Despite chip shortages and other issues, 2021 was a pretty great year for smartphones. We saw continued improvements to new form factors, the arrival of potential game-changers, and more. What was your favorite Android phone of 2021?
For the 9to5Google team, one clear device stands out as a favorite – or rather, a duo.
The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were a turning point for Google’s smartphone lineup, bringing the company’s first true attempt to compete at the flagship level and the debut of Tensor, a unique chip design that ditched Qualcomm. Plus, both phones were considerably more affordable than anyone expected.
The result? The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were easily among the best Android phones of 2021 by anyone’s judgment, with cameras that outdo much of the competition. Android 12’s wonderful pure software and focused performance delivered genuinely useful features such as improved voice-to-text transcription. Both models are a delight to use, and the good certainly outweighs some of the recent blunders that Google’s updates have caused.
On the other hand, Google’s flagships weren’t the only devices we were especially impressed with. Samsung made some great moves in 2021 on its Android phones, with the Galaxy S21 Ultra packing a tremendous camera system and a rock-solid experience. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3, meanwhile, pushed foldables into the mainstream.
Of course, the “best Android phone” is a pretty subjective thing. Everyone has different priorities and different things they like to see in their device. Our choice is pretty clear – Google’s Pixel 6 series – but what’s yours?
Read our reviews of the 2021’s Android phones:
- Pixel 6 Pro Review: The flagship Google needs right now is the one buyers deserve
- Review: Google’s $599 Pixel 6 isn’t just an amazing deal, it’s arguably better than the Pro
- Pixel 5a with 5G Review: Uncompromised $449 value counters a wave of pricey flagships
- Samsung Galaxy S21/+ Review: Making the right compromises [Updated]
- Review: Galaxy S21 Ultra is everything the Pixel 5 isn’t, but that’s not a bad thing
- Galaxy Z Fold 3 Review: Two months later, refinement is the name of the game
- Galaxy Z Flip 3 review: A worthwhile price might not outweigh the worst battery since Pixel 4
- Sony Xperia 1 III review: The only true enthusiast Android flagship of 2021 [Video]
- Realme GT 5G review: Stripped-back speed [Video]
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: Battling the big hitters [Video]
- Poco F3 review: A truly exceptional budget smartphone [Video]
- OnePlus 9 Pro review: Consistently inconsistent [Video]
- OnePlus 9 Review: A well-rounded step down that’s arguably the better buy
- Oppo Find X3 Pro review: Stopping just short of greatness [Video]
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