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The Best Smartphones of Q1/2021 - 35 Smartphones in Review

Smartphone Editors Choice Awards Q1 2021 A total of 35 smartphones of various makes made it to our lab during the first three months of 2021. One of the highlights was without a doubt Samsung's Galaxy S21 family but it was not by any means the only highlight as there were many other exciting devices. Find out which smartphones we would recommend in our comparison below.
Florian Schmitt, 👁 Florian Schmitt (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 🇩🇪 🇷🇺 ...


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

Five devices managed to achieve an overall rating of “Very Good” in our reviews. Among those were all three of Samsung’s current high-end devices: the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which scored 90 % and thus the highest rating achieved in the past three months, the traditional Galaxy S21, and the slightly larger Galaxy S21+, both of which scored 89 % and are thus only slightly trailing the more than $1,200 expensive high-end flagship.

One thing we found particularly noteworthy is that despite the fact that Samsung continues to use its own in-house Exynos SoCs for devices sold in Europe their performance increased dramatically compared to last year’s models, and they are now a viable and decent alternative to their Snapdragon equivalents. Nevertheless, variants offered in other parts of the world based on the Snapdragon 888 remain slightly faster. The S21U features the best camera within that group but even its 30x hybrid zoom isn’t enough to put it at the very top of our best camera smartphones as its photos are a bit too artificial and synthetic.

The other two devices that achieved a rating of “Very Good” were the two Chinese manufacturers Oppo and OnePlus with their respective Oppo Find X3 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro smartphones. The Find X3 Pro, the more expensive of the two, features a microscope camera that worked surprisingly well in our review and turned out to be a fascinating and exciting addition to what has become well-established smartphone camera technology. The OnePlus features two batteries that can be charged wirelessly and simultaneously in less than one hour.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (90%)
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (90%)
Samsung Galaxy S21 (89%)
Samsung Galaxy S21 (89%)
Samsung Galaxy S21+ (89%)
Samsung Galaxy S21+ (89%)
Oppo Find X3 Pro (89%)
Oppo Find X3 Pro (89%)
OnePlus 9 Pro (88%)
OnePlus 9 Pro (88%)
 

Our Favorites: Editors’ Choice Awards Q1/2021

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.

Vivo Y70

The Y70 is a viable alternative for everybody who intends to keep their smartphone for a long period of time but doesn’t necessarily have the money for an iPhone. Granted, its design language, features, or performance cannot keep up with Apple’s high-end smartphones but at around 300 Euros you get a decent mid-range smartphone with a guarantee of four years of updates.

Its battery life of 13:39 hours in our Wi-Fi test is decent, and while it may not be among the best recorded you need to keep in mind that the Y70 is both slimmer and lighter than most of its mid-range competitors with their ginormous batteries. Charging is quick and painless, thanks to its included 33 W charger.

Overall, the Vivo Y70 turned out to be a positive surprise, and it deserves our endorsement among other things due to its large and fast storage.

Unfortunately, the device is currently not yet available in the US.

Vivo Y70
Vivo Y70
Notebookcheck Editors' Choice Award
Notebookcheck Editors' Choice Award

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel

Lenovo did not make any particular efforts to sell its Legion Phone Duel in Europe. The gaming smartphone is sold exclusively through Lenovo’s website, and Lenovo’s marketing department seems to have been put on hold. Given that a successor has been announced recently it is possible that Lenovo wanted to quietly assess a dedicated gaming smartphone’s popularity first.

With that said the Legion Phone Duel had the right ingredients to impress, and only barely scraped past the “Very Good” rating. Its performance was superb, as was its fast 144 Hz display. Given a powerful enough power supply the device can be charged extremely quickly through two (!) charging ports simultaneously, and camera quality was very decent as well. All things considered Lenovo’s first gaming smartphone could have been a big hit.

Unfortunately, the Legion Phone Duel was never officially released in the US but the international version can be found on Amazon starting at $699.

Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
Notebookcheck Editors' Choice Award
Notebookcheck Editors' Choice Award

Hinweis: Die gewerbliche Nutzung der Award-Grafiken ist ggf. lizenzpflichtig. Weitere Details.

The Best Smartphones - Reviewed Q1/2021

Gesamtbewertung
Modell
Image
Preis ab
Bewertung Gehäuse
Größe
Dicke
Bewertung Gewicht
Gewicht
Bewertung Display
Display Type
Auflösung
Pixeldichte
Screen-to-Body-Ratio
Bildschirm Helligkeit
DeltaE Colorchecker
Bildwiederholfrequenz
Bewertung Kamera
DeltaE Colorchecker lowlight
DeltaE Colorchecker daylight
Bewertung Anwendungsleistung
PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Score
Bewertung Gaming Leistung
3DMark for A. Sling Shot Ext. (ES 3.1) Un.
GFXBench Aztec Ruins H.T. Onscreen
PUBG Mobile HD
Bewertung Akkulaufzeit
Akkulaufzeit WiFi 150 cd/m²
Bewertung Temperatur
Oberseite Idle
Oberseite Last
Bewertung Audio
max. Audio Output (dB)
Bewertung Touchscreen Eingabe
Bewertung Konnektivität
81 %Oppo Reno4 Z 5G
Dimensity 800, Mali-G57 MP4
Oppo Reno4 Z 5G
84 %6.57"8.1 mm89 %184 g84 %IPS2400x1080401 PPI20:9439 cd/m²4.83120 Hz59 %28.4514.6271 %751136 %3410123091 %903 min84 %29.9 °C46.9 °C64 %81.3 dB93 %48 %
77 %ZTE Axon 20
Tiger T618, Mali-G52 MP2
ZTE Axon 20
86 %6.92"7.98 mm88 %198 g84 %OLED2460x1080388 PPI20.5:9405 cd/m²3.5060 Hz52 %47.766.4238 %8219 %15045.43087 %564 min94 %27.9 °C34.1 °C76 %93.8 dB90 %49 %
80 %Oppo A73 5G
Dimensity 720, Mali-G57 MP3
Oppo A73 5G
80 %6.50"7.9 mm90 %177 g87 %IPS2400x1080405 PPI20:9499 cd/m²3.5090 Hz54 %47.488.1366 %739525 %26539.23095 %1426 min95 %29.4 °C30.5 °C76 %91.1 dB87 %46 %
78 %Wiko View5 Plus
Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320
Wiko View5 Plus
82 %6.55"9.3 mm88 %201 g83 %IPS1600x720268 PPI20:9522 cd/m²6.3060 Hz62 %47.345.2356 %54387 %5154.896 %1646 min94 %30.1 °C33 °C74 %92.1 dB86 %46 %
77 %Vivo Y20s
SD 460, Adreno 610
Vivo Y20s
83 %6.51"8.41 mm89 %192.3 g87 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:9468 cd/m²2.6060 Hz51 %47.524.3754 %586910 %8586.695 %1445 min95 %28 °C29.7 °C60 %91.2 dB87 %47 %
80 %Vivo Y70
SD 665, Adreno 610
Vivo Y70
83 %6.44"7.83 mm91 %171 g88 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:9572 cd/m²2.7060 Hz58 %46.917.4265 %629713 %11434.390 %819 min96 %23.7 °C30.5 °C78 %93.5 dB91 %49 %
79 %Gigaset GS4
Helio P70, Mali-G72 MP3
Gigaset GS4
85 %6.30"9.8 mm88 %206 g83 %IPS2340x1080409 PPI19.5:9458 cd/m²5.4060 Hz54 %47.235.1569 %770616 %13925.191 %931 min94 %29.7 °C33.8 °C80 %93.5 dB90 %49 %
78 %Xiaomi Poco M3
SD 662, Adreno 610
Xiaomi Poco M3
81 %6.53"9.6 mm88 %198 g88 %IPS2340x1080395 PPI19.5:9428 cd/m²1.7060 Hz51 %47.745.660 %604213 %11764.492 %1249 min93 %30.3 °C37.5 °C81 %85.1 dB88 %46 %
69 %Cubot King Kong CS
MT6580M, Mali-400 MP
Cubot King Kong CS
77 %5.00"14.9 mm87 %236.5 g80 %IPS1280x720294 PPI16:9409 cd/m²7.27060 Hz26 %46.657.5138 %2 %91 %955 min91 %33.2 °C37 °C46 %84.7 dB86 %29 %
75 %Volla Phone
Helio P23 MT6763V, Mali-G71 MP2
Volla Phone
81 %6.30"8 mm89 %185 g82 %IPS2340x1080409 PPI19.5:9471 cd/m²7.28060 Hz50 %47.1712.455 %51027 %51491 %1016 min90 %31.9 °C39.4 °C60 %85.2 dB92 %36 %
75 %Motorola Moto E7
Helio G25, PowerVR GE8320
Motorola Moto E7
76 %6.50"8.9 mm90 %180 g83 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:9445 cd/m²5.69060 Hz52 %45.249.754 %52966 %4704.590 %867 min91 %27.3 °C37.7 °C62 %87.2 dB88 %35 %
77 %OnePlus Nord N100
SD 460, Adreno 610
OnePlus Nord N100
81 %6.52"8.5 mm89 %188 g88 %IPS1600x720269 PPI20:9456 cd/m²2.7090 Hz55 %46.0811.2556 %57189 %8556.692 %1149 min89 %30.2 °C41.2 °C62 %90.1 dB92 %44 %
80 %Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G
Dimensity 800U, Mali-G57 MP3
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T 5G
83 %6.53"9.05 mm88 %199 g85 %IPS2340x1080395 PPI19.5:9540 cd/m²4.1060 Hz56 %47.27.9672 %873826 %123092 %1133 min91 %33.1 °C36.4 °C71 %88.1 dB89 %49 %
74 %Cubot King Kong Mini 2
Helio A22 MT6761, PowerVR GE8300
Cubot King Kong Mini 2
79 %4.00"12.1 mm95 %123 g82 %IPS1080x540302 PPI18:9633 cd/m²5.21060 Hz43 %47.348.1950 %46583 %2603.992 %1072 min81 %41.5 °C45.6 °C50 %79.9 dB86 %38 %
90 %Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Exynos 2100 5G, Mali-G78 MP14
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
92 %6.80"8.9 mm88 %227 g92 %Dynamic AMOLED 2X3200x1440516 PPI20:9913 cd/m²2120 Hz81 %47.065.785 %1436263 %8345264091 %702 min92 %26.9 °C37.9 °C78 %88 dB98 %69 %
76 %Motorola Moto E7 Plus
SD 460, Adreno 610
Motorola Moto E7 Plus
78 %6.50"9 mm88 %200 g84 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:9446 cd/m²3.97060 Hz52 %46.79.5160 %566911 %8536.591 %946 min89 %30.4 °C39.3 °C66 %78.5 dB88 %36 %
75 %Gigaset GS3
Helio A25, PowerVR GE8320
Gigaset GS3
77 %6.10"9.5 mm90 %172 g81 %IPS1560x720282 PPI19.5:9568 cd/m²8.6060 Hz48 %47.395.950 %46006 %4244.393 %1266 min95 %30.6 °C31.9 °C71 %86.5 dB86 %46 %
77 %F150 Bison 2021
Helio G25, PowerVR GE8320
F150 Bison 2021
82 %5.86"18 mm86 %318 g82 %IPS1520x720287 PPI19:9393 cd/m²4.7060 Hz50 %47.585.1355 %52697 %4934.899 %1953 min94 %33 °C35.6 °C73 %89.9 dB87 %49 %
89 %Samsung Galaxy S21
Exynos 2100 5G, Mali-G78 MP14
Samsung Galaxy S21
89 %6.20"7.9 mm91 %169 g91 %Dynamic AMOLED 2X2400x1080424 PPI20:9793 cd/m²2.2120 Hz77 %45.886.9884 %1348658 %6717453088 %544 min93 %28.1 °C35.3 °C81 %87 dB98 %69 %
87 %Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
SD 865+ (Plus), Adreno 650
Lenovo Legion Phone Duel
86 %6.65"9.9 mm87 %239 g89 %AMOLED2340x1080388 PPI19.5:9550 cd/m²1.24144 Hz75 %44.1510.689 %1235569 %87803390 %851 min85 %35 °C45.7 °C70 %82.2 dB96 %55 %
87 %Xiaomi Mi 11
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Xiaomi Mi 11
88 %6.81"8.06 mm88 %196 g92 %LED DotDisplay3200x1440515 PPI20:9845 cd/m²1.2120 Hz70 %46.4111.1483 %1287663 %9343256087 %527 min91 %31.2 °C37.6 °C82 %86.8 dB94 %56 %
75 %Samsung Galaxy A12
Helio P35 MT6765, PowerVR GE8320
Samsung Galaxy A12
81 %6.50"8.9 mm88 %205 g84 %PLS-LCD1600x720270 PPI20:9427 cd/m²4.04060 Hz59 %44.0413.642 %49836 %4784.792 %1288 min88 %31.9 °C39.7 °C66 %80.9 dB87 %40 %
77 %realme 7i
Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2
realme 7i
79 %6.50"9.8 mm88 %208 g82 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:9569 cd/m²5.47060 Hz54 %39.4411.0670 %865517 %14111294 %1307 min88 %33.7 °C42.6 °C54 %79.5 dB91 %43 %
81 %Motorola Moto G 5G
SD 750G 5G, Adreno 619
Motorola Moto G 5G
82 %6.70"9.9 mm88 %212 g88 %LTPS LCD2400x1080393 PPI20:9565 cd/m²1.74060 Hz65 %44.1710.676 %807631 %29561192 %1056 min87 %33 °C42.1 °C70 %82.5 dB89 %50 %
89 %Samsung Galaxy S21+
Exynos 2100 5G, Mali-G78 MP14
Samsung Galaxy S21+
90 %6.70"7.8 mm88 %200 g91 %Dynamic AMOLED 2X2400x1080393 PPI20:9814 cd/m²2120 Hz77 %45.936.7784 %1225563 %8001443090 %651 min92 %29.9 °C38.2 °C76 %87.8 dB98 %69 %
77 %Motorola Moto G9 Power
SD 662, Adreno 610
Motorola Moto G9 Power
82 %6.80"9.7 mm88 %221 g85 %IPS1640x720263 PPI20.5:9373 cd/m²2.41060 Hz56 %45.558.9858 %642511 %92592 %1165 min87 %32 °C43.5 °C64 %80.2 dB93 %45 %
77 %Nokia 5.4
SD 662, Adreno 610
Nokia 5.4
79 %6.39"8.7 mm90 %180 g82 %IPS LCD1560x720269 PPI19.5:9494 cd/m²6.1060 Hz59 %46.355.8760 %613913 %11249.690 %815 min93 %32.9 °C33.5 °C72 %90.5 dB86 %43 %
82 %Blackview BL6000 Pro
Dimensity 800, Mali-G57 MP4
Blackview BL6000 Pro
85 %6.36"12.8 mm87 %273 g83 %IPS2300x1080400 PPI19:9518 cd/m²4.78060 Hz59 %45.078.8678 %831542 %35571390 %846 min89 %31.8 °C39.5 °C70 %81 dB92 %52 %
69 %Blackview A80
MT6737, Mali-T720
Blackview A80
70 %6.21"8 mm90 %180 g77 %IPS1560x720277 PPI19:9324 cd/m²6.61060 Hz34 %46.8113.1141 %26121 %9189 %723 min88 %34.4 °C39.4 °C48 %78.2 dB83 %35 %
82 %Oppo Find X3 Lite
SD 765G, Adreno 620
Oppo Find X3 Lite
85 %6.43"7.9 mm90 %172 g86 %OLED2400x1080410 PPI20:9572 cd/m²3.2090 Hz60 %46.948.5576 %980037 %35351590 %834 min92 %31.4 °C35.9 °C73 %90.1 dB91 %48 %
79 %Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
Dimensity 720, Mali-G57 MP3
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
79 %6.50"9.1 mm88 %205 g81 %TFT-LCD1600x720270 PPI20:9512 cd/m²4.9060 Hz58 %45.64.8462 %614526 %2659173093 %1235 min93 %32.9 °C33.7 °C76 %93.2 dB89 %51 %
73 %Samsung Galaxy A02s
SD 450, Adreno 506
Samsung Galaxy A02s
78 %6.50"9.1 mm88 %196 g83 %PLS1600x720270 PPI19:9460 cd/m²5.52060 Hz36 %46.377.9845 %46116 %4893.692 %1201 min92 %29.5 °C35.7 °C48 %80 dB91 %35 %
75 %Blackview A80 Plus
Helio P22 MT6762, PowerVR GE8320
Blackview A80 Plus
79 %6.49"8.8 mm90 %180 g80 %IPS1560x720265 PPI19:9467 cd/m²6.32060 Hz48 %47.1314.2561 %47535 %4264.391 %943 min89 %30.8 °C40.2 °C46 %78.7 dB91 %44 %
89 %Oppo Find X3 Pro
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Oppo Find X3 Pro
91 %6.70"8.26 mm89 %193 g92 %AMOLED3216x1440526 PPI20.1:9776 cd/m²0.8120 Hz79 %43.95.6585 %1126265 %95402589 %757 min88 %30.7 °C41.2 °C78 %89.6 dB96 %55 %
88 %OnePlus 9 Pro
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
OnePlus 9 Pro
90 %6.70"8.7 mm88 %197 g92 %AMOLED3216x1440526 PPI19:9746 cd/m²0.95120 Hz77 %2310.283 %1074062 %8347426091 %1002 min88 %29 °C42 °C76 %81.1 dB97 %53 %

Obige Tabelle zeigt alle im betrachteten Zeitraum getesteten Smartphones mit ihren Gesamt- und Teilbewertungen in unserem ausführlichen Test sowie eine Auswahl wichtiger Kenngrößen und Benchmarks. Alle Ergebnisse und Details finden Sie in den verlinkten Testberichten.
Die Tabelle ist in jeder Spalte sortierbar, dazu einfach auf den jeweiligen Spaltentitel klicken, zum Beispiel "Gewicht".

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Florian Schmitt
Editor of the original article: Florian Schmitt - Managing Editor Mobile - 863 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
Finn D. Boerne
Translator: Finn D. Boerne - Translator - 424 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
Born in the United States and raised in Germany I became acquainted with both languages from an early age and turned this into my profession later in life. Computers have always played an important role in my life, and my love for all things digital is a huge part of my daily routine. Virtual Reality has captured my imagination and interest in particular, and I cannot wait to see what the (near) future will bring.
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > The Best Smartphones of Q1/2021 - 35 Smartphones in Review
Florian Schmitt, 2021-04-15 (Update: 2021-04-16)