These are the Best Samsung Galaxy phones in August: S21 Ultra, A52, Z Fold 3, and more!

These are the Best Samsung Galaxy phones in August: S21 Ultra, A52, Z Fold 3, and more!

Whatever your budget, we have a Samsung Galaxy Phone for you

In the world of smartphones, only Samsung can realistically compete with Apple in terms of global brand awareness and availability, as well as marketing and R&D budget. So to some people in the world, if they’re not buying an iPhone, they’re buying a Samsung. Because of that, Samsung is synonymous with Android for better or worse.

The good news is Samsung makes a diverse range of products that cover just about every need. Here’s our guide on the best Samsung Galaxy Phones to buy depending on your budget or need. Of course, if you’re open to using more than just Samsung, we have a guide to the best Android phones, and even the best iPhones too.

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Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Galaxy S21 Ultra in black

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the most capable and well-rounded smartphone in the world right now, with a stunning 120Hz WQHD+ OLED screen; intuitive software, fast performance, and a 10x optical zoom camera that produces super-sharp shots up to 20x, and even 30x or 40x is still usable.

It also includes every bell and whistle you can think of, including wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, macro shooting mode, 8K video recording, and Samsung DeX — which allows the phone to pair with a monitor or smart TV and become a fully functional desktop. Oh, and that main 108mp camera is pretty great too, with amazing light-intake ability and natural shallow depth-of-field when shooting close-up shots.

With a starting price of $1,200, the S21 Ultra is not cheap, but honestly, if you’re into mobile tech and you have the cash to spend, this is worth every penny. It’s the best smartphone money can buy right now.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the ultimate overkill in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC, a premium build, a great display, an amazing camera setup, as well as all the extras expected on a premium flagship.

Second Best Phone Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21

The Galaxy S21 in purple

If the Galaxy S21 Ultra is too expensive, then consider the smaller Galaxy S21, which starts at $800. This one lacks the world-class zoom camera of the Galaxy S21 Ultra and has a back that’s made of polycarbonate instead of Gorilla Glass. But other than that, you’re still getting a lot of what makes the Galaxy S21 Ultra great — that striking camera module design, One UI 3.1, a really good ultra-wide camera, and same zippy performance. Even without a Periscope zoom lens, the Galaxy S21 can still produce respectable zoom shots. I’d say anything between 5x to 10x still look good enough.

    Samsung Galaxy S21
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 is the starting point of the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC, along with a decent display and camera setup.

Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in red

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) is a good device that gives you some key features of a premium flagship, while cutting corners in others — but they’re the right corners to cut. You’re still getting a 120Hz Super AMOLED display and a Snapdragon 865, but the body is crafted out of polycarbonate, and the telephoto camera has been downgraded to 8MP, which is really weak. Still, the most important parts of a phone — processor, screen, and main camera — are still near top-notch here on this excellent flagship-like phone at much lower than flagship prices.

    Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    The newest phone on this list, the S20 FE can be considered one of the best value offerings of 2020. You're getting almost a tip-top flagship handset here with just a slight compromise such as a polycarbonate body and an average telephoto camera.

Best that money can buy: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Phantom Silver half open back

Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the absolute top dog in Samsung’s pecking order of phones. Not only is it the first foldable in the world to have an official IP rating for water resistance and has stylus support, but it also has the first under-screen camera seen in a mainstream, globally available device. Everything we loved about the Galaxy Z Fold 2 returns here — you have a large, gorgeous 7.6-inch inside screen that’s supposedly even more sturdier than before, along with a 6.2-inch outside cover display that on the Fold 3 now supports a 120Hz refresh rate. With IPX8 water resistance and stronger materials covering the hinge and screen, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the new king of foldables. What’s more amazing is Samsung managed to lower the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s price compared to previous Folds.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
    The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is Samsung's newest top dog phone. It's the most polished foldable phone ever.

Also Great: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 may have been replaced by the newly announced Galaxy Z Fold 3, but it’s still a very capable foldable and one of the best foldable phones right now. A lot of the things that makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 awesome — that gorgeous large inside screen, the unique form factor, the strong hinge — can all be found in the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Even the camera performance between the 2 and 3 are quite similar.

Sure the Z Fold 2 doesn’t have S-Pen support or water resistance rating, but if you don’t use a stylus and aren’t around water much, perhaps these improvements don’t matter to you? If you want a really good foldable at a discount, the Z Fold 2 should be priced reasonably well now the Z Fold 3 is out.

    Galaxy Z Fold 2
    Although no longer the top dog folding phone in Samsung's family, the Z Fold 2 is still a very very good option

Best Compact and Style: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Purple color

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is one of the most stylish-looking smartphones to come out in recent years. We adore the two-tone finish and the petite size when folded up. But don’t mistake small size for lack of power — this thing is, along with the Fold 3, the most durable foldable phone ever, with IPX8 water resistance and Samsung’s new “Armor Aluminum” build material. The screen is also 80% more durable than before. Whether you want a stylish phone or a device that will fit into almost any pocket, this is the one to get. Best of all? Samsung managed to lower the price of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, so it’s also the cheapest foldable phone ever.

    Galaxy Z Flip 3
    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is an awesome small foldable with great looks and durability. It's also the most affordable foldable phone ever.

Best for those who want a stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

samsung galaxy note 20 ultra

While you can use the S Pen with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it’s a bit of an afterthought for that device, because you can’t store the S Pen inside the phone, and the case that comes with a storage slot for the S Pen is not exactly the prettiest case in the world. For these reasons, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra still remains, in our opinion, the best phone for those who want a seamless stylus experience.

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a main camera system headlined by a 108-megapixel camera, a “Space Zoom” periscope camera that can pull off crisp 5X shots, respectable 10X, and all the way up to 50X. And its screen, while not as world-beating as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, is still really, really good, with a variable refresh rate that can go up to 120Hz for ultra fluidity, or lower for more static apps to save battery.

What makes the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra worth considering for many is the S-Pen, which in addition to being a pretty great stylus can double as a remote control for hands-free photo taking or cycling through the phone’s UI. If you’re someone who needs to annotate documents, sign digital documents, or do the occasional sketches, the S-Pen is indispensable. Performance is zippy all around thanks to that Snapdragon 865+ processor and 12GB of RAM. This is an expensive phone though, and the boxy corners and huge 6.9-inch screen make it tough to use for those with smaller hands.

    Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
    The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the phone that has everything, including an S-Pen! It has every spec you can imagine – aside from a folding screen – and the S-Pen is a game-changer for those who need to be productive on the go.

Best for battery life: Samsung Galaxy M31

Galaxy M31

Do you suffer from battery anxiety? If so, the Galaxy M31 should put you at ease. It has a large 6,000 mAh battery that will surely go a full day and then some. You’ll want to have all that juice to power the 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. With a resolution of 1080 x 2340, it is a sharp and vivid panel ideal for gaming or watching movies.

With the Exynos 9611 powering things you will be able to run all your favorite apps without issues. While the plastic body and back look a bit dull, the Galaxy M31 is more about substance than style.

    Galaxy M31
    A 6,000 mAh battery is the star of the show here, along with a serviceable camera and a good screen.

Best Samsung for those who want 5G on a budget: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G in white, black, blue and purple held out in hand

The Galaxy A52 5G is a solid mid-ranger from Samsung that cuts the right corners to reach its lower price. There’s a plastic build instead of glass, and you don’t get much of a zoom camera, but these are features people on a budget would gladly sacrifice to save several hundred dollars. Instead, the Samsung Galaxy A52 still brings a 120Hz AMOLED display, the capable Snapdragon 750G, and a solid 64MP main camera and 16MP ultra-wide. There are two more cameras for depth and portrait, but those don’t matter much.

This is a phone that hits the three pillars of what most people need in a phone — a great screen, a solid camera that just works, and enough processing power. Oh, and it supports 5G too, marking it as the King of 5G budget smartphones in the USA in our Galaxy A52 5G review.

    Galaxy A52 5G
    The Galaxy A52 5G is Samsung's latest phone and it offers 5G connectivity at a lower price. This is the phone that makes a lot of sense for people who don't want to overspend but still want to get a reliable set of features.

It’s difficult for us to give a blanket recommendation on which Samsung phone to get. Obviously, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best overall phone right now, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most versatile. But if you want to save some money, the standard Galaxy S21 is still very good. Of course, Samsung’s budget offerings punch above their price range too.

What’s your favorite Samsung Galaxy phone from this list, and are there any others you think we should add? Let us knows in the comments below.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.