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Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Android Smartphones From Google, Samsung, TCL & More! – Updated November 2021

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Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to get your loved ones this year. A new Android smartphone is always a good idea, and that’s why this gift guide is dedicated to just that.

There are hundreds of Android smartphones released this year, which made developing this gift guide pretty difficult, but there is a perfect smartphone for everyone. From a smaller phone, to bigger phones, to better camera phones to better gaming phones and everything in between.

In this list, you’ll find 12 smartphones, ranging in price from around $100, all the way up to over $1600. So there’s something for everyone in this best Android smartphone gift guide. We have more in-depth lists of the best flagship smartphones and best value smartphones available too.

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Best Android Smartphones – Holiday Gift Guide 2020-21

Product nameCostWhere to buy
Samsung Galaxy S21$849Amazon, Samsung
TCL 20 SE$189Amazon
Google Pixel 6$599Google Store
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3$924Amazon, Samsung
Motorola Edge (2021)$699Amazon
ASUS ROG Phone 5$699Amazon
OnePlus 9$679Amazon, OnePlus
OnePlus Nord N10 5G$299Amazon, OnePlus
Nokia XR20 5G$514Amazon
ASUS ZenFone 8$679Amazon
TCL 20 Pro 5G$529Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3$1,599Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S21

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 is one of the best smartphones of the year. While there is the Galaxy S21+ and the S21 Ultra, those are more expensive, and the Galaxy S21 is generally closer to $700. Though it is currently out of stock, so you’d have to settle for the 256GB model that is $849. It’s always good to have a bit more storage for your smartphone. To make sure you don’t run out of space.

The S21 runs on the Snapdragon 888 5G processor in the US, with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It also has a triple-camera setup with a main 64MP telephoto sensor, a 12-megapixel wide and a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor available here. It is able to record in 8K as well, which is incredible.

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This is all powered by a 4000mAh capacity battery that will keep the Galaxy S21 running all day and then some.

Samsung Galaxy S21 - Amazon

TCL 20 SE

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  • Price: $189
  • Where to buy: Amazon

TCL’s 20 SE is a pretty good smartphone for under $200. With this one, you’re getting a huge 6.82-inch display, along with the Snapdragon 460 under-the-hood. There’s also 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage available here. This is all powered by a 5000mAh capacity battery. That is pretty impressive for such a battery-friendly processor, and 720p display.

It runs on Android 11, with TCL’s UI on top. So it is running a fairly recent version of Android, since Android 12 only just launched in October.

TCL 20 SE - Amazon

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Google Pixel 6

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The Google Pixel 6 is finally available, and it’s a contender for smartphone of the year. It offers a ton of value for just $599 (or $699 if you buy from Verizon).

This year, Google finally upgraded the camera on the Pixel 6, giving it a nice 50-megapixel main sensor. Which improves the quality of the pictures pretty impressively.

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Additionally, the Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch FHD+ 90Hz display, the Tensor SoC, 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM. So there’s plenty of space for everything that you might need here.

Google Pixel 6 - Google Store

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

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Perhaps the best foldable that you can buy in 2021, is the Galaxy Z Flip 3, and it’s pretty inexpensive as far as foldables go. With a regular price of $999, it’s the same price as most other flagships.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a 6.7-inch FHD+ display that folds in half. It is powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage – there is also a 256GB model available. This is all powered by a 3300mAh capacity battery.

This phone is really great for those that want something smaller, but would still like a big display, as it does fold in half, and can fit into smaller pockets.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 - Amazon

Motorola Edge (2021)

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  • Price: $699
  • Where to buy: Amazon

This is the latest smartphone from Motorola, and it’s a pretty good one. Which is why it has made it onto our smartphone gift guide.

The 2021 model of the Motorola Edge has a 6.7-inch FHD+ display, and is powered by the Snapdragon 778G processor. That also comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. And powered by a 5000mAh capacity battery. That should definitely get you through a full day and then some, on a single charge.

The Motorola Edge comes with Android 11 and will likely get updated to Android 12 in the future too.

Motorola Edge (2021) - Amazon

ASUS ROG Phone 5

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  • Price: $699
  • Where to buy: Amazon

The ASUS ROG Phone 5 is probably the best gaming smartphone on the market right now. It comes with a 6.78-inch FHD+ display, that refreshes at 144Hz. Allowing for a really smooth gaming experience.

It also sports the Snapdragon 888 processor with 8GB of RAM (up to 16GB) and 128GB of storage (256GB also available). But perhaps the most insane spec here is the battery capacity, it’s 6000mAh. Which is absolutely insane and the biggest on this list.

There’s also a triple-camera setup on the ASUS ROG Phone 5, making it a great smartphone for gaming as well as taking photos.

ASUS ROG Phone 5 - Amazon

OnePlus 9

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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 - Amazon

OnePlus Nord N10 5G

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OnePlus’ Nord N10 5G is a really great sub-$300 smartphone to pick up. It does offer 5G connectivity, which is a surprise for a $300 smartphone.

This offers a 6.49-inch FHD+ display, powered by the Snapdragon 690 processor, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as well. It has a pretty conservative 4300mAh capacity battery too.

OnePlus outfitted the Nord N10 5G with a quad-camera setup. There is the 64-megapixel main sensor, accompanied by a 8-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel depth and a 2-megapixel macro sensor.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G - Amazon

Nokia XR20 5G

smartphone gift guide

  • Price: $514
  • Where to buy: Amazon

Here we have the Nokia XR20 5G, which is a rugged smartphone. So it’s greta for those that work on construction sites, or even those that are just very clumsy.

This Nokia XR20 5G sports a 6.67-inch FHD+ display, powered by the Snapdragon 480 5G processor, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Now that might sound like it’s a pretty low-end device, given the price here. And that’s true. That is because it’s a rugged device with MIL-STD-810H certification.

Nokia XR20 5G - Amazon

ASUS Zenfone 8

smartphone gift guide

  • Price: $679
  • Where to buy: Amazon

The Zenfone 8 is a mostly stock Android smartphone, but it’s also a compact smartphone. Which is a somewhat niche smartphone, but many are showing support for a smaller smartphone these days.

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 - Amazon

TCL 20 Pro 5G

smartphone gift guide

  • Price: $529
  • Where to buy: Amazon

The TCL 20 Pro is a slightly higher-end model from TCL, but still under $600.

It sports a 6.67-inch FHD+ display, the Snapdragon 750G processor, 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s also a 4500mAh capacity battery included here. Which is going to be pretty good for keeping you charged up all day.

It also has a quad-camera on the back. With a 48-megapixel main sensor, along with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel macro and a 2-megapixel depth sensor included. It’s able to record 4K video too.

TCL 20 Pro 5G - Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

smartphone gift guide

  • Price: $1,599
  • Where to buy: Amazon

For 2021, Samsung is not releasing a Galaxy Note smartphone. Which forced us to include two foldable smartphones on our smartphone gift guide this year.

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 - Amazon