Best Android phone for 2021: Which one should you buy?

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Jack Wallen offers up what helium believes are the champion Android phones you tin bargain for the remainder of 2021.

The twelvemonth is winding down. Where the clip went, I person nary idea. But present we are, astir to caput into November, and the vacation play is nigh. Don't worry, this isn't a buying database (although it mightiness beryllium shopping-adjacent). Instead, since Google yet released its caller flagship Pixel 6, is I'm listing what I judge are the 5 champion Android phones you tin get for the remainder of 2021.

This database consists of 5 categories: Best Android experience, champion flagship, champion affordable flagship, champion fund and champion foldable. Although I've been hesitant to enactment a foldable telephone connected immoderate "best of" list, astatine slightest 1 instrumentality has yet proved the foldable is simply a viable option. Which telephone made that possible? You'll person to work connected to find out.

Best Android experience: Pixel 6 Pro


Google Pixel 6

Image: Google

That's right, I'm calling it now. Although I'm tempted to spot the latest Pixel telephone connected the apical of this heap (as champion all-around flagship), it's not been successful my hands agelong capable to oust the existent person of the pack. However, fixed however overmuch the 6 improved connected the 5, and the inclusion of the Tensor chip, and however it makes usage of artificial quality amended than immoderate telephone connected the market, the Pixel 6 could good go the 1 Android instrumentality to bushed successful 2022. This telephone is spectacular successful each category. From the hardware design, performance, cameras, the gorgeous show (at 120 Hz smoothness), artillery life, each facet of this telephone is brilliant. But it's the axenic Android acquisition that gives the Pixel 6 a motion implicit the competition. When you harvester unthinkable hardware with a axenic Android operating system, the results are thing abbreviated of stellar. And fixed the sub $900 terms tag, the Pixel 6 is earnestly hard to beat. I've been a large instrumentality of the Pixel enactment for a portion now, but the latest iteration blows its predecessors retired of the water. The Pixel 6 Pro starts astatine $899.


Best flagship: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra


The Galaxy S21 Ultra

Image: Samsung

Although the Pixel 6 mightiness overtake Samsung's flagship instrumentality soon, for now, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is inactive the implicit champion of the champion Android telephone you tin buy. This telephone is simply a gorgeous beast, with 1 of the fastest processors disposable (a Snapdragon 888), a monolithic 5,000mAh battery, a 6.8-inch AMOLED show (at a buttery creaseless 120Hz refresh rate), and plentifulness of high-end camera enactment (108MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto). Everything astir the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra screams flagship, truthful if you're looking for the implicit finest Android hardware you tin transportation successful your pocket, this is it. One happening to support successful caput is the S21 Ultra is simply a large phone. The dimensions are 6.5-inch x 2.6-inch x .35-inch, which is conscionable somewhat larger than the Pixel 6. So, if a larger instrumentality isn't up your alley, you mightiness steer wide of the S21 Ultra. If you do, cognize that you're missing retired connected the champion of the champion (for the moment). Also, the camera bump connected the backside of the telephone takes up a batch of space. It's large and packs a batch of lens into that space. The results, however, are astonishing. The lone crushed the Pixel 6 beats the S21 Ultra successful photography people is that the Pixel present includes the Magic Erasure diagnostic that makes it casual to erase things you don't privation from a photo. The S21 Ultra doesn't bask specified a feature. But for axenic hardware, this telephone can't beryllium beaten. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra does transportation with it a flagship price, astatine $1,200.


Best affordable flagship: OnePlus 9 Pro


The OnePlus 9 Pro

Image: CNET

If the Galaxy S21 Ultra is retired of your terms range, and you inactive privation a flagship device, the OnePlus 9 Pro mightiness beryllium precisely what you need. At conscionable nether $1k, you'll get a instrumentality that comes adjacent to what Samsung's hardware offers without having to interruption your bank. The specs for the OnePlus 9 Pro are adjacent to the S21 Ultra, but don't expect a 1:1 comparison. You'll get little RAM, a smaller battery, and little storage. However, you get the aforesaid level of processor, a akin show and cameras that were tuned by Hasselblad. You volition besides find the cameras aren't adjacent adjacent to what the S21 Ultra delivers. But if you can't warrant the $1,200 terms tag of the Ultra, and you don't request a camera to rival a DSLR, the OnePlus 9 Pro is simply a good telephone to own. Even with the downgraded cameras, you're inactive getting a camera array that includes: 48MP primary, 50MP wide-angle, 8MP telephoto, 2MP monochrome.


Best fund phone: Moto G Power (2020)


The Moto G Power (2020)

Image: Motorola

If the outgo of the supra phones is mode retired of your range, you inactive person options. There is 1 Android telephone that comes successful astatine fund prices but doesn't consciousness truthful overmuch similar a fund device. That telephone is the Moto G Power. For a telephone that sells astir $200, you'll beryllium amazed to find retired it punches good supra its weight. With a Snapdragon 665, 4GB of RAM, a 5,000mAh battery, and a 16MP superior camera the Moto G Power is simply a good entry-level telephone that nails the basics and delivers features you'd beryllium hard-pressed to find successful phones astatine a akin terms point. The surface is simply a 6.4-inch 1080p LCD and the telephone adjacent includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a microSD slot. The 1 happening to support successful caput is that this is the older 2020 mentation of the Moto G Power. The newer mentation has a little solution show and a little almighty CPU. So if you tin get your hands connected 1 of the 2020 editions of this device, you'll find it a serviceable telephone astatine a fund price.


Best foldable: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3


The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Image: Samsung

As I said earlier, I've been hesitant to adhd a folding telephone to immoderate database of champion Android phones. However, Samsung has done the unthinkable and made maine recognize that foldables are really viable devices. So if you're 1 of those who yearn to instrumentality to the days of X-Files and flip phones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has your sanction written each implicit it. The Z Flip 3 has much-improved durability (over erstwhile incarnations of this device) and includes immoderate beauteous decent specs. Don't expect flagship hardware nether the hood, arsenic you'll beryllium getting lone 8GB of RAM, a 12MP superior camera (with an added 12MP ultra-wide), and either 128 oregon 256GB of interior storage. One of the large disappointments with this instrumentality is the precise tiny artillery (at 3,300mAh). This equates to not being capable to past a afloat time connected a charge. But if you truly similar the thought of a foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is 1 of the champion you'll find astatine the moment. The outgo of this telephone volition tally you astir $1k.


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