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Best Android phones to buy for 2021 – CNET


Phone technology moves fast and today’s top phone manufacturers are pushing out innovations quicker than ever before. Features such as Super AMOLED displays and super fast 5G connectivity are commonplace, with more futuristic tech like foldable displays available for those who want cutting-edge phones (and who have the deep pockets to pay for them). Samsung’s Galaxy line dominates the Android category and that’s likely not going to end anytime soon. But other companies are gunning for the honor of being the best Android phone — and you, the potential customer, benefit from all this competition.

A number of fantastic Android smartphone options are available at a variety of prices, ranging from budget Android phones to high-end flagship phones. We took a look at the best Android options and rounded up our favorites, which we update periodically. These phones have generally great battery life, cameras, screens or all of the above. We also took into consideration features such as wireless charging, fingerprint sensor and expandable storage. Read on to see our top picks for the best Android phones and check out our tips on how to buy a new phone, too.

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While OnePlus isn’t as well-known as Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro offer a premium experience at a relatively more affordable budget phone price than rivals. Both phones are 5G-enabled, run the most powerful Qualcomm processor and have multilens cameras. The OnePlus 9 is our favorite of the two, with all of the features we love from the series but at the more affordable price and with better battery life. It’s a solid option if the lofty prices of the Galaxy S21 Ultra are out of your reach.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE packs much of what we’ve come to expect from its premium S range of phones, including multiple rear cameras, great performance and 5G connectivity, but wrapped it in cheaper materials and brought the price down to a more affordable phone. This Android phone won a coveted CNET Editors’ Choice award, and it’s the phone to go for if you want a great Samsung phone but don’t want to empty your bank account to get it.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review.

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Angela Lang/CNET

Foldable phones have yet to hit the mainstream, remaining instead only in the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest in mobile innovation. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the best folding phone around, offering top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its folding technology that make this Android handset more durable than its predecessor.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review.

Discover the latest news and best reviews in smartphones and carriers from CNET’s mobile experts.

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