Limiting the best smartphones to five options isn’t easy. The market is full of great phones from Samsung, Apple, and Google, as well as medium-sized brands such as OnePlus and Huawei. However, when you compare specs, prices, and features, five clear winners stand out above the rest.
Here are our picks for the best smartphones on sale in 2021. Regardless of budget or operating system taste, these smartphones are the cream of the crop. Read on for the best cell phones from Apple, Samsung, and Google.
Simply put, phones have gotten too big. And when you consider that professional iPhone models are coated with steel, they also become too heavy. And as Apple continues to develop giant phones, the iPhone 12 Mini feels like a warning that times are changing. Thanks to its 5.4-inch edge-to-edge display, the iPhone Mini 12 is closer in size to the iPhone 5 than any model released since then. And that does not come at the expense of performance, as is often the case in the world of smartphones.
This phone offers the same performance as the iPhone 12, including the A14 chip, 4 GB of RAM, a beautiful Retina display, and a camera that can take vivid, detailed photos. While it may not have all the advanced features and specs of the Pro series, it does have the most important ones, and we couldn’t be more excited to have a flagship option other than a six-inch behemoth.
PROS: Matches the iPhone 12’s larger specs for specs. The camera takes beautiful pictures. It is also the most affordable iPhone 12.
CONS: The battery life is solid, but its smaller size means it won’t last as long as the other iPhone 12 models.
The Google Pixel 4a has a premium camera system (Google’s photo processing software is second to none), so it’s pretty unreal that you can buy this cheap Android phone for less than $459. Google is constantly updating its Android operating system and suite of applications. which means your phone stays fast even with the latest features. And in a world of giant screens, we often forget how comfortable a 5.8-inch midsize screen can feel in the hand and pocket. For all smartphone photographers on a budget, they won’t find a better deal than the Google Pixel 4a.
PROS: Great camera for around $459. With constant software updates, you always have the latest features.
CONS: The screen isn’t as bright as premium phones, and there’s no wireless charging.
For quite a bit less than the Samsung S20 + flagship, the OnePlus 8’s screen also updates to 120Hz for ultra-smooth scrolling, and it does it at full resolution. It even has the fast Snapdragon 865 chip found in the Samsung S20 +. And it is the first OnePlus phone to support wireless charging. Speaking of battery, it also lasts all day. Sure, the camera isn’t as powerful as some of the best Android smartphones, but it can still take beautiful Instagram-worthy photos.
PROS: The Speedy Snapdragon 865 chip delivers great performance. The battery life of 11 hours is fantastic. The screen is one of the best of any phone we’ve seen.
CONS: Even with four cameras, the performance is not as good as Samsung and iPhone. Although it has 5G, it does not support all frequency bands.
While there are three models in the S20 family (Ultra, +, and S20), the S20 + offers the perfect balance of 5G performance without an impractical size. The 6.7-inch AMOLED display is brighter than its predecessors and has a 120Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth scrolling and video. And let’s not forget the incredible four-camera system and unparalleled zoom capabilities. The icing on the cake: The S20 + is currently the only phone available for all 5G frequency bands. It’s a premium phone worth every penny and with a camera that rivals the iPhone 11 Pro. Right now, you can save $200 on the Samsung S20 + if you buy it from Amazon.
PROS: It supports 5G, unlike Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro. Real battery life throughout the day. The ultra-fast refresh rate for smooth scrolling. Great camera system.
Cons: The 6.7-inch screen combined with the quad-camera system can seem dominant. High price tag. The screen resolution must be reduced to 1080p to enjoy the 120Hz refresh rate.
With a much smaller size and the return of Touch ID, the inexpensive iPhone SE was the iPhone many of us have been waiting for. But don’t be fooled by the smaller size and price; The iPhone SE has the same A13 chip as the iPhone 11 Pro, which means the iPhone SE is as practical as it is powerful. Although there is only one camera on the back of the phone, you can still take advantage of the portrait mode, depth control, and smart lighting. We’ve always asked for a cheap iPhone and Apple finally delivered.
PROS: It is a pleasure to hold the 4.7-inch screen in one hand. The return of Touch ID is welcome. Same processing power as iPhone 11 Pro.
CONS: The camera is not as powerful as the premium iPhone or Samsung phones. The battery life is also lower than that of premium phones.