How We Test The Best Smartphones
Every phone on this list was subject to a full TechRadar review, and therefore our entire test process.
The core part of this is that we just use the phone as our own one for a week or more. We slot our SIM card in, use the device for social media, entertainment, photography and other normal tasks.
This is so we can emulate how you’ll use the device if you buy it. It helps us understand all the quirks of a phone that you don’t notice if you just leave the device in a lab and test it. Of course, we will do some lab tests too, for some direct comparison.
So we’ll game and we’ll do benchmark tests to work out how powerful a phone is we’ll time a phone when it’s charging but also just work out how powering fits into our morning routine we’ll test how long a phone takes to run down but also just handle it day-to-day for a long period of time.
Our main areas of focus in our review are the phone’s design, display, cameras, performance, software and battery life, though of course its price is also important for our final judgement.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe
Last years Samsung Galaxy S20 FE blew us away as our favorite phone of the year for its blend of value and performance. We have some pretty solid expectations for the sequel, and its become one of our favorite Android phones to look forward to.
However, the biggest challenge facing the Galaxy S21 FE is the simple existence of the Galaxy S21. Its barely more expensive than the original S20 FE, so its tough to see how Samsung will raise its game. We expect the new Galaxy S21 FE to be styled after the Galaxy S21, much like last years model was very similar to the S20. Its been tough to nail down any specs related to the upcoming device, but we cant imagine that Samsung will scale anything back this year.
Sadly, rumors and expected release windows have been nothing but vapor. The newest rumors say we could finally see it at CES 2022, though.
- Launch ETA: January 2022
Best Small Foldable Phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
If you have ever lamented the escalating size of smartphones and want something that wont create a bulge in your pocket, then the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is worth considering. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which is a tablet that folds into a phone, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a normal-sized smartphone that folds into a compact square, about the dimensions of a coaster, or a makeup compactor. Improvements this year include a much larger outside cover screen that allows you to read entire notifications, as well as interact with several widgets showing things like weather, timer, etc.
The inside folding screen, measuring 6.7-inches, sees its refresh rate bumped up to 120Hz. A new film material is used this year to cover the screen, giving it a feeling more resembling glass than plastic. Inside youll find a Snapdragon 888 with 8GB of RAM and a 3,300 mAh battery. The entire package comes in ultra-sleek, measuring just 6.9mm in thickness when unfolded . Its 183g weight can be considered light in late 2021. The hinge is sturdier than ever, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3, like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, also features IPX8 water resistance.
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Best Smartphones Of 2022
Searching for a smartphone with great battery life? Awesome cameras? A truly affordable price? Take a look at these options.
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Consumer Reports tests dozens of models each year, checking the basics, including how long the batteries last and how bright the displays are, along with premium features such as multicamera setups and the hinges on foldable phones.
But even the most lackluster of smartphones represents a leap in technology from a decade ago. And that means you dont have to buy the No.1-rated phone to get a great product.
All but 15 of the 60 models currently in CRs ratings have earned our recommendation. The top 20 are separated by just a few points.
So which is the best smartphone for you? Well, that depends. Are you willing to spend a little or a lot? Is daylong battery life your first priority, or is it a cutting-edge camera setup?
To help you out, heres a range of smart options, based on our extensive lab testing.
Galaxy A53 Vs Pixel 5a: Battery Life And Charging Speed
The Galaxy A53 has a 5,000 milliamp-hour battery the Pixel 5a comes with a slightly smaller 4,680 milliamp-hour battery. In our testing of each phone, they both went multiple days on a single charge with little difficulty . While the A53 has the larger battery on paper, it also has a slightly larger, higher-refresh rate display that draws more power. Most people will be satisfied with the battery life on either phone, though.
The Galaxy A53 edges out the Pixel 5a when it comes to charging speeds, but not by a whole lot: the A53 supports wired charging up to 25 watts while the 5a can take up to 18 watts. Neither phone supports wireless charging.
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How To Choose The Best Smartphone For You
- Android or iPhone? Android phones give you more choice in terms of price, size and innovative designs. However, iPhones offer speedier software updates, better games and apps and better security and privacy. See our iPhone vs Android face-off.
- Unlocked or carrier? Most shoppers in the U.S. buy new phones through their wireless carrier. But an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to buy the device without any sort of contract and then bring it to the provider you want to use.
- Screen size: If you’re looking for a big phone, 6 inches and up is a good place to start. The biggest phones are 6.5 to 6.8 inches. If you want something you can easily use with one hand, go with one of the best small phones with a screen under 6 inches.
- Cameras: Don’t pay attention to the megapixel count. Instead, look at camera face-offs between phones to see the photo quality and look for special features like Night Mode to get better quality in low light. Also see our best camera phone roundup.
- Battery life: Generally, phones with larger batteries offer the longest battery life, but that’s not always the case. That’s why we run our own battery test.
What To Look For In A Smartphone
The humble telephone has come a long way over the years. Gone are the days when the phone was simply a way to call people. These days, smartphones are the hub of our digital lives, serving as a way to communicate with people, surf the Web, play games, pay bills, stay organized, and more.
When shopping for a smartphone, there are many factors to consider. First, you’ll have to figure out which operating system you want that smartphone to run. And youll also want to consider other factors, including the amount of storage, screen size, battery life, and camera quality, to name a few. And so, because a smartphone is one of our most important possessions, it can sometimes be tough to pick out the right one. That, however, is why weve put together this guideto help you find the perfect smartphone for your needs.
So if you decided you want a smartphone, you’ll have to then consider which operating system you want to use. The operating system on a smartphone plays the same role as an operating system on a computer. Its basically the software that you interact with on a daily basis. On an iPhone, the operating system is iOS, while on an Android phone, its Android. There are a few advantages and disadvantages to each operating system, which well go over below.
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 9t: The Best Budget Android Phone
Price: £229 |
Not only is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T the cheapest 5G-enabled phone on the market, but it’s also astonishing value for money. Thanks to the addition of the new MediaTek Dimensity 800U chipset, the Redmi Note 9T achieves similar levels of performance of phones that cost twice the price. Rather than scrimp on features, the Redmi Note 9T is more formidable than most, not only in the processing department, but in terms of photography as well.
If money is tight and you’re looking for a competent smartphone that punches well above its weight, then the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T is the smart choice.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T review for more details
Key specs Processor: 2.4GHz MediaTek Dimensity 800U Screen: 6.53in, 2,340 x 1,080 Camera: 48MP, 2MP and 2MP Storage: 64GB, 128GB Operating system: Android 10
Why You Should Trust Us
Ive been testing Android phones for Wirecutter since 2015. Ive also written more than a million words about Android phones, tablets, and software on websites such as Android Police, ExtremeTech, and Tested over the past decade. Ive lived with dozens of Android phones during that time Ive used and reviewed more phones in the past year than most people will own in their entire lives.
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
The best global budget Android phone
Bottom line: The Redmi Note 10 Pro takes things to a whole new level in the budget segment. The phone has a 120Hz AMOLED display, robust internal hardware, a 64MP camera that takes great photos in any lighting, and a gigantic 5020mAh battery with 33W fast charging. You can’t ask for much more in a budget phone.
- No 5G
- Not available in the U.S.
Xiaomi knows how to deliver a value-focused package, and with the Redmi Note 10 Pro, it is setting a new standard for budget phones. The phone has features previously only seen on flagships, including a 120Hz AMOLED display that makes an immediate difference in day-to-day use.
The Snapdragon 732G delivers decent performance for most tasks, including intensive gaming. The phone also has generous memory and storage options, and you get a 3.5mm jack, microSD slot, NFC, and even an IR blaster that lets you control your TV or other AV gear. The phone also has IP53 dust and water resistance to withstand the occasional splash of water or be submerged in a pool without any issues.
The 5,020mAh battery on the Redmi Note 10 Pro easily delivers over a day’s worth of use as for battery. When you need to charge the phone, the bundled 33W charger ensures the battery is full in just over an hour. You won’t find wireless charging here, but honestly, the battery life is good, that you don’t need to plug it in during the day.
What Are The Best Android Phones In The Uk
Just like on the other side of the Atlantic, the best Android phone in the U.K. right now is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Although Samsungs flagship phone doesnt have as powerful a chipset as its U.S. counterpart, the Galaxy S21 Ultras great screen, strong photography and handy stylus support are all intact.
If you fancy something premium but slightly more affordable, the Xiaomi Mi 11 is aggressively priced with all the premium features you could ask for. This model even overshadows the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra since it’s such good value.
At the budget end of things, picking between the OnePlus Nord 2, the Google Pixel 4a or the Redmi Note 10 Pro should satisfy whatever your priorities are. The Pixel 4a has excellent photography skills, which the Nord 2 also offers along with a brilliant display and strong performance. Meanwhile, Redmis Note 10 Pro gives you a fab screen and decent photos for a remarkably small sum.
This list may not stay is it is for long though. The and just dropped, and both are shaping up to be a big step up for company’s smartphone efforts, and a dangerous rival for the established leading Android brands. Check back soon once we have our final verdict.
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The Best Android Phones In The Uk You Can Buy Today
Reasons to avoid
If you want the best Android phone in the U.K. right now, you should first look at the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Samsung’s feature-stuffed flagship has everything, including a brilliant 120Hz AMOLED display and a quad-camera array on the back with versatile sensors. The phone even works with an S Pen, although thats an option accessory that requires you to spend a little extra.
However for the Galaxy S21 Ultras price, theres no charger included, in the name of avoiding electronic waste. Performance enthusiasts will also be annoyed by Samsung’s use of an Exynos 1200 chipset, which is slightly less powerful than the Snapdragon 888 version of the phone available in the U.S. However as an all-round great phone, you can’t do better than the S21 Ultra, which offers all the best features of an Android experience.
Reasons to avoid
Google has really turned its flagship fortunes around with the amazing Pixel 6 series. While this spot could easily belong to the Pixel 6 Pro, which offers an extra camera, a larger, more detailed display with a higher refresh rate, and superior computing performance, the sheer value of the £599 Pixel 6 makes it the better choice for the majority of buyers. Just watch out for the minor snags of a short battery life and the unreliable fingerprint scanner if you go for either Pixel 6 model.
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Upgrade Pick: Google Pixel 6 Pro
|50 MP primary, 12 MP ultrawide, 48 MP 4x telephoto||Measurements :||6.5 by 3.0 by 0.4 inches|
Everything that makes the smaller Pixel 6 a great phone applies to the Pixel 6 Pro. It runs Googles excellent version of Android 12, will get the same lengthy update support, and runs on Googles new Tensor processor. The Pros higher price gets you several key enhancements, including a larger 6.7-inch OLED screen thats both sharper and smoother, and the camera adds a 4x optical zoom lens looking through the black camera visor on the back. That makes it the best camera phone weve ever tested. It also has every 5G band youll need for the foreseeable future.
Like its smaller sibling, the Pixel 6 Pro skips the latest Qualcomm chip for Googles custom Tensor processor. The bigger phone is also blazingly responsive, taking full advantage of the 120 Hz refresh rate of the 1440p OLED to smoothly animate the screen the instant you interact with it. The Tensor chip supports enhanced AI features, processing data locally so some tasks, like Google Assistant responses, will be much faster than on other phones. It even works well in Android Auto, which is not the case on phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and others.
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Galaxy A53 Vs Pixel 5a: Cameras
The Pixel 5a has the same camera setup as the Pixel 5. The hardware is dated by now Google’s used the same 12-megapixel primary sensor in each of its phones since the Pixel 3, only breaking the pattern for last year’s Pixel 6 series. But Google’s reliance on computational photography means it can wring some truly great photos out of the sensors it has to work with in the 5a.
Samsung’s Galaxy A53, on the other hand, has a 64-megapixel primary camera, plus a wide-angle and two additional cameras for macro photography and collecting depth data . Despite having more cameras with bigger numbers, though, the A53 can’t compete with the Pixel 5a on photography.
While either phone does a good job in ideal light, the Pixel’s photos are frequently sharper and show less noise, particularly in challenging lighting. The A53’s camera app is also often slow, which can lead to missed shots. Google wins here, hands down.
The Best Android Phones In The Uk 2021
Selecting any of the best Android phones from the selections below will ensure you get a capable new smartphone. Although these devices vary when it comes to price and feature sets, all of them are at the top of their respective classes.
The most expensive Android phones cost upwards of £1,000, but for that price youll experience the latest and most powerful hardware. Meanwhile, the cheapest phones, which cost between £200 and £400, have fewer bells and whistles but can still take on flagships with one or two premium features.
- The best Galaxy S21 deals on offer today
Now we’ve reached the end of 2021, this list is likely to stay as it is until partway through 2022, where the Samsung Galaxy S22 is likely to kick off the next year of excellent Android phones. Also keep your eye on the Xiaomi 12 and OnePlus 10 as we expect these to appear early in the year too with some excellent features of their own.
Whether your priority is a phone with the best camera, best display, the most powerful chipset or the longest battery life or something else entirely these are the best Android phones in the U.K. you need to shortlist.
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