The best smartphones aren’t quite as predictable as they once were with a number of new options emerging, including many in the $500-$750 range. At present you lot aren’t going to get a folding screen or a 50x zoom at that price unless you bump up to the total $1,000 and up flagships, but those features don’t matter to anybody.
True flagships still have their identify, they button the boundaries of what’south possible in a smartphone grade factor, but some of the best smartphones tin can do everything most need them to do for far less. Whether you want the latest and greatest or just the best smartphone for your specific needs, it’s a great fourth dimension to be in the market for a new telephone.
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We’ve spent hundreds of hours reviewing and researching all of the best smartphones bachelor today and whether you value productivity, photography, gaming, social media, videography, or bombardment life, these phones are the best of the all-time.
What is the best smartphone?
Currently, the iPhone thirteen Pro is the best smartphone on the marketplace for most people. Starting at $999 information technology’south not cheap, but the dramatically improved cameras, stellar bombardment life and unmatched software support make it a smartphone investment worth making.
Apple tree’s A15 Bionic processor in the iPhone 13 Pro once more tops the charts every bit the nigh powerful mobile processor on the planet and coupled with the aforementioned software support guarantees years of smooth operation. The triple-cameras on the back of the iPhone 13 Pro produce first-class photos and the best video of whatsoever phone on the market and it finally matches the camera specs of the iPhone 13 Pro Max identically.
For Android fans, depending on your budget in that location are a number of other fantastic options also. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is arguably nonetheless the pinnacle of Android hardware with a Snapdragon 888 processor and a quad-camera array that allows y’all to get fantastic photos well-nigh or far with up to a 100x zoom. Support for an S Pen and Samsung’s desktop-like DeX interface can turn your smartphone into a laptop replacement in a pinch. The Galaxy S22 may be near on the horizon, but the S21 Ultra later a year on the market place is yet a standout.
For pure performance consider the OnePlus 9 Pro, which is currently the fastest Android phone we’ve tested, overtaking the iPhone 12 in some tests and blowing abroad every other mainstream phone with its 65W fast charging.
On the other end of the toll spectrum is Google’southward
Pixel 6, which at $599, is arguably the best Android value ever. The specs won’t accident you lot abroad, but Google’south software support is unmatched on Android and the visitor’s new SoC is surprisingly powerful. Google’south photography remains unmatched in this price category. If you’re interested in other affordable smartphones y’all may want to cheque out our best budget phones, which sticks to sub-$500 phones including Google’s Pixel 5a.
That’s a quick look at some of our top picks, but here’s a rundown of all the best smartphones available today.
The best smartphones you tin buy today
The iPhone 13 Pro claims the spot as the best overall smartphone for most users away from the iPhone 12. While the iPhone 13 certainly still has strong appeal at its more affordable $799 price point, there are far more compromises past going with the non-Pro models this year including weaker cameras, lack of 120Hz displays and a considerable drop in battery life.
The iPhone 13 Pro fixes all of our concerns with last twelvemonth’s model and with the exception of screen size it puts the iPhone xiii Pro on equal ground with the iPhone xiii Pro Max. This includes the incredible new triple camera system with unbelievable low-light functioning when using either the wide-angle or ultra-wide lens thanks to new sensors and sensor-shift image stabilization.
While the A15 Bionic may be needlessly fast today, you’ll appreciate information technology in a few years when your telephone is still running circles effectually near of the competition and is getting day and date updates to the latest version of iOS probable through 2027. The $999 starting cost may be daunting, but the iPhone 13 Pro is worth it.
See our total
iPhone thirteen Pro review
At $599 the Pixel 6 creates a clear upgrade path for Pixel fans coming from the Pixel 3a or Pixel 4a, who were underwhelmed by the Pixel 5a and desire more without spending $ane,000. The budget realm has been Google’due south bread and butter over the last few years and the Pixel half-dozen may perfectly fit into an underdeveloped price range in the marketplace.
While it may lack premium features found on the Pixel half dozen Pro and some and other flagship phones from Samsung or Apple, the large 90Hz display, incredible primary photographic camera and stiff software back up from Google may be enough to finally button a Pixel device into the mainstream.
Google has fabricated information technology clear in recent years that it wants to be known equally a swell “value proffer” in the market and while it is trending out of the realm of what nosotros consider budget phones, in that location is no better smartphone value today than the the Pixel 6.
Read our full Pixel 6 review.
Samsung may have fabricated some cuts to bring the pricing down on the Galaxy Southward devices this year, just the Milky way S21 Ultra ($1,199) is still hands-down the most impressive premium Android telephone on the marketplace. While the subtle redesign means it doesn’t look drastically dissimilar from last year’southward Galaxy S20 Ultra, at that place are a few substantial updates.
The most visible change is to the rear camera array, not just the concrete redesign, just the improver of a 4th camera lens. The broad, ultra-broad and 3x telephoto lens from last year are now joined past a 10x optical telephoto, turning last twelvemonth’south somewhat comical 100x Space Zoom into a usable photographic tool. Critically it also picked upward the laser autofocus from the Note 20 Ultra that corrects the focusing bug seen in concluding yr’due south model. There can exist an argument about which of the best smartphones takes the best photos, but nothing can compare to the versatility of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
That’s far from all, the brand new Snapdragon 888 is ane of the biggest leaps that Qualcomm has made in recent years, particularly in motorcar learning functioning. Milky way Annotation fans may finally give the Ultra line a wait too with support for the Due south Pen and dedicated cases to make carrying it a breeze. All of this and a $200 cost drop from terminal year make the Milky way S21 Ultra the all-time all-effectually premium Android phone available today.
See our total Samsung Milky way S21 Ultra review
When the iPhone SE (2020) was released last year, it amazed reviewers as it offered the same A13 Bionic processor found in the iPhone 11 lineup but for simply $399. While there are apparently hardware tradeoffs that we’ll address, this means the phone offers nearly identical operation to Apple tree’s previous flagships and volition encounter updates right alongside them for the next five years.
The unmarried rear camera is fine, but not upwardly to the standards of the iPhone 11 or Google’south cheaper Pixel 4a for that matter. Apple did give it some other traditionally premium specs though with support for wireless charging and water resistance ( merely the flagship Pixel options savor waterproofing). From a value standpoint, it would exist difficult to argue that whatever of the other best smartphones concord a candle to the iPhone SE considering the projected longevity of this phone.
The Pixel 5a isn’t the extreme upkeep option that the Pixel 4a was and is, simply considering it delivers nearly all of the features of last year’s “flagship” Pixels for $449, it is notwithstanding the all-time affordable Android phone.
Functioning is the biggest critique of the phone, only that’s common in this price range and with Google’s three years of software support you are at to the lowest degree guaranteed to see improvements equally time goes on, which is rare in the sub-$500 smartphone realm. The photographic camera operation remains outstanding and completely unmatched by anything in the budget market, while the Pixel six should up Google’southward photo game, the Pixel 5a stands equally the equal of annihilation Google has put out then far.
The remarkable battery life also helps alleviate some of the frustration regarding the Snapdragon operation, and the improver of water resistance is much appreciated. Both are quality-of-life upgrades and peace of heed for an affordable mid-range device costing $449.
Run across our full
Pixel 5a review
The OnePlus 9 Pro isn’t quite the bargain it was last year when compared to the best from Samsung, only it still undercuts its main rival the Samsung Milky way S21 Plus by $30. The combination of its Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 6.vii-inch OLED QHD+ display with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, and its incredible 65W fast charging keep it a value at $969 compared to numerous phones available for $999 and beyond.
While in years past the camera was the stumbling block for OnePlus, that isn’t actually the case with the OnePlus 9 Pro. While from a pure specs standpoint it nevertheless falls why of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12 Pro models, the results are far closer. Depression-lite photos and telephoto range are the ii areas that all the same come up a bit brusque, but the list is winnowing down. Like the Galaxy S21 line, the OnePlus 9 Pro has an adaptive 120Hz display that will adjust the refresh charge per unit to the content on the screen, which likewise gives information technology first-class bombardment life despite the QHD 120Hz panel.
If you lot are looking to save a little more money or aren’t a fan of the waterfall edge display then consider the OnePlus nine, information technology features a flat border display and a bottom rear camera array starting at $729.
Meet our full
OnePlus ix Pro review
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is overpowered, gorgeous and expensive. You don’t want to go with the 128GB base model, but you tin probably get abroad with 256 or 512GB of storage, which still means you are looking at a starting price of $i,199. If that’s also rich for your blood and so have a hard look at the iPhone xiii Pro or even the iPhone 13.
The iPhone thirteen Pro Max is a multitasking/gaming/photography machine without question. And it lasted over 12 hours on our battery test. But like the Samsung Milky way Note 20 Ultra, the iPhone Pro Max xiii is really for heavy-duty users, non those of usa who are just watching videos, trawling social media, reading books and texting,
So who do I recommend the iPhone 13 Pro Max to? Content creators, with a focus on photographers and videographers who maybe can’t beget something like the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema 6K camera. It’s likewise for people who honey opulence, power and endurance and the iPhone Pro Max 13 has that in spades.
See our full
iPhone 13 Pro Max review
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 should be the phone that takes foldables mainstream. While the battery life will undoubtedly present problems for some users, it isn’t an insurmountable issue and is worth the trade-off if y’all desire a full flagship experience that can fit in any pocket.
The Galaxy Z Flip iii delivers what most people seemed to want from the iPhone 12 mini, an ultra-compact phone that doesn’t compromise on the flagship experience. The six.7-inch, 120Hz display on the Milky way Z Flip 3 is second to none; the cameras produce fantastic photos and videos; and the Snapdragon 888 chip should be fast enough to comfortably concluding you through the iv years of security updates you get with the phone.
Nosotros oasis’t reached the point where there are no sacrifices when opting for the foldable grade factor, but the Galaxy Z Flip iii gets very close. If you are willing to work around the short battery life, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 delivers a flagship phone experience unlike whatever other.
Run into our total
Samsung Milky way Z Flip 3 review
At $899 the Pixel 6 Pro is affordable compared to its flagship competitors, but it isn’t the immediately obvious value that the Pixel 6 represents. With the OnePlus 9 Pro hardware eclipsing it in some areas for effectually the same price and Samsung’s now nearly 1-year-one-time Milky way S21 phones having dropped in price.
The unproven Tensor fleck may be tough for users that only upgrade every few years to depend on its commencement-gen, particularly with a proven commodity like the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max. Google is back in the chat for best pure phone camera on the market with the Pixel 6 Pro, only others beat information technology in some areas with Samsung’s superior telephoto and Apple’south video superiority.
While its raw numbers may not hold upwardly to its competitors, Google’south entire pitch for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro essentially boils downward to it being a telephone that adapts to you. After having spent over a month with the phone now I love what I’ve seen so far and while it may not be envisioned when I asked for a flagship Pixel telephone, it’southward exactly what I wanted.
See our full Pixel 6 Pro review
At $249 or less when it is on sale, the Moto Yard Power is firmly in the budget smartphone category. And while it won’t concur up to any of the other smartphones here in nearly specs, the bombardment life is incredible.
Pairing a 5,000 mAh battery with a less powerful Snapdragon 665 processor and a 1080p display, the Moto G Power should final through fifty-fifty the longest days of work or play. Our sister site,
Tom’s Guide, saw it achieve over 16 hours in its battery rundown test, 4 hours more than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Zero else on the Moto G Ability is going to wow you lot, only it does offer a very competent photographic camera experience with a broad, ultra-broad and macro lens available on the back and its 6.4-inch display is large and bright. If budget and battery life are the two height factors on your smartphone ownership listing then the Moto Thou Ability is an easy recommendation.
The OnePlus 9 is a compelling option for Android users looking for a sub-$1,000 telephone that doesn’t sacrifice besides many features available in pricier flagships. Information technology fifty-fifty punches above its weight class in certain areas, outperforming every Android phone on the market besides its “Pro” relative and indelible for about 11 hours on a charge. It’s also worth spotlighting the fast charging feature, which gets you from dead to 100% in about 30 minutes.
While the OnePlus 9 Pro might grab all the headlines, yous aren’t trading much stepping down to the OnePlus nine. Yep, the telephoto lens is missing, but you lot can get comparable shots using the master camera. The other notable downgrade is an FHD screen instead of QHD, but the panel on the OnePlus 9 is and then sharp, you won’t be disappointed. 2 factors that may sway you toward the pricier model are the plastic frame around the OnePlus nine and the lack of OIS on whatsoever of the cameras — those are tougher pills to eat and corners cutting that forbid the OnePlus 9 from being a 5-star product.
If those ii shortcomings don’t bother yous, the OnePlus nine is an excellent telephone and a potent alternative to the Samsung Milky way S21.
Meet our full
OnePlus 9 review.
The ROG Phone v comes with some definite caveats that you don’t get with the other $ane,000+ flagship phones establish on this list, only it also offers some unique features that you just don’t get from whatsoever other flagship telephone.
Let’s focus on the positive start. The ROG Phone 5 is a gaming telephone first and foremost and from the design, to its software, it will non allow y’all forget this. The phone borrows heavily from the ROG Zephyrus line of laptops all the way downwardly to an RGB light on the dorsum of the base model (this is swapped out from a PMOLED brandish on the ROG Phone 5 Pro and ROG Telephone 5 Ultimate).
The software may actually sell the gamer focus on this phone more than the hardware with customization options for virtually every attribute of the phone. This includes the capacitive shoulder “buttons” on the phone that can be mapped to any on-screen buttons in your games. Audiophiles may be drawn to the ROG Telephone 5 as well thanks to its Quad DAC and 3.5mm headphone jack, with LG leaving the smartphone business this is i of the just phones with ongoing back up to offering that combo.
With all of that said yous definitely demand to be enlightened that you are giving up some things past going with the ROG Phone 5. Its cameras are nowhere near the quality of what you become from a flagship from OnePlus, Samsung or Apple and while the 144Hz panel is amazing, it lacks the adaptive refresh rate of some a OnePlus or Samsung flagship. Finally, long-term Os updates are going to be a pain betoken when compared to the rest, fifty-fifty OnePlus manages at least two years of updates, ROG Phone 5 will likely simply meet one major Android update.
Come across our total
ROG Telephone five review.
How to find the all-time smartphone
At that place are dozens of smartphones released every year and it tin be hard to decide which is going to be the about suited to your needs. Here’s a good ready of questions to ask yourself as you consider which of the best smartphones is correct for you.
What’s your budget?
Equally you would probably await, this is going to be a major deciding gene in your smartphone buying experience. There are three adequately distinct tiers in the smartphone market place at the moment. Upkeep smartphones in the $250-$400 range can deliver a solid plenty experience for many users, but volition typically surrender some camera quality, characteristic a weaker processor and offer reduced software back up. Mid-tier smartphones in the $600-$750 range are enjoying a real resurgence at the moment with features that are just backside the flagships for hundreds less. True flagships commencement at around $999 and tin can go up to $1,400 and beyond, and as expected at this price, you should exist getting a pinnacle-of-the-line processor, the power to capture near DSLR quality photos and a fantastic display.
Android or iOS?
This could certainly be the kickoff question yous inquire and will narrow your choices down considerably if y’all are fix on one or the other. The truth is that the two operating systems are closer than ever in terms of overall functionality. Apple still delivers faster software updates, superior privacy and generally a ameliorate app experience. Android offers more than customizability, a superior phonation assistant, a wider diverseness of hardware and more user control.
How much battery life practise you demand?
All the remainder of its features won’t affair much if your smartphone is constantly dying before the finish of the day for you. We conduct our own bombardment tests to run into how long they will last on a single charge. And while your mileage volition of course vary depending on your tasks, it will give you lot a full general idea of how they stack upward to one some other.
Practise yous adopt a larger screen?
While the large-screen trend has largely eliminated the truly modest smartphones from the marketplace, in that location is all the same a spectrum of more meaty options. Smaller phones at this point come in at or below 5.8-inches and the largest options are between half dozen.5-half dozen.8 inches. For productivity and content consumption, a larger screen is definitely ameliorate, but there is certainly a portability trade-off so consider what you tin can carry comfortably.
How much exercise you value the camera?
The photographic camera is ane of the biggest differentiators as you lot move upwards the smartphone tiers. At that place are budget options that tin can capture fantabulous photos. However, they’ll lack some of the advanced telephoto and often high-terminate video capture capabilities that you will observe in pricier smartphones. If, like most people, your smartphone is your only camera, then it’s worth because whether the added reach or resolution of a loftier-end smartphone will let y’all to capture photos and moments you otherwise might have missed.
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