Best Android Phone – HardwareZone.com.sg

Best Android Phone - HardwareZone.com.sg

Best Android Phones

(This article is one of 16 parts in our Tech Awards 2024: Editor’s Choice content series.)

Best Android Smartphone

Modern phones are arguably the most important piece of technology a person can have. It’s not hyperbole to say that a phone represents your digital self, since it’s the main form of access to our loved ones, our livelihoods, the communities we thrive in, and the online world.

Here, we look at some of the latest phones money can buy and share why we think they stand out among all the possible options. The variety of recent (Q1 2023 to Q2 2024) high-quality Android mobiles available meant we had to classify them into two categories, for two different budgets.

Best Android smartphone

Best Premium Smartphone

The expectations of premium smartphones have only gotten higher with each passing year. No longer is it enough to have colour-accurate displays, class-leading photography, an all-day battery life, and glitch-free software. The rise of generative artificial intelligence has only widened the gap between the greats and the greatest. That doesn’t even consider the year-round campaigns and discounts, trying to make the average user pick them over the other equally deserving rivals.

These smartphones are difficult to assess: an average user won’t likely use half of the features available to premium handsets. But, that hasn’t stopped people from buying the best there is.

To make the cut for HWZ’s Tech Awards, the Best Premium Smartphone has to be announced and/or released in 2023 (after our previous Awards assessment) to April 2024. 

The qualification for Best Premium Smartphone is typically priced at S$1,500 or higher, or it has to be the phone brand’s flagship offering. They come with the brand’s all-out effort in software, partnerships, features, and components, to woo those who only want the best.

Nominees:

Note: While Honor Magic6 Pro retails below S$1,500, it qualifies as a premium smartphone option because it’s the brand’s most advanced model, with genuine blue flagship components inside and out.

And the winner is…

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

We think all the contenders in the premium category deserved the win, because they all satisfy what consumers look for in a premium smartphone. Our reviews, benchmarks, and conclusions for each device were as clear about that, too.

But if you had to twist our arm for an answer, then, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra won because it’s the only model here to pack a full-feature stylus that works across its core and fringe features.

Also, while it was partly Google’s effort, Galaxy AI was a testament to Samsung’s partnership strength, where it debuted a Google-made feature (Circle To Search) even before Google itself.

Samsung also gave us amazing generative on-device and cloud AI features, showing that the Koreans had the creativity, resources, and expertise to create and refashion generative AI tools that made sense for the mass market, instead of simply cramming said features to check a box.

The combination of these unique properties and the brand’s matured phone ecosystem and beautiful physical build gave it the edge needed to tout an unmatched “full package” phone.

The Google Pixel 8 Pro could’ve stood a chance, but it had to make way for a superior performance on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and (we think) it also lost points on design. The other two didn’t have the necessary AI features to trounce Samsung, even if their imaging quality, physical build, and price points were more than a match against the Koreans.

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Samsung managed to defy expectations with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but that has only set itself up for greater expectations in its next model. Can it keep the momentum going, or will others also outpace it with AI offerings? That’s a problem for the next awards season. Now, congratulations are in order for Samsung, for the win was well-deserved.

Check out our full review for more details.

Note: You can buy the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the official Samsung Online Store, Amazon, Shopee, Lazada, KrisShop, Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Gain City, and Harvey Norman.











Scoring Breakdown

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Honor Magic6 Pro Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Xiaomi 14 Ultra

Design 8.5

7.5

9.0 7.0
Features 8.5 8.0 9.0 8.5
User-friendliness 9.0 8.0 8.5 8.5
Performance 8.0 9.0 10.0 9.0
Value 7.0

9.0

8.5 8.0
Overall 8.0

8.5

9.0 8.5
Price From S$1,549 From S$1,399 From S$1,928 From S$1,699

*Note: Prices and ratings listed are accurate during individual product evaluation. Street prices might be lower at the time of awards recognition. Scores may have been adjusted to reflect relative ratings to other products launched later or sooner.

For more details on how we rated our nominees and to learn about our experience with each device, check out the full reviews and articles listed in the References section below. In the meantime, here’s how the other nominees fared in a snapshot.

Google Pixel 8 Pro – Best for Pure Android Experience

Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Very few brands would do Android smartphones better than Google itself, and the Pixel 8 Pro is the device that helps set the standard for the rest. Pixel AI and its features inspired other brands to create generative AI functionality on smartphones. Its clean user interface, extended guarantees for firmware and security updates, regular Pixel Feature Drops that add new software-based features, and all-around excellent battery life, imaging, and display, are what make Google Pixel 8 Pro the next obvious choice. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: You can get Google Pixel 8 Pro from the Google Store (Singapore), Amazon, Challenger, Courts, Shopee, Singtel, and Sprint-Cass at Changi Airport Terminals 1, 2, and 3.

Honor Magic6 Pro – Best Value

Honor Magic6 Pro.

Imagine going back to the flagship basics, where you get a combination of an excellent processor, display, camera combo, and a user interface that’s simple and clean. That exists in the Honor Magic6 Pro with its class-leading 2024 processor (Snapdragon 8 Gen 3), a 6.8-inch LTPO AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, and powerful triple rear camera with excellent detail retention on all three modules. It even has all the bells and whistles that are a must for premium devices, like waterproofing (IP68), fast charging (80W), and wireless fast charging (66W).

Best of all, it’s Honor’s flagship offering, yet it costs a few hundred under the typical premium categorisation. Make no mistake: if it were any other brand, they’d likely want to charge more than S$1,500 for this. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: You can get the Honor Magic6 Pro at Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Gain City, Shopee and Lazada storefronts, and its TikTok shop.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra – Best Photography

Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

While the others duke it out with generative AI and cut-throat pricing, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra stands out in other ways. Besides having a true blue premium processor (Snapdragon 8 Gen 3) and all-around great battery, display, and charging perks, it also goes beyond with its hyper-exclusive Leica partnership for its rear cameras. After a few attempts, we think Xiaomi 14 Ultra was the Leica-branded phone it always wanted to make.

The cherry on top? HyperOS is a much more refined follow-up to MIUI, and we think it will only be even better for Xiaomi as the brand acclimatises to premium market competition. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: Get the Xiaomi 14 Ultra at the official Lazada store and official Shopee store.

Best High-end Android Smartphone

Some discerning phone users would know that you can afford to leave out features or specs you don’t need in favour of a lower retail price. The keenest among us would also pay attention to the components used and quality delivered, spawning a whole generation of “flagship-lite” and midrange alternatives that can even give the premium equivalents a run for their money.

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The qualification for Best High-end Android Smartphone is typically priced around S$1,000, or it has to be the phone brand’s midrange/flagship-lite offering.  Phones in this range consist of multiple specifications or features adopted from their highest-end mobiles. While they may equal the premium alternatives in some areas, they don’t always come with all the bells and whistles offered in the pricier tier.

Nominees:

Note: While the Samsung Galaxy S24 base version was close to S$1,000, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE was a better match in price point (below S$1,000) and categorisation (flagship-lite variant inside mainline Galaxy S series). Xiaomi 14 qualified at a price point under S$1,000. Google Pixel 8a was launched after the cut-off date of April 2024.

And the winner is…

Xiaomi 14.

When getting the full package for just under S$1,000, the Xiaomi 14 has to be the standout option. What helped it clinch the win wasn’t only its Leica optimisations for imaging, a leading-edge processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3), or having all the other components and features equal to flagship-tier phones (it is a flagship device priced like a high-end one, after all).

We think the change to a more refined Xiaomi HyperOS from its old and janky MIUI also helped earn points and put the phone in higher standing with us.

Honestly, Nothing Phone (2) was in the running for having a complete package, too, with impressive camera work and similar high-end components. Still, it had to take second place when the Xiaomi 14 was announced in late 2023 and launched in early 2024, thanks to Xiaomi 14 packing the latest and greatest components at an identical starting price.

Google Pixel 8 was also a worthy contender, especially with Pixel AI features being much more capable than the Xiaomi 14. Still, the Pixel was eclipsed by Xiaomi 14 in the performance department and further trounced by fast charging; the latest connectivity options (Bluetooth 5.4, Wi-Fi 7 support, etc.) offered the same IP68 water-and-dust resistance.

Congratulations to Xiaomi for an impressive, attractive handset. Who said you had to settle for less just because you pay less? Not them.

Check out our full review for more details.

Note: You can buy Xiaomi 14 from its official Lazada and Shopee platforms.











Scoring Breakdown

Google Pixel 8

Nothing Phone (2) OPPO Reno11 Pro

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Xiaomi 14
Design 8.5

9.0

8.5 7.5 8.0
Features 9.0 8.0 7.5 7.5 8.0
User-friendliness 9.0 8.5 7.0 8.0 8.5
Performance 8.0 9.0 7.5 7.5 9.5
Value 8.0

9.0

8.0 8.0 9.5
Overall 8.5

9.0

8.0 7.5 9.0
Price From S$899 From S$999 From S$899 From S$888 From S$999

*Note: Prices and ratings listed are accurate during individual product evaluation. Street prices might be lower at the time of awards recognition. Scores may have been adjusted to reflect relative ratings to other products launched later or sooner.

For more details on how we rated our nominees and to learn about our experience with each device, check out the full reviews and articles listed in the References section below. In the meantime, here’s how the other nominees fared in a snapshot.

Google Pixel 8 – Best for Pure Android Experience

Google Pixel 8.

Is it worth trading out one telephoto camera to save half a grand? That is the value proposition of the Google Pixel 8, which is just as capable as the ، Google Pixel 8 Pro in every other way.

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Besides a smaller 6.2-inch display size with a 4,575mAh battery capacity, the only notable difference is a slightly different ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 8. You’re still getting a 60-120Hz AMOLED screen, a long battery life for its size, and the same main camera quality. It also receives nearly all the software updates to its AI and non-AI features that the Pro gets.

If you’re a fan of good value and refuse to give up on getting flagship-tier goodness, Google Pixel 8 should stay on your radar. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: You can get Google Pixel 8 from the Google Store (Singapore), Amazon, Challenger, Courts, Shopee, Singtel, and Sprint-Cass at Changi Airport Terminals 1, 2, and 3.

Nothing Phone (2) – Best Style and Design

Nothing Phone (2).

The Nothing Phone (2) was running for the win until newer phones came around. That’s because it was leading against other midrange and flagship-lite alternatives in so many ways, like its premium-grade processor (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1) that also gave it excellent battery life, a beautiful 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, and a powerful 50MP main camera that could punch above its weight.

What set it apart from the rest is the highly customizable Glyph Interface, which offered LED customisation similar to mobile phones from the 2000s, and Nothing’s take on it worked well for their relevant notifications. It was far more refined than any LED case you could’ve bought back then.

All that at S$999 at launch, and it’s still available? This is rightfully a high-end Android smartphone. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: Nothing Phone (2) is available via the official Nothing platforms, such as Nothing’s Singapore website, Shopee, Lazada and other retailers like Challenger.

OPPO Reno11 Pro – Best Photography

OPPO Reno11 Pro.

OPPO Reno11 Pro excels not just because of its continually updated ColorOS user interface, or because the Reno series always remembers to give its best effort in making an aesthetically pleasing handset. It also offers a large 6.7-inch OLED screen (60-120Hz refresh rate), large base storage (512GB) to make it more attractive among midrange competition.

Where it eclipses the rest is its camera performance. It fares exceptionally well in non-portraiture and is simply stunning when photographing a human subject. It also has an 2x optical telephoto camera (that is by no means less impressive than its main camera), even when most flagship phones would forgo a telephoto in their base model.

If you cannot compromise on photo quality but still want to save some cash, the OPPO Reno11 Pro should be your first stop before other alternatives on the list. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: The OPPO Reno11 Pro can be found at  the OPPO online store, physical OPPO concept stores, as well as Shopee, Lazada, Qoo10, TikTok, iShopChangi, and other consumer electronic retailers.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE – Best for Samsung Enthusiasts

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.

Do you want a classic Samsung, but feel that their Galaxy S mainline is too expensive while their Galaxy A isn’t powerful enough for you? This is where the FE (fan edition) comes in.

Samsung has always created an FE variant of its mainline Galaxy S devices, where it gives you performance that’s closer to its mainline phones for not that much more than its midrange Galaxy A series.

The Galaxy S23 FE may not have a Qualcomm processor, but it excels in every other meaningful way: it has a 6.4-inch AMOLED (60-120Hz) display with a 50MP main camera on the rear and a metal frame to boot with a wonderful finish. It’s a solid phone that offers just enough Galaxy S mainline features for the same experience, minus the insane starting prices. Check out our full review for more details.

Note: You can find the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE at the Samsung Official Store, telcos Singtel, StarHub and M1, the Samsung official outlets on Lazada and Shopee, iShopChangi, and other online versions of major electronics retailers.

 

References:

(This article is one of 16 parts in our Tech Awards 2024: Editor’s Choice content series.

منبع: https://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/feature-best-android-smartphone