Google officially joined the smartphone race as a hardware manufacturer back in 2016 when it launched its first Pixel series. The original Pixel phones proved to be a success and it was one of the best smartphones on the market. Since then, Google has launched several Pixel devices – also often called Google phones – which are all considered to be some of the best Android devices by many. Mainly because it’s still the only device that receives Android updates and security patches straight from Google, so there’s no need to wait half a year to receive an update. Although, it’s worth mentioning that Samsung has got a lot better and is now one of the best companies out there that provide timely updates for its flagship devices.
If you’re interested, we’ve also compiled a list of the best Samsung smartphones. In this guide however, we are going to take a look at the Best Google smartphones that can be picked up today. There aren’t that many devices, mainly because of how Google handles its inventory and its budget and high-end flagship devices.
Best Overall: Google Pixel 5 5G
Google’s latest flagship isn’t exactly a true flagship, at least in the sense of horsepower. The Pixel 5 comes with a midrange Snapdragon 765G 5G capable chipset and 8GB of memory. On paper, it’s a true mid-ranger, but it provides all of the power you might need on a daily basis, and it can also play games on medium settings. It has a large 6-inch OLED with a 90Hz refresh rate display. The built-in storage has also increased to 128GB and the battery is 4,080mAh capacity, providing you with a comfortable full day’s worth of power.
If you’re looking for a true stock Android experience with Google’s own take on it, the Google Pixel 5 is one of the best Google phones you can pick up today. It also has one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, and it now finally includes a wide-angle shooter on the rear.
If you’re someone who thinks having the latest Android update is very important, wants a perfect all-in-one device that simply does it all with one of the best cameras on the market, the Google Pixel 5 is a great choice.
Best for Most: Google Pixel 4a 5G
The Google Pixel 4a 5G is a cheaper sibling of the Google Pixel 5. It has most of the same specifications and even the same processor, but 6GB of memory, and a smaller 3,885mAh battery. Although the battery is smaller and the display is larger at 6.2-inches, it’s not a high refresh rate display, so the battery is just as good, if not better.
If you find the Pixel 5 a bit too expensive and want a slightly larger Pixel phone, the Pixel 4a 5G brings everything you could ask for. It even has the same Pixel 5 camera with wide-angle sensor and 5G capability.
If you’re looking for a Pixel 5 experience at a cheaper price, the Pixel 4a 5G offers most of the same features in a slightly more affordable package with very few drawbacks.
Best Affordable: Google Pixel 4a
One of the best and most affordable Google phones on the market is the Pixel 4a. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 730G chipset and 6GB of memory. It has a large 5.8-inch OLED display and a 3,140mAh battery capacity. It might not be a battery champion, but it can easily last you a day on a single charge.
One of the key features of this device is the camera. Because of its price point, it’s still one of the best phones for taking amazing images on a budget. It has a single 12.2MP camera, which is the same sensor that can be found on the Google Pixel 5, so rest assured, it’s one of the best point and shoot smartphones.
If you want the best camera in the budget category, the Google Pixel 4a is the best affordable mid-ranger.
Best Last Gen.: Google Pixel 4 XL
The Google Pixel 4 XL might feature an older high-end chipset, but on paper, it’s still more powerful than the more recent Google Pixel 5. If you are looking for raw power for gaming and graphics intensive tasks, it’s worth considering the Pixel 4 XL. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 855 chipset and 6GB of memory.
It has a large 6.3-inch P-OLED 90Hz refresh rate display and a 3,700mAh battery. While it can comfortably last a day, depending on the tasks you use, you may need a charger with you. From personal experience, the Pixel 4 XL could last me a full workday, and I only had to top it up mid-day if I was using it a lot with maximum brightness, while outside.
The camera is still flagship level, with a 12.2MP main sensor and a 16MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, and 8x digital. The optical zoom is enough to get a tiny bit closer to a subject, but luckily Google’s magic works wonders when the digital zoom is used, and it results in very usable images up to about 4x zoom. The Pixel 4 XL is still one of the best Google phones on the market that you can pick up today.
If you’re looking for a flagship experience on the cheap, the Pixel 4 XL can often be found discounted, for a very affordable price tag nowadays. It’s still a great option if you want power and you’re on a budget.
There are a few Google phones you can choose from, but if you’re a true power user, the Google Pixel 4 XL is still a more powerful device than the more recent Pixel 5. However the latter comes with an extra year of updates, if that’s something you care about. Both devices capture amazing images, both day and night, but the Pixel 5 has more enhancements and the wide angle is far more useful than the 2x telephoto camera on the Pixel 4 series, although this is subjective and you might think otherwise.
If you’re happy with a little bit less power, and also don’t want to play games in maximum settings, the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 4a are both excellent mid-ranger devices. Both are powerful enough for some light gaming, excellent devices to browse social media and surf the web all day long. Since they’re part of the Pixel lineup, they also come with the same amazing quality cameras, so rest assured the pictures you take will be some of the best.
Roland is a technology enthusiast and software engineer based in United Kingdom. He is also a content creator and writer, and is best known under the name “Techusiast”.