Whether you are a current AT&T subscriber or maybe you want to come on board, the most basic thing you’ll want to do is check our list of the best Android phones available via the carrier’s stores and also those that are compatible with AT&T’s bands but only sold as unlocked via Amazon and the likes.
We have also covered the best Android phones at T-Mobile, which should be helpful to you or your friends and family who are using the Magenta carrier. Also, check out our detailed roundup article on the best Verizon phones and the best Android phones at Sprint.
Since everyone has their own preferences when scouting the market for a new phone, we have divided this article into several categories based on what you are likely looking for in a phone — basically, the best.
The best AT&T phones [March 2019]
No one goes out to buy a phone that offers the second best value for their money (in their own opinion, that is). Whether it’s the design, camera, battery life or even display size, you’ll want to have the best of the best regardless of the money you’re ready to spend.
Speaking of money, this might be a cause of concern for some. While there are some great phones at AT&T, getting the best can be hindered by the asking price. Luckily, you can get them on a contract. Alternatively, you may have to settle for the second or even third best, which is why we’ll also include some honorable mentions along the way.
While the unlocked market can also be attractive thanks to the vast number of devices available to pick from, the fact that outright payment is required may also be a stumbling block to some.
That said, here are the best AT&T Android phones you can buy right now.
The best most valued phone
Samsung’s latest and greatest smartphone, the Galaxy S10, is among us. The S10 undoubtedly packs some punch on matters performance, but at first glance, it is the huge display screen that is easily one of the highlights of the device as it has often become the case with any Samsung flagship phone. Samsung calls it Curved Dynamic AMOLED, the first of its kind. And besides the selfie camera cutout, the screen is also host to a front-facing fingerprint scanner, the latest trend for biometric authentication.
Over the recent past, Samsung has been putting lots of efforts in photography and indeed, the Galaxy S10 is a true reflection of this. The phone becomes the first in the Galaxy S series to rock a tri-lens camera on the back featuring the S9-like standard lens with variable aperture, a super wide-angle lens, and a telephoto unit. It gets even better for those who pick the bigger Galaxy S10+, which adds a second lens to the front-facing camera.
The S10+ also gets a bigger battery and a much superior variant of 12GB RAM and 1TB storage, figures that are just unheard of in the smartphone industry. But of course, they come at a very steep price.
To get your hands on the base model of the standard Galaxy S10, AT&T wants $899.99 outright or $30 per month for 30 months. You’ll need $1,149.99 to get the 512GB variant or monthly installments of $38.34 over the same period of time. For the S10+, the base model is priced at $999.99 outright or $33.34 per month for 30 months, with the premium variant stretching all the way to $1200.
If you are into Samsung Galaxy phones but either of the above Galaxy S10 devices is too costly for you, the company has a value edition dubbed Samsung Galaxy S10e. With its price tag of $749.99 outright or $25 per month for the base model, you are getting a device that borrows just about everything from the standard S10 except that it has a smaller, flat Dynamic AMOLED display screen, a smaller battery, misses out on the telephoto lens on the back, and swaps the in-display fingerprint scanner for a side-mounted version ala Sony Xperia phones of the past.
Even better is that at the moment, the outgoing Samsung Galaxy S9, which is still one of the very best out there despite having been around for over a year now, can be yours for $599.99 outright or $20.00 per month for 30 months while the Galaxy S9+ is priced at $699.99 outright or $23.34 per month for the same period. Heck, you can even grab the 2017 Galaxy S8, which is now selling at an all-time low of just $499.99.
Outside the Galaxy world, AT&T doesn’t have many other options to choose from. You might want to check out the $950-rated LG V40 ThinQ as you wait for the arrival of the LG G8 ThinQ. The V40 is also available on a monthly package of $31.67 for 30 months. Considering that the V40 is a flagship that is not even a year old, you can never go wrong with this option.
Since AT&T allows customers to bring their own devices, it’s easy to get tempted by the likes of OnePlus 6T and Google Pixel 3. These are great pieces of hardware in their own rightful ways. The OnePlus 6T offers the best bang for your buck and the Pixel 3 is what you need if you don’t like the software experience on the Galaxy S9.
Where the OnePlus 6T can be yours for $549, the Pixel 3 price starts at $799 and offers a financing option at $33.29 per month for 2 years, although there is an on and off discount of up to $200 that has pegged the price at $599 or $24.96 per month. What makes the former an interesting proposition is what you get for your money. At this price, OnePlus 6T has a beautiful design featuring the latest 19.5:9 display with a teardrop-style notch, a Snapdragon 845 SoC, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, a dual-lens 16MP+20MP camera, a decent 3700mAh battery unit, and Android 9 Pie out of the box. If the software is your concern, the OnePlus 6T has one of the appeals of the Google Pixels – the bootloader is easily unlockable, which opens the door for easily installing custom ROMs.
Another great alternative is the Sony Xperia XZ3. It packs all the bells and whistles of any 2018 flagship phone, including a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and runs near stock Android 9 Pie out of the box. But as usual with Sony phones, it comes at a steep price of $900 without any installment plan.
But if you don’t want a bigger phone with a notch and instead are cool with a more traditional, compact design, then go for the Pixel 3 that also gets you timely (fastest) software updates, a pure Android experience, and the best camera. However, you get a small (by today’s standards) screen size of 5.5 inches and a smaller 2915mAh battery, although this doesn’t mean the worst battery life.
The aforementioned Samsung Galaxy S10e is also a great candidate here. In fact, its the best you can get right now, if you ask us. For those open to going the unlocked way, Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact should also offer another great alternative, although it has the smallest screen among the three.
Given how fragile these phones are, you might be afraid to shell out hundreds of dollars to grab one and break it the next day. Well, if this is your concern, AT&T has an option for you in the shape of the rugged Samsung Galaxy S8 Active. Like other Active handsets before it, it packs the same hardware specs and features as the standard S8, only that it trades looks for durability.
There’s the same 5.8-inch QHD+ display, but it’s a flat screen. The battery is also bigger at 4000mAh and the body housing the phone is MIL-STD 810G certified, which makes it the best-rugged phone on the market. The Galaxy S8 Active has a steep price tag of $28.34 per month for 30 months or $850 outright. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the Galaxy S9 Active and its likely that the S10 won’t get an Active variant too, suggesting that Samsung has killed the Active variant in the flagship S series.
The best phablet
Today, the definition of a phablet has changed. What used to be described as one doesn’t even match what is now the standard phone. Given that Samsung dictates a lot, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S10e is now a standard compact phone, but a few years ago, the Galaxy Note 5 was considered a phablet with its 5.7-inch screen. How times change!
With the changed parameters, it means the term phablet now refers to smartphones with screen sizes of 6.3 inches and beyond. In this category, there’s none better than the big and bad Samsung Galaxy S10+. In fact, this should be your go-to option if the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 9 doesn’t mean anything to you. Yes, the S10+ has the same screen size as the Note 9 and other than the Note-exclusive stylus, the former bests the latter in every other category, be it specs, features, photography, battery capacity, and so on.
Besides being the biggest with a 6.4-inch QHD+ AMOLED display screen, the Galaxy S10+ also packs some of the most premium performance specs we’ve seen in any phone, going all the way up to 12GB RAM and 1TB of expandable storage. But if you are into the S Pen, the Note 9 is definitely your baby. The stylus opens a world of productivity and artistic features that are not just available anywhere else. In fact, despite the fact that the Galaxy S10+ presents a much better option overall, the S Pen gives the Note 9 an edge over its counterpart.
As of this writing, the Galaxy S10+ will set you back a cool $1000 outright, but AT&T has a 30-month contract of $33.34 per month. For what it takes, the Galaxy Note 9 has the same price tag and monthly plan as the S10+ yet the two are quite far apart.
If the Galaxy S10+ and Note 9 are too expensive or you don’t like either for some reason, the Google Pixel 3 XL is a great option too. Priced at $899 outright or $37.46 per month for 2 years (currently discounted to $699 or $29.13 per month), the phone isn’t available through any of AT&T’s stores, but it works on the network. Although slightly smaller than the S10+ and Note 9, the 6.3-inch 18.5:9 display screen on the Pixel 3 XL is still big enough to fit the phablet narrative, but only for those who don’t mind the notch. Unfortunately, you get to deal with 2018 hardware that is led by the Snapdragon 845 processor.
Although the Pixel 3 XL doesn’t have the trending dual or even tri-lens cameras on the back, it’s, in fact, one of the best in the business with its 12.2MP unit and it has gotten even better on the selfie front thanks to a dual-lens setup. Even better is that you’ll be getting timely software updates and a pure Android experience for three OS iterations, something many Android fans crave for. Keep in mind that there’s no 3.5mm audio jack, if you are into such things.
If the S10+, Note 9 and Pixel 3 XL aren’t your types, you might also want to check out the LG V40 ThinQ. The device has a 6.4-inch pOLED screen with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and QHD+ resolution, Snapdragon 845 SoC alongside 6GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded. The LG V40 ThinQ also comes with a tri-lens camera on the back with a wide-angle shooter while the software on board is among the best out there and it’s easy to get accustomed to. AT&T is selling the V40 ThinQ at $950 outright or $31.67 per month for 30 months.
Just so you know, the LG V50 ThinQ is expected to arrive in Q2 2019 and looking at its massive 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display, it definitely fits into the phablet narrative. On the inside, it packs your favorite flagship processor for 2019, Snapdragon 855, but goes further ahead to include support for 5G connectivity.
Another great piece of hardware that is available in the market, and gives you a phablet experience is the HTC U12+, but since this is not being sold on AT&T, you might want to sneak into the OEM’s U.S. shop to grab one.
The U11 was a good device, but the U12+ is more of a refined U11. The phone removes the bad stuff from the U11 and keeps the good stuff. It has an 18:9 design (6 inches) and thinner bezels, which solves one of the main issues of the standard U11 – an outdated design. It also comes with the Snapdragon 845 SoC, Edge Sense, IP68 certification, and a great quad-lens camera system. It also comes with a huge 3500mAh battery unit and Android Oreo out of the box, meaning you get Project Treble.
The 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant of the HTC U12+ is priced at $799 and while you can pay it outright, HTC will let you have it on a contract of 24 months at $34 per month. If eying the 128GB variant, set aside $849 or $36 per month for the same period.
With a massive 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display screen, the OnePlus 6T definitely fits the phablet narrative. However, as mentioned earlier, you will have to grab one of these via the official online store. Like others mentioned above, the 6T also packs the latest hardware tech and a big battery and even betters some of them when it comes to both software version and overall experience.
Despite the continued issues with the U.S. government, Huawei phones are still finding their way into the U.S. market albeit unofficially. The company’s Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the latest masterpiece featuring a massive 6.4-inch QHD+ AMOLED display screen, Kirin 980 processor, 6/128GB memory modules, a tri-lens camera on the back and a huge 4200mAh battery. The phone also comes with fancy features like reverse wireless charging, 3D face unlock, IP68 dust and water resistance, 40W SuperCharge fast charging technology, 15W fast wireless charging, in-display fingerprint scanner, and so much more.
Amazon has the base model of the phone priced at a little below $900, which isn’t such a bad deal in a world where equally premium smartphones are easily priced at $1000 and beyond.
If you are wild enough, Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G is a great piece of hardware as well. It packs all the flagship specs you can expect in a premium offering from the Chinese company, including Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM, quad-lens camera system, and so on. All these can be had for under $700, which must be paid for in full via platforms like Amazon, but of course, availability remains a hard nut to crack.
At this price tag, the Mi MIX 3 5G is set to become the cheapest 5G handset on the market yet when it becomes available beginning May 2019.
The best design
Smartphone design is all about the looks. All the other stuff, for instance, dust and water resistance, Gorilla Glass protection and what not always come after one’s eyes are happy with what they are looking at.
While LG has really stepped up its game with recent releases like the LG G8 and LG V50 ThinQ, there’s nothing better-looking than the Samsung Galaxy S10. The phone embraces the current trend of slimmer bezels and accurately combines it with a curved screen housed on a glass body that is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 (back panel) and Glass 6 (front panel). To keep it safe even when it comes in contact with water, the body has IP68 certification for dust and water resistance.
The S10 offers a big enough screen on a fairly compact body, which makes it a perfect combination for most people. Unless you are after sheer size, the second selfie lens and you are okay with spending a few more dollars, there’s really no need for the Galaxy S10+, especially since it shares the same design language as the standard S10. But of course, everyone has their own preferences and we won’t stand in your way.
The Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9 and S9+ are also tight in the race and in fact, some sections may feel like the S9 has a better build than the S10, which, once again, depends on your preferences.
The best camera
On matters photography, we can safely vouch for this: the imaging is best on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, even though the Galaxy S10 and even the Note 9 are superb, too.
One little problem, though, is that you won’t find the Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL stored in any of AT&T’s stores. The only option is to grab it via the official Google Store, where financing is also available. But if you want something from the list of devices offered by AT&T, the Galaxy S10/S10+, Note 9, and Galaxy S9/S9+ – in that order – are the best.
The LG V40 ThinQ also does a great job with the wide-angle shots on the tri-lens unit on the back. In fact, the V40 is your best bet when it comes to video recording and unless you are a professional photographer looking to capture award-winning photos, the device does a great photography job in general.
On paper, the LG G8 ThinQ also promises great photography, but unfortunately, the U.S. market only gets the variant with a dual-lens camera, with Korea and a few other regions getting a tri-lens camera variant. If you can be patient enough and wait for the LG V50 ThinQ, you won’t be disappointed either, at least based on what the predecessors gave us.
The best performance
Many will agree that the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are the best performing Android smartphones in general. The facts that the Pixel 3 is powered by simple and intuitive software, has the best camera and is guaranteed up to three years of software updates — yup, Android Q, Android R, and Android S are covered — make it one of the most efficient phones you can have on the market. To crown it, the body is now IP68 certified for dust and water resistance.
Unfortunately, neither the Pixel 3 nor the Pixel 3 XL is available directly on AT&T, but you can always grab one via the Google Store at (currently discounted) prices of $599 and $699, respectively. As noted earlier, you don’t have to worry about financing because Google has one of its own too, just like AT&T, but you may miss out on certain carrier-specific features.
Despite all the goodness that the Pixel 3 comes with, Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ is no slouch either. In fact, the S10+ gets even better than the Pixel 3 duo thanks to the inclusion of up to 12GB RAM, thrice what’s used on the Pixel 3 duo, as well as a newer and more powerful processor, making it a lot zippier in performance compared to any other device on the carrier. Yes, this includes the Pixel 3 pair. The standard S10 is also a better performer compared to the older Pixel 3 for the same reasons.
Also, the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy S9 pair come close, actually, and they are the only other devices that can deliver a Pixel-like smooth experience, which is in itself a manifestation of how highly we regard Pixel 3’s performance. Since the LG G8 and LG V50 ThinQ pack the latest hardware, they can’t be written off either. Apart from the fact that it’s not available on contract, the OnePlus 6T is the perfect device to have when matters of performance are a top priority.
The best battery life
Ever since the smartphone made its debut, people said goodbye to week-long battery life on phones. Today, even phones with the biggest batteries won’t last you more than two days on a single charge when used moderately, but the good side of the story is that these phones have new technologies that ensure filling up the battery is also as fast as possible.
As noted, devices with big batteries promise a longer battery life. Talk of the Galaxy S10+, Galaxy Note 9, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and LG V50 ThinQ. These are your best bet thanks to their huge 4000+mAh battery units, but the Huawei Mate 20 Pro carries the day followed closely by the Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Note 9. Since the best of them all is not available officially on AT&T, you might want to go for the second best pair of Galaxy S10+ and Note 9. If you, however, feel that the two are slightly costlier, you can’t go past the standard Galaxy S10, S9+ or even the Google Pixel 3 XL. The 3300mAh battery unit on the LG V40 is also big enough to last a full day on a single charge, but it will soon be overtaken by the newer LG V50 ThinQ, which packs a bigger 4000mAh battery.
OnePlus 6T comes with a 3700mAh battery unit that should easily compete with the best in class thanks to its battery-sipping 1080p display resolution. The fact that it has an AMOLED panel should also help get more usage time from the huge battery unit.
The best in multitasking
If you are looking for the best productivity phone – a phone that can handle multiple tasks without flinching, you can’t do better than Samsung Galaxy Note 9. In addition to rocking a massive 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display screen with a QHD+ resolution, the Note 9 is also equipped with a Bluetooth-powered S Pen stylus. With this tool, you’ll be entering a new world of productivity and creativity, be it sketching, taking notes, editing photos and what have you.
The Galaxy Note 9 is the best handset for power users, no doubt about that, but if you want little to do with the S Pen, the Galaxy S10+ is your ultimate stop. It has a matching screen size, an equally huge battery, and improves on some aspects of the Note 9 like photography, processing power, storage capacity, and so on. The S10+ is available on AT&T, but if you are willing to step outside the box, Google’s Pixel 3 XL is your next stop. The display size is huge enough, you get powerful specs, fluid software experience and a big battery – features that should do a good job when it comes to multitasking.
If you are running on a budget, there’s the OnePlus 6T, which offers even more raw power at a more affordable price, but if you can wait, the Samsung Galaxy Fold might just be the answer to your multitasking problems. What’s scary about the Galaxy Fold, though, is the asking price of about $2000, a figure that restricts the phone to elite buyers.
The phone arrives on AT&T on April 26th. As great as the Galaxy Fold can be in multi-tasking, the Galaxy S10+ and Note 9 offer much better deals in every aspect, be it camera, performance, support, design, features, and whatnot. However, if you really want the best multitasking, having two screens than one is the best choice, more so when you don’t care about anything else, including the steep price.
The best gaming phone
Over the recent past, gaming-centric phones have become a thing. While generally phones with premium hardware specs, big screens and big batteries akin to the Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Note 9 offer great gaming experiences, hardcore gamers will want to go with the Razer Phone 2. Besides coming with top-end 2018 performance specs, the phone goes a notch higher by including gaming-specific things like 120Hz UltraMotion display screen, Dual Stereo Speakers with Dolby Surround 5.1 for the best audio experience when gaming, Razer Chroma Illuminated Logo, a vapor chamber that mimics the company’s laptop cooling system to ensure sustained performance over long periods, and compatibility with gaming accessories like a gamepad controller, among others.
The Razer Phone 2 is available on AT&T priced at $800 outright or $26.67 per month for 30 months.
The best AT&T mid-range phones
Other than the flagship phones, AT&T also boasts a good number of mid-range phones, but as you know, this is a market segment that has never picked off in the U.S. In fact, you’ll be better off looking elsewhere (read Amazon) for an unlocked mid-range phone, but sure let’s first check out what’s on offer at AT&T.
When talking mid-range phones, these are phones ranging from $300 to $600. Honestly, AT&T doesn’t have the best in this class, but the best trick here is shopping for older flagships like the Galaxy S8, which can be had for just $500 outright or $16.67 per month for 30 months. Yes, it’s even much older than the S8, but at $480, the Galaxy S7 might represent a much better buy than most midrange phones on AT&T.
You could also go for the BlackBerry KEYone at $401 outright or $13.37 per month for 30 months, but what you get on this phone is mediocre when compared to $400-priced smartphones outside of AT&T stores. Add an extra $100-$150 on top of that and you can grab the OnePlus 6T, Asus ZenFone 5Z or even Huawei Honor View 20, which are more beautiful and even more powerful than the KEYone.
But if you want a taste of the good old hardware keyboard combined with touch-screen capabilities, the KEYone is a good package. It rocks a good enough camera and a big battery, but BlackBerry hasn’t been the most prolific with its software updates for this device.
Our take: Simply go for the OnePlus 6T, as this device offers the best hardware and performance at this price. If you are looking to spend less, you can check out the Galaxy S8 or S7 for that matter. Motorola devices like the Moto G7 is also a decent option since it gives you pretty good performance and camera for its price.
AT&T is also selling the LG Stylo 4+ at $300 or $10 per month for 30 months, making it the most affordable smartphone with support for the stylus. It’s not big on specs, but you still get some interesting additions like IP68 dust and water resistance, fingerprint scanner, a huge 3300mAh battery that supports fast charging, and so on.
For fans of rugged phones, the Galaxy S8 Active is the best option here, but considering its age, its hard to justify the current price of $850 outright, especially for those running on a budget. That said, you can check out devices like the LG X Venture and KYOCERA DuraForce Pro, which go for $330 ($11 per month) and $419 ($13.97 per month), respectively. The duo has build materials that are both IP68 and MIL-STD 810G certified, with the former going a notch higher to include Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection on the screen, unfortunately, regular software updates might not be easy to come by.
The best budget phones
Like the mid-range segment, AT&T doesn’t have much to choose from in the budget category. Still, you can walk away with the Samsung Galaxy J3 2018 at $210 outright or just $7 per month for 30 months. Alternatively, the Galaxy J7 2018 can be yours for $270 outright or $9 per month for 30 months.
Outside of the Samsung Galaxy, AT&T also offers the LG K20 at a decent price of $120 outright or a 30-month contract of just $4 per month. The Moto G6 Play is also a great option at just $180 or $6 per month, but with the $200-rated Moto G7 Play here, you might want to think twice, although we aren’t sure if the phone will be sold directly through AT&T. Even further outside the carrier, you can also try out devices from Xiaomi or Huawei’s Honor division, just to name but a few, which can be found on Amazon.
AT&T may be the second biggest carrier in the U.S., but it’s obvious that it doesn’t have a huge list of top Android phones to choose from in each segment. There are definitely good picks for those who have no issue with spending $700+ on a phone, but the mid-range and budget market has nothing particularly good.
On the brighter side, just about every phone manufactured across the globe is GSM-compatible. This doesn’t mean any phone will work with AT&T, but most will, even those from China and other regions. Before you think of shipping an unlocked phone from Europe or Asia for that matter, make sure you confirm that it has the necessary bands to work on AT&T, especially LTE.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Note 9 have their marks all over this article, but many will agree that it’s partly because AT&T has no Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL or even OnePlus 6T. Nonetheless, the said Samsung phones are among the best on the market, but you can always grab the year-old Galaxy S9 or S9+ on the cheap and thus score an impressive deal.
Which one is the best Android phone at AT&T in your opinion? Do you think AT&T direly needs some good budget phones from the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, and Motorola? With 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage on offer on the likes of Honor 8X, would you even need to spend top dollar on flagship phones?