May 2021

Smartphones: Aggregated Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Smartphone rankings posted by key online experts, as of May 2021.

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Smartphones.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Smartphones, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for May 2021 ranking

At a glance - May 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Price Smartphone
The Verge
Tom's Guide
ZD Net
T3
Digital Trends
Pocket-lint
Creative Bloq
Consumer Reports
Laptop Mag
TechRadar
#1
$2000 Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
2
3
8
4
2
1
1
-
2
1
#2
$829 iPhone 12
1
6
3
1
-
7
4
-
1
4
#3
$1099 iPhone 12 Pro Max
4
1
1
19
-
-
2
1
8
-
#4
$1290 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
6
5
5
7
-
-
6
2
3
6
#5
$600 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
-
9
4
-
-
5
-
-
7
8
#6
$1070 OnePlus 9 Pro
-
2
9
2
-
-
3
-
6
5
#7
$999 iPhone 12 Pro
-
4
-
9
1
3
-
-
-
2
#8
$689 OnePlus 9
7
-
-
8
-
4
9
-
11
9
#9
$349 Google Pixel 4a
9
8
-
-
5
-
-
-
5
13
#10
$399 iPhone SE
-
12
-
3
-
-
-
-
4
7
#11
$1800 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
10
-
2
-
6
-
8
-
-
-
#12
$700 Google Pixel 5
-
-
7
11
-
-
7
-
-
11
#13
$750 Samsung Galaxy S21
3
7
-
-
4
-
-
-
-
3
#14
$599 Apple iPhone 11
-
10
-
-
-
10
-
-
-
12
#15
Check price Motorola Moto G Power
-
11
-
-
3
-
-
-
10
-
#16
$499 Google Pixel 4A 5G
-
-
6
13
-
-
-
-
9
-
#17
$1484 Oppo Find X3 Pro
-
-
-
18
-
2
5
-
-
-
#18
$947 Samsung Galaxy Note 20
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
-
-
-
#19
Check price Samsung Galaxy S20
-
-
-
-
-
-
10
-
-
10
#20
$354 Xiaomi Mi 11
-
-
-
15
-
6
-
-
-
-
#21
$1148 Sony Xperia 1 II
-
-
-
10
-
-
-
-
-
-

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra #1 in May 2021 because:

  • 9 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra as #1.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Android Phone to Buy in 2021

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Samsung's best phone

Pros
Dynamic 6.8-inch AMOLED display
Dual telephoto lenses
S Pen support

Cons
No charger in box
Lacks microSD card slot

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Go to ranking

T3

The best hyper-premium smartphone on the market

Pros
Superb 120Hz, WQHD+, HDR10+ screen
Hyper premium internal hardware
Versatile, feature-packed camera
S Pen digital stylus support

Cons
Very high price

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Best Android phone

Pros
It’s the best of the best, with a huge and beautiful screen, good software, tons of features, and a great multi-lens camera. Plus, great battery life.

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best do-it-all smartphone

Pros
Wacom pen tech
Excellent camera zoom

Cons
Big and bulky
Expensive

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best premium Android phone for most people

Pros
Unmatched optical zoom
Gorgeous adaptive QHD+ AMOLED screen
Excellent battery life
S Pen support

Cons
No charger included
No microSD storage

Go to ranking

TechRadar

A top tier smartphone,and it takes our best crown

Pros
+The best camera zoom
+Mesmerizing design

Cons
-Expensive at any level
-No microSD card slot

Go to ranking

We ranked iPhone 12 #2 in May 2021 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked iPhone 12 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best iPhone to buy in 2021

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best iPhone for most people

Pros
Attractive new design with MagSafe
Comprehensive 5G coverage
Incredible performance

Cons
Only 64GB of base storage
Digital zoom could still use work

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best iPhone for most people

Go to ranking

T3

The best phone for most people

Pros
Fantastic HDR screen
High quality camera system
Now with 5G

Cons
Screen only 60Hz

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best bang for buck iPhone

Pros
Beautiful display
Solid camera

Cons
Battery life could be better
Base storage low

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best smartphone for most people

Pros
Excellent photos and video
Fantastic value
Beautiful new design
Strong software support
Powerful A14 Bionic CPU

Cons
Base storage is too low
60Hz display
No charger in the box

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The best Apple iPhone bang for your buck

Pros
Colorful OLED display
Future-proofed with 5G

Cons
Cameras are similar to last iPhone 11
Battery life only okay

Go to ranking

We ranked iPhone 12 Pro Max #3 in May 2021 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked iPhone 12 Pro Max as #1.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Phone for Photography and Video in 2021

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best phone overall

Pros
Best-in-class cameras
Immersive 6.7-inch display
Superior performance

Cons
Charger sold separately
A bit heavy

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best overall phone

Go to ranking

T3

More like a film studio than a phone

Pros
Spectacular cameras
Superb low light performance
Sensor-shift stabilisation
5G

Cons
Incredibly expensive
Pocket breaking
Only 60Hz refresh rate

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best iPhone ever

Pros
Superb camera
Great battery life

Cons
Very expensive
Bulky

Go to ranking

Consumer Reports

Best iPhone

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best high-end iOS smartphone

Pros
Top-end A14 Bionic CPU
Fantastic battery life
Vivid and bright OLED display
Extensive 5G support
Solid photos and unmatched video quality

Cons
Expensive starting price
60Hz display
Charger not included

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra #4 in May 2021 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

If you want a stylus built into your phone

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best Android phone for productivity

Pros
Dynamic 6.9-inch 120Hz display
Smoother S Pen performance
Powerful 50x zoom camera and laser autofocus
Very good battery life

Cons
Expensive

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best phone with a stylus

Go to ranking

T3

The best phone with digital stylus functionality

Pros
The best S Pen yet
Huge, bright screen
Plenty of power

Cons
Galaxy S21 Ultra also has S Pen support

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best smartphone for creative superstars

Pros
Superb camera
Incredible screen

Cons
Expensive
Slower charging

Go to ranking

Consumer Reports

Best Android phone

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best Android smartphone for productivity

Pros
Powerful Snapdragon 865+ processor
Strong camera and video features
Long battery life
Unique S Pen
Beautiful Super AMOLED 120Hz display

Cons
Expensive

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The 5x optical camera zoom crushes it

Pros
Amazing camera zoom
Handy S Pen stylus

Cons
'Ultra' expensive
Photos exhibit skin smoothing

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G #5 in May 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best Samsung bargain

Pros
Big 120Hz display
Affordable price
Solid performance

Cons
Battery life bit shorter than expected
Fast charger costs extra

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best Samsung Galaxy phone for most people

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best Android smartphone value

Pros
Incredible value
Large 120Hz OLED display
Excellent performance
Fantastic photo and video

Cons
Plastic build

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Flagship specs at a more affordable price

Pros
+Still good specs for the price
+Large screen
+Big battery

Cons
-Middling camera specs
-No Android 11 yet?

Go to ranking

We ranked OnePlus 9 Pro #6 in May 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best phone for Android fans

Pros
Beautiful 120Hz display
Crazy fast wired and wireless charging
Fantastic cameras

Cons
Morning Mist model is very slippery
Nightscape photos are inconsistent

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Go to ranking

T3

The best premium phone

Pros
Excellent 120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+ screen
Rapid internal hardware
Hasselblad designed camera system
Stylish design with great ergonomics

Cons
Flagship price

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best sub-£1,000 camera phone

Pros
Impressive camera
Sharp, smooth screen

Cons
Good, not great battery life
Mediocre zoom on camera

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best flagship smartphone value

Pros
Top-of-the-line performance
Vivid 120Hz adaptive display
Unmatched wired and wireless charging

Cons
Lacks a periscope zoom lens
Weaker on software updates

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Pros
The best OnePlus camera phone
Great power

Cons
High price
No microSD support

Go to ranking

We ranked iPhone 12 Pro #7 in May 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked iPhone 12 Pro as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

Another top Apple phone

Pros
Best-in-class cameras
A14 Bionic blows away Android phones
Tougher Ceramic Shield display
MagSafe charging is easy to use

Cons
No charger in box

Go to ranking

T3

The best premium phone for Apple fans

Pros
Powerful processor
Superb OLED screen
Excellent camera

Cons
Very expensive
Battery life could be better

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Best overall phone

Pros
It’s a complete package, with excellent hardware, great cameras, and consistent software.

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Our second favorite iPhone pair

Pros
+Varied color choices
+Clear and vibrant screen

Cons
-No charging block in box
-5G still an expensive luxury

Go to ranking

We ranked OnePlus 9 #8 in May 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

If You Want An Excellent Ultrawide Camera

Go to ranking

T3

A well-rounded Android smartphone

Pros
Super fast charging
Fluid, smooth 120Hz display
Fast performance

Cons
No MicroSD card slot
Could have a better battery life

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best value flagship

Pros
Beautiful, smooth screen
Fast wired charging

Cons
No expandable storage
No zoom camera

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best smartphone under $750

Pros
Fantastic performance
Long battery life
Insane charging speeds
Vivid and bright 120Hz display
Decent photo and video quality

Cons
Plastic frame
No OIS (blurry night shots)
Lacks expandable storage
5G not supported on all carriers

Go to ranking

TechRadar

A great-value option with no major drawbacks

Pros
Great specs for the cost
Good camera

Cons
No telephoto camera
Lack of flagship-material polish

Go to ranking

We ranked Google Pixel 4a #9 in May 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Android Phone Under $400

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best cheap phone you can buy

Pros
Best-in-class camera
Bright OLED display
128GB storage
Low price

Cons
Battery life could be better

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Best small smartphone

Pros
Google’s approach to smartphones fits perfectly with a small, simple, and price-friendly phone.

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best budget Android smartphone

Pros
Astounding value
Unmatched camera at this price
Solid OLED display

Cons
Weak battery life
Low-end CPU

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Google's latest mid-range stunner

Pros
+Great price for features
+Good camera software
+3.5mm jack

Cons
-Battery barely lasts a day
-Polycarbonate plastic back

Go to ranking

We ranked iPhone SE #10 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The cheapest iPhone you can buy

Pros
Affordable price
Fast A13 Bionic performance
Very good cameras

Cons
Big bezels
No Night mode

Go to ranking

T3

The best budget phone

Pros
Appealing design
Rapid hardware
Very affordable

Cons
iPhone 12 range more powerful

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best budget iOS smartphone

Pros
Flagship A13 Bionic CPU
Excellent value
Supports wireless charging
Stellar software support

Cons
Dated design
Weaker camera performance

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The cheapest new iPhone for 2020

Pros
+Low price for an iPhone
+One-hand-friendly and light
+Has the Touch ID home button

Cons
-Battery life could be better
-Old screen technology

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 #11 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Folding Phone in 2021

Go to ranking

ZD Net

Best foldable phone

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Best foldable smartphone

Pros
Foldables are the future of smartphones, and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is the best of the bunch.

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

Most polished foldable available

Pros
Powerful
Beautiful design

Cons
Very expensive
Cameras could be better

Go to ranking

We ranked Google Pixel 5 #12 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
ZD Net

Best Google phone

Go to ranking

T3

The best phone for a pure Android experience

Pros
Camera is still great
Clean, pure Android
90hz refresh rate screen

Cons
Battery life is average

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

Solid camera with great software and editing smarts

Pros
Fantastic camera software
Handsome, minimal design

Cons
No telephoto camera
Night shots could be better

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Still top cameras,and a few odd new features

Pros
+Camera software is better than ever
+Metal case is refreshing change from glass

Cons
-No telephoto
-Middling night photography

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S21 #13 in May 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Android Phone to Find a Deal for

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

A Samsung flagship for less than $800

Pros
Excellent dynamic 120Hz display
Powerful performance
Refined design

Cons
No charger or microSD card slot
Plastic back

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Best value

Pros
The core flagship Samsung phone experience is available at a great price.

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Not the best of the S series,but nevertheless great

Pros
+Fantastic, versatile camera
+Cheaper than the Galaxy S20

Cons
-No microSD support
-Screen isn’t the best

Go to ranking

We ranked Apple iPhone 11 #14 in May 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

An even better value at a lower price

Pros
Great photos, especially with Night Mode
Fast A13 Bionic CPU
Long battery life

Cons
Fast charger not included
Just 64GB of storage to start

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

TechRadar

A still-great iPhone

Pros
+Improved camera
+A new range of colors

Cons
-Design not altered
-Battery life not best-in-class

Go to ranking

We ranked Motorola Moto G Power #15 in May 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The phone with the best battery life

Pros
All-day battery life
Low price including a sub-$200 model

Cons
Only one Android software update

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Best cheap smartphone

Pros
Motorola gives you all of the basics in a good size with a few nice-to-have features.

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best budget battery life smartphone

Pros
Unmatched battery life
Awesome sub $250 price
Better than average camera
Large and bright display

Cons
Dull display

Go to ranking

We ranked Google Pixel 4A 5G #16 in May 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
ZD Net

Best affordable 5G phone

Go to ranking

T3

The best budget Pixel phone

Pros
Great camera
Pure software
Excellent price

Cons
Not as premium as Pixel 5

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best Android phone for most people

Pros
Flagship tier camera
Solid display
Support for 5G
Great value

Cons
Middling performance

Go to ranking

We ranked Oppo Find X3 Pro #17 in May 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

A stunning flagship for 2021 from Oppo

Pros
Top-tier specs
Fantastic 6.7-inch screen
Microscopic camera

Cons
Large camera block
Software could be better

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

Best for fans of smooth design

Pros
Unique, sleek design
Stunning display

Cons
Expensive
Poor zoom on camera

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 #18 in May 2021 because:

  • 1 independent expert mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S20 #19 in May 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Creative Bloq

Excellent across the board

Pros
Amazing screen
Brilliant camera

Cons
Busy interface
Dull design

Go to ranking

TechRadar

Flagship specs at a more affordable price

Pros
+A top screen
+Excellent cameras

Cons
-Still quite high price
-Iterative improvements

Go to ranking

We ranked Xiaomi Mi 11 #20 in May 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

A strong new entry to the best phone top table

Pros
Quality large display
Strong camera experience
Rapid wireless charging
Android 11 out of the box

Cons
Average battery life
Slow in-screen fingerprint scanner

Go to ranking

Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

We ranked Sony Xperia 1 II #21 in May 2021 because:

  • 1 independent expert mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

The best phone for watching movies,and very good at taking pictures too

Pros
Powerful internals
Impressive screen
Excellent camera

Cons
Tall phone not pocket friendly

Go to ranking