Android Authority’s pick for best phone of 2021: Editor’s Choice

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Smartphone seasons come and go and there are always a handful of standout devices. Regardless, only one can be crowned the best phone of the year, be it the best Android phone or the best smartphone overall.

In this article, we will share Android AuthorityEditor’s Choice winner for best phone of 2021, along with devices that made the top five. And tomorrow, we’ll open voting for our Reader’s Choice winner and share our full list of the best products of 2021. Let’s do this.

How we choose our winner

Best 2021 Smartphone Cameras Lined Up: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, Google Pixel 6 Pro, OnePlus 9 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Sony Xperia 1 III, Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Deciding which phone is the “best” is a complicated problem. People have personal preferences, platform biases, and good and bad experiences to fall back on. Brands have different markets, product availability, and customer service and support backgrounds. So the devices have different prices, functions, and target audiences. It can be a minefield to call anything better when there are so many variables. That’s where we come in.

We review a lot of technology, but phones have always been our bread and butter.

We review a lot of technology here at Android Authority but telephones have always been our bread and butter. Hundreds of hours are spent reviewing, testing and comparing the best of the best from all segments of the mobile market. Our team of seasoned critics and writers know the technology we write about better than anyone. But as the year draws to a close, our team tops our pick for the best phone of the year, based not only on performance, but also value for money and other intangibles like long-term support.

First, we created a shortlist based on the biggest and highest-rated phones we’ve tested throughout the year. Then we make sure our list has devices from all the major brands and prices. We include devices sold in the US only and worldwide. Finally, we put the list to a vote. Our most experienced reviewers assign points based on your choices and the phone with the most points wins overall. Simple.

Android AuthorityEditor of the Year’s Choice Phone: Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 leaning against a bridge showing the home screen and screen up close

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

When the dust settled on this year’s vote, it wasn’t even close. We had a very clear winner on our hands. The Pixel 6 offers a feature set almost as complete as its pricier stable companion, but with a price tag that can’t be ignored. The Google Pixel 6 is Android AuthorityThe phone chosen by the editor of the year for 2021.

The Pixel 6 has a price tag that cannot be ignored for what it offers.

For just $ 599, we rate the Pixel 6 as one of the easiest phones of the year to recommend in our review. Google is finally getting serious about smartphone manufacturing and the Pixel 6 is a breath of fresh air. It includes much of the flagship experience of the Pixel 6 Pro, but removes only the right parts to reduce the price. We think the Pixel 6 is the best phone for most people in 2021.

Do not miss: Pixel 6 Series Buyer’s Guide

google pixel 6 sorta seafoam press image

Google Pixel 6

The most affordable Pixel

Google Pixel 6 features a 6.4-inch FHD + screen and runs on the new Google Tensor SoC. It has an updated camera system, exclusive software features, and offers some of the best hardware Google has ever produced.

Second place: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Silver rear

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

However, at $ 1,199, it’s twice the cost of the Pixel 6 and out of reach for many. But if you can afford to drop that much on one phone, it has everything you could want (except a charger). Samsung really brought its A game in 2021. The Galaxy S21 Ultra shows what more expensive phones are capable of in 2021.

Third place (tied): Google Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Reinforcing how great the Samsung and Google product lines were this year, we were tied for third place: the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3. Google’s most expensive phone and Samsung’s sleekest foldable scored high. scores with our team. Both devices add a telephoto lens that the base model Pixel 6 and Samsung’s other 2021 foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, miss out on.

Until next time: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Buyer’s Guide

However, the extras here will cost you. The Pixel 6 Pro costs $ 300 more than the regular Pixel 6. That’s nothing compared to the $ 700 price difference between the Z Flip 3 and the Z Fold 3. For those with deeper pockets, though both the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3 leave nothing to lose. . They also give us an idea of ​​where Google and Samsung are placing their future bets.

Fifth place (tied): iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max

It certainly cannot be said that we are against Apple when two iPhones tied for fifth place. (In case you think our math is wrong, we consider the Pixel 6 Pro and Z Fold 3 to have taken places three and four.) While there was nothing mind-blowing about this year’s iPhones, they iterated well on the already excellent iPhone 12 series. IPhones have gotten really good in recent years and are great options for many people.

See more: IPhone 13 Series Buyer’s Guide

Even in this tie, we see the same high-low price dichotomy at play, from the more affordable $ 799 iPhone 13 to the $ 1,099 iPhone 13 Pro Max. The simple truth is, good phones are cheaper / cheaper phones are better these days. Spending above the $ 1,000 threshold is only necessary if you want the best of the best that each brand has to offer. That said, the experience in the $ 600-800 price range is just as good for the vast majority of things.

Reader’s Choice Award – Give Your Opinion

As always, we also want to hear from you. Do you think value for money plays an important role when choosing the best phone of the year? Or is money not a problem when calculating the best? Tomorrow we will begin voting for our Reader’s Choice phone of the year with an initial list of more than 30 of the best phones of 2021 at all prices.

From that list, you will narrow it down to a more manageable short list which we will then narrow down to a final round with new voting opportunities at each stage. If you want to make sure your favorite is crowned our Reader’s Choice pick for the best phone of 2021, be sure to stay tuned all week on both the site and our social channels.

That’s all from us, but be sure to come back tomorrow to see our picks for the rest of the best products of the year in many other categories. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite 2021 phone. We’ll add a link to the Reader’s Choice article right here once the voting begins.

Summary: See our 2020 Editor’s Choice winner and 2020 Reader’s Choice winner.

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