This guide highlights the best phones for custom ROMs you can buy.

We’ve recommended phones that are easy to root. Our top picks are future proof phones as far custom ROMs are concerned, so you don’t have to worry about support over time.

You’d find on our list, phones compatible with a wide variety of custom ROMs like LineageOS, Havoc-OS, and more.

Now let’s look at these phones in detail, and what makes them outstanding.

 Best Phones for Custom ROMs at a Glance

No. Item  
1 OnePlus 8 Pro (Editors’ Choice)    Check Price on Amazon
2 Google Pixel 4     Check Price on Amazon
3 Xiaomi Mi 8 Check Price on Amazon
4 OnePlus 7T Check Price on Amazon
5 Google Pixel 3    Check Price on Amazon
6 OnePlus 6T Check Price on Amazon
7 Samsung Galaxy S9    Check Price on Amazon
8 OnePlus 7 Pro    Check Price on Amazon

 

1. OnePlus 8 Pro (Editors’ Choice)

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Our Editors’ Choice for the best phone for custom ROMs is the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Powered by the superfast Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, the OnePlus 8 Pro has all the bells and whistles of a top-tier phone.

The OnePlus 8 Pro pairs 2GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. There is also a 12GB RAM model with 256GB of storage.

Out of the box, the OnePlus 8 Pro is built on an Oxygen OS 10 operating system, which is a tweaked version if Android 10.

Elsewhere, the phone has an IP68 rating, as well as a fast wireless charging feature.

The OnePlus 8 Pro’s camera is better than what you’ll find on its predecessor, the OnePlus 7 Pro.

The rear of the OnePlus 8 Pro holds a 48-megapixel ultrawide sensor, an 8-megapixel telephoto lens for 3x optical zoom, and a 5-megapixel colour filter lens.

The OnePlus 8 Pro’s predecessor manages a 16-megapixel ultrawide sensor.

You’ll find a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro.

So, what’s really new with the OnePlus 8 Pro’s camera? Only the colour filter camera.

Images captured on the OnePlus 8 Pro show the right balance of colour, with lots of detail. Exposure is excellent, as well. The OnePlus 8 Pro’s zoom power is pretty good.

As far as video capabilities go, you can record 4K video at 30 or 60fps.

One place where the OnePlus 8 Pro shines is battery life.

OnePlus packed in a reasonable 4510 mAh of battery capacity into the OnePlus 8 Pro’s chassis. Roughly speaking, you should get a day and a half’s use from the OnePlus 8 Pro.

The OnePlus 8 Pro remains our Editors’ Choice and the best phone for custom ROMs.

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PROS

  • Better screen quality
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent cameras
  • Super fast performance
  • Wireless charging
  • Good battery life

CONS

  • Same front-facing camera
  • Colour filter camera could be better
  • MEMC Motion smoothing could be improved

OnePlus 8 Pro Key Specifications

Display: 6.78 inches, Fluid AMOLED, 3168 x 1440 pixels
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Operating System: Android 10
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Front Camera: 16MP
Rear Cameras: 8MP, 48MP, 5MP
Size: 165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5 mm
Weight: 0.44 pound (199 g)
Battery: 4510 mAh

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2. Google Pixel 4

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Google is stepping up to the plate with regard to churning out impressive smartphones.  The company remains one of the few smartphone manufacturers who are steadily maximizing the advantages of artificial intelligence (AI).

In fact, the Google Pixel 4 stacks up nicely to the competition. Built on a Snapdragon 855 processor and featuring 6GB of RAM, along with a 1080p screen and impressive cameras, it has specs that rival other flagships.

Unlike the OnePlus 8 Pro which is on the big side with a display measuring 6.78 inches, the Google Pixel 4 has the right size (5.7 inches) and weighs 162 g (0.36 pound).

If you planned steering clear of Google smartphones because of the not-so-outstanding screen quality of the Pixel 2 XL, please have a rethink because the Pixel 4’s 90Hz screen boasts sharper pictures which look a lot more natural.

Like the Google Pixel 3 whose cameras are the greatest beneficiaries of Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the Google Pixel 4 combines AI and computational photography to produce stellar images.

The Pixel 4 comes with a 12.2-megapixel wide-angle sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, as well as a 16-megapixel telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture. It is worth noting that the Pixel 4 lacks an ultrawide lens. It is a shame because this is one camera sensor most phones in the same price range have.

With Google’s Super Res Zoom technology, you get an unbelievable range with little loss of image quality.

The Night Sight feature is perfect for taking pictures in low-light conditions.

As a matter of fact, the Google Pixel 4 has a dedicated Astrophotography feature for capturing stars, night skies, and galaxies in low-light conditions. It is the biggest selling point of the Google Pixel 4.

Other notable features of the Pixel 4 include Face Unlock and Motion Sense. Just know: the Google Pixel 4 has no fingerprint sensor.

Alas, battery life proves to be the Google Pixel 4’s Achilles’ heel. The Pixel 4 is equipped with a paltry 2800 mAh battery. That said, the phone should carry you through 11 hours of moderate use without getting energy anxious.

All in all, the Google Pixel 4 is highly recommended as one of the best phones for custom ROMs.

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PROS

  • First-rate cameras
  • Excellent AI technology features
  • Good screen refresh rate
  • Overall fine performance

CONS

  • Average battery life

Google Pixel 4 Key Specifications

Display: 5.7-inch, P-OLED, 1080 X 2280 pixels
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Operating System: Android 10
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Front Camera: 8 MP
Rear Cameras: 12.2 MP, 16 MP
Size: 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm
Weight: 0.36 pound (162 g)
Battery: 2800 mAh

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3. Xiaomi Mi 8

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Jam-packed with a vivid AMOLED display, and powerful machinery, the Xiaomi Mi 8 has all the bells and whistles of a decent smartphone. Its display can be adjusted to suit your needs.

The beefy Mi 8, sporting dimensions of 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6 mm and weighing 0.38 pounds, is juiced up with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 64GBof storage. There are 128GB and 256GB storage variants as well.

An A+ for the Xiaomi Mi 8’s performance. Much of that dazzling performance is thanks to its solid Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GB combination.

Elsewhere, it boasts a dual 12-megapixel rear camera. Notable features of the camera include an AI mode, 2x optical zoom, and a 4-axis OIS feature. You can take slow-motion pictures with its slow-motion mode at 240fps. The front holds a 20-megapixel selfie camera.

The only major “but” here is the Xiaomi Mi 8’s custom UI which could be improved. That said, you can tweak the UI to your tastes.

Battery life is reasonable. Tucked inside the Mi 8 is a 3400 mAh battery, allowing for a full day’s work.

We recommend the Xiaomi Mi 8 as one of the best phones for custom ROMs. It provides solid performance at a reasonable price.

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PROS

  • Top-notch AMOLED quality
  • Pricing is reasonable
  • Excellent camera

CONS

  • User interface could be improved
  • Not water-resistant
  • Presence of a notch

Xiaomi Mi 8 Key Specifications

Display: 6.21 inches, 1080 x 2244 pixels
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 64GB /128GB/256GB
Front Camera: 20 MP
Rear Cameras: 12 MP, 12 MP
Size: 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 0.38 pound (175 g)
Battery: 3400 mAh

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4.
OnePlus 7T

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Aside from the OnePlus 8 Pro, the OnePlus 7T is another good phone for custom ROMs made by the same manufacturer.

It is a slight improvement on the OnePlus 7 smartphone. The upgrades are evident in the display, and processor. The 7T has a new triple-camera setup on the rear unlike the OnePlus 7 has two camera sensors.

The OnePlus 7T and its predecessor have almost the same glass and metallic design. Its 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display is first-rate and competitive with the best smartphones on the market right now.

With a good refresh rate (90 Hz), the phone is ideal for playing games.

The phone comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB GB of storage.

Electronic image stabilisation (EIS), good wide angle picture capability, and, an optical image stabilization (OIS) feature are some notable features of the OnePlus 7T’s cameras.

Another massive win for the phone is its 3800 mAh battery performance. A full charge typically buys around 24 hours on a single charge, if not more depending on usage.

Buy the OnePlus 7T as it remains one of the best phones for custom ROMs.

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PROS

  • First-rate AMOLED display
  • Very good performance
  • Good Fast charging feature

CONS

  • Camera needs more refinement

OnePlus 7T Key Specifications

Display: 6.55-inch, FHD+, Fluid AMOLED screen
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+
Operating System: OxygenOS 10 (Android 9)
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Front Camera: 16 MP
Rear Cameras: 48 MP Main, 12 MP Telephoto,16 MP Ultrawide
Size: 160.9 x 74.4 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 0.42 pound (190 g)
Battery: 3800 mAh

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5. Google Pixel 3

best phones for custom roms

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The Google Pixel 3 pairs the very fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Android 9 Pie, 64GB or 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.

You may feel disappointed that the Pixel 3 manages only 4GB of RAM without more options. We feel the same way, too. If you consider this a red flag, and need a bigger RAM, then look toward the OnePlus 7 Pro which ships with 6, 8, or 12GB RAM.

That being said, the 4GB of RAM tucked inside the Google Pixel 3 can handle all the processing needs of the smartphone.

The cameras on the Pixel 3 are the greatest beneficiaries of the AI technology. Top Shot, Super Res Zoom, Night Sight, and Motion Auto are some of the remarkable features of the Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3’s paltry 2915 mAh battery isn’t the best you’ll find on a smartphone.

That said, the Google Pixel 3 remains one of the best phones for custom ROMs.

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PROS

  • Beautiful design
  • Cutting-edge cameras
  • Impressive OLED display
  • Good performance

CONS

  • Thick bezels
  • Expensive

Google Pixel 3 Key Specifications

Display: 5.5-inch, 2160 X 1080 resolution OLED
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Operating System: Android 9 Pie
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Front Cameras: 8 MP wide-angle (f/2.2) and 8 MP (f/1.8)
Rear Camera: 12.2 MP (f/1.8) with OIS and EIS
Size: 145 x 68.2 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 0.33 pound (148 g)
Battery: 2915 mAh

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6.
OnePlus 6T

best phones for custom roms

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The OnePlus 6T delivers nearly everything you want in a good phone for custom ROMs.

The build and design are solid enough, but the performance is the star. That’s largely down to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and 6GB of RAM. Given its solid internal, apps load quickly and run smoothly, even on the highest settings, making it ideal for playing games, too.

As for storage, you’ll get either 128GB or 256GB. The base model ships with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There are pricier variants with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage; as well as 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The body measures 157.5 by 74.8 by 8.2 mm and weighs 0.40 pounds. It is quite comfortable to hold and grip.

If you’re hoping for a wireless charging feature, and headphone jack, you’re bang out of luck. The OnePlus 6T lacks these features. Having said that, OnePlus was smart to put a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter in the box so you can still plug in your wired headphones.

OnePlus’ pricing for the 6T makes it a standout. Again, the phone ranks very high for its lightning-fast in-display fingerprint sensor.

Battery life is great, just like you’d expect from a good smartphone, and the 3700 mAh cell lasts all day without a problem.

The minor drawback aside, using the OnePlus 6T is a joy. It is a strong buy and one of the best phones for custom ROMs.

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PROS

  • Beautiful display
  • Better camera
  • Responsive fingerprint sensor
  • First-rate design
  • Excellent battery life

CONS

  • No wireless charging feature
  • Absence of a headphone jack

OnePlus 6T Key Specifications

Display: 6.41 inches, AMOLED (2340 x 1080 pixels)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Operating System: Android 9 Pie with OxygenOS
RAM: 6GB, 8GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Front Camera: 16 MP
Rear Cameras: 16 MP, 20 MP
Size: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm
Weight: 0.40 pound (185 g)
Battery: 3700 mAh

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7. Samsung Galaxy S9

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 is one of the phones for custom ROMs deserving of note.

Its internals are nothing to scoff at – a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (CPU), 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. You can shell out for more variants with 128GB or 256GB of storage. All storage configurations ship with 4GB of RAM.

On another important front, the S9 sports a very good display much like the Samsung Galaxy S10, however it comes at a cheaper price.

Unlike the Xiaomi Mi 8, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is IP68 water-resistant.

It is worth noting that the S9’s OS is upgradable to Android 10. Samsung isn’t skimping on support with the S9.

We appreciate the hard work and engineering that went into the creation of the Samsung Galaxy S9. That said, there are a few weaknesses here and there. For instance, the camera quality and battery life are not quite on the level Galaxy S20.

Despite its compromises, the Samsung Galaxy S9 offers good performance with the features of a top-end phone.

If you need a decent phone for custom ROMs, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is worth considering. The S9 is highly recommended as one of the best phones for custom ROMs at the moment.

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PROS

  • Excellent screen quality
  • Better speakers
  • Feels great

CONS

  • Average battery life

Samsung Galaxy S9 Key Specifications

Display: 5.8 inches, 1440 x 2960 pixels
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Operating System: Android 8 (Oreo), upgradable to Android 10
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB /128GB/256GB
Front Camera: 8 MP, 2 MP
Rear Cameras: 12 MP
Size: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm
Weight: 0.36 pound (163 g)
Battery: 3000 mAh

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8.
OnePlus 7 Pro

best phones for custom roms

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The OnePlus 7 Pro ranks very high for overall performance.

New to the smartphone, and arguably the first in the smartphone industry, is the UFS 3.0 storage which has very fast read and write speeds.

Again the phone comes equipped with the industy-leading Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. This puts it on a par with elite phones such as Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Xiaomi Mi 9, and Google Pixel 4XL.

128GB and 256GB are the two storage variants of the OnePlus 7 Pro. As far as RAM goes, you can go for the 6, 8, or 12GB model.

If you have small hands and need a small-sized smartphone, steer clear of the OnePlus 7 Pro because the phone is big.

That said, the OnePlus 7 Pro has an excellent 6.67-inch  edge-to-edge AMOLED screen with curved edges. But that’s not the good news here. We are impressed with the screen’s 90Hz refresh rate which is competitive with some gaming phones like the Asus ROG. Its refresh rate makes it ideal for playing  Pokemon Go, Pac-Mac, and the like.

Mimicking the big boys such as Google Pixel 3, Huawei P30 Pro, Apple iPhone XR, the 7 Pro lacks a headphone jack. Also missing are a microSD card slot and a wireless charging feature.

So, put superfast speed, decent camera, excellent display, and an impressive battery life together and you get a knockout phone and one of the best phones for custom ROMs.

PROS

  • Excellent screen quality
  • Super fast performance
  • Fast charging

CONS

  • Camera isn’t top notch
  • As pricey as an iPhone

OnePlus 7 Pro Key Specifications

Display: 6.67 inches, 3120 x 1440 pixels
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Operating System: Android 9 Pie
RAM: 6GB/8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Front Camera: 16 MP
Rear Cameras: 48 MP, 8 MP, 16 MP
Size: 162 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 0.45 pound (206 g)
Battery: 4000 mAh

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No. Item  
1 OnePlus 8 Pro (Editors’ Choice)    Check Price on Amazon
2 Google Pixel 4     Check Price on Amazon
3 Xiaomi Mi 8 Check Price on Amazon
4 OnePlus 7T Check Price on Amazon
5 Google Pixel 3    Check Price on Amazon
6 OnePlus 6T Check Price on Amazon
7 Samsung Galaxy S9    Check Price on Amazon
8 OnePlus 7 Pro    Check Price on Amazon


Bottom Line

We’ve recommended the best phones for custom ROMs you can buy. These phones have very good specs and support a wide variety of custom ROMs. Our top picks provide the best bang for your buck and are worth considering.