Best phones in 2021: The top smartphones rated

The best phones are all about supplying you with what you want from a handset. They deliver tremendous cameras, the efficiency you wish to have to multitask and enough battery lifestyles to remaining the whole day. 

To mean you can pick the best smartphone for you, we check dozens of handsets in the lab and in the real global to carry you in-depth critiques and make recommendations you'll be able to consider.

With robust options to be had in any respect worth ranges, you shouldn't have to spend a lot to get one thing super. Some people would possibly like to have the greatest reveal possible together with the maximum advanced specifications. And others desire a cast mid-range telephone that delivers all the basics without feeling cheap. 

Our best phones listing has one thing for everybody, including large bargains under $500 and beneath $300. We've ranked all the top phones according to our checking out. Here are the top smartphones presently.

What are the best phones?

Based on our checking out, the new iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best telephone you'll purchase. It delivers a new 120Hz ProMotion show along with the best cameras in a telephone. This features a new macro mode, Cinematic mode for video and brighter images in low light. Plus, you recover from 12 hours of battery existence in our testing. The iPhone 13 Pro is great as well should you choose a smaller 6.1-inch demonstrate, because it has all the similar options.

The regular iPhone 13 is the best telephone beneath $800, as you get a brighter reveal than the iPhone 12 and stepped forward huge and ultra-wide cameras that are a step ahead of Android phones, plus blistering performance from the A15 Bionic processor and lengthy battery existence. 

If you prefer Android, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best Android phone you'll be able to buy, due to its tough cameras, lengthy battery existence, gorgeous dynamic 120Hz show and S Pen make stronger. But if you are in search of an excellent Android experience, check out both the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, which feature both Android 12 and a Google-built Tensor chip that enables sensible AI options. And the prices are large.

Those on a budget should additionally stick with Google. The Google Pixel 5a offers a super camera for less than $500. The Moto G Power is any other excellent bargain, because it provides the best battery life on the market.

The best phones you'll be able to purchase these days

1. iPhone 13 Pro Max

The best telephone total

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch OLED (2778 x 1284)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 6GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 1TB / No

Rear digital camera: 12MP primary (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.8) with 3x

Front digital camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 8.Five oz

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 12:16

Reasons to shop for

+Best-in-class cameras+120Hz ProMotion exhibit+Superior efficiency

Reasons to steer clear of

-Charging could be sooner-No Touch ID

The iPhone 13 Pro Max earns the identify of best phone because of a variety of key upgrades. This includes a new 6.7-inch ProMotion reveal that scales up to 120Hz for silky clean animations, superior performance from the A15 Bionic chip and epic battery lifetime of over 12 hours in our internet browsing test.

The cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro Max are simply best in class, because of advanced sensors that seize more gentle and a new Photographic types characteristic that allows you to tweak the look of your pics. But the coolest digital camera features are a new macro mode that is helping you shoot superior close-ups and a Cinematic mode for video that delivers a compelling bokeh impact along with computerized focusing between topics.

The charging might be faster. But, total, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is 2nd to none among smartphones. 

Read our complete iPhone 13 Pro Max review.

2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung's best telephone

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch OLED (3200x1400; 10-120Hz)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 12GB, 16GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear digicam: 108MP large (f/1.8), 12MP extremely wide (ƒ/2.2), 10MP telephoto (3x zoom, f/2.4), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom, f/4.9), laser AF sensor

Front camera: 40MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 8.08 oz

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:25

Reasons to buy

+Dynamic 6.8-inch AMOLED demonstrate+Dual telephoto lenses+S Pen fortify

Reasons to avoid

-No charger in field-Lacks microSD card slot

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is a superior big-screen phone, providing a dynamic 6.8-inch AMOLED exhibit that scales from 10Hz to 120Hz for tremendous clean performance. But the killer characteristic is the twin telephoto cameras, with 3x and 10x optical zoom, and the skill to Space Zoom up to 100x with a new Zoom Lock feature. The overall digicam high quality is stepped forward, too, with better-looking portraits and brighter photographs with Night mode.

The S21 Ultra additionally excels at taking pictures video with a brand new Director’s View mode that permits you to record the use of the back and front cameras at the similar time. Other highlights come with snappy efficiency from the Snapdragon 888 chip and extra-long battery existence from the 5,000 mAh battery, as the S21 Ultra lasted just about 11.Five hours on our internet surfing take a look at. The Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn’t come with a charger in a box or a microSD card slot, however overall it’s the best Android telephone you can purchase. 

The Galaxy S21 Ultra received a extremely really helpful award.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.

3. iPhone 13

The best phone for the cash

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 4GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP major (f/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4)

Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 6.1 ounces

Battery lifestyles (Hrs:Mins): 10:33

Reasons to shop for

+Best-in-class cameras+A15 Bionic blows away Android phones+Brighter demonstrate+Long battery lifestyles

Reasons to steer clear of

-Charging may well be faster-No telephoto zoom or 120Hz display screen

The best telephone for the cash, the iPhone Thirteen delivers an incredible digital camera revel in in a compact design. The primary digicam gathers extra light now and the ultra-wide camera captures more of the scene. And the Cinematic mode for video gives you Hollywood-like intensity of focus in your photos, thanks to the robust new A15 Bionic processor. 

Other highlights include a brighter 6.1-inch reveal and a smaller notch up top so that you get extra display screen genuine property. The largest growth is battery life, as we noticed about 10.Five hours of endurance, which is an development of over 1.Five hours from the iPhone 12. Add in a base 128GB of storage on your $799 and you'll be able to’t go flawed with this iPhone. 

Read our complete iPhone 13 review.

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4. Google Pixel 6

The best Android revel in for an excellent worth

Specifications

Display: 6.4-inch OLED (2400x1080)

CPU: Google Tensor

RAM: 8GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear digicam: 50MP primary (f/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2)

Front digicam: 8MP (f/2.0)

Weight: 7.3 oz.

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 8:13

Reasons to shop for

+Tensor chip adds smarts to the phone+Excellent photo-editing options+Android 12 is a welcome replace

Reasons to keep away from

-Battery existence will also be short over 5G-Lacks telephoto lens and 120Hz display of Pixel 6 Pro

The Google Pixel 6 is the best smartphone to get if you wish to have the ultimate Android enjoy, particularly now that Google has started using its personal Tensor chipset to energy the phone. Tensor assists in keeping tempo with the Snapdragon 888 inside of most of the different top Android phones, however extra importantly, it powers the kind of device learning-driven studies that make Google's phones distinctive.

The cameras characteristic a 50MP major lens, however the genuine story remains the tool, the place Tensor is helping power options like Magic Eraser for simply taking away other people from the background of your pictures and Motion Mode for making motion shots glance more dynamic. If you need a telephoto lens and a bigger exhibit, you can at all times improve to the Pixel 6 Pro for $899.

That's $Three hundred more than the starting price for the Pixel 6, and that price happens to be one in every of the higher features of the phone. It's laborious to discover a higher beginning value for this type of top class instrument.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 review.

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5. Google Pixel 5a

The best funds digital camera telephone

Specifications

Display: 6.43 -inch OLED (2400 x 1800)

CPU: Snapdragon 765G

RAM: 6GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB / No

Rear digicam: 12.2MP (f/1.7), 16MP (f/2.2) ultrawide

Front digital camera: 8MP (ƒ/2.0)

Weight: 6.Five ounces

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 9:45

Reasons to buy

+Spectacular cameras+Big, shiny display+IP67 water resistance

Reasons to keep away from

-Same chipset as Pixel 4a 5G-Limited to U.S. and Japan

The Google Pixel 5a is the best sub-$500 phone you'll be able to buy at this time, because it provides the best photography to be had on a mid-range telephone. If you do not need to spring for a pricey flagship instrument, the Pixel 5a is your best selection, in particular for fans of Android.

With the Pixel 5a, Google provides a 2d rear lens to its price range phone — a 16MP ultrawide shooter to augment the 12.2MP primary camera. That expands the Pixel 5a's flexibility over earlier fashions, whilst the phone continues to take pleasure in Google's prowess with computational images. The Pixel 5a's display is large and shiny, and this telephone provides IP67 water resistance, one thing missing from past A series models.

You pays $100 extra for the Pixel 5a than the Pixel 4a's discount basement price, however Google has added 5G connectivity and an improved processor to this type. (The Pixel 5a also costs $50 not up to final year's Pixel 4a 5G.) The Tensor send in the Pixel 6 delivers a greater total experience, and it is only $150 more than the Pixel 5a, however Google's least dear new phone remains an impressive choice for cut price hunters.

Read our complete Google Pixel 5a review.

6. iPhone 13 Pro

A powerhouse flagship with great battery life

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)

CPU: A15 Bionic

RAM: 6GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / No

Rear cameras: 12MP major (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.8) with 3x

Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)

Weight: 7.2 oz

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 11:42

Reasons to buy

+Fast A15 Bionic performance+Stellar cameras+Long battery lifestyles

Reasons to keep away from

-Relatively slow charging-No Touch ID

If you need the energy of the iPhone 13 Pro Max in one thing extra compact, the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro is the best telephone for you. This flagship packs all of the same large features and function as its bigger brother, including a new 3x telephoto zoom digicam, 120Hz ProMotion display and enhance for ProRes video.

The iPhone 13 Pro also benefits from longer battery life, as this iPhone lasted over 11 hours on our internet browsing battery check. We simply want the charging was once faster. Add in a brighter demonstrate, a slick Cinematic mode for video and bold new macro photography and you have got a superb all-around phone. 

Read our complete iPhone 13 Pro review

7. OnePlus 9 Pro

A very good flagship value

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3168 x 1440; 1-120Hz)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 8GB, 12GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear digital camera: 48MP vast (ƒ/1.8), 50MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 8MP telephoto with 3x optical (ƒ/2.4), 2MP monochrome

Front digicam: 16MP (ƒ/2.4)

Weight: 6.95 oz.

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 10:40

Reasons to shop for

+Beautiful 120Hz demonstrate+Crazy speedy wired and wi-fi charging+Fantastic cameras

Reasons to avoid

-Morning Mist model could be very slippery-Nightscape footage are inconsistent

The OnePlus 9 Pro options the best cameras ever integrated with a OnePlus phone. With assist from camera specialist Hasselblad, the OnePlus Nine options an excellent array of lenses that seize color as it should be and bring pictures that rival what you get from main camera phones, as you can see in our OnePlus 9 Pro camera face-off

There are different options beyond the cameras that make the OnePlus 9 Pro an excellent challenger to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. You get a display with a dynamically adjusting refresh charge, scaling between 1 and 120Hz. That is helping with battery existence, as the OnePlus 9 Pro lasted more than 10.5 hours on our battery test. OnePlus’ WarpCharge 65T technology means your phone may also be totally charged in slightly greater than 30 minutes. Throw in a Snapdragon 888 processor and numerous RAM, and you've got one among the best acting Android phones round. 

The OnePlus 9 Pro won a highly advisable award.

Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review.

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8. Samsung Galaxy S21

A Samsung flagship for not up to $800

Specifications

Display: 6.2-inch OLED (2400x1080; 48-120Hz)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 8GB

Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear digital camera: 12MP (ƒ/1.8) extensive; 12MP (ƒ/2.2) ultrawide; 64MP (ƒ/2.0) telephoto with 3x optical zoom

Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 6.07 oz

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 9:54

Reasons to buy

+Excellent dynamic 120Hz reveal+Powerful efficiency+Refined design

Reasons to steer clear of

-No charger or microSD card slot-Plastic back

If you’re looking for a flagship at an affordable price, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is one among the best telephone choices round. The S21 makes an excellent first impression with its swish contour minimize digital camera design, which blends the digicam into the back of the instrument. And the cameras themselves impress, too, with advanced portraits and a brand new Zoom Lock characteristic that permits you to recuperate effects up to 30x zoom.

The Galaxy S21 makes some trade-offs for its $799 ticket. You gained’t discover a charger in the box or a microSD card slot, and the again is plastic instead of glass. But this Samsung telephone makes up for the ones shortcomings with sturdy performance from its Snapdragon 888 chip, a larger fingerprint sensor for more straightforward unlocking and fun options like Single Take 2.0 for taking pictures photos and videos directly. 

Read our complete Samsung Galaxy S21 review.

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9. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The best telephone with a foldable display screen

Specifications

Display: Interior: 7.6 inch OLED (2208 x 1768; 120Hz); Exterior: 6.2 inches (2268 x 832; 120Hz)

CPU: Snapdragon 888

RAM: 12GB

Storage / Expandable: 256GB, 512GB / No

Rear digicam: 12MP extensive (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 12MP telephoto (f/2.4)

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.2), 4MP under-display (f/1.8)

Weight: 9.55 oz.

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 7:52 (60Hz), 6:35 (120Hz)

Reasons to shop for

+More durable, water resistant design+Dual 120Hz displays+Improved mutitasking

Reasons to avoid

-S Pen is not incorporated-Still dear

Samsung continues trying to make foldable phones more interesting to mainstream shoppers, and the Galaxy Z Fold Three is a big step ahead in that regard. While the $1,799 price remains to be so much to pay for a telephone, it’s $2 hundred lower than the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s debut cost. And the telephone is more durable than ever with an IPX8 water-resistance ranking, Armor Aluminum Frame and Gorilla Glass Victus display.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 additionally introduces new options corresponding to displays with 120Hz refresh charges (each inside and outside), an under-display digicam on that inner display screen and S Pen toughen. That latter function is non-compulsory, even though, that means you’ll want to pay extra for the stylus. 

More apps than ever prior to make stronger the Galaxy Z Fold, so chances are high that, the apps you use every day will have the benefit of the phone’s reinforce for multitasking. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t for everyone, but it’s the best foldable phone Samsung’s released but.

Read our complete Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.

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10. iPhone 11

An even greater value at a good lower cost

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch LCD (1792x828)

CPU: A13 Bionic

RAM: 4GB

Storage / Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear digital camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8); 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) / 12MP

Front digicam: 12MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 6.84 oz.

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 11:20

Reasons to shop for

+Great footage, particularly with Night Mode+Fast A13 Bionic CPU+Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-Fast charger no longer integrated-Just 64GB of garage to start

For a shockingly low $499, the iPhone 11 provides amazingly good low-light footage by the use of its Night Mode, and there’s a new ultra-wide lens that permits you to fit in more topics or scene with its 120-degree box of view. Selfies get a significant upgrade, too, with a 12-MP digicam that mechanically switches to a much broader view when you flip the telephone to panorama mode. 

The 6.1-inch LCD on the iPhone 11 isn’t OLED-great, like what you get from the more moderen iPhone 12, but it’s colorful and brilliant. A blazing A13 Bionic processor, lengthy battery existence and your number of six colours solidify the iPhone 11 as a winner. It's also a fair better deal with the iPhone 13's arrival triggering yet some other $A hundred value minimize on this older phone.

Read our full iPhone 11 review

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11. Moto G Power (2021)

The telephone with the best battery life

Specifications

Display: 6.6-inch LCD (1600x720)

CPU: Snapdragon 662

RAM: 3GB, 4GB

Storage / Expandable: 32GB, 64GB / No

Rear digital camera: 48MP major (ƒ/1.7); 2MP macro (ƒ/2.4); 2MP intensity (ƒ/2.4)

Front digicam: 8MP (ƒ/2.0)

Weight: 7.Three oz

Battery existence (Hrs:Mins): 14:04

Reasons to buy

+All-day battery lifestyles+Low worth including a sub-$Two hundred model

Reasons to keep away from

-Only one Android software replace

When you wish to have an enduring telephone, get one of Motorola’s Moto G Power fashions. That continues with the 2021 model of this funds telephone, which rides its 5,000 mAh battery to 14-hour-plus consequence on our battery check. That puts the Moto G Power (2021) near the top of our listing for best phone battery life, alongside ultimate year’s edition.

There’s more to the Moto G Power than simply a large battery. The cameras are first rate for a budget telephone, even the macro lens. And Motorola now offers a inexpensive version in the event you don’t mind living with less RAM and storage: the 3GB/32GB model costs $199, whilst the 4GB/64GB style has that acquainted $249 price ticket.

Read our full Moto G Power (2021) review.

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12. iPhone SE

The most cost-effective iPhone you'll purchase

Specifications

Display: 4.7-inch LCD (1334x750)

CPU: A13 Bionic

RAM: 3GB

Storage/Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No

Rear camera: 12MP huge (ƒ/1.8)

Front camera: 7MP (ƒ/2.2)

Weight: 5.22 ounces

Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 9:18

Reasons to shop for

+Affordable worth+Fast A13 Bionic efficiency+Very just right cameras

Reasons to keep away from

-Big bezels-No Night mode

You do not need to spend massive bucks to get your hands on an Apple telephone. The iPhone SE brings with regards to the entirety you favor about Apple's devices but at a decrease $399 worth. That's $Three hundred lower than the iPhone 12 mini, and $50 inexpensive than Google's Pixel 5a.

You get an older, iPhone 8-inspired design with noticeable bezels around the LCD display screen, however enthusiasts of compact phones will like the iPhone SE's small measurement and the indisputable fact that it is powered through an A13 Bionic processor — nonetheless capable of outperforming far more dear Android units. The single rear lens on the iPhone SE also delivers great pictures, thank you in no small part to Apple's excellent computational images.

Read our iPhone SE review.

How to select the best smartphone for you

How we check smartphones

In order for a smartphone to make our best phone record, it must excel on several assessments that we run on each and every handset. We perform some of these assessments in our labs and some in the real global.

When it involves performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and GFXBench to measure graphics efficiency. These assessments allow us to check efficiency across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding check on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the end result.

To measure the high quality of a phone's reveal, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colourful every display screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In those circumstances, higher numbers are higher. We additionally measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where decrease numbers are higher and score of Zero is very best.

One of the maximum essential tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery check. We run a internet surfing check over 5G or 4G at 150 nits of display brightness until the battery offers out. In normal, a phone that lasts 10 hours or extra is good, and anything else above Eleven hours makes our checklist of the best phone battery life.

Last but no longer least, we take the best phones out in the field to take pictures outdoor, indoors and at night time in low light to look how they carry out versus their closest competition. We take pictures of landscapes, food, portraits and extra, and likewise can help you be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews.

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