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Best business smartphones 2021: the top handsets for work and productivity

(Image credit: Apple)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

If you're buying a personal smartphone there might be several things you look for, but a business user will probably might need a completely different set of features. It will need to last a long time between charges, give you versatility in the apps you use, in all security, and have a big enough screen to see lots of work. Oh and don't forget the all important after sales and support.

Not all smartphones tick all these boxes, which is why this list isn't just a copy of our guide to the best smartphones. No, the best business smartphones need a little bit more, and they need to keep providing it for a long time too, not just when you take it out the box for the first time.

It can't always be easy to tell how useful a handset and its features will be for you though, which is why we've drawn up this list of the best business and work phones you can buy right now.

  • If you landed here looking for best business phones (the good old fashioned landline models that sit on a desk in an office), then try our best VOIP phone guide.

All of these should be more than capable of running the latest business apps for Android as well as iOS apps for iPad/iPhone as applicable, everything from PDF apps to privacy services, as well as connecting with your business phone service. We've also got a list of the best business tablets if that's more useful to you.

With phone makers offering ideal for employees of all levels, we’ve updated this guide to give you the very latest buying advice to help you choose the best smartphones for business use. We'll keep updating it too when new phones come out, as long as they're great for business, so perhaps see the Samsung Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12 on this list too.

Although some of these selections may overlap with our best phones for casual use, we've identified how these picks will help your business too, as not everyone needs the flashiest smartphone trick.

(Image credit: Future)

Best business smartphone at a glance

  1. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  2. iPhone 12
  3. Samsung Galaxy S20
  4. Google Pixel 5
  5. iPhone SE (2020)
  6. OnePlus 8
  7. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

A big productivity powerhouse

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
+Incredible camera zoom+New useful S Pen features
Reasons to avoid
-'Ultra' expensive-Slow to charge

Samsung's Note line has always been designed for business users, with top specs and the S Pen stylus bringing plenty of features and tricks, and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra represents its top device from 2020.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a top chipset, a 108MP main camera, a super high-res screen and more, enough so that it can be useful for you no matter what your job or profession.

The downside is that this phone is super expensive, enough to put some people off, but if your budget stretches to the Note 20 Ultra, we'd recommend it as your first port of call.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

iPhone 12

(Image credit: TechRadar)

2. iPhone 12

Apple best smartphone to date

Specifications
Release date: October 2020
Weight: 164g
Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm
OS: iOS 14
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1170 x 2532
CPU: Apple A14 Bionic
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
Battery: 2,815mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 12MP
Reasons to buy
+Colorful OLED display+5G-compatible
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life only okay-Price hike over iPhone 11

The newest main-series device from Apple is a great business phone, with some improvements on the iPhone 11 that are great for productivity, like 5G compatibility and a better-looking OLED display.

The iPhone 12 has great rear cameras and some snazzy color schemes, and its
magnetic MagSafe system could be great for handily charging your phone on the go.

The iPhone 12 has a smaller sibling, the iPhone 12 mini, as well as two more powerful ones, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, but for the general business users the titular model is the best.

Read the full review: Apple iPhone 12 review

Samsung Galaxy S20

(Image credit: Future)

3. Samsung Galaxy S20

A great phone with 5G

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: 1440×3200
CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
Reasons to buy
+Lots of power+5G-ready
Reasons to avoid
-Erratic fingerprint sensor-Price is high

If you're looking for a 5G phone that's great but also won't break the bank then the Samsung Galaxy S20 could be for you. The most affordable of Samsung's 2020 flagship range, it has a top-end processor, fantastic display, great cameras and 5G connectivity all for a price below that of other 5G phones. 

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S20 review

Google Pixel 5

(Image credit: TechRadar)

4. Google Pixel 5

Google's newest flagship is its most accessible

Specifications
Release date: September 2020
Weight: 151g
Dimensions: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6-inch
Resolution: 1080×2340
CPU: Snapdragon 765G
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,080mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 16MP
Front camera: 8MP
Reasons to buy
+Metal case is refreshing change+Clean Android interface
Reasons to avoid
-Middling night photography-Specs downgrade from Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 5 was a shift from the company from top-end premium phones to mid-rangers, and the phone will be great for people who want a clean and easy-to-use Android experience without the high price.

Featuring a top-class camera and metal body, the Pixel 5 is great to use and to look at, though its processing power doesn't match most the other phones on this list.

The phone is also 5G-compatible, so it'll give you access to the next generation of data connectivity. Nowadays, that's almost mandatory on a great business smartphone.

Read the full review: Google Pixel 5 review

New iPhone SE

(Image credit: Apple)

5. iPhone SE (2020)

An iPhone that won't break the bank

Specifications
Release date: April 2020
Weight: 148g
Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
OS: iOS 13
Screen size: 4.7-inch
Resolution: 7500 x 1334
CPU: A13 Bionic
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
Battery: 1,821mAh
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP
Reasons to buy
+Pretty affordable+Decent processing power
Reasons to avoid
-Small screen-Weak cameras

If you or your employees need an iPhone for iOS apps or functionality, but don't need a top-end smartphone like the iPhone 11, a decent alternative is the iPhone SE (2020), which is similar to the iPhone 8 in many ways but comes with a modern chipset and software to keep it relevant nowadays. It's not exactly a powerhouse in all departments, but if a mid-range phone is all that's required, this could be it.

Read what you need to know:  Apple iPhone SE (2020)

OnePlus 8

OnePlus 8 (Image credit: Future)

6. OnePlus 8

A solid and reliable Android smartphone

Specifications
Release date: April 2020
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 160.2 x 72.9 x 8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.55-inch
Resolution: 1080x2400
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,300mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 16MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP
Reasons to buy
+Big battery+Affordable 5G connectivity
Reasons to avoid
-No wireless charging-Camera specs aren't incredible

If you're looking for a reliable Android smartphone to use for your business, you can't go wrong with a OnePlus phone, and the OnePlus 8 blends a mid-range price with some great features you might find useful.

There's a smooth UI as well as a 90Hz refresh rate on the screen for your viewing pleasure, and the 4,300mAh battery and great processing power are also useful for a range of tasks. It's also a 5G phone, for an even lower price than Samsung's Galaxy S20 units, so if you really need that quick and reliable internet connection it'd really be useful.

Read the full review: OnePlus 8 review

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

7. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

One of the best Huawei phones to date - and it still has Google apps

Specifications
Release date: March 2020
Weight: 222g
Dimensions: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990
RAM: 12/16GB
Storage: 128/256/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 48MP + 12MP + TOF
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+Great camera performance+Samsung's best display
Reasons to avoid
-Incredibly high price-Very big

If the best business phone for you has a huge screen, large battery capacity, several top-end cameras including a 108MP main, fast processing power and 5G functionality - if there are any jobs that need all those in one - then the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is for you. The most top-end of Samsung's 2020 flagship series, it's packed to the brim with top-end specs.

Sure, it's not an affordable phone by any definition of the word, which is why we've placed it last in this list. But it certainly is a top phone for people who need it all, and if you need this for yourself or your employees, this is the phone to get.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra