Best Android phone - which should you buy?

The top Android phones compared

Best Android phone   which should you buy

Our verdict on the best Android phones - constantly updated

The Nexus 6 is incoming on this list - check back soon to see where it lands!

There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.

Samsung makes loads of them. Sony's cut the Ericsson ties but still is cranking out the Google-branded handsets. Then you've got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei, Motorola, ZTE and many others, and while HTC has ceased the practice of releasing more phones than centipedes have shoes (they do wear them, you know) it's still one of the most prominent Android manufacturers.

The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.

To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.

So here they are - the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.

10. Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung hasn't had a great track record when it comes to the design of its smartphones, but the Samsung Galaxy Alpha has changed all that with a classy design that befits its premium price tag.

It's not just a pretty face either, with some pretty cutting edge specifications that make the Galaxy Alpha one of the best-performing handsets on the market. It comes with Samsung's own Exynos 5 Octa processor that cleverly switches between four low-power processor cores and four supercharged ones depending on the task you're performing.

The Galaxy Alpha also includes 2GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED 720p screen and a 1,860mAh battery.

Quick verdict

The Galaxy Alpha is Samsung's most desirable handset yet, with a stylish design that we hope influences future devices. It comes with an impressive spec list, though there have been some compromises made regarding the camera and 720p display, which is a shame considering its high price tag.

9. Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5

The Google Nexus 5 is certainly a phone for the Android purists, as well as anyone who wants a flagship handset, but doesn't fancy parting with hundreds and hundreds of hard earned pounds.

Android 4.4 KitKat (and a hinted-at upgrade to Android 5.0 Lollipop), a full HD 4.95-inch display, quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM means the Nexus 5 is set up nicely to please most users, but it's not without its flaws.

First up there's the average battery life which means it struggles to last a whole day, while the 8MP camera on the rear offers up substandard performance for what is essentially a top-end handset.

Quick verdict

If you're after a top Android handset, but don't have the budget to stretch to the likes of the HTC One M8 or Sony Xperia Z3, then you can't really go too wrong with the Google Nexus 5.

8. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an excellent phone, that's why it continues to make it into the top ten, and it's jam packed full of tech to keep you on the cutting edge.

It's got a fantastic 5.1-inch display, super fast Snapdragon 801 processor and a high performing 16MP camera.

There are also some more unusual additions including a fingerprint scanner hidden beneath the home key, a dust and waterproof chassis and a heart rate monitor on the back - pretty pointless but fun to show off.

The Galaxy S5 loses marks for its all plastic design which results in it feeling a little toy like, and the heavy TouchWiz UI which comes with a whole heap of bloatware.

Quick verdict

If you opt for the Galaxy S5 you will be very happy with what you get - especially if you're a Samsung fan - but it you want something which feels as premium as its price tag take a look at some of the better ranking entries.

7. OnePlus One

OnePlus One

It's probably safe to say that the OnePlus One took almost everyone by surprise. It arrived with little fanfare from a new company, yet it turns out it's one of the top ten Android phones on the planet.

With a full HD 5.5 inch display, 2.5GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM it's got the specs to compete with anything else out there, but what really makes it stand out is the price, because at just £229 SIM-free it beats out the Nexus 5 as the best value high end phone available.

In fact it's roughly half the price of competitors like the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5, so with that in mind it's easy to forgive the lack of a microSD card slot and the questionable call quality, and with its tweakable CyanogenMod OS it's even a little bit different.

Quick Verdict

When it comes to sheer value for money it's hard to beat the OnePlus One. Its build might not be as high end as the HTC One M8 but for what it costs we're surprised it even has a screen.

Speaking of the screen, it might be a little on the large side for some users and price aside the phone isn't quite up to the standards of the HTC One M8, LG G3 or the Sony Xperia Z3, but it sure comes close.

6. Moto X (2014)

Moto X

2014's edition of the Moto X might have the same name as 2013's version, but thankfully Motorola has been more creative with the specs of its latest flagship than with its name.

Motorola has boosted the hardware in a number of key areas for the latest Moto X. It has a larger 5.2-inch 1080p screen, an improved 13-megapixel camera, and some handy new pre-installed apps – which is something we don't usually say about apps that come with smartphones.

It's also due to get an upgrade to Google' new Android 5.0 Lollipop mobile operating system. Powering all of this is some pretty decent hardware including a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM. The Moto X comes in 16GB and 32GB flavours, which should be just about enough for most but remember: there's no expandable storage.

Quick verdict

The name might not have changed, but there have been improvements where it counts with Motorola's latest flagship phone. Customer feedback has influenced a number of aspects of the new and improved Moto X, with the handset sporting a bigger screen and aluminium metal frame alongside a seriously competitive price.

It's not perfect, with the camera still average and a lack of a micro SD card slot, but the Moto X does a great job of earning its place in our top ten.