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Best Smartphones in Q2/2021 - 39 Smartphones in Review

Smartphone Editors' Choice Awards Q2 2021 The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is at the top of our ranking of all reviewed smartphones in the second quarter of 2021. There are also interesting gaming phones, a new and much improved mainstream segment from Motorola and a fan favorite from Samsung. Read on for our recommendations when you want to buy a new smartphone.
Florian Schmitt, 👁 Florian Schmitt (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 🇩🇪 🇷🇺


The Best of the Best - These Smartphones Scored Highest in our Tests

Only three smartphones received the highest rating "Very Good" in this quarter: The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is the best device this month with an overall rating of 89%. However, the high-end smartphones from the Chinese manufacturer are no bargain anymore: You will have to pay around almost 1200 Euros for the flagship phone.

The small additional display at the rear is a special gimmick, and you can use it as a preview for selfies, for example. There are some areas where the manufacturer has to improve for the next generation, like the support for an e-SIM or a guarantee for software updates.

The second place with a rating of 88% is secured by the Asus ROG Phone 5, an interesting gaming smartphone. There are obviously many features primarily designed for gamers, like the Air Trigger, ultrasound sensors at the long edge, which can be used like triggers on a controller. Good speakers, high-quality stereo jack, and the high number of ports are also interesting for other users.

Our trio is completed by the Oppo Find X3 Neo. It does not use the most modern high-end SoC from Qualcomm, but the Snapdragon 865 is still more than sufficient for the majority of applications and still provides a very high system performance. The camera is good, you can quickly charge the smartphone and the battery lasts a long time. Priced at 800 Euros, it is also a bit more affordable than other high-end devices.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (89%)
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (89%)
Asus ROG Phone 5 (88%)
Asus ROG Phone 5 (88%)
Oppo Find X3 Neo (88%)
Oppo Find X3 Neo (88%)

Our Favorites - Editors' Choice Awards Q2 2021

Based on the scores achieved in this time period we ask our editors for their favorites and assign editors’ choice awards. As usual we reward smartphones that stand out from the competition by their overall package, their individual performance in specific categories, or their particularly noteworthy price-performance ratio, and that our editors considered to represent particularly attractive options in their respective categories.

Nokia X20

Nokia changes its image and wants to attract customers with a bigger focus on the environmentally and sustainability with its latest smartphones. The Nokia X20 comes with a three-year warranty, updates for three years and there is no charger included. The latter can also be a problem (does the manufacturer just want to save money, or is it really about the environment?), but Nokia goes one step further: All income from additionally sold chargers is donated.

The included cover is made from compostable material and the website includes a comprehensive environmental report for the device. The Nokia X20 is obviously a technological product, which was manufactured with a lot of effort and it is hard to call it environmentally friendly, but the manufacturers does think about it and the steps so far appear to be pretty consistent.

You also get a pure version of Android, long battery runtimes, 5G, and a decent camera, so we give it our Editors' Choice Award for this quarter.

Nokia X20
Nokia X20
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award

Asus ZenFone 8

Finally a slightly more compact high-end smartphone: The Asus ZenFone 8 is not tiny, but it is still noticeably smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S21 or OnePlus 9.

It still offers a 120 Hz display with good brightness. Fast Wi-Fi is also included, and you get a lot of system performance and fast storage.

The only limitation is the battery runtime when you use 120 Hz all the time. However, you can use dynamic refresh rates to compensate for that, so this is just a minor drawback.

All in all, we think the Asus ZenFone 8 is a great alternative for all users looking for a high-end smartphone is a smaller package, so it gets our Editors' Choice Award.

You can currently get the ZenFone 8 for around $720 on Amazon, which is a good price for the performance you get.

Asus ZenFone 8
Asus ZenFone 8
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award

Please note: Commercial use of award graphics may be subject to licensing fees. Click here for more details.

The Best Smartphones - Reviewed in Q2/2021

Overall Rating
Model
Image
Price from
Rating Case
Size
Thickness
Rating Weight
Weight
Rating Display
Display Type
Resolution
Pixel Density
Aspect Ratio
Screen-to-Body-Ratio
Screen Brightness
DeltaE Colorchecker
Frequency
Rating Camera
DeltaE Colorchecker lowlight
DeltaE Colorchecker daylight
Rating Application Performance
PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Score
Rating Gaming Performance
3DMark for A. Sling Shot Ext. (ES 3.1) Un.
GFXBench Aztec Ruins H.T. Onscreen
PUBG Mobile HD
Rating Battery Runtime
Battery Runtime Wi-Fi 150 cd/m²
Rating Temperature
Top Idle
Top Load
Rating Audio
max. Audio Output (dB)
Rating Touchscreen Input
Rating Connectivity
87 %OnePlus 9
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
OnePlus 9
87 %6.55"8.7 mm89 %192 g92 %AMOLED2400x1080402 PPI20:987.5 %739 cd/m²0.59120 Hz77 %38.898.9583 %1043854 %0416090 %854 min87 %25.3 °C45.6 °C72 %83 dB96 %52 %
78 %Motorola Moto G30
SD 662, Adreno 610
Motorola Moto G30
81 %6.50"9 mm88 %197 g82 %LCD IPS1600x720270 PPI20:982.2 %263 cd/m²2.92090 Hz58 %47.288.756 %613513 %11769.292 %1069 min90 %27.2 °C40.8 °C71 %82.2 dB90 %48 %
77 %Motorola Moto G10
SD 460, Adreno 610
Motorola Moto G10
85 %6.50"9.2 mm88 %200 g83 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:982 %347 cd/m²4.89060 Hz53 %46.527.3253 %53169 %8496.591 %1038 min91 %27.2 °C38.7 °C70 %81 dB95 %45 %
75 %Xiaomi Redmi 9AT
Helio G25, PowerVR GE8320
Xiaomi Redmi 9AT
79 %6.53"9 mm89 %194 g86 %IPS LCD 1600x720273 PPI20:981 %345 cd/m²3.86060 Hz51 %47.3910.8749 %49746 %4564.692 %1145 min90 %28.5 °C40.3 °C66 %78.1 dB89 %37 %
71 %Doogee X95 Pro
Helio A20 MT6761D, PowerVR GE8300
Doogee X95 Pro
60 %6.52"8.4 mm90 %177 g83 %IPS1600x720269 PPI19.5:979.3 %357 cd/m²4.4060 Hz39 %6.9739 %3 %25790 %879 min96 %25.4 °C27.6 °C69 %88.2 dB89 %24 %
88 %Asus ROG Phone 5
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5
85 %6.78"9.9 mm87 %239 g91 %AMOLED2448x1080395 PPI20.4:982 %795 cd/m²1.4144 Hz70 %42.0513.8788 %1502767 %9620416089 %754 min72 %29.8 °C37.3 °C81 %92.4 dB99 %73 %
84 %Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
SD 732G, Adreno 618
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
86 %6.67"8.1 mm89 %193 g91 %OLED2400x1080395 PPI20:986 %651 cd/m²1.2120 Hz66 %45.67.5469 %868832 %2938113091 %753 min90 %32 °C38.7 °C82 %89.3 dB96 %52 %
82 %realme 8 Pro
SD 720G, Adreno 618
realme 8 Pro
85 %6.40"8 mm90 %176 g83 %AMOLED2400x1080411 PPI20:990.8 %563 cd/m²4.34060 Hz63 %45.939.7576 %846333 %27431191 %1006 min85 %33.3 °C45 °C66 %84.7 dB96 %45 %
83 %Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
SD 750G 5G, Adreno 619
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
88 %6.50"8.4 mm89 %189 g89 %Super AMOLED2400x1080405 PPI20:985 %749 cd/m²2.2120 Hz66 %41.247.8373 %957330 %2927113090 %710 min92 %31.5 °C35 °C72 %89 dB94 %51 %
87 %Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2
86 %6.92"9.9 mm87 %259 g85 %AMOLED2460x1080388 PPI20.5:982 %466 cd/m²3.24144 Hz77 %24.088.6488 %1358671 %98394091 %907 min84 %29.8 °C49.3 °C85 %84.9 dB96 %57 %
74 %Samsung Galaxy XCover 5
Exynos 850, Mali-G52 MP2
Samsung Galaxy XCover 5
78 %5.30"9.2 mm90 %172 g82 %PLS1480x720311 PPI18:969 %491 cd/m²5.54060 Hz49 %46.714.1750 %543310 %8727.427.589 %657 min92 %25.7 °C37.7 °C58 %79.6 dB85 %44 %
88 %Oppo Find X3 Neo
SD 865, Adreno 650
Oppo Find X3 Neo
89 %6.55"7.99 mm89 %184 g91 %AMOLED2400x1080402 PPI20:989 %753 cd/m²1.7090 Hz73 %32.316.9584 %1074365 %89474092 %1127 min89 %34.3 °C38.5 °C79 %91.1 dB94 %53 %
85 %Motorola Moto G100
SD 870, Adreno 650
Motorola Moto G100
82 %6.70"9.7 mm88 %207 g84 %IPS/LTPS2520x1080409 PPI21:984 %535 cd/m²3.99090 Hz68 %46.1914.4484 %1116663 %6960316092 %1049 min85 %37.2 °C42.3 °C60 %85.1 dB94 %62 %
79 %Xiaomi Redmi 9T
SD 662, Adreno 610
Xiaomi Redmi 9T
83 %6.53"9.6 mm88 %198 g90 %IPS LCD2340x1080395 PPI19.5:983.4 %425 cd/m²1.35060 Hz56 %45.596.3662 %604613 %93 %1385 min88 %34 °C42.7 °C76 %84.6 dB89 %48 %
81 %Nokia X20
SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia X20
85 %6.67"9.1 mm88 %220 g83 %IPS2400x1080395 PPI20:982 %617 cd/m²5.71060 Hz64 %46.59.7567 %638030 %25369.92890 %879 min87 %27.3 °C44.1 °C64 %83.4 dB94 %52 %
80 %realme 8 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
realme 8 5G
80 %6.50"8.5 mm89 %185 g85 %IPS2400x1080405 PPI20:984 %550 cd/m²3.58090 Hz59 %457.3978 %1098123 %24538.73092 %1104 min88 %28.2 °C42.7 °C70 %81.7 dB93 %47 %
81 %realme 8
Helio G95, Mali-G76 MP4
realme 8
82 %6.40"8 mm90 %177 g87 %Super AMOLED2400x1080411 PPI20:983 %607 cd/m²2.64060 Hz58 %44.338.6681 %995733 %27541292 %1039 min84 %27.4 °C48.6 °C68 %80.9 dB93 %43 %
86 %Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
SD 780G 5G, Adreno 642
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
88 %6.55"6.81 mm92 %159 g88 %AMOLED2400x1080402 PPI20:985.3 %860 cd/m²3.2090 Hz62 %41.6511.3580 %1068952 %4478266091 %734 min90 %31.7 °C39.1 °C73 %89.2 dB94 %56 %
74 %Alcatel 1S 2021
Helio P22 MT6762, PowerVR GE8320
Alcatel 1S 2021
75 %6.52"8.8 mm89 %190 g83 %IPS1600x720269 PPI20:982 %321 cd/m²3.4060 Hz50 %47.218.0857 %6 %4944.590 %854 min92 %34.1 °C35.3 °C74 %88.2 dB79 %39 %
83 %Samsung Galaxy A52
SD 720G, Adreno 618
Samsung Galaxy A52
88 %6.50"8.4 mm89 %189 g90 %Super AMOLED2400x1080405 PPI20:985 %696 cd/m²2090 Hz65 %38.69.9570 %841129 %2727113090 %836 min92 %31.2 °C36.2 °C73 %88.8 dB94 %51 %
82 %Samsung Galaxy A72
SD 720G, Adreno 618
Samsung Galaxy A72
88 %6.70"8.4 mm88 %203 g87 %Super AMOLED2400x1080394 PPI20:985 %734 cd/m²3.2090 Hz67 %38.829.1769 %857024 %2253113091 %877 min92 %30.2 °C34.2 °C74 %88.9 dB94 %51 %
75 %Alcatel 3L 2021
Helio P22 MT6762, PowerVR GE8320
Alcatel 3L 2021
81 %6.52"8.74 mm89 %194 g82 %IPS1600x720269 PPI20:982 %291 cd/m²4.1060 Hz58 %45.957.3958 %6 %4964.590 %788 min92 %32.9 °C34.5 °C75 %89.3 dB82 %38 %
80 %Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
SD 678, Adreno 612
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
89 %6.43"8.29 mm90 %178.8 g89 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:984 %693 cd/m²2.2060 Hz59 %46.515.7665 %701117 %14995.63092 %889 min90 %31.8 °C40 °C77 %86.3 dB89 %48 %
86 %Xiaomi Poco F3
SD 870, Adreno 650
Xiaomi Poco F3
80 %6.67"7.8 mm88 %196 g92 %AMOLED2400x1080395 PPI20:986 %902 cd/m²0.9120 Hz63 %34.737.1684 %1244061 %7377336090 %805 min92 %30.5 °C36 °C77 %89.4 dB95 %52 %
87 %Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro
86 %6.67"7.8 mm88 %196 g92 %Super AMOLED2400x1080395 PPI20:986 %867 cd/m²1120 Hz65 %37.939.5490 %1354665 %4689 %724 min90 %28.1 °C40.2 °C77 %87.4 dB95 %53 %
76 %Nokia G10
Helio G25, PowerVR GE8320
Nokia G10
82 %6.50"9.2 mm88 %197 g86 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:982 %458 cd/m²3.61060 Hz55 %45.338.6254 %52446 %5284.792 %1068 min91 %28.4 °C38.4 °C56 %78.6 dB94 %36 %
73 %Motorola Moto E6i
SC9863A, GE8322 / IMG8322
Motorola Moto E6i
74 %6.10"8.5 mm91 %160 g81 %IPS1560x720282 PPI20:980 %336 cd/m²4.65060 Hz40 %46.886.5646 %44165 %3.690 %818 min90 %26.5 °C39.9 °C66 %82.6 dB91 %33 %
73 %Motorola Moto E7i Power
SC9863A, GE8322 / IMG8322
Motorola Moto E7i Power
76 %6.50"9 mm88 %200 g82 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:981 %314 cd/m²4.62060 Hz43 %47.112.1646 %43895 %3.592 %1125 min91 %26.4 °C39.8 °C60 %77 dB91 %34 %
85 %Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro
SD 860, Adreno 640
Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro
84 %6.67"9.4 mm88 %215 g89 %IPS2400x1080395 PPI20:985 %524 cd/m²1120 Hz60 %34.978.2278 %11699, 1169960 %6871293090 %879 min88 %34.9 °C40.5 °C77 %88.3 dB92 %53 %
79 %Oppo A74
SD 662, Adreno 610
Oppo A74
81 %6.43"7.95 mm90 %175 g87 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:990.8 %606 cd/m²3.6060 Hz55 %45.058.0761 %718412 %11524.991 %982 min92 %32.5 °C34.8 °C83 %89.7 dB89 %47 %
76 %Samsung Galaxy M12
Exynos 850, Mali-G52 MP2
Samsung Galaxy M12
83 %6.50"9.7 mm88 %214 g83 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:982 %428 cd/m²4.89090 Hz51 %42.39.9759 %9 %8667.13391 %926 min91 %28.5 °C39.5 °C66 %77.6 dB90 %39 %
86 %Asus ZenFone 8
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ZenFone 8
89 %5.92"8.9 mm91 %169 g88 %AMOLED2400x1080445 PPI20:983 %759 cd/m²3.5120 Hz70 %41.219.0484 %66 %87794176 %442 min90 %31.2 °C40.2 °C82 %86.7 dB96 %53 %
86 %ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G
87 %6.68"8 mm89 %188 g83 %AMOLED2400x1080394 PPI20:991 %641 cd/m²4144 Hz72 %37.084.990 %64 %4188 %615 min85 %34.5 °C44.1 °C73 %89.3 dB94 %55 %
82 %Oppo A94 5G
Dimensity 800U, Mali-G57 MP3
Oppo A94 5G
83 %6.43"7.8 mm90 %173 g88 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:985 %586 cd/m²2.7060 Hz61 %36.748.5369 %35 %32911292 %1026 min93 %29.8 °C34 °C80 %92.3 dB87 %50 %
89 %Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
90 %6.81"8.38 mm87 %234 g91 %AMOLED3200x1440515 PPI20:991 %888 cd/m²1.9120 Hz79 %35.367.6584 %65 %266089 %650 min90 %32.5 °C39.7 °C82 %89.5 dB97 %58 %
81 %Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S
Helio G95, Mali-G76 MP4
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S
87 %6.43"8.29 mm90 %178.8 g89 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:984 %701 cd/m²2.1060 Hz63 %46.446.8450 %29 %26821292 %1087 min91 %30.2 °C38.6 °C73 %88.9 dB89 %48 %
80 %Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G
83 %6.50"8.92 mm89 %190 g88 %IPS2400x1080405 PPI20:984 %515 cd/m²1.8090 Hz61 %42.095.1571 %850422 %24978.93091 %1113 min90 %36.3 °C39.5 °C75 %92.3 dB88 %50 %
81 %Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G
83 %6.50"8.92 mm89 %190 g88 %IPS2400x1080405 PPI20:991 %404 cd/m²1.5090 Hz61 %43.784.8171 %831124 %24498.83091 %1025 min91 %34 °C38.1 °C75 %93.5 dB88 %48 %
74 %Motorola Moto E7 Power
Helio G25, PowerVR GE8320
Motorola Moto E7 Power
76 %6.50"9.2 mm88 %200 g81 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:981 %320 cd/m²4.43060 Hz43 %47.019.855 %52486 %4654.592 %1105 min91 %29 °C37.4 °C62 %82.1 dB92 %35 %

The table above depicts all smartphones reviewed during the above-mentioned period with their total score as well as category scores as achieved during our extensive review as well as a selection of important parameters and benchmarks. All scores and details can be found in the respective reviews.
This table can be sorted by each column by simply clicking the column title, e.g. weight.

Other interesting devices

Some devices left a special impression during our reviews, like the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G with its very slim silhouette.

Or the Motorola Moto G100, which is the flagship phone from Motorola's new and improved mainstream segment. It includes its own desktop mode including a docking station.

The Samsung Galaxy M12 was a favorite among our readers and was one of the most read reviews for  a couple of weeks. The inexpensive smartphone with 90 Hz display and stable chassis manages decent battery runtimes, but we have to deduct points for the mediocre camera and the slow Wi-Fi connection.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Motorola Moto G100
Motorola Moto G100
Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12
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Florian Schmitt
Editor of the original article: Florian Schmitt - Managing Editor Mobile - 861 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2009
I initially wrote about gaming laptops when I joined Notebookcheck in 2009. I was then involved with the setup of the comparison portal Notebookinfo and worked with social media concepts for large companies like BMW and Adidas, while also returning to work for Notebookcheck in 2012. Nowadays, I focus on smartphones, tablets, and future technologies. Since 2018 I have been Managing Editor for mobile device reviews, working alongside my colleague Daniel Schmidt.
contact me via: @FloSchmi26, LinkedIn, Xing
Andreas Osthoff
Translator: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1282 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Best Smartphones in Q2/2021 - 39 Smartphones in Review
Florian Schmitt, 2021-07- 3 (Update: 2021-07- 3)