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Best phones in Australia 2021: top 12 smartphones tested and ranked

Best Phones in Australia
Apple, Samsung and Google all feature prominently in our list of the best phones in Australia (Image credit: TechRadar)

UPDATE: Our list of the best phones in Australia in 2021 has been updated to include the new Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus, two near-identical phones separated only by their size. Find out what we have to say about them on page 3!

Here at TechRadar, we check out almost every phone under the sun, putting the ones that matter through our vigorous testing process to create our in-depth mobile phone reviews.

However, with so many to choose from, we've spent hours whittling them down to a top ten, taking into account power, specs, design and value for money. And we'll always point you in the direction of the latest handsets – after all, nobody wants to be carting around a phone that doesn't get any updates in a year's time, right?

So whether it's one of the best Android phones, the latest iPhone or one from a range of other cool manufacturers, we've extensively tested them all so you don't have to!

Here are our rankings for the best phones that are currently available in Australia in 2021. Simply click on the phone you read more about.

Best phone at a glance:

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 / Note 20 Ultra
3. Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21 Plus
4. iPhone 12 / iPhone 12 mini
5. Google Pixel 5
6. iPhone 12 Pro / iPhone 12 Pro Max
7. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
8. iPhone SE (2020)
9. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
10. iPhone 11
11. Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition
12. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

A top tier smartphone, and it takes our best crown

Specifications
Release date: January 2021
Weight: 227g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+The best camera zoom+Mesmerizing design
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive at any level-No microSD card slot

We think the S21 Ultra is a fantastic choice for you with one of the best camera suites on a smartphone, phenomenal power, great battery life, a solid design and a whole host of other great features. 

Screen: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a top 6.8-inch screen with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and a QHD+ resolution (and, unlike last year's models, this display can do both simultaneously). Those who like flatter screens will also be happy to know that Samsung has reduced the curve on the glass that adorns Galaxy S21 Ultra's face. 

Battery life: The Samsung S21 Ultra's 5,000mAh battery is solid, and we found it'd often see us through a whole day from a full charge. If you're playing around with the 120Hz refresh rate, battery life is likely to drain faster, especially if you're an avid gamer. That said, it's still a top choice if you're after a long lasting phone.

Please note that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra does not come with a charger in the box, so you'll have to use your existing one or buy one separately.

Camera: Samsung's 108MP camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is going to be the highlight for many, and the camera doesn't disappoint on this phone. Like its predecessor, you can take 100x zoom photography, but it's far improved here over the Galaxy S20 Ultra with two telephoto cameras working in tandem to do the heavy lifting. You also have a neat new feature in Director's View, which allows you to record video on the rear and front cameras simultaneously – perfect for vlogging.

Mini verdict: The Galaxy S21 Ultra isn't a cheap handset, sporting with a pricetag that's costlier than any competing Android flagship, but if you're looking for the ultimate smartphone experience in 2021 you will be hard pressed to do better than this latest from Samsung.

Read our full review: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
See the best Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra telco plans
See the best Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra outright deals

Thinking of insuring your phone?

If you've just bought an expensive, top-of-the-line smartphone, some of which cost up to AU$2,000, you may want to consider insuring it against damage or theft. You can protect against those scenarios with good contents insurance – to compare contents insurance in Australia, head to our sister site Mozo.com.au.

Stephen Lambrechts

Stephen is a Senior Editor who primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar in Australia, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, and consuming all forms of media at the highest quality possible. He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, sneakers or Italian horror cinema.