The best smartphones of 2021 (so far) – Stuff

Did your favourite flagship make the cut?

Supply chain problems? What supply chain problems? The pandemic might have put a spanner in countless launch calendars works last year, but normal service has pretty much resumed – and 2021 has been a bumper year for handsets.

From Apple and Samsung to Oppo, OnePlus and Xiaomi, we’ve seen a fleet of powerful flagships and excellent affordable phones hit shelves this year – and there’s still a whole quarter of it left.

Want to see which other devices we’re still expecting to see this year? Check out our regularly updated list of 2021’s most anticipated releases. Or for a shortcut to the top phones of the year so far, just scroll down.

Additional words: Andrew Hayward

10) Redmi Note 10 Pro (from £229)

Xiaomi’s Redmi devices have always been about value, but the Note 10 Pro proves there can be plenty to shout about in a low-cost smartphone. A bargain blower with specs above its price bracket, the Redmi Note 10 Pro packs a 108MP main camera sensor, a 6.67in AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rates (outperforming the OnePlus Nord 2), plus a massive 5020mAh battery (backed up by 33W fast charging speeds). Sure, its cameras can’t compete with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21 (despite the shared sensor) and its plastic build is hardly premium. But provided you can look past a few interface gremlins, this is easily the best budget smartphone you can buy right now.

9) Apple iPhone 13 Mini (from £679)

Not many people bought the iPhone 12 Mini. That’s a shame, because it was a pocket-friendly iPhone with few compromises. The iPhone 13 Mini takes that same mould and makes it even better: outwardly identical to its compact predecessor (apart from a bigger camera bump), it usefully builds on camera performance and battery life, while the A15 chip propels it towards the top of the performance charts. There’s nothing else quite like the iPhone 13 Mini, either in Apple’s line-up or in the wider smartphone market. It’s a helpfully hand-friendly handset, offering a full-fat flagship experience – only without the fat.

8) Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (from £1599)

Despite predictions to the contrary, 2021 hasn’t been the year when full-fat foldables take over the flagship market. But Samsung is still trying to make the folding phone work. And while the Z Fold 3 is seriously expensive, it offers an unparalleled touchscreen experience: it’s an unusual yet usable device that’s neither mobile nor tablet. Besides the 6.2in OLED panel up front, you’ll find a whopping 7.6in AMOLED inside that’s sharp, vibrant and ideal for multi-tasking. That’s not to say it’s flawless: there’s still a visible crease down the centre of the main display, it’s hefty at 271g and the under-screen selfie camera needs work. All the same, if you want a truly futuristic smartphone (and you’re ready to accept the compromises of early adoption) then the Z Fold 3 is the best folding phone you can get right now.

7) Xiaomi 11T Pro (from £599)

Coming hot on the heels of the Mi 11, the 11T Pro is a mid-tier marvel that puts pricier phones on notice. With a Snapdragon 888 processor inside, its performance was never in doubt, guaranteeing a near-flawless Android experience – provided you’re happy with Xiaomi’…….


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