Best of the Best: TOP 7 Smartphones of 2021

In the outgoing year, the shortage of microcircuits hit the mobile device market to a lesser extent. The choice of smartphones is still large. Chinese brand Vivo even set a record with over 70 models released in 2021 (including varieties for multiple markets).

Many previously released series of smartphones have been developed in the form of new models. What interesting things in the world of smartphones came out in a year? Let’s start our rating with the most expensive and unusual device.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

Samsung executives are confident that foldable smartphones with flexible screens are the future. Therefore, the Korean company is developing two innovative lines at once, which are available in mass sales. The Galaxy Z Fold is a cross between a tablet and a smartphone. Z Flip is a modern reincarnation of folding push-button telephones. Both series are interesting in their own way, but the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G deserves more attention. This is perhaps the most expensive smartphone on the mass market. A huge main display with a diagonal of 7.6 inches, a sub-screen camera, support for all the latest communication standards are just a small part of its advantages.

The device is not affordable for most users. At the end of December 2021, its price is almost 150 thousand rubles. However, this is a good demonstration of the manufacturer’s capabilities. You can criticize the smartphone for its not too capacious battery, a noticeable fold line and a film on the screen that cannot be removed. The latter is still a feature of the technology.

At the same time, in the Chinese competitor clone OPPO Find N 5G, the folds were made almost invisible. However, the future on the international market for OPPO’s brainchild is still vague, and therefore the device did not make it to our top.


Display: two Dynamic AMOLED 2X screens, resolution 2208×1768 and 2268×832, diagonal 7.6 and 6.2 inches, refresh rate 120 Hz
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, Adreno 660 graphics
Memory: 256/512 GB user UFS 3.1 and 12 GB RAM
Cameras: 12 + 12 + 12 Mp, front – 4 + 10 Mp
Battery: 4400mAh with 25W fast wired charging and 10W wireless charging













Apparently, iPhones will always be popular, regardless of whether Apple succeeds in coming up with something innovative. Compared to the previous generation, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is much more powerful. The smartphone received a more powerful and modern chipset, increased screen refresh rate from 60 to 120 Hz and improved performance of cameras and various functions. In addition, the notch on the screen has significantly decreased. In short, the 13 Pro cannot be called a meaningless upgrade.

The price of the version with the maximum user memory (an impressive 1TB) is on par with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G. However, when did the high price hinder sales of the Cupertin giant’s products?

Fans of compact devices should pay attention to the Apple iPhone 13 mini with a 5.4-inch screen. It is impossible to find something similar among Android smartphones. Only the 6.1-inch Sony Xperia 5 III comes to mind: the model appeared in the Russian Federation at the very end of 2021.


Display: OLED, resolution 2778×1284, diagonal 6.7 inches, refresh rate 120 Hz
Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic, Apple GPU Graphics
Memory: 128/256/512 GB / 1 TB user and 6 GB RAM
Cameras: 12 + 12 + 12 Mp, front – 12 Mp
Battery: 4373mAh with support for 20W fast wired charging and 15W wireless charging

The update of the Galaxy S series, according to tradition, took place at the beginning of the year. The S21 Ultra can be considered a more familiar version of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G. At the same time, the flagship’s screen is larger, the set of cameras is more interesting. And it also has full protection against water and dust according to the IP68 standard. The only controversial point is related to the chipset. The Russian version of the smartphone uses the Exynos 2100 instead of the more efficient Snapdragon 888.

At the beginning of the year, the S21 Ultra was the most technologically advanced smartphone on the market. At the moment, the flagship is still one of the best.

The model now has support for the Samsung S Pen stylus. This is not as convenient an option as in the once released Galaxy Note: the stylus can only be stored in a special case. However, according to rumors, the Galaxy S22 Ultra will provide a separate hole for the stylus in the body.

Not all smartphones in the highest quality games allow you to set the maximum graphics settings. This clearly does not apply to ASUS ROG Phone 5. The gadget has a lot of gaming settings and a performance mode. It allows you to play for a long time without significant loss of FPS. Increased screen refresh rate 144 Hz, chic sound, side charging connector, ultrasonic sensors on the right side … Creation from ASUS is a real game king. Officially, nothing of the kind is being sold in Russia.

It is impossible not to mention the lack of a cutout for the camera on the screen. Another highlight is the LED event indicator. This is rare nowadays, especially on devices with an Amoled screen.

Keep in mind that the ROG Phone 5 does not claim to be a camera phone. It can also get very hot, so you should buy a cooling fan for it. Such is the current reality – cooling systems limited by a small case cannot keep up with the increasing performance of smartphones.

Display: AMOLED, resolution 2448×1080, diagonal 6.78 inches, refresh rate 144 Hz
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, Adreno 660 graphics
Memory: 128/256 GB user UFS 3.1 and 8/12/16 GB RAM
Cameras: 64 + 13 + 5 Mp, front – 24 Mp
Battery: 6000mAh with 65W fast wired charging support

The 11T Pro is an example of what a relatively inexpensive flagship alternative should look like. In terms of charging speed, the device is among the world leaders: the battery gets a full charge in 19 minutes! The smartphone also has a bright screen with a high refresh rate, high-quality cameras with the ability to record 8K video on the main module and a powerful chipset. A unique feature is the IR transmitter for equipment control.

The 11T Pro does not have flagship advantages (wireless charging, water protection, optical stabilization of cameras). However, the main problem of the model is the severe performance limitation. This protects the case from extreme heat.

As a cheaper alternative, the Xiaomi 11T can be considered . It doesn’t charge as quickly and can’t record 8K video (unlike the older model). But the rest of the differences are few.


Display: AMOLED, resolution 2400×1080, diagonal 6.67 inches, refresh rate 120 Hz
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, Adreno 660 graphics
Memory: 128/256 GB user UFS 3.1 and 8/12 GB RAM
Cameras: 108 + 8 + 5 Mp, front – 16 Mp
Battery: 5000mAh with 120W fast wired charging support