The best phone to buy for 2021

This story is a part of Vacation Present Information 2020, CNET’s present picks with professional recommendation, evaluations and suggestions for the newest tech presents for you and your loved ones.

Telephone makers are innovating and evolving quicker than ever, and the previous 12 months has been probably the most attention-grabbing ones for telephones. Not solely have we seen extra units with versatile screens and handsets with 5G connectivity, however there’s been an inflow of telephones that tout premium specs and reasonably priced worth tags. Some issues although, stay the identical — like the truth that Apple and Samsung nonetheless dominate the market. Their latest flagships, the iPhone 12 and Galaxy Word 20, respectively, supply highly effective processors, implausible rear multicamera setups and 5G. 

However regardless of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy strains being the best choice for a lot of, different firms like OnePlus and Motorola promote nice telephones too. The sheer quantity of stable competitors provides customers glorious choices to select from at a variety of costs. 

That can assist you work out the very best of the very best, we gathered our favourite telephones to purchase in 2021. Each telephone on this record has been completely reviewed and examined, from their batteries to digital camera efficiency. We have linked to the unlocked model of every telephone, and they need to run on a lot of the massive 4 US wi-fi carriers, except specified in any other case. We replace this record recurrently to make sure the very best telephone is all the time represented.

And for more information, learn our information to assist discover the very best telephone to your wants and try our tips about the best way to purchase a brand new cellular phone

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2020’s finest smartphone


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The iPhone 12 (and its higher-end iPhone 12 Professional counterpart) obtained certainly one of our highest scores ever. The smartphone options the highly effective and quick A14 Bionic processor, twin rear cameras, 5G and a magnetic “MagSafe” function that enables it to hook up with different cell equipment.

Learn our Apple iPhone 12 evaluate.

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If you’d like a 5G telephone that does not price an excessive amount of, the Pixel 4A 5G is certainly one of our prime picks. The handset has a stable battery life, implausible twin rear cameras and strong software program help from Google. There’s additionally the Pixel 5, which has an awesome 90Hz show, however it prices extra at $699 (£599, AU$999).

Learn our Google Pixel 4A 5G evaluate.

Angela Lang/CNET

OnePlus launched numerous telephones in 2020, together with the OnePlus 8 Professional and the 8T, however our favourite this 12 months is the OnePlus 8 due largely due to its worth. At launch the smartphone price $699 (£599, AU$1,180 transformed) and has since been discounted. The telephone encompasses a 6.55-inch AMOLED display, a 90Hz show, a waterproof design and 5G.

Learn our OnePlus 8 evaluate.


The Motorola Edge Plus has just about every part you’d hope for in a premium 5G cell phone: A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, an enormous battery, an OLED display with a excessive refresh price and a number of rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. Motorola took options discovered on different top-of-the-line Android telephones, put its personal Moto spin on them and constructed all of them into certainly one of our favourite Android telephones of the 12 months.

Learn our Motorola Edge Plus evaluate.

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Beginning at solely $399, the 2020 model of the iPhone SE is the very best funds telephone you will discover proper now. With an A13 processor (the identical because the iPhone 11) and a tremendous digital camera, the iPhone SE is far more highly effective than it has any proper to be. Outdated-school iPhone followers will even admire the return of TouchID and the house button.

Learn our Apple iPhone SE (2020) evaluate.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Word 20 Extremely, together with its smaller counterpart the Word 20, is a expensive, ultrapremium Android telephone with an expansive display dimension, an embedded S Pen stylus and 5G. The Word 20 Extremely additionally has a triple-rear digital camera array, the high-powered Snapdragon 865 Plus processor and reverse wi-fi charging. It comes with both 128GB or 512GB of inner storage.

Learn our Samsung Galaxy Word 20 Extremely evaluate.

Angela Lang/CNET

Pixel telephones have a loyal following and with good motive. With out contemplating its worth, Google’s Pixel 4A has a top-notch digital camera that takes good photographs. But it surely’s even higher that the telephone prices $349 (£349, AU$599). The 5.81-inch handset additionally encompasses a headphone jack, 128GB of storage out of the field and a greater battery life than final 12 months’s Pixel 4.

Learn our Google Pixel 4A evaluate.

Juan Garzon/CNET

Along with its predominant Galaxy S flagship telephones, Samsung has a extra cost-conscious A collection line of telephones. This 12 months it launched the Galaxy A51 and it is one other Samsung telephone that prices $399 (£329, AU$599) — although there’s a 5G variant that prices $499. The Android gadget has 4 cameras, an in-screen fingerprint reader and expandable storage.

Learn our Galaxy A51 evaluate.

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