Best smartphone 2021: the 15 top mobile phones tested and ranked

Looking for a brand new smartphone? Our best phone ranking is here to give you a definitive answer on the next phone you should buy. We've put together this list from our wide variety of reviews of handsets from a variety of manufacturers in the Android and iPhone space.

If you already have your mobile operating system allegiance set, you may want to check out either our ranking of the best Android phones or best iPhones. If what's on offer in our best smartphone list is a little too pricey for your taste, then you may want to check out our ranking of the best cheap phones

Our best smartphone list has undergone some major changes in the last few months with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus.

Last year saw an almost complete overhaul of this list with brand new devices entering the top 15 including the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and OnePlus 8T.

We also expect to see major changes throughout 2021 in this list with rumors of upcoming phones such as the OnePlus 9, iPhone 13, Sony Xperia 1 III, Oppo Find X3 Pro and more. Plus, we've just seen the Xiaomi Mi 11 debut and that may soon enter this list.

We know that it's not all about the high-cost, super spec phones all the time, so we've made you a handy list of all the top smartphones that you can get on the market right now and we assess what really matters to you.

We test these phones rigorously through our review process, making sure that we check every angle and feature - but most importantly, considering whether they've got a decent battery, great screen, strong design and a cracking camera.

Then, perhaps most importantly, we consider the price too. Not everyone can afford (or even wants) a supercar-like handset in their pocket at all times, so we've ensured to give you a full ranking.

Want to know the best part of this list for you? Our best phone list has never looked better. Let's get started on our list of the top 15 handsets. You can see them quickly below, and then we're set to talk you through the very best phone in the world right now. What could it be?

Best phone at a glance:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  2. OnePlus 8 Pro
  3. iPhone 12 mini / iPhone 12
  4. Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21 Plus
  5. iPhone 12 Pro / iPhone 12 Pro Max
  6. Oppo Find X2 Pro
  7. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  8. Motorola Edge Plus
  9. OnePlus 8T
  10. Samsung Galaxy S20 / S20 Plus
  11. Xiaomi Mi Note 10
  12. iPhone SE (2020)
  13. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
  14. iPhone 11
  15. Sony Xperia 1 II

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

A top tier smartphone, and it takes our best crown

Release date: January 2021 | Weight: 227g | Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100 | RAM: 12GB / 16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP | Front camera: 40MP

The best camera zoom
Mesmerizing design
Expensive at any level
No microSD card slot

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is our best smartphone in the world right now, and we think it's a fantastic choice for you with one of the best cameras, phenomenal power, great battery life, a solid design and a whole host of other great features.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra isn't a cheap handset, the price is high for this one, but if you're looking for the ultimate smartphone experience in 2021 you will be hard pressed to do better than this latest from Samsung.

Screen: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a top 6.8-inch screen with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and a Quad HD resolution. This is one of the best smartphone displays on the market.

Battery life: The Samsung S21 Ultra's battery life is solid, and we found it'd often see us through a whole day from a full charge. If you're playing around with the 120Hz refresh rate, battery life is likely to be lesser but it's a top choice if you're after a long lasting phone.

Note the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't come with a charger in the box though, so you'll have to use your existing one or buy one separately.

Camera: Samsung's 108MP camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is going to be the highlight for many, and the camera doesn't disappoint on this phone. Like its predecessor, you can take 100x zoom photography, but it's far improved here over the Galaxy S20 Ultra with two cameras working to do the heavy lifting.

Mini verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra won't be for everyone with its high price, but it's the ultimate smartphone you can buy right now taking our crown for the best smartphone money can buy. Be sure to read our full review before making your final decision, but if you're after one of the best overall smartphone experiences we believe you'll find it here with Samsung's latest.

Read more: Galaxy S21 Ultra review
Price comparison:
The best Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra deals

OnePlus 8 Pro

(Image credit: TechRadar)

2. OnePlus 8 Pro

Chasing Samsung with amazing value

Release date: April 2020 | Weight: 199g | Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.78-inch | Resolution: 3168 x 1440 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,510mAh | Rear camera: 48MP+48MP+5MP+8MP | Front camera: 16MP

One of the best displays around
5G and plenty of power
Reverse & fast wireless charging
Most expensive OnePlus yet
Less storage base model vs 7T Pro

The OnePlus 8 Pro blew us away when we reviewed it, and the company is tussling with Samsung and Apple on our best phones list for that very reason. While the OnePlus 8 is also an option, it's missing many of the features we like about the Pro, which we outline below.

Screen: This 6.78-inch has the ability to impress you more than an iPhone for one simple reason: the 'Fluid Display' that sets the refresh rate to 120Hz. Not only does it make game look better, but simply scrolling the web looks smoother. You'll also find nice upscaling and HDR10+ here, though false touches along the screen edges did give us trouble at times. 

Battery life: If you need your phone battery to last all day long, the OnePlus 8 Pro achieves that, according to our tests. Its 4,510 battery capacity isn't the biggest next to what Samsung's phones are touting, but when setting the resolution to Full HD+, we did get by on a single charge very easily. We also took advantage of OnePlus (finally) adding wireless charging – in fact, it's the fastest wirelessly charging device we've ever tested.

Camera: OnePlus has always lagged behind when it came to its cameras, though the OnePlus 8 Pro closes the gap. Its quad-lens array on the back of the phone allows for fine 48MP photos and a 3x optical zoom along with a 30x digital zoom. We can't call it the best camera phone on the market, but it's among the best cameras on an Android in this price range.

Mini verdict: It's amazing that with Apple and Samsung's top phones out of the way, we have the at-one-time-little-known OnePlus doing so well that it's claimed a spot within the top 5 phones of 2020. While this version is more expensive than prior OnePlus phones, it doesn't cut corners. You're getting 5G, a 120Hz screen refresh rate, a great camera with 3x optical zoom, and super fast wireless charging. It's a bit tall and only comes in one size (with the smaller OnePlus 8 a very different experience), and, to be expected, the camera is good but not good enough to rival the phones ranked ahead of it.

Read more: OnePlus 8 Pro review

iPhone 12 mini

The iPhone 12 mini (Image credit: TechRadar)

3. iPhone 12 mini / iPhone 12

The best Apple iPhone bang for your buck

Weight: 134g / 164g | Dimensions: 131.5mm x 64.2mm x 7.4mm / 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.4 mm | OS: iOS 14 | Screen size: 5.4-inch / 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 / 1170 x 2532 | CPU: A14 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB | Battery: Unknown | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 12MP

Colorful OLED display 
Future-proofed with 5G  
Cameras are similar to last iPhone 11
Battery life only okay 

The iPhone 12 is a similar phone in a lot of ways to the iPhone 11, but with 5G for the first time, coupled with an OLED screen, a more durable build, and increased power, it’s the best iPhone for most people.

Plus, this time it comes with the iPhone 12 mini in tow that allows you to have a smaller screen size for your next iPhone with a 5.4-inch display making it an easy to hold phone.

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are obviously better still – but they also cost more, making them arguably less appealing.

Screen: The upgrade to OLED on the standard iPhone 12 means this has an excellent display – one that can stand up to its pricier siblings, though this is still just a 60Hz screen. The iPhone 12 mini may be small but it features 476 pixels per inch, which is an impressive result.

Battery life: The iPhone 12’s battery life is solid – and better than its predecessor’s battery, but it still can’t compete with the longest lasting smartphones. You’ll probably be charging it nightly, but at least you have the option to do that without wires. The iPhone 12 mini battery isn't as good, but it's a similar affair.

Camera: The dual-lens camera (consisting of 12MP main and ultra-wide snappers) on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini performs well even in low light, but it’s not much of an upgrade on the iPhone 11 here. Though being able to use Night Mode with both sensors is a nice bonus.

Mini verdict: The iPhone 12 isn’t the best spec iPhone available, but it strikes a good balance between price and features, packs a class-leading chipset, and has the future proofing of 5G. If you want a smaller device with that same spec, but a lower price, look to the iPhone 12 mini. So if you want an excellent iPhone that won’t completely decimate your bank balance, these are the ones to go for.

Read our in-depth iPhone 12 mini review | iPhone 12 review
Price comparison: 
The best iPhone 12 mini deals
The best iPhone 12 deals

Samsung Galaxy S21

The Samsung Galaxy S21 (Image credit: TechRadar)

4. Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21 Plus

Not the best of the S series, but nevertheless great

Release date: January 2021 | Weight: 169g/200g | Dimensions: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm / 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.2-inch / 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh / 4,800mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP

Fantastic, versatile camera
Cheaper than the Galaxy S20
No microSD support
Screen isn’t the best

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus aren't the height of spec and prowess as its predecessors used to be - the Samsung Galaxy S20 used to sit at the top of this list - and instead Samsung's Ultra handsets are taking the limelight.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and its bigger sibling are trying to do something differently, and both are remarkably cheaper than the Galaxy S20 range was at launch. Both still offer a phenomenal smartphone experience, and with a lower price it'll be a top choice for many.

Screen: Much has been said about Samsung's switch to Full HD for the Galaxy S21, but in our testing we didn't notice the knock down in resolution much unless we were testing the phone side by side with a QHD display. With a 120Hz refresh rate and great brightness, the Galaxy S21's screen will satisfy many and if you're after a larger option you'll find the Plus is built for you with its 6.7-inch screen.

Battery life: The battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S21 will last you a full day from a single charge, and its 4,000mAh cell means you'll get a lot of usage out of the handset without having to recharge the phone. We found the S21 Plus offers the longer battery life though with its 4,800mAh cell.

Camera: The Galaxy S21's camera is much the same as the Galaxy S20, but a few software tweaks have been included from Samsung that make it just that touch better. Overall, this isn't as phenomenal as the Galaxy S21 Ultra but for most just wanting to shoot the odd snap, this will suit you perfectly.

Mini verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S21 will be the perfect smartphone for many with its great mix of solid spec, a great design and the fact it's cheaper than the Galaxy S21 Ultra as well as its predecessors. If you own the Samsung Galaxy S20 we wouldn't recommend buying this, but for others this will be the perfect smartphone. If you need a slightly longer lasting battery and a larger display, also consider the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus (even though its specs are remarkably similar).

Read more: Galaxy S21 review | Galaxy S21 Plus review
Price comparison:
The best Samsung Galaxy S21 deals
The best Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus deals

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iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro (Image credit: Apple)
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iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max (Image credit: Future)

5. iPhone 12 Pro / iPhone 12 Pro Max

Our second favorite iPhone pair

Weight: 189g / 228g | Dimensions: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.4 mm / 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.4mm | OS: iOS 14 | Screen size: 6.1-inch / 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1170 x 2532 / 1284 x 2778 | CPU: A14 Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Battery: Unknown | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 12MP

Varied color choices 
Clear and vibrant screen 
No charging block in box 
5G still an expensive luxury 

The iPhone 12 Pro is remarkably similar to the iPhone 12, and that coupled with the higher price means we’ve ranked it lower, but money aside it’s certainly the better phone.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max, however, has a few added extras that make it the best possible choice if money is no object and you're willing to have a big phone. This is a large phone with a 6.7-inch screen, but it does mean you get better battery life.

Both these handsets have more cameras and storage than the iPhone 12 and 12 mini, along with all the same great features as the standard iPhone 12 – including 5G and MagSafe tech.

Screen: The iPhone 12 Pro has a great 6.1-inch OLED screen. It’s one of the best out there, but it’s not much better than the iPhone 11 Pro’s, and there’s only a 60Hz refresh rate. If you want an even bigger display, opt for the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Battery life: The iPhone 12 Pro has acceptable battery life, but it’s not great while the Pro Max has better battery that will certainly see you through a full day on a single charge. You’ll be charging daily – and there’s no charging block in the box, though wireless charging is at least supported.

Camera: With 12MP main, ultra-wide and telephoto snappers, along with a LiDAR scanner, the iPhone 12 Pro has a versatile camera setup, and one that’s better in low light than its predecessor’s snapper assortment.

Mini verdict: The iPhone 12 Pro isn’t a big upgrade on either its predecessor or the standard iPhone 12, but that still makes it one of the very best iPhones – and phones – you can buy. Still, if you want to save some money you won’t be missing out on much with the basic iPhone 12 – while for the ultimate model there’s the iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you're willing to spend on it, you'll be getting the very best iPhone with the Pro Max.

Read our in-depth iPhone 12 Pro review | iPhone 12 Pro Max review
Price comparison: The best iPhone 12 Pro deals
The best iPhone 12 Pro Max deals

Oppo Find X2 Pro

(Image credit: Oppo)

6. Oppo Find X2 Pro

Oppo's most premium and accomplished smartphone

Release date: June 2020 | Weight: 200/217g | Dimensions: 165.2 x 74.4 x 8.8/9.5mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3168 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,260mAh | Rear camera: 48MP, 13MP, 48MP | Front camera: 32MP

Beautiful display
Feels great to hold
Very pricey
Middling battery life

This is the highest we've ever had Oppo rank on our best phone list, and that's because the Oppo Find X2 Pro is the most accomplished phone from the manufacturer so far.

You'll find a top display, processor, camera and much more on the Oppo Find X2 Pro that justifies its high price tag. The battery life isn't fantastic, but otherwise this is one of the very best phones on sale right now.

Screen: The 6.7-inch display on this phone is one of the very best on the market right now. The resolution is fantastic, it's punchy and you'll enjoy using the screen on this device if you're after a large phone.

Battery life: This is where the Oppo Find X2 Pro does fall down, and we found that it'll last a solid day with moderate usage but if you're planning to use your phone a lot you may need to look elsewhere.

Camera: There is some fantastic spec here making it one of the very best camera phones you can buy right now. The 60x zoom is particularly impressive on the Find X2 Pro.

Mini Verdict: This isn't the cheap handset you may expect from Oppo. It's a top-end phone that's capable of fighting against the big guns of Apple, Samsung and OnePlus that surround it. If you're after something different, be sure to read our review below.

Read more: Oppo Find X2 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

This productivity powerhouse is the best phone to get stuff done on

Release date: August 2020 | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.9-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3088 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 108MP, 12MP, 12MP | Front camera: 10MP

Useful S Pen features
Great-looking screen
Slow charging
Ultra-expensive

Samsung's latest super-premium smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, with advanced features, a great-looking screen, and special features for the S Pen stylus which comes included in the phone, that give you added versatile ways to use your device.

Sure it's expensive, and pretty huge, and doesn't actually have all the bells and whistles of the Galaxy S20 Ultra. But those weaknesses are made up for with plenty of advantages.

Screen: The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has one of the best display's on any smartphone, with a 120Hz refresh rate (at FullHD+ resolution) and the option of QHD+ resolution (at a 60Hz refresh rate) - plus at 6.9 inches there's plenty of space for movies, games and productivity apps.

Camera: The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra camera is... impressive. With 0.5x ultrawide, 1x regular,  5x optical and 50x digital zoom levels, you can get closer to subjects and still get stunning shots.

Battery life: If the Note 20 Ultra has a slight weak point, it's battery. In the most of the world (basically outside North America) the handset comes with Samsung's Exynos 990 chipset which isn't quite as power efficient - if you push the handset, you'll need to recharge before the day is out.

Mini verdict: This is a real top-end phone with top specs in every sector, so if your budget (and hand) can stretch for it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the power and productivity user's phone of choice.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review
Price comparison: The best Galaxy Note 20 Ultra deals

Motorola Edge Plus

(Image credit: Future)

8. Motorola Edge Plus

Motorola returns to the big leagues

Release date: April 2020 | Weight: 203g | Dimensions: 161.07 x 71.38 x 9.6mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 108MP + 16MP + 8MP +ToF | Front camera: 25MP

Great display
Great specs
Limited zoom capability
Pricey

The Motorola Edge Plus returns the brand to the big mobile leagues, offering up genuine flagship competition in an attractive package.

It's an impressive handset, with three rear cameras and a waterfall display, providing great snaps and a high-end design.

It's not widely available in the UK, nor is it cheap, but you can pick it up from Motorola's website for £1,049.99.

Screen: The Motorola Edge Plus has a 6.7-inch OLED display with a Full HD+ (2340 x 1080p) resolution, which actually looks sharper than the resolution may suggest. There's support for a 90Hz refresh rate, which makes scrolling much smoother.

Battery life: The sizable 5,000mAh battery inside the Motorola Edge Plus easily gives you over a day of use from a single charge - which means you will be able to party into the early hours without the fear of your phone dying when it comes to getting a cab home.

Camera: The Edge Plus takes mobile photography to the next level for Motorola, with an array of rear cameras fit for its flagship asking price. The Edge Plus' suite of cameras perform well, and it's only when your compare them with with the likes of the Galaxy S20+, Note 20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro where you see they don't quite hit all the high marks.

Mini verdict: The Edge Plus is Motorola's first genuine flagship in years, boasting top specs, a gorgeous display and a trio of rear cameras. With 5G connectivity as well, the phone checks all the boxes as a serious contender against heavyweights from Samsung, Apple, and OnePlus.

Read our full Motorola Edge Plus review

OnePlus 8T

(Image credit: TechRadar)

9. OnePlus 8T

The OnePlus 8T is more of the same – and that’s okay

Release date: October 2020 | Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.55-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 5MP + 2MP | Front camera: 16MP

Long-lasting battery
Beautiful display
No wireless charging
No telephoto camera

The OnePlus 8T might be newer than the OnePlus 8 Pro, but it’s not quite as high-end – or good.

Still, for those who don’t want to splash out on the top model, this comes very close, thanks to a great screen, plenty of power, and more.

Screen: At 1080 x 2400 pixels, the OnePlus 8T doesn’t have the sharpest screen, but it’s sharp enough, and its 120Hz refresh rate coupled with AMOLED tech makes it one of the best displays you’ll get for this sort of money. It’s also quite big at 6.55 inches.

Battery life: There’s a big 4,500mAh battery in the OnePlus 8T, which comfortably lasts a day and charges very quickly, as it supports 65W charging. There’s no wireless charging here though, for that you’ll need the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Camera: The quad-lens camera on the OnePlus 8T gives you a 48MP main, 16MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, and 2MP depth cam to play with. There’s no telephoto camera, but what is there works well.

Mini verdict: The OnePlus 8T is a phone that almost has it all. From its great screen to its high-end chipset, capable cameras, long-lasting battery, and good software. It’s not the best in any of these areas, but with a lower price than much of the competition it doesn’t need to be.

Read our in-depth OnePlus 8T review

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus (Image credit: Future)

10. Samsung Galaxy S20 / S20 Plus

Previously the best two smartphones in town

Release date: March 2020 | Weight: 163g/186g | Dimensions: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm/161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.2-inch/6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990 | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 128GB (S20) or 128GB/256GB/512GB (S20 Plus) | Battery: 4,000mAh/4500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP

A top screen
Excellent cameras
Still quite high price
Iterative improvements

The Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus were previously the best smartphones money could buy, but we've now pushed these further down our list since the introduction of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

These two handsets remain in our best of list because they're still some fantastic choices for your next Android phone, and the price is likely to continue dropping in the next few months.

Screen: Both these devices have phone screens that are a cut above the rest, and each is capable of a 120Hz refresh rate that will allow for far smoother scrolling and gameplay on your phone's screen.

Battery life: The battery life on the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus isn't the best we've ever seen on a smartphone, but larger batteries than the S10 series allow these devices to last longer and it'll be enough for your day.

Both devices come with wireless charging, and there's also a Reverse Power Share feature that allows you to top up your friend's phone too.

Camera: Samsung has improved the camera suite on the Galaxy S20 devices compared to the Galaxy S10. It may not look far better on paper, but larger pixels and improved software adds to the flagship experience.

Mini verdict: The S20 and S20 Plus are packed full of great features, and while they may no longer be the very best that Samsung has to offer these are still a satisfying smartphone experience. If we had to pick one, we'd go for the bigger screen, larger battery slightly improved rear camera of the Galaxy S20 Plus, but both phones deserve this place in our ranking.

Read more: Galaxy S20 review | Galaxy S20 Plus review
Price comparison:
The best Samsung Galaxy S20 deals
The best Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus deals

Xiaomi Mi Note 10

(Image credit: Future)

11. Xiaomi Mi Note 10

A top choice for an affordable Android phone

Release date: November 2019 | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 157.8 x 74.2 x 9.7mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.47-inch | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 730G | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 5260mAh | Rear camera: 108MP | Front camera: 732MP

Incredible camera capability
Swift charging speeds
Top-end screen quality
Weak chipset
Bluetooth connectivity unreliable

The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is close to perfection, but it just doesn't quite make that. That said, we gave it a 4.5 star review, and it's a cheaper alternative to a lot of the other phones you'll find on this list. For those two reasons, this may be your next smartphone.

Screen: The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 comes with a beautiful 6.47-inch display that has curved edges and a fingerprint sensor embedded into it. It's a great size, it looks amazing and it adds to the overall sleek look of the phone.

Battery life: There's a massive 5,260mAh battery inside the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, and while on paper that looks fantastic we found it to be about the same as your average phone. It'll last you a full day of normal usage, but don't expect a longer life than a full day.

Camera: Here's the highlight of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 - it comes with a 108MP camera. Not a typo, that's a 108MP shooter. Saying it takes great pictures is an understatement. Some of the phone's rear cameras feel a little inconsistent, but we've still found this phone to be one of the best camera phones around.

Mini verdict: The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is a great choice if you're looking for a cheaper Android phone that doesn't lose out on much spec. The chipset isn't fantastic so it won't always offer the very best power out of any of the devices on this list, but considering its price and camera you may want to consider this.

Read more: Xiaomi Mi Note 10 review

iPhone SE

(Image credit: TechRadar)

12. iPhone SE (2020)

The cheapest new iPhone for 2020

Release date: April 2020 | Weight: 148g | Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 1134 x 750 | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Battery: 1,821mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Low price for an iPhone
One-hand-friendly and light
Has the Touch ID home button
Battery life could be better
Old screen technology

The iPhone SE 2020 is the sequel to the one-hand-friendly iPhone from 2016, and it takes the power and specs we loved from the iPhone 11 series and crams them into the design of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.

Screen: This new iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch screen borrowed from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, so it's bigger than the original iPhone SE, but remains one-hand-friendly. That's become important for people who have been demanding a smaller phone. This is the one to get, even if the resolution and bezel won't wow anyone.

Battery life: As long as you aren't a power user (who would likely opt for the iPhone 11 series anyway), then you'll be OK with what Apple offers in terms of battery life. It's not going to last you any longer than a day, though, with generally the same amount of power as we saw on the iPhone 8, which had a 1,821mAh battery capacity.

Camera: For the money, the iPhone SE 2020 takes perfectly fine photos in good light. You won't notice much of a difference outside of it occasionally failing to nail perfect exposure levels and depth of field outdoors during the daytime. Dim the lights, however, and you'll notice one glaring omission: the night mode that's on the more powerful iPhones. That requires an upgrade to at least the iPhone 11.

Mini verdict: This isn't Apple's most powerful iPhone, but it's the best value for people who want to stick with iOS 13 without paying through the nose. Its screen technology won't wow you like an iPhone 12 Pro, and there's just one camera on the back, but starting £419 means this is hard to be if you're on a budget and don't want to switch to Android. 

Read more: iPhone SE 2020 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

13. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Smartphone opulence with an S Pen

Release date: August 2019 | Weight: 196g | Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | CPU: Exynos 9825 / Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,300mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP + ToF | Front camera: 10MP

The best screen on a phone
Handy S Pen stylus
Supremely expensive
Big and slippery design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is one of the largest phones there is, but this stylus-toting handset is our third favourite phone you can buy right now.

It's expensive, but it features some of the best specs you'll get on a smartphone in 2020.

Screen: The screen on this phone is huge and the Infinity-O cutout means there's little interruption to the display here, allowing for an immersive experience.

Battery life: We found the battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus to easily last the whole day, plus the fast charging tech means you're able to pump it up quickly when you're nearing 0%.

Camera: The camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus isn't the best on the market, but it's impressive and offers a lot of fun features that you may want to play around with.

Mini Verdict: Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a remarkable device, but it's only for those who want a large phone and don't mind spending that bit extra on a device. The S20 Plus will be more suitable for most, but the Note 10 Plus is a great phone too.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review
Price comparison: The best Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus deals

iPhone 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

14. iPhone 11

A still-great iPhone

Release date: September 2019 | Weight: 194g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 828 × 1792 | CPU: Apple A13 Bionic | RAM: 4GB TBC | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Battery: 3110mAh TBC | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 12MP

Improved camera
A new range of colors
Design not altered
Battery life not best-in-class

The iPhone 11 has been superseded by the iPhone 12, but it still offers a great mix of features and price.

The specs here aren't as impressive as they are on the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, let alone the iPhone 12 range, but the trade-off in a lower price for this device still makes it a top-buy for many Apple fans.

Screen: This isn't the best screen you'll find on an iPhone, but it's still a vibrant display that's large enough to watch video on.

Battery life: The easiest way to describe battery life on the iPhone 11 is good, but not great. You'll get around a day of usage from the iPhone 11, but it's not as good as the 11 Pro Max.

Camera: Expect a similar experience from the camera on the iPhone 11 as on the iPhone XR. If you want the best camera on an iPhone, you'll want the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but it's still an impressive shooter on the rear of the 11.

Mini verdict: The iPhone 11 offers some of the best features from Apple in a more affordable package. Many will be happy with what the iPhone 11 can do, but others will want to look toward the high-spec iPhone 11 Pro models or the iPhone 12 range to get the very best.

Read our in-depth iPhone 11 review
Price comparison: The best iPhone 11 deals

Sony Xperia 1 II

(Image credit: Sony)

15. Sony Xperia 1 II

The best for a niche crowd

Release date: May 2020 | Weight: 181.4g | Dimensions: 165.1 x 71.1 x 7.6 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1644 x 3840 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 8MP

Stunning display
Return of the 3.5mm jack
Difficult to hold
Very high price

Sony is back in the game with the Xperia 1 II, and this is the best phone from the company for some time. After a few years of struggling, the Xperia 1 II is a bonafide classic return to form but it's remarkably expensive for what it offers.

It's designed for a very particular customer, but if you're after a phone that has a super-wide display and a variety of other benefits this may be the phone for you.  

Screen: The Sony Xperia 1 II is the only phone on this list with a 4K display, and it's even more unique with a 21:9 aspect ratio. That gives you a wider display when you're watching films or playing games.

Battery life: We found the battery life on the Xperia 1 II to be solid and you'll get a whole day of usage from the phone from a single charge. It also comes with wireless charging, which isn't always a gurantee on Sony flagship phones.

Camera: This triple camera is the best from Sony yet. You're going to get some true to life photography out of the automatic mode on this camera, and it's particularly good if you want to dive into the settings and mess around with elements like white balance.

Mini verdict: The Sony Xperia 1 II is built for a very particular type of person who needs a huge display, 5G connectivity and a variety of other top-end features. If that's you, this is a great phone.

Read more: Sony Xperia 1 II review

You're at the end of our best smartphone guide, but that doesn't mean we can't help you still - if you're stuck on which model is for you, we've got a tool that can compare all the phones together and you can decide which one suits you best based on the cost.

If you want to get all the info, then use the tool below or check out our full mobile phone deals page.

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