Before you buy that smartphone, check these best phones in 2021 that are currently leading other phones in the world right now.
The year 2020 has come and gone. It was such an interesting year all-round. It was even more interesting in the smartphone world as for a very long time we saw lots of amazing devices from smartphone manufacturers.
Fast forward to 2021 and we don’t know what awaits us in the coming months. While we hope for more interesting and innovative devices, let’s continue to bask in the euphoria of some of the best from the previous year.
Today we go over the best phones in 2021: the top 5 leading smartphones of the year 2021. As always, we don’t just assign arbitrary numbers to a smartphone. The positions are based on all-round performance, design, display, camera, battery life, and price. So, I present to you the top 5 leading smartphones in 2021.
5 Best phones in 2021
1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The first on our list of best phones in 2021 is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but is it worth it?
Last year was a huge success for Samsung in the smartphone world. And this year, they drew the first blood after announcing the latest S-series in its annual Samsung Unpacked event. The event which saw other smart devices announced had some shocking announcements which I’ll reveal below.
So, this is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra;
It’s a much better upgrade to the Galaxy S20 in terms of performance, battery, and overall build quality. The front of the device sees a massive 6.8-inch Quad HD OLED 120Hz display (3200 × 1440p). Right beneath it is the much improved Qualcomm optical fingerprint scanner which is now a tad bigger.
Staying with Qualcomm, the Galaxy S21 and all its iterations get the latest Snapdragon 888+ chipset. This is a 5nm SoC which should rival the Bionic A14 from Apple.
To make things even better, there’s now an Adaptive Refresh Rate which should help minimize how fast the 5000mAh battery drains. So, depending on what’s on the screen, the display automatically adjusts between 10Hz and 120Hz.
The camera department also got some upgrades from the last generation. This device comes with a quad-camera setup with LED flash and laser autofocus sensor in the rectangular camera array. Samsung now favors two telephoto lenses as opposed to the macro lens.
These are all additions that make the Galaxy S21 stand out. But there were some removals as well.
First, you no longer get expandable storage but 128GB for a start is pretty huge for most people. And most people won’t be happy about the accessory that was also removed. Starting this year, we might see the end of the charging adapter on Samsung devices just as Apple did with last year’s iPhones.
With a price tag of $1200 (the price of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is $1,200) for the base model, I can’t seem to fault the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But I think Samsung should have done a better job with the design, especially the big camera bump at the rear of the device.
2. Xiaomi Mi 11
After a huge success with the Mi 10 series, Xiaomi kicked off the new year with a bang by dropping the Mi 11 which should be an upgrade to the previous iteration. But how much of an upgrade is this?
Well, being the first Android device to sport the Snapdragon 888+ chipset is no mean feat. Xiaomi is showing once again that they’ve got what it takes to challenge the big boys. Just like the Mi 10 Ultra, the numbers on this device are mind-blowing.
You get the best of everything, starting from a huge 6.81-inch QHD+ display which is the first on a Xiaomi device since the Mi Note Pro of 2015. The display – as is now the tradition – has a 120Hz refresh rate plus a 240Hz touch response rate.
Though we won’t be seeing a 16GB RAM variant as with the Mi 10 Ultra, we’ve got much faster 8GB and 12GB RAM options (LPDDR5) and faster 128GB and 256GB internal storage options (UFS 3.1).
With all these, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is expected to ‘fly’. Opening apps and games while also running heavy stuff in the background should be a walk in the park. You’ve also got the latest Android 11 OS based on the recent MIUI 12.5 which now come with many privacy improvements.
Powering all these is the 4600mAh Li-Po battery which should be okay for a day’s use. And when the juice is out, you can get this device back to 100% in just a little below one hour. The device comes with a 55W charger that should give you a full charge in about 45 minutes. You also get a 50W wireless charger that should do the same job in about 53 minutes.
There were also rumors that we might not see a charger brick shipped with this device. But Xiaomi confirmed via Android Authority that the announcement was for the home Chinese market. They also stated that they’ll be shipping two variants, one with a charger and another without but at the same price.
The cameras on this device will give the bigwigs a huge run for their money. We’ve got a triple camera setup at the rear; 108MP main lens, 13MP ultrawide, and 5MP telephoto-macro lens. At the front, housed between the hole punch cut-out, you’ve got a 20MP shooter for your selfies.
And the best part about all this is the price. The Xiaomi Mi 11 starts at almost half the price of other flagships. With all these features, $650 (the price of Xiaomi Mi 11 is $650) is a great deal for most smartphone users around the world.
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
A spillover from the previous year – the Samsung Note 20 Ultra checks all the boxes of a great smartphone. This is evident in all departments. The camera array gets a huge 108MP shooter with a 100X optical zoom. This is complemented by the double 12MP ultrawide and telephoto lenses.
And on the front, you get arguably the best-looking display on a 2020 smartphone. It is a massive 6.9-inch QHD AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Note 20 Ultra display produces some of the best looking colors and also gives you that warm look that is perfect for media consumption.
In terms of performance, the 7nm chipset (Snapdragon or Exynos) is one of the best in a modern smartphone. Battery life is pretty good as well but should have been better with an adaptive refresh rate.
But all in all, you get a flagship experience with even more features like the DEX and the S-pen. With all these, do you think it’s worth the starting price of $1,300?
4. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
We can’t have a complete list without the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It was a total rebrand of both software and hardware. This is the best hardware on an iPhone powered by the best software so far on an iOS device.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max feels and looks like the ‘perfect’ smartphone until you get to the display side of things where Apple still kept the long-overdue notch. For me, that’s the only flaw and we hope to see an improvement in the 13th iPhone.
Looking at the bright side, this is the best camera on a smartphone. The camera on the 12 Pro Max takes some of the best looking photos you can get today. The same can be said about the video as you now get better reels with the new sensor-shift stabilization mechanism.
The performance also sees a boost with the A14 Bionic chipset which is currently the fastest in the smartphone market. A high refresh rate would have made it even faster but we still wait to see what Apple has up their sleeves this year.
If that is added, we should expect a boost from the 3697mAh to a sub 4000mAh battery. While we wait for the iPhone 13, let’s continue to enjoy the 12 and all its glory.
5. Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
The Chinese giants are at it again, and this time, they mean business. The U.S. ban and Google removing support for its Play Services didn’t deter Huawei and that’s why Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ make the list of best phones in 2021.
They went on to make a smartphone that challenges other flagships on all grounds, especially the camera.
The front of the display is one of the finest you’ll see on a smartphone. It comes with a pill-style camera cut-out which houses the dual 13MP lens. Things get more interesting at the rear of the device as we have 5 cameras plus flash surrounding the Leica branding. The main 50MP shooter produces some great photos.
We’ve also got 12GB of RAM with 256GB internal storage that can also be expanded by an SD card. The Kirin 9000 is one of the most powerful processors in the smartphone market. Even more powerful is its 66W fast charger that charges the 4400mAh in just below an hour.
If you’re looking for the best phone with superb hardware, then the Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ is the way to go. But if you need an all-around experience, this might be a bad option for you in terms of software. But this is a great smartphone nonetheless.
CONCLUSION: Best phones in 2021
So, these are the best phones in 2021, the top 5 leading smartphones for the year 2021. Just like last year, we hope to see more interesting smartphones throughout the course of the year.
Until then, do let us know what your favorite of the bunch is. And if we missed out on any device, do share with us in the comments.