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In the top smart­phones of 2021, we have col­lect­ed devices for any wal­let. We eval­u­at­ed them not only in terms of char­ac­ter­is­tics, but also in terms of price-qual­i­ty ratio, and tried to make the rat­ing as use­ful as pos­si­ble for those who are not ready to over­pay for unnec­es­sary or unrea­son­ably expen­sive fea­tures. As a result, our top includes both the lat­est flag­ships and good mid-bud­get devices that deserve the atten­tion of users.

Source: samsung.com

Smartphone evaluation parameters

To rank the best smart­phones in 2021 in terms of price and qual­i­ty, we took into account such char­ac­ter­is­tics and para­me­ters as:

  • Proces­sor pow­er. It depends on how eas­i­ly the device will cope with demand­ing appli­ca­tions and games.
  • Dis­play. Its dimen­sions, matrix type, frame refresh rate and peak bright­ness affect the usabil­i­ty of the gad­get.
  • Cam­era. The qual­i­ty of shoot­ing pho­tos and videos is one of the key cri­te­ria for choos­ing a smart­phone.
  • RAM. The mul­ti­task­ing of the phone and the sta­bil­i­ty of resource-demand­ing appli­ca­tions depend on its vol­ume.
  • Auton­o­my. It is affect­ed by the capac­i­ty of the bat­tery. The larg­er the dis­play and the more pow­er­ful the proces­sor, the larg­er the bat­tery required to pow­er the device.
  • Inner mem­o­ry. Affects the amount of infor­ma­tion that the built-in stor­age holds.
  • Price. This para­me­ter is required to deter­mine the ratio of the cost of a smart­phone to its tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the top Korean flagship

This is the most pow­er­ful flag­ship of 2021, released by a Kore­an com­pa­ny. The device was equipped with a high-qual­i­ty cam­era, a large high-qual­i­ty screen and a pow­er­ful Exynos 2100 proces­sor. The smart­phone was equipped with a 6.8 ”AMOLED dis­play with a res­o­lu­tion of 3200x1440 pix­els with a frame refresh rate of 120 Hz.

In the line­up there is a ver­sion of the smart­phone in soft pink col­or. Source: amateurphotographer.co.uk

The case has an IP68 water resis­tance lev­el, thanks to which the smart­phone is not afraid of immer­sion in water to a depth of about 1 meter. The pow­er­ful chipset com­ple­ments the Mali-G78 GPU and 12/16 GB of RAM, depend­ing on the ver­sion. Such a tech­ni­cal fill­ing is enough to run the most demand­ing games and resource-inten­sive appli­ca­tions. Also on board can be 128, 256 or 512 GB of inter­nal mem­o­ry, but there is no microSD slot.

The cam­eras are a strong point of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which has earned this device its right­ful place in the top of the best smart­phones of 2021. There are four mod­ules in the main block:

  • main at 108 MP and f / 1.8;
  • ultra wide-angle 12 MP and f / 2.2;
  • tele­pho­to lens with x3 opti­cal zoom at 10 MP and f/2.4;
  • tele­pho­to lens with x10 opti­cal zoom at 10 megapix­els and f/4.9.

The cam­era shoots excel­lent­ly and com­petes with top flag­ships from oth­er brands. The device allows you to shoot video with a record res­o­lu­tion of 8K. Opti­cal 10x zoom deserves spe­cial atten­tion and impress­es many users of these smart­phones.

The res­o­lu­tion of the front cam­era is 40 megapix­els, and the aper­ture is f / 2.2. It can even shoot video in 4K at 60 fps. Self­ie shots are high qual­i­ty even in low light con­di­tions.

The smart­phone was equipped with a 5000 mAh bat­tery. Even with active use of the smart­phone, the charge is enough for one day. From 0 to 100% the bat­tery is restored in 70 min­utes.

Galaxy S21 Ultra costs from 75,000 rubles for the younger ver­sion of 12/128 GB.

  • Proces­sor: 9/10
  • Dis­play: 9/10
  • Cam­era: 9/10
  • RAM: 9/10
  • Auton­o­my: 7/10
  • Inter­nal mem­o­ry: 8/10
  • Price: 4/10
  • Aver­age score: 7.85

Apple iPhone 12 Pro — the flagship that does not lose popularity

In fact, this phone was released back in 2020, but it still remains at the peak of pop­u­lar­i­ty among fans of Apple gad­gets, which is why it made it to our top best smart­phones of 2021. iPhone 12 Pro is equipped with an improved cam­era with a LiDAR sen­sor for high-qual­i­ty night pho­tog­ra­phy. The device runs on the A14 Bion­ic chip, which is made accord­ing to the 5 nm process tech­nol­o­gy.

The smart­phone is equipped with a 6.1” OLED dis­play with a res­o­lu­tion of 2532x1170 pix­els. The screen refresh rate is only 60 Hz. The image is clear, the col­ors are very sat­u­rat­ed. From the wide neck­line, called bangs, the man­u­fac­tur­er did not refuse, although it became a lit­tle nar­row­er than before.

The place­ment of the cam­eras on the iPhone 12 Pro can eas­i­ly be con­fused with the iPhone 13 Pro. Source: pocketlint.com

The iPhone 12 Pro has a 12 megapix­el main sen­sor with f/1.6 aper­ture with hybrid aut­o­fo­cus – Phase Dual Pix­el. With its help, high-qual­i­ty pic­tures with the cor­rect col­or repro­duc­tion are obtained. The bokeh effect looks very good in por­trait shots. In addi­tion to the main mod­ule, the man­u­fac­tur­er installed a wide-angle and tele­pho­to lens — both 12 megapix­els. The front cam­era also has a res­o­lu­tion of 12 megapix­els, and the aper­ture is f / 2.2. Col­or repro­duc­tion is very real­is­tic.

The Apple A14 Bion­ic proces­sor is respon­si­ble for the per­for­mance of the device. It is com­ple­ment­ed by 6 GB of RAM. The amount of inter­nal stor­age is 128, 256 or 512 GB, depend­ing on the ver­sion. There is tra­di­tion­al­ly no slot for a mem­o­ry card.

The bat­tery capac­i­ty is 2815 mAh. This is even less than the pre­de­ces­sor iPhone 11 Pro. Thanks to the updat­ed proces­sor and good opti­miza­tion of the bat­tery charge, it con­fi­dent­ly lasts for one day in nor­mal smart­phone use. From 0 to 100% the phone charges in 105 min­utes.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro costs from 90,000 rubles for the younger ver­sion of 12/128 GB.

  • Proces­sor: 8/10
  • Dis­play: 8/10
  • Cam­era: 8/10
  • RAM: 8/10
  • Auton­o­my: 8/10
  • Inter­nal mem­o­ry: 8/10
  • Price: 3/10
  • Aver­age score: 7.28

Poco F3 is one of the top Xiaomi smartphones

Xiao­mi has more and more Poco series smart­phones in its assort­ment. Poco X3 and Poco F3 are very pop­u­lar among them. We decid­ed to include the sec­ond one in our rat­ing, as it is a very func­tion­al and quite pow­er­ful flag­ship. It runs on a pow­er­ful Snap­drag­on 870 proces­sor and has 6 or 8 GB of RAM. The amount of inter­nal stor­age is 128 or 256 GB. The pow­er of the smart­phone is enough for all mod­ern games and resource-inten­sive appli­ca­tions.

One of the coolest phones of 2021, the Poco F3 fea­tures a 6.67” dis­play. This is an AMOLED-matrix with a res­o­lu­tion of 2400x1080 pix­els and a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

Poco F3 can be eas­i­ly rec­og­nized by the cam­era block even from afar. Source: androidauthority.com

As the main cam­era, the man­u­fac­tur­er chose the Sony IMX582 mod­ule at 48 megapix­els. It is com­ple­ment­ed by an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sen­sor and a 5MP macro lens. The smart­phone shoots very well dur­ing the day, and at dusk and at night the qual­i­ty drops sharply. The front cam­era pro­duces good shots — noth­ing more is need­ed for social net­works.

The bat­tery capac­i­ty is 4520 mAh. It pro­vides good auton­o­my — the charge is eas­i­ly enough for more than a day. The man­u­fac­tur­er includ­ed a 33 W pow­er sup­ply in the kit, which charges the bat­tery up to 100% in 65 min­utes.

The cost of Poco F3 starts from 25,000 rubles for the 6/128 GB ver­sion.

  • Proces­sor: 7/10
  • Dis­play: 8/10
  • Cam­era: 7/10
  • RAM: 8/10
  • Auton­o­my: 8/10
  • Inter­nal mem­o­ry: 8/10
  • Price: 7/10
  • Aver­age score: 7.57

Pixel 6 is the long-awaited flagship from Google

This smart­phone has become a return to the flag­ship seg­ment for Google. Even before the release, it has become one of the most pop­u­lar phones of 2021. The man­u­fac­tur­er tried to make the phone to com­pete with the top-end Sam­sung and Apple devices. A lit­tle did not reach, but the smart­phone turned out to be quite good. The smart­phone heats up quite a lot under load, and users also com­plain about the slow fin­ger­print scan­ner and the unpre­dictable oper­a­tion of the auto­mat­ic dis­play bright­ness adjust­ment.

The device was equipped with a new Google Ten­sor chip, thanks to which it copes with resource-inten­sive games and almost does not heat up when record­ing video in 4K. Also on board is 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of inter­nal mem­o­ry. For some mar­kets, such as Aus­tralia and the US, the com­pa­ny has released a 256 GB ver­sion. There is no microSD card slot.

Pix­el 6 received the orig­i­nal design of the back cov­er of the case. Source: androidauthority.com

The Google Pix­el 6 fea­tures a 6.4” flat OLED dis­play with a 90Hz refresh rate. This is a high-qual­i­ty and bright screen on which any infor­ma­tion is eas­i­ly read even under direct sun­light.

The cam­era has always been a strong point of the Pix­el series smart­phones. The sixth gen­er­a­tion was no excep­tion. The main mod­ule has 50 megapix­els, and there is also a 12 megapix­el ultra-wide-angle sen­sor. The res­o­lu­tion of the front cam­era is 8 megapix­els. The smart­phone is excel­lent. In addi­tion, Google has one of the most con­ve­nient appli­ca­tions for shoot­ing. In it, users have access to a large selec­tion of shoot­ing modes and there are many tools for post-pro­cess­ing pho­tos.

The bat­tery capac­i­ty is 4524 mAh. Wired charg­ing pow­er is 30W, and wire­less is 21W. The pow­er sup­ply was not includ­ed in the box with the device. The bat­tery lasts for a day and a half. In the video play­back mode with the screen always on, the bat­tery is dis­charged in an aver­age of 8–9 hours.

Google Pix­el 6 costs about 60,000 rubles.

  • Proces­sor: 7/10
  • Dis­play: 8/10
  • Cam­era: 8/10
  • RAM: 9/10
  • Auton­o­my: 8/10
  • Inter­nal mem­o­ry: 7/10
  • Price: 6/10
  • Aver­age score: 7.57

OnePlus 9 Pro is a strong competitor to Samsung and Apple

One­Plus con­tin­ues to strength­en its posi­tion in the mar­ket. In 2021, she released two One­Plus 9 mod­els — reg­u­lar and Pro. We includ­ed the old­er ver­sion in our top of the best smart­phones, in which the devel­op­ers paid more atten­tion to cam­eras and dis­play.

The smart­phone is equipped with a 6.7‑inch AMOLED matrix with a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. It auto­mat­i­cal­ly changes, adjust­ing to the oper­at­ing mode of the device. Thus, the man­u­fac­tur­er man­aged to achieve bet­ter auton­o­my.

On the back of the One­Plus 9, the com­pa­ny logo flaunts. Source: androidauthority.com

The flag­ship Qual­comm Snap­drag­on 888 chip and the Adreno 660 graph­ics core were installed in the device. They con­fi­dent­ly cope with top games and pow­er­ful appli­ca­tions. For mul­ti­task­ing, RAM is respon­si­ble, which can be 8 or 12 GB, depend­ing on the ver­sion. The amount of inter­nal mem­o­ry is 128 or 256 GB. There is no microSD slot.

A block with four cam­eras was placed on the back of the case:

  • main mod­ule Sony IMX789 at 48 megapix­els with opti­cal sta­bi­liza­tion;
  • ultra wide-angle Sony IMX766 at 50 megapix­els;
  • 8 MP tele­pho­to lens with 3.3x opti­cal zoom;
  • 2 MP mono­chrome cam­era for black and white shots.

One of the high­lights of the One­Plus 9 is that the com­pa­ny has brought in Swedish cam­era mak­er Has­sel­blad. He cal­i­brat­ed the col­ors on the shoot and worked on the design of the cam­era app.

The bat­tery with a capac­i­ty of 4500 mAh is respon­si­ble for the auton­o­my of the smart­phone. The man­u­fac­tur­er put a 65 W pow­er sup­ply in the box, which charges the bat­tery in just 30 min­utes. 50W wire­less charg­ing is also pro­vid­ed. The bat­tery lasts for 7–9 hours of gam­ing, 16–18 hours of video play­back and 35+ hours of nor­mal use.

The One­Plus 9 Pro smart­phone costs about 55,000 rubles for the 8/256 GB ver­sion.

  • Proces­sor: 9/10
  • Dis­play: 8/10
  • Cam­era: 9/10
  • RAM: 8/10
  • Auton­o­my: 8/10
  • Inter­nal mem­o­ry: 7/10
  • Price: 5/10
  • Aver­age score: 7.71

The results of the ranking of smartphones in 2021

To com­pile the top smart­phones of 2021 in terms of price and qual­i­ty, we stud­ied the tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of many smart­phones. As a result, five most notable mod­els were select­ed.

Smart­phone mod­el Galaxy S21 Ultra One Plus 9 Pix­el 6 iPhone 12 Pro Poco F3
CPU 9 9 7 eight 7
Dis­play 9 eight eight eight eight
Cam­era 9 9 eight eight 6
RAM 9 eight 9 eight 7
auton­o­my 7 eight eight eight eight
Inner mem­o­ry eight 7 7 eight 7
Price four 5 5 3 eight
aver­age rat­ing 7.85 7.71 7.42 7.28 7.28

At the head of our top is the Kore­an flag­ship Galaxy S21 Ultra, but it is not far behind the direct com­peti­tor One­Plus 9. Both gad­gets will suit users for whom the qual­i­ty of the cam­era is in the first place.

The iPhone 12 Pro shoots a lit­tle worse, but it gives an excel­lent lev­el of video record­ing.

Poco F3 and Pix­el 6 are two devices that com­bine good tech­ni­cal para­me­ters and good cam­eras. At the same time, the gad­get from Google is twice as expen­sive.

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