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The Best Smartphones of Q3/2021 - 34 smartphones reviewed

Smartphone Editors Choice Awards Q3 2021. In the third quarter of 2021, there have been a few new flipping and folding smartphones. Samsung and Asus released great devices. Moreover, two manufacturers got back into the ruggedised smartphone game. Read this article to learn which smartphones we liked best in Q3 2021.
Florian Schmitt, 👁 Florian Schmitt, Brian Burriston (translated by Stanislav Kokhanyuk), 🇩🇪 🇷🇺


The Best of the Best - These smartphones got the highest review scores

3 smartphones managed to get the “very good” rating: Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold3 has made it to the third generation, and it is no longer a device that is only suited for enthusiasts. The foldable smartphone is inching closer and closer to mass appeal, thanks to its slimmer build, pen support and even more robust screen. The Fold3 is the first smartphone in the series that got the “very good” rating. However, buyers should still be a bit cautious, and the high price is another thing to think long and hard about. In any case, there is no real alternative to the Fold3 on the market right now. The Galaxy Z Fold3 is currently unavailable on Amazon. However, you can try to get it on Samsung’s website or eBay.

Asus released two gaming smartphones which we found to be “very good”: The Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro and the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. The Pro model features a colour screen on the back which can display animations and show the battery status when charging. Furthermore, the ROG Phone 5 Pro has an active cooler in the box. The Ultimate model comes with a massive 18 GB of RAM and has a monochrome display on the back. Both smartphones feature the latest and most powerful components. However, the cameras cannot be described as the best on the market. Unfortunately, both Asus smartphones are hard to come by at the moment. Currently, they are out of stock on Amazon, and on eBay, they are significantly overpriced.

Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro
Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

Our Favourite - Editors Choice Awards Q3 2021

Each quarter we conduct a poll based on the review scores to determine the smartphones that are worthy of our Editors’ Choice Awards. Only smartphones that offer a great overall package, high level of performance in specific areas or a particularly good price-to-performance ratio come under consideration of our editors. Smartphones that receive an Editors’ Choice Award are very good buys in each category.

Nokia XR20

The ruggedised Nokia XR20 is intended for outdoor use, that is, for users who like being outside. However, companies that are looking for a rugged smartphone for their workers cannot go wrong with the Nokia XR20. What is so special about the XR20 is that it does not look tanky. It is quite elegant. 

The extensive 3-year warranty and Nokia’s promise of 4 years of software support mean that the Nokia smartphone will serve its users for a long time. Stock Android, a remappable button, long battery life, fast 5G and a bright screen round off the great overall package.

The Nokia XR20 should be top of mind for anyone who is looking for a slick rugged smartphone.

Unfortunately, the Nokia XR20 is currently unavailable on Amazon. You can find it on eBay, though, at an inflated price.

Nokia XR20
Nokia XR20
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award

Sony Xperia 10 III

Thanks to their clean design and slim build, Sony smartphones manage to set themselves apart in the crowded Android marketplace. The Xperia 10 III is the smallest current smartphone from Sony. It distinguishes itself from the competition through some unusual features such as a 3.5-mm headphone jack with Hi-Res Audio certification. 

The Sony Xperia 10 Mark 3 features a colour-accurate OLED display and offers great battery life. However, the screen refreshes at only 60 Hz. What is more, the cameras produce good images, but image processing takes quite a while. This can prove annoying if you want to take a lot of shots in quick succession. 

All in all, the Xperia 10 Mark 3 is an unusual smartphone that should appeal to individualists.

The Sony Xperia 10 Mark 3 is currently available on Amazon

Sony Xperia 10 III
Sony Xperia 10 III
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award
Notebookcheck Editors Choice Award

Note: For commercial use of the Award graphics a license is required. You can learn more about it here.

The Best Smartphones - Reviewed Q3/2021

Overall Score
Model
Image
Starts from
Housing Score
Size
Thickness
Weight Score
Weight
Display Score
Display Type
Resolution
Pixel Density
Aspect Ratio
Screen-to-Body Ratio
Screen Brightness
Colour Accuracy (DeltaE)
Refresh Rate
Camera Score
Lowlight Performance (DeltaE)
Daylight Performance (DeltaE)
Application Performance
PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Score
Gaming Performance Score
3DMark for A. Sling Shot Ext. (ES 3.1) Un.
GFXBench Aztec Ruins H.T. Onscreen
PUBG Mobile HD
Batterylife Score
Battery Runtime Wi-Fi 150 cd/m²
Temperature Score
Front Temp When Idle
Front Temp under Load
Audio Score
Max Volume (dB)
Touchscreen Input Score
Connectivity Score
83.6 %Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G
SD 732G, Adreno 618
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G
88.7 %6.55"6.81 mm91.7 %157 g90.2 %AMOLED2400x1080402 PPI20:985 %809 cd/m²1.3090 Hz63.6 %44.377.3271.2 %806431.9 %2935123089.7 %692 min90.9 %32.2 °C37.6 °C76.6 %86.7 dB93.9 %51.1 %
79.2 %Motorola Moto G50
SD 480, Adreno 619
Motorola Moto G50
84.3 %6.50"9 mm88.7 %192 g83.4 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:984 %325 cd/m²4.75090 Hz57 %37.518.3563.3 %30.5 %2563193092.4 %1198 min88.3 %29.8 °C41.4 °C58 %79.2 dB91.1 %43.6 %
78.1 %Motorola Moto G20
Tiger T700, Mali-G52 MP2
Motorola Moto G20
83.7 %6.50"9 mm88 %200 g85.3 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:982 %352 cd/m²3.35090 Hz53 %41.7710.3656.7 %843815.7 %1516123091 %1009 min89.6 %29.4 °C39.3 °C70 %80.3 dB93.9 %45.8 %
82.9 %OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Nord Core Edition)
SD 750G 5G, Adreno 619
OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Nord Core Edition)
83.9 %6.43"7.9 mm90.6 %170 g89 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:985 %596 cd/m²1.9090 Hz68.4 %44.828.372.2 %822431.8 %2923113091.2 %924 min87.1 %30.7 °C42.7 °C77.8 %90.1 dB90.8 %48.1 %
85.7 %realme GT 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
realme GT 5G
84.3 %6.43"8.4 mm89.2 %186 g90.2 %Super AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:986 %606 cd/m²1.3120 Hz64 %42.817.5679.2 %58.5 %89874489.4 %755 min90.3 %32.4 °C37.7 °C77.6 %90.1 dB94.4 %53.5 %
86 %Xiaomi Black Shark 4
SD 870, Adreno 650
Xiaomi Black Shark 4
83.6 %6.67"10.4 mm87.8 %210 g84 %Super AMOLED2400x1080395 PPI20:985 %669 cd/m²5.77144 Hz71 %9.4910.6791.6 %1431565 %89753489.1 %710 min87.9 %28.2 °C42 °C76.4 %82 dB96.1 %46 %
83.2 %Sony Xperia 10 III
SD 690 5G, Adreno 619L
Sony Xperia 10 III
89.3 %6.00"8.3 mm90.7 %169 g90.9 %OLED2520x1080457 PPI21:980 %540 cd/m²1.1060 Hz60 %42.124.8665.3 %735625.1 %230883091.3 %809 min92.2 %29.4 °C35.6 °C75.2 %88.7 dB93.3 %65 %
87.3 %Vivo X60 Pro
SD 870, Adreno 650
Vivo X60 Pro
87.4 %6.56"7.59 mm90 %177 g91.7 %AMOLED2376x1080398 PPI19.8:990 %796 cd/m²0.7120 Hz74.4 %27.144.9486.5 %61.6 %3388.7 %665 min90.2 %31.1 °C38.8 °C75.4 %94.1 dB91.1 %53.8 %
80 %Oppo A54 5G
SD 480, Adreno 619
Oppo A54 5G
81.6 %6.50"8.4 mm88.9 %190 g89.1 %IPS2400x1080405 PPI20:984 %504 cd/m²1.4090 Hz55.8 %46.177.2866.2 %771327.4 %2563103091.2 %987 min89.1 %34.2 °C39.4 °C79.6 %92.1 dB86.7 %48.3 %
86.8 %Sony Xperia 1 III
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Sony Xperia 1 III
90.4 %6.50"8.2 mm89.2 %186 g83.7 %OLED3840x1644643 PPI21:983 %539 cd/m²4.78120 Hz74.8 %25.598.0485.5 %1023161.3 %61103784.7 %534 min89.6 %26.4 °C39.9 °C84 %81.5 dB97.2 %51.8 %
76.4 %Nokia G20
Helio G35, PowerVR GE8320
Nokia G20
82.7 %6.50"9.2 mm88.3 %197 g82.4 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:981 %447 cd/m²5.75060 Hz56 %20.447.8360.8 %55944.4 %3734.892.7 %1186 min90.6 %26.8 °C39.6 °C54 %80.6 dB94.4 %37.4 %
80 %Vivo Y72 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Vivo Y72 5G
84 %6.58"8.5 mm88.6 %193 g85.3 %IPS2408x1080352 PPI20:984 %384 cd/m²3.32060 Hz62.8 %18.9115.8368 %636829.5 %24768.491.9 %1084 min88.1 %30.1 °C41.5 °C62 %86.1 dB88.9 %44.7 %
80.2 %Nokia X10
SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia X10
83 %6.67"9.1 mm87.7 %220 g84.4 %IPS2400x1080395 PPI20:979 %630 cd/m²3.39060 Hz63.6 %17.255.5866.7 %27.4 %25629.93090.3 %896 min88.6 %29.1 °C41.3 °C64 %82.6 dB93.9 %49.8 %
81.4 %Nubia RedMagic 6R
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Nubia RedMagic 6R
82.4 %6.67"7.8 mm89.2 %186.41 g86.4 %AMOLED2400x1080395 PPI20:987 %442 cd/m²2.2144 Hz59.2 %45.44.0985.2 %57 %9374, 8921426085.3 %541 min25 %35.2 °C52.9 °C73.6 %92.1 dB90.6 %64.3 %
86.8 %Asus Zenfone 8 Flip
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus Zenfone 8 Flip
86.6 %6.67"9.6 mm87.5 %230 g88.3 %Super AMOLED2400x1080395 PPI20:984 %686 cd/m²3.1090 Hz72 %44.486.9687.6 %65.9 %87443786.7 %556 min91.4 %30.8 °C38.1 °C81 %87.9 dB95 %54.8 %
79.6 %Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
82.7 %6.60"9 mm88 %203 g82.8 %IPS2400x1080399 PPI20:981 %378 cd/m²5.41090 Hz57.8 %45.6612.6965.2 %25.3 %24638.13092.3 %1156 min90.6 %24.7 °C40.1 °C64 %83.5 dB93.9 %48.6 %
84.9 %OnePlus Nord 2 5G
Dimensity 1200, Mali-G77 MP9
OnePlus Nord 2 5G
83.1 %6.43"8.3 mm88.9 %189 g87.7 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:986 %594 cd/m²2.74090 Hz70.2 %31.0516.4277.8 %997352.8 %314091 %958 min80 %24.8 °C48.7 °C74 %81.6 dB94.4 %50.8 %
82.4 %Oppo A74 5G
SD 480, Adreno 619
Oppo A74 5G
81.7 %6.50"8.4 mm88.9 %190 g89.6 %LTPS2400x1080405 PPI20:984 %573 cd/m²1.8090 Hz60 %45.6410.1279.7 %30.5 %25631093 %1223 min90.3 %34.7 °C36.8 °C73 %90.4 dB92.8 %49.9 %
84.6 %Vivo V21 5G
Dimensity 800U, Mali-G57 MP3
Vivo V21 5G
83.7 %6.44"7.29 mm90.1 %176 g89 %AMOLED2404x1080409 PPI20.03:985 %749 cd/m²2.7090 Hz72.4 %35.174.5585.8 %39.1 %32811290 %839 min92.4 %29.8 °C34.1 °C77 %91.5 dB90.6 %51.2 %
86.4 %Xiaomi Mi 11i
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Xiaomi Mi 11i
86 %6.67"7.8 mm88.3 %196 g89.3 %AMOLED2400x1080395 PPI20:986 %879 cd/m²1.8120 Hz70.4 %42.559.8585.9 %1328259.3 %7270423089.6 %690 min89.9 %29.7 °C39.5 °C76.6 %87.5 dB92.8 %55 %
77.7 %Samsung Galaxy A22 4G
Helio G80, Mali-G52 MP2
Samsung Galaxy A22 4G
80.7 %6.40"8.4 mm89.2 %186 g80.1 %Super AMOLED1600x720274 PPI20:965 %352 cd/m²5.87090 Hz58.8 %43.77.9556.7 %616814.1 %13799.53092.6 %1252 min87.3 %24.4 °C45.4 °C62 %80.1 dB94.4 %44 %
73.8 %Wiko Power U30
Helio G35, PowerVR GE8320
Wiko Power U30
80.1 %6.82"9.45 mm87.8 %214 g80.3 %IPS1640x720263 PPI20.5:981 %369 cd/m²4.1060 Hz48.6 %47.255.3144.1 %52795.4 %4814.793.1 %1235 min92.1 %35 °C34.4 °C70 %89.6 dB83.3 %40.5 %
81.1 %Nokia XR20
SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia XR20
86.4 %6.67"10.6 mm87.2 %248 g87.3 %IPS2400x1080395 PPI20:977 %598 cd/m²4.52060 Hz59.8 %43.444.8967.7 %27.4 %2566103090.1 %927 min90.9 %24.4 °C39 °C62 %83.9 dB96.7 %53.6 %
83.7 %realme GT Master Edition
SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642
realme GT Master Edition
83.6 %6.43"8.7 mm89.7 %180 g85.7 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:983 %584 cd/m²4.06120 Hz60.8 %46.311.1877.8 %53.7 %5469204089.2 %728 min83 %24.6 °C47.6 °C70 %84.9 dB95 %51.6 %
88.7 %Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
92 %7.60"6.4 mm86.8 %271 g89.9 %Dynamic AMOLED2208x1768372 PPI3.75:390 %820 cd/m²2.9120 Hz77.8 %44.77.5383.7 %56.9 %8804276089.3 %610 min92.1 %30.8 °C36.3 °C78.4 %88.7 dB96.7 %69.7 %
88.8 %Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro
84.6 %6.78"9.9 mm87.4 %239 g90.6 %AMOLED2448x1080395 PPI20.4:982 %795 cd/m²1.4144 Hz70.2 %44.987.1592.5 %70.6 %96494290.4 %885 min92 %29.8 °C37.3 °C81.2 %92.4 dB98.9 %73.1 %
86.2 %Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
91.4 %6.70"6.9 mm89.5 %183 g90.7 %AMOLED2640x1080426 PPI22:985 %842 cd/m²1.9120 Hz76.6 %43.337.1184.8 %53.4 %70743285.3 %541 min92.9 %28.2 °C35.4 °C78 %88.6 dB90 %51.8 %
88.7 %Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
84.6 %6.78"9.9 mm87.4 %239 g90.6 %AMOLED2448x1080395 PPI20.4:982 %795 cd/m²1.4144 Hz70.2 %43.157.5392.2 %70.1 %94134089.5 %762 min92 %29.8 °C37.3 °C81.2 %92.4 dB98.9 %75.6 %
80.9 %Motorola Moto G60s
Helio G95, Mali-G76 MP4
Motorola Moto G60s
84.5 %6.80"9.6 mm87.8 %212 g87.5 %IPS2480x1080398 PPI85.3 %564 cd/m²2.23120 Hz60.6 %45.518.4764.4 %27.3 %103089.4 %763 min92.4 %24.3 °C38.2 °C78.8 %82.9 dB93.3 %47.7 %
86.4 %ZTE Axon 30 5G
SD 870, Adreno 650
ZTE Axon 30 5G
80.7 %6.92"7.8 mm88.9 %189 g88.4 %AMOLED2460x1080388 PPI20.5:986 %458 cd/m²1.9120 Hz67 %43.414.3783.3 %64.6 %85482988.7 %658 min87.5 %31.9 °C42.2 °C78.2 %90.4 dB93.3 %63.3 %
83.6 %Oppo Reno6 5G
Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4
Oppo Reno6 5G
85.4 %6.43"7.6 mm89.5 %182 g88.5 %AMOLED2400x1080409 PPI20:991.7 %593 cd/m²2.6090 Hz67 %46.2115.2273.4 %38.3 %3875154089.9 %824 min87.6 %32 °C42.7 °C78.2 %91.7 dB92.8 %52.8 %
84.9 %Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
86.7 %6.50"8.4 mm88.9 %189 g89 %AMOLED2400x1080405 PPI20:983 %751 cd/m²2.18120 Hz66 %37.8814.4585.2 %1164550 %5355194090 %721 min86.7 %24.9 °C45.4 °C70 %83.6 dB94.4 %51.4 %
78 %Motorola Defy
SD 662, Adreno 610
Motorola Defy
87.6 %6.50"10.9 mm87.5 %232 g82 %IPS1600x720270 PPI20:977 %386 cd/m²4.83060 Hz57.2 %45.547.2258.2 %12.4 %11768.990.3 %948 min91.1 %25 °C40 °C66 %83.9 dB95 %45.7 %
83.2 %Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro
SD 888+ 5G, Adreno 660
Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro
82.4 %6.80"9.8 mm87.7 %220 g82.7 %AMOLED2400x1080387 PPI20:985 %705 cd/m²5.9165 Hz60.4 %46.15.2583 %57.3 %8770316090 %829 min70 %29.6 °C37.1 °C78.8 %92.8 dB93.9 %65.3 %

The above table shows all smartphones that have been reviewed in Q3 2021. It shows the overall scores and all subscores, which can be used to select the best device in a specific area. You can learn all about these devices by clicking on them, which will take you to the review of the specific device.

The table can be sorted by any parameter. For this, you will have to click on the column heading with the parameter that interests you (for instance, "weight", "thickness", etc.)

Honourable Mentions

Some smartphones managed to make a particularly deep impression on us such as the Motorola Defy. After many years of absence in the rugged smartphone space, Motorola made a return with the help of Bullitt Group, which is very good at making ruggedised smartphones.

Our readers seem to really like the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G. It was reviewed in the last days of the quarter, and our readers showed the most interest in this device when compared to other smartphones we recently reviewed.

Motorola Defy
Motorola Defy
Samsung Galaxy A52s
Samsung Galaxy A52s
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Florian Schmitt
Editor of the original article: Florian Schmitt - Managing Editor Mobile - 881 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
Stanislav Kokhanyuk
Translator: Stanislav Kokhanyuk - Translator - 61 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2021
I am a big fan of technology, which is why I try to keep up with it. Among my other passions are literature and writing, and so it should not be surprising to anyone at all that I have a four-year bachelor's degree in philology. However, my interests are not limited just to the world of technology, or, for that matter, the world of literature. I am also interested in people and the stories they have to tell. And more recently, I took an interest in artificial intelligence.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > The Best Smartphones of Q3/2021 - 34 smartphones reviewed
Florian Schmitt, 2021-10-11 (Update: 2021-10-11)