Between work emails, catching up with friends, and social media, most of us spend hours of time on our phones each day, making it even more logical that we invest in a quality device. And while there’s no shortage of studies telling us to spend less time on our smartphones, one surprising piece of research finds time spent scrolling may not be entirely wasted after all. A recent study suggests that smartphones can actually enhance productivity if used in a focused, “mindful” fashion. The research found that mindful use of smartphones, without necessarily minimizing screen time, enhances productivity.
Another study found that using smartphones may actually help to improve a person’s memory skills as well, instead of making them lazy or forgetful. Researchers from University College London say digital devices can store important information, which frees up our brains to remember other things. The team adds that using a phone as an “external memory” not only helps people remember what’s stored in the phone, but also helps them remember unsaved information as well.
Investing in a smartphone that operates quickly and smoothly can help you get your day-to-day tasks done fuss-free. That way, you can spend less time on the phone with IT and more time on the things that are most important to you. Taking quality, user-friendliness, features, and price-point into consideration, StudyFinds set out to find the best Android phones. We visited 10 of the leading expert websites to find the models most frequently recommended by reviewers. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Android Phones, According To Expert Sites
Samsung has been improving the Galaxy Ultra formula for the past few years, and it may have peaked with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. “Samsung’s biggest, newest flagship is a masterpiece of design, with a powerful processor, exceptional camera, beautiful display, and many more appealing features. While the price is high, it’s a phone that’s sure to serve you well — and last for years to come,” says Digital Trends.
“The Galaxy S23 is a lot, but in a good way. It’s more than most people need in a phone, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Samsung made improvements to the camera’s resolution (200 megapixels compared with 108 megapixels), color tones, and dynamic range, while retaining the same edgy design and massive 6.8-inch screen as its predecessor. There’s also a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that’s been optimized specifically for Samsung’s phones, which brings faster performance compared with the Galaxy S22 Ultra,” states CNET.
“The device comes with arguably the best-looking display on the market with excellent brightness and a quad-camera setup on the rear that’s headlined by a high-resolution 200MP camera. Plus, it still features an integrated S Pen stylus for notetaking, sketching, and more. That’s only the tip of the iceberg, of course,” offers ZDNET.
The Pixel 8 Pro is no longer the highest-tier flagship that Google offers; that would be the Pixel Fold, but it’s still the company’s most refined device yet. “The 6.7-inch model is now fitted with a more uniform and curved glass-to-aluminum body and sees an updated Google Tensor G3 chip at the helm. With the new processor, the Pixel 7 Pro gets a boost in efficiency, performance, and a series of AI features like context-aware Call Screening responses, the ability to summarize and translate bodies of text, and even support for simultaneous voice-to-text input with multiple languages,” says ZDNET.
“The Pixel 8 Pro is a bigger jump than its similar design would leave you to believe. From the matte glass back and flat-edged display to the improvements to the camera lineup, there’s plenty of space where this phone shines. But the real improvements are found in the software. Google is all-in on AI enhancements to their apps, and it’s really starting in full-force with this device,” boasts Android Police.
“Thanks to the Tensor G3 chip, updated sensors, and a host of new AI-powered features, the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have even more to offer for both photography and everyday use. The new Magic Editor makes it astonishingly easy to remove distracting objects from your pics, while the Audio Magic Eraser cuts down on annoying ambient sound in videos,” states Engadget.
The Pixel 8 has guaranteed security updates through fall 2030. “It offers the best version of Android, and it has one of the best smartphone cameras we’ve ever tested. It also has excellent build quality and costs less than Apple’s latest iPhones,” explains NY Times.
“This is the no-brainer choice if you want a high-quality Android phone for under $800 right now. And it’s a particularly good option if you like to keep your phone for a long time given that Google is committing to seven years of OS updates,” says PC Mag.
“The Pixel 8 comes with just a couple of key upgrades over the Pixel 7, and it misses out on several higher-end features on the 8 Pro, like a telephoto lens. But its combination of price, features, and the promise of seven years of OS updates makes it the best mainstream Android phone to buy right now,” states The Verge.
The Pixel 7A comes very close to being the perfect phone for everyone. “It has a powerful processor—Tensor G2—to run demanding games and zip through dozens of apps with ease. New in this model is an upgraded 64-megapixel camera and a 13-megapixel ultrawide that take better photos than most other phones its price (and some pricier ones too). The 6.1-inch OLED screen is a nice size that’s not too large and not too small, and it gets decently bright. Don’t forget the smooth 90-Hz screen too! Then there’s wireless charging and the IP67 water resistance rating,” says Wired.
“For a fraction of the cost of Google’s Pixel Pro, the Pixel 7a gives you a near-similar smartphone experience. I daily-drove the mid-range Pixel for two weeks and kept asking myself whether a ‘Pro’ phone was even a necessity anymore,” states ZDNET.
“Since the Pixel 3a debuted, mid-range phones have become hard to ignore, and the same can be said of the Pixel 7a. We already loved the 6a, but this upgrades everything to make the best Pixel A-series device yet. The display is finally 90Hz, wireless charging has made its appearance, and Tensor G2, the same chip from the flagship Pixels, has made its way down to this device,” shares the Android Police.
The Z Fold 5 has some great improvements over its predecessor, making it one of the best folding phones you can buy. “Despite the hinge change, the size of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the same. You still have a 6.2-inch cover display with 2316 x 904-pixel resolution, and the inner display is 7.6 inches with 2176 x 1812 resolution. Both screens have a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, so everything looks great. You also get Flex Mode when watching videos, and this time you get the controls on the lower half of the screen for convenience,” says Digital Trends.
“The Galaxy Z Fold 5 might not feel as exciting as previous foldables, but what worked well last year still works well on Samsung’s latest release. This year’s big improvement is a new hinge that allows the entire phone to fold flat for a thinner, lighter chassis. It’s a change you’ll only notice if you’re coming from an older Z-series phone — and, frankly, no one with a Z Fold 4 or even a Z Fold 3 in decent shape should upgrade — but it’s a welcome improvement nonetheless,” shares Android Police.
“On the latest model, not only has Samsung added two new gestures for launching into side-by-side multitasking or switching from a full screen to a windowed app, but it has also increased the number of recent apps you can see on the taskbar from two to four. The Z Fold 5’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset also delivers faster performance than on the Pixel Fold, and even though this Samsung phone has a smaller power cell (4,400 mAh vs 4,800 mAh), it has better battery life, too,” says Engadget.
The triple camera systems on the Galaxy are the highlight, delivering remarkable results whether it’s day or night, and there are plenty of modes and controls to get the look you want. “If you want a no-compromises best-of-the-best kind of smartphone, then look no further than Samsung’s Galaxy S23 range (9/10, WIRED Recommends). Whether you opt for the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23, the 6.6-inch S23+, or the massive 6.8-inch S23 Ultra, these phones are chock-full of high-end features, from the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that keeps even the most demanding games running beautifully to the fluid and bright 120-Hz AMOLED displays. Battery life has improved across the board, with the S23 comfortably lasting more than a day and the S23 Ultra hitting nearly two full days with average use,” says Wired.
“Android fans looking for a petite phone don’t have much to choose from. But the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23 provides a compelling option for those who want a phone that feels compact but still provides enough screen space. The Galaxy S23 comes with routine upgrades like a fresh processor (a version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that’s been optimized for Samsung’s phones), a slightly new design, and a higher-resolution selfie camera,” shares CNET.
“The Galaxy S23 has the same powerful processor as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but its compact frame and smaller display make it easier to use,” explains NY Times.
Expert sites share that the success of the OnePlus 11 phone starts with its hardware. “This phone is a combination of a stainless steel frame and glass back resulting in a phone that feels wonderful to hold. The rear camera housing takes some getting used to, but it’s bold, distinct, and stands out from the crowd. The best part? After removing it from the OnePlus 10T, the OnePlus 11 brings back the alert slider — and it’s just as great as ever,” says Digital Trends.
“It’s got a stunning 120-Hz 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, nice stereo speakers, and a reliable battery that easily lasts more than a full day. Even the Hasselblad-tuned cameras produce some nice results, and OnePlus is now matching Samsung with a promise of four years of Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates (though these are bimonthly instead of monthly). It’s not all rosy though. There’s no wireless charging, no support for millimeter-wave 5G, and the water resistance is only IP64 when nearly every phone at this price has an IP67 rating (rated to survive submersions). The overall software interface also isn’t my favorite. But hey, at least it’s pretty! It works on all three major US networks,” shares Wired.
“The $700 OnePlus 11 is a powerful phone that’s well equipped to handle gaming, video streaming and other common tasks. In typical OnePlus fashion, this phone is also cheaper than the $800 Galaxy S23 and $900 Pixel 7 Pro. The cameras aren’t the best, but they’re fine for casual photographers who just want to capture their next vacation or a night out,” shares CNET.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.