I don't get the Apple Premium argument. I am still using in iPhone 6S running the most recent version of iOS. Android phones lose support after just a couple of years. The useful life of an iPhone is so much longer that my cost of ownership per year is lower.
I owned a couple Nokias, the hardware is terrific for the price but the software is not nearly as optimized as a Pixel. To me, the ideal phone has always been the Nexus line, I reached for Nokias in the hope that they'd function just like a Nexus with their pure Android, and they come close but with some frustrating glitches. Pixels are the nearest thing in terms of performance, albeit with an extra layer of gloss that I don't appreciate as much.
This is my second ZTE. My original ZTE T83 (tough) still works fine after about 6 years, just ran out of internal memory ... It still looks and works like new. Battery still lasts about 4-5 days, as it did when new.
These phones are TOUGH! They work. The gorilla glass is further protected by a supplied second protection cover.
Unlike some Apples, it does not have to have the battery charged by lunch time.
Take a look at the Huwawei range. I had the P20 Pro for 2 years and it was a great phone especially the camera. What has put me off going with them again is that you can no longer use Google apps. Apparently, Huwawei and Google had a disagreement and gone their separate ways. Huwawei have their own app store with new developers joining them on a daily basis and with a bit of jiggery and pokery you can still get Google apps like Youtube on the new Huwawei. I have stayed with Android and bought the Oppo Find X3 Neo, recently released and I've only had it 2 weeks but looks very promising.
My only Android phone was a Casio Commando I got in 2013. It was this super tough waterproof phone which I bought because I'm hard on stuff. Of course, I lost it. To replace it, I bought the then-discontinued-so-very-cheap Palm Pixie Plus, a tiny phone with a keyboard that was the last effort of the HP-owned Palm. It was a surprisingly nice little phone with a reasonable camera.