic phones were already our favorite gaming phones, and the Redmagic 9 Pro ups the game in substantial ways. First off, the actively-cooled Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor inside is an absolute beast, and the Red Core 2 co-processor only helps things further by ensuring the most responsive touch sampling rates on any phone in existence.

That bright and liquid-smooth 120Hz OLED display is also quite eye-friendly with a low flicker rate thanks to BOE's excellent technology. Redmagic bumped the battery size up by nearly 10% compared to the Redmagic 8, and fast charging speeds ensure that you'll be powered up in no time even if you forget to plug it in.

Plus, an actual headphone jack means you can use your favorite pair of lag-free wired headphones while gaming, and the pair of 50MP rear cameras do a good enough job of capturing all the Pokemon you'll be catching. The under-display front-facing camera is still not particularly great but it's still nice to not have a notch or punch hole taken out of the display while gaming.

FAQ

What are the best Android phones?

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There are many contenders for the best Android phones, but we think the OnePlus 12 is the best option for most people. OnePlus has rebuilt Oxygen OS into something special and includes five years of promised updates to match. Excellent Hasselblad cameras on the back pair nicely with epic battery life, charging speed, and performance. Plus, the eye-friendly display is a joy to look at day or night.

If you have a few hundred more dollars to spend and want something even more impressive, the obvious choice is the Galaxy S24 Ultra. This phone is the successor of the outstanding S23 Ultra, featuring a flat screen and the best camera on any Samsung phone. Best of all, you get an integrated S Pen that lets you write notes, doodle, and so much more.

Folks looking for a compact phone with few or no compromises have a surprising amount of choices, which is a breath of fresh air compared to previous years. The Galaxy S24 and Pixel 7a are two of the best smaller phones you can get in the U.S., and folks who live outside of the U.S. and want a small phone would be remiss if they ignored the Asus Zenfone 10. It's a compact phone with a blazing-fast processor, a huge battery, and a great camera. All things that aren't super common together in smaller phones, yet, Asus has figured out a way to deliver them all in one sleek package.

How do I pick the best Android phone?

Android phones have never been better than they are right now. So regardless of whether you can afford a flagship device or one of the best cheap Android phones, you can go out and buy a phone that you'll be thoroughly happy with. Out of every single phone on the market, however, we have to give our top recommendation for the best Android phone to the OnePlus 12.

OnePlus's latest flagship has all the essentials you want, including a brilliant 120Hz AMOLED screen, powerful cameras that take great photos in any lighting, fast charging, reliable internal hardware that powers through even the most intense gaming sessions, and clean software with five years of guaranteed Android OS updates.

What size screen should I get for my Android phone?

When buying a new Android phone, you should consider many different things, and it all starts with the display. This is the component you interact with more than anything else, so you must get one that you'll enjoy using. Things like the resolution and refresh rate of a screen are worth talking about, but more so is the size.

Smartphones come in different shapes and sizes, and the biggest determining factor for that is the display. A 6.8-inch screen results in a much larger phone than one with a 5.8-inch one, and because of that, you need to know how big or small you're willing to go.

Take the Galaxy S24 Ultra, for example. Of the "normal" phones on this list — read: not foldable phones — the S24 Ultra has the largest display and, therefore, is a phenomenal canvas for watching movies, playing games, and browsing the web.

Basically, any content consumption looks better on a larger display because the more room you have, the bigger and easier it is to see your media. The downside to this, however, is that phones like the S24 Ultra can be somewhat unwieldy. Especially if you're someone with smaller hands, managing a phone like that can be a pain — sometimes literally!

A phone like the OnePlus Open solves this problem a bit by giving you an even larger display that can fold in half. It's even got a world-class camera system that blew us away when we used it.

If you'd rather have a smaller-sized phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Asus Zenfone 10 are phenomenal choices depending on what form factor you want. These are substantially easier to manage and can be used with one hand, but you have less room for your movies and games on the flip side. It also means you can fit less content on the screen at one time, and if you're someone who likes to increase your font size, things are easier to read, which could result in you having to do a lot of scrolling.

And, of course, there are plenty of phones that fall somewhere in the middle between these two extremes. If you're really concerned about whether or not a phone will be too big or small, your best bet is to honestly go hands-on with it yourself at your local carrier store or Best Buy before making your purchase.

Are software updates important?

It's easy to compare displays, processors, and cameras, but something that's just as important to talk about is software updates. Android is constantly evolving and getting better, and unfortunately, only certain phones will have a few years of software support.

As it currently stands, Samsung is the best in the business when supporting its phones with long-term updates. Most of the Samsung phones mentioned in this list will get four guaranteed Android OS updates along with five years of security patches. 

Google and Samsung now offer seven Android OS and security updates. Meanwhile, OnePlus, OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo are now guaranteeing four Android OS updates and one extra year of security updates for their flagship phones. The advantage with Google is that its Pixel phones get the newest version of Android first — often months before other phones and even include Pixel Feature Drops between major Android releases that add new features.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you have companies like Motorola, Nokia, and sometimes OnePlus. The OnePlus N30 5G is only promised a single update, for instance. Security patches are even worse, with Nokia failing to deliver these updates on time.  Thankfully, companies like Motorola have been slowly improving these promises over the years thanks to customer feedback.

So, how important is it that your phone gets software updates? That ultimately depends on how much you care about new Android features. Google releases a new version of Android every year, and while these updates don't tend to be that drastic from year to year, they give your phone important features and security settings that help keep it running in tip-top shape for a long time.

It also ensures that your phone stays compatible with all the apps and games on the Play Store because as Android versions become too outdated, app developers eventually drop support.

A phone like the OnePlus N30 5G won't be unusable two years down the road just because it's running an older version of Android, but it's also a bit disheartening to buy a product and know it's backed by such a small window of post-purchase support. This divide in updates is something Android has faced for years, but manufacturers are finally getting this right.

How do I choose a smartphone camera?

Over the last couple of years, there's been a trend with certain phone companies to throw as many cameras onto their devices as possible. As it's become more common for phones to ship with two, three, or even four cameras, there's something of an expectation that phones have to have multiple camera sensors to be any good.

Spoiler alert — this isn't true.

Let's look at the Galaxy A54. It has a 50MP primary camera, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 5MP macro camera. Compared to the smaller 12MP cameras on the Pixel 7a, one would assume that the A54 takes better photos, but that's not the case.

Having those extra camera sensors can be a lot of fun, but only if they're high-quality. Far too often, we see companies throw in a lot of extra cameras on their phones only to have these secondary lenses not be very good. But, of course, the primary camera sensor is always the most important, so that's the one you want to pay attention to the most. 

On a similar note, higher megapixels (referred to as MP) don't always mean you're getting a better camera. As mentioned above, the 50MP camera on the A54 usually takes photos that aren't as good as those taken from the 12MP primary camera found on the Pixel 7a. 

There are so many other factors that come into play with phone cameras, so don't let the megapixel count be your only factor for judging them when you're out shopping. Read reviews, look at camera samples, and you'll have a much better understanding of what kind of camera you're dealing with.

What size should my phone's battery be?

Battery life isn't the most fun thing to talk about with smartphones, but ultimately, it's one of the most essential components. Your phone can have the best display and processor around, but if it's constantly dying throughout the day, what's the point?

There are many different battery capacities for all of the phones on this list, and if you don't regularly keep up with them, it can be challenging to know what a good size is and what isn't. So, here's a general rule of thumb. If you're buying an Android phone, the ideal capacity is 4,000mAh or larger. As phones move toward larger displays with faster refresh rates, more battery is needed to keep them powered throughout the day.

Of course, this can vary a bit depending on the type of phone you're buying. Phones with smaller screen sizes and lower display refresh rates can still get through a full day of use without a hitch because they generally draw less power than phones with more impressive specs. The best Android phones often have extremely fast charging speeds, and phones like the OnePlus 12 will get an entire day's worth of battery life in just a 20 minute charge.

These are factors you'll need to consider when shopping for your phone, but generally, more mAh means more battery life.

What other features should I look for in a smartphone?

Last but certainly not least, there are a few smaller features and specs that can be easy to overlook when doing your shopping — a prime example being NFC. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it's the chip in most phones that allows you to pay with your smartphone with Google Pay at grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Most of the phones on this list support NFC, but many cheaper Motorola and Nokia phones often lack the feature. You may not care about Google Pay, but if you do, it's worth double-checking that the phone you want to buy does have NFC.

Another spec to check for is an IP68 rating. This is a seal of protection many phones have, and it ensures they're protected from a certain amount of dust and water. So if you get caught outside in the rain or take your phone to the beach, an IP68 rating ensures that your phone should survive just fine.

Some phones lack this IP rating yet boast water resistance or have a coating that gives them some protection. Those devices are also probably fine to get splashed with water here and there, but you don't have that same guaranteed protection. The best-case scenario is to avoid getting your phone wet whenever possible, but if you happen to be around the water a lot, it's probably worth getting something with that IP68 protection.

We should also address a trend going through the smartphone space for a few years now — the death of the headphone jack. The vast majority of new phones coming out these days no longer have the port, but few holdouts continue to offer it. It's certainly nice to have if you're someone that primarily uses wired headphones or earbuds, but if you've moved on to the wireless bandwagon, it's not something you need to be all that concerned with.

We know that's a lot to take in, but once you understand the kind of phone you're looking for and the budget you have to work with, we hope this guide makes you feel better equipped to make the right decision. There are so many good phones out there, and we wouldn't recommend one on this list if we didn't think you'd be happy with it. Happy shopping, and enjoy your new phone!