Best Android Phones of 2021
If you’re in the market for a new Android phone, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our picks for the best Android phones currently available and for those with more specific needs for their smartphone check out one of our lists below.
If you’re looking for the best all-around phone, with little-to-no compromises, nothing beats the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Samsung came out swinging for the fences with this device, as it’s the first non-Galaxy Note phone to feature S Pen support. And in true “Ultra” fashion, the camera system here is absolutely incredible, even allowing to capture shots of the moon and have them come out looking crystal-clear.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- The best camera system available
- S Pen support
- A beautiful 6.7-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate
Ignoring the future update woes, the OnePlus 9 Pro is a strong contender for the #1 spot on this list. The phone offers the best camera system ever for a OnePlus phone, ultra-fast 65W wired AND 50W wireless charging, along with the latest specs. If it weren’t for a few minor complaints in the camera department, this might have been the year for OnePlus to overtake Samsung.
OnePlus 9 Pro
- OxygenOS is still arguably the best non-Pixel software interface
- Warp Charge 65T is a game-changer
- The best cameras ever included in a OnePlus phone
Compact flagship phones aren’t really a thing, for the most part, which makes the regular Galaxy S21 an easy choice here. The phone’s 6.2-inch display is small enough for you to not feel like you need to perform finger gymnastics just to reach the top of the phone. Although battery life could be a bit better, you can’t argue with the fantastic pairing of the Snapdragon 888 with a 120Hz display and a fantastic triple camera setup.
Samsung Galaxy S21
- Flagship specs at a lower price
- Smaller design is more comfortable for most
- The 120Hz display is a dream
The Pixel 4a continues Google’s latest push to get the Pixel into the hands of as many people as possible. After seeing the success of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, the Pixel 4a was the next logical solution. While you won’t get 5G support, it’s hard to argue with getting the latest updates as soon as Google makes them available. Plus, it’s priced under $350, making it a fantastic value.
Google Pixel 4a
- The best image processing software
- Stock Android is still amazing
- OLED display is better than you would expect at this price
Mid-range phones are all the rage nowadays, and that includes the Samsung Galaxy A52. This phone is the successor to the Galaxy A51 from last year, which was the second-most popular phone in the world, behind the iPhone 11. Although you won’t find the best specs across the board, it features a gorgeous display, a quad-camera setup, and all-day battery life.
Samsung Galaxy A52
- Offers an incredible balance for the money
- Samsung has upped its game in the software department
- Main cameras are much better than expected
If you’re the type of person who thinks even the Galaxy S21 is too large, then the ASUS ZenFone 8 is for you. The phone offers flagship specs thanks to the Snapdragon 888 and up to 16GB of RAM, to go along with a 5.9-inch OLED display. But this display is also equipped with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz and is even IP68 water and dust resistant.
ASUS ZenFone 8
- A lightweight and pocketable powerhouse
- Fantastic build quality and durability
- Built-in DAC for audio nerds
Motorola may not be a player in the flagship market anymore, but with phones like the Moto G Power, it doesn’t need to be. The Moto G Power (2021) offers a massive 5,000mAh battery, along with a near-stock Android software experience. The cameras aren’t going to wow, but you do have a triple 48MP camera setup on the back.
Moto G Power (2021)
- All-day battery life (and then some)
- Sleek design considering the price
- Can be found for under $200
The Axon 30 Ultra kind of took us off guard, as you would expect this phone to be priced around $1,000 given its specs and design. But that’s not the case, as the phone starts at just $749 with the Snapdragon 888, 8GB of RAM, and a 144Hz display. It also might just be the cheapest phone on the market to feature an 8MP periscope camera to go along with the triple 64MP camera sensors.
ZTE Axon 30 Ultra
- Flagship-level build quality with tiny bezels
- Ultra-fast 65W charging included
- Camera system is top-notch and features an 8MP periscope camera
It wouldn’t be a “best Android phones” list without including the best folding phone. While the Huawei Mate X2 may boast a better camera system, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 makes up for it by offering an all-around fantastic experience without crossing that $2,000 threshold. Even today, the phone is extremely fast, and the display still holds up much better than we were expecting when it was released.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- The best folding smartphone available today
- Battery life is better than you would expect
- The perfect "couch" phone
Mobile gaming has never been more popular, and as long as that trend continues, we expect to see new ROG phones from ASUS. The ROG Phone 5 is the latest in the bunch and offers a fantastic experience for those who spend hours playing games on their phone. There’s a massive 6,000mAH battery capable of handling 65W fast-charging, along with built-in fans to keep your phone from overheating.
ASUS ROG Phone 5
- The dream phone for mobile gamers
- Enormous 6,000mAh battery with a 65W charger
- Built-in fans to keep the phone cool
We are definitely in uncertain times when it comes to phone launches, but based on what we know right now here are some of the smartphones we expect to see over the next several months.
Google Pixel 6 / Pixel 6 Pro
As we continue barreling down towards the end of 2021, Google’s next “flagship” could be the best Pixel ever. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been leaked practically in their entirety, but we aren’t expecting an official announcement until this Fall. The phones will be the first to sport Google’s own Whitechapel chipset, created in a partnership with Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 / Z Flip 3
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is shaping up to be more of a minor upgrade compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. But along with a slight redesign, the phone is said to be more durable, along with featuring S Pen support. The Z Flip 3 is also expected to be announced alongside the Z Fold 3, bringing many improvements, along with a redesigned cover display. Both of these phones are said to be cheaper than their predecessors, as Samsung hopes to make foldables more mainstream.
The Pixel 5a has been confirmed for months, but there is still no sign of the budget device. The “A” series of phones from Google have been home runs, and we aren’t expecting anything different from the Pixel 5a. Day One updates, along with Google’s camera prowess, stock Android, and a low price combine for an enticing device.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2
The Microsoft Surface Duo may not have been the phone that Microsoft originally envisioned, and it was released with a rather steep asking price given that the specs were far outdated. But rumors for the Surface Duo 2 point to flagship Android specs and features that were missing from the original.