Best Android phones 2021: superb Android smartphones

These are the best Android phones you should buy in 2021, from flagships to budget wonders

Best Android phone 2021
(Image credit: Samsung)

The best Android phones of 2021 include many of the biggest names in tech: we're talking the best Google phones, best Samsung phones, Huawei, Nokia, LG, Sony and so many more that are breaking into the elite. The great thing about the Android market is the variation in phone sizes, features and design – you can find something with exactly the mix you need. Now, that also means there's a bewildering array of options, but that's why we've made this guide to help you find your perfect phone.

The best Android phone isn’t necessarily the most expensive or advanced phone, although of course, you’ll find lots of flagship phones such as the best Samsung phones in our list. We’ve taken great care to include phones for every kind of Android user, and for every budget.

The Android market is incredibly competitive right now, and that’s brilliant for buyers: Android powers many of the best cheap phones you can buy, many of the best compact phones and almost all of the best gaming phones too. 

In fact, many of the best phones in 2021 are Android ones, delivering features as good as or better than any iPhone. Let’s discover which of the best Android phones in 2021 is the best phone for you.

The best Android phones 2021

best Android phone 2021

The best Android phone for most people is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition.

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

The best Android phone for most people

Weight: 6.7oz (190g)
Dimensions: 6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33in (159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.5 inches
Resolution: 1,080 x 2,400
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM: 6GB / 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP wide + 8MP telephoto + 12MP ultrawide
Front camera: 32MP wide
Reasons to buy
+Incredible 120Hz screen+Excellent specs list+Bixby button has been removed

Every phone in the Galaxy S20 series has its plus points, but for our best Android phone pick, we have to go for the FE or Fan Edition that launched several months after the first batch of S20 handsets. It packs in a premium set of features, and while the price is maybe a little too high, you won't be disappointed with what you get in return for your money.

The superb display on the Galaxy S20 FE absolutely steals the show – it's one of the best we've seen to date – and you can add to that top-tier specs and a camera that produces some excellent results (the camera is actually almost identical to the one in the standard Galaxy S20 handset).

The battery life holds up well too – something that continues to be a concern for smartphone buyers everywhere. If you're put off by the extravagant features and price points of the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20 phones, then this might just be the perfect device for you.

Android phones 2021 OnePlus 8 ProT3 Awards 2020 - Highly Commended

The best premium Android phone on the market is the OnePlus 8 Pro.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

2. OnePlus 8 Pro

The best premium Android phone

Weight: 7.01oz (199g)
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.93 x 0.33in (165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5 mm)
OS: OxygenOS 10.5 / Android 10
Screen size: 6.78 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3168
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4510mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 48MP + 8MP + 5MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Jaw-dropping screen+Super fast hardware+5G connectivity+Beautiful design

The OnePlus 8 Pro complete's the Chinese maker's ascension to the very top table of smartphone makers, with this handset blowing the competition away with a complete package of top hardware, superb software, and an attractive and premium design.

The star of the show, though, is the OnePlus 8 Pro's best-screen-ever-seen-on-a-smartphone 120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+ display, which manages to outpunch even the best panels from Samsung, Sony and Huawei. Where other phones have managed to deliver one or two of that holy trinity of screen technologies, here the 8 Pro does them all at once and, remarkably, does so while also delivering a good battery life.

Internally the mixture of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 CPU, Adreno 650 GPU, 12GB RAM and 256GB of UFS3.0 storage means the OnePlus 8 Pro absolutely smokes any game or application you throw at it, with even the most graphically intensive titles running as if they were on steroids.

The OnePlus 8 Pro doesn't skimp on high-end features, either, with the best camera system OnePlus has ever made partnered with IP68 dust and waterproofing and both wireless and reverse wireless charging.

The OnePlus 8 Pro is a truly brilliant smartphone and is easily recommended as the best Android phone on the market today for those shopping with a premium budget.

Best Android phones 2021 Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4a is the best budget Android phone in the world.

(Image credit: Google)

3. Google Pixel 4a

The best budget Android phone

Weight: 5.04oz (143 grams)
Dimensions: 5.67 x 2.73 x 0.32in (144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 5.81 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3140mAh
Rear camera: 12.2 MP, f/1.7, 28mm (wide)
Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm (wide)
Reasons to buy
+Great camera+Pure software+Very well priced

The Google Pixel 4a was delayed several times before it saw the light of day, but we're glad that it's here now – it follows the template set down by the Pixel 3a, in that it combines a great camera with a decent design and pure Android software. Perhaps the best part is the price though: just $349.

That makes it a very attractive proposition: it's capable of taking some fantastic photos, especially in low light, and with enough performance to handle the majority of smartphone tasks, what else do you need? It's not quite as polished or as powerful as the flagships, of course, but it costs an awful lot less.

Google is adding an increasing number of exclusives to the Pixel too: the Night Sight mode for the camera for example, and the Recorder app that can convert speech into text in real-time. You don't get 5G though – you'll have to wait for the Pixel 4a with 5G later in the year for that. If you're wondering how it stacks up against the higher-end Pixel 5, here's our Pixel 4a vs Pixel 5 guide.

Best Android phone 2021: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The best hyper-premium Android phone

Weight: 8.08oz (229 g)
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 in (165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm)
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3200 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB/16GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB
Battery: 5000mAh
Rear cameras: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+Beautifully smooth 120Hz display+Very, very powerful hardware+Impressive camera system+S Pen digital stylus support

Samsung's latest top-of-the-range flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, is an absolute beast of handset and successfully bludgeons Android rivals into submission with a hyper-powerful hardware and software armory of tech weapons.

First off the phone delivers 5G connectivity, and that's all 5G standards too, including sub-6, mmWave and NSA. Rapid mobile data connections are guaranteed. Next, the phone comes with a simply stunning 6.8-inch 120Hz display, which is as buttery smooth as it is big and immersive.

From there the S21 Ultra wields a rapid Snapdragon 888 CPU and Adreno 660 GPU, and in its max-spec form, drops a gigantic 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage space. Its battery is equally as impressive, too, with a huge 5,000 mAh stack ensuring the phone has plenty of juice.

And that is saying nothing of the phone's MP-packed camera system, which delivers four powerful lenses (including a 108MP main!), as well as a large 40MP front-facing selfie camera.

The S21 Ultra also has a very unique new feature that is only shared by Samsung's Note series of phones – it supports digital stylus usage. That means users can use Samsung's S-Pen digital stylus on the S21 Ultra. Unlike the Note series of phones, though, the S21 Ultra does not come with a stylus, and cannot store the stylus in its body, either.

Throw in the wonderfully refined Android 11 OS, as well as Samsung's own best-in-class One UI skin, and it is easy to see why the S21 Ultra has been so well received.

To see how this handset compares to the standard S21, be sure to check out T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comparison feature.

Best Android phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

The best phone with digital stylus functionality

Weight: 7.34oz (208 g)
Dimensions: 6.49 x 3.04 x 0.32in (164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3088 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4500mAh
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8 wide+ 12MP f/3.0 (periscope telephoto) + 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 10MP f/2.2 wide
Reasons to buy
+The best S Pen yet+Huge, bright screen+Plenty of power

There's a lot to like about the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, and if you can manage the cost, it's undoubtedly one of the best Android experiences you're going to get this year. It features a brilliant design, a more than capable camera, and internal specs that mean it will outpace almost every phone on the market.

The biggest reason for buying the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, though, is of course that S Pen – scribble on the lock screen, control the camera remotely, unleash your creative side, and more. If you need a phone with a stylus for serious work on the go, this phone has you covered.

5G is on board, as the name of the phone suggests, which means you're covered for years when it comes to next-gen connectivity – and considering you've got the Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset (depending on region) running everything, this isn't a phone that'll be slowing down anytime soon.

As we've said, the price is a little on the eye-watering side, but for something you're going to use every day for years to come, you might consider it worthwhile. The triple-lens rear camera with 5x optical zoom deserves a mention too, as it's capable of capturing some fantastic snaps in any kind of lighting.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review

Best Android phones 2021 OnePlus Nord

The OnePlus Nord gives you plenty of bang for your buck.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

6. OnePlus Nord

The best mid-range Android phone of 2021

Weight: 6.49oz (184 g)
Dimensions: 6.23 x 2.89 x 0.32in (158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm)
OS: OxygenOS / Android 10
Screen size: 6.44 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4115 mAh
Rear camera: 48MP f/1.8 wide + 8MP f/2.3 ultrawide + 5MP f/2.4 depth + 2MP f/2.4 macro
Front camera: 32MP f/2.5 wide + 8MP f/2.5 ultrawide
Reasons to buy
+Excellent screen and build quality+Clean, powerful OxygenOS+Packs in some high-end specs

OnePlus first made its name by offering very good phone specs at very good prices, so it's fitting that it's now back in that groove with the OnePlus Nord. While OnePlus phones have slowly gotten more expensive over the years, the Nord goes the other way and is a fantastic mid-ranger.

Starting from around $450, you get a powerful Snapdragon 765G processor, at least 8GB of RAM, at least 128GB of storage, and 5G thrown in as well. That's not to mention the sharp, bright 6.44-inch display which zips along thanks to its 90Hz refresh rate – everything on this screen looks stunning.

Some compromises have been made to get the OnePlus Nord to this price: there's no wireless charging and no waterproofing, and the camera and battery life are good rather than great. All in all, though, this is an amazing package that OnePlus has put together for the price.

Read our full OnePlus Nord review

Best Android phone: Huawei Mate 40 Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

7. Huawei P40 Pro

One of the best hardware setups you'll find in the Android phone pantheon

Weight: 7.48oz (212 g)
Dimensions: 6.41 x 2.97 x 0.32in (162.9 mm x 75.5 mm x 8.2 mm)
OS: EMUI 11 / Android 10
Screen size: 6.76 inches
Resolution: 1344 x 2772 pixels
CPU: Kirin 9000 5G
Storage: 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4400mAh
Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.9 wide + 12MP f/3.4 5x telephoto + 20MP f/1.8 ultrawide
Front camera: 13MP f/2.4 wide + 13MP f/2.4 wide
Reasons to buy
+Impressive camera array+Plenty of battery life+Excellent performance

It's worth saying right from the outset that the Huawei P40 is a fantastic phone from a pure hardware point of view: with a large 6.76-inch OLED screen that curves around the edges of the phone, and some fantastic color finishes, this is a handset that looks and feels premium. It's also packed with one of the fastest processors on the market at the moment.

The rear camera represents another stunning effort from Huawei, almost guaranteeing you great shots no matter what kind of lighting you're up against – from bright daylight to the darkest night. You get full waterproofing, wireless charging and enough battery life to make it well beyond a day too.

The big problem, as with every Huawei phone recently, is that it can't run regular Android apps from the Play Store, and Google's own apps are missing too. Sideloading can ease some of this pain, but make sure you're fully aware of the software situation before parting with your money on this – we think for some users the hardware quality will outweigh the app annoyances.

Read our full Huawei P40 review

Best Android phones 2021: Oppo Find X2 Pro

The Oppo Find X2 Pro is one of the best-value ultra-premium handsets in 2021

(Image credit: Oppo)

8. Oppo Find X2 Pro

One of the best ultra-premium handsets in 2021

Weight: 7.05oz (200g)
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.93 x 0.37in (165.2 x 74.4 x 9.5mm)
OS: ColorOS 7.0 based on Android 10
Screen Size: 6.7"
Resolutions: 1440x3200 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Storage: 512GB
Rear camera: 48MP, 48MP, 13MP
Front camera: 32MP
Reasons to buy
+Excellent display+Hyper-premium flagship specs+Great quality camera

Oppo's ultra-premium offering contains one of the best screens we’ve ever seen on one of the fastest Android handsets we’ve ever used. The Oppo Find X2 Pro doesn’t always outstrip its competitors in the performance or camera stakes, but it’s an eye-catching, high-spec, wonderful handset. 

The bright, clear 6.7" QHD+ screen, houses its “True Billion Colour Display” technology, said to be able to create depth and detail within color like never before. It is a sumptuous screen, and the buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate is as good as advertised. The rear camera array consists of a 48MP wide-angle lens, a 48MP ultra-wide angle and a periscope 13MP telephoto lens with up to 60x digital zoom. It doesn’t quite have the enormous power of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s frankly tremendous 100x “space zoom” functionality, but at mid-range, the camera shines.

It’s obviously not the cheapest smartphone on the market, but it's worth the money if you’re already considering a premium Android bit of equipment and don't want to splurge on a phone like the S20 Ultra or the Huawei P40 Pro Plus. For more, read our full Oppo Find X2 Pro review

Best Android phones 2021 OnePlus 8T

(Image credit: OnePlus)

9. OnePlus 8T

It's another excellent Android handset from OnePlus

Weight: 6.63oz (188g)
Dimensions: 6.32 x 2.92 x 0.33in (160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4 mm)
OS: OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11
Screen Size: 6.55 inches
Resolutions: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Rear camera: 48MP wide + 16MP ultrawide + 5MP macro + 2MP depth
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Sharp 120Hz display+65W fast charging+Attractive price

Every phone that OnePlus launched in 2020 has been a hit in our eyes, and the OnePlus 8T is in some ways a combination of everything that came before this year: a mix of the OnePlus 8, the OnePlus 8 Pro, and the OnePlus Nord. It combines some excellent features with a very reasonable price in the mid-range section of the market.

The headline features are perhaps the 120Hz refresh rate on the 6.55-inch AMOLED screen, and the 65W fast charging. You can juice up the phone from zero to full in the space of just half an hour or so, and that means you might not need to put your phone on charge overnight ever again.

There are plenty more specs to like as well, including the top-tier Snapdragon 865 processor and plenty of RAM and storage. You do miss out on some flagship-level extras, like IP68 waterproofing and wireless charging, but everything considered (including the price) this is one of the best Android phones around.

Read our full OnePlus 8T review 

Best Android phones 2021 Google Pixel 5

(Image credit: Google)

10. Google Pixel 5

The best pure Android phone experience in the world

Weight: 5.32oz (151g)
Dimensions: 5.7 x 2.77 x 0.31in (144.7 mm x 70.4 mm x 8 mm)
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4080mAh
Rear camera: 12.2MP f/1.7 wide + 16MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0 wide
Reasons to buy
+Camera is still great+Clean, pure Android+90hz refresh rate screen

The Google flagship phone is more of a premium mid-ranger than an actual flagship – the Pixel 5 settles for a Snapdragon 765G chip rather than the faster Snapdragon 865 processors, and it ditches some of the advanced features of the Pixel 4 (including Face Unlock, which we very much liked).

None of this really matters too much though, because it allows the Pixel 5 to hit a lower price point: and when you take the $699 asking price into consideration, this is very much one of the best phones on the market at the moment. It's especially attractive if you like the clean, stock version of Android.

There are some neat features here, including a 90Hz refresh rate for the screen, IP68 waterproofing, and wireless charging. As usual for the Pixel series, it's the camera that helps the Pixel 5 stand out from the pack: while the physical hardware of the rear camera hasn't changed all that much from last year, the on-board image processing continues to impress, and it's difficult to beat in terms of photo-taking.

Read our full Google Pixel 5 review

best Android phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Pick up the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus for one of the best phones running Android there is in 2021.

(Image credit: Samsung)

11. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Still a superb Android phone, even in 2021

Weight: 6.17oz (175g)
Dimensions: 2.92 x 6.2 x 0.31in (74.1 x 157.6 x 7.8mm)
OS: Android 9.0 (Pie)
Screen size: 6.4-inches
Resolution: QHD+
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,100mAh
Rear camera: Triple 16MP Ultra Wide-Angle + 12MP Dual Aperture + 12MP Telephoto
Front camera: 10MP + 8MP Depth Sensor
Reasons to buy
+Expansive 6.4-Inch Quad HD+ AMOLED+Up to 1.5TB storage via MicroSD card+Awesome Live Focus images from front-facing camera

When shopping for an Android phone in 2021 you absolutely shouldn't forget about the Galaxy S10 phones, which are still on sale from Samsung. The Galaxy S10 Plus offers a staggeringly good 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, with gorgeous colors and cavernous blacks, and very little in the way of bezels.

Even in a world where the Galaxy S20 phones exist, the S10 Plus is still a mouthwatering prospect – excellent performance, sparkling software, and a triple-lens rear camera that really does its business in any sort of lighting conditions. It's a phone that's hard to fault.

Considering it's now more than a year old, you'll be able to get some very decent prices on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, and on the other S10 phones Samsung launched. Very worthy of your consideration of the best Android phones of 2021.

Read our full Galaxy S10 review

best Android phones 2021 Nokia 7.2

It's another impressive mid-range smartphone from HMD Global: the Nokia 7.2.

(Image credit: Nokia)

12. Nokia 7.2

Another fine budget Android phone from Nokia

Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.3 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2280 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 660
RAM: 4GB / 6GB
Storage: 64GB / 128GB
Battery: 3,500mAh
Rear camera: 48 MP f/1.8 wide + 8 MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 5 MP f/2.4 depth
Front camera: 20 MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Appealing design+Decent internal specs+Hard to beat on price

If you're looking for a great budget Android phone on the market at the moment. and don't fancy the Google Pixel 3a, then we make a very strong case for the Nokia 7.2. That's because it combines strong performance with clean software, a good camera, and a design that makes the phone appear much more expensive.

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise though, as Nokia (now owned by HMD Global) has an excellent track record in recent years of producing top-notch handsets at rock bottom prices. Every year the majority of phones in the Nokia range get a well-judged update, and this phone is no different.

The 6.3-inch screen sported by the Nokia 7.2 is a definite highlight, but really it's the quality of the all-around package that makes this phone stand out. You don't get useful extras such as waterproofing or wireless charging, but you do get plenty of bang for your buck.

Read our full Nokia 7.2 review

best Android phones 2021 Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G

The Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G hits the Android phone sweet spot.

(Image credit: Oppo)

13. Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G

An excellent premium mid-ranger from the Oppo stable

Weight: 6.06oz (172g)
Dimensions: 6.29 x 2.85 x 0.3in (159.6 x 72.5 x 7.6 mm)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.55 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,000 mAh
Rear camera: 48MP wide + 13MP telephoto + 12MP ultrawide
Front camera: 32MP wide
Reasons to buy
+Really nice display+Very solid build quality+65W fast charging

We do like most of what the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G has to offer – including of course that 5G connectivity. The phone also boasts 65W super-fast charging, which means you can get the battery from zero to full in the space of just 30 minutes or so. It's a real game-changer, and you might never have to charge this phone overnight.

At this mid-range price point, the phone has pretty much the specs and the camera performance that you'd expect, but the display was definitely a pleasant surprise – thin bezels, bright colors, strong contrast and a 90Hz refresh rate that makes everything scroll by really, really smoothly.

The triple-lens 48MP+13MP+12MP rear camera does its job really well too, especially in low light and nighttime conditions, with strong HDR processing and color reproduction. There are a lot of really good Android phones around this price point, but we reckon the Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G is one of the best.

Read our full Oppo Reno 4 Pro 5G review

best Android phones 2021 Moto G8 Power

The Moto G8 Power packs in plenty of... erm... power, with a battery that just runs and runs.

(Image credit: Motorola)

14. Moto G8 Power

One of the best budget Android phones for long-lasting battery

Weight: 6.95oz (197g)
Dimensions: 6.14 x 2.98 x 0.38in (156 x 75.8 x 9.6 mm)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.4 inches
Resolution: 1,080 x 2,300 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 665
Storage: 64GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 16MP f/1.7 wide + 8MP f/2.2 telephoto + 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.2 macro
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Straightforward, clean design+Brimming with value for money+Check out that battery size

Hats off to Motorola (now owned by Lenovo), because it keeps on producing some really very good Android handsets for not very much money at all – and the Moto G8 Power is one of the latest examples of that. The big selling point here, hence the "Power", is that 5,000mAh battery.

As you can see from the other specs, this isn't a flagship phone, but it's capable enough to get through just about everything that you're going to throw at it (and the quad-lens rear camera isn't bad either). Considering the low, low price you can get this phone at, the specification is an impressive one.

Add in a clean, bloat-free version of Android 10, and we reckon this is well worth a place on our best Android phones of 2021 list – worth checking out if you want a phone that isn't going to let you down but which won't break the bank either.

best Android phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

The Galaxy A90 5G is Samsung's cheapest phone with 5G on board.

(Image credit: Samsung)

15. Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

Get a 5G Android phone for a lower price

Weight: 7.27oz (206g)
Dimensions: 6.49 x 3 x 0.33in (164.8 x 76.4 x 8.4 mm)
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 1,080 x 2,880 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48 MP f/2.0 + 8 MP f/2.2 + 5 MP f/2.2
Front camera: 32 MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Bright, vivid, large 6.7-inch display+Get the fastest 5G speeds

Are you in the market for a 5G phone that doesn't blast a huge hole in your savings account? Of course you are, and the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G will definitely appeal in this department: it brings with it some top-quality specs, a design that's very pleasing on the eye, and that all-important 5G connectivity for less money than you might think.

With a Snapdragon 855 processor and at least 6GB of RAM, the Galaxy A90 5G is going to hold up well against the very best flagships on the market, and take note of the 48 MP camera around the back of the phone too – again one of the best specs you're going to come across this year.

Samsung always does well with its screens, and the 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display here is no exception – from Netflix to your web browser, everything is going to look bright and dynamic. Throw in a very hefty 4,500mAh battery pack, wireless charging, and full IP68 waterproofing, and the question is – why would you pay any more?

best Android phones 2021 Sony Xperia 5

The Sony Xperia 5's screen is great for watching movies on the go.

(Image credit: Sony)

16. Sony Xperia 5

A screen that just goes on and on

Weight: 5.78oz (164g)
Dimensions: 6.22 x 2.68 x 0.32in (158 x 68 x 8.2mm)
OS: Android 9.0
Screen size: 6.1 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2520 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 855
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,140mAh
Rear camera: 12 MP f/1.6 + 12 MP f/2.4 + 12 MP f/2.4
Front camera: 8MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Another excellent Sony screen+Camera offers real quality

Last year’s Xperia 5 had a well-deserved spot in our best Android phones round-up, and its successor is one of the best Android phones in 2021. It doesn’t look much different from its premium predecessor but it’s an improvement in several key areas.

The first improvement is in the extremely wide 21:9 display. As before it’s a 6.1-inch OLED running 2520 x 1080, but this time it has a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling, gaming and video. It ships with Android 10, not 9, and the processor is a Snapdragon 865 with Adreno 650 graphics; the previous Xperia was powered by an 855 and 640 respectively.

The superb cameras are largely unchanged but the main camera has better low light performance, and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth now support the latest versions. The battery’s bigger and charges more quickly than before, and overall performance is notably better than last year’s model. It’s hardly revolutionary but it’s an excellent evolution of an already superb smartphone.

Read our full Sony Xperia 5 review 

best Android phones 2021 LG Velvet

(Image credit: LG)

17. LG Velvet

LG's newest phone is a mid-range winner

Weight: 6.35oz (180 grams)
Dimensions: 6.58 x 2.91 x 0.31in (167.2 x 74.1 x 7.9 mm)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.8 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2460 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4300 mAh
Rear camera: 48 MP f/1.8 wide + 8 MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 5 MP f/2.4 depth
Front camera: 16 MP f/1.9
Reasons to buy
+Optional Dual Screen accessory+Keeps the 3.5mm headphone jack+Stylish new design language

The 5G-ready LG Velvet is something of a departure for the South Korean electronics giant, marking a change in direction for its design language and a bid to find success in the mid-range market rather than with a top-end flagship – the Snapdragon 756G processor is evidence of that.

That's not to say the LG Velvet is a sub-standard phone, just because it does have the very fastest CPU on the market. It comes packed with plenty of power, a decent camera and battery life, and nice bonuses such as wireless charging and an IP68 rating. It even has a headphone jack and, like several LG phones before it, works with the nifty Dual Screen accessory for twice as much screen room.

Read our full LG Velvet review

How to choose the best Android phone for you

When it comes to choosing the best Android phone, budget will probably be the single biggest factor that guides your hand. Will you go for the cutting-edge ultra-premium model? Or the second-highest tier of still being premium, but without the most ridiculous features? Or are looking for a great bang-for-buck mid-range set? Or do you have a strict lower budget in mind? That will narrow things down dramatically – you can see in a guide like our OnePlus 8 Pro vs Google Pixel 4a breakdown how a flagship phone and a great budget phone match up.

Then, two of the biggest factors are the size and the cameras. Phones are still creeping up and up in size, and some people want the biggest they can get, while some want to find a more one-handed phone, or a middle ground. And with the cameras, we all want something that can take excellent shots, right? But do you need fancy zoom lenses, or are you happy with a simpler array as long as it takes great shots?

And don't forget battery life! We'll make sure to note which phones impress and which don't.