Best Android Phone 2024: iPhone Alternatives Reviewed – Tech Advisor

Tee Rasheed
19 Min Read

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When it comes to smartphones, there’s one big debate that tends to dominate the conversation: Android or iPhone?
Plenty of people have strong opinions on which is superior, but it’s worth noting that Android is an operating system rather than a device.
Dozens of smartphones running Google’s software are released every single year, though each manufacturer makes its own tweaks to the user experience. The software on a Samsung Galaxy phone will look very different to that of a OnePlus or Xiaomi handset, for example.
It’s also important to consider the length of software support, which ranges from two to seven years.
However, you shouldn’t base your decision on which to buy solely on the software. There’s plenty of variation when it comes to hardware, especially when you’re comparing budget and mid-range phones to flagship devices.
Apple only tends to release four or five iPhone models each year, so most of the best smartphones you can buy are also Android phones. But if you don’t want to consider Apple, this is the article for you.
It’s very easy to switch between Android phones, and not much more difficult to move from an iPhone these days. So if you’re considering one of the phones in this list, don’t be put off giving it a go.
Why you should trust us: Smartphones are our bread and butter here at Tech Advisor, the vast majority of which are Android phones. We perform in-depth, real-world testing on every new model that’s worth buying, moving our main SIM card to it for at least a week for the most authentic experience possible.
Updated 4 April 2024: In this overhaul update, we added the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, OnePlus 12, Xiaomi 14, Samsung Galaxy A15 5G and Samsung Galaxy S24+.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is the best smartphone you can buy, so it should come as no surprise to see it top this list.
It’s arguably the ultimate smartphone, packing almost every premium feature you can expect into one huge device. However, the gorgeous 6.8-inch display and built-in S Pen stylus are certainly worth it.
Other highlights include sublime performance from an overclocked version of the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset and strong battery life from the 5000mAh cell. The cameras might not be the best on any smartphone, but they’re not far off, offering impressive versatility across four lenses.
Samsung’s One UI software is intuitive and relatively easy to use, and the company’s new AI features are genuinely useful. Throw in a class-leading seven years of updates and you’ve got yourself a superb phone.
Aside from the imposing design and relatively slow charging, the price tag is the main thing that counts against the S24 Ultra. But if you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed.
The Pixel 8 Pro is the best smartphone you can buy right now. A combination of premium hardware and advanced software make it very easy to recommend.
Google’s Tensor G3 chip is key, enabling both great performance and a range of advanced photography features. Alongside excellent camera hardware, it’s the best point-and-shoot phone camera for still images.
While a 213g phone with a large 6.7-inch display won’t be for everyone, the high-resolution 120Hz OLED screen here is a joy to use. With slick Android 14 software and an incredible seven years of updates, the Pixel 8 Pro is the smartphone to beat in 2023.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone. The combination of average battery life and slow charging is frustrating, while the regular Pixel 8 is a better choice if you’re looking for something more compact.
If you can’t afford the Pixel 8 or 8 Pro, then Google has another option for you: the decidedly affordable Pixel 7a.
This mid-range still packs a flagship-quality Tensor G2 chipset for solid performance, along with a familiar design. But it’s a slightly smaller phone, and made from plastic rather than glass.
There are downside, of course. The camera specs aren’t quite the same, though it still impresses. You’ll also get slower charging and only a 90Hz refresh rate on the display rather than 120Hz on the flagships.
If you can live with those downsides though, this is an excellent option for the price. Shots from the main camera are the best you’ll find on any mid-range phone.
However, it’s worth noting that a successor in the Pixel 8a might not be far away.
The OnePlus 12 is significantly more expensive than the OnePlus 11, which was a great handset for the money. But this extra expense is justified – a stunning design, significant performance upgrade and the introduction of wireless charging make a real difference.
Its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset speeds through tasks with ease (including gaming), then combines with a 5400mAh battery for superb battery life. When you do run low, you can choose between 100W wired and 50W wireless charging, though the 80W charger in the box will be plenty fast enough for most people.
The 120Hz AMOLED screen is among the largest on any phone at 6.82-inches, but also one of the best. The slick software experience is also a joy to use, even if the four OS updates and five years of security updates is a small step down from the best around.
Rear cameras, a weakness of earlier OnePlus phones, are very good on the whole. But the ultrawide and selfie lenses aren’t the best, and the IP65 rating means it’s not protected against submersion in water.
Nonetheless, none of these should be dealbreakers for most people. The OnePlus 12 still undercuts many flagships on price, making it a great option.
In the past, Xiaomi’s version of Android has often prevented us from recommending its phones. Despite a rebrand, the new HyperOS skin isn’t a big step forward, but it shouldn’t detract from just how good this phone is.
Despite a relatively compact design and excellent 6.36-inch display, Xiaomi has packed in some of the best cameras in the business. Across all three 50Mp lenses – main, ultrawide and 3.2x telephoto – you can get incredible results. Even the 32Mp selfie camera is strong.
Just like any phone powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the Xiaomi 14 offers superb performance. A 4610mAh battery isn’t particularly big by modern standards, but you can still expect solid battery life, and it’s great to get the fast 90W charger included in the box.
As stunning as the design is, that glass back is prone to fingerprint smudges and other visible dirt. But that’s about where the downsides end – Xiaomi’s commitment to four years of OS updates and five years of security updates is now in line with most rivals.
Overall, the Xiaomi 14 is a great phone which shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra – also known as the Razr+ in the US – is the best foldable right now.
The latest Razr packs a larger and more useful exterior screen that’s the biggest on any flip phone yet, extending almost entirely across the phone’s outer side. It even lets you run full Android apps without opening the phone, though some work better than others.
Beyond that, you can expect good battery life, great dust and water-resistance, and a capable main camera – though the other lenses are a little lacking. The improved hinge design also allows the Razr 40 Ultra to close completely flat and feel more solid as a result.
However, it’s also worth considering the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, which is a great alternative.
If you just need a smartphone for regular everyday use, look no further than the Galaxy A15 5G. It offers everything most people need in a smartphone, yet costs under £200/$200.
Of course, there are compromises compared to high-end phones, but Samsung has been smart about where it’s made them. An attractive design is clearly inspired by the company’s flagships, even if less premium materials have been used.
The display is still OLED and offers a smooth 90Hz refresh rate, while its lower resolution helps the excellent battery life. You also get Samsung’s slick One UI software experience and a decent three years of Android OS updates, plus a main rear camera that’s very serviceable.
Performance is slow at times, but waiting a few more seconds for things to load is hardly a dealbreaker. And unless you’re planning on getting your phone wet or need fast charging, it’s easy to recommend.
If you don’t want 5G, it’s also worth considering the Samsung Galaxy A15 (4G), but it’s not just 5G that you lose there.
The middle phone in Samsung’s Galaxy S24 range isn’t quite the all-singing, all-dancing S24 Ultra, but it’s arguably a better phone for most people.
You still get most of the fundamentals of Samsung’s ultra-flagship, including a gorgeous large display, superb battery life, useful AI features and that class-leading seven-year update commitment.
US buyers will still get the overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, but even the Exynos 2400 in the UK delivers strong performance.
If you can do without a stylus or loads of storage but still want a Samsung flagship, the S24+ is the phone to get.
The Zenfone 10 is a full-force flagship in a small size, and with remarkably few compromises for it.
The 5.9in display is one of the smallest on the market, especially on the Android side, though note that overall the phone is about the same size as the regular Galaxy S24
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and up to 16GB of RAM mark this as a serious performance phone, and it also boasts excellent battery life, which puts other compact smartphones to shame.
The gimbal-stabilised main camera impresses, especially at night, though there are definitely better cameras on similarly priced rivals – especially when it comes to options like a telephoto lens.
Given the phone is so good, it’s also frustrating that Asus is only promising two major Android updates, though the phone will at least get security support through to 2027.
If that’s a dealbreaker for you, go for the regular Samsung Galaxy S24 instead. But with the more recent Zenfone 11 Ultra much bigger and less noteworthy as a result, this is still the Asus phone that most people should buy.
The Open is technically OnePlus’ first ever foldable, though parent company Oppo has plenty of experience. And it shows – this is an impressively accomplished device with few compromises.
The displays are the real highlight. A 6.31-inch cover screen looks just like a regular smartphone, then opens to reveal a 7.82-inch inner display with a barely noticeable crease. Both are 120Hz OLED panels, and look fantastic.
OnePlus has done its best to make the most of this larger screen, with various features that make multitasking easy. But Android’s lack of support for third-party apps, combined with the high price tag, remain the main reasons most people shouldn’t buy one.
It’s a shame, as the rear cameras and design are a real hit. Performance is great too, and average battery life is offset by 67W fast charging via the adaptor in the box.

The latest version of Android right now is Android 14, which launched in 2023.
However, it often takes some time for Android brands to update their phones, so many phones launched in 2022, and even some cheaper 2023 models, will still be running Android 13.
The next version, Android 15, should launch in 2024, but will take some time to roll out to handsets.
Yes and no. They all run Android of course, but there are variations within that. Every manufacturer tweaks Android to produce its own version – often called an ‘Android skin’.
For example, Samsung phones run One UI, OnePlus phones are on OxygenOS, and Xiaomi phones run HyperOS (which replaced MIUI).
Phones that run software close to Google’s own are often described as running ‘stock’, but in truth even the Google Pixel phones run their own unique spin on the software. Each of these offers a unique aesthetic and a range of specific features, so you should always try and learn a little about a brand’s software before you commit to a phone.
It’s also important to remember that not every Android phone gets equal updates. Every manufacturer promises a different number of updates for their devices – usually separated into Android feature updates and security patches – and generally speaking more expensive phones are supported for longer than cheaper devices.
At the time of writing, the best brand in this regard is Google, which offers up to seven years of both, but many rivals aren’t far behind.
With more Android phones out there, there are also more specs to pick between. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about what matters most, so instead think about your priorities.
Do you care most about fast and smooth performance? Perhaps you prioritise longer battery life, or faster charging speeds? Maybe a capable camera is the main thing you look for?
Most Android phones will offer some combination of the above – and more – but there will always be certain specs where they compromise. Deciding on your priorities is the first step in picking a phone.
This argument has waged for over a decade, and it won’t end any time soon. For now, let’s just say that each has its advantages.
There’s more variety in Android phones, giving consumers a lot more choice – including unusual options like foldable phones or devices designed for gaming.
Certain hardware features also tend to be better on Android. The majority of modern Android phones charger faster – often a lot faster – than even the latest iPhones, and fast refresh rate displays have also become common. Look to the really top end and you’ll also find that by and large the best camera phones run Android, though Apple still has the edge when it comes to recording video.
On the other hand, Apple’s carefully controlled ecosystem means iPhones often have fewer bugs and inconsistencies than Android devices, and there’s a level of polish to both the software and hardware that few Android rivals match. Apple’s long-term software support also outstrips the vast majority of Android.
This is a complicated question, and every manufacturer approaches it differently. If you live in Europe or Asia, you’ll likely find that most – albeit not all – Android phones launch where you live. Markets such as Africa and South America get a slightly different selection, while in North America there are only very few brands, with almost none of the Chinese manufacturers.
Ultimately, each manufacturer has to decide which markets will be profitable for them, which comes down to a combination of market sizes, local regulations, and the power that networks have – in the US, for example, it’s the strict control carriers exert that keeps most Chinese companies out.
Anyron is Mobile Editor at Tech Advisor, where he’s been a mainstay of the editorial team since 2019. In his current role, Anyron is responsible for all smartphone, tablet and mobile network coverage on the site. A BA Journalism graduate, he has experience with a wide range of consumer tech products and services, including smartphones, tablets, foldables, wearables and more.
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