THE BEST SMART PHONE OF 2021


 

so i've spent the last five and a half

months collecting and testing

all the top globally available

smartphones i've rated every single ones

performance camera battery and display

based on what price it's selling for and

giving them an overall value rating

so with that in mind these are the top

22 smartphones in the world right now

from good to better to the best some of

these will surprise you

okay so at the back end is nokia

specifically the x20

which is their affordable flagship 2021

phone and

nokia's doing a lot of great stuff right

now their phones are all inexpensive

they're bloatware free nokia gives

extended warranties and loads of

software support their entire angle is

sustainability

smartphones that you buy and you keep it

really is an admirable message

but i think they focused a little too

much on this at the cost of

how capable their phones actually are

like for this x20

their marketing doesn't even mention a

single specification

that's like applying to university but

refusing to show them your grades

and fundamentally it's because this

phone is absolutely crushed

by even the cheaper phones from

companies like xiaomi so

b minus and then we've got samsung they

recently came out with the a52

which is like their mid-range flagship

of the year and there's nothing

inherently wrong with it

it's a fun design it's pleasant to use

but it costs too much for what it is

it's pretty clear that all samsung's

done is taken one of their top end

phones

and made everything a bit worse but for

500

in today's market you can nearly buy

yourself an actual flagship

so you don't need to make this kind of

compromise do you remember the oppo find

x3 pro

the company's 2021 flagship that looks a

little too close to the iphone for it to

be a coincidence

well there's plenty to like about it

it's supremely comfortable for starters

thanks to being made of one continuous

sheet of glass and that microscope

camera on the back is

it's unlike anything i've ever seen on a

phone before but

the main issue and this seems to happen

every year is that as soon as oppo

launches a flagship phone

it is pretty much destroyed and valued

by oneplus flagship that launches a

month later

both companies use very similar

components and materials and they are

good components and materials but

the fact that this phone is selling at

the equivalent of fifteen hundred

dollars

makes it much less good for the money

and

that's actually a pretty great segue on

to our next phone

so we're getting pretty used to the idea

of paying over a thousand dollars for a

top-end flagship right

but zte has something to say about that

yeah zte they are still making phones

but the ax130 ultra genuinely is worth

talking about

because it has the highest end

snapdragon 888 chipset a 144 hertz

refresh rate amoled display

big battery fast charging stereo

speakers really everything

and it even looks an awful lot like

samsung's note 20 ultra which is

not a taller criticism and most

significantly

i'm told this is going to cost 800

excuse me i was having a whale of a time

with it

until i tested the cameras and they

really revealed just how much progress

the competition has made

everything from the interface to the

image processing feels really behind

i'll reserve final judgement until

updates drop because

this camera hardware should be better

than this but in its current state

it's a b and thanks to surfsharkvpn for

sponsoring this video

okay the iphone 12 mini what is it

has not been a commercial hit when apple

first came out and announced that they

built a fully flagship 5g iphone that

literally fits into your palm

i think a lot of us thought whoa that's

gonna fly off the shelves

but it didn't according to research

firms this phone only made up about five

to seven percent of total iphone 12

sales

but that doesn't mean it's a bad phone i

think the reason it didn't sell well is

because a the price is so close to the

much bigger iphone 12

combined with b the apple has kind of

built an association between their

smaller phones

being their cheaper phones which may

have created the perception that the 12

mini was an

inferior product but really it is the

same speedy experience with a great

camera as the 12

that i can recommend to any iphone fan

who doesn't need a power user's level of

battery life

okay now we're getting on to the really

good phones the rog phone 5

is a beast it's the highest performing

smartphone i've used today

it's six thousand milliamp hour battery

is ludicrous actually earning it the

best battery phones so far in 2021

and its speakers are so punchy that you

will want to stop whatever it is you're

doing

and just lose yourself in them its only

problem comes from the fact that

it's a pretty specialized device like it

takes a certain kind of user to want to

carry a phone

of such monumental proportions tolerate

some slightly outdated looking bezels

and use a camera system that feels

noticeably lacking but if you are that

user then

bob's your uncle but what kind of

surprised me almost as much as phone

number one is going to surprise you

is that even though asus has been

dominating the gaming space for a while

now

i don't think they're the best value

anymore enter the lenovo legion phone

dual 2. it almost exactly matches the

rog in specs but you get 50

more ram and 100 more storage by default

it has fans built inside of it instead

of needing this external attachment

and somehow it's cheaper the hardware on

this phone is so good for the money that

they can't be making a lot of profit but

it is a little let down on the software

front

like the camera image processing isn't

getting the best out of the camera

hardware you have here

still though this is an a-grade phone

and is also the winner of

best gaming phone on the market right

now okay

you might remember from my best phones

of 2020 video that

one of the winners was a bit of a

surprise the zenfone 7 pro

it was just this no-nonsense combination

of a great price huge battery

seamless uninterrupted screen and a

capable camera that can also double as

basically the greatest selfie machine of

all time

well this is basically the successor to

that

so as you can probably imagine it's a

very good phone but it's no longer one

of the best

simply because all they've done is taken

last year's zenfone 7 and given it a

slight spec bump

and that's just not enough against

companies who are really pushing

still though i'm willing to bet that if

you ever get to try this selfie camera

it is so good that you have to smile

alrighty you might remember my video on

this guy the vivo x60 pro plus

to be honest i've used a decent amount

of vivo devices over the years

and i've always liked them but i've

never really loved them

they kind of developed a reputation for

a garish software overlay and crazy

levels of skin beautification in the

cameras

but the viva x60 pro plus is the first

viva phone i've used

that understands sophistication did i

just change my entire outfit to film one

sentence

maybe aesthetically it treads the line

well between looking fashionable

and looking like it means business and

everything from the gaming performance

to the camera performance

is very close to the best you can buy

and it helps that the camera is just

super fun to use

too it's slightly let down by a mono

speaker and

middle of the line battery but that

doesn't stop me loving it

number 13. this could be an unlucky one

again

[Music]

fashion fruit it's the iphone 12 pro

this is a great phone but the reason

that it's not higher up on the list is

that

the way i see it it's just an optional

extra to the 12.

it offers a few fairly minor features

like a lidar scanner for better

augmented reality

and a two times telephoto lens i

appreciate these but for the majority of

consumers the only notable difference

will be the extra storage it comes with

the fact that it's heavier and the fact

that it has a matte finish

it's basically the iphone to get if you

want to spend a bit more than the base

but you don't want to get the max sized

one and that leads me

onto the base iphone 12 because this

phone hugely benefits by how similar it

is to the 12 pro

you know just before they launched i was

using both these phones at the same time

and i couldn't even tell you how many

moments i had where i'd pick one off the

table

use it for a good five minutes only to

realize

i picked the wrong one up this phone is

just as powerful the screen is almost

identical

you still get all the same ios features

it's just

200 cheaper the only reason this isn't

higher up on the list is that

it only comes with a 60 hertz display

versus 120 or

the 144 we've started seeing now and it

only starts with 64 gigs of storage

which is going to end up being more like

50 by the time you factored in the size

of the operating system so still an a

grade

and just above that i would put samsung

space flagships

[Music]

there we go the s21 and s21 plus are not

the most exciting devices

they don't do anything particularly new

or groundbreaking in fact in a lot of

ways

they're a complete side grade from last

year's s20 phones

but they bring in a lot of smaller

quality of life improvements

they've had a redesign that takes them

from some of the worst looking flagships

to some of the best in my books

and in a bit of a surprise turn of

events

they're cheaper than last year's okay

we're in the top 10.

and if you are enjoying this video then

a sub to the channel would be

mighty i realized that for the last

month over 50

of you watching have been subscribed so

thank you

this is the xiaomi me 11. it's great

it's cheaper than the base s21

in just about every region but the us

and spec wise it's more of a match for

the galaxy s21 plus which is two hundred

dollars more than that

[Music]

the best way to think about the mi 11 is

there's a high-end flagship all around

with the best in-class display the only

potential hurdle is xiaomi's miui

software skin which to be honest i like

but i've showed it to enough people who

don't to know that

not everyone does and just above the

me11 is

not today milo then we've got the

oneplus 9

now this phone had a bit of a rough

launch i think what happened is that

oneplus basically spent an entire month

before it came out

hyping up their collaboration with

hasselblad giving us never-ending

teasers about how it was going to

revolutionize photography

but then when the phones actually

arrived hasselblad might as well not

have been involved

you couldn't tell and so justifiably

most reviewers came down

pretty hard on this but a few weeks

later i got a call from oneplus

they said we watched your camera

comparison we took your feedback on

board

and we've improved them don't get me

wrong this didn't immediately make it a

dream camera system

but for its price now it is a good

camera system and even without optical

image stabilization

it takes crisp smooth video plus of

course being a oneplus phone

you get fast bloat free software with

guaranteed updates it's a little more

focused on exactly what the user needs

with no unnecessary extras and because

of this they've managed to keep to their

tradition of staying

more affordable than their competitors

definitely a grade phone

then we've got the oneplus 9 pro which

is the 9's more

expensive counterpart and the reason

it's above it is that if you have the

budget

it's worth it it's basically the oneplus

9 but with all those little bits that

had to be trimmed

put back into it it's not quite an

ultraphone but it is a fully fleshed out

flagship

and in my eyes the best flagship phone

under one thousand dollars

okay we can't make a list of the best

phones

without including the pixel 4a it was

google's mid-range phone from 2020

and i usually try and refrain from

recommending last year's options when a

new one may well be around the corner

but given that this is available now for

299 dollars compared to

3.49 it was launched at given that it's

only gotten better since it launched and

the

because it's a google made phone it'll

most likely still get updates all the

way till android 14.

i wouldn't hesitate in still

recommending it the pixel 4a

should not be as good as it is no part

of this phone's spec sheet

is impressive in 2021 but it's just

carried by phenomenal software

not to mention it's a really enjoyable

size the bezels are nice and even

and it's powerful enough that i don't

think you'll be worrying about speed

but as much as i do like the pixel i'd

be lying if i said that that was the

best compact phone you can get

because that award goes to the zenfone

8. you might remember how i

completely grilled the way it looks in

my full review and i stand by it

but that doesn't change the fact that

like the iphone 12 mini

this is a flagship phone through and

through but unlike that phone

this one has a great battery too this is

pretty much the only small phone

where the fact that it's small has no

negative consequences

so this is an a plus in my books but now

we're on to the big boy phones

in fifth place is the iphone 12 pro max

it's a phone that providing you have the

budget and the palm size

it's an easy win i totally agree that

it's not the most exciting phone in the

world

but the reason that this is still the

main phone i use on a day-to-day basis

is that it's supremely reliable the

combination of ios levels of

optimization

with the best hardware you can get on an

iphone means that if i want to post an

instagram story

i know it's going to look good if i want

to send a whatsapp voice note

i know it's going to sound good

and the battery is going to reliably get

me through any day i throw at it

also this phone is so strong that it's

the first i've ever used caseless

i've dropped this thing enough times and

seen it come back unscathed enough

times that i just don't worry about it

anymore the only two things that do

sting a little are the fact that it's

distinctly uncomfortable to hold

and that it's the only phone even close

to this price bracket that doesn't have

a high refresh rate screen

now slightly better than even that is

why is samsung's top end phone i think

the galaxy s21 ultra is genuinely the

most refined

polished device they've ever released

it's a big visual upgrade over the s20

ultra

plus a long list of subtle corrections

which is exactly what that phone needed

it's taken it from incredibly capable

with mixed delivery

to incredibly capable with strong

delivery i like the way it looks

i like the way it feels and providing

you've got a hand big enough to hold it

i have no reservations in recommending

it and that leaves us with the best

overall flagship phone

if money was no object and this award

is going to the xiaomi me 11 ultra i

could spend 15 minutes straight just

talking about this phone

actually that's what i did a few weeks

ago i'll leave the video linked up here

but fundamentally the summary is this

thing is a nuclear missile

xiaomi looked at what samsung was doing

and built a phone squarely targeted

straight at it

it takes samsung's best features and

one-ups it in almost every aspect

for the same price i wouldn't say it

completely invalidates samsung's s21

ultra

i think this is still a nicer looking

phone i still think this has a more

consistent camera but for a true power

user you just

can't get more than this on a phone so

what on earth can be better than that

well we've got two more phones and

they're not trying to be the highest end

phones you can buy

but they're focused on value and their

value proposition is just so

unbelievably good

that it makes you want to take a chair

sit down and just have a think

what are other companies doing so in

second place

is the redmi note 10 pro now for those

of you who don't know

redmi is a spin-off brand of xiaomi who

have basically built a reputation for

one of the highest

spec to price ratios on the market so in

this case we have a 108 megapixel camera

a 120 hertz display 5020 million power

battery

and it's 279 this thing is

stupid levels of value it does have ads

in the software but

you can turn them off and i mean look

these are the kinds of photos i'm taking

on this phone

it's not even funny don't get me wrong

you will know when you're using it that

it's not a thousand dollar flagship

but it outperforms its price so severely

that

i'm gonna have to give this an a plus

plus in terms of value

and that leaves us with number one the

most worth it phone of 2021

and i guess by implication the most

worth it phone to have ever released

it's the poco f3 just like redmi poco is

yet another value-centric spin-off

company of xiaomi

but the difference with this phone is

that it's less about camera and it's

more about

processing power so in this case for 350

you get a 120 hertz amoled display you

get

a 4 520 milliamp hour battery but

the kind of crown jewel here is a

snapdragon 870 chip

it's not the absolute bleeding edge you

can get but it's an overclocked version

of last year's flagship 865. for this

price

that is ridiculous levels of performance

it makes the google pixel 4a look like

it belongs in a museum and while this

isn't google pixel quality software

no amount of software is going to change

the fact that it's twice as powerful

and i think what makes this phone

particularly impressive is the fact that

it takes more than a cursory glance to

even realize that it's not a flagship

it still has a glass back it still has

decent haptics

and it's just crazy that i can play the

most demanding games on the entire

android platform

at nearly their highest settings on a

phone that costs barely a quarter

of what the highest n1's do and so the

poco f3 earns not just my best

affordable phone award but also my

overall best

value phone award if you wanted to go

even cheaper you can get the poco m3 pro

which is fantastic value or something

like the real me 8 for 200

but my general recommendation is that if

you can try to spend a bit more

you will get a lot more okay couple of

things to mention here

there's been no lg on this list because

sad to say but

lg has finally left the smartphone

market there's been no sony on this list

because at the time of filming they

haven't quite launched their next xperia

1 mark

iii and also to be honest thus far i

have not tested a single sony phone that

i thought for a mainstream market was

better than the competition

but open to changing my mind on that in

the future though and finally i decided

to keep foldables out of this video too

just because as a category of phones i

feel like they're much harder to rank

under the same criteria okay here's

something to think about for a second

your location your operating system

every hardware detail of the device

you're on right now

as well as all your past browsing

history these are things that

you'd want to keep to yourself right

well this is how much information a

website immediately knows about you the

second you click on it

and to be honest if it's a website you

trust then it's fine

but there's probably a fair few that you

visit that you wouldn't want to know

this

and that's where surfsharkvpn comes in

as far as i've seen it's the most

affordable way to keep yourself

anonymous

it's just over two dollars a month for

as many people and devices as you want

but there's another perk

because you can effectively pick the

location that you want your device to

come from

i can for example pick the us and watch

us tv shows

you can effectively have the exclusives

for every single region

without leaving your home like if i want

to watch batman the dark knight

i just switch to canada and i can do

that so

check the link in the description and

use the code boss that'll give you 83

off and an extra three months for free

if you enjoyed this video then do

consider checking out my zenfone 8

review

the best compact phone i've ever used or

for something a bit more chill

20 inventions that i think are

completely next level

thanks for watching my name is aaron

this is mr who's the boss

i'll catch you in the next one

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