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The Best Smartphones of 2021: An Awards Ceremony
2021 has been a year of major changes in the smartphone market. With new contenders and vastly improved phones, past giants have fallen off the radar. This year, we have custom-designed 10 different trophies to award the winners of our 10 different categories, leading up to the single best smartphone in the market right now.
The Most Improved Award
The winner for the Most Improved Award goes to Google. The Pixel 6 launched last year, giving us a glimpse of something special – a bit of never-before-seen software magic. However, it was plagued with reception issues, bugs, glitches, a wonky fingerprint scanner, and some pretty grainy video recording. What a surprise that Google fixed all of these issues with the Pixel 7s in one year! This award is all yours, Google.
The Most Timeless Phone
The winner for the Most Timeless Phone goes to the iPhone 13. It’s still a solid phone, fast, with good battery life, and four more years of full-on software support. Plus, its replacement, the iPhone 14, is almost the same, making the iPhone 13 a prime discounted sweet spot phone right now.
The Best Small Phone
The winner for the Best Small Phone goes to the Asus Zenfone 9. Being extra small has never been better, as the Zenfone 9 is still a top-of-the-line flagship with the fastest chip you can get, up to 16 gigs of RAM, a really responsive screen, and even a six-axis gimbal-stabilized camera. Oh, and it has a headphone jack, too! The Samsung Z Flip 4 is also a favorite small phone, but the price point is not for everyone.
The Best Foldable Award
The winner for the Best Foldable Award is currently Oppo. Oppo has the best foldable hardware, with a shape that makes sense in both folded form and unfolded form, creating a widescreen tablet that eliminates the crease. While Xiaomi has the thinnest foldable, the Samsung foldable has the best foldable software. For a phone that costs over $1500, nothing is more important than software that lets you best take advantage of it.
The Gaming Award
For the Gaming Award, the Rog Phone 6 Pro takes home the trophy. It’s halfway in between Red Magic’s philosophy and the iPhone, leading to powerful hardware, great cooling, and a general multimedia powerhouse with the best speakers and battery of any mainstream device.
The Best Budget Phone
The winner for the Best Budget Phone goes to the OnePlus Nord CE2. Packed with genuinely strong hardware and priced under $300, it’s no surprise that spin-off companies from Xiaomi and Oppo dominate the market at this price point.
The Best Camera Phone
The winner for the Best Camera Phone goes to the Google Pixel 6 Pro. Google’s excellent image processing combined with the improved hardware makes for an impressive camera.
The Best Battery Life Award
The winner for the Best Battery Life Award goes to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. With its massive 5,000mAh battery and excellent optimization, the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers the best battery life of any flagship phone.
The Most Innovative Award
The winner for the Most Innovative Award goes to Xiaomi. Xiaomi has managed to include an under-display camera in a real phone that’s currently on sale and avoids the notch or punch-hole implementation.
After much consideration and many trophies awarded, the Best Smartphone of 2021 Award goes to the Google Pixel 6 Pro. With an excellent camera, smooth software, and an impressive design that screams premium, Pixel 6 Pro truly stands out as the best smartphone on the market today.