Getting the best phone for you can be important. For many, the phone is a primary computer, serving as a way to interact with friends and family, consume entertainment, and even work. The only problem is, there are hundreds of phone models out there, and finding the best phone for your needs can be a tricky task.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide.
Of course, there are tons of things to consider before buying a new phone. For example, you’ll want to think about the operating system you want, how much processing power you need, and more. If you’ve already decided on the operating system, check out our full guides on the best iPhones and the best Android phones.
You’ll also want to consider other specs that may impact your day-to-day life. For example, screen size is important for many users. A larger screen size means that you’ll be able to see content better on the display — but it also means that the phone will be larger. Recent phones also support 5G networks — though 5G support doesn’t necessarily impact day-to-day life that much just yet. That will likely change over the next few years. Before you make your ultimate decision, check out our full phone buying guide, which details everything to consider when buying a new phone.
Without further ado, here are the best phones to buy in 2021.
Best phone overall: Apple iPhone 13 Pro
Pros: Excellent camera, super-fast, great design,
Simply looking for the best you can get right now? In that case, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro is the phone to get. The device is expensive, but if you can afford to pay, then you’ll get an incredible camera experience, an awesome display, and more.
The iPhone 13 Pro offers a triple camera system, with one 12-megapixel main camera, one 12-megapixel telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. It also offers larger sensors than previous-generation iPhone models, which should make for better-lit photos with less noise, especially in low light.
The iPhone 13 Pro offers a range of other awesome features too. Chief among those is the high refresh rate display, which allows you to get a super-responsive feel, and even save some battery life. And, you’ll get a fast A15 Bionic chip to power it all. Safe to say, the iPhone 13 series is easily among the most powerful phones out there.
As mentioned, the device is pretty expensive. It starts at $999 for the iPhone 13 Pro, or $1,099 for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which offers a larger display and bigger battery. But if you can afford to pay for it, you won’t be sorry.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Price:$999
Best Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S21
Pros: Great camera, nice new design, solid display
Cons: 1,080p resolution, plastic back
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is not only far better than the last-generation Galaxy S20, but it’s also a little cheaper, coming in at $800 instead of $1,000. The device boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, coupled with a stunning new design, a triple camera system, and a great display.
There are a few compromises made for this device to get its price down, but those compromises don’t really impact day-to-day use of the phone — and as a result, you’re still getting a flagship phone experience. For example, the display has a 1,080p resolution compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 1,440p display, but it still has a 120Hz refresh rate, and it looks great. The back of the device is plastic, but it still looks and feels nice.
The camera on the Galaxy S21 is great. You’ll get a triple camera system with one 12-megapixel main camera, one 64-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. In other words, it’s a pretty versatile camera system.
There are some other minor downsides to consider, though they’re not huge issues. Samsung fans may be disappointed to find out that there’s no MicroSD card support. And, there’s no charger in the box. Still, most have a charger, and most should be able to get by with the built-in storage.Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G Smartphone | Pro-Gr… Price:$799.99
Best iPhone for most people: Apple iPhone 13
Pros: Great design, excellent performance, good camera
Cons: Not cheap, no telephoto camera
If you’re simply looking for a solid phone that you can use from day to day, then the Apple iPhone 13 is the way to go. The device offers excellent performance, a good battery life, a great camera, and a stunning new flat-edged design.
As is usually the case with an iPhone, the iPhone 13 boasts excellent performance. The device has Apple’s new A15 Bionic processor, which should be able to handle anything you can throw at it — and should power the phone for years and years to come. It also has an excellent camera system, with one 12-megapixel main camera and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. There’s no telephoto camera here though — for that you’ll need to go for the iPhone 13 Pro.
Other features include an OLED display and a cool flat-edged design, both of which are held over from last year’s iPhone 12 series.
Of course, if you’re willing to spend more cash, it’s worth considering the iPhone 13 Pro too. The Pro model offers a super-responsive high refresh rate display, a telephoto camera, and an even better battery.
Apple iPhone 13 Price:$799
Best gaming phone: Asus ROG Phone 5
Pros: Excellent performance, great display
Cons: Expensive, middling cameras
If you’re a mobile gamer, you might want a phone that not only performs well, but also offers all the features you can get to better enjoy your games. If that’s the case, then we recommend the Asus ROG Phone 5.
There are a number of features that make this such a great gaming phone. For starters, it has a massive 6,000mAh battery that should keep your phone powered for hours of gaming. Not only that, but the device also offers a massive 144Hz refresh rate, meaning it has one of the most responsive displays on the market.
The ROG Phone 5 has all the other features you would expect from a flagship phone. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, coupled with up to a massive 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. And, you’ll get nice dual front-facing speakers in case you forgot your headphones.
So what are the downsides? Well, the device is pretty heavy, and it doesn’t have wireless charging or waterproofing, which is a little frustrating. Also, the phone’s cameras are only average, so if a high-end camera is important to you, you’ll want to look elsewhere.Asus ROG Phone 5 Gaming Phone Price:$869.00
Best foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Pros: Stunning displays, excellent camera, solid design
Samsung has pioneered the foldable phone, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the company’s best foldable yet. The device offers two beautiful displays, an excellent camera, and more. Sure, it’s expensive, but if you like the concept of a foldable phone, it’s still absolutely the way to go.
As you might expect from a foldable device, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has two displays. There’s one 6.2-inch display on the outside for day-to-day use, and one huge 7.6-inch display on the inside that’s perfect for playing games, watching movies, and so on. Both displays are AMOLED displays, and they both look great. The device also has a great triple camera array, along with top-tier performance, and plenty of storage for all your files.
So what about downsides? Well, the device is still pretty expensive, coming in at $1,799.99. Also, we still don’t fully know how durable foldable phones are, though Samsung seems to have put a lot of work into the tech, and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has held up for at least the last year. Lastly, the inside front-facing camera isn’t necessarily great, though it is an under-display camera, so that’s to be expected.Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 List Price:$1,799.99 Price:$1,596.99 You Save:$203.00 (11%)
Best cheap phone: Apple iPhone SE
Pros: Excellent performance, solid design, inexpensive
Cons: Display and camera are only fine
Looking for an inexpensive phone that will last you at least a few years and still offers excellent performance? The iPhone SE may not be the most modern-looking phone, but as an all-around great device, it’s still the way to go.
There are plenty of things to love about the iPhone SE. Notably, the device comes with Apple’s A13 Bionic processor, which is easily able to handle everything you can throw at it. That also means that the phone should last at least a few years of normal use, and Apple will likely continue to support the phone for four years or so. The best thing about it? The fact that the device comes in at around $400.
Of course, given the fact that it’s so inexpensive, there are some downsides to consider. The camera on the phone is fine, but it’s not that versatile in 2021, and not necessarily as crisp as the cameras on other devices. Also, the display on the phone is a little lower-resolution compared to other phones, even other phones in this price range.
Still, despite those issues, the iPhone SE is still the best phone under $400 for most people. It should last longer than most others, while still performing excellently.
Apple iPhone SE Budget Phone Price:$399