Best Samsung phones in 2021 so far

by Joseph K. Clark

Samsung is the most prominent phone manufacturer globally, so it’s no surprise it’s also creating some of the best phones on the market. In this guide, we’ve collected some of the best Android phones you can buy from Samsung. If Samsung’s OneUI isn’t your favorite skin on top of Android, we also have a list of the best Google phones that provide a more vanilla, stock Android experience.

Read the guide and learn more about the best flagship and mid-range devices that Samsung has released this year. For those wanting something more affordable, we’ve also included some of last year’s best Samsung phones that can still compete today with the more recent premium phones.

Best Samsung Phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has several improvements over its predecessor, the Galaxy S20 Ultra. If you’ve ever dreamt of a phone that has everything, from the best highest-end chipset, a premium build, all the cameras you could fit into a device, a large battery, a massive and responsive display, and even support for the S-Pen, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has you covered. It’s the most expensive and premium device in the Galaxy S lineup and doesn’t sacrifice any features or software. It comes with a Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, 8/12/16GB memory options, and storage starting from 128GB. The display is massive at 6.8 inches, and the battery is large at 5,000mAh. It has a 108MP main sensor, 10MP periscope telephoto for 10x optical zoom, 10MP telephoto for 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide. The selfie camera is 40MP.

      • The

    Samsung Galaxy S21

      Ultra is the ultimate device for those wanting the best available today in a reasonably compact package. However, you’ll need
    d big hands to use this daily.

Samsung phones

Best for Most: Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

Picking the best device for most people is often very hard, but we have to look at what people have been buying to understand what they might want in the future. The Galaxy S21 Plus aces this category with its high-end chipset and premium build quality. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset, 8GB of RAM, and has a large 4,800mAh battery. The camera quality is one of the best you can find on a smartphone today, including a 12MP wide sensor, a 64MP telephoto with 3x hybrid zoom, and another 12MP sensor for ultrawide shots.

    If you want the best possible device at the best value potential, the Galaxy S21 Plus offers a flagship-level experience at a reasonable price.

Best High-End Compact: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

It’s the smaller sibling of the Galaxy S21 Plus, offering all the same functionality and great power in a small form factor. It has the same high-end Snapdragon 888 SoC, 8GB of RAM, and a large 6.2-inch 120Hz high refresh rate AMOLED display with HDR10+ certification. The battery can also go for a full workday, thanks to the 4,000mAh capacity. The camera quality is the same as its larger sibling, offering the best experience at this price point, day and night. Like the rest of the Galaxy S lineup, the S21 is also IP68 water and dust resistant, although we’d strongly advise against trying that out.

    • If you’re looking for an actual flagship experience in a smaller form factor, the

Samsung Galaxy S21

    offers it at an affordable price.

Best with Stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a powerful 5 G-enabled processor and everyone’s favorite S-Pen built-in. This might be the last Galaxy Note since Samsung isn’t expected to release a new version in 2021 due to a worldwide chip shortage issue. While the new Galaxy S21 Ultra could come to the rescue since it’s compatible with the S-Pen, the Note 20 Ultra is excellent if you want to save some money. It has a perfect camera setup to capture day and night images and a long-lasting battery to get you through the day. If you’re happy with last year’s performance and a less responsive display compared to the Galaxy S21 lineup, the Note 20 Ultra is a great choice.

    • The

Samsung Galaxy

    Note 20 Ultra has a powerful chipset and excellent performance for those looking for a smartphone with a built-in stylus.

Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

While the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is still yet to be launched sometime later this year, last year’s Galaxy S20 FE is still a capable device, not to mention it keeps receiving discounts, which makes it far more appealing. It has last year’s Snapdragon 865 5G chipset and 6/8GB of memory. While it might not be powered by the latest and the greatest, it’s still more than capable of playing graphics-intensive games and performing like a true flagship. Speaking of the flagship, the camera certainly takes flagship-quality images.

    • The

Samsung Galaxy S20

    FE is an excellent purchase for those not wanting to spend four digits on a high-end smartphone. The S20 FE comes with a powerful processor and a long-lasting battery.

Best Affordable: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has a large 6.5 inches 120Hz high refresh rate AMOLED display. The Snapdragon 750G 5 G powers its enabled chipset and has 6GB of RAM and expandable storage. The selfie shooter on the front is 32MP, and the rear houses a 64MP, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and another 5MP for depth sensing. It’s an accurate mid-range flagship device with many features and performance from its more expensive Galaxy S21 sibling. It can take about the same quality photos day and night and quickly plow through an entire workday on a single charge, thanks to the 4,500mAh battery.

    • The

Samsung Galaxy A52

    is the best Samsung phone in the mid-range field, offering premium features at an affordable price?

Runner-Up: Samsung Galaxy A52 (4G)

The Samsung Galaxy A52 has all the same features as its slightly more expensive sibling with 5G. However, it has a slightly less powerful chipset and a 90Hz high refresh rate display than 120Hz. Suppose you want to save money, don’t worry too much about 5G. The camera quality of the A52 lineup is true flagship quality. You will only start to see some differences in some dark situations, but even then, the quality of the image will still be social media-ready, requiring little to no editing. The battery also performs well and can easily last you a full day.

    • The

Samsung Galaxy

    A52 (4G) is an excellent mid-ranger that offers flagship features in an elegant package for the price-conscious.

Best from Last Year: Samsung Galaxy S20

Considering last year’s compact flagship might be the way to go if you’re on a tight budget. It has all the power you need on the go, a great display, and excellent camera quality. While it might not have all of the new features of the new Galaxy S21 lineup, it’s perfect for those wanting a true flagship experience without any drawbacks.

    • The

Samsung Galaxy S20

    is a reasonably compact, high-end flagship from 2020 that will keep up with the competition from 2021.

Best Foldable: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is Samsung’s best flagship foldable device yet. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 provides a well-refined foldable smartphone experience. It has excellent built quality, and Samsung has fixed some issues present in its predecessor, the Galaxy Fold. Namely, the display is far more durable and less fragile, although it’s still not perfect, given this is the second iteration of the Z Fold lineup. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is widely available in most markets. It comes with a powerful chipset, providing excellent performance and long-lasting battery life, even though it has to power two displays. The Z Fold 2 won’t disappoint if you want an all-around healthy, refined foldable smartphone.

Our Recommendation

If you can afford it and want more than you would probably ever want and use, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the ultimate smartphone that provides all the features and the best and most of everything a phone can offer. However, if your budget is slightly less, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 can provide high-end flagship features in a premium and elegant package.

Under $700, the best possible devices are the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the cheaper Galaxy A52 5G. We won’t judge you if you don’t buy into the 5G hype. It’s not for everyone, especially not if it costs a bit more. Luckily Samsung also offers the Galaxy A52 4G variant with only a few minor differences between the two models. The 5G model has a slightly faster chipset and a 120Hz display than a somewhat slower chipset and a 90Hz display. On paper, the difference is there; in real-life experience, however, the changes are barely noticeable.

Roland Udvarlaki

Roland is a technology enthusiast and software engineer based in the United Kingdom. He is also a content creator and writer, best known under “Techusiast”.

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