Best Samsung Galaxy phones for any Budget or Need, in April 2021
Whatever your budget, we have a Samsung Galaxy Phone for you
There’s a reason why Samsung is the world’s number one phone brand, with a loyal fanbase. The South Korean tech giant produces some of the most cutting-edge mobile tech in the world, but they also have a diverse range of products that cover just about every need or budget. So whether you have money to splurge on the absolute latest and most bleeding edge, or you just want a good-value phone that works, there’s a Samsung phone that fits your search. Here’s our guide on the best Samsung Galaxy Phones to buy depending on your budget or need. Of course, if you are open to using more than just Samsung, we have a guide to the best Android phones too.
These are the best Samsung Galaxy Phones:
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
- Best that money can buy: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Best for those who want a stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Best for an affordable phone with a stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
- Best with no notches or cut-outs: Samsung Galaxy A80
- Best for small pockets: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
- Best for battery life: Samsung Galaxy M51
- Best for affordable 5G: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the most capable and well-rounded smartphones in the world right now. It’s got the best screen: WQHD+ resolution with a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz; 1,500 nits of maximum brightness; and nary a bezel to be found. It’s got a fast and versatile software that can double as a desktop UI if connected to a TV, and it’s got the most advanced and versatile zooming system around.
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.
Second Best Phone, Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21
If that Galaxy S21 Ultra price is too tough to stomach, the smaller Galaxy S21, which starts at $800, is a worthy alternative. 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 getting most of what makes the Galaxy S21 Ultra great: that striking camera module design, One UI 3.1, a really good ultra-wide camera. And 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.
Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
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, 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.
Best that money can buy: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the most cutting edge smartphone in the world, but owning it will cost you: it retails for $2,000 and, despite its excellent built quality, is still going to be more fragile than everything else on this list by virtue of being a foldable. However, if you are okay with those two compromises, you are in for a treat.
Everything from playing games to watching movies, typing long emails to multi-tasking, is better on the Fold 2 because of its large 7.6-inch screen. That Snapdragon 865+ and 120Hz refresh rate of the inside screen sure help matters. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 offers an experience unlike any other smartphone and is the phone and tablet combination in one device that you’ve been searching for.
Best for those who want a stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
While the Galaxy S21 Ultra does support S Pen functions, the S Pen is a bit of an afterthought to the package. You cannot 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 the best phone for those that do prioritize the S Pen 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 is a great non-folding screen on the market, 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.
Best for those who want a stylus at a discount: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
If you read the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra paragraph and found yourself interested in the S-Pen but turned off by the still-expensive price, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is perhaps worth a look. You’re still getting the S-Pen for all your scribbling needs; still getting a vibrant Super AMOLED display, it’s just smaller with rounded corners so it’s easier for smaller hands, and best of all, it’s a third of the price of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S21 Ultra.
In terms of the cameras, you get a trio of 12MP sensors of the wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto varieties. The cameras here won’t come close to what the flagships offer but are more than good enough, especially at its mid-tier price point. The 4,500 mAh battery ensures all-day endurance too, however the processor here is the Exynos 9810 instead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, so don’t expect to play games at the highest graphic setting.
- If you've decided you really want in on that S-Pen action but don't want to pay $1,000 or more, this is a worthy alternative from Samsung. Despite its shortcomings, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite still represents one of the most affordable ways to get the S-Pen experience.
Best for those annoyed by notches and cut-outs: Samsung Galaxy A80
If you find notches and “Infinity-O” hole-punch cutouts unsightly, then the Galaxy A80, with its completely uninterrupted display, is for you. This phone ditches the selfie camera entirely, instead of using an elevating, spinning camera module that flips the main camera system around during selfie use. The rising and flipping camera module is fast and reliable, and while the 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, and TOF sensor are solid but unspectacular as a main camera system, for selfies it’s among one of the most feature-packed systems.
There’s a Snapdragon 730 processor and a good 1080 x 2400 AMOLED panel too. But the optical in-display fingerprint scanner is a bit slow, however. And the device is a bit old now, but it still remains a good mid-range device.
- If you're tired of notches and hole-punches and prefer your screen uninterrupted and symmetrical, this is one of the few options available. The clever elevating and spinning camera mechanism will attract plenty of attention in the public and means your selfies should be better than on most phones as it uses the main camera!
Best for those with small pockets: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
By “small pocket”, we don’t mean a lack of funds; but rather we literally mean pockets without a lot of space, like women’s jeans, for example. The Galaxy Z Flip is perfect for those because its clamshell design allows it to fold up and become a petite device with roughly the dimensions of a coaster. Then unfolded, it’s a thin, sleek smartphone with thin bezels and a capable dual-camera system consisting of a 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide-camera, as well as a 10MP selfie camera.
Just like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the hinge locks in place at various angles which offers unique use cases, such as putting it on a table for hands-free video calls. Depending on your needs, this phone either comes in an older, but cheaper, Snapdragon 855+ or the newer but pricier Snapdragon 865+ version. The latter will bring speedier performance and support for 5G, but the non-5G version is still plenty powerful if you want to save $200.
- The Galaxy Z Flip is ideal for those who don't like how big phones have become, and the bulk it leaves in your pocket. This, along with the Fold 2, represents Samsung's two most ambitious products currently. Unlike the Z Fold 2, the Z Flip offers the smartphone experience everyone loves in a considerably more manageable form factor.
Best for battery life: Samsung Galaxy M51
Do you suffer from battery anxiety? If so, the Galaxy M51 should leave you at ease. It has a gigantic 7,000 mAh battery that is guaranteed to go at least two full days on a single charge, likely three, as our own review found. This large battery, as expected, makes the phone quite a bulky device, weighing 213g and measuring 9.5mm in thickness. But in our testing, we still found it ergonomically friendly thanks to the evenly distributed weight and the subtle curvature of the backside.
You also have a large 6.7-inch 1,080 x 2,340 screen, and a quad-camera system headlined by a 64MP shooter and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, as well as a pair of 5MP macro and depth sensors. With the Snapdragon 730G on board, you have enough processing power for all your smartphone tasks.
Best Samsung for those who want 5G on a budget: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
The newest phone on this list 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. And it supports 5G.
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!