The best Samsung smartphones of 2021


Which is the best Samsung smartphone for me? This is definitely not an easy question because Samsung offers a wide range of smartphones that covers quite a wide price range. We will therefore first introduce you to our personal favorites before moving on to all of its other devices according to their respective model series, from the Galaxy Z to the Galaxy S and A, and all the way to the Galaxy Note and Xcover. Of course, we will also briefly introduce our personal favorites here.

The best Samsung smartphones compared:

  Editor’s choice Best value-for-money 3rd place 4th place 5th place 6th place 7th place 8th place 9th place
Device name
MSRP from $1,199 from $499 from $999 from $699 from $799 from $539 from $1,799 from $279 from $1,199
Image Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S21 Samsung Galaxy A72 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
Technical specifications

6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED

3200×1440 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

128/256/512

GB ROM 

12/16 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 108 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera 1: 10 MP

Telecamera 2: 10 MP

5,000 mAh

January 2021

6.5-inch Super AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G

128/256 GB ROM

6/8 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 64 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Macro camera: 5 MP

Depth camera: 5 MP

4,500 mAh

March 2021

6.67-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2640×1080 pixels
1.9 inches, AMOLED
260×512 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 128/256 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Dual camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
3,300 mAh
August 2021

6.5-inch Dynamic AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Exynos 990 / Snapdragon 865

128/256 
GB ROM

6/8 GB RAM

Triple camera

Main camera: 12 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 64 MP

4,500 mAh

September 2020

6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

128/256 
GB ROM

8 GB RAM

Triple camera

Main camera: 12 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 64 MP

4,000 mAh

January 2021

6.7-inch Super AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Snapdragon 720G

128/256 
GB ROM

6/8 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 64 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 8 MP

Macro camera: 5 MP

5000 mAh

March 2021

7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2208×1768 pixels
6.2-inch Super-AMOLED
2268×832 Pixel
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
256/512 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Telecamera: 12 MP
4,400 mAh
August 2021

6.5-inch LCD

1600×720 pixels

MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity

64/128 GB ROM

4/6/8 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 48 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 8 MP

Macro camera: 5 MP

Depth camera: 2 MP

5,000 mAh

January 2021

6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED

3088×1440 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

128/256/512 
GB ROM     

8/12 
GB RAM

Triple camera

Main camera: 108 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 12 MP

4,500 mAh

August 2020

Pros
  • Bold design
  • AMOLED with WQHD + & 120 Hz
  • Powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC
  • Most versatile photo module on the market including 10x zoom
  • Good battery life
  • OneUI 3.1 is convincing
  • Very stylish 120 Hz AMOLED display
  • Good battery life
  • Good main camera
  • IP certification
  • Nice workmanship
  • 4 years of security updates
  • Exciting design
  • Super compact
  • Rear camera can double up as a front camera
  • 120 Hz AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 865 is still fast even in 2021
  • Good battery life
  • Good quality plastic
  • IP68 certification
  • 3x optical zoom
  • Comparatively compact
  • Fast pace, also comparable to Plus & Ultra
  • Surprisingly sturdy plastic back
  • Long software update period
  • Exynos 2100 
  • Longevity thanks to 4 years of software updates
  • IP67 certification
  • Good battery life
  • Versatile camera
  • Headphone jack
  • IPX8 certification
  • 80% more robust screen
  • Unique design
  • Support for the S Pen
  • Amazing screen
  • Three years of operating system updates
  • Four years of security updates
  • Headphone jack
  • Battery life
  • Good camera setup
  • Unbeatable S-Pen operation
  • great high-end equipment
  • Chic design (new colors!)
Cons
  • Exynos 2100 (Europe/Asia only) is not more powerful than the Snapdragon 888 SoC
  • No charger included
  • No microSD port
  • Fast charging at only 25 watts
  • Superfluous S-Pen
  • Its price
  • Secondary cameras are not so convincing
  • Limited SoC performance
  • Fast charging technology is slower than the competition
  • No telecamera option
  • Unrefined vibration motor
  • Price is still barely affordable
  • Display has a crease
  • Battery capacity is below average for this class
  • Slow loading times
  • No headphone jack
  • 30x zoom is just marketing fluff
  • Exynos 2100 (Europe/Asia only) is not more powerful than the Snapdragon 888 SoC
  • Battery life is too short
  • No S-Pen support
  • No UWB chip
  • No expandable memory 
  • No adaptive refresh rate
  • Fast charging at only with 25 watts
  • Software still needs some refining
  • Can see crease in the display
  • Competition offers faster quick charging
  • Pretty boring design
  • Inconsistent camera quality
  • Incredibly expensive
  • Over-the-top marketing
  • Exynos SoC in EU/Asia models
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As of September 2021, you will be able to find Samsung smartphones from six different product families on the market. Each of these normally occupies their very own price niche. We have divided this article into the various product families accordingly, revealing our favorites for each product family to you and, of course, presenting the alternatives. The shortcuts in the table of contents will take you directly to the respective Galaxy series.

Quick links:

Galaxy Z: Foldable smartphones from $999 to $1,799

  Editor’s choice Best value-for-money 3rd place
Device name
MSRP from $1,799 from $999 from $1,799
Image Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Technical specifications 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2208×1768 pixels
6.2-inch Super-AMOLED
2268×832 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
256/512 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Telecamera: 12 MP
4,400 mAh
August 2021

6.67-inch Dynamic AMOLED

2640×1080 pixels

1.9 inches, AMOLED

260×512 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

128/256 
GB ROM

8 GB RAM

Dual camera

Main camera: 12 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

3,300 mAh

August 2021

7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2208×1768 pixels
6.2-inch Super AMOLED
2260×816 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
256/512 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Telecamera: 12 MP
4,500 mAh
August 2020
Pros
  • IPX8 certification
  • 80% more robust screen
  • Unique design
  • Support for the S Pen
  • Exciting design
  • Super compact
  • Rear camera can double up as a front camera
  • Optimized one-handed operation
  • Solid hinge
  • Almost bezel-less display when open
  • Generous secondary display
  • Intuitive multitasking
  • Powerful Snapdragon 865+ SoC
Cons
  • Software still needs some refining
  • Can see crease in the display
  • Competition offers faster quick charging
  • Price is still barely affordable
  • Display has a crease
  • Battery capacity is below average for this class
  • Price
  • Average camera performance
  • Battery life
  • Foldable modes could be improved
Ratings Hands-on Hands-on Review
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August 2021 marked a paradigm shift for Samsung’s smartphones. Instead of a new generation of Galaxy Notes, the South Korean company presented a couple of foldables from the Galaxy Z series: the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. For “bargain hunters”, the older Galaxy Z Fold 2 generation handsets may be an exciting option.

From a technical point of view, the most impressive of the two would be the Galaxy Z Fold 3, where Samsung packs in everything possible including S-Pen support and an under-display camera. The ‘wow’ factor certainly lies with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, which is really super compact when folded – and hardly compromises in terms of hardware. 

For fans of the Z-Fold form factor, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 could be an exciting option simply because it is a little bit cheaper. Last year’s foldable device was already available several times in the summer for less than $1,000. You can read a detailed breakdown of the differences between the two generations here:

I found it interesting that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 slipped well below the €1,000 mark just a few weeks after its launch. No other foldable smartphone experienced such a steep price drop so soon after its launch.

Samsung Galaxy S: Flagships from $699 to $1,199

  Editor’s choice Best value-for-money 3rd place 4th place
Device name
MSRP from $1,199 from $699 from $799 from $999
Image Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S21 Samsung Galaxy S21 +
Technical specifications

6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED

3200×1440 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

 128/256/512

GB ROM 

12/16 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 108 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera 1: 10 MP

Telecamera 2: 10 MP

5,000 mAh

January 2021

6.5-inch Dynamic AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Exynos 990 / Snapdragon 865

128/256 
GB ROM

6/8 GB RAM

Triple camera

Main camera: 12 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 64 MP

4,500 mAh

September 2020

6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

128/256 
GB ROM

8 GB RAM

Triple camera

Main camera: 12 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 64 MP

4,000 mAh

January 2021

6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2400×1080 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
128 / 256 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Telecamera: 64 MP
4,800 mAh
January 2021
Pros
  • Bold design
  • AMOLED with WQHD + & 120 Hz
  • Powerful Exynos 2100 SoC
  • Most versatile photo module on the market including 10x zoom
  • Good battery life
  • OneUI 3.1 is convincing
  • 120 Hz AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 865 is still fast even in 2021
  • Good battery life
  • Good quality plastic
  • IP68 certification
  • 3x optical zoom
  • Comparatively compact
  • Fast pace, also comparable to Plus & Ultra
  • Surprisingly sturdy plastic back
  • Long software update period
  • Brillant 120 Hz display
  • Exynos 2100 performs well
  • Fresh design
  • Solid build quality
  • Great triple camera performance
  • OneUI 3.1 and long software update policy
Cons
  • Exynos 2100 (Europe/Asia) is not more powerful than the Snapdragon 888 SoC
  • No charger included
  • No microSD port
  • Fast charging at only 25 watts
  • Superfluous S-Pen
  • Its price
  • Slow loading times
  • No headphone jack
  • 30x zoom is just marketing fluff
  • Exynos 2100 (Europe/Asia) is not more powerful than the Snapdragon 888 SoC
  • Battery life is too short
  • No S-Pen support
  • No UWB chip
  • No expandable memory 
  • Exynos 2100 (Europe/Asia) is not more powerful than the Snapdragon 888 SoC
  • Telecamera performance is deceptive
  • No microSD slot
  • 4,800 mAh battery life is not outstanding
  • Not S-Pen compatible
  • Not innovative enough
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In the first quarter of each year, Samsung introduces new Galaxy S models. In 2021, we saw the Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Ultra revealed in addition to the basic Galaxy S21 model. Apart from that, there was a so-called “Fan Edition” for the very first time last year as Samsung introduced the Galaxy S20 FE in October 2020, with its successor, the Galaxy S21 FE tipped to arrive in the coming weeks.

Having scored 4.5 out of 5 possible stars, the Galaxy S21 Ultra certainly performed well in its review. No wonder: the smartphone is almost unrivaled in all aspects and therefore – if your budget allows it, it is also our absolute favorite from this year’s Galaxy S21 series. Compared to the other S21 models, the “Ultra” stands out in particular because of the amazing camera configuration and performance.

If you can live with a few compromises, then the Galaxy S20 FE is also a very viable candidate at the moment. This flagship device costs less than half the price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra after all. Please note that the Galaxy S20 FE is available in three different versions: With Exynos and Snapdragon SoCs, and with LTE or 5G connectivity. You can check out our detailed comparison between the Galaxy S20 FE and the S20 FE 5G here.

When it comes to the Galaxy S20 FE in particular, you get great value in a smartphone at its price point. But do be aware that its successor, the Galaxy S21 FE is tipped to arrive in the coming months.

If you are still looking for alternatives apart from Samsung devices, then do check out our comparison article of the best smartphones that is featured in the link below. For those who love capturing photos with their handset, we have also compiled our own list of the best camera smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy A: Mid-range smartphones from $200 to $550

  Editor’s choice Best value-for-money 3rd place 4th place 5th place 6th place 7th place
Device name
MSRP from $499 from $279 from $539 from $530 from $499 from $205 from $208
Image Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Samsung Galaxy A32 5G Samsung Galaxy A72 Samsung Galaxy A52s Samsung Galaxy A52 Samsung Galaxy A52 Samsung Galaxy A52
Technical specifications

6.5-inch Super AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Snapdragon 750G

128/256 GB ROM

6/8 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 64 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Macro camera: 5 MP

Depth camera: 5 MP

4,500 mAh

March 2021

6.5-inch LCD
1600×720 pixels
MediaTek MT6853 Dimensity
64/128 GB ROM
4/6/8 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main camera: 48 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 8 MP
Macro camera: 5 MP
Depth camera: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
January 2021

6.7-inch Super AMOLED

2400×1080 pixels

Snapdragon 720G

128/256 
GB ROM

6/8 GB RAM

Quad camera

Main camera: 64 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 8 MP

Macro camera: 5 MP

5000 mAh

March 2021

6.5-inch Super AMOLED
2400×1080 pixels
Snapdragon 778 5G
128 / 256 GB ROM
6 / 8 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main camera: 64 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Macro camera: 5 MP
Depth camera: 5 MP
4,500 mAh
August 2021
6.5-inch Super AMOLED
2400×1080 pixels
Snapdragon 720G
128 / 256 GB ROM
4 / 6 / 8 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main camera: 64 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Macro camera: 5 MP
Depth camera: 5 MP
4,500 mAh
March 2021
6.6-inch Super AMOLED
2400×1080 pixels
MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700
64 / 128 GB ROM
4 / 6 / 8 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 48 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 5 MP
Depth camera: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
June 2021
6.4-inch Super AMOLED
1600×720 pixels
MediaTek Helio G80
64 / 128 GB ROM
4 / 6 GB RAM
Quad camera
Main camera: 48 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 8 MP
Macro camera: 2 MP
Depth camera: 2 MP
5,000 mAh
June 2021
Pros
  • Very stylish 120 Hz AMOLED display
  • Good battery life
  • Good main camera
  • IP certification
  • Nice workmanship
  • 4 years of security updates
  • Amazing screen
  • Three years of operating system updates
  • Four years of security updates
  • Headphone jack
  • Battery life
  • Longevity thanks to 4 years of software updates
  • IP67 certification
  • Good battery life
  • Versatile camera
  • Headphone jack
Cons
  • Secondary cameras are not so convincing
  • Limited SoC performance
  • Fast charging technology is slower than the competition
  • No telecamera option
  • Unrefined vibration motor
  • Pretty boring design
  • Inconsistent camera quality
  • No adaptive refresh rate
  • Fast charging at only with 25 watts
Rating Review Review Review Not yet reviewed Not yet reviewed Not yet reviewed Not yet reviewed
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The Galaxy A series begins from $200 onwards and goes all the way to the Galaxy A72, which costs just under $600 featuring 256 GB of storage space. This means that the mid-range handsets are more broadly positioned than many other smartphone manufacturers with their entire portfolio. The handsets of the Galaxy A series from 2021 are – as far as we have reviewed them – a rock-solid choice in any case.

You can read more about the differences between the Galaxy A and Galaxy S series in the following article:

Samsung is of course, not alone in the market with its Galaxy A series devices. If you are looking for alternatives outside the Samsung bubble, we would recommend this article of the best mid-range smartphones to choose from. 

Samsung Galaxy M: Entry-level handsets from $100 to $250

Samsung has placed its entry-level phones under the Galaxy M series. The smartphones cover a price range between $100 and $250. Unfortunately, we have not had the chance to review any of the Galaxy M series to date and therefore, we are unable to provide you with any recommendations. 

Samsung Galaxy M32 Heropic
Galaxy M: This is the name of the entry-level smartphones from Samsung that fall with the €100 to €250 price range. / © Samsung

We are still working on obtaining review units of the Galaxy M models in the future. Until then, you will find our favorites in the following linked article of the best sub-$200 smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy Note: Will the original S-Pen range retire?

  Editor’s choice Best value-for-money
Device name
MSRP from $1,199 from $999
Image Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G Samsung Galaxy Note 20
Technical specifications

6.9-inch Super AMOLED Plus

3088×1440 pixels

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

128/256/512 GB ROM

8/12 GB RAM

Triple camera

Main camera: 108 MP

Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP

Telecamera: 12 MP

4,500 mAh

August 2020

6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus
2400×1080 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
256 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 12 MP
Telecamera: 64 MP
4,300 mAh
August 2020
Pros
  • Good camera setup
  • Unbeatable S-Pen operation
  • great high-end equipment
  • Chic design (new colors!)
  • Great AMOLED screen
  • Versatile photo module
  • Good everyday performance
Cons
  • Incredibly expensive
  • Over-the-top marketing
  • Exynos SoC in EU/Asia models
  • Poor battery life
  • Exynos 990 (Europe/Asia) has overheating issues
  • Plastic chassis
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Even if there was no new Note model (yet) in 2021: The Note 20 series from 2020 is still available in stores and offers a great smartphone experience, where some of these stocks are now available at reasonable prices. And who knows? Perhaps the Galaxy Note 20 will eventually experience a surge in value by virtue of being a collector’s item as it could very well be the last Note of all time 😉

NextPit Samsung Galaxy Note 20 note
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is still a great smartphone in 2021 / © NextPit

Almost exactly a year after its launch, the spectacular Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is already available for well below $1,000. And if you can live with the “normal” Note 20, you can find it for around $700. At that price, you enjoy great workmanship, fantastic cameras, Samsung’s successful One UI user interface, and of course, the S-Pen experience with a specially dedicated slot for it on the chassis.

Samsung Galaxy Xcover: Rugged smartphones

  Editor’s choice Best value-for-money 3rd place
Device name
MSRP from $425 from $365 from $265
Image Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro Samsung Galaxy XCover 5 Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s
Technical specifications 6.3-inch LCD
2340×1080 pixels
Exynos 9611
64 GB ROM
4 GB RAM
Dual camera
Main camera: 25 MP
Ultra wide-angle: 8 MP
4,050 mAh
January 2020
5.3-inch LCD
1480×720 pixels
Exynos 850
64 GB ROM
4 GB RAM
Single camera
Main kamera: 16 MP
3,000 mAh
March 2021
5.0-inchLCD
1280×720 pixels
Exynos 7885
32 GB ROM
3 GB RAM
Single camera
Main camera: 16 MP
2,800 mAh
July 2019
Pros
Cons
Ratings Not yet reviewed Not yet reviewed Not yet reviewed
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When you first take a look at the technical specifications, the Galaxy XCover series is not very sexy at all. But you will definitely receive maximum protection with the IP68 rating. This means these smartphones should definitely be able to survive everyday sports or even get abused at a construction site. After all, the most modern hardware is of little use to you if the smartphone screen cracks on its very first drop. 

Do take note that there is also an Enterprise Edition of these handsets. These models offer an extended warranty as well as options for remote maintenance and management by administrators. 

How to buy smartphones at great prices

Depending on when you read this article, the wait for discount campaigns or sales can be even more worthwhile. These are campaigns such as Black Friday, where you can pick up smartphones for a wee bit cheaper than usual. I have collated the information for you in the following table.

Upcoming sales events

You might want to wait for the following dates before making your purchase
Event Dates
Singles Day 11. November 2021
Black Week 23. to 27 November 2021
Black Friday 27 November 2021
Cyber Monday 30 November 2021

While we are on the subject of compiling everything: How do you rate our list of the recommended Samsung devices? Let us know in the comments and win… okay there is nothing to win but I’m still interested in your feedback!



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