Best Android phones in 2021: Which Android device is right for you?
Apple’s iPhone series is rarely all that surprising. When you get a new iPhone, the overall experience is likely to be very similar to your previous device. Not so on the Android side though. There are Android phones of all shapes and sizes — not to mention different price points. In other words, there should be an Android phone for everyone. But that also means that finding the best Android phones can be a hard task.
Of course, that’s why we’ve put together this guide.
There are a few things to consider before picking out an Android phone. For starters, you’ll want to think about a budget. As mentioned, there are Android phones at all price points, meaning that no matter how much you want to spend, you should be able to find a solid device. You’ll also want to consider the software experience. Android phones aren’t all the same — and many device manufacturers tweak Android to add new features, change the look and feel of the software, and more. You might like some approaches to this more than others.
As with any kind of computer, there are other things to consider. If you game a lot, you might want a device with a decent processor to keep those games running smoothly. You’ll also want a phone with a decent display, and a good camera. Depending on your budget, it can be hard to find a phone with all of these things, but we’ll highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each phone below.
Without further ado, here are the best Android phones.
Best Android phone overall: Samsung Galaxy S21
Pros: Excellent performance, smooth display, great camera, nice design
Cons: Display resolution isn’t impressive, plastic body
Samsung seriously pulled the stops out for the Galaxy S21 series . The standard Galaxy S21 may not be as technically impressive as the much-more-expensive Galaxy S21 Ultra, but it’s still more than enough Android phone for most. The device offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. On the front of the phone, you’ll get a 1,080p display, which is frankly more than sharp enough for most. And, that’s not to mention the fact that it’s a 120Hz display, so it should offer a smooth experience overall.
The camera on the phone is pretty sweet too. The device comes with a triple camera system, with one 12-megapixel main camera, one 64-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera — and that should be more than versatile enough for most situations.
The phone isn’t all that expensive either. While the Samsung Galaxy S20 came at $1,000, the Galaxy S21 starts at $800. Not bad.
Best premium Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Pros: Excellent display, great performance, versatile camera
Looking for the best of the best and don’t mind spending some cash? The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra may be the device to get. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does away with all of the possible issues you could have with the standard Galaxy S21. It has the same high-end processor, but swaps out the 1,080p display for one with a 1,440p resolution, has a glass back, and even chucks in an extra telephoto camera.
Basically, if you want a flagship device, this phone has everything you could want. That includes an excellent battery life, thanks to the 5,000mAh battery under the hood. The phone also supports Samsung’s awesome new wireless DeX mode, which basically lets you use it like a desktop computer without the need for a dock or cable.
Best stock Android phone: Google Pixel 5
Pros: Smooth software experience, excellent camera
Cons: A little pricey for the performance
Google took a slightly different approach to the Pixel series this year, doing away with the flagship-tier processor. But don’t take that to mean that the Google Pixel 5 is a low-end phone. On the contrary, the phone offers an excellently smooth stock Android experience, a solid display, and more.
Under the hood, the phone offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, which should still easily handle everything you can throw at it. And, of course, you’ll get that awesome Pixel camera experience. The Pixel 5 offers a 12.2-megapixel main camera and a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera.
The phone is a little expensive for the specs that it offers, but if you want a stock Android experience, it’s still the best way to go. Note, Google is expected to unveil the Google Pixel 6 in the very near future, so if you can wait to buy, it may be worth doing so.
Best Android phone for enthusiasts: OnePlus 9 Pro
Pros: Excellent display, solid camera, top-tier performance
OnePlus has long made excellent phones with top-tier features, and the OnePlus 9 Pro is no exception to that rule. The device offers excellent performance, a great camera, and more features that Android enthusiasts would want.
For starters, the phone offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor , along with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, so it should easily be able to handle everything you can throw at it. It also offers an incredibly smooth display, with a 1,440p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. And, it has a great quad camera system, with one 48-megapixel main camera, one 8-megapixel telephoto camera, one 50-megapixel ultrawide camera, and one 2-megapixel monochrome camera.
The downsides? The device is a little pricey, and while the camera is great, it’s not quite as good as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s.
Best value Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Pros: Inexpensive, flagship-tier performance, great display
Cons: Aging a little
Looking for a near-flagship phone and don’t want to spend $1,000? The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is starting to get a little old, but it still has a lot going for it. The device comes with a Snapdragon 865 , which is Qualcomm’s last-generation flagship, along with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. That should be more than powerful enough for most.
Despite the lower price tag, the Galaxy S20 FE also has a great display. It’s a 6.5-inch display, with a 1,080p resolution — but it has a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. On the back, you’ll get a triple camera system. That includes one 12-megapixel main camera, one 8-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera.
Best small Android phone: Asus Zenfone 8
Pros: Compact, excellent performance, solid camera
Do you miss the days of small-sized phones? The Asus Zenfone 8 is worth considering. The device offers top-tier performance, a solid display, and all in a compact design that you can easily use with one hand.
While the Zenfone 8 is small, it’s not underpowered. It still has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, along with up to 12GB of RAM, and a 120Hz refresh rate that should make for a smooth experience overall.
So what about the downsides? Well, the battery isn’t all that great — which isn’t surprising given the phone’s size. And, the phone is pretty expensive.
Best foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Fold 2
Pros: Excellent performance, good camera, reliable
Cons: Foldables are still chunky, very expensive
Foldable phones are still in their infancy, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid them. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 has a lot going for it. It’s a top-performing phone, and can unfold to show off a beautiful, tablet-sized screen.
On the front of the phone, you’ll get a nice 6.23-inch display. Unfold the device, and you’ll get a larger 7.6-inch display that’s perfect for watching movies or gaming on the go.
There are other great things about the phone too. You’ll get a solid triple camera system, with one 12-megapixel main camera, one 12-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. Under the hood, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor , coupled with 12GB of RAM.
There are issues with the device. The phone is incredibly expensive, and foldables are still a bit chunky.
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