Because there are so many Android smartphones, choosing the finest Android phones may be difficult, but our guide is here to assist, as we’ve selected the best of the best.
We’ve rated our choices in order of preference, and provided an overview and specifications list for each, as well as an at-a-glance look at their best and worst features, to help you make a more informed purchasing decision.
Don’t simply go with the first option; another phone on our list may be better for you. Think about what you need from a smartphone and how much you want to spend. Because they are the greatest models, they are also the most costly, but there are rare exceptions.
So take a look around and you’re certain to discover something that catches your eye, but if not, it’s also worth checking out our best smartphone, best iPhone, and best inexpensive phone recommendations.
Check back soon, too, since new Android phones are being added all the time – the Google Pixel 6, for example, is expected to arrive shortly and may possibly join our list.
Best Android phones 2021
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- OnePlus 9 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Xiaomi Mi 11
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Realme GT
- Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus
- OnePlus 9
- Asus ROG Phone 5
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the company’s top, premium flagship for 2021, and it’s a beast. For the first time, Samsung has included S Pen compatibility on an S-range phone, implying that you can have the Galaxy Note range’s greatest feature as an option.
Even without it, this is a beautiful device with a fantastic quad-lens camera capable of 10x optical zoom. In fact, we dubbed it the greatest camera zoom on any widely available Android phone in our review.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also looks fantastic, with a smooth Gorilla Glass back with a matte finish that appears better than the shiny Galaxy S20 series, and a curved edge-to-edge 6.8-inch screen across the front.
Speaking of the screen, for the first time on a Samsung phone, it has both a QHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. And, being a high-end Samsung screen, it’s one of the finest available.
Of course, there’s plenty of power, and although clearly extremely costly, this actually has a lower starting price than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra had at launch.
OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus phones used to take a few corners to reach cheaper pricing than competitors, but that’s no longer the case with the OnePlus 9 Pro. While it is still somewhat less expensive than other similar phones, it is an excellent phone in every aspect.
It not only has a large, sharp, and overall high-quality 120Hz screen, top-tier power from its Snapdragon 888 chipset, a large battery with fast charging whether wired or wireless (at 65W and 50W respectively), and premium metal and glass build – with water resistance, but it’s also by far the best OnePlus camera phone.
This is significant since the business has historically failed to compete in this area, but the OnePlus 9 Pro is the first fruit of a new collaboration with Hasselblad, and the camera brand’s skill shines through, leaving us pleased in our review.
All of this high-end hardware means the OnePlus 9 Pro is more costly than previous models in the series, which is the primary knock against it, but it’s difficult to say you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Samsung Galaxy S21
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is the most basic and cheapest model in the Galaxy S21 lineup, but it has a lot going for it that goes beyond its low price.
The triple-lens camera is very flexible, with the three basic lenses that we’d expect from a premium smartphone — a primary lens, a telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide lens. In our experience, they all function well.
There’s also a lot of power, a long battery life, and an AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s also a lot smaller than the rest of the S21 lineup, at 6.2 inches, so it’s perfect if you don’t want a big phone.
In addition to being the most affordable phone in the lineup, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is actually a step down in price from its predecessor, making it a bit of a steal – though in order to achieve that, the screen resolution has been reduced to Full HD+, and the back of the phone is ‘Glasstic’ rather than actual glass.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the company’s newest super-premium Note smartphone, featuring sophisticated capabilities, a great-looking screen, and unique functions for the phone’s integrated S Pen pen that offer you more flexible ways to use your device.
Sure, it’s pricey, big, and lacks the bells and whistles of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, those flaws are compensated for by a plethora of benefits that make it a top Android phone.
This is a truly high-end phone with excellent specifications in every department (we were especially pleased with the screen and camera), so if your wallet (and hand) can handle it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra may be one to consider.
Xiaomi Mi 11
The Xiaomi Mi 11 isn’t even the top of the Mi 11 lineup — that honor goes to the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra – but it’s still a great Android phone, with high-end power and a competent camera.
There’s a 108MP f/1.9 main lens and a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide lens, both of which perform well, but the camera highlight is its 5MP telemacro snapper, which we found to be much superior to the macro cameras on most phones and works from farther away from the subject.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 also features a fantastic 6.81-inch 1440 x 3200 AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a battery that charges quickly both wired and wirelessly.
The real battery life wasn’t excellent in our testing, and we’d like to see a telephoto camera included, but the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a fantastic flagship.
Oppo Find X3 Pro
If it weren’t for its exorbitant price, the Oppo Find X3 Pro would be much higher on our list, but as it is, it’s still a great phone, although not good value.
It has all of the features you’d expect from a high-end phone, such as a large, high-resolution, 120Hz screen, a high-end chipset, plenty of RAM, a large battery that charges quickly (at 65W wired or 30W wireless), water resistance, and a premium build, complete with a slightly more eye-catching camera block design than most.
In terms of the camera, it has a quad-lens system with a 50MP f/1.8 primary lens, a 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens, a 13MP f/2.4 telephoto lens (with 2x optical zoom), and a 3MP f/3.0 macro lens.
That macro lens may seem to be a gimmick, but it’s really a microlens,’ intended for capturing extremely close-up pictures that look more like a microscope image than a normal macro shot.
It’s a cool feature that you won’t find on other phones at the time of writing, and we liked using it, therefore it’s one of the major reasons to spend the high price for this phone.
The Realme GT is Realme’s debut phone on our list of the best Android phones, a low-cost powerhouse with some really amazing features for the price.
The phone has a strong Snapdragon 888 processor, 65W wired charging, and a 120Hz refresh rate Super AMOLED display.
The phone’s greatest feature is its design, which you’re presumably already aware of if you navigated beyond the image. The phone is definitely the eye-catcher, with a colorful faux-leather back that is broken up by a racing-stripe black streak.
While the phone lacks some of the top features that other models on our list offer, and we noticed that pictures were occasionally oversharpened or overexposed, its cheap price makes up for it. If you don’t want to spend the money on a high-end Android phone, this is a fantastic option.
Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus, together with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, are the company’s primary 2020 flagship phones, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made our list.
While the S20 Plus has a small advantage in terms of specifications, owing to a larger 6.7-inch screen, a larger 4,500mAh battery, a fourth camera lens (for depth-sensing), and optionally additional storage, they’re generally extremely comparable phones and deserve to be in the same category.
Both feature a powerful camera array, with 12MP normal, 12MP ultra-wide, and 64MP telephoto sensors, and both offer high-end power, owing to a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 processor and up to 12GB of RAM, depending on where you are in the globe.
They also feature a 1440 x 3200 display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. In our evaluations, we were especially pleased by the displays and cameras. The style is very premium, and they’re both jam-packed with features such as reverse wireless charging, 5G, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and water resistance. They aren’t the greatest anymore, but they’re not far behind.
In some respects, the OnePlus 9 is a lesser phone than the OnePlus 9 Pro, but it’s also a lot cheaper, and it arguably retains the spirit of its more expensive brother, so it’s still one of the finest Android phones.
For starters, it maintains the Hasselblad name (and the photography skill that comes with it), as well as the same camera hardware as the OnePlus 9 Pro — except the telephoto lens.
The OnePlus 9 has the same amount of processing power as the 9 Pro (or pretty much any other early 2021 flagship), and its screen, although smaller, is still impressive — it’s a 6.55-inch FHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The battery charges fast (at 65W), and there’s an in-screen fingerprint scanner as well as a glass back — something the Galaxy S21 lacks. The OnePlus 9 does have a plastic frame, which we were upset with, but it’s probably less visible than a plastic back, and you’re unlikely to be dissatisfied with the phone.
Asus ROG Phone 5
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is a little more specialized as a gaming phone than most of the Android phones on our list, but it excels at gaming and is a fantastic all-around smartphone as a result.
Its performance is really top-tier, with a Snapdragon 888 processor and up to 16GB of RAM, and we found that its 144Hz screen performed well, even if it isn’t quite as crisp as others, at 1080 x 2448. The 6,000mAh battery is large, lasts a long time, and charges at 65W; the speakers are excellent; and the phone includes shoulder buttons that assist with gaming play.
The Asus ROG Phone 5’s cameras, unsurprisingly, seem like an afterthought as a gaming phone, and it also has the gaudy design that we’ve come to anticipate on gaming phones – and which will elicit just as many detractors as lovers. It’s a great option if you want a powerful smartphone that excels at gaming and other media while undercutting most traditional flagships.