The Best Smartphones of Q3/2021

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), 🇩🇪 🇷🇺

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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

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

84 %Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G
SD 732G, Adreno 618
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G89 %6.55″6.81 mm92 %157 g90 %AMOLED2400×1080402 PPI20:985 %809 cd/m²1.3090 Hz64 %44.377.3271 %806432 %2935123090 %692 min91 %32.2 °C37.6 °C77 %86.7 dB94 %51 %
79 %Motorola Moto G50
SD 480, Adreno 619
Motorola Moto G5084 %6.50″9 mm89 %192 g83 %IPS1600×720270 PPI20:984 %325 cd/m²4.75090 Hz57 %37.518.3563 %31 %2563193092 %1198 min88 %29.8 °C41.4 °C58 %79.2 dB91 %44 %
78 %Motorola Moto G20
Tiger T700, Mali-G52 MP2
Motorola Moto G2084 %6.50″9 mm88 %200 g85 %IPS1600×720270 PPI20:982 %352 cd/m²3.35090 Hz53 %41.7710.3657 %843816 %1516123091 %1009 min90 %29.4 °C39.3 °C70 %80.3 dB94 %46 %
83 %OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Nord Core Edition)
SD 750G 5G, Adreno 619
OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Nord Core Edition)84 %6.43″7.9 mm91 %170 g89 %AMOLED2400×1080409 PPI20:985 %596 cd/m²1.9090 Hz68 %44.828.372 %822432 %2923113091 %924 min87 %30.7 °C42.7 °C78 %90.1 dB91 %48 %
86 %realme GT 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
realme GT 5G84 %6.43″8.4 mm89 %186 g90 %Super AMOLED2400×1080409 PPI20:986 %606 cd/m²1.3120 Hz64 %42.817.5679 %59 %89874489 %755 min90 %32.4 °C37.7 °C78 %90.1 dB94 %54 %
86 %Xiaomi Black Shark 4
SD 870, Adreno 650
Xiaomi Black Shark 484 %6.67″10.4 mm88 %210 g84 %Super AMOLED2400×1080395 PPI20:985 %669 cd/m²5.77144 Hz71 %9.4910.6792 %1431565 %89753489 %710 min88 %28.2 °C42 °C76 %82 dB96 %46 %
83 %Sony Xperia 10 III
SD 690 5G, Adreno 619L
Sony Xperia 10 III89 %6.00″8.3 mm91 %169 g91 %OLED2520×1080457 PPI21:980 %540 cd/m²1.1060 Hz60 %42.124.8665 %735625 %230883091 %809 min92 %29.4 °C35.6 °C75 %88.7 dB93 %65 %
87 %Vivo X60 Pro
SD 870, Adreno 650
Vivo X60 Pro87 %6.56″7.59 mm90 %177 g92 %AMOLED2376×1080398 PPI19.8:990 %796 cd/m²0.7120 Hz74 %27.144.9487 %62 %3389 %665 min90 %31.1 °C38.8 °C75 %94.1 dB91 %54 %
80 %Oppo A54 5G
SD 480, Adreno 619
Oppo A54 5G82 %6.50″8.4 mm89 %190 g89 %IPS2400×1080405 PPI20:984 %504 cd/m²1.4090 Hz56 %46.177.2866 %771327 %2563103091 %987 min89 %34.2 °C39.4 °C80 %92.1 dB87 %48 %
87 %Sony Xperia 1 III
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Sony Xperia 1 III90 %6.50″8.2 mm89 %186 g84 %OLED3840×1644643 PPI21:983 %539 cd/m²4.78120 Hz75 %25.598.0486 %1023161 %61103785 %534 min90 %26.4 °C39.9 °C84 %81.5 dB97 %52 %
76 %Nokia G20
Helio G35, PowerVR GE8320
Nokia G2083 %6.50″9.2 mm88 %197 g82 %IPS1600×720270 PPI20:981 %447 cd/m²5.75060 Hz56 %20.447.8361 %55944 %3734.893 %1186 min91 %26.8 °C39.6 °C54 %80.6 dB94 %37 %
80 %Vivo Y72 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Vivo Y72 5G84 %6.58″8.5 mm89 %193 g85 %IPS2408×1080352 PPI20:984 %384 cd/m²3.32060 Hz63 %18.9115.8368 %636830 %24768.492 %1084 min88 %30.1 °C41.5 °C62 %86.1 dB89 %45 %
80 %Nokia X10
SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia X1083 %6.67″9.1 mm88 %220 g84 %IPS2400×1080395 PPI20:979 %630 cd/m²3.39060 Hz64 %17.255.5867 %27 %25629.93090 %896 min89 %29.1 °C41.3 °C64 %82.6 dB94 %50 %
81 %Nubia RedMagic 6R
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Nubia RedMagic 6R82 %6.67″7.8 mm89 %186.41 g86 %AMOLED2400×1080395 PPI20:987 %442 cd/m²2.2144 Hz59 %45.44.0985 %57 %9374, 8921426085 %541 min25 %35.2 °C52.9 °C74 %92.1 dB91 %64 %
87 %Asus Zenfone 8 Flip
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus Zenfone 8 Flip87 %6.67″9.6 mm88 %230 g88 %Super AMOLED2400×1080395 PPI20:984 %686 cd/m²3.1090 Hz72 %44.486.9688 %66 %87443787 %556 min91 %30.8 °C38.1 °C81 %87.9 dB95 %55 %
80 %Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G83 %6.60″9 mm88 %203 g83 %IPS2400×1080399 PPI20:981 %378 cd/m²5.41090 Hz58 %45.6612.6965 %25 %24638.13092 %1156 min91 %24.7 °C40.1 °C64 %83.5 dB94 %49 %
85 %OnePlus Nord 2 5G
Dimensity 1200, Mali-G77 MP9
OnePlus Nord 2 5G83 %6.43″8.3 mm89 %189 g88 %AMOLED2400×1080409 PPI20:986 %594 cd/m²2.74090 Hz70 %31.0516.4278 %997353 %314091 %958 min80 %24.8 °C48.7 °C74 %81.6 dB94 %51 %
82 %Oppo A74 5G
SD 480, Adreno 619
Oppo A74 5G82 %6.50″8.4 mm89 %190 g90 %LTPS2400×1080405 PPI20:984 %573 cd/m²1.8090 Hz60 %45.6410.1280 %31 %25631093 %1223 min90 %34.7 °C36.8 °C73 %90.4 dB93 %50 %
85 %Vivo V21 5G
Dimensity 800U, Mali-G57 MP3
Vivo V21 5G84 %6.44″7.29 mm90 %176 g89 %AMOLED2404×1080409 PPI20.03:985 %749 cd/m²2.7090 Hz72 %35.174.5586 %39 %32811290 %839 min92 %29.8 °C34.1 °C77 %91.5 dB91 %51 %
86 %Xiaomi Mi 11i
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Xiaomi Mi 11i86 %6.67″7.8 mm88 %196 g89 %AMOLED2400×1080395 PPI20:986 %879 cd/m²1.8120 Hz70 %42.559.8586 %1328259 %7270423090 %690 min90 %29.7 °C39.5 °C77 %87.5 dB93 %55 %
78 %Samsung Galaxy A22 4G
Helio G80, Mali-G52 MP2
Samsung Galaxy A22 4G81 %6.40″8.4 mm89 %186 g80 %Super AMOLED1600×720274 PPI20:965 %352 cd/m²5.87090 Hz59 %43.77.9557 %616814 %13799.53093 %1252 min87 %24.4 °C45.4 °C62 %80.1 dB94 %44 %
74 %Wiko Power U30
Helio G35, PowerVR GE8320
Wiko Power U3080 %6.82″9.45 mm88 %214 g80 %IPS1640×720263 PPI20.5:981 %369 cd/m²4.1060 Hz49 %47.255.3144 %52795 %4814.793 %1235 min92 %35 °C34.4 °C70 %89.6 dB83 %41 %
81 %Nokia XR20
SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia XR2086 %6.67″10.6 mm87 %248 g87 %IPS2400×1080395 PPI20:977 %598 cd/m²4.52060 Hz60 %43.444.8968 %27 %2566103090 %927 min91 %24.4 °C39 °C62 %83.9 dB97 %54 %
84 %realme GT Master Edition
SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642
realme GT Master Edition84 %6.43″8.7 mm90 %180 g86 %AMOLED2400×1080409 PPI20:983 %584 cd/m²4.06120 Hz61 %46.311.1878 %54 %5469204089 %728 min83 %24.6 °C47.6 °C70 %84.9 dB95 %52 %
89 %Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G92 %7.60″6.4 mm87 %271 g90 %Dynamic AMOLED2208×1768372 PPI3.75:390 %820 cd/m²2.9120 Hz78 %44.77.5384 %57 %8804276089 %610 min92 %30.8 °C36.3 °C78 %88.7 dB97 %70 %
89 %Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro85 %6.78″9.9 mm87 %239 g91 %AMOLED2448×1080395 PPI20.4:982 %795 cd/m²1.4144 Hz70 %44.987.1593 %71 %96494290 %885 min92 %29.8 °C37.3 °C81 %92.4 dB99 %73 %
86 %Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G91 %6.70″6.9 mm90 %183 g91 %AMOLED2640×1080426 PPI22:985 %842 cd/m²1.9120 Hz77 %43.337.1185 %53 %70743285 %541 min93 %28.2 °C35.4 °C78 %88.6 dB90 %52 %
89 %Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate
SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate85 %6.78″9.9 mm87 %239 g91 %AMOLED2448×1080395 PPI20.4:982 %795 cd/m²1.4144 Hz70 %43.157.5392 %70 %94134090 %762 min92 %29.8 °C37.3 °C81 %92.4 dB99 %76 %
81 %Motorola Moto G60s
Helio G95, Mali-G76 MP4
Motorola Moto G60s85 %6.80″9.6 mm88 %212 g88 %IPS2480×1080398 PPI85.3 %564 cd/m²2.23120 Hz61 %45.518.4764 %27 %103089 %763 min92 %24.3 °C38.2 °C79 %82.9 dB93 %48 %
86 %ZTE Axon 30 5G
SD 870, Adreno 650
ZTE Axon 30 5G81 %6.92″7.8 mm89 %189 g88 %AMOLED2460×1080388 PPI20.5:986 %458 cd/m²1.9120 Hz67 %43.414.3783 %65 %85482989 %658 min88 %31.9 °C42.2 °C78 %90.4 dB93 %63 %
84 %Oppo Reno6 5G
Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4
Oppo Reno6 5G85 %6.43″7.6 mm90 %182 g89 %AMOLED2400×1080409 PPI20:991.7 %593 cd/m²2.6090 Hz67 %46.2115.2273 %38 %3875154090 %824 min88 %32 °C42.7 °C78 %91.7 dB93 %53 %
85 %Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G87 %6.50″8.4 mm89 %189 g89 %AMOLED2400×1080405 PPI20:983 %751 cd/m²2.18120 Hz66 %37.8814.4585 %1164550 %5355194090 %721 min87 %24.9 °C45.4 °C70 %83.6 dB94 %51 %
78 %Motorola Defy
SD 662, Adreno 610
Motorola Defy88 %6.50″10.9 mm88 %232 g82 %IPS1600×720270 PPI20:977 %386 cd/m²4.83060 Hz57 %45.547.2258 %12 %11768.990 %948 min91 %25 °C40 °C66 %83.9 dB95 %46 %
83 %Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro
SD 888+ 5G, Adreno 660
Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro82 %6.80″9.8 mm88 %220 g83 %AMOLED2400×1080387 PPI20:985 %705 cd/m²5.9165 Hz60 %46.15.2583 %57 %8770316090 %829 min70 %29.6 °C37.1 °C79 %92.8 dB94 %65 %

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.)

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.

Florian Schmitt

Editor of the original article: Florian Schmitt – Managing Editor Mobile – 877 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.

Stanislav Kokhanyuk

Translator: Stanislav Kokhanyuk – Translator – 57 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.

Florian Schmitt, 2021-10-11 (Update: 2021-10-11)

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