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The best phones deliver value and performance that stands out in every area. They are also some of the most expensive out there. But, based on our research, you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money on a smartphone to get the best experience.
With all the different smartphones on the market, picking the best phone that meets your needs and budget can be a complicated and time-consuming decision — whether it’s Apple or Google based android phones such as Samsung.
This smartphone guide focuses on the best handsets you can buy right now, including our budget pick for the best phone under $400.
The best phones 2021
This guide is a work in progress involving 20 best phones, so you can always check back for the full list — but for now, we’ve put together the 3 best options that offer exceptionally good value.
The best iPhone to buy in 2021
Apple’s iPhone 12 is the best new all-round iPhone that most people should buy. It’s basically the iPhone12 pro repacked at a more affordable price. The iPhone 12 Pro over-and-above material design and photo/video capturing capability is the major difference between both phones, which may not be necessary for most buyers.
Furthermore, the iPhone 12 is an excellent improvement on last year’s iPhone 11 — from the new OLED display to the magnetic MagSafe feature that allows for faster and easy connection to other mobile accessories. There is also the iPhone 12 mini, which is the smaller version of the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 12 is budget-friendly, costing $799 – that makes it relatively cheaper than the iPhone 12 Pro, which starts at $1,000. You also get the fast A14 Bionic processor, impressive dual rear cameras, and 5G connectivity. The iPhone 12 is an incredible all-around device for the price, making it fully deserving top spot on this list.
RAM: 16GB – 4GB | CPU: A14 Bionic | Storage: 4GB/128GB/256GB | Operating system: iOS 14 | Screen: 5.4-inch / 6.1-inch | Weight: 5.78 ounces | Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) | Front camera: 12MP (ƒ/2.2) | Battery life: 8hrs:25mins (5G), 10hrs:23mins (LTE)
The best Android phone to buy in 2021
The Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus is the best Android phone you can buy right now. It’s got great performance, fantastic design, and impressive features, including 5G and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.
Both the S20 and S20 Plus have a great battery life with a 4,000mAh and 4,500mAh of capacity respectively, enough to go through a day without recharging. Both phones come with the Infinity-O AMOLED displays with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, excellent for smooth interaction and gaming.
Both devices have 64MP ultrawide telephoto cameras that really shines with a 3x optical zoom, providing a lot of flexibility when taking photos. Though, not quite as good as the iPhone 12 or 12 Pro Max cameras, but good enough for creating excellent photos and videos.
The only difference between the S20 and S20 Plus is the screen; the S20 has a 6.2-inch screen while the S20 Plus has a massive 6.7-inch screen, which looks gorgeous.
RAM: 12GB | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | Storage: 128/512GB | Operating system: Android 10 | Screen: 6.7-inch | Weight: 6.56 ounces | Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP | Front camera: 10MP
The best budget phone in 2021
The iPhone SE 2020 is the best phone under $500, striking the balance of design, impressive battery life, and great speed. It’s not the best from the range of iPhones but offers the best value for people who want to stick with the iPhone brand without spending a lot of money.
It has a 4.7-inch LCD screen that Apple used on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, but the SE’s stand-out feature is its processor, Apple’s A13 Bionic (the same on iPhone 11), and an excellent camera. Old-school iPhone users will also value the return of TouchID and the home button.
The iPhone SE 2020 is a great choice if you’re on a budget and don’t want to make a switch to Android.
RAM: 3GB | CPU: A13 Bionic | Storage: 4GB/128GB/256GB | Operating system: iOS 13 | Screen: 4.7-inch | Weight: 5.22 ounces | Rear camera: 12MP (f/1.8) | Front camera: 7MP (f/2.2) | Wireless charging: Yes (Qi)
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About King Osaghae
King Osaghae is a technology researcher and writer who’s been writing about tech-related topics and trends since 2018. He covers everything tech from computers to cameras to online business software. He is the managing editor at TechZerg, meaning that he oversees all the articles TechZerg produces.