Published: Thursday, 16 September 2021 03:11
These are the best Android phones you can buy right now in 2021, hand-picked by CNET editors. Andrew Hoyle, Lynn La Sept. 5, 2021 12:00 a.m. PT
- Top-of-the-line Android Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Jump to details $600 at Samsung
- Best camera for its price Google Pixel 4A Jump to details $489 at Amazon
- Flagship with a great value OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro Jump to details $600 at Best Buy
- Solid Samsung at a lower price Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Jump to details $700 at Samsung
- The best folding phone Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Jump to details $1,800 at Samsung
- Motorola goes premium Motorola Edge Plus Jump to details $1,000 at Walmart.com
New Android phones appear all the time, and as we reach fall we are expecting even more devices from Google, Samsung and other phone companies using Android 11 or Android 12. Features like vivid Super AMOLED displays, fast 5G connectivity and 120Hz refresh rate screens are now commonplace on the high end, and those with even deeper pockets can access cutting-edge, futuristic tech such as foldable displays.
Tons of great Android phone options are available at a variety of prices, ranging from budget Android phones to high-end flagship phones. We took a look at them all and rounded up our favorites. These phones all have generally great cameras, battery life, screens or all of the above. We also took into consideration features such as wireless charging and 5G. Read on to see our top picks for the best Android phones and check out our tips on how to buy a new phone, too. We'll update this list periodically as we review new products.
Read more: Best phones of 2021
Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSarah Tew/CNET ED I T O R S ’ C H O I C E May 2021
As Samsung's elite flagship phone for 2021, the Galaxy S21 Ultra features a brilliant 6.8-inch AMOLED display with an ultrasmooth 120Hz refresh rate that also supports Samsung's S-Pen stylus, an awesome rear camera with incredible zoom skills and 5G connectivity for super speedy data. This is the best in mobile technology that Samsung has to offer, and it's the Android phone to go for if you're keen to put cutting-edge tech in your pocket.
Read our Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review.
$600 at Samsung
Best Android phone for affordable 5G
Google Pixel 5A 5G
Google's Pixel 4A 5G was our top Android pick if you want 5G on the cheap and its successor, the Pixel 5A 5G is a solid replacement. The phone has good battery life and great rear cameras and at $449 it's one of the best, cheapest ways of getting 5G when it goes on general sale on Aug. 26.
Read our Google Pixel 5A review.
Best camera for its price
Google Pixel 4AAngela Lang/CNET
Pixel phones have a loyal following and with good reason. Without considering its price, Google's Pixel 4A Android phone has top-notch camera performance that takes brilliant photos. But this Android device is an even better deal as the budget smartphone costs $349 (£349, AU$599). The 5.81-inch handset also features a headphone jack, 128GB of storage out of the box and better battery life than the previous year's Pixel 4.
Read our Google Pixel 4A review.
$489 at Amazon $480 at Walmart $350 at Best Buy
Flagship with a great value
OnePlus 9 and 9 ProAndrew Hoyle/CNET
While OnePlus isn't as well-known as Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro offer a premium experience at a relatively more affordable budget phone price than rivals. Both phones are 5G-enabled, run the most powerful Qualcomm processor and have multilens cameras. The OnePlus 9 is our favorite of the two, with all of the features we love from the series but at the more affordable price and with better battery life. It's a solid option if the lofty prices of the Galaxy S21 Ultra are out of your reach.$600 at Best Buy $680 at OnePlus $1,069 at Best Buy
Solid Samsung at a lower price
Samsung Galaxy S20 FEJuan Garzon/CNET ED I T O R S ’ C H O I C E Nov 2020
Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE packs much of what we've come to expect from its premium S range of phones, including multiple rear cameras, great performance and 5G connectivity, but wrapped it in cheaper materials and brought the price down to a more affordable phone. This Android phone won a coveted CNET Editors' Choice award, and it's the phone to go for if you want a great Samsung phone but don't want to empty your bank account to get it.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review.
$700 at Samsung $550 at Amazon $687 at Walmart
The best folding phone
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3Sarah Tew/CNET
Foldable phones haven't really hit the mainstream, remaining instead only in the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest in mobile innovation. Samsung's brand new Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the best folding phone around, offering top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its folding technology that make this Android handset more desirable than its predecessor.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.
$1,800 at Samsung $1,800 at Amazon
Motorola goes premium
Motorola Edge PlusSarah Tew/CNET
The Motorola Edge Plus has pretty much everything you'd hope for in a premium 5G phone: A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, a giant battery, an OLED screen with a high refresh rate, and multiple rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. Motorola took features found on other top-of-the-line Android phones, put its own Moto spin on them and built them all into one of our favorite Android phones of the year.
Read our Motorola Edge Plus review.
$1,000 at Walmart.com $699 at Amazon $1,000 at Verizon Wireless CNET Mobile
Discover the latest news and best reviews in smartphones and carriers from CNET's mobile experts.
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