Best Samsung phone 2021: Which Galaxy smartphone is right for you?

Samsung is locked in a never-ending smartphone battle with its biggest tech rival, Apple. Some might argue that Samsung is winning, if not on every front, then at least in terms of value for money. Unlike its Californian rival, Samsung has flooded the market with a series of Galaxy phone models that span a healthy price range, from the dirt-cheap Galaxy A12 to the extra-large Galaxy S21 Ultra.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best smartphones you can buy

Which Samsung phone you choose will depend on a range of factors. Budget is likely the primary component when making this decision, but you’ll also want to weigh up other important factors such as screen size, display quality, battery life and camera characteristics. Have a read of our rundown so that you can make the most informed choice before bringing your next Samsung phone to the checkout.

The best Samsung smartphones to buy

1. Samsung Galaxy S21/S21 Plus: Best for flagship lovers

Price: From £710 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Galaxy S21 contract deals

With the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus, Samsung kicked off the new year with a bang. Not a huge amount has changed from last year’s Galaxy S20, but if you’re in the market for a new flagship smartphone as 2021 begins to find its footing, then there’s simply nothing better, whichever Galaxy S21 you decide to buy. 

To begin with, Samsung’s latest all-singing and all-dancing smartphone has seen a major upgrade in the aesthetics department, with a new camera housing, matte finish and choice of colours. The large 6.2in 120Hz screen returns, as does the triple camera array, but what’s most important here is the changes on the processing front. Samsung’s own Exynos processor is no longer lagging behind its Qualcomm equivalent, and not only was it an astonishing performer in our CPU tests, but battery life is improved as well.

The Galaxy S21 Plus costs a bit more (obviously) and it has a slightly larger 6.4in screen and a bigger battery, so if size matters most to you, you might want to consider spending extra. Regardless of whether you pick up the regular model or slightly larger variant, though, you can rest assured that you’ll be rewarded with a sublime flagship that’ll be able to cope with whatever 2021 sends your way. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Samsung Exynos 2100; Screen: 6.2in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 12MP, 64MP (zoom) and 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 11

2. Samsung Galaxy A21s: Best budget Samsung phone

Price: £153 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Samsung Galaxy A21s deals

If you aren’t too keen handing over flagship-sized sums for the latest and greatest Samsung, then the Galaxy A21s is the perfect choice for the budget-conscious. It’s not the flashiest smartphone on the market, but where it counts the Galaxy A21s is a remarkable smartphone that’s filled to the brim with features for very little money.

Somehow, Samsung has managed to squeeze in a total of five cameras which, again, is rather generous considering how much it costs. It has a massive 48MP camera, which is excellent, as well as a macro, wide-angle and depth-sensing lens. Samsung certainly knows how to make a well-priced smartphone, and the Galaxy A21s, complete with Android 10, a snazzy design and a lovely screen, absolutely smashes our expectations.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A21s review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Samsung Exynos 850; Screen: 6.5in, 1,600 x 720; Camera: 48MP, 8MP (wide), 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth); Storage: 64GB; Operating system: Android 10

3. Samsung Galaxy M31: The best battery life we’ve tested

Price: £245 l Buy now from Amazon

If long-lasting battery life is at the top of your buying priorities, then there’s simply nothing better than the Galaxy M31. Not only is it the longest-lasting Samsung phone, but it also beats every other phone we’ve tested, outperforming our previous winner, the Lenovo P2, by over 90 minutes. In our continuous video playback test, the Galaxy M31 lasted a whopping 30hrs 20mins before needing to recharge, which is certainly no easy feat. It also excels in other areas too; it has a great screen, decent performance and the cameras are as good as you can get for the price. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy M31 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Samsung Exynos 9611; Screen: 6.4in, 2,340 x 1,080; Camera: 64MP, 8MP (wide), 5MP (macro), 5MP (depth); Storage: 64GB; Operating system: Android 10

4. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE: Fan-tastic value

Price: £473 | Buy now from Amazon

Now that the Galaxy S21 has arrived in shops, you might be thinking about saving a bit of cash and going for last year’s Galaxy S20 instead. However, it’s entirely possible that Samsung’s mid-generation update, the Galaxy S20 FE, might have slipped you by and if it did, it’s well worth a look as your next smartphone.

Cheaper than the S20, with better battery life and faster performance, the Galaxy S20 FE (or, Fan Edition) is pretty much the complete package. If you’re put off by the sky-high prices of the newer Galaxy S21 lineup, then the Galaxy S20 FE is easily the next best thing.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865; Screen: 6.5in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 12MP, 8MP (zoom), 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB/256GB; Operating system: Android 10

5. Samsung Galaxy A52 5G: Samsung’s best mid-range phone

Price: £399 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Galaxy A52 5G contract deals

The Samsung Galaxy series of phones doesn’t begin and end with the S and Note lines. Samsung’s A-series lineup is better suited for lighter wallets, and the Galaxy A52 5G is perhaps Samsung’s best-priced smartphone yet. With a 120Hz display, surprisingly nippy performance and a solid suite of cameras, you’re getting a pretty good deal for something that costs almost half the price of the Galaxy S21. 

Sure, it doesn’t look as eye-catching, but where it counts the Galaxy A52 5G has scaled the ranks, and there’s no doubt that it’s the best mid-range phone you can buy right now.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A52 5G review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Samsung Exynos 9611; Screen: 6.5in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 64MP, 12MP (wide), 5MP (macro), 5MP (depth); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 11

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Bigger, better, more expensive

Price: £999 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest Galaxy Note 20 Ultra contract deals

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the perfect Android smartphone. The only reason it isn’t at the top of this list is that its launch price is especially hard to swallow; starting at £1,179, that’s simply a figure we can’t endorse, especially when other, cheaper, Samsung phones do things just as well. Still, if you can afford it, then you’ll find an excellent Android smartphone in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It’s a rapid performer, takes great pictures, comes with an excellent S Pen stylus and the software is. a delight too. 

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Samsung Exynos 990; Screen: 6.9in, 3,088 x 1,440; Camera: 108-megapixel, 12-megapixel zoom, 12-megapixel wide; Storage: 256GB, 512GB; Operating system: Android 10

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