Five coolest smartphones in 2021 thus far

Bharat Bhushan - Aug 15, 2021, 5:04am CDT
Five coolest smartphones in 2021 thus far

Buying a smartphone can be a tricky decision, especially when the options are virtually limitless. Which is the best smartphone for 2021 depends entirely on the user’s needs and preferences, and this narrows down the choices to a handful of devices that have proven their mettle in the last few months.

Rather than pointing out a single phone as the best of the lot, we have compiled the elixir of the current generation smartphone pool, so that you cannot go wrong; whatever the purchase decision may be. With each device’s highlighting advantages and the not so appealing features – choosing the right one will be easier than ever.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has to be the best Apple device to date and probably one of the best (if not the best) phones to buy right now. The silver lining of this 6.7-inch OLED display smartphone is the A14 Bionic processor powering its guts. The closely knitted hardware and software ecosystem give it an impressive 11 hours of battery life on more than average usage.

What We Like

– Tough display that is resilient to breakage
– Amazing photo and video shooting capability
– Bold design and aesthetics

What We Don’t Like

– Static 60Hz refresh rate for a flagship phone
– Comparatively slow charging speed
– A bit on the heavier side

Another key factor making the iPhone 12 Pro Max the best bet is its stellar camera module that edges ahead with its low light performance courtesy of the sensor-shift stabilization. Add to this the professional-quality 4K video shooting, and it is the best choice for content creators. Stable 5 years of update is another vital element of this Apple phone that’ll sway many users in its favor. Apple iPhone Pro Max starts at $1099.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

When it comes to Android lovers, things don’t get any better than the tried and tested Galaxy S21 Ultra phone. The flagship king has the latest 6.8-inch LTPO OLED display with a stunning 1,500 nits of peak brightness and 15 percent less battery drainage (due to display) as compared to its predecessor. This is attributed in part to the dynamic refresh rate that can toggle anywhere between 10Hz to 120Hz depending on the content being viewed.

What We Like

– S Pen stylus support
– Crisp 10X optical camera zoom and 100X Space Zoom
– Contour cut design with attractive color options

What We Don’t Like

– Bulky for small handed users
– Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is a bit slow
– No charger in the box

The phone is a Snapdragon 888 SoC-powered beast mated to 12GB/16B RAM and 128GB/256GB/512GB internal storage options. The 5,000mAh battery supports all the heavy lifting for the best-in-class multimedia experience. As far as the cameras go, Galaxy S21 Ultra scores right up there with a 108MP main sensor, ultra-wide shooter and two telephoto lenses with OIS. It has a versatile camera setup that has 8K video recording option. Galaxy S21 Ultra comes at a starting price of $1199.

OnePlus 9 Pro

It is hard to imagine a “best smartphones list” without a OnePlus device. That’s the reason OnePlus 9 Pro is one of the best smartphones to own in 2021. The device undercuts the premium flagships in most aspects at an affordable price which is a major consideration for some users. The decently designed phone has a crisp 6.7-inch QHD AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate in combination with the powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC.

What We Like

– Functional design and beautiful display
– Fast wireless charging
– Excellent hardware and software ecosystem

What We Don’t Like

– Low light photography is not very impressive
– Poor speaker quality

OnePlus 9 Pro has a good set of camera sensors to satiate your photography skills; it comes with a 48MP main sensor, 8MP telephoto lens and 50MP ultra-wide shooter. The battery life on the device is impressive at more than 10.5 hours and 65W fast charging makes life a lot easier. For a price tag of $969, this OnePlus powerhouse is the way to go for its value for money prospect.

Google Pixel 4a

Looking for a very compact phone with a seamless user experience? The Google Pixel 4a hits the right notes with its 5.8-inch OLED display and lightweight credentials. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 730G chipset and comes in 6GB RAM with 128GB internal storage option. Another advantage of the Pixel 4a is Google’s promise of prompt software updates and exclusive new features for years to come.

What We Like

– Excellent still photography performance
– Affordable package
– Polished software and UI

What We Don’t Like

– 3140mAh battery is not as impressive
– No wireless charging
– Built quality could have been better

Google has been known for its superior camera performance and the 12MP sensor on this phone won’t let you down. In fact, it can take on phones three times its price with features like Night Sight and Super Res Zoom. At a price tag of $349, the Pixel 4a is a no-brainer for people who don’t want to spend a fortune on a smartphone but still want a good overall package.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate

If you are someone who values top-notch hardware specifications, gaming phones are one way to go. Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is not only a good option for hardcore mobile gamers but for other normal users as well. This beastly device with a 6.78 144Hz AMOLED display is well complemented by its upbeat design and robust built quality.

What We Like

– Front-facing surround sound speakers
– Excellent battery life
– Best for multimedia and gaming

What We Don’t Like

– Limited availability at times
– Overkill for cloud gaming

The Android 11 phone scores right up there with the Snapdragon 888 SoC, 18GB RAM and 6,000mAh battery that comes with ultra-fast 65W charging speed. The camera setup on the ROG 5 Ultimate is also impressive with a 64MP main sensor, 13MP ultra-wide and 5MP macro lens. It can record 8K videos at 30fps and 4K at 120fps too. As it is with any gaming smartphone, the device has customizable air triggers and optional ROG gaming accessories. The gaming powerhouse starts at $1,500.

Wrap Up

As we said, choosing a smartphone in the current landscape is not easy and it ultimately boils down to select proven devices. All these phones have performed exceptionally well this year and choosing the one that fits your bill will ultimately satisfy you.

Which one you choose is completely dependent on which smartphone gives you the most feature set. For some, hardware performance could be important, while others may prefer the camera output. Whatever be the reason, all these phones won’t let you down. For us, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra are the most feature-rich phones and take the crown of the coolest phones to buy in 2021 thus far.

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