In 2021, buying the best phone means looking for something that should last you a few years. Smartphones’ upgrade cycles are slowing down for a reason: even at lower prices, it’s getting harder and harder to buy a lemon. In other words, you don’t have to spend a huge amount to get something great, as a bunch of great smartphones are available for around $800. It’s harder than ever to decide between everything in that range, but for most people, our pick for the best phone is the Apple iPhone 12.
Luckily, if you’re looking for a no-compromise smartphone at any price, the choices over a thousand dollars are much clearer. If you like Android, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is incredibly good. And if you want to get the best smartphone on a budget, you can find something really good for under $500 or even under $400. For those recommendations, you can check out our guide to budget smartphones.
A great smartphone will last you for several years (at least), have a great camera, a nice screen, long battery life, and be fast enough to do all the work, social networking, and gaming you want to pack into a day. Believe it or not, all of those things are easier than ever to find in a phone — so picking the best one is often a matter of degrees or preferences.