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Top 10 Best Android Smartphones – Updated October 2021

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G AM AH 17
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Finding the best Android smartphones can be tough. Even tougher to narrow that list down to the one you want, or should buy. That’s where we come in. Throughout the year, a lot of Android smartphones come across our desk, making it easier to find which ones are the “best”. It also makes it easier to find out which ones are not worth your attention.

This list has the best smartphones in different areas like battery life, camera experience, 5G, etc. So no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find the right smartphone for you. If you are looking for something a bit cheaper, you can check out our Top 10 Best Value Smartphones.

Top 10 Best Android Smartphones 2021

We are on the cusp of a new crop of smartphones, running on Qualcomm’s latest chipsets. But those won’t be available until the end of January at the earliest. So these are the best smartphones available right now, and many of them are discounted now.

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If you’re in the market for a new smartphone right now, you really can’t do wrong going with any of the ten smartphones listed below. And they range from $349 up to $1449, so there’s something for everyone’s budget.

CostWhere to buy
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra$1199Samsung.com
OnePlus 8T$749OnePlus
Google Pixel 5$699Amazon
Google Pixel 4a$349Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra$1299Samsung.com
ASUS ROG Phone III$715Amazon
ASUS ZenFone 8$629ASUS
OnePlus 9$729OnePlus
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3$1799Samsung.com
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3$999Samsung.com

Best Overall Smartphone

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

As you might expect, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is now our pick for the best overall smartphone. It is also the only smartphone on this list with the Snapdragon 888 5G. But that won’t last long.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra sports a 6.8-inch QHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display, along with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You can get 16GB of RAM and 512GB of RAM for $180 more too. It is the best of the best, and now it works with the S Pen, though that is not available in the box. You will have to pay extra for the S Pen.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - Samsung.com

Best Battery Life Smartphone

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OnePlus 8T

OnePlus 8T

OnePlus’ newest smartphone, the 8T, is our new pick for the best battery life smartphone. It sports a 4500mAh capacity battery, which is pretty decent in size. It also has a 6.55-inch FHD+ 120Hz display. Which is going to be pretty impressive for those that are looking for a really great smartphone, that can last a full day.

It also sports a Snapdragon 865 chipset, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There is a 8GB/128GB model available outside of the US.

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There’s also a quad-camera setup on the rear, with a 48-megapixel main sensor, 16-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor included. All that for just $749, which is pretty impressive.

OnePlus 8T - OnePlus.com - $749

Best Camera Smartphone

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Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5

The Pixel 5 is no surprise, the best camera smartphone you can buy today. Sure there are other phones with crazier camera setups like the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, or the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. But from a pure photo quality perspective, nothing is able (still) to beat the Pixel.

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Pixel 5 is the company’s  latest smartphone. It comes with a 6-inch FHD+ OLED 90Hz display, the Snapdragon 765G chipset, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It is available in two colors: Just Black and Sorta Sage. And it is powered by a 4080mAh capacity battery too.

With the Pixel 5, Google finally gave users what they wanted. An ultra-wide camera. So this one has a 16-megapixel ultra-wide and a 12-megapixel main sensor. It also has 4K60 video support, Cinematic Pans, Night Sight Portait Mode and so much more. All for just $699.

Google Pixel 5 - Amazon - $810

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Best Compact Smartphone

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Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4a is our pick for the best compact smartphone. It’s not necessarily a high-end smartphone, but at 5.81-inches, it is definitely compact. And offers a lot of the same features as the larger and more expensive Pixel 4 XL.

That includes the same great Pixel camera. Allowing you to capture some really great looking portrait shots, as well as stunning photos at night, all on a phone that is under $400.

Internally, the Pixel 4a has a Snapdragon 730G chipset, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Which is right on par with some of the smartphones on this list, at a much cheaper price.

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Google Pixel 4a - Amazon - $349

Best 5G Smartphone

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is now our pick for the best 5G smartphone. It includes the best display, best processor, big battery, and even the S Pen is here. For $1299, it is a really good phone, and you’d expect that for that price.

With the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, you’re getting a 6.9-inch QHD+ AMOLED display at 120Hz. As well as the Snapdragon 865+ chipset, 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is a micro SD card slot for expanding storage as well. Samsung has also included a 4500mAh capacity battery on this one.

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The cameras have been upgraded as well, with there being a 108-megapixel main sensor, capable of 50x zoom (not the 100x zoom on the Galaxy S20 Ultra), and then 12-megapixel periscope telephoto and ultra wide cameras. It’s a really great smartphone, especially for those that want the best of the best, and the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - Samsung.com

Best Gaming Smartphone

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ASUS ROG Phone III

ASUS ROG Phone III

The ASUS ROG Phone III isn’t yet available to buy in the US, but it will be soon. So only the Chinese version is available without a warranty. So do keep that in mind here.

The ROG Phone III is by far the best gaming smartphone available. It kept that huge 6000mAh capacity battery, which will keep you gaming for hours. It also sports a 6.59-inch FHD+ display that has a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 865+ chipset, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There are models that go up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage as well.

This is a monster of a phone, which is what makes it great for gaming. And that battery is going to last all day and then some. Even with some heavy gaming.

Note: As of May 1, 2021, the ASUS ROG Phone 5 is not yet available to purchase in the US and therefore not on our list. You can buy an imported international version, but we don’t recommend that as it may not fully work on US carrier networks nor come with a warranty. 

ASUS ROG Phone II - Amazon - $715

Best smartphone with stock Android

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ASUS Zenfone 8

ASUS ZenFone 8

  • Price: $629
  • Buy: ASUS

Now that the ASUS Zenfone 8 is finally available to purchase, we can add it to this list – replacing the Zenfone 6.

The Zenfone 8 is a mostly stock Android smartphone, but it’s also a compact smartphone. Coming in with a 5.9-inch FHD+ display, the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, 8GB of RAM with either 128GB or 256GB of storage on board. And a massive 4500mAh capacity battery.

Software-wise, this is mostly stock Android, with a few tweaks here from ASUS. So you’re getting Android 11 here, and it should get updated to Android 12 pretty quickly.

ASUS ZenFone 8 - ASUS - $629

Best Flagship Value

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OnePlus 9

The OnePlus 9 is the latest flagship smartphone to be released, and its our pick for the best value flagship right now. It has a starting price of $729, which includes a 6.55-inch FHD+ 120Hz display, the Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You can upgrade to 12GB/256GB too for only $829.

Of course, the OnePlus 9 series does run on Android 11 and OxygenOS 11. And it should get Android 12 before the end of 2021 (Android 12 isn’t expected to launch until September). Additionally, OnePlus partnered with Hasselblad for their cameras this time around. So you’re getting some really great cameras out of this one too.

All powered by a 4500mAh capacity battery.

OnePlus 9 - OnePlus.com - $729

Best smartphone with a stylus

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

For 2021, Samsung is not releasing a Galaxy Note smartphone. Which made our choice for the best smartphone with a stylus a bit tougher. But we arrived on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The other option would have been the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but we feel that the Fold 3 is a better option due to the larger display.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a 6.7-inch cover display, which unfolds to reveal a 7.6-inch main display. It’s a larger, and almost square display that works really well for those that like to take notes with the S Pen. It also has a Snapdragon 888 5G processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage inside. There’s a 4400mAh capacity battery inside, which is somewhat small by today’s standards.

Fold 3 is really great because it allows you to do a lot more on your phone, and really be productive while you are out and about. Which is really nice.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 - Samsung.com

Best foldable smartphone

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

With the new Samsung foldables now out, our pick for the best foldable smartphone is the Galaxy Z Flip 3. We feel that it is a better option for most people because of the price and the size. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is available for $999 – though you can get it much cheaper with trade-ins and other sales.

Essentially, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a 6.7-inch phone that folds in half. Making it great for those with smaller pockets. It sports the Snapdragon 888 5G processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is a somewhat small 3300mAh capacity battery inside though. However, it is waterproof now.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is mostly the same as any other smartphone, but now it folds in half. Which is really cool.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 - Samsung.com