Finest US market telephones of 2021 – purchaser’s information


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Final up to date: December 16, 2021 (Changelog)

Seeing how well-liked our Purchaser’s information is, we determined to do one particularly for the US market as a result of it’s fairly completely different from the opposite elements of the world.

One essential distinction is that the key Chinese language manufacturers are nearly absent. Not all of them (there’s OnePlus), however the overwhelming majority of well-liked Chinese language manufacturers of smartphones corresponding to Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, vivo, and so on., are solely obtainable as grey imports.

As well as, the standard manufacturers with a presence within the US market provide a extra restricted number of their smartphones. As an example, the high-end Nords from OnePlus should not obtainable, Motorola’s Edge household is small, whereas Samsung’s Galaxy A collection has been decreased to only a few telephones.

The absence of sturdy competitors from the Chinese language manufacturers additionally offers a combating likelihood to some OEMs that would not usually take an enormous lower of the whole shipments. Motorola is only one instance.

A couple of issues to bear in mind, we did not embrace any telephones, that are thought-about grey imports. For as soon as, you will not be getting after-market help and guarantee normally, and secondly, it is exhausting to discover a cellphone that might work with US carriers until it is particularly made for the US market. That is why we attempt to hold issues as official and retail in our choice as potential, and you can see most, if not all, of the handsets beneath obtainable by means of the producers’ official shops or through the key retailers and the carriers themselves.

So, with out additional ado, this is our complete record of gadgets, that are worthy of your consideration and hard-earned money in descending order.


Finest telephones above $1000


Editors’ alternative above $1000

  • ‘Finest iPhone ever’
  • Sturdy construct , IP68 ranking
  • Most potent chipset available on the market
  • Giant 120Hz Dolby Imaginative and prescient OLED
  • Flagship 12MP cameras, LiDAR scanner
  • High-notch battery life
  • Class-leading speaker high quality
  • At the very least 5 years of firmware updates

  • No charger, no headphones within the field
  • Not the quickest to cost

  • Really modern type issue, smaller hinge hole, S-Pen help
  • Waterproof!
  • {Hardware} gives distinctive usability potential, the software program is there to unlock it
  • Nice 120Hz AMOLED screens
  • Excellent audio system
  • Below-display digicam
  • Stable all-round digicam system, full with distinctive selfie capabilities

  • Hole remains to be current and even the brand new more durable show protector remains to be tender and vulnerable to wreck
  • The Snapdragon 888 chipset is a bit thermally-constrained and underperforms barely
  • Disappointing battery life, ships and not using a charger
  • Not fairly flagship-grade digicam high quality

The brand new waterproofed Galaxy Z Fold3 is a handset you will get if an everyday bar would not lower it anymore. It has an improved hinge and gives ingress safety, plus it introduces an under-display selfie digicam. Really modern, some might say.

Samsung’s third technology of phone-turns-into-tablet foldable comes with an improved construct, chipset, cameras. On the software program facet, OneUI is there to assist for those who’re questioning what to do with the shape issue, however multi-tasking and selfie-taking are two areas elevated to a complete completely different stage.

The digicam system is not half dangerous, nevertheless it’s not fairly a match for Samsung’s non-folding top-end fashions – a periscope is lacking, the others aren’t state-of-the-art both. The Z Fold3 battery life is sort of uninspiring, although, and there’s no charger contained in the field. The stereo audio system are nonetheless as great. General, Samsung’s well beyond the proof of idea stage with this one, so it is price a glance for those who’re procuring with a vast finances.

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  • One of the best OLED display screen, 1000+nits, 1440p, 120Hz, HDR10+, S-Pen help
  • Excellent battery life, quick to top-up the 5,000mAh battery
  • General nice digicam efficiency throughout the board, lengthy zoom functionality

  • Considerably cumbersome and slippery, rear digicam bump will be an eye fixed sore
  • Scant retail bundle
  • Regional chipset divide might trouble some, lack of microSD slot too

The Galaxy S21 Extremely gathers all of the cutting-edge tech Samsung can provide to the general public to this point, in need of a foldable display screen. It is solely pure that it has an excellent show with all of the bells and whistles, this time together with S Pen help. Battery life is great, the latest-gen fingerprint reader is nice, the stereo audio system are loud and clear.

Then there are the cameras. A quad setup means you may have two teles on this Galaxy Extremely going all the way in which as much as 10x natively. On the ultrawide finish, there are developments, too – the addition of autofocus has left us with one much less factor to complain about and made it aggressive for a change. And the principle unit is a brand new and improved tackle the 108MP Nonapixel idea with developments in HDR, low mild and autofocus efficiency. The selfie digicam continues alongside the identical strains, delivering praise-worthy outcomes.

The barebones retail bundle will not be our favourite development, even when it is being marketed as environmentally pleasant. The disappearance of the microSD slot for this technology is hardly excellent both. In the end although, these are sufficiently small as to be largely immaterial, and the Galaxy S21 Extremely is among the finest flagships and one of the best Android smartphone.

Keep in mind that it is an ongoing mannequin that is due to get replaced in February 2022 if rumors are to be believed.

Learn full overview

Finest telephones as much as $1000


Editors’ alternative as much as $1000

  • Excellent sturdy and water-proof desgin
  • Nonetheless relatively compact
  • Brightest OLED display screen, 120Hz
  • Loud stereo audio system
  • Unmatched efficiency, 5G
  • Nice photograph and video high quality all-around

  • Compact as it might be, the ‘small’ 13 Professional weighs so much
  • The chipset is susceptible to heavy throttling beneath max load
  • The quick charging is not very quick

  • Onr of finest shows available on the market
  • Surprisingly good battery life for the show/battery combo
  • S Pen is a pleasure to make use of, wi-fi DeX is a pleasant addition
  • Extremely versatile and well-performing digicam system

  • The digicam bump might be unpleasant relying on who you ask
  • Efficiency divide between variations, Exynos variant is not as much as the identical customary
  • Charging pace will not be aggressive
  • Both 120Hz or 1440p, why not each? Additionally Adaptive refresh price mode has a questionable effectiveness

  • AirTigger 5 contact sensors for gaming
  • Superior stereo speaker efficiency
  • Excellent 144HHz OLED display screen
  • Nice battery life, quick 65W charging
  • Snapdragon 888 SoC, glorious thermals
  • Good software program with loads of tweaks
  • Nice digicam efficiency all-around
  • Excellent video high quality and EIS

  • No water or mud resistance
  • No microSD
  • Relatively fundamental digicam setup, in comparison with typical 2021 flagships

A relatively area of interest alternative right here, so in case you are not on the lookout for a gaming cellphone, it may not be the appropriate one for you. Nevertheless, the Asus ROG Cellphone 5s is polished by means of and thru, so for those who do not thoughts the gaming aesthetics, you possibly can nonetheless use it as an ordinary each day driver.

Our overview findings of the Asus ROG Cellphone 5 and 5s Professional can simply apply to the common 5s as nicely. This implies you may be getting excellent OLED, 144Hz show, glorious battery life, succesful cameras on the back and front, unequalled sound high quality and loudness from the stereo audio system and presumably one of the best gaming expertise on a smartphone. This leads us to our subsequent promoting level of the ROG Cellphone 5s.

If by any likelihood you might be truly on the lookout for a gaming smartphone, the ROG Cellphone 5s is just about your solely possibility within the US. And that is with out even entering into the wealthy ecosystem of gaming equipment that Asus offers.

We are able to definitely go on to reward Asus’ glorious dealing with of the quick 144Hz refresh price on the ROG Cellphone 5s’ OLED panel or the in-depth management mapping and customization provided by Armory Crate, with management schemes usually bordering on unfair benefit.

Nevertheless, to be honest, the ROG Cellphone 5s wouldn’t be our high decide for those who can nonetheless discover the ROG Cellphone 5 (higher thermals) and even the ROG Cellphone 3 (extra appropriate equipment). Sadly, each of those gadgets have been discontinued already.


Finest telephones as much as $900


Editors’ alternative as much as $900

  • Lovely new design, IP68, GG Victus
  • Google’s personal Tensor chip
  • Giant 120Hz OLED, HDR10+, vivid
  • Three flagship cameras with top-notch photograph and video high quality
  • Class-leading speaker high quality
  • Quick firmware updates

  • No charger and never the quickest to cost
  • Common battery life
  • HDR+ is overly aggressive, colour inconsistencies
  • Restricted availability

  • Nice show efficiency
  • Comparatively clear software program and nice UI efficiency
  • Highly effective loudspeakers
  • Good efficiency from the principle vast and ultra-wide cameras
  • Wonderful 4K 120fps mode
  • Quick charging

  • Rear digicam efficiency nonetheless behind the competitors
  • Outdated entrance digicam
  • Worse battery life efficiency than earlier fashions
  • Most video games nonetheless locked to 60fps

OnePlus is having a discipline journey within the US with its balanced choices there. The OnePlus 9 Professional is the corporate’s high smartphone for 2021, and it is a simple suggestion within the US market with all of the bells and whistles. A correct flagship for slightly below $900.

The handset packs top-of-the-line shows round (LTPO AMOLED at 120Hz), blazing-fast charging and a flexible and succesful digicam setup. Positive, it is not on par with the flagship-level competitors on this regard, nevertheless it will get the job simply wonderful.

The clean-ish Android expertise and 3-year-long software program help are a breath of recent air within the Android section within the US. Though OnePlus’ current path change relating to software program is relatively polarizing and that is undoubtedly one thing price contemplating by the pure Android followers. In any case, the great value/efficiency ratio stays a staple of OnePlus’ telephones within the US.

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Finest telephones as much as $800


Editors’ alternative as much as $800

  • Excellent design – sturdy and water-proofed
  • Vivid OLED display screen, HDR10, Dolby Imaginative and prescient
  • Reliable battery life
  • Loud stereo audio system, glorious output
  • Unmatched efficiency, 5G
  • Nice all-round photograph and video high quality throughout all three cameras

  • Minor improve over iPhone 12
  • No 120Hz refresh price
  • The notch remains to be an eyesore even when smaller
  • The quick charging will be dealt with higher

  • IP68 ranking, Gorilla Glass Victus, metallic body, 169g
  • Excellent 120Hz AMOLED show
  • Versatile triple digicam that goes from extremely vast to 3x zoom (if in its personal particular approach) with glorious efficiency throughout the board
  • Stereo audio system

  • Plastic again
  • The bitter style in your mouth from calling the 64MP digicam telephoto

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is among the most compact Android flagships obtainable, and the small measurement did not come at the price of lower options. Effectively, if we do not depend the decrease display screen decision throughout the non-Extremely S21 fashions, that’s.

The brand new Galaxy S21 comes with a 1080p 120Hz AMOLED and flagship {hardware}. It has the identical digicam system because the S20 that is absolutely succesful for stills and video, day and night time, and goes from ultrawide to tele – form of losslessly as much as 3x.

The smallest Galaxy S21 gives a good battery life and sustained efficiency even when it scores a bit decrease than the remainder of the collection, most likely attributable to thermal constraints. Nonetheless, it is among the most compact droids obtainable proper now and a straightforward sufficient suggestion.

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Finest telephones as much as $700


Editors’ alternative as much as $700

  • Engaging design with beautiful match and end
  • Wonderful OLED display screen
  • Loud stereo audio system, excellent audio high quality
  • Good photograph high quality throughout the board, day and night time
  • 5 years of assured main updates

  • No charger or headphones within the field
  • No excessive refresh price display screen
  • Battery life is shorter than iPhone 11
  • We miss TouchID as FaceID doesn’t work with a masks on

  • Good show efficiency
  • Comparatively clear software program and nice UI efficiency
  • Highly effective loudspeakers
  • Good efficiency from the principle vast and ultra-wide cameras
  • Quick charging

  • Plastic body
  • No official IP ranking
  • No devoted telephoto digicam
  • Outdated entrance digicam
  • Worse battery life efficiency than earlier fashions

  • IP68-rated, GG Victus, metallic body, grippy, light-weight
  • Wonderful 120Hz OLED display screen
  • Class-leading efficiency and dependable sustained efficiency
  • Class-leading speaker high quality
  • Has a 3.5mm jack
  • Excellent photograph and video high quality throughout the board
  • €599 launch value

  • Will get scorching, however doesn’t throttle a lot
  • No wi-fi charging

The Asus Zenfone 8 might be one of the best compact Android flagship you will get at present and if weren’t for the iPhone 12, it might have been our high decide for this class. Now, for example it is the runner up.

The Zenfone 8 has commendable qualities throughout the board. Its constructed is as flagship because it will get – IP68 ranking, GG Victus entrance, metallic body, GG3 again. There’s the most recent Snapdragon 888 5G chip with nice sustained efficiency even when the cellphone will get scorching. The digicam high quality turned out sensible, irrespective of day or night time, photograph or video, or the kind of digicam you might be utilizing.

That is not all. The Zenfone 8 impressed us with its audio system high quality, the superb OLED, and wealthy connectivity choices, together with a 3.5mm jack.

Lastly, the Zenfone 8 could also be a flagship, however its value of €699 is extra within the higher mid-range territory.

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  • Tiny OLED, high-res, vivid
  • Iconic design with ceramic defend, aluminum body, IP68
  • The most recent Apple A15Bionic chip with 5G
  • The cameras take some nice photographs and movies
  • Night time Mode and Dolby Imaginative and prescient obtainable
  • Loud stereo audio system
  • Improved battery life over 12 mini

  • Potential throttling beneath sure situations
  • No charger, no headphones

The brand new Apple iPhone 13 mini is a smaller model of the iPhone 13, and it is misplaced nothing. A very powerful updates over the 12 mini are the bigger battery capability, the smaller display screen notch, and the doubled base storage. We certain do not suppose iPhone 12 mini homeowners ought to replace, however we do take into account the 13 mini as one of the best compact cellphone there’s proper now!

The iPhone 13 mini packs a 5.4″ OLED display screen of 1080p decision and the highly effective Apple A15 chip with 5G connectivity! It has the identical dual-camera because the common iPhone 13, full with sensor-shift stabilization, Night time Mode and Dolby Imaginative and prescient video capturing. It additionally enjoys loud stereo audio system and improved battery life. The mini is among the most sturdy telephones thus far because it has the identical Ceramic Protect and IP68 waterproofing as the usual and Professional fashions.

You can even take into account the Apple iPhone 12 mini as it’s now cheaper, and the variations with the 13 mini aren’t thrilling.

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Finest telephones as much as $600


Editors’ alternative as much as $600

  • Standout rear design is exclusive to Pixel 6

  • Lovely UI with enjoyable and colourful components; prolonged firmware replace help; newly enabled Voice Typing and on-device voice to textual content processing
  • Google Tensor chip gives nice all-around efficiency and glorious graphics efficiency
  • Nice all-round photograph and video high quality throughout all three cameras

  • Digicam bump susceptible to accumulating mud
  • The show maxes out at 90Hz, others do 120Hz
  • Charging will be sooner
  • Tensor chip throttles beneath sustained peak load

Finest telephones as much as $500


Editors’ alternative as much as $500

  • Wonderful 120Hz AMOLED show
  • Reliable battery life, extremely quick charging
  • Highly effective audio system
  • Versatile digicam, good day and night time high quality

  • No IP ranking
  • No wi-fi charging
  • No reminiscence enlargement
  • Most video games locked to 60Hz
  • The digicam processing may gain advantage from some enhancements

  • Waterproof design, shiny again
  • Vivid display screen
  • Wonderful battery life
  • Stereo audio system with nice high quality
  • Nice principal digicam efficiency
  • Superb video high quality and stabilization
  • Wonderful selfie photograph and video high quality

  • Monumental notch and bezels
  • Low-res display screen
  • Comes bundled with a 5W charger
  • No 3.5mm jack, restricted NFC performance
  • The digicam photographs come out bland
  • No AF and Night time Mode for the ultrawide
  • No telephoto

Apple’s older iPhone 11 will not be a simple suggestion provided that it is older than two years, nevertheless it’s one of many few gadgets that make sense within the class. Apple’s steady software program help for older gadgets and its compatibility with all US carriers assist construct a stronger case.

Nevertheless, no high-end cellphone with any quantity of self-respect will be seen with a 5W charger within the field, besides the iPhone 11. It is also on the underside of the record relating to pixels on a display screen per greenback spent, plus it is some of the costly telephones with an LCD. It is not precisely a looker both, sporting a dated design made even much less premium by the thickest of bezels.

Ah, however the iPhone 11 has so much going for it for those who look previous all that. Clearly, it is some of the inexpensive of this 12 months’s Apple crop, which implies it is an inexpensive technique to get that beast of a chipset, industry-standard video recording, and Night time mode, albeit with one digicam in need of the Execs. The excellent battery life would not damage its case both.

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Finest telephones as much as $400


Editors’ alternative as much as $400

  • Lovely design, IP67-rated physique
  • Nice AMOLED display screen of 120Hz refresh price
  • Spectacular battery life
  • Balanced stereo audio system, loud sufficient
  • Nice all-round digicam expertise, photograph and video
  • 5G, microSD, 3.5mm jack, Android 11, One UI 3.5

  • 15W bundled charger not maximizing charging potential
  • The GPU efficiency is uninspiring
  • The selfie expertise might have been higher

  • Giant and super-bright OLED show
  • Wonderful battery life
  • Stable nonetheless picture efficiency
  • Stereo audio system
  • First in line for OS updates
  • IP67 water resistance

  • No help for top display screen refresh price
  • No mmWave variant for Verizon 5G UWB within the US

  • It is an iPhone, and a ‘low-cost’ one at that, as iPhones go
  • TouchID!
  • IP67 ranking
  • The digicam takes some nice photographs and movies
  • Stereo audio system

  • Whereas technically ‘compact’, the large bezels imply small usable display screen space
  • Apple’s glorious Night time mode is sorely missed right here
  • Battery life is just so-so

Apple launched a brand new SE in 2020, and it is undoubtedly amongst our high picks on this Compact chapter. It is hardly good, although, however Apple has the iPhone 12 mini for these looking for perfection. So, the SE revived a type issue launched 6 years in the past and final touched up in 2017 and reuses numerous that 2017 iPhone 8 bits. Meaning a single digicam, a small battery, large display screen bezels and the return of an nearly forgotten technique of authentication – TouchID. Wait, that is an excellent factor – we missed TouchID, in a approach.

Talking of fine issues, maybe one of the best one is the chipset – the SE (2020) has the Apple A13 Bionic chip, which is simply 10% much less highly effective than the A14. There isn’t a 5G, although. The A13 chip is extra highly effective than even the beefiest Android, and it will stay succesful for years to come back, throughout which era it’s going to hold getting software program updates – the iOS approach. It is a very inexpensive entry into that iOS world, too – comparatively, after all – the iPhone 12 mini goes at roughly a 75% premium.

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  • Huge, 144Hz, HDR10-compliant LCD panel
  • Highly effective Snapdragon 778G
  • Water-repellent design
  • 108MP principal digicam and ultrawide with AF
  • 5,000 mAh battery with 30W charging
  • Stereo audio system

  • Show not OLED
  • No microSD slot

The Motorola Edge (2021) is US-only smartphone that is presently on low cost and completely matches the $400 class. The system stands out with a quick 144Hz show, 108MP principal digicam and a strong Snapdragon 778G SoC. Its clear Android expertise stays the cellphone’s key promoting level, although. To be trustworthy, the system is relatively exhausting to suggest in its authentic value bracket, however because it’s on low cost (on the time of scripting this information), it is simply top-of-the-line sub-$400 options available on the market.

It is also one of many few handsets on the US market to function the favored 108MP. Sadly, we have not reviewed the cellphone, and we do not actually know the way it will carry out, however we wager it’ll be first rate on the very least, judging by our earlier expertise with the stated sensor.

Final, however not least, the Edge (2021) is a very wise answer for anybody on the lookout for a big-screen handset. At 6.8″, there’s hardly any various, and one of the best half is that Motorola did not low-cost out with a panel. Positive, it is LCD, nevertheless it does have that HDR10-compatibility and a better than most 144Hz refresh price. Video games would look nice, so long as you will discover ones that make the most of the show’s refresh price. The 30W quick charging, a uncommon prevalence in Motorola’s mid-range portfolio, ensures that the massive 5,000 mAh battery will not take too lengthy to cost.

Finest telephones as much as $300


Editors’ alternative as much as $300

  • Huge, HDR10-compliant display screen
  • Water-repellent design
  • Highly effective Snapdragon 750G behind the wheel
  • Excellent photograph high quality, day and night time
  • Clear Android expertise

Motorola’s One 5G Ace handset is a not too long ago discounted highly effective smartphone with the identical Snapdragon 750G SoC and an enormous 6.7-inch HDR10-compliant display screen. It undoubtedly offers these Samsungs a run for his or her cash. Actually, this cellphone simply wins our Editor’s Selection award within the beneath $300 class. It has a strong, unequalled Snapdragon 750G chipset for the cash, an enormous 6.7-inch show, HDR10 at that, and a stable 5,000 mAh battery to run all that.

The One 5G Ace makes use of the identical digicam setup as its rivals and would not miss on the microSD card, NFC and three.5mm audio jack. Extra importantly, in typical Motorola style, the corporate made it splash-resistant – a pleasant bonus to have when shopping for a finances handset today. And in case you might be questioning, sure, the One 5G Ace works with Verizon, you simply should get the UW Ace model of the cellphone. It is the identical cellphone however appropriate with Verizon’s 5G community.

  • Vivid Tremendous AMOLED display screen, small notch
  • Eye-catchy design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Excellent photograph high quality, day and night time
  • Spectacular 4K clips from the principle cam

  • 720p display screen
  • No stereo audio system
  • Gradual to cost

  • Wonderful battery life
  • The MediaTek 720 is a contemporary, environment friendly and well-equipped chipset, with first rate efficiency for the worth
  • First rate all-round digicam efficiency, together with helpful Night time mode and 4K@30fps video seize with the principle cam

  • Physique feels a bit hole and there’s no ingress safety.
  • Disappointing LCD show, simply HD decision, inaccurate colours and gradual pixel response occasions
  • Ultrawide lacks 4K video recording and its 1080p video stabilization is poor

Finest telephones as much as $200


Editors’ alternative as much as $200

  • Giant display screen, small notch
  • Ample efficiency for 720p OS expertise
  • Okay digicam expertise, ultrawide and macro
  • Android 11
  • NFC, microSD, 3.5mm jack, FM radio

  • Standout textured again, nice-feeling plastics
  • Wonderful battery life
  • Comparatively succesful digicam setup, ultra-wide will not be all that widespread within the value vary

  • Gradual charging
  • Underpowered chipset
  • No night time mode, no video stabilization

Most up-to-date updates

Dec 16, 2021: Changed the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G with the Motorola One 5G Ace as our Editor’s Selection within the sub-$300 class.

Finest telephones by class




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