Skip to main content

Best Samsung phones 2021: finding the right Galaxy for you

Best Samsung phone 2021
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, Note 20 Ultra and S10 Plus (Image credit: Samsung)

Our guide to the best Samsung phones is likely to change a lot in the next couple of weeks as the company has just unveiled its new Samsung Galaxy S21 series of flagship phones.

Alongside the Samsung Galaxy S21, the company has unveiled the new Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra. These are top-end handsets, and we're expecting to include them in the ranking below once we've completed full reviews of each.

If you need to buy a new phone today, you'll find a choice below but we'd recommend waiting until the Galaxy S21 series is out on January 29 to ensure you've made the right decision.

Samsung offers ideal handset for almost everyone, from flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, to more affordable (and unusual) options like the Samsung Galaxy A80, and even cutting-edge foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

You’ll find all these and many more in our list, ranked from best to worst. But don’t just buy the top-rated model, as you might find one of the others suits you better. All of these phones come highly recommended, and for each we’ve included an overview and specs list, so you can see at a glance what makes them shine.

So if you’re after a new Samsung phone, read on for a comprehensive guide, and make sure to check back often, as not only is the Galaxy S21 range on the way but we're also expecting to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 21, Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 during 2021, among probably other great Samsung phones.

Best Samsung phones 2021 at a glance:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  3. Samsung Galaxy S20
  4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
  5. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
  6. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
  7. Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition
  8. Samsung Galaxy S10
  9. Samsung Galaxy Note 20
  10. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
  11. Samsung Galaxy A80
  12. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Best Samsung phones 2021

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

1. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is just right

Specifications
Release date: March 2020
Weight: 186g
Dimensions: 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP + ToF 3D
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Powerful yet sleek+Much-improved zoom
Reasons to avoid
-Ever-higher price-Improvements are mostly iterative

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus currently tops our rank of the greatest Samsung phones available, beating even the pricier Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

So unsurprisingly this is an absolutely fantastic phone. The design isn’t massively changed from the Galaxy S10 Plus, but most other elements have been upgraded. The screen now has a silky-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, it packs a more powerful chipset, and its cameras have had a big boost.

The most exciting lens is its 64MP telephoto one, facilitating a 3x hybrid optical zoom, but there are also 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide ones, as well as a depth sensor.

Add in a massive 4,500mAh battery, 5G support, and all the things you expect from a Samsung flagship - like water resistance and an in-screen fingerprint scanner - and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is clearly one of the very best phones from any company, not just the South Korean giant.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Ultra done right

Specifications
Release date: August 2020
Weight: 208g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3088
CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+5x camera zoom crushes it+New useful S Pen features
Reasons to avoid
-‘Ultra’ expensive-Slower charging

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a beast of a handset with a beast of a price. According to our review it has the best-looking screen of any phone and the best camera of any Android phone – one which is also brilliant fun to use, thanks to its 5x optical zoom, fun filters, and slick camera interface.

That camera includes a 108MP main sensor, a 12MP periscope one, and a 12MP ultra-wide one, while the screen is a massive 6.9-inch 1440 x 3088 AMOLED one with 496 pixels per inch and a refresh rate of up to 120Hz.

But the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra doesn’t stop there, as it also stands out from rivals thanks to its S Pen stylus, letting you doodle on the screen, sync voice recordings with your hand-written notes, and more.

Plus, the phone also has top-end power of course, including 12GB of RAM and either a Snapdragon 865 Plus or Exynos 990 chipset. Which you get depends on where you are in the world, but they’re both exceedingly powerful.

There’s also 5G, loads of storage, a premium design, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and a big battery, so this is a phone that almost has it all – though the charging could be faster and it’s slightly disappointing that you can’t use both a 120Hz refresh rate and a QHD+ resolution at the same time.

The biggest stumbling block though is simply the price, but if you have the money and want everything that the Note 20 Ultra is offering, then it’s a fantastic choice.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

Samsung Galaxy S20

(Image credit: Future)

3. Samsung Galaxy S20

The most one-hand-friendly version of Samsung's flagship

Specifications
Release date: March 2020
Weight: 163g
Dimensions: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.2-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Good camera upgrade+Samsung’s best display yet
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive-Lowest spec in the range

While slightly less exciting than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Ultra, the standard Galaxy S20 has a lower price going for it, as well as a more pocket-friendly size.

Though at 6.2 inches this is still far from a small phone, and with a QHD+ resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and one of the best quality AMOLED screens yet put on a phone, the display is worth shouting about.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 also has an impressive camera setup, headlined by a 64MP telephoto sensor, which is joined by a 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide one – so it misses out only on the S20 Plus’s depth sensor.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is also available in a 5G flavor, has a large 4,000mAh battery, and top-end power, thanks to either a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 chipset (depending on where in the world you buy it).

Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 review

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

The ultimate flagship - at an ultimate price

Specifications
Release date: March 2020
Weight: 166g
Dimensions: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9-inch
Resolution: 3200 x 1440
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 12/16GB
Storage: 128/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 48MP + 12MP + ToF 3D
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+Best specs of 2020, period+5x optical, 100x digital 'Space Zoom'+Enormous 6.9-inch display
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive-Extras not worth price bump-Space Zoom dubious worth

If money were no object then the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra would rank higher on this list, as in many ways it’s arguably the best Samsung phone you can buy.

It has a massive 6.9-inch 1440 x 3200 screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, plus a quad-lens camera, headlined by a 108MP main sensor, and also featuring a 48MP periscope zoom one capable of up to 100x digital zoom.

It also of course has the same top-end chipset as the rest of the Galaxy S20 range, coupled with up to 16GB of RAM – which is more than the other two models.

So you get a bigger screen, more power, an arguably higher spec (though inconsistent) camera, and a massive 5,000mAh battery, but the price – and size – will prove impractical for many.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

5. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

A still-great Samsung flagship

Specifications
Release date: February 2019
Weight: 175g
Dimensions: 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.4-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3040
CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 4,100mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP
Front camera: 10MP + 8MP
Reasons to buy
+Excellent screen-to-body ratio+In-screen fingerprint sensor
Reasons to avoid
-Sizable price hike-Slippery design

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus spent a long time at the top of this list, and with good reason.

It’s a big upgrade over the previous year’s model, with a newer all-screen design, enabled by Samsung ditching bezels in favor of a punch-hole camera. Speaking of the camera, you get three on the back and two on the front, making this a very versatile camera phone.

The fingerprint scanner is in the screen, which is far more ideal than it being on the back as was the case with the S9 range, and there’s a big 4,100mAh battery, which gives the Galaxy S10 Plus a lot of life. So much so you might even consider using its Wireless PowerShare feature to juice up other devices with it.

The Galaxy S10 Plus also has a big 6.4-inch screen and all the power you’d expect from a 2019 flagship.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

This is a top Samsung phablet

Specifications
Release date: August 2019
Weight: 196g
Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3040
CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9825
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,300mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP + ToF 3D
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Handy S Pen stylus+The best screen on a smartphone
Reasons to avoid
-Supremely expensive-Camera isn't 'the best'

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus might have been superseded by the Note 20 Ultra, but it's still one of the best stylus-toting phones available. It comes with a massive screen, powerful processor, and four rear cameras.

The highlight of this device is the aforementioned S Pen, a stylus that helps you do loads with your device. It isn't just used for drawing and taking notes; a range of gesture controls help you get the most out of your handset.

Yes, the phone is expensive (prohibitively so, to some), but every penny you pay goes straight into one of the top Samsung phones about, and one of the best handsets full stop.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

7. Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition

Basically the Samsung Galaxy S20 Lite

Specifications
Release date: October 2020
Weight: 190g
Dimensions: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.5-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 8MP
Front camera: 32MP
Reasons to buy
+Can take great pictures+Powerful processor
Reasons to avoid
-Not very ‘lite’ in price-Cheap-feeling design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is basically a Samsung Galaxy S20 Lite, but it retains many of the Galaxy S20’s best bits.

The highlights are its screen, camera, and chipset. For the first of those you get a 6.5-inch 1080 x 2400 Super AMOLED screen with a silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

The camera meanwhile is a triple-lens one, consisting of a 12MP main snapper, a 12MP ultra-wide one, and an 8MP telephoto one, ensuring all the main photography bases are covered. In our review we also found that these lenses performed well.

Finally, the chipset is either the Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 – the former is what you get with the 5G version of the phone, while the latter comes with the 4G model, but both are high-end. The build could be a better and the price is perhaps a bit steep, but otherwise the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition really is a fan pleaser.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review

Samsung Galaxy S10

8. Samsung Galaxy S10

Similar to the S10 Plus, but smaller

Specifications
Release date: February 2019
Weight: 157g
Dimensions: 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3040
CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/512GB
Battery: 3,400mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 16MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+In-screen fingerprint sensor+Wireless PowerShare feature
Reasons to avoid
-Another price hike-Not the best camera

Samsung's Galaxy S10 is largely similar to its plus-sized sibling, just a slight downgrade and slightly more compact.

You miss a few features by opting for the S10 over the Plus, but if you're looking to save a little money it's still going to offer the core highlights, such as that Infinity-O screen, the slick design and high-end internals.

The fingerprint scanner is also in the screen on the Galaxy S10, plus it looks gorgeous with an incredible 550 pixels per inch on this model. You've got a variety of color options, plus there's the choice of either 128GB or 512GB depending on how much space you'll need.

The battery life on the standard S10 isn't as great as it is on the Plus, but it's not something to turn your nose up at as it can still easily survive a full day of use.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

(Image credit: TechRadar)

9. Samsung Galaxy Note 20

The world’s priciest plastic phone?

Specifications
Release date: August 2020
Weight: 192g
Dimensions: 161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4,300mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Versatile three-camera array+S-Pen is brilliant, as ever
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for a phone with a plastic back-Only has a 60Hz display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is less exciting than the Note 20 Ultra. In fact, given its plastic back and FHD+ screen, it’s rather less premium than you might expect from a handset in the Note range, but it’s still well worth considering if you want a relatively affordable phone with an S Pen.

And this phone has more than just the S Pen going for it. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 also has high-end power, thanks to its Snapdragon 865 Plus or Exynos 990 chipset (depending on region) and 8GB of RAM. Plus its triple-lens camera (with a 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, and 12MP ultra-wide sensor) allows for versatile photography.

Despite its lesser specs this is still far from an affordable handset, but if you can’t stretch to the Note 20 Ultra and you want something newer than the Note 10, then it remains a good choice.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review

(Image credit: Future)

10. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The most futuristic phone of 2020

Specifications
Release date: August 2020
Weight: 282g
Dimensions: 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9mm (unfolded)
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 7.6 and 6.23-inch
Resolution: 1768 x 2208 and 816 x 2260
CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP + 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Much bigger front Cover Display+Refined second-gen hinge
Reasons to avoid
-As expensive as phones come-Lacks Samsung’s best cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the company’s best foldable yet at the time of writing, improving on the original Galaxy Fold in a number of ways, and offering a more premium experience than the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

This really is a tablet and a phone all in one, and it looks and feels suitably futuristic, while also packing a much bigger (and therefore more useful) Cover Display than its predecessor. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is power packed as well, and has the same 120Hz refresh rate as other premium Samsung phones.

However, it lacks Samsung’s best cameras and makes most smartphones look cheap, which is why we can’t rank it higher. But if Samsung can fix those issues for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 then it might have a masterpiece on its hands.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review

Samsung Galaxy A80

(Image credit: Future)

11. Samsung Galaxy A80

Samsung's best affordable smartphone so far

Specifications
Release date: May 2019
Weight: 220g
Dimensions: 165.2 x 76.5 x 9.3mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 730
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 3,700mAh
Rear camera: 48MP, 8MP, ToF 3D camera
Front camera: Same as rear
Reasons to buy
+Novel pop-up spinning camera+High quality screen+Fast charging is speedy
Reasons to avoid
-Slow to use-Camera is OK, not great-Unreliable data connection

Samsung's premium Note and S-series aren't its only good phones, as it has the Galaxy A devices that provide toned-down specs at lower prices. However A phones are also Samsung's testing grounds for more novel ideas, and that's exactly what the Samsung Galaxy A80 is, with its cameras.

When you want to take a selfie on the Samsung Galaxy A80, which has no front-facing camera (in order to make way for a full screen with no complications), a panel housing the device's rear cameras pops up and spins around, which is a quirky and fun gimmick.

There's more to the phone than its cameras though, with a 6.7-inch AMOLED display and impressive charging speed, making it a decent option for people who don't need one of Samsung's premium devices.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A80 review

Samsung Galaxy S10e

(Image credit: TechRadar)

12. Samsung Galaxy S10e

A more affordable S10

Specifications
Release date: March 2019
Weight: 150g
Dimensions: 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm
OS: Android 9
Screen size: 5.8-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2280
CPU: Snapdragon 855 / Exynos 9820
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 3,100mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 16MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Superb camera for price+Easy to use in one hand
Reasons to avoid
-No in-screen scanner-Thicker than the S10

Fancy an S10 but don't want to spend lots of money? Samsung has you covered with its more affordable Galaxy S10e, which is a new addition to the company's range of flagship phones for 2019.

The S10e loses a lot of the top-end features you'll find on the two S10 products above in this list such as the in-screen scanner or high-res display, but it has a slick design for its lower price.

There's a dual rear camera that can take some impressive shots considering the price of this handset, plus you'll be sporting a top-end chipset inside alongside either 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

Overall, the Galaxy S10e isn't anywhere near as impressive as the other two parts of the S10 range but if you're not looking to spend lots of money, this is one of the top Samsung phones for you.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy S10e review