March 2021

Smartphones Rankings Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Smartphones rankings posted by key online experts, as of March 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 March 2021 ranking

#1. iPhone 12

We ranked iPhone 12 #1 in March 2021 because:

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

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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

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The Verge

Best iPhone to buy in 2021

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ZD Net

Best iPhone for most people

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T3

The best phone for most people

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

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Digital Trends

Runner-up

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Pocket-lint

The standard iPhone will be absolutely perfect for many people.

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Creative Bloq

The best bang for buck iPhone

Pros
Beautiful display
Solid camera

Cons
Battery life could be better
Base storage low

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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

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#2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra #2 in March 2021 because:

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

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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

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The Verge

Best Android Phone to Buy in 2021

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T3

This is the best Galaxy phone Samsung has ever produced

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

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Digital Trends

Best Android phone

Pros
huge and beautiful screen
good software
tons of features
great multi-lens camera.
great battery life.

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Pocket-lint

A hot pick for 2021 if you want to go big.

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Creative Bloq

The best do-it-all smartphone

Pros
Wacom pen tech
Excellent camera zoom

Cons
Big and bulky
Expensive

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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

#3. iPhone 12 Pro Max

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

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

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The Verge

Best Phone for Photography and Video in 2021

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ZD Net

Best overall phone

Go to ranking

Creative Bloq

The best iPhone ever

Pros
Superb camera
Great battery life

Cons
Very expensive
Bulky

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Consumer Reports

Best iPhone

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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

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#4. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G #4 in March 2021 because:

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

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The Verge

Best midrange android phone

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ZD Net

Best Samsung Galaxy phone for most people

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Digital Trends

Best value

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

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Pocket-lint

Bringing down the cost to get a new Galaxy is a winning move.

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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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#5. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra #5 in March 2021 because:

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

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The Verge

If you want a stylus built into your phone

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ZD Net

Best phone with a stylus

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T3

The best phone with digital stylus functionality

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

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Creative Bloq

The best smartphone for creative superstars

Pros
Superb camera
Incredible screen

Cons
Expensive
Slower charging

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Consumer Reports

Best Android phone

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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

#6. iPhone 12 Pro

We ranked iPhone 12 Pro #6 in March 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:
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

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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

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T3

The best premium phone for Apple fans

Pros
+Powerful processor
+Superb OLED screen
+Excellent camera

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Digital Trends

Best overall smartphone

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

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Pocket-lint

Apple's new design is at its best on the 12 Pro.

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#7. OnePlus 8 Pro

We ranked OnePlus 8 Pro #7 in March 2021 because:

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

Chasing Samsung and Apple with amazing value

Pros
One of the best displays around
5G and plenty of power
Reverse & fast wireless charging

Cons
Most expensive OnePlus yet
Less storage base model vs 7T Pro

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ZD Net

Best 5G flagship phone

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T3

The best premium phone

Pros
+Astonishing 120Hz, QHD+, HDR10+ screen
+Rapid internal hardware
+Next-gen 5G connectivity
+Stylish design with great ergonomics

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Pocket-lint

The latest flagship from OnePlus is a stormer.

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Creative Bloq

A fantastic all-rounder

Pros
Beautiful screen
Fast wireless charging

Cons
No expandable storage
No periscope camera

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Laptop Mag

Best flagship smartphone value

Pros
Strong battery life
Large vivid 120Hz OLED
Excellent value

Cons
Cameras are behind top options

Go to ranking

#8. Google Pixel 5

We ranked Google Pixel 5 #8 in March 2021 because:

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

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ZD Net

Best Google phone

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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

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Digital Trends

Runner-up

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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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#9. Google Pixel 4a

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

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

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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

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The Verge

Best Android Phone under $500

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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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Laptop Mag

Best budget Android smartphone

Pros
Astounding value
Unmatched camera at this price
Solid OLED display

Cons
Weak battery life
Low-end CPU

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#10. iPhone SE

We ranked iPhone SE #10 in March 2021 because:

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

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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

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T3

The best budget phone

Pros
+Appealing design
+Rapid hardware
+Very affordable

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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

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#11. Google Pixel 4A 5G

We ranked Google Pixel 4A 5G #11 in March 2021 because:

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

Best budget phone in 2021

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ZD Net

Best affordable 5G phone

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T3

The best budget Pixel phone

Pros
+Great camera
+Pure software
+Excellent price

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Laptop Mag

Best Android phone for most people

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

Cons
Middling performance

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#12. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 #12 in March 2021 because:

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

Best folding phone in 2021

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ZD Net

Best foldable phone

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Digital Trends

Best foldable smartphone

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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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#13. Samsung Galaxy S21

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

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

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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

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The Verge

Best Android Phone to Find a Deal for

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#14. Apple iPhone 11

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

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

An older iPhone,but still really good.

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#15. Motorola Moto G Power

We ranked Motorola Moto G Power #15 in March 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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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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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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#16. Samsung Galaxy Note 20

We ranked Samsung Galaxy Note 20 #16 in March 2021 because:

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

The 5x optical camera zoom crushes it

Pros
+Amazing camera zoom
+Handy S Pen stylus

Cons
-'Ultra' expensive
-Photos exhibit skin smoothing

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Pocket-lint

If you want something way,way bigger,get the original phablet's latest incarnation.

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#17. Samsung Galaxy S20

We ranked Samsung Galaxy S20 #17 in March 2021 because:

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

Flagship specs at a more affordable price

Pros
+A top screen
+Excellent cameras

Cons
-Still quite high price
-Iterative improvements

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Creative Bloq

Excellent across the board

Pros
Amazing screen
Brilliant camera

Cons
Busy interface
Dull design

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#18. Sony Xperia 1 II

We ranked Sony Xperia 1 II #18 in March 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts 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

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Creative Bloq

Best smartphone for videographers

Pros
Extensive manual camera tools
Gorgeous 4K screen

Cons
Very expensive
Occasional camera slowdown

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#19. Xiaomi Mi 11

We ranked Xiaomi Mi 11 #19 in March 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

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Pocket-lint

A great package at a great price.

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#20. OnePlus 8T

We ranked OnePlus 8T #20 in March 2021 because:

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

Another excellent Android handset from OnePlus

Pros
+Sharp 120Hz display
+65W fast charging
+Attractive price

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Pocket-lint

A great update from OnePlus.

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#21. Oppo Find X2 Pro

We ranked Oppo Find X2 Pro #21 in March 2021 because:

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

From a slightly less mainstream brand,this is really impressive.

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Creative Bloq

Great for file-hoarders

Pros
Fastest charging
High storage capacity

Cons
Expensive
No wireless charging

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