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Best Android phones in 2021 so far

By Roland Udvarlaki July 10, 2021, 2:15 am

If you’re looking to upgrade your Android phone, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated a list of the best phones money can buy. We’ve also got a list of the best iPhones in case Android isn’t your preferred operating system. Our list includes some of the best Samsung Galaxy phones and many other devices from other manufacturers who stand out with their high-quality software, hardware, camera, and excellent performance.

If you’re on a tight budget, this is also a perfect list for you, since there are a few affordable and cheap devices on the list as well. We always try to include the best phones we know are trusted by you, and by our expert staff. We’ve done all of the research and testing for you, so you can just sit back and go through this list.


The Best Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung’s latest and most premium flagship phones, and one of the best Android phones on the market. It’s also the first non-Note device to support the S-Pen, and it has a large 6.8-inch QHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate support. It’s powered by the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset with plenty or RAM at 12GB and 128GB storage, so there’s plenty of space to store all of your cat photos.

Speaking of photos, there are four rear cameras: one with a standard zoom, an ultra-wide lens, a 3x optical zoom, and a 10x optical zoom which kills the need for digital zoom. The 5,000mAh battery with wireless charging support ensures it can last a full day, which is very handy since you’ll likely want to use all of the cameras on the back to take some breathtaking photos both day and night. It’s also probably the most expensive Android smartphone on our list.

Samsung-Galaxy-S21-Ultra-5G-Phantom Silver

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has an all-day battery life, a massive 6.8-inch QHD+ 120Hz high refresh rate display and a quad camera setup. If you’re looking for the absolute best Android phone, this is it.

Runner-Up: Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Samsung Galaxy s21 plus

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has most of the same features as its larger and more premium sibling, the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The main difference between the two phones comes with the camera and S-Pen support, but if you know you won’t use them often, this seems like the best option, not to mention you could also save a lot of money.

The Galaxy S21 Plus comes with a large 6.7-inch screen with 120Hz refresh rate display. It’s powered by the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset, plenty of RAM at 8GB, and 128GB of storage. It has a triple camera setup that lets you capture every moment in all lighting conditions, and also offers water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the 'smaller' sibling of the more premium Galaxy S21 Ultra. It has an excellent display and camera quality, not to mention an all-day battery life.

Great Value: OnePlus 9

oneplus 9

The OnePlus 9 has the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset and 8GB or 12GB of memory, depending on the configuration you’re going for. There are also 128GB and 256GB storage options to choose from. It’s one of the most powerful Android phone offerings you can buy right now, and it has a massive 6.55-inch display and a 4,500mAh battery with wireless charging support. It has all the power you need to play games, browse the internet and to talk to your friends on social media. Be careful though: only the one you purchase from T-Mobile offers water resistance.

OnePlus 9

The OnePlus 9 features a triple camera setup and a large display. The battery is 4,500mAh and supports the company’s Dash charge, which can top up your phone in a short amount of time.

Runner-Up: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is still a great purchase, especially if you can find it at a discounted price. It has last year’s Snapdragon 865 chipset and 6/8GB of RAM. It has a large 6.5-inch AMOLED 120Hz high refresh rate display. The triple rear camera setup provides flagship quality images and the 4,500mAh battery ensures it can last a full day on a single charge.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

If you’re on a budget, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is still a perfect choice if you want something near flagship level for less money.

Best Camera: Google Pixel 5

Google’s last year Pixel 5 phones were far from being a high-end device, but it proved itself to be an excellent option for those who wanted to save money, but still thrived for a flagship level experience. It has a large 6-inch 90Hz OLED display, Snapdragon 765G with 5G, 8GB of memory and a large 4,080mAh battery, as well as water resistance. The rear camera on the Pixel 5 still stands out and it’s one of the best on the market, and it finally also includes a wide angle sensor that lets you fit even more objects in a single image. And, being a Pixel, it offers you the most genuine Android Experience, guaranteed Security Updates, and timely software updates.

google pixel 5 stock

Google Pixel 5

If camera quality is the number one concern for you and want something that costs less than a flagship, but can keep up with it, the Google Pixel 5 can do just that.

The Best for Gaming: Asus ROG Phone 5

asus Rog phone 5

Released back in April 2021, the Asus ROG Phone 5 comes with the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset, 8/12/16GB memory options and 128GB of storage. It has a huge battery at 6,000mAh and a triple 64MP, 12MP, 5MP camera layout on the rear. The selfie shooter is 24MP, in case you want to stream yourself playing League of Legends, or any other graphics intensive games. This is one gaming phone definitely worth considering, especially that it now comes with a headphone jack.

Asus ROG Phone 5

The Asus ROG Phone 5 is primarily for gamers who want true performance and fast speeds all day long. It has a large 6.78-inch display with 144Hz screen and a 65W charger.

Best Affordable: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

samsung galaxy a52

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G might only be a mid-range phone with a Snapdragon 750G chipset with 6/8GB of memory, but it really is an affordable flagship in its price range. It’s equipped with a large 6.5-inch 120Hz display, a 64MP normal, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro and an additional 5MP depth sensor to shoot flagship quality images. It also has a battery capacity of 4,500mA that supports wireless charging that will keep you powered for a full day, although a 25W fast charger can juice up the phone to 50% in just 30 minutes. That a lot you’re getting for an affordable phone, including a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

If you want a simple phone with no nonsense that’s simple to use and comes with near flagship level experience and quality, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G gives you everything you need.

Best Budget: Google Pixel 4a

google pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4a might only come with mid-range specifications, but it provides a smooth experience and can last a long day on a single charge. It also has the main sensor of the Pixel flagship devices, so it’s one the cheapest devices on this list that can take the absolute best images. If you’re looking for a cheap phone, this should be on your list, especially if you’re looking for a compact phone. It’s a Pixel, expect a great Google software experience and timely software updates.

Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4a is a great budget device with some compromises to performance and unique features. It still has a large display, a long lasting battery and a great camera.

Best Foldable: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 was launched last year and while the new Z Fold 3 is around the corner, it’s still one of the best foldable devices you can easily pick up in the US today — and it’s also 5G capable. It’s a complete upgrade over its predecessor and has great battery life and excellent camera quality. If you’re looking for foldable phones, this one should be on your short list.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

If you're in North America or Europe, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is still one of the best foldable devices you can pick up today that does everything you’d expect the next generation of devices to do.

Best with a Stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might not be equipped with the latest chipset anymore. But it still stands up to the more recent premium, high-end flagships with its powerful Snapdragon 865+ chipset, 12GB of memory and large 6.9-inch display. It also has a large 4,500mAh battery and triple shooter rear camera setup.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

If you want the best possible stylus functionality, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 offers everything you need from doodling to intensive note taking. It has all the power you need for a long day of work.

Our Recommendation

Our list of the best Android devices includes a wide variety of smartphones. There are a lot to choose from, and while I firmly believe you can’t go wrong with any of them, I’d personally recommend the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus if you can afford it. It has most of the same functionality as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but at a more affordable price tag and without any major downsides or sacrifices.

If your budget is more on the tight side, the Samsung Galaxy A52 (non 5G) is an excellent device, as is the Galaxy S20 FE or the Google Pixel 4a. The Pixel 4a also has the main camera of the flagship Pixel devices, so if you like the look of those devices, the Pixel is a clear winner here, assuming you’re fine with light gaming and mainly the essentials, performance-wise.


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