Google Pixel 3

The Google Pixel 3 (and 3 XL) is the best Android phone when it comes to security. Google builds its phones to be secure from the start, and you get monthly security patches to guarantee that you won't be left behind on future exploits. Three years of guaranteed updates will let you use your phone knowing you'll be up to date for what is likely the life of the phone.

Our pick

Google Pixel 3 + 3 XL

At the forefront of Android security

The Google Pixel 3 (and larger 3 XL) is the most secure Android phone you can buy, and one of the most secure phones available today. Without disabling any security protections, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL are updated to keep you protected against known public security exploits. Remote installations are also monitored by Google's scanning software which blocks potential malicious content. While security and privacy are two very different things, when you decide you want private things to stay private you need to make sure your phone is secure to keep them that way.

Who should buy this phone

When security is of utmost importance, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL deliver. They keep everything locked down, and don't require input on your end to do so. Beyond their security, the phones are also great to use every day with nice hardware, good performance, simple software, and excellent cameras.

Is it a good time to buy this phone?

The Pixel 3 and 3 XL were launched in October 2018, and will not be replaced with a new generation until the same time in 2019. They're the latest and greatest Google phones, and will be for the time being.

Reasons to buy

  • Monthly (or more) security updates
  • Guaranteed updates for 3 years
  • Excellent software experience
  • Great cameras

Reasons not to buy

  • No headphone jack
  • Pixel 3 has weak battery life

Google's Pixel phones are the most secure Androids you can buy

Every device that can connect to the internet has exploits available that break the default security configuration. If your phone isn't getting timely updates to combat them, you're simply not secure. We keep a vast amount of private — and priceless — data on our phones, and we all should care about keeping it safe from outside attacks. After you read all the agreements and decide what you're willing to give away, you should expect the remainder to stay private.

Pixel 3s are updated directly from Google on a monthly basis, and for three years. Guaranteed.

Pixel 3 phones are updated directly from Google with the latest version of Android. Outside of any new features that may come with, the device security model has been updated and strengthened by a dedicated team who regularly audits and enhances the code used to build Android. On top of this, Google releases updates to the security model at the beginning of every month for the people who build Android phones to apply to its software. These are important, more important than any other update.

Equally important, but often overlooked, is transparency. You shouldn't have to trust a company when it says something is secure or updated, and the Android code for both the platform version and all updates is available for anyone to take a look at. Plenty of people do, and despite any opinions to the contrary, Android, as written, has proven to be a very secure platform. A phone like a Pixel 3 is the embodiment of this.

Most important of all is that both Pixel phones are not only secure but are also phones that you'll want to use. No compromise is needed and the compact Pixel 3 and larger Pixel 3 XL both share the same fast processor and other internal components. A great — and secure — experience is available for fans of both sizes.

Alternatives to the Google Pixel 3

The Pixel 3 is the most secure Android phone, but it has competitors that value security the exact same way. BlackBerry makes the KEY2, and also the less expensive KEY2 LE, that both put data security and privacy at the top of the feature list.

Runner-up

BlackBerry KEY2

Hardened firmware and monthly patches

BlackBerry is legendary when it comes to mobile device management and security, and follows that trend when using Android to power its phones. With the KEY2, you also get the keyboard experience that only BlackBerry can offer. The KEY2 is a great way to enjoy Android for people who still want a physical keyboard on their phone, and the peace of mind that knowing a company is concerned about security.

BlackBerry continues its reputation for excellent mobile security and having a great keyboard with the KEY2. You'll get monthly security updates and a long supported life just like you'd find with a Pixel, but in a different sort of package with the KEY2. It isn't a high-end phone like the Pixel 3, but then again it's also less expensive and has a unique keyboard experience. Plus, BlackBerry has many privacy-focused features built into its software on top of the system-level security strengths.

Value pick

BlackBerry KEY2 LE

Everything that makes the KEY2 great, scaled back

The KEY2 LE is designed to bring the KEY2 experience to a more attainable price point. It doesn't have the same level of specs, camera, or build quality, but scales things back smoothly to provide a solid experience for about $400. You miss out on the performance of the KEY2, and its capacities keyboard, but still get BlackBerry's security commitment.

Nobody is going to buy a KEY2 LE as a replacement for a higher-end phone, but for a very reasonable price, you're getting a solid phone that has a better security and privacy focus than any phone in its class. You get all of the same BlackBerry commitments to security as the more expensive KEY2, and simply miss out on some of the specs and features that make the KEY2 more of a flagship competitor.

Bottom line

Media outlets like to give Android a bad reputation when it comes to security, and it's difficult to blame them. Old, outdated software from manufacturers with no real concern for your security or privacy are the norm when it comes to phones running Android. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL delivers a great smartphone experience that ticks all the boxes for reviewers and average buyers alike, and with no modifications, your personal data is very safe. A team of security professionals and engineers are dedicated to keeping it that way. Any of the phones on our list will do a great job when it comes to security, but the overall experience of using the phone over and above the security aspect makes the Google Pixel 3 the best choice.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.