Sun. Sep 26th, 2021
Mitja Rutnik
Google Pixel 5 standing up on table 2

David Imel / Android Authority

Most phone makers add a custom UI on top of Android — such as OnePlus’ OxygenOS or Samsung’s One UI — with extra features and a different design. However, these so-called “skins” often come with pre-installed apps that impact the overall user experience. That’s why there’s a demand for phones with stock Android, which hasn’t been modified by another manufacturer. 

If you’re in the market for a phone running stock Android, keep reading: you’ll find the best ones below that should fit any budget.

Best phones with stock Android:

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list of the best stock Android phones regularly as new devices launch.


1. Google Pixel 5

The Pixel line-up has been known for sporting the best specs, including the latest processors and all the features you need. The Google Pixel 5 takes another approach by cutting some corners and making the phone more affordable.

The most notable difference is that this phone doesn’t come with the latest and greatest Snapdragon chipset available. Instead, the search giant has opted to go with the Snapdragon 765G, which still performs very well. In our tests, we found that this chipset is comparable to the Snapdragon 845.

Other specs are as good as you would expect. You get 8GB of RAM, an amazing dual-camera setup, a large OLED display, and a nice 4,080mAh battery. It’s probably the very best option in terms of stock Android phones overall.


Google Pixel 5 specs:

  • Display: 6-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,080mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. Google Pixel 4a and 4a 5G

Google has set the standards yet again with the Pixel 4a. This phone succeeds and surpasses the Pixel 3a with better performance, amazing camera performance, and a lower price point. It even has some of our Pixel 4 XL owners amongst our staff jumping across to it. This phone costs a mere $349, which is a surprising price for a phone that can take such nice photos, and of course, runs stock Android.

Google’s clean Android experience is smooth and enjoyable on the Pixel 4a. You get all the bells and whistles of computational photography and features from the Pixel 4 series, such as Astrophotography Mode, Night Sight, and the dual exposure sliders.

There’s also a 5G version of the Pixel 4a available, which costs $150 more. In addition to sporting 5G support thanks to its Snapdragon 765G chipset, it also comes with a larger display than the regular Pixel 4 and a bigger battery. Additionally, it features two rear cameras instead of one.


Google Pixel 4a specs:

  • Display: 5.81-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 730G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 12.2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,140mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Google Pixel 4a 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,885mAh
  • Software: Android 11

3. Google Pixel 4 and 4XL

If you’re looking for a high-end phone with stock Android, look no further than the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Despite all of its flaws, Google’s Pixel 4 lineup provides one of the best Android experiences, at least until the battery dies.

The Pixel 4 devices add a 2x telephoto lens to the mix, and you can still expect best-in-class performance from the main camera. The fancy Astrophotography mode also lets you capture pictures of the stars, which is a neat feature that widens the camera software gap even further.

Apart from the camera, both Pixel 4 phones now come with Soli radar technology. This makes face unlock near-instant from various angles (which is good because there’s no fingerprint reader) and enables some admittedly gimmicky gesture controls.

But the real upgrade is the screen. The Pixel 4 and 4 XL have 90Hz displays that remain among the best we’ve tested so far. The high refresh rate screen combined with software that’s perfectly optimized for the hardware makes for a phone that any Android fan will love.

The problem? Google has officially stopped selling the Pixel 4 series, so picking one up may be trickier than you might have expected. Retailers like Amazon still have it in stock, but you’ll have to hurry up before it runs out.


Google Pixel 4 specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8.1MP
  • Battery: 2,800mAh
  • Software: Android 10
  • Display: 6.3-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8.1MP
  • Battery: 3,700mAh
  • Software: Android 10

This is the first 5G phone from Nokia. Like many other phones from the brand, it’s part of the Android One family, meaning it runs stock Android. It’s also guaranteed to get two years of OS and three years of security updates.

The Nokia 8.3 isn’t the most powerful phone on this list, but it’s still quite capable. It packs the Snapdragon 765G under the hood, which is the same chipset you’ll find in the Google Pixel 4a 5G. The screen comes in at 6.81 inches, while the battery has a capacity of 4,500mAh.

You’ll find four cameras on the back, including a 64MP main sensor. The phone also sports a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. You don’t get flagship-level features like wireless charging and an IP rating, though.


Nokia 8.3 specs:

  • Display: 6.81-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10
Nokia 5.4 Dual SIM 128GB Smartphone Widget image

The Nokia 5.4 is one of the lowest cost devices from the maker and gets you a stock Android experience for an affordable price. It has a big screen, four rear cameras, and good battery life. Plus, there’s a headphone jack, fingerprint scanner, and USB-C 10W charging.

But that just about ends the good stuff. The bad stuff is that it’s not blistering fast, the cameras aren’t amazing, and the screen isn’t the sharpest around.

Those things may not worry you, given it’s a no-nonsense stock device with a 4,000mAh battery and comes with Android 10 out of the box. Android 11 should be right around the corner, though, and you can check out Nokia’s timeline right here.

  • Display: 6.39-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 662
  • RAM: 4/6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 5, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10
nokia xr20 1

Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

This rugged phone from Motorola is an excellent choice if you’re looking to put your device through the wringer. The Nokia XR20 packs a 6.67-inch HD+ display, the Snapdragon 480 5G chipset, and 6GB of RAM. Although the internals are solid, the real draw for the XR20 is its toughness. The device packs an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, and it’s MIL-STD 810H compliant. All this is to say that you can drop it onto concrete from up to 1.8-meters.

The phone features an impressive dual rear camera array tuned by Zeiss. You’re looking at a 48MP main lens paired with a 13MP ultra-wide option for added flexibility. It also supports expandable storage, has a headphone jack, and comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

Though the XR20 makes concessions on its cameras and its processor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another device with this much impact resistance that still looks like an everyday workhorse.


Nokia XR20 specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, FHD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 480 5G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48 and 13MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,630mAh
  • Software: Android 11
nokia 3.4 front in hand2

Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

This is the last Nokia device on this list of the best stock Android phones, and it’s the most affordable of the lot. Its specs and features won’t blow your socks off, but it’s still a great handset for those who aren’t power users and prefer something more affordable.

Like the rest of the Nokia phones listed in this post, the Nokia 3.4 is an Android One device. It sports a 6.39-inch HD+ display, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chipset, and three rear cameras. The battery is quite generous as well, with its capacity of 4,000mAh.

The Nokia 3.4 costs less than $200 but looks way more expensive, especially since it features thin bezels around the display and even has a fingerprint scanner on board. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the stock Android phone to buy.


Nokia 3.4 specs:

  • Display: 6.39-inch HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 460
  • RAM: 3/4GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 13, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

These are the best phones with stock Android in our opinion, although there are a few other great ones out there as well. We’ll be sure to update this list with new models once they are released.

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