November 2021

Smartphones: Aggregated Ranking Report

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

At a glance - November 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Smartphone
Pocket-lint
The Verge
Creative Bloq
Consumer Reports
Tom's Guide
TechRadar
Laptop Mag
T3
Digital Trends
IGN
1
- $1899
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The most powerful Android smartphone available that exceeds expectations in terms of performance and features at a premium price.
1
2
1
-
2
1
2
4
-
7
2
+1 $1075
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The best smartphone for productivity and creativity.
-
6
6
2
-
7
3
7
2
6
3
+3 $588
OnePlus 9
A worthy smartphone that is fairly priced.
4
7
9
-
-
10
11
8
-
-
4
-2 $829
iPhone 12
The best iPhone for most people
7
1
4
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
5
- $800
OnePlus 9 Pro
A very good smartphone that’s fast and shoots great pictures.
-
-
3
-
7
6
6
2
-
-
6
+2 $999
iPhone 12 Pro
An excellent iPhone that’s almost as good as the Pro Max.
3
-
-
-
-
11
-
9
1
-
7
-3 $1099
iPhone 12 Pro Max
The best iPhone for anyone looking for quality and performance.
-
4
2
1
-
-
-
19
-
-
8
-1 $829
Samsung Galaxy S21
A premium smartphone at a reasonable price
-
3
-
-
8
3
-
20
-
-
9
- $399
iPhone SE
-
-
-
-
12
8
4
3
-
-
10
- $655
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
A true value for money smartphone that will not disappoint
5
-
-
-
-
9
7
-
4
-
11
New * $1099
iPhone 13 Pro Max
-
-
-
-
1
-
8
-
-
3
12
New * $829
iPhone 13
-
-
-
-
3
4
-
-
-
1
13
New * $999
iPhone 13 Pro
-
-
-
-
6
2
1
-
-
-
14
-2 $1349
Oppo Find X3 Pro
2
-
5
-
-
-
-
18
-
-
15
New * $481
Google Pixel 5A
-
-
-
-
5
-
5
-
-
2
16
-2 $220
Motorola Moto G Power
-
-
-
-
11
-
10
-
3
-
17
-2 $599
Apple iPhone 11
10
-
-
-
10
15
-
-
-
-
18
- $2000
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
-
10
8
-
-
-
-
-
6
-
19
+2 $1360
Asus ROG Phone 5
-
-
-
-
-
13
12
-
-
5
20
-3 $347
Xiaomi Mi 11
6
-
-
-
-
-
-
15
-
-
21
New * $729
Apple iPhone 12 Mini
-
5
-
-
-
14
-
-
-
-
22
-6 $520
Google Pixel 4a
A good Android phone that is easy on the budget
-
9
-
-
-
-
-
-
5
-
23
-12 $900
Google Pixel 5
-
-
7
-
-
-
-
11
-
-
24
-5 Check price
Samsung Galaxy S20
-
-
10
-
-
12
-
-
-
-
25
New * $850
Google Pixel 6
-
-
-
-
4
5
-
-
-
-

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

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra as #1.
Expert Consensus
(as of 26 Jul 2021)
The most powerful Android smartphone available that exceeds expectations in terms of performance and features at a premium price.
Experts Praise For:
  • S Pen support
  • Impressive optical zoom capability
  • Large AMOLED screen
  • Extended battery life
Experts Criticise For:
  • No microSD card support
  • Charger not included
  • Very expensive
A more detailed summary:

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was made to impress, and it doesn’t come short on features. It is a beast in terms of size and power. Its massive size is justified by a large 6.8-inch AMOLED display that delivers a great viewing experience, and with a 120Hz refresh rate, it is certainly smooth. Backed by a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and a generous 12GB of RAM, it is responsive and will perform without much effort. The 888 happens to be the most powerful chip that Qualcomm has to offer. Of course, this needs a battery that can last. Thankfully, the 5,000mAh battery will do just that. The S21 Ultra runs on Android 11 and comes with S Pen support. However, the stylus is sold separately.

While all the features above make the S21 Ultra an exceptional smartphone, the camera is what sets it further apart from the flagship offerings of other brands. Its quad-camera system features wide-angle, ultra-wide, and two telephoto cameras that enable a whole range of capabilities for the device. Recording 8K video is effortless, and its 108MP wide-angle camera captures high-quality images that are crisp and clear. The system is capable of 3X, 10X, and 100X (Space Zoom) zoom. Taking pictures at 100X zoom surprisingly produces better images now.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is a premium smartphone that comes with a premium price. It does not include a charger nor an S Pen. However, if those things are not an issue for the user, then it is worth the price tag.

Critic endorsements:
Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

The Verge

Best Android Phone to Buy in 2021

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

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

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

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

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

IGN

Best High-End Smartphone

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra #2 in November 2021 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
The best smartphone for productivity and creativity.
Experts Praise For:
  • Powerful processor
  • Outstanding battery
  • Excellent camera
  • Massive 6.9-inch display
  • S Pen included
Experts Criticise For:
  • Very expensive
A more detailed summary:

Here is a phone that can meet various needs whether the consumer is a casual user, a gamer, a creative, or someone who simply needs the functionality of a pen and paper on a digital device anytime, anywhere. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is expensive, but it’s a high-end smartphone that’s packed with high-end specs. The combined power of the Snapdragon processor plus 12GB of RAM can sufficiently handle the load even with multiple apps running. Playing games, watching movies, or doing anything else really on the massive 6.9-inch AMOLED display would be very satisfying for the user. The higher refresh rate provides a smooth operation and faster response.

The camera system includes an ultra-wide camera, a wide-angle camera, and a telephoto camera. It is capable of 8K video capture and 50x zoom. It has a battery that is large enough to last a whole day, even with extended use. It also comes with a handy S Pen stylus that can be used to jot down notes, draw, or do anything else that requires a pen and paper. Indeed, this is more like a computer than a phone. The price may seem steep, but with all the functionality that it offers, it may be a price worth paying.

Critic endorsements:
The Verge

If you want a stylus built into your phone

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

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

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

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

Digital Trends

Best Android phone

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Phablet

Go to ranking

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 November 2021 ranking

We ranked OnePlus 9 #3 in November 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
A worthy smartphone that is fairly priced.
Experts Praise For:
  • Impressive display
  • Rather good camera
  • Excellent overall performance
  • Fast charging time
Experts Criticise For:
  • camera has no optical zoom
  • The phone does not have expandable memory support
A more detailed summary:

The OnePlus 9 may be a notch lower than the OnePlus 9 Pro, but it doesn’t come short on features. It comes with an impressive display that’s comparatively larger than other smartphones in its class. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor is powerful and delivers an excellent and lag-free experience. It’s always a bonus to have a phone that recharges fast, and with y 65W charging you only have to wait around half an hour to get it to full charge status. It also supports wireless charging, which is another bonus. The 4,500mAh battery can get you through the day with normal use. The main 48MP camera takes great shots thanks to Hasselblad technology and Sony’s sensor but unfortunately, the camera system doesn’t come with a telephoto lens. Consumers looking for optical zoom capability in their phones may not be content with digital zoom. The device does not have expandable storage support. In this situation, opting for the 256GB version is a wise choice.

The OnePlus 9 packs enough power and memory, recharges fast, has a decent battery, and is equipped with a commendable triple-lens camera system. Overall, this is a very good phone that’s priced fairly.

Critic endorsements:
Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

The Verge

If You Want An Excellent Ultrawide Camera

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

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

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

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

We ranked iPhone 12 #4 in November 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked iPhone 12 as #1.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
The best iPhone for most people
Experts Praise For:
  • Amazing OLED display
  • Very good camera
  • 5G-ready
Experts Criticise For:
  • Average battery
  • Low base storage
  • Display only 60Hz
  • No charger
A more detailed summary:

The iPhone 12 is one of the four variants of the series that offers good performance and reliability overall. It comes feature-packed but costs considerably less than the iPhone 12 Pro. With a sleek new design, super-fast A14 Bionic processor, beautiful OLED display, high-quality camera, wireless charging capability, 5G-ready connectivity, and MagSafe, it’s loaded with the essentials and then some. It has many similarities with the iPhone 12 Pro except for the missing telephoto lens camera that enables zooming and less memory. It is a big phone but can be handled snuggly with one hand. The battery is also worth mentioning since it can last a full day with no problem.

The 6.1-inch OLED screen is large enough to provide a more-than-comfortable viewing experience. The colors are brighter, and the display looks great. The camera can take impressive photos in any light. The night mode feature is also a welcome addition. With 5G support, the phone is equipped with next-gen capabilities as well. For those more focused on aesthetics, Apple gives consumers five stylish color options to choose from.

The iPhone 12 is a good phone to have, but a bit expensive. The lack of zooming capability and the missing charger may turn some people off, but these are compensated by good performance and an abundance of features.

Critic endorsements:
Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

The Verge

Best iPhone to buy in 2021

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

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

We ranked OnePlus 9 Pro #5 in November 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
A very good smartphone that’s fast and shoots great pictures.
Experts Praise For:
  • Greatly improved camera
  • Impressive AMOLED display at 120Hz
  • Fast charging (wired and wireless)
  • Good phone performance
Experts Criticise For:
  • A bit expensive
A more detailed summary:

The 9 Pro is the latest flagship offering from OnePlus. There are several things to like about this smartphone that are worth mentioning. To start with, it has an impressive 6.7-inch AMOLED display that is convenient to use. The size is just right to handle comfortably, not too big and not too small. The screen responds well, thanks to the higher refresh rate. Achieving full charge status is fast, with wired charging taking about half an hour to fully charge, and wireless charging taking less than an hour. That’s actually impressive. In addition, the 4,500mAh battery can last a full day with normal use, depending on the usage.

The smartphone packs enough muscle with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB of memory, providing all the heavy lifting. The phone also features a much-improved camera system with the help of Hasselblad technology. The OnePlus 9 Pro is a good phone overall. The price may be a bit steep for some people, but in exchange, you get a great camera, good performance, a high-quality screen, fast-charging capability, and decent battery life.

Critic endorsements:
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

Tom's Guide

A very good flagship value

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

TechRadar

A giant leap for OnePlus photography

Pros
The best OnePlus camera phone
Great power

Cons
High price
No microSD support

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

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

We ranked iPhone 12 Pro #6 in November 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked iPhone 12 Pro as #1.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
An excellent iPhone that’s almost as good as the Pro Max.
Experts Praise For:
  • Outstanding camera
  • Outstanding processor
  • Outstanding screen
Experts Criticise For:
  • Charger not included
A more detailed summary:

The iPhone 12 Pro is one of the three offerings of the iPhone 12 series. All of the phones in the series provide high-quality features, but the Pro version offers a good balance of cost versus features. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Pro Max, it has the same processor, amount of memory, 5G support, triple-lens configuration, Ceramic Shield Technology, and more. Apple equipped this piece of art with a powerful A14 Bionic chip that enhances the phone experience. Although the display only has a 60Hz refresh rate, navigating the OS through the 6.1-inch OLED screen is smooth and effortless. The battery will last a day with no problem. However, MagSafe is there to save the day when it does run out. There are four color options to choose from: Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue.

Apple is famous for equipping its smartphones with high-tech camera systems, and this holds true with the iPhone 12 Pro. It still captures spectacular photos, and with the LiDAR scanner, portrait shots in Night Mode look great. There isn’t much to criticize about this phone except for the price. Its new design, powerful chip, exceptional camera, vibrant display, and long list of features make the fee worth it.

Critic endorsements:
Pocket-lint

Go to ranking

TechRadar

A great iPhone pair

Pros
Varied color choices
Clear and vibrant screen

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

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

We ranked iPhone 12 Pro Max #7 in November 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked iPhone 12 Pro Max as #1.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
The best iPhone for anyone looking for quality and performance.
Experts Praise For:
  • Impressive large display
  • Extended battery life
  • Excellent camera
  • 5G-ready
Experts Criticise For:
  • Really expensive
  • Too big for one hand
  • Low refresh rate
  • No charger
A more detailed summary:

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is thought to be the best smartphone in Apple’s current lineup by many, and as expected, is the most expensive. However, the device does come with top-of-the-line specs and features that justify the steep price. For example, it has a large 6.7-inch OLED screen that is perfect for watching videos and playing games. The battery on the Pro Max lasts significantly longer than the other iPhone 12 models. Its powerful processor is more than enough to handle CPU-intensive tasks. The camera, hands down, is one of the best we’ve seen on a smartphone. The larger sensor amplifies its ability to take high-quality photos. Even in situations where light is limited, it still manages to produce impressive pictures.

Although the larger screen is very much appreciated, the phone is too big to handle with one hand. It’s also difficult to put comfortably in one’s pocket. If the size is an issue for consumers, they might want to consider getting the smaller Pro version. With such a hefty price tag, it is only fair to expect that a charger would be included with the purchase. However, this is not the case. Now with all these things considered, the phone is still outstanding in many aspects. It has a fantastic camera, a massive screen, and processing power that provides a smooth experience. Overall, it is an excellent smartphone.

Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Phone for Photography and Video in 2021

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

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

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S21 #8 in November 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
A premium smartphone at a reasonable price
Experts Praise For:
  • Fantastic dynamic display
  • Commendable performance
  • Very good camera
  • Reasonably priced
Experts Criticise For:
  • The back of the device is plastic
  • No expandable memory support
  • charger not included
A more detailed summary:

Consumers want to have the flagship experience, but not all are willing to pay the price. However, they may have that chance now because of the Samsung Galaxy S21. It has some of the same specs and features as the latter but is considerably more affordable than the Ultra. It uses a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, which is one of the most powerful processors available. It has a smaller 6.2-inch screen that’s still massive enough to watch movies on comfortably. It delivers bright and crisp visuals that enhance the viewing experience. It offers the same 120Hz refresh rate as the Ultra to ensure smooth navigation. The camera technology may not be top-of-the-line, but it still captures high-quality photos. The battery is decent and can last you a whole day even though the battery is smaller than the one that Ultra uses.

The lower price does come with some limitations. For example, it doesn’t include a charger. There is also no expandable memory support and the back is made from plastic. The cheaper material makes sense if you compare the price versus the specs and features. With all these things considered, we still think that this is a good phone that is well-balanced and priced just right.

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

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

T3

A quality all-rounder

Pros
Powerful performance
120Hz display
Impressive camera system

Cons
Plastic design
No MicroSD card slot
Wall charger not included in the box

Go to ranking

We ranked iPhone SE #9 in November 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

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

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

T3

The best budget phone

Pros
Appealing design
Rapid hardware
Very affordable

Cons
iPhone 12 range more powerful

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G #10 in November 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
A true value for money smartphone that will not disappoint
Experts Praise For:
  • Massive display 120Hz refresh rate
  • Impressive performance
  • Good specs overall
Experts Criticise For:
  • No common points of criticism among experts
A more detailed summary:

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) is a smartphone designed with Samsung fans in mind. It was designed to provide maximum user value and loaded with the necessary hardware and practical features that any user will find useful. Usually, such a combination of impressive specs and features would come with a hefty price tag. But the S20 FE is a phone that’s not excessively priced and can be used long term.

The S20 FE case looks nice all around even with the humble plastic back. The smartphone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor that packs enough power for any task. It also has a 6.5-inch Full HD AMOLED screen with a slightly noticeable bezel. It is bright enough to use comfortably even outdoors. The 120Hz refresh rate does wonders to make navigation smooth. The front features a 32MP punch-hole camera that is not too big to be annoying. The triple-camera system at the back features an ultra wide, wide-angle, and telephoto lens. The picture quality is quite impressive, especially with portrait shots and close-ups. There is also nothing to complain about with the zoom feature. The battery can be charged wirelessly, which is a big plus, and it will last a whole day with one full recharge.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is definitely powerful and has a lot of benefits. There's really nothing major to gripe about this smartphone.

Critic endorsements:
Pocket-lint

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?

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Laptop Mag

Best Android smartphone value

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

Cons
Plastic build

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Digital Trends

Best value smartphone

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We ranked iPhone 13 Pro Max #11 in November 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked iPhone 13 Pro Max as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best phone overall

Pros
Best-in-class cameras
120Hz ProMotion display
Superior performance

Cons
Charging could be faster
No Touch ID

Go to ranking

Laptop Mag

Best big screen iOS smartphone

Pros
Beautiful, premium chassis
Excellent performance
Great battery life
Gorgeous display with 120Hz refresh rate
Stellar cameras

Cons
Really expensive no matter the config

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IGN

Best iPhone

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We ranked iPhone 13 #12 in November 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked iPhone 13 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best phone for the money

Pros
Best-in-class cameras
A15 Bionic blows away Android phones
Brighter display
Long battery life

Cons
Charging could be faster
No telephoto zoom or 120Hz screen

Go to ranking

TechRadar

The best Apple iPhone bang for your buck

Pros
Strong battery life
Powerful internals

Cons
Minimal design changes
No 120Hz screen

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IGN

Best Smartphone

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We ranked iPhone 13 Pro #13 in November 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked iPhone 13 Pro as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A powerhouse flagship with great battery life

Pros
Fast A15 Bionic performance
Stellar cameras
Long battery life

Cons
Relatively slow charging
No Touch ID

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TechRadar

The best iPhones

Pros
Great performance
Strong battery life

Cons
Limited design changes
Notch still too large

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Laptop Mag

Best smartphone for most people

Pros
Bright 120Hz display
Excellent camera performance
Unmatched software support
Outstanding battery life
Untouchable performance

Cons
Slow charging
Telephoto needs more reach
Notch needs to go

Go to ranking

We ranked Oppo Find X3 Pro #14 in November 2021 because:

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

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Creative Bloq

Best for fans of smooth design

Pros
Unique, sleek design
Stunning display

Cons
Expensive
Poor zoom on camera

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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

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We ranked Google Pixel 5A #15 in November 2021 because:

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

The best budget camera phone

Pros
Spectacular cameras
Big, bright display
IP67 water resistance

Cons
Same chipset as Pixel 4a 5G
Limited to U.S. and Japan

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Laptop Mag

Best affordable Android smartphone

Pros
Strong battery life
Bundled fast charger
Excellent camera performance
3.5mm headphone jack
Water-resistant

Cons
Disappointing performance
Outdated design
60Hz display

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IGN

Best Budget Smartphone

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We ranked Motorola Moto G Power #16 in November 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

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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

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Digital Trends

Best cheap smartphone

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

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We ranked Apple iPhone 11 #17 in November 2021 because:

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

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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

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TechRadar

A still-great iPhone

Pros
Improved camera
A new range of colors

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

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We ranked Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 #18 in November 2021 because:

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

Best Folding Phone in 2021

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Creative Bloq

Most polished foldable available

Pros
Powerful
Beautiful design

Cons
Very expensive
Cameras could be better

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Digital Trends

Best foldable smartphone

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We ranked Asus ROG Phone 5 #19 in November 2021 because:

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

The best gaming phone that appeals to non-gamers too

Pros
Remarkable performance
Great display and speakers

Cons
No telephoto camera
Large, heavy and dense

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Laptop Mag

Best gaming-focused Android phone

Pros
Excellent battery life
Beautiful responsive 144Hz display
Headphone jack with Quad DAC
Extensive software optimization

Cons
No wireless charging
Weak camera performance
Poor software support track record

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IGN

Best Gaming Phone

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

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

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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

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We ranked Apple iPhone 12 Mini #21 in November 2021 because:

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

Best Small Phone in 2021

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TechRadar

Great value iPhones

Pros
Colorful OLED display
Future-proofed with 5G

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

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We ranked Google Pixel 4a #22 in November 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Smartphones” rankings.
Expert Consensus
(as of 17 Sep 2021)
A good Android phone that is easy on the budget
Experts Praise For:
  • Top-notch camera
  • Affordable
  • Good OLED display quality
Experts Criticise For:
  • Barely an all-day battery
A more detailed summary:

The Google Pixel 4a is a decent smartphone that, based on expert’s opinions, is the best Android phone for someone on a budget. It has a 5.8-inch screen that’s sufficient but not large enough to cater to everyone’s liking. The Snapdragon 730G processor can handle daily tasks but may choke a bit in games. The camera system is quite good, able to produce high-quality photos. Experts also agree that the quality of shots taken in low-light or at night is quite good.

The battery on the 4a is definitely its weak point. It failed to impress experts, given that a full charge barely lasts a day. Another weakness is the plastic casing, but given the price range, it is understandable. Still, reviewers concede that this phone is a good option for the price.

Critic endorsements:
The Verge

Best Android Phone Under $400

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Digital Trends

Best small smartphone

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

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We ranked Google Pixel 5 #23 in November 2021 because:

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

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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

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We ranked Samsung Galaxy S20 #24 in November 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

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TechRadar

Previously the best two smartphones in town

Pros
A top screen
Excellent cameras

Cons
Still quite high price
Iterative improvements

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We ranked Google Pixel 6 #25 in November 2021 because:

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

The best Android experience

Pros
Tensor chip adds smarts to the phone
Excellent photo-editing features
Android 12 is a welcome update

Cons
Battery life can be short over 5G
Lacks telephoto lens and 120Hz display of Pixel 6

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TechRadar

The best photo capability

Pros
New design looks classy
Cameras and software are incredible
Great displays

Cons
Middling battery
Pixel 6 price fluctuates by carrier
Pro priced high for extras

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