As an industry – and also as consumers – we often calculate the “best” as an obvious answer to a simple equation: more equals better. More cameras, more RAM, more check marks on a specs sheet. We flip flop between thinking the best is whatever’s most expensive and a similar product we somehow expect to be priced lower than it cost the manufacturer to make it.
Sometimes you get what you pay for – or more – and sometimes you overpay. Never has that been more evident than when a global pandemic coincides with the arrival of 5G silicon. These two factors, along with smartphones’ commodification, have conspired to push flagship prices even further northward.
As with many things, though, to get to the heart of the matter you have to dig a little deeper.
The best on paper isn’t much good if it all goes to pieces once it’s out of the box, and the most expensive thing isn’t necessarily the best. That’s why this year the raw data of Android Authority‘s objective testing has been combined with real-world considerations that can and often do affect what’s really the best.
Read more: The best Android phones
How we decided and why
To help us decide how objective performance fits in the grand scheme of things, we posed some additional questions to determine our overall Best of Android: Mid-2020 winner.
Is the product widely available through reputable channels? Can it be bought unlocked, through carriers, or both? Does the company have any meaningful customer service and support in place if something goes wrong? How likely are bugs to be fixed? Are there better-priced options available that do much the same thing or even more? What’s the build quality like? Are you guaranteed OS and security updates and how good, stable, and user-friendly is the software?
To calculate our overall winner, we combined the results of our objective testing with the admittedly complicated answers to the questions above. (If you’d like to see how the accumulated objective results played out, head to the bottom of this post) Once we combined the results of both objective and real-world considerations, we had enough data points to confidently crown the overall Best of Android: Mid-2020 winner.
Editor’s note: If you’re wondering why you don’t see your favorite phone here, remember that only major phones released in the first half of 2020 were included. Phones from late 2019 and those hitting shelves after June 30, 2020, were not eligible.
Best of Android: Mid-2020 Editor’s Choice winner – OnePlus 8 Pro
When all was said and done, we had a clear winner: the OnePlus 8 Pro. Sometimes the Best of Android comes down to a photo finish, but not this year. OnePlus’ controversially more-expensive 2020 flagship posted a convincing lead, even over the phone in second place overall, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.
As in previous years, Samsung ranked well not necessarily by winning anything outright but by consistently ranking very highly across the board.
But OnePlus was equally consistent, offers a better value proposition, and claimed outright victory in both our display and performance categories. That’s a very hard act to follow. The OnePlus 8 Pro also ranked very highly for software, design, and build quality (often only just ahead of the S20 series).
Sometimes it comes down to a photo finish, but not this year. The OnePlus 8 Pro won convincingly.
The S20 Plus did outrank the OnePlus 8 Pro in some of our additional categories, however, including availability and brand reputation/customer support. With any luck, these shortcomings might help provide a roadmap for what OnePlus should address in the future.
(If you want to see the top results for each of the additional categories we considered in order to crown our overall winner, head to the bottom of this post. You can also revisit each of our objective category posts, linked at the very bottom, for more on the rankings within those categories.)
Related: How OnePlus prices have changed over the years
What it all means
For a company that got its start by throwing everything it could at a specs sheet while maintaining a low price, the OnePlus 8 Pro proves that the best phone is more than just the sum of its parts. While many of us initially balked at the higher price tag, it’s hard to say it wasn’t justified with a result like this.
OnePlus promised a flagship killer years ago but never truly delivered on that promise until now. The OnePlus 8 Pro may cost three times more than the OnePlus One, but it’s still significantly cheaper than the Galaxy S20 Plus and to our reckoning, represents the better choice right now.
OnePlus promised a flagship killer years ago but never truly delivered on that promise until now.
The OnePlus 8 Pro taking out Best of Android: Mid-2020 is a testament to OnePlus’ rise from underdog enthusiast brand to world-class mainstream manufacturer. Few would have seriously expected OnePlus to go toe-to-toe with Samsung and win in just six short years. Samsung may still dominate on a global scale, but OnePlus clearly has a winning strategy on its hands.
Because no one ever agrees on everything – Oscar winners, Yanny/Laurel, the ending of The Sopranos, burgers vs. pizza – we’d love to hear what you think should’ve won or what other factors we should have considered. As smartphones evolve, so too must our evaluation of them, so your suggestions might just make it into the end-of-year awards.
But first, get ready to cast your vote for your favorite phone released in the first half of 2020 when our Best of Android: Mid-2020 Reader’s Choice voting kicks off on Sunday, July 19!
OnePlus 8 Pro Killer flagship
OnePlus is all grown up. With the OnePlus 8 Pro, you get an unabashed flagship, with all the bells and whistles. Powerful specs, an amazing display, fast wireless charging, and water resistance make the OnePlus 8 Pro a great alternative to the Galaxy S20 Plus, and it’s up to $300 cheaper.
Since the June 30 cut-off date for eligibility in Best of Android: Mid-2020, we’ve already got the Sony Xperia 1 II, the Asus ROG Phone 3, Google Pixel 4a, OnePlus Nord, and new releases from Oppo and Vivo on the horizon, not to mention the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and more. As always, our full-year Best of Android awards are going to be hotly contested!
Here are the top five finishers for each additional category in BoA: Mid-2020:
Poco F2 ProOnePlus 8 ProOnePlus 8Realme X50 ProLG V60
OnePlus 8 Pro/OnePlus 8Samsung Galaxy S20 seriesMoto Edge PlusXiaomi Mi 10 ProOppo Find X2 Pro/Huawei P40 series (tied)
Samsung Galaxy S20 seriesOnePlus 8 Pro/OnePlus 8LG V60Huawei P40 seriesMoto Edge Plus/Oppo Find X2 Pro (tied)
OnePlus 8 Pro/OnePlus 8Samsung Galaxy S20 seriesHuawei P40 seriesOppo Find X2 ProLG V60
Poco F2 ProSamsung Galaxy S20 UltraHuawei P40 Pro PlusLG V60OnePlus 8 Pro
Overall combined result:
OnePlus 8 ProSamsung Galaxy S20 PlusOnePlus 8Samsung Galaxy S20 UltraSamsung Galaxy S20
Revisit the Best of Android: Mid-2020 awards for each objective category: