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.
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.
|Cost||Where to buy|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra||$1299||Samsung.com|
|Google Pixel 5||$699||Amazon|
|Google Pixel 4a||$349||Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra||$1399||Samsung.com|
|ASUS ROG Phone III||$715||Amazon|
|ASUS ZenFone 6||$549||Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10+||$1099||Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G||$1449||Best Buy|
Best Overall Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Price: $1,299
- Buy: Samsung.com
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is now our pick for the best overall smartphone. It sports the best in several different categories. That 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.
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.
Best Battery Life Smartphone
- Price: $749
- Buy: OnePlus.com
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.
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.
Best Camera Smartphone
Google Pixel 5
- Price: $699
- Buy: Amazon
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.
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.
Best Compact Smartphone
Google Pixel 4a
- Price: $349
- Buy: Amazon
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.
Best 5G Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Price: $1,399
- Buy: Samsung.com
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is the only 5G phone worth buying, and that is mostly due to the battery capacity. It sports a 5,000mAh capacity battery, which will get you through the day, if not two full days. And that's needed for 5G. Seeing as the technology hasn't matured yet, it is still very battery hungry. So having a larger battery is definitely a nice thing to have.
Additionally, the Galaxy S20 Ultra sports a 6.9-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED display, powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset, 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is also a 16GB/512GB model available for $1,599. There's a triple camera setup on the back, which includes a 108-megapixel sensor that is capable of shooting 8K video. It also has support for Space Zoom, which allows you to zoom in at up to 100X. That's fairly impressive for a smartphone.
At $1,399, you are getting what you pay for here, which is a whole lot of smartphone. And this is also a pretty heavy one, so you'll want to take that into account before you pick one up.
Best Gaming Smartphone
ASUS ROG Phone III
- Price: $715
- Buy: Amazon
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.
Best smartphone with stock Android
ASUS ZenFone 6
- Price: $549
- Buy: Amazon
You might be a bit surprised that ASUS is the one with the best stock Android experience. Given, a few years ago ASUS had a pretty heavy skin on their smartphones. But starting with the ZenFone 6, ASUS started going fully stock Android. It removed a lot of its own pre-installed apps, and ones it kept, it redesigned to match the design of Android 10. Making it look and feel really good.
On top of it having stock Android, the ASUS ZenFone 6 is a really powerful device for the money. It sports a 6.4-inch Full HD+ display, with the Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It also has a pretty sizeable 5000mAh capacity battery that should get you through the day and then some.
You might have noticed that the front of the ZenFone 6 doesn't have a camera. And that's because technically, there is no front-facing camera. Instead, the rear camera will pop up and take care of any selfie needs. And that's a 48-megapixel camera sensor, that also has a 13-megapixel ultrawide lens accompanying it.
All of this for just $549 might sound pretty insane, and that's because it kind of is, but that's why this is such a great value.
Best Flagship Value
- Price: $499
- Buy: OnePlus.com
The OnePlus 8 is our flagship value pick now, since it offers basically everything that every other smartphone on this list does, but at a much cheaper price. Starting at just $699. Considering most other smartphones here are around$999, that's a really good deal.
OnePlus 8 sports a 6.55-inch FHD+ OLED display, with a hole punch for the camera. Inside, you'll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. For another $100, you can up that to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
It is unlocked and will work on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US. Both T-Mobile and Verizon are selling the device too, and if you want Verizon 5G, you'll need to buy it from Verizon.
Best smartphone with a stylus
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
- Price: $1099
- Buy: Amazon
There aren't many smartphones available with stylus', so it really comes down to the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. We ended up going with the standard Note 10 here, because it is cheaper and still has all of the same flagship features as the Galaxy Note 10+. Which we have listed at the top of our best Android smartphones right now.
The Galaxy Note 10 also has a smaller display. That's a thing that many people have been asking Samsung for, for many years now. It's a 6.3-inch full HD+ display. And it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There is no micro SD card slot available though. All powered by a pretty hefty 3500mAh capacity battery.
The S Pen is available on the Galaxy Note 10. Allowing you to write and draw, and of course do some air gestures. Which can be very useful for swiping through photos or controlling a Powerpoint presentation.
Galaxy Note 10 is a really good phone, not just in the "Best Stylus" category either. And if you're looking for a new phone, this is a good option.
Best foldable smartphone
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
- Price: $1,380
- Buy: Best Buy
For August, we are replacing the Galaxy Z Flip with the Galaxy Z Flip 5G.
The phone is basically the same as the non-5G model, but with a newer chipset. Inside, you'll find the Snapdragon 865+ chipset. Which is a big upgrade over the Snapdragon 855 found in the original Galaxy Z Flip.
Samsung also outfitted it with a newer paint job. So instead of it being glossy and a fingerprint magnet, it is now more of a matte finish.
It's the best foldable phone on the market, at least until the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is officially announced on September 1.