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Best Android phones 2021: The 13 top phones with Android right now

Trusted Reviews reveals the 14 best Android phones worthy of your hard-earned cash, based on our reviews of the latest mobiles

The best Android smartphones span the whole mobile market from cheaper devices to those that cost over £/$1000. 

This diversity means it can be tricky picking which one is right for you. Thankfully, we’ve compiled this list of the best Android phones so you can choose your next upgrade with ease.

This guide encompasses various areas, from cheaper devices to flagships that command high prices. There are great choices here for those looking for strong cameras, the ideal phones for gaming and those with the best screens.

We know that phones are more than just a collection of specs and features so we use all the phones we review as we would our own over an extended period, living with them to discover any hidden issues that aren’t on the spec sheet. Find out more about how we test phones.

If you’re an Apple fan then you should check out our breakdown of the best iPhones which includes reviews of the recent iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. If Google’s OS is your choice then the following best Android phones guide has you covered. Finally, if budget is an issue then check out our curated picks of the best cheap phones.

While this list contains condensed versions of our reviews, you can follow the links out to our full in-depth rundowns of each phone.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The best Android phone

Pros:

  • Best screen around
  • An excellent, versatile camera
  • Lovely design

Cons:

  • No charger
  • Expensive
  • No microSD slot

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the most advanced phone in the S21 range and our top choice for any Android user seeking an upgrade in 2021. 

The S21 Ultra is a fantastic all-rounder and offers up plenty of improvements over its predecessor. Standout features include the WQHD+ 120Hz display and versatile quad-camera, but these are packed up by Samsung’s sizable RAM and storage offerings and the capable Exynos 2100 processor. 

One of the biggest upgrades found on the S21 Ultra is the adaptive refresh rate. While this feature was also available on the S20 Ultra, you couldn’t enable 120Hz while also running the display at its max WQHD+ resolutions. This time around, there are no compromises to be made with both features able to run at the same time. 

The quad-camera has also been dramatically improved with the addition of dual 10MP zoom lenses. We also experienced fewer issues focussing the camera and found it produced a beautiful bokeh effect when shooting with the 108MP f/1.8 lens – check out our review for some adorable puppy pics. 

If you can stomach paying over £/$1000 for your phone and don’t mind the extra weight, the S21 Ultra is one of the best Android phones available. 

oppo find X3 pro

A worthy follow-up to the excellent X2 Pro

Pros:

  • Thin and light for the size
  • Adaptive 120Hz display
  • Huge software improvement

Cons:

  • Battery life is not the best around
  • No periscope zoom

The Oppo Find X3 Pro is one of the best Android phones around. If you’re not keen on the hefty size of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra then it does offer an alternative thanks to a far slimmer body.

It takes excellent pictures and has one of the best screens on any phone you can buy, with performance matching top releases from Samsung and OnePlus.

We heaped much praise on the X2 Pro last year mostly for its camera, and Oppo has once again impressed here. Both the wide and ultra-wide cameras are fantastic, with nice bright colour and plenty of versatility. We do bemoan the lack of a periscope zoom for superior zoomed shot though, something we loved about the X2 Pro.

What Oppo has improved in the year since the X2 Pro’s release is the software. The version of Android Oppo uses now is far cleaner, far more reliable and much more like Google’s vision.

OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus impresses once again

Pros:

  • Excellent screen
  • Fast wired and wireless charging
  • Great version of Android

Cons:

  • Slow camera
  • Poor zoom

If you want the best OnePlus phone going then you need the OnePlus 9 Pro. When compared to the OnePlus 9, the Pro model has a sharper 1440p display, a full metal body, a proper IP68 water resistance rating and very fast wireless charging.

Other features here include a good Hasselblad-branded camera system with a main 48MP sensor and an excellent 50MP ultra-wide, along with a battery that can be fully recharged in about 30 minutes.

Performance is fantastic thanks to the Snapdragon 888 chipset and, aside from a slow camera app, the software is among the best you’ll find on any Android phone.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

The best cheap Android right now

Pros:

  • Excellent 120Hz OLED screen
  • 108MP camera is capable of fine things
  • Great stamina

Cons:

  • No 5G

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro stands out in a crowded budget space thanks to a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display, capable 108MP camera and excellent battery life.

It’s not the prettiest handset on the market, and you’ll have to be prepared to make do without 5G connectivity. Even so, there aren’t many phones on the market today that give you more for your money. In terms of pricing, the official UK price hasn’t been announced yet, however a global price of $279 has been set so it should around that mark.

Samsung Galaxy S21

A cheaper alternative to the S21 Ultra in two sizes

Pros:

  • Much more affordable
  • Still a great screen (and it’s flat)
  • Snappy performance

Cons:

  • Lack of microSD and WQHD+ resolution make it feel like an S20 downgrade
  • Doesn’t feel as good as previous S series phones
  • Minimal camera upgrades

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and its larger Galaxy S21 Plus sibling are both excellent choices if you want a new Samsung phone without paying above and beyond for the Ultra’s more advanced specs. 

Both are these S series phones are powered by the same Exynos 2100 processor and pack the same future-proof 5G support as its Ultra sibling – all at a much more tempting price. 

The S21 includes a 6.2-inch FHD+ display with an adaptive 48/120Hz refresh rate to conserve energy while offering smooth, responsive scrolling. While the 1080p resolution is technically a downgrade from last year’s S20, the screen remains suitably bright and sharp and the introduction of an adaptive refresh rate is a welcome one. You’ll find all the same specs on the S21 Plus, just with a bigger 6.7-inch display.

These phones also pack a very reliable camera housed in a newly revamped module on the back. The triple setup includes a 12MP wide sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor and a 64MP zoom sensor. There’s a 10MP selfie camera on the front and up to 8K video capabilities. The colours produced by this camera are vivid and the ultra-wide lens is one of the best we’ve tried, with detail and little blurring. 

Unlike previous years, there are very few differences between the S21 and S21 Plus – hence us combining them into one entry. You do get a glass back, as opposed to plastic, on the Plus model and as it’s bigger you’ll find a bigger battery inside.

The best gaming phone

Pros:

  • Long-lasting battery
  • 144Hz screen
  • Fantastic speakers

Cons:

  • No tele camera
  • No wireless charging

If you want a phone for gaming, that really does look like a gaming phone then the Asus ROG Phone 5 should be your pick. The device is outlandish in several areas and likely overkill for many but we can’t help but love it.

Let’s just look at some of the high-end specs first. There’s a 144Hz OLED display, stereo speakers, up to 16GB RAM and a whopping 6000mAh battery.

You’ve also got RGB lighting on the back, a couple of touch-sensitive triggers that support tap and slide interaction on the top and a duo of USB-C ports. Multiple gaming-focused accessories are available too.

Of course, there are sacrifices made to make a phone like this. The camera system is good, not great, and there’s no telephoto camera. Wireless charging is missing too.

The cheaper OnePlus 9 is a strong buy

Pros:

  • Good screen
  • Solid camera
  • Outstanding performance

Cons:

  • Plastic rim
  • No IP rating

Currently sitting at the top of our best mid-range phone list, the OnePlus 9 is a great Android phone for a great price.

Mid-range is probably doing this phone a disservice as in many ways it’s truly a flagship. There’s a Snapdragon 888 5G chipset inside ensuring performance is up there with the best, up to 12GB RAM and very fast 65w charging.

A lot of the focus for OnePlus with the 9 and 9 Pro is the camera and it has partnered with camera brand Hasselblad to try and improve it. The result is a good snapper thanks to a 48MP main camera and 50MP ultra-wide but it’s still not quite the best around.

On the front of the phone, you’ve got a 120Hz OLED display with excellent colours and a 1080p resolution. Unlike the OnePlus 9 Pro, this display doesn’t have a variable refresh rate and will stick at 120Hz all the time. There’s wireless charging too, although an official IP rating is missing.

A phone with all the specs and features you could want at a great price

Pros:

  • 120Hz screen
  • Fun colours
  • Fast internals

Cons:

  • Plastic back
  • Need to pay more for faster charger

From the Snapdragon 865 chipset, 5G support and fluid 120Hz OLED display, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE feels like a real flagship killer. It might even be a better buy than Samsung’s own flagships, as the Snapdragon internals provide far better battery life and improved performance over some of the Exynos competition.

Samsung has also decided against ditching features commonly missed at this price. The plastic and metal body is IP68 rated, has Qi wireless charging and you can expand the 128GB of onboard storage. The main 12MP is good too, taking sharp snaps with that trademark hit of Samsung colour.

In many ways, this is a better (and cheaper) buy than the Galaxy S21 which you’ll find further down this list.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

A standout device from the A series

Pros:

  • Great screen
  • Long battery life
  • Years of support

Cons:

  • Basic look
  • Poor secondary cameras

Samsung’s Galaxy A series is supremely popular and considering how good the Galaxy A52 5G is, its inclusion here should be of no surprise. For the price you’re getting an excellent display, good camera, long battery life and an IP67 rating for water resistance. 

Even if you miss out on luxurious extras like wireless charging and a flashy look, the A52 5G should tick all the boxes if you don’t want to spend too much on a new Android phone.

One of the highlights here is the screen, which packs a quick 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and added responsiveness. The OLED panel is bright and colourful too, plus the 1080p resolution ensures visuals are sharp.

There’s 5G support thanks to the very capable Snapdragon 750G chipset and the majority of games should perform admirably. This isn’t the quickest phone around but it more than gets the job done for the price. You’ll also get three years of security updates from Samsung, which is always good to see.

If we had some criticisms it would be about the basic design (which is a tad dull), and the poor secondary cameras.

Pixel 5

Fantastic camera with great software

Pros:

  • Great camera
  • Improved video
  • Nice screen

Cons:

  • Bland design
  • No huge camera advancements

Pixel 5 is a simple flagship from Google. If you’re after a small phone (the screen here is only 6-inches, smaller than most on this list) that doesn’t compromise on camera performance or battery life then the latest Pixel should be high on your list.

For the £599 price, you’re getting a great camera (12MP and 16MP ultra wide), all-day battery with wireless charging, an IP68 body and tough metal body. There’s a fast fingerprint scanner on the back, along with 5G connectivity for faster data speeds.

Best value 5G

Pros:

  • Very good battery life
  • Low price for a 5G phone
  • Well-specced 120Hz screen
  • Strong general and gaming performance
  • Glass back

Cons: 

  • Two of the rear cameras are filler
  • No headphone jack

Realme has played a blinder with this sub-£300 Android wonder. The Realme X50 5G manages to squeeze a ton of modern flagship features into a remarkable price, achieving this feat better than anyone else on the market.

Along with 5G at an affordable price, the Realme X50 5G has a glass design that you’d be forgiven for thinking belonged to a flagship as well as a cutting-edge 120Hz display, the cost-effective and capable Snapdragon 765G processor and a decent camera to boot.

Stunning value for a great camera

Pros:

  • Great camera
  • Refreshingly small size for an Android phone
  • The promise of fast updates
  • Nice, sharp OLED screen
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • You’ll find competition with far larger spec sheets and feature lists
  • Some mild performance and touch latency hiccups
  • As well as being a Pro, the small screen might put some off

Unsurprisingly, Pixel 4a continues to offer one of the best (and most stripped back) Android experiences on the market. The follow-up to the Pixel 3a may not have the sheer horsepower of some rivals but it does come with the easy-to-use Pixel Launcher and a three-year guarantee of swift software updates.

Elsewhere, the phone sports a stunning camera that is great in low-light and does a ton of image-processing heavy lifting to create a final product with just one sensor that many quad-cameras setups struggle to achieve.

These remarkable features are only made all the more remarkable by its super cheap price tag of just £349. £349 gives you a phone with a decent build quality that sits in your hand far more neatly than the edging-on-phablet phones of modern times.

Xiaomi Mi 11

Xiaomi impresses with the Mi 11

Pros:

  • Strong display
  • Great performance

Cons:

  • Buggy software
  • No IP rating

Like the OnePlus 9, the Xiaomi Mi 11 offers a bunch of top-end specs for a more reasonable price.

Standout features here include a top-drawer 120Hz display, Snapdragon 888 5G chipset for strong performance and some very quick charging tech. This is a good all-around device, especially for the price.

The Mi 11 sits somewhere in the middle of Xiaomi’s 2021 flagship line – below the Mi 11 Ultra and above the Lite model.

In our review, we had particular praise for the excellent OLED display and the strong gaming performance. We were less enamoured with the buggy software and Xiaomi’s overbearing Android skin. We also weren’t won over by the choice of cameras and the lack of any IP rating.

How we decided on the best Android phones

All of the above phones have been rigorously tested according to the criteria that follows. Before giving any Android handset a final rating, one of our expert reviewers will spend at least a week using the phone as their primary smartphone. This gives us an opportunity to see how the phone handles in terms of everyday use, including battery performance and camera quality. We also run the smartphones through a series of synthetic benchmarking and battery-burn tests.

These tests give us a good indication of how a phone performs during normal use, as well as allowing us to test manufacturers’ claims.

All of these tests are repeatable, so we can accurately compare like-for-like between devices. You’ll see links to every full phone review below each entry, so check them out for a comprehensive picture. Read more about how we test phones.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

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