Best Android Smartphone 2021: Phones Reviewed & Ranked


There are new phones arriving all the time, especially when it comes to the world of Android. Apple’s iPhone might be popular but handsets running Google’s mobile OS provide you with a wealth of choice.

2021 has already brought along some phenomenal handsets, with the Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11 already among our favourites – though we were surprised that it’s a dud year for OnePlus, with the OnePlus 9 series simply not good enough to crack our top 10.

Here at Tech Advisor we independently test each phone thoroughly so we can bring you the very best options worth considering at any given moment. Here we rank the top ten but keep checking back as we update this list regularly.

Clicking through to our in-depth reviews will help, as we have detailed benchmarks, test photography and more for you to explore.

Best Android phones 2021

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – Best Android phone

2. Oppo Find X3 Pro – Best design & display

Oppo Find X3 Pro

3. Samsung Galaxy S21 – Best all-rounder

Samsung Galaxy S21

4. Xiaomi Mi 11 – Best performance

Xiaomi Mi 11

5. OnePlus Nord – Best mid-range

OnePlus Nord

6. Google Pixel 5 – Most compact

Google Pixel 5

7. Poco X3 Pro – Best budget

Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro

8. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip – Best foldable

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

9. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro – Best value

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

10. Asus ROG Phone 5 – Best for gaming

Asus ROG Phone 5

Your buying guide for the best Android phones in 2021

While you only get to choose from a handful of Apple handsets, there’s something for everyone when it comes to Android.

They come from a variety of different manufacturers – in all manner of shapes, sizes and colours – and each has unique selling points, whether it’s a sleek, waterproof design, a huge display or an abundance of cameras. Sometimes, you can even find all of those attributes on one phone.

We’ve done our best to rank the phones in order, taking into account build, value, performance and features. However, make sure you get a phone that’s right for your needs – it might not simply be the phone in the top spot.

Important specs to look for are:

  • Screen quality: resolution, refresh rate (ideally at least 90Hz), and whether it’s LCD or OLED
  • Chipset: does it use the latest Snapdragon 888, a lower 7- or 6-series chip, or even something from rival MediaTek?
  • RAM: look for at least 8GB, but more is better
  • Storage: look for at least 128GB, and check if it’s expandable or not
  • Camera: don’t just check Mp count – look into the types of lenses available, the sizes of the sensor, and check photo samples in our reviews
  • Waterproofing: is there an official IP rating or not?
  • Battery & charging: will it require a daily charge, and how fast is the charging – both wired and potentially wireless
  • 5G: most phones now support 5G, but double-check to be sure
  • Software: not all Android skins are created equal – our favourites are stock Android and OnePlus’s OxygenOS, but read reviews to get a sense of each operating system’s strengths and weaknesses. Check the manufacturer’s upgrade promise too, and which software version it ships with – Android 11 is the latest, with Android 12 coming later this year.

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