Choosing a new smartphone is a difficult task, and that’s because there are just so many to choose from. But to make the process more bearable, we have compiled ten of the Best smartphones on the market, including the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro, iPhone 11, and Pixel 4. Every device that we assess is tested with the same combination of practical cases and repeatable bench market tests. This means we test everything from battery life and processor performance during the full range of daily tasks, to call quality and screen calibration.
Phones are now also our go-to devices for taking pictures so that the cameras are challenged in every possible situation. You want to know if the camera of a phone will impress not only in bright sunshine at an exotic location, but also when you take pictures of moving people at drunken parties, or just in the dull, flat light of a British winter.
You may also want to know how your phone can handle a Netflix binge or video call, so our discharge tests take this into account. Above all, we take these phones with us and use them as ours for a more extended period, live with them to get to know their peculiarities, and discover their hidden treasures.
Best Smartphones List
Some prefer the largest possible display with the most advanced specifications. And others want a solid mid-range phone that delivers all the basics without feeling cheap. To help you choose one of the best smartphones for you, we’re testing dozens of handsets in the lab and in the real world to make our recommendations.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is Samsung’s most important device for the year. This all-around smartphone offers a top display, the best specifications, and updated software designed to help users stay one step ahead of the pack. It’s a beast of a smartphone in more ways than one. It’s also a bit of a re-read mish-mash from previous Samsung hits, including the Note 10 Plus and S20 Ultra.
Note 20 Ultra is essentially an upgraded Note 10 Plus with the beefy camera module of the S20 Ultra. In other words, we’ve seen this design before – and that’s a pity. The Galaxy Note has always been a sophisticated piece of hardware. The series typically shuns a splashing design in favor of subdued elegance. Note 8, 9, and 10 all had their own design choices that were simple and delicate at the same time.
The biggest change this year is the jump from a 60Hz to a 120Hz refresh rate. On many phones, you can only enable the higher refresh rate, whether it is 90Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz when the display is set to 1080p (Full-HD) resolution. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has this limitation, and so does the Note 20 Ultra. Strange, however, is that instead of remaining static at 120Hz, the refresh rate of the display of the Note 20 Ultra is variable.
The Galaxy Note series has long been at the forefront of the mobile photography game, and yet this year, it feels more like a catch-up. Samsung gave the Note 20 Ultra a triple camera system on the back. The standard lens is equipped with a 108MP sensor but takes standard 12MP canned photos. It is connected to an ultra-wide-angle 12MP camera, and a 5x optical telephoto 12MP camera. The time-of-flight camera of the S20 Ultra is removed from the Note 20 Ultra. Some of the functions used by Samsung include 50x zoom and 8K video recording. Read more in our Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review
Samsung Galaxy S20/ S20 Plus/ S20 Ultra
One could argue that Galaxy S phones are not always the most interesting, but it is undeniable how much more attention they get compared to a large part of the competition. For 2021, Samsung is launching a trio of phones with the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra. These are technically very impressive gadgets with high prices, and if you can afford what Samsung asks for the phones, they are definitely some of the best that the Android landscape sees all year round.
As you would probably expect, the S20 Ultra is a very good phone. The 120Hz AMOLED display is a thing of beauty, Samsung’s build quality is as good as ever, and the upgraded camera system is a lot of fun to shoot with. Samsung went all out with the phone, and the end result is a device that has just about every imaginable function. We do not blame you for wanting an S20 Ultra yourself at the moment but keep in mind that it is not a perfect phone.
The 120Hz refresh rate is a huge drain on battery life, Samsung’s in-screen fingerprint sensor is a pain to use, and the re’s no getting around the $1,400 asking price. You can also just get the Galaxy S20+. It’s $200 less than the S20 Ultra while it’s every bit as good. The digital zoom isn’t that impressive and the battery is smaller, but it’s also much easier to handle thanks to its smaller size and puts a significantly smaller dent in your wallet.
Then there is the baby Galaxy S20. You may be inclined to think that the baseline S20 is the least exciting for the couple, but it is actually the one we would recommend to most people. It has the smallest price tag, is easy to use in one hand, and basically offers the same features as the more expensive S20+. For us, the Galaxy S20 Plus is the best option among the three devices and also the best smartphone right now. Why? Check our article on Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Review
Apple iPhone 11 Pro/ Pro Max
We will continue immediately: the Apple iPhone 11 Pro is the second-best smartphone that you can buy. It is also the most advanced iPhone that Apple has ever released, powered by a brand new A13 Bionic processor. Couple this with a larger battery and different energy optimization smarts built into iOS 13 itself, and you have an iPhone that can last all day without the need for a power outlet – and that’s when used intensively. Be careful with the device and you can easily squeeze out for two days.
But the main act is the tri-camera. The third sensor is, in particular, a wide-angle lens that provides a field of view of 120 degrees, which is ideal for landscapes. The other two remain largely unchanged, with two small but impactful updates – the telephoto lens now has a larger aperture, bringing in 40% more light, and the wide-angle sensor now has 100% focus pixels, which essentially means it can focus better in low light.
Mix all of that together and throw in an OLED screen for a good size and you’ll come up with a versatile smartphone that can handle just about any task you throw away, without stopping to breathe as much as a single breath. However, that does not mean that it is not without a fair number of errors – the biggest of which is the lack of support for 5G. Although, that is not as important as you might think. The Apple iPhone 11 Pro also comes with an 18 W charger for fast charging.
The fact is that it doesn’t get any better than the Apple iPhone 11 Pro right now, and for anyone who wants to upgrade their phone now, the quality says it’s one of the very first devices to be considered. Read Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Review
OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is one of the best phones because it packs so many features into a phone that costs less than premium flagships. You get the performance that can match any leading phone and a stunning display with a fast 120Hz refresh rate for ridiculously smooth scrolling. Choosing the fastest refresh rate can shorten battery life, but set the display refresh rate to 60Hz and you can expect more than 11 hours of battery life – way ahead of what the average smartphone can do on our battery test.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the first OnePlus phone to support wireless charging; even better, it’s the fastest wireless charging we’ve ever seen. Other phones are equipped with more capable cameras, but the OnePlus 8 Pro’s four rear lenses performed well in our tests, sometimes matching what the best camera phones have to offer. If you want a great Android device, the OnePlus 8 Pro is proof that you don’t have to spend more than $1,000 to get one of the best smartphones.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10/ Note 10 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was on top of our 10 best smartphones list for most of the past year and was on top of this list last month. While the headphone jack is gone, everything else has been improved on the of 2021 version of the Galaxy Note. The Note 10 is now available in two variants, with the presence of a microSD card slot, display size and battery capacity as the main distinguishing factors.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is an excellent business smartphone with the latest Qualcomm processor, huge amounts of RAM, fast internal storage, microSD card expansion, suitable rear quad camera system, and much more. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 has a Link to the Windows button in the area for fast operation, along with support for the latest version of DeX. Expanding to an external monitor with Samsung DeX is quick and easy, while also offering a fully functioning desktop experience.
The additional option to charge other devices and equipment, such as the Galaxy Buds, via wireless technology on the back of the Note 10 is useful for road fighters. The Note 10, starting with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB internal storage, starts at $949.99, while the Note 10 Plus with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB internal storage starts at $1,099.99. There are also more RAM and storage options for both devices, but the standard basic models offer enough RAM and storage for most users. The Note 10 Plus is now available from Samsung and all providers. Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Review
Apple iPhone 11
If you are an Apple fan and you cannot financially extend to the violence of the tri-camera that is the iPhone 11 Pro, then the iPhone 11 is a great thing as a cheaper alternative – and so it could be the Best smartphone for you for in 2021. The iPhone 11 comes in a variety of attractive, bright colors and features a high-quality 6.1-inch HDR Liquid Retina display, the latest and greatest Apple A13 Bionic chipset, 3 GB RAM, a 3,110 mAh battery and 64 GB storage space in the input model (which can be taken up to 256 GB with additional expenses).
It is a well-equipped and very well-made telephone across the board that is great in the hand, right out of the box. What you don’t get in the Apple iPhone 11 is the same flexibility of the camera that you get in iPhone 11 Pro – and that’s because it has a dual camera instead of a tri camera. In addition, the screen (although large and clear) is also an asset due to the Pro range and a few other equally priced devices. Anyways, the “iPhone 11 offers a brilliant balance between features and price.
You wouldn’t know it’s cheaper from Apple’s of 2021 phones because of the build, camera, and speed. Only if it had an OLED screen … ” As such, we believe that the iPhone 11 is one of the best smartphones that Apple is currently making in terms of value for money, and therefore it is an easy recommendation for most users. Check out our Apple iPhone 11 Review
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
The current mass flagship from Samsung is a winner in almost every respect and remains a more affordable and pocketable option compared to the new Note 10 series. The prices have also fallen in the last six months, so you can get this phone for a great price. Last year’s S9 Plus was a solid Android smartphone, but the S10 Plus enhances that device with an ultra-wide camera, a much longer battery life, better software with one user interface, and the ability to charge other devices wirelessly.
Samsung’s S10 and S10 Plus have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Super AMOLED Infinity-O display, 8 GB RAM (with 12 GB option), 128 GB to 1 TB storage options with a microSD for even more capacity, five cameras, IP68 classification, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, ANT + and a stunning design with beautiful Prism color options. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus continues to have all the excellent Galaxy Foundation aspects, such as high water resistance, fast wireless charging, a stunning Super AMOLED screen, expandable microSD storage, a 3.5 mm headset connection and much more.
Moreover, the extension to an external monitor with Samsung DeX is quick and easy, while also offering a fully functioning desktop experience. The additional option to charge other devices and equipment, such as the new Galaxy Buds, via wireless technology on the back of the S10 Plus is useful for warriors on the road.
The Galaxy S10 Plus is now available for six months, which means that you can often find special offers from your favorite provider. Amazon has regularly unlocked models at even more affordable prices than Samsung or the providers. The Galaxy S10 started at $ 899.99 while the S10 Plus started at $ 999.99 for the 8GB/128GB model. Read our Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Review
OnePlus 7 Pro
OnePlus launched the OnePlus 7 Pro a few months ago and it was universally praised for its beautiful design, fast performance, and sheer power for a price comparable to the lowest-level Apple and Samsung flagship phones. OnePlus continues to challenge flagship telephones with high-quality internal specifications at prices that are hundreds of times lower than competing premium telephones. OnePlus does a great job with its high-end specifications, reasonable price that is hundreds less than other flagships, extremely responsive performance, and use of new technology such as the UFS 3.0 internal storage (now featured on the Note 10 Plus) and 90Hz screen refresh rate.
Prices range from $ 669 to $ 749. The cheapest still costs 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, while the $ 749 model has 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. For these prices, you will not find another phone with these great specifications. The OnePlus 7 Pro consists of two pieces of 3D Gorilla Glass with a metal frame. The design is elegant and the build quality is excellent. It has a beautiful AMOLED 6.67-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, triple rear cameras, ample RAM and internal storage options, a large battery of 4000 mAh, and Warp Charge 30 capabilities, with excellent radio support for GSM networks.
There is no certification for dust and water resistance and a 3.5 mm headphone jack is nowhere to be found. Unlike most phones today, there is no notch or perforation on the screen for the camera. The front camera extends and only retracts from the top when it is being actively used. The phone is quite large compared to most phones nowadays, but without a notch, you get a fantastic screen-filling experience with it. Check out our OnePlus 7 Pro Review
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a little ‘bigger, a little’ more colorful and a little ‘more powerful than all previous Note phones, but be careful: it is also a bit’ more expensive. It’s the biggest Android phone that will catch your attention of 2021, with a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display, a huge 4000 mAh battery for full-day performance, and up to 512 GB of internal memory and 8 GB of RAM.
Good news: Note 9 actually does not look bigger than the 6.3-inch Note 8 last year and inherits a lot of 5.8-inch Galaxy S9 this year and 6.2-inch Galaxy S9 Plus features, including camera specifications. The camera is better than the Note 8, with a 12 MP rear configuration with dual aperture technology and able to record Super Slow-Mo videos. AR Emoji is back with some better avatar customizations, but rest assured, it will never look like you.
The S Pen now has Bluetooth for remote-controlled shortcuts that, unlike the Bixby button, are customizable. Do you want to pose for a photo 30 meters away? This pen S can help you do it and more. It works great, but you may have trouble finding a place to place your precious note 9 for snapshots of the whole body.
Note 9 is our recommendation for high-end smartphones, that is, if you want to own a gigantic full-featured phone with a stylus and hate that saves you money. The current offers of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are the biggest threat to this update that, ironically, it’s about going great in a variety of small ways. Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review
Google Pixel 4/ Pixel 4 XL
If you want an Android phone that always has the latest firmware and security updates and at the same time offers a reasonable stock experience, nothing beats the Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL. These two phones are the same except for the total size and the battery capacity. The Google Pixel 4 XL has a large 6.3-inch 18: 9 screen, Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB RAM, 64 GB, and 128 GB integrated storage, dual 16MP and 12.2MP cameras on the back, 8MP camera on the front, IP68 dust and water resistance, a battery of 3,700 mAh and dual stereo speakers in the front.
The smaller Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inch display and a smaller battery of 2,800 mAh, while the rest of the specifications are the same as the XL model. It is a shame that we start storage at just 64 GB, especially since Google no longer offers unlimited full-resolution backup of your photos. The battery life was not mentioned during the launch event and given the relatively small battery capacity, this may be a concern this year, especially with the 90 Hz refresh rate on the display.
Besides that the software is a focus for Google, the camera is another reason to buy the Pixel 4 or 4 XL above other better smartphone hardware. However, while others have phones with three or four cameras on the back, Google has only added one and went over telephoto with ultra-wide-angle, so the utility of the Pixel 4 cameras may not be as great as what you get on other smartphones in this one get a list.
The smaller Pixel 4 starts at $ 799, while the Pixel 4 XL starts at $ 899 for the 64 GB model. They are both powered by Android 10 and receive OS upgrades for three years. Monthly Android security updates are the most important software support for the company because major firmware updates tend to break things and become less stable immediately after release. Read our Google Pixel 4 XL Review
Apple iPhone XS/ XS Max
if you are currently looking for a top smartphone, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are as good as they are. But it’s the 6.5-inch XS Max that I didn’t want to put down, thanks to the gigantic screen and the longer battery life, that’s why it’s one of the Best smartphones you can buy. The 5.8-inch iPhone XS ($999) has the same improvements as its super-big brother, including a faster A12 Bionic processor that (again) blows away Android phones, as well as improved cameras with Smart HDR and impressive bokeh controls.
The good news is that you get more screen real estate in the same chassis as Apple’s Plus handsets, without the edges and the start button. The bad news is that this is definitely not a skinny jeans phone (not that anyone should ever wear it) and that you need two hands to use this 7.3-ounce colossus comfortably. For comparison: the Galaxy Note 9 from Samsung is a lighter 7.1 grams but is also larger and a bit thicker.
For a limited time, you can get the iPhone XS for just $699 when you trade in your current iPhone with Apple and upgrade to a new one. And you can get the iPhone XS Max for just $749. That’s if you own a newer model, such as iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus. You save around $150 if you have an older iPhone 6 and $200 with the iPhone 6 Plus. You can even trade in the newest generation iPhone X for a $450 discount. Read our Apple iPhone XS Max Review
OnePlus recently announced the OnePlus 7T and, according to reviews, it offers something more than the OnePlus 7 Pro at a lower price, so it deserves a place in the top five. Due to the high-end specifications, a reasonable price that is hundreds of less than other flagships, extremely responsive performance and the use of new technology such as the internal storage UFS 3.0 (now on the Note 10 Plus) and 90Hz screen refresh rate (now seen on the Pixel 4) it is clearly a device to consider.
The OnePlus 7T is launched at a price of $ 599 and unlike previous OnePlus phones, there is only one RAM/storage option of 8 GB/128 GB. The only choices in the US are the colors Glacier Blue or Frosted Silver. This price is almost half the price of most flagships at the top of this list and is also offered by T-Mobile.
The OnePlus 7T has an AMOLED 6.55-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor (currently only mainstream phone with this processor), triple rear cameras, ample RAM and internal storage, a large battery of 3,800 mAh and Warp Charge 30T capacity, with excellent radio support for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and other US networks. There is no certification for dust and water resistance and a 3.5 mm headphone jack is nowhere to be found.
For a few weeks, I use the OnePlus 7T after using the 7 Pro and the flat display and the zipper performance makes it clearly a great device to consider. Read our OnePlus 7T Review
Honorable mention: Google Pixel 3A/ 3A XL
Google has recently launched a number of medium-sized phones that are much cheaper and still contain Google’s leading camera solution. The Pixel 3A and 3A XL are the same phones with only the screen size and the battery capacity that differ from each other. A price difference of $ 80 distinguishes between the two sizes, with the same color options also being available.
The Pixel 3A and 3A XL are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor with 5.6 or 6-inch OLED screens, 12 MP camera on the back, 8 MP camera on the front, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB internal memory, stereo speakers and 3000/3,700 mAh battery options. This is aimed at the masses with limited internal storage and US carrier availability at Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, and is directly unlocked via Google.
The smaller Pixel 3A costs only $ 399, while the Pixel 3A XL costs $479. The only option, except for the size, is the color of the phone. Available colors are Just Black, Purple-ish, and Clearly White. They are both powered by Android 9.0 Pie and receive OS upgrades for three years. The newest Assistant functions from Google are present, along with some other Google software benefits.
FAQ about before you Buying Phones
The build is all about the sustainability of a smartphone. The entire handset market is usually divided into two types of builds – plastic and metal. There are also those that even have a glass-coated panel, but they are very limited. Phones like Galaxy Note 10, iPhone 11, etc all come in either aluminum chassis or a stainless steel frame, thus making them durable.
The screen size and resolution of the screen depends on how you use your smartphone. If you often edit photos or videos, stream videos, and download or watch movies, a 5.7-inch to 6-inch, full-HD or QHD resolution screen should be the best option for you. But since we are talking about best smartphones, we’d recommend an AMOLED display, with Quad-HD resolution, like the Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus and the all-new Galaxy Note 10.
The bigger one is better. The battery usage varies from user to user, depending on how he or she uses the smartphone. Are you a heavy user and you work on many applications, stream your videos, play games, and more than you have to choose a smartphone with at least 3500 mAh battery or more.
The more you get is, the better. Smartphones with 128 GB of internal storage are good, and fortunately, they are common between flagship phones starting with 128 GB of internal storage. If you want to download many games and make a 4K video, choose the max storage option. A micro-SD card slot is an excellent option for expanding storage space but is only available only on certain Android phones. So if you are choosing a phone with no SD-card slot, we’d prefer going with the best storage option available.
Even mid-range smartphones now offer outstanding performance for most users. But if you want the most power for games and virtual reality, buy a smartphone with a Snapdragon 845 chip or the latest Snapdragon 855 mobile platform. A Snapdragon 600 series chip is ideal for medium-sized Android phones.
Here is an easy way to look at the RAM of smartphones, which is essential for multitasking. Try to avoid the handsets with only 1 or 2 GB of RAM. On the mid-tier devices, 3 GB of RAM is a good option. But you will often find the 4-6 GB RAM on the latest flagships. Some smartphones, such as the OnePlus 7, Note 10, etc offer no less than 8 GB/12 GB of RAM. So again like the Storage, go for the best RAM option available.
If you still have doubts about how to get the best smartphones nowadays then read this full guide: Best Smartphone Buying Guide.
So these are the Best Smartphones that you can buy right now. We made this list after carefully examining all the above-mentioned smartphones, along with some others like Pixel 3A, OnePlus 7T, etc. Also to mention, Apple is expected to launch its flagship phones in the coming time. We’d keep an eye on them, and will update this list once those smartphones are launched. So we recommend you to bookmark and subscribe to our web for future updates.