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 them OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9 Pro, Oppo Find X3 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 11, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

There are many more upcoming new phones in 2021 with the Google Pixel 6 expected by the end of the year. Apple also just revealed the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro that may appear in this list in the near future.

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 2021: which smartphone is for you?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra from the front and back with its screen on

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Samsung)

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.

It 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.

The battery life is also solid, and we found it'd often see us through a whole day from a full charge. Note the 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.

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.

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

The OnePlus 9 Pro on a white background showing the front and back of the handset

OnePlus 9 Pro (Image credit: OnePlus)

2. OnePlus 9 Pro

A giant leap for OnePlus photography

Release date: March 2021 | Weight: 197g | Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3216 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP | Front camera: 16MP

The best OnePlus camera phone
Great power
High price
No microSD support

The OnePlus 9 Pro is a top-tier flagship phone and one that improves on the main weakness of previous OnePlus handsets – their cameras. This is a phone that can compete with the other best phones, and some may even prefer its camera to the other phones on this list.

It has a 6.7-inch screen, which will likely impress you with its '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.

It doesn't offer the absolute best battery life we've seen on a smartphone, but it features a 4,500mAh cell that is set to last you a full day from a single charge. It also has great fast charging and wireless charging features.

Thanks to a new Hasselblad partnership and a ‘freeform’ ultra-wide lens, designed to reduce the distortion at the edge of images, the OnePlus 9 Pro is the best OnePlus camera phone. It isn't the absolute best camera phone, but it's a remarkable step up from the company with a great 48MP main camera alongside an 8MP telephoto and 50MP ultrawide.

OnePlus may have focused its attention on the cameras for the OnePlus 9 Pro, but this is an overall incredible smartphone offering top-end power, a great display and most features you'd expect from any other phone you'll find on this list. Battery life isn't the absolute best, and it's remarkably expensive considering OnePlus' history in the smartphone market but it has earned its place this high on our best smartphone list because it's the overall package.

Read more: OnePlus 9 Pro review
Price comparison: The best OnePlus 9 Pro 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)

3. iPhone 12 Pro / iPhone 12 Pro Max

Our 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 it may not be for everyone, 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.

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.

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.

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.

The iPhone 12 Pro isn’t a big upgrade on either its predecessor or the standard iPhone 12, but it's still one of the very best iPhones right now. 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 more: iPhone 12 Pro review | iPhone 12 Pro Max review
Price comparison: The best iPhone 12 Pro deals
The best iPhone 12 Pro Max deals

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Samsung Galaxy S21

The Samsung Galaxy S21 (Image credit: Samsung)
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Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus (Image credit: Samsung)

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 handset is 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The iPhone 12 (Image credit: Apple)
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iPhone 12 mini

The iPhone 12 mini (Image credit: Apple)

5. 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 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.

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.

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.

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 more: iPhone 12 mini review | iPhone 12 review
Price comparison: 
The best iPhone 12 mini deals
The best iPhone 12 deals

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on a white background with its S Pen stylus sitting next to it

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (Image credit: Samsung)

6. 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 Note entry 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 or Galaxy S21 Ultra. But those weaknesses are made up for with plenty of advantages.

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.

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.

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.

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

Xiaomi Mi 11

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

7. Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi's 2021 flagship

Release date: March 2021 | Weight: 196g | Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.6mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3200 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 4,600mAh | Rear camera: 108MP + 13MP + 5MP | Front camera: 20MP

Great photography modes
Fast performance
Temperamental fingerprint scanner
Weak battery life

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is the culmination of years of progress from the company, and it's the highest we've ever seen a smartphone from the manufacturer sit in this list of the top phones.

You'll get everything from a top-end processor, a phenomenal display, a power rear camera and much more in the Xiaomi Mi 11.

There's a 6.81-inch display on the Xiaomi Mi 11, and it has a top resolution of 1440 x 3200. This AMOLED panel is one of our favorites on smartphones right now, and it features a 120Hz refresh rate meaning gaming and more is super smooth.

The camera on the Xiaomi Mi 11 sounds great on paper, and while it may not as powerful as we had expected in real life it's a versatile shooter with a 108MP f/1.9 main lens and a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide backing it up. There's no telephoto shooter here, though.

The battery life is one of the weaker areas for the Mi 11, but it's not atrocious and we found the phone's 4,600mAh cell would last a full day of normal usage. If you're expecting to use your phone considerably more, you may want to look elsewhere on this list.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a great alternative to the normal names you'd expect in this ranking of the very best smartphones. Battery life isn't the best, and there's no telephoto camera but if you're okay with those concessions you may find the Mi 11 is built for you.

Read more: Xiaomi Mi 11 review

Oppo Find X3 Pro

(Image credit: Oppo)

8. Oppo Find X3 Pro

A premium device for a premium price

Release date: March 2021 | Weight: 193g | Dimensions: 163.6 x 74 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 1440 x 3216 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 50MP + 13MP + 50MP + 3MP | Front camera: 32MP

Fantastic cameras
Good-looking display
Super-high price
No periscope camera

The Oppo Find X3 Pro is a follow-up to one of 2020's best smartphones - that's unsurprisingly the Oppo Find X2 Pro - and this handset is the most accomplished smartphone from the manufacturer so far.

You'll find a top display, processor, camera and much more on the Oppo Find X3 Pro that justifies its high price tag.

 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.

The Oppo Find X3 Pro is one of the better battery life smartphones out there, and we found in our testing that it'd often last a full day of medium to high use. If you do need to recharge often, it features some top-end fast-charging to make up for it.

There is some fantastic spec here making it one of the very best camera phones you can buy right now. This is where the Oppo Find X3 Pro shines through, and we found the camera was able to take colorful images with plenty of detail.

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 X3 Pro review
Price comparison: The best Oppo Find X3 Pro deals

Realme GT

(Image credit: Realme)

9. Realme GT

The first Realme phone on this list

Release date: March 2021 | Weight: 186g | Dimensions: 158.5 x 73.3 x 9.1mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.43-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP | Front camera: 16MP

Distinctive design
Low price
Cameras are only okay
Software issues

Realme hasn't ever featured on our ranking of the best smartphones, until now. This new handset from the company is its best yet, and it features top-end specs that can compete with the very best phones but with an affordable price.

The Realme GT can be difficult to find in the UK, but if you've got the determination you'll likely enjoy what this can offer for an affordable price.

The 6.43-inch Super AMOLED display impressed us on the Realme GT, and while it won't match the absolute top-tier of smartphone screen technology it's a great choice for watching video and more.

Expect a solid day of battery life from the Realme GT, and its recharging technology is particularly impressive. If your phone is empty, you can recharge it to full in just over 30 minutes.

The camera is one of the weaker elements of the Realme GT, but bear in mind that this is a cheaper phone and we think you'll be okay with what this handset is capable of. It features a 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro camera.

This is one of the cheapest entries in our ranking of the very best smartphones, and if you're after something a little different to the rest of the phone market it's worth considering. Its bold design and affordable price are two key differentiators that make the Realme GT shine.

Read more: Realme GT review

Motorola Edge Plus

(Image credit: Motorola)

10. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 more: Motorola Edge Plus review

OnePlus 9

(Image credit: OnePlus)

11. OnePlus 9

A great-value option with no major drawbacks

Release date: March 2021 | Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm | OS: Android 11 | Screen size: 6.55-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | CPU: Snapdragon 888 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 2MP | Front camera: 16MP

Great specs for the cost
Good camera
No telephoto camera
Lack of flagship-material polish

The OnePlus 9 is a lesser phone than the OnePlus 9 Pro in a number of ways, but it’s also quite a bit cheaper, and arguably keeps the soul of its pricier sibling intact.

For one thing it retains the Hasselblad branding (and the camera expertise that goes with that), as well as having the same camera hardware as the OnePlus 9 Pro – minus that phone’s telephoto snapper.

At 1080 x 2400 pixels, the OnePlus 9 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.

There’s a big 4,500mAh battery in the OnePlus 9, which comfortably lasts a day and charges very quickly, as it supports 65W charging. Plus, there's wireless charging in here too if you wanted to opt for a charging pad instead.

This is the big upgrade for the OnePlus 9, and while it doesn't reach the heights of the OnePlus 9 Pro is makes some fantastic true-to-life imagery that you won't be embarrassed to share with your friends. It features a 48MP wide camera, 50MP ultra-wide and 2MP depth sensor.

The OnePlus 9 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. Much like the phones before it, this isn't the absolute best choice but it's very good for the price.

Read more: OnePlus 9 review
Price comparison:
The best OnePlus 9 deals

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus (Image credit: Samsung)

12. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (Image credit: Xiaomi)

13. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

iPhone SE (2020) (Image credit: Apple)

14. iPhone SE (2020)

The cheapest new iPhone came in 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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Price comparison: The best iPhone SE 2020 deals

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 (Image credit: Apple)

15. 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.

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. 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.

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.

 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

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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