If you’re in the market for a new Android phone, you owe it to yourself to make sure it’s an Android One device. Phones that are part of Google’s Android One program come with a couple of significant benefits, including stock builds of the latest version of Android and guaranteed software updates/security patches. There are a lot of great Android One phones out there, but if you ask us, the Nokia 7.1 is the best you can get.
Best Overall: Nokia 7.1
Out of all the Android One phones you can buy in the U.S., our top pick has to be the Nokia 7.1. The HMD Global-led Nokia brand has been kicking out a lot of great smartphones over the last couple of years, and for the North American market, the 7.1 has stood out as the best offering yet.
Nokia phones have a legacy for being built incredibly well, and point holds 100% true with the 7.1. It has a durable aluminum frame with a sleek glass back that looks and feels incredible. Around front, the 5.84-inch display is a joy to look at. Not only is it crisp with a resolution of 2220×1080, but its ability to natively play HDR10 content and convert SDR videos into HDR ones means everything is brimming with color and vibrancy at all times.
What else helps the Nokia 7.1 stand out? Its battery life is fantastic, an NFC chip enables contactless payments with Google Pay, USB-C is used for charging, and you can expand the generous 64GB of base storage up to an additional 400GB if you plan on storing a bunch of local files.
There aren’t many downsides to the Nokia 7.1, but we will point out that the dual rear cameras are simply OK and that the bottom bezel below the screen is on the large side of things. Other than that, this is a stellar handset.
- Premium glass/metal build
- HDR10 display
- Small notch
- Great battery
- 64GB of expandable storage
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Large bottom bezel
- Rear cameras are fine
- $349 at Amazon
The best Android One phone you can buy.
If you live in the U.S. and need a good, reliable phone that won’t break the bank, it’s hard to do much better than the Nokia 7.1.
Best Value: Nokia 4.2
There’s no denying that the Nokia 7.1 is a fantastic piece of tech, but at the same time, we also understand that it still might cost too much for a new phone. If you’d prefer to keep your budget even lower, our top recommendation goes to the Nokia 4.2.
One of the newest Android One phones to hit the scene, the Nokia 4.2 packs serious value. It has a 5.7-inch screen with a small waterdrop notch, face unlock, and a metal + glass design that looks and feels just as good as phones that cost hundreds of dollars more.
Speaking of its design, the Nokia 4.2 has some unexpected flair that we dig. There’s a dedicated button for prompting the Google Assistant, along with an LED notification light that wraps around the power button. How neat is that?
Specs-wise, the Nokia 4.2 is also packing the capable Snapdragon 439 processor, 32GB of expandable storage (up to 400GB), a fingerprint sensor, and NFC for Google Pay. The display isn’t the sharpest at just 720p HD and the older Micro-USB charging port is irritating, but for the price, it’s hard to complain too much.
- Durable, flashy design
- Google Assistant button
- Notification light
- Waterdrop notch
- NFC chip for Google Pay
- Dual rear cameras
- 720p display resolution
- 32GB internal storage
- $190 at Amazon
The best value Android One phone.
The Nokia 4.2 is a budget phone done right. It’s built well, has more than capable specs, and excellent software for a price your wallet will love.
Best for Photography: Nokia 9 PureView
For a lot of people, the camera is one of the most important factors when buying a new phone. While all of the phones on this list have cameras that are more than adequate for sharing things on Twitter and Instagram, the Nokia 9 PureView is worth a look if you want to take your photography game to the next level.
Outfitted with a total of five cameras on the back, three of which are dedicated monochrome sensors while the other two capture color images, the Nokia 9 PureView manages to capture an insane amount of detail and light data with each shot you take. The automatic shooting mode is fine, but the real magic happens when you shoot in manual/RAW. This is a camera that requires a bit more work than most other phones, but if you put in the time/effort, you can capture some truly gorgeous photos.
Outside of the camera experience, the Nokia 9 PureView also delivers with its big OLED display, stunning design, and surprisingly great haptics — something that’s still far too rare with most Android phones. We do wish it was powered by the newer Snapdragon 855 chipset and not the older 845, and the in-screen fingerprint sensor can be a pain in the butt.
If you can overlook those complaints, however, the Nokia 9 PureView is a unique phone that could be well worth the investment for some folks.
- Unique five camera system
- Lots of manual photo controls
- Colorful OLED display
- Striking glass design
- Great haptic feedback
- Slow in-display fingerprint sensor
- Using 2018’s flagship processor
- Weak speaker
Best for Photography
Nokia 9 PureView
- $700 at B&H
The best Android One phone for photography
Although it is expensive, the Nokia 9 PureView is a flagship Android One phone that can really help take your photography to the next level.
Best Moto: Motorola One Vision
The first Motorola One was a reliable Android One device that did the basics well, but from a design standpoint, wasn’t very exciting. With the Motorola One Vision, Motorola retains that focus of giving you a no-nonsense handset that can do everything you ask of it while having a bit of pizazz.
Without a doubt, the most striking part about the One Vision is its 21:9 display. This is much narrower and taller than the majority of phones out there, giving it a much more cinematic experience when watching movies or playing games. It also looks great with a resolution of 2520×1080.
The Android One software experience on the One Vision is as clean as ever, but you also get some of Motorola’s outstanding custom additions like Moto Display, twisting the phone twice to open the camera, and more. Specs-wise, you also benefit from a 48-megapixel (MP) rear camera, USB-C for charging, and 128GB of built-in storage that can be further expanded up to 512GB.
There is a slight catch, however. While you can buy the Motorola One Vision in the U.S., it’s not officially sold here. That means two things — 1) It’ll work on AT&T and T-Mobile, but your LTE connections might not be as strong in rural areas or crowded buildings. 2) The phone does not come with a warranty.
- Super narrow 21:9 display
- Motorola’s excellent software features
- 48MP rear camera
- Plastic construction
- Meh cameras
- Doesn’t support all U.S. LTE bands
Motorola One Vision
- $375 at Amazon
The best Android One phone from Motorola.
Outfitted with a unique 21:9 display, the Motorola One Vision delivers Android One in a very flashy, very affordable package we think you’ll love.
Best Xiaomi Phone: Xiaomi Mi A2
Similar to the Motorola One Vision, the Xiaomi Mi A2 is an international phone that’s being sold in the U.S. even though it’s not officially supported here. You get the same wonk that comes with the One Vision, but similar to it, there’s enough good here to overlook that and still consider picking it up.
For starters, Xiaomi did an excellent job with the Mi A2’s hardware. The aluminum design is clean, simple, and feels substantial in all the right ways. The 2160×1080 LCD display looks fantastic, too, offering good colors and sharpness. As for the cameras, the dual 12MP + 20MP sensors can capture some gorgeous photos — both in daylight and nighttime settings. Add that together with excellent performance and battery life, and the Mi A2 is a dream for its super-low price.
As much as we love the phone, however, there are a few drawbacks Xiaomi had to make in order to get the A2 as cheap as it is. The hardware as a whole is great, but it is a bummer that it’s missing expandable storage, NFC for Google Pay, and a headphone jack. Depending on your wants/needs, those omitted features will either be deal-breaker or not matter at all.
- Clean industrial design
- Excellent cameras
- Solid display
- Good performance
- Storage isn’t expandable
- Doesn’t support Google Pay
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- Lacks some U.S. LTE bands
Best Xiaomi Phone
Xiaomi Mi A2
- $160 at Amazon
Xiaomi’s best Android One phone.
What’s not to like about the Xiaomi Mi A2? It has a fantastic design, powerful specs across the board, and a seriously great camera.
Best in India: Nokia 8.1
Last but not least, let’s talk about the Nokia 8.1. This is a robust, good-looking handset that we’d kill to have, but as it stands, you can’t buy it in North America. However, if you live in India, you’re in for a real treat.
The Nokia 8.1 is one of the most powerful phones in Nokia’s lineup, featuring specs such as the powerful Snapdragon 710 processor, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and an impressive 3,500 mAh battery. Also included is USB-C for charging, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC if you want to use Google Pay.
We love the 6.18-inch 2280×1080 LCD display on the Nokia 8.1, but its large notch does look a little out of place in 2019. Also, for this kind of money, it would have been great to have an official IP rating for water resistance.
- Fast, reliable performance
- Exquisite design
- Battery lasts up to two days
- Capable rear cameras
- Large notch
- Doesn’t have water resistance
Best in India
- ₹18,970 at Amazon India
The best Android One phone in India.
For our readers in India, one of the best Android One phones is the Nokia 8.1. Its specs, design, and features are all top notch.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Android One phones on this list, but at the end of the day, the Nokia 7.1 is our top pick.
I had the chance to use the phone last year, and the thing that stuck out to me the most was how well it’s built. Nothing about the Nokia 7.1’s design makes it feel like a $349 handset. Instead, it feels like a proper, much more expensive flagship.
As you start using the phone and get to appreciate its gorgeous display, long-lasting battery, and features such as NFC for Google Pay, the whole experience comes together to create a genuinely fantastic phone that should last you for years to come.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring Joe is Android Central’s News Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He’s been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email to [email protected]s.com!