The Best Android Phones Of 2021

The Best Android Phones Of 2021
Image: Sam Rutherford
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Looking for a new Android smartphone but don’t know where to start? We’ve rounded up the best Android phones you can buy in Australia right now. We’ve mostly focused on phones that have been released this year and you can get on a plan, but we’ve also included a few of our favourite picks from the end of last year.

Best Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

best android phone 2021

The Galaxy S21 Ultra may be Samsung’s most expensive non-foldable phone, but it’s also the best Android flagship that makes the least compromises this year.

For example, the non-Ultra Galaxy S21 struggled to last an entire day unless we disabled features like the high refresh rate display, but that’s not as much of an issue when it comes to the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

You also get perks like the best zoom on a smartphone to date, a great primary camera, one of Samsung’s incredible displays, and gorgeous industrial design. Well, maybe other than that camera bump. If you’re after a high-end Android phone, the Galaxy S21 Ultra won’t disappoint.

Here are some of the cheapest Galaxy S21 Ultra plans around from each telco:

OPPO Find X3 Pro

The OPPO Find X3 Pro is another excellent pick when it comes to high-end Android devices, but isn’t quite as compromise-free as the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

With 5G and the 120Hz display switched on, we were only able to get between three and four hours of screen time per charge. That’s barely enough to scrape through a day for moderate users.

Turning off 5G helped take this to around five hours of screen time per charge, but we’re not a fan of disabling functionality to get the most out of a $1,699 phone. The Find X3 Pro has incredibly fast charging, however, which can help get around this.

Battery aside, the OPPO Find X3 Pro is excellent. It’s zippy, has a gorgeous display, and the best primary and ultra-wide cameras you can get on an Android smartphone right now.

Here are some of the cheapest Find X3 Pro plans around from each telco:

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

samsung galaxy s22

Samsung’s put more effort than ever into its affordable smartphones this year and the best out of the bunch is the Galaxy A52 5G. Quite simply, it’s a lot of phone for the money. You get excellent battery life, a great Samsung screen, a solid photography experience, backed by flourishes like water-resistance which are still quite rare at budget price points.

Here are some of the cheapest Galaxy A52 5G plans from each telco:

OPPO Find X3 Lite

While OPPO’s flagship devices now go toe-to-toe with the best, it cut its teeth in the affordable and semi-premium handset space. Unsurprisingly, it still does great devices in cheaper categories and one of our favourites is the Find X3 Lite. There’s no real standout feature, but it has a lovely display, solid primary camera, sleek design, 5G, and zippy performance. At $749 outright, the Find X3 Lite an excellent value proposition.

Here are some of the cheapest Find X3 Lite plans from each telco:

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

best android phone

The Galaxy S20 FE is a cutdown Galaxy S20, but Samsung definitely made the right cuts. You get the same high-end performance as its non-FE siblings, a great primary camera, a massive 6.5-inch 120Hz display, wireless charging, water-resistance, and more.

The only real compromises you’ll make are sub-par secondary cameras and a plastic back rather than glass. Considering the price tag, these aren’t huge issues. You can still get stunning photos from the Galaxy S20 FE’s primary lens, and plastic is more durable than glass. And hey, most of us throw a case on our phones anyway.

The Galaxy S20 FE was great value when it launched, but it’s now even more appealing thanks to price cuts. You’ll pay just $699 outright for the 4G-only model, or $799 if you’d prefer 5G.

Here are some of the cheapest Galaxy S20 FE 5Gplans from each telco:

Google Pixel 4a

The Pixel 4a is all about value; you get the essentials in a simple package that does more with less. A top-tier camera, smooth day-to-day performance, and a reliable battery for just $599.

You don’t get 5G or water-resistance, but these don’t really impact the overall experience. All in all, the Pixel 4a is one of the most sensible smartphones you can buy.

Telstra is currently the only telco ranging the Pixel 4a. Here are its plans:

Google Pixel 5

best android phone 2021

The Pixel 5 may just be the Pixel 4a with a few extra flourishes, but it’s a great option if the Pixel 4a is a little too basic for you. Spending extra gets all sorts of trimmings including 5G, a 90Hz display, water-resistance, wireless charging, and a secondary camera lens. It’s not quite a flagship, but it’s still one of the best phones under $1,000.

Telstra is currently the only telco ranging the Pixel 5. Here are its plans:

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

If you’re genuinely after 5G on a budget, it’s hard to go past the Moto G 5G Plus. Despite a $499 price tag, you get a Snapdragon 765 5G processor, a 90Hz display, and a battery that lasts up to two days. The camera isn’t quite as good as the Pixel 4a, but Google is all but impossible to beat when it comes to budget photography options.

Most importantly, the Moto G 5G Plus isn’t just good for a cheap 5G phone, it’s a great budget pick regardless of whether you’re after that fifth gee.

Telstra is currently the only telco ranging the Moto G 5G Plus. Here are its plans:

Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.