Best Samsung phones 2021: the best Samsung smartphones, rated

What are the best Samsung phones on the market today in 2021?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G handset shown being placed into a woman's handbag
(Image credit: Samsung)

Welcome to our guide to the best Samsung phones in 2021. From the exceptionally good Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to Samsung's amazingly affordable budget Androids, the best Samsung phone for you is right here.

Samsung is famous for its flagship phones, which are among the very best phones made by anybody: the brand new Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra are stunning smartphones packed with cutting edge tech. But while more modest handsets don't attract quite so many headlines, there are lots of mid-range models that are just as likely to excite and delight you for a lot less cash. No matter what kind of smartphone you need, there's almost certainly a Samsung that fits the bill perfectly – even when you don't want to spend a lot of cash. Samsung doesn't just make some of the best high-end phones. It also makes some of the best Android phones at every price point.

In this guide we'll show you Samsung's best phones and focus on the specifications and features that really matter – so if you're looking for state of the art features or a phone to cover the everyday essentials, you'll find both kinds of phone here. And of course you'll also find the best Samsung deals.

Price isn't the only consideration, though. The best Samsung smartphone is the one that does everything you want it to do not just today, but for months and years to come. It's wise to think about what you need now and what you're likely to want in the future and to choose your Samsung phone accordingly. 

And of course, Samsung isn't the only firm making great phones. We've put together lots of guides for particular kinds of phones, so for example our best small phones guide is perfect for those with small hands and our best gaming phones feature is perfect for gamers who need serious horsepower in their hardware.

Let's discover the Samsung phones we think you'll love, and the deals we think you'll love even more.

These are the best Samsung phones available today

Best Samsung phones Galaxy S21T3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy S21

The best Samsung phone for most people

Specifications
Weight: 169g
Dimensions: 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.2"
Resolution: 1,080 x 2,400
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP ultra wide / 12MP wide / 64MP telephoto
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Blazingly fast+120Hz display+Impressive 3-camera photography
Reasons to avoid
-Plastic design-No MicroSD card slot-Wall charger not included in the box

The headline news about the Samsung Galaxy S21 is the price: Samsung has dropped the price of the entire S21 range so they’re $200 cheaper than last year’s S20s, with the S21 coming in at the same price as Apple’s iPhone 12. But there’s more to the S21 than its price tag. Its new processors deliver powerful CPU and graphics performance as well as better battery life, and its 120Hz display is designed to deliver super-smooth motion in video, games and apps. 

The S21 is a stylish phone with serious horsepower inside, and while the cameras are largely unchanged from the S20 the camera software delivers some clever new features including better low-light photography.

This isn’t the most powerful Samsung smartphone – you can find out all about that one in the next entry in our list – but it is still a very powerful device. We think it’s the best all-rounder for most people.

To see how this phone differs from our number one premium Samsung phone choice, then check out our Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comparison feature.

best Samsung phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The best premium Samsung phone

Specifications
Weight: 228g
Dimensions: 75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1,440 x 3,200
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB/16GB
Storage: 128/256/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP ultra wide / 108MP wide / 2x 20MP telephoto
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+Absolutely stunning camera setup+Very powerful processor+S-Pen support
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive SIM free

Like the new Samsung Galaxy S21, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is cheaper than last year’s model. It boasts a significantly improved CPU and GPU for much faster performance, a large 6.8” screen delivering 1,440 x 3,200 at refresh rates from a battery-saving 10Hz to a silky smooth 120Hz, a large 5,000mAh battery and support for Samsung’s much-loved S Pen (which is available separately).

But the real draw here is the camera assembly, which has four cameras compared to the three in the rest of the S21 range. And what an assembly it is: there’s a 108MP wide camera, a 21MP ultra wide camera, two 10MP telephoto cameras with 3x and 10x optical zoom, and a maximum zoom of 100x. The front camera is 40MP.

In terms of software the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is also on point, coming with the very latest version of Android, which is Android 11. All said, the S21 Ultra is the best phone Samsung has ever made and, if you can afford it, it will definitely not disappoint.

If you're unsure whether you want to spend big on a single or dual-screen Samsung phone then be sure to scope out T3's Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 comparison feature.

best Samsung phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5GT3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

The best mid-range Samsung phone

Specifications
Weight: 190 g
Dimensions: 159.8 mm x 74.5 mm x 8.4 mm
OS: Android 10, One UI 2.5
Screen size: 6.5 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 6GB / 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4500 mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 wide + 8MP f/2.4 telephoto + 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 32MP f/2.2 wide
Reasons to buy
+Incredible 120Hz screen+Premium chipset and specs+No Bixby button
Reasons to avoid
-Would you be better with the S21?

We're massively impressed with what the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G has to offer: plenty of power, a fantastic screen (running at a 120Hz refresh rate), some really nice design choices (including several colours), and all at a price that's very reasonable considering what you get back in return.

You could think of the phone as offering the best bits of the Galaxy S20 series at a more attractive price point: it has one of the most eye-catching displays out there, it has a rear camera that offers a whopping 30x hybrid zoom, and the battery life holds up rather well too. On top of that, the Snapdragon 865 processor is going to be able to handle just about everything you throw at it.

5G is on board too of course, which means you're future-proofed for when the next-gen connectivity finally finds its way to your part of the world. Other Samsung phones might beat this one in terms of raw specs, but we think that it's out in front of most in the way it balances performance, features and price.

This budget-orientated Samsung phone is compared to another affordable choice in our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs Samsung Galaxy A52 5G comparison feature.

best Samsung phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy A52 5GT3 Award


(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

The best budget Samsung phone

Specifications
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4mm
OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1
Screen Size: 6.5 inches Super AMOLED (FHD+, 120Hz)
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear Cameras: 64MP, 12MP, 5MP, 5MP
Front Cameras: 32MP
Reasons to buy
+5G support+64MP main camera is excellent+Long-lasting battery and fast charging
Reasons to avoid
-Thick design-10x digital zoom is very grainy-Slower than pricier handsets

If you want an affordable handset with a few high-end features, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G will be worth considering. Not only does it have a large 6.5inch Super AMOLED display that is stunning to look at, but it also has a 120Hz refresh rate which makes for silky smooth scrolling.

For point-and-shoot photography, you can't get much better for this price. it takes great shots of people and landscapes on the default settings and the 32MP front camera follows suit with super clear social-media worthy selfies.  So what's the catch? Well, it doesn't quite match up against its flagship counterparts when it comes to performance and the design is thicker too. 

Overall though, it'll be well suited to those on a budget who want a large display, excellent camera and long-lasting battery. 

best Android phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5GT3 Award


(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

The best Samsung phone with a digital stylus

Specifications
Weight: 208 g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3088 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4500mAh
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8 wide+ 12MP f/3.0 (periscope telephoto) + 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 10MP f/2.2 wide
Reasons to buy
+The best S Pen yet+Huge, bright screen+Plenty of power
Reasons to avoid
-Huge camera bump

There's a lot to like about the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, and if you can manage the cost, it's undoubtedly one of the best Samsung experiences you're going to get this year. It features a brilliant design, a more than capable camera, and internal specs that mean it will outpace almost every phone on the market.

The biggest reason for buying the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, though, is of course that S Pen – scribble on the lock screen, control the camera remotely, unleash your creative side, and more. If you need a phone with a stylus for serious work on the go, this phone has you covered.

5G is on board, as the name of the phone suggests, which means you're covered for years when it comes to next-gen connectivity – and considering you've got the Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset (depending on region) running everything, this isn't a phone that'll be slowing down anytime soon.

As we've said, the price is a little on the eye-watering side, but for something you're going to use every day for years to come, you might consider it worthwhile. The triple-lens rear camera with 5x optical zoom deserves a mention too, as it's capable of capturing some fantastic snaps in any kind of lighting.

best Samsung phones Galaxy S21 PlusT3 Award

For a big screen experience the Galaxy S21 Plus doesn't disappoint.

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

The best large screen Samsung phone

Specifications
Dimensions: 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm
Weight: 200g
Screen: 6.7 inches AMOLED (120Hz, HDR10+)
CPU: Exynos 2100 /Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
GPU: Mali-G78
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Rear cameras: 12 MP, 12MP, 64MP
Front cameras: 10MP
Battery: 4,8000 mAh
OS: Android 11
5G: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Very big and beautiful screen+Long lasting battery life+Camera system is feature packed
Reasons to avoid
-No MicroSD card slot-There's no charger included in the box-Lower screen resolution than its predecessor

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus might be the lowest placed of the S21 handsets in our list, but we're still very much fans of the handset, which is a great pick if you're looking for polished, big-screen phone experience.

If you just take the Galaxy S21 Plus on its own, without any context at all, there's a lot to like – it takes fantastic photos, the screen and design look superb, and you'll struggle to find many better-specced Android phones full stop.

The 6.7-inch screen is a hefty one, so make sure you really want a display this big before parting with your cash, though. This handset very much operates like a standard size S21 though in every other aspect.

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra delivers even more impressive tech than the S21 Plus, but truth be told that phone is only for enthusiasts and those with the deepest of pockets. For most phone users this is a better buy, as it delivers 95 per cent of the experience for markedly less money.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus best samsung phones 2021T3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

7. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

The best big-screened Samsung for bargain hunters

Specifications
CPU:: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
Screen size: : 6.7 inches
Resolution:: 3,200 x 1,440
Rear Camera:: 64MP + 12MP + 12MP + 3D
Front Camera:: 10MP
RAM:: 8/12GB
Storage:: 128/256/512GB
Battery:: 4,500mAh
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic camera+Powerful processor+Prices are falling
Reasons to avoid
-S21 Plus now exists

As with the Galaxy S20, we’re seeing sharp drops in the price of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus now that the S21 version is out – and the similarities don’t end there. Like the non-Plus version the specs of the S20 Plus are almost identical to its predecessor and it has an absolutely fantastic camera. 

There are some key differences, though. The S20 Plus has more curved edges on its display, and while it lacks the variable refresh rate of the S21 Plus its 6.7” dynamic AMOLED has a 120Hz refresh and a higher resolution, 3,200 x 1,440 (although that 120Hz is only available at 1080p resolution).

The other key difference here is the chipset, which is a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 compared to the Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 in the S21 Plus. You’re unlikely to notice much difference in performance but the newer chipsets are more energy efficient and come with a slightly larger battery, so they’ll last longer between charges.

None of these things are deal-breakers to us: until the S21 range launched the S20 Plus was one of the best smartphones around, especially if you take a lot of photos. As prices fall it’s becoming quite the bargain.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3T3 Award

The best folding Samsung phone? That's the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

(Image credit: Samsung)

8. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The best premium Samsung folding phone

Specifications
Weight: 271 g
Dimensions: 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm (unfolded) | 158.2 x 67.1 x 14.4-16 mm (folded)
OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1.1
Screen size: 7.6 inches
Resolution: 1768 x 2208 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB / 512GB
Battery: 4400mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 wide + 12MP f/2.4 telephoto + 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 10MP f/2.2, 10MP f/1.8
Reasons to buy
+Tough, waterproof design+Fantastic battery life+S Pen support
Reasons to avoid
-Still expensive-Too big for your pocket-No power adaptor in the box

If you want the very best in cutting edge smartphone technology, then you want a phone that folds, and that's exactly what you get with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which is a proud member of T3's best foldable phones buying guide.

With this third handset in the series, Samsung has managed to finally show that foldable phones are really a thing that genuinely work, with this handset successfully combining a phone and tablet experience into one device.

You get flagship-grade internal hardware, too, and the battery life and operating system software are top notch. The camera system isn't the best on the market but is very feature packed and comes with strong core lenses.

A long with that screen, though, it is the Fold 3's support for Samsung's S Pen Digital Stylus that has got a lot of people very excited about this phone, as it unlocks next-level creative and productivity functionality. Everything from illustrating to note taking and annotating is now possible.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn't perfect though. Despite a price drop it still costs a lot of money, and there's small details like it not coming with a charger in the box, and it still showing a visible crease down the centre of the screen that take some of the gloss off the package.

However, if you want a folding phone then the Z Fold 3 is the best on the market.

best Samsung phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy S20T3 Award

(Image credit: Samsung)

9. Samsung Galaxy S20

Last year's superstar is still a smart buy

Specifications
Weight: 163g
Dimensions: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.2 inches
Resolution: 1440 x 3200 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 64MP f/2.0 + 12MP f/2.2
Front camera: 10MP f/2.2 + 10MP f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Solid price vs performance balance+Eye-catching specs list+The smallest Galaxy S20 phone
Reasons to avoid
-S21 now exists-Battery life is good but not great

The new S21 range is here, and that means the S20 is starting to attract some serious discounts. It's only a year old and it still outperforms many rival devices: in fact, the differences between the S20 and the S21 are quite minor. The S20 has the same cameras and a larger, higher resolution display.

This is also the phone to go for if you're after the smallest Samsung Galaxy S20 phone – even though the screen is still a substantial 6.4 inches in size. Under the hood, like the other S20 models, you've got the very capable Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 CPU (depending on your region) running the show.

Okay, the phone's main camera isn't quite up to the level of the S20 Plus or the S20 Ultra, but we don't think you're going to notice too much, and the Galaxy S20 is still capable of taking some tremendous shots (and recording in 8K video, like the other models). Absolutely worth a spot on our best Samsung phone list.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 shown on white backgroundT3 Award

Want a compact folding Samsung phone? Then you want the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.

(Image credit: Samsung)

10. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G

The best compact Samsung foldable phone

Specifications
Weight: 183g
Dimensions: 166 x 72.2 x 6.9 mm (unfolded) | 86.4 x 72.2 x 15.9-17.1 mm (folded)
OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1.1
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2640 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB \ 256GB
Battery: 3300mAh
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/2.2
Front camera: 10MP f/2.4
Reasons to buy
+Sturdy, strong design+1.9inch cover screen with widgets+Available in 7 different colours
Reasons to avoid
-Quite thick when folded-Camera tech is just alright-Relatively small battery

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is going to really appeal to some people, and really put other people off – it all depends what you think of that clamshell fold and form factor. Here at T3 we really dig its compact (when folded) sizing, which is very bag and pocket friendly.

Samsung hasn't skimped too much on specs here either – the Galaxy Z Flip comes with the Snapdragon 888 chipset, 128GB/512GB of storage space and 8GB of RAM on board, which while falling short of the spec on the Fold 3, is still flagship level. It also has a few software tricks up its sleeve, with the ability to split the screen in half, top to bottom, if needed.

Where the phone falls short of flagship, and indeed where it falls short in terms of the money needed to ring it up, is in the camera department. You very much get a mid-tier camera system, which while perfectly good for shooting photos and videos, cannot match up to rival flagship phones with one screen that cost under half the Flip 3's price. If that is a trade-off you're willing to take only you can decide.

Apart from that, though, this is a fantastic, compact folding phone from Samsung.

best Samsung phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy A90 5GT3 Award


(Image credit: Samsung)

11. Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

5G from Samsung without the price hike

Specifications
Weight: 206g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 76.4 x 8.4mm
OS: Android 9.0
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 855
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.2 + 5MP f/2.2
Front camera: 32MP f/2.0
Reasons to buy
+Comes with 5G+Smart, powerful phone+Good camera performance
Reasons to avoid
-Can you stretch to S21?

The Samsung A90 5G is the cheapest way to get 5G connectivity on a Samsung phone, and one of the cheapest ways to get 5G connectivity full stop... sure, it makes some compromises to get to a lower price point (no waterproofing, no wireless charging), but you might well consider the trade-offs to be worth it.

It's not exactly a budget phone either, but you do get that 5G and a top-of-the-range Snapdragon 855 processor here for your money. The 6.7-inch screen looks the part too, and the triple-lens camera on the back is not to be sneezed at either. One of the best mid-range Samsung phones.

With 5G now appearing in more parts of the country, it might be wise to make your next smartphone purchase one that's futureproofed – the coverage is only going to get better over time, and those download and upload speeds really have to be seen to be believed.

best Samsung phones 2021 Samsung Galaxy A80T3 Award


(Image credit: Samsung)

12. Samsung Galaxy A80

Good phones don't have to break the bank

Specifications
Weight: 220g
Dimensions: 165.2 x 76.5 x 9.3mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 1.080 x 2,400 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 730
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,700mAh
Rear camera: 48MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.2 + TOF camera
Front camera: 48MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.2 + TOF camera
Reasons to buy
+Generous 6.7-inch display+Plenty of phone for your money
Reasons to avoid
-A90 5G exists

Samsung's mid-range phones continue to get better and better, with the Galaxy A80 a case in point – you get some very decent specs, a decent camera, and all for significantly less than you would have to shell out for something like the Galaxy S20 or the Galaxy Note 10.

The most eye-catching feature on the Galaxy A80 is the rotating camera: you slide up the back of the phone, and the rear camera spins around to become the front-facing one. It's a neat party trick if nothing else, and means your selfies are going to look as good as your other snaps.

Elsewhere the screen is as good as we've come to expect from Samsung, and the 3,700mAh of battery power should be enough to get you through the whole day and then some. Definitely worth considering as one of the best Samsung Galaxy phones of 2021 if you're limited in how much you can spend.