There’s so many different brands, types and models of phones out there that it’s difficult to get your bearings and know what’s what – especially when prices range between $100 and $2,000! Luckily, most phones on the market have one factor in common – the Android operating system.
You’ll find most phones out there use this operating system, with few exceptions apart from Apple devices. Most of the big-name phone manufacturers – including Samsung, OPPO, Google, and Motorola – use Android, meaning customers can enjoy a similar user experience across multiple devices and brands.
Phones can be a big and pricey commitment, but they don’t have to be a stressful one! In this article, we’ll take a look at the best Android phones available in Australia in 2021, including the best options at every price point.
What is Android?
Android is a device operating system owned by Google, and is the most common operating system seen on smartphones and tablets. The Android platform is found on a huge range of phones with Google architecture in place (notably the Google Play store and Google Assistant). Because of this you’ll find it on phones as cheap as $100, and as expensive as around $2000.
Although each version of Android is essentially the same across different devices, manufacturers often put their own spin on the operating system, adding in different layers of customisation, apps and more. Some Android phones will have features others won’t: although the operating system is a common factor among all Android phones, the hardware can vary greatly. Most importantly, iPhones are not Android phones, and instead run on Apple’s own operating system (iOS).
What is the best Android phone?
With so many phones on the market, it’s difficult to make a solid judgement on a phone being the ‘best’, especially when needs and priorities will vary from user to user. Instead, we’ve put together a list of Android phones for you to consider.
The below list compiles some of the best Android phones on the Australian market right now across budget, mid-range and luxury price ranges. For some of these phones we have provided specifications and reviews, which you can click the links to find.
Best Android phones: A quick summary
- Google Pixel 4A, $599
- OPPO Find X3 Lite, $749
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, $849
- LG Velvet, $899
- Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, $1,049
- Google Pixel 5, $999
- Google Pixel 4XL, $1,279
- Samsung Galaxy S21, $1,249
- Samsung Galaxy S21+, $1,549
- OPPO Find X3 Pro, $1,699
These are some of the most highly-rated phones of 2021. For most of these phones we’ve produced articles with our thoughts, however, you’ll find a consistent theme among these phones in that they’re reliable. Below you’ll find a table where you can buy some of these phones on a plan from various telcos.
The following table shows selected published 24-month plans for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
The following table shows a selection of published 24-month phone plans for the OPPO Find X2 Pro on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
The following table shows a selection of published 24-month phone plans for the Google Pixel 5 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
Best budget and mid-range Android phones (under $600)
Below you’ll find a selection of Android smartphones in the under-$500 range, including some brands you might not have heard of. Keep in mind that you should shop around for the phone that fits your needs, in terms of performance, ability and price.
|Phone||Price (Original RRP)||Pros & Cons|
|Alcatel 3L||$199||Great price and camera, but no NFC chip and a little slow|
|Realme C3||$269||Great phone with a great battery, but a disappointing camera|
|Motorola Moto G8||$329||Good performance and battery life, but a lacking screen and camera|
|Realme 6||$469||Great battery life with a nice display, but an average camera|
|Google Pixel 4A||$599||Great camera and price, but lacks facial recognition|
Best mid-to-high-range Android phones (under $1,100)
Below you’ll find some of the best mid-range to high-end phones available in 2021. These phones are great handsets in the $500-$1100 price range, and offer better performance and cameras than those in the budget category.
|Phone||Price (Original RRP)||Pros & Cons|
|OPPO Find X3 Lite||$749||Has 5G, great battery life, price and performance, but no IP rating.|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 FE||$849||Great performance and choice of colours, but a lacking camera and not a terrific screen.|
|LG Velvet||$899||5G, great performance with a slick design and screen, but lots of clutter in the operating system.|
|Google Pixel 5||$999||Terrific camera, price and refresh rate, but average battery life.|
|Samsung Galaxy A90 5G||$1,049||Has 5G and a nice screen, but poor camera performance.|
Best luxury Android phones (under $2000)
The following phones are some of the best luxury phones on the market right now. These are premium phones from premium brands, and have been released recently – don’t forget that while outright prices are steep, most of these phones are available on telco plans to spread the cost over 12, 24, or 36 months.
|Phone||Price (Original RRP)||Pros & Cons|
|Samsung Galaxy S21||$1,249||Nice feeling and camera, but not great battery life.|
|Google Pixel 4XL||$1,279||Great camera with a slick design, but poor battery life and quite expensive.|
|Samsung Galaxy S20||$1,349||Terrific battery life and feel, but no headphone jack and cameras lacking consistent performance. Also quite pricey.|
|Samsung Galaxy S21+||$1,549||Great design and a nice camera, but expensive and not great battery life.|
|OPPO Find X3 Pro||$1,699||5G phone with some terrific cameras, but with a lacking night mode and pricey.|
What should I look for in a phone?
There’s a few key points you should be looking for when you’re shopping around for a new phone, most notably;
The first thing to look out for is price, as it’s the main factor. Beyond the price, you should keep your eye out for performance – it’ll determine how responsive your phone is and how laggy it might be. Camera quality is also an important factor in buying a new phone, although it might not be too important to you. You’ll want a phone with a good megapixel (MP) count, and potentially multiple cameras. A big battery is also important to some people, and is often found in some cheaper phones.
Buying a new phone can be daunting, and it’s easy to get swept away in the complexities of comparing devices. We hope this article has helped you with your search for the best Android phone.
Best phone plans for Android devices
If you’re shopping around for a new phone, it’s always worth looking for a new postpaid or prepaid plan as well. Telcos frequently offer new phone plans with extra perks and data inclusions, and your current plan might be lagging behind if you haven’t had a look at the alternatives recently.
However, keep in mind that some of the phones on these lists are 5G-capable, and very few providers in Australia offer 5G – at this stage, only Telstra, Optus and Vodafone provide limited 5G mobile coverage. If you do plan on using 5G with a new phone, check your provider’s coverage maps before jumping on board.
Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use Canstar Blue’s phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans on offer from mobile providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.
Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.