These are the best Verizon phones in Summer 2021: Samsung, Apple, Google, Motorola & more!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already entering the second quarter of the year, and so far 2021 has had a whole lot of new and exciting smartphones releases. We just need to look at what companies like Samsung, Apple, and OnePlus have been doing. But sometimes, it can feel like you’re missing out on some of them because you’re in the US and you’re tied to a carrier, and thus don’t have a wide catalog to choose from, unlike people who buy unlocked phones do. Verizon though does have a fairly big catalog of options with some of the best US smartphones released throughout the year. So if you’re a Verizon customer in the market for a new phone, we’ve rounded up some of the best Verizon phones.
Whether you need a smartphone on a budget or you want some of the most bleeding-edge hardware available out there, you can take advantage of Verizon’s offers and discounts by choosing from their current catalog of budget and flagship smartphones. This list will include both iOS and Android devices in all kinds of price ranges, and will also include, for the most part, full support for Verizon’s network, including their 5G network.
Navigate this guide:
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
- Best Camera: Google Pixel 5
- Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
- Best Compact: iPhone SE
- Best Bleeding-Edge: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
- Best Mid-Range: Google Pixel 4a
- Best Battery Life: Motorola Moto G Power 2021
- Best Budget: Motorola Moto G Play 2021
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is currently the most premium smartphone in Samsung’s current lineup, and it goes to show how well Samsung has matured its whole lineup. The Galaxy S20 Ultra from last year felt like a rough look into the future of Samsung’s premium smartphone, serving as both a massive step forward and a step back in several aspects. The 108MP camera felt clunky to use and fell short in a lot of its promises, yet was still a step in the right direction for Samsung. With the S21 Ultra, they learned from their mistakes and came up with a couple of new tricks up their sleeves, and it shows a lot.
For the money, you get a Snapdragon 888 processor based on a 5nm process, which is as good as it gets for flagship smartphones in 2021, with 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB UFS 3.0 storage. It also has a world-class 6.8-inch QHD+ AMOLED display with a 120Hz ultra-smooth refresh rate, as well as a 108MP quad rear camera setup with 8K video recording capability and features such as 100X Space Zoom (vastly improved from its previous iteration). Oh, and it’s also compatible with the S Pen, just in case you’re part of the Note crowd considering an upgrade to this device. It’s very clearly one of the best Verizon phones right now.
- The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is Samsung's new mainstream premium smartphone, with S-Pen support, amazing 108MP cameras and 120Hz display, plenty of processing power, and support for several features such as 100X Space Zoom. You're paying a lot of money for a lot of phone.
Runner-Up: iPhone 12 Pro
The iPhone 12 Pro is Apple’s latest premium smartphone, and it comes with a lot of generational improvements over last year’s iPhone 11 lineup. The 5nm Apple A14 processor is a marked improvement over last year’s smartphone with a lot of processing power. The iPhone 12 Pro also comes with improvements such as a renewed design with flat edges reminiscent of the iPhone 5, ever-so-slightly smaller bezels, better camera prowess with markedly better low-light performance, and a LiDAR scanner for 3D mapping and scanning for AR applications.
It’s the best of the best Apple currently has to offer. Other features include MagSafe support, up to 512GB NVMe storage, Face ID support, and much more. It’s also the first iPhone with 5G support, and you can enjoy Verizon’s 5G network with it.
Best Camera: Google Pixel 5
The Google Pixel 5 is Google’s best smartphone so far. It does a lot of things differently to previous Pixel devices in their lineup, for example being the first main flagship entry in the Pixel series not to feature a flagship processor. It has a Snapdragon 765G, which still gives you plenty of performance, and features 8GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. It also has the Pixel series’ big staple — camera performance — that, to this day, remains almost unmatched. Most of the phone’s camera prowess can be attributed to software, so they don’t need any extra fancy sensors as other phones do. It features normal and ultra-wide pictures.
The Pixel 5 can be yours for $699 on Verizon and supports the carrier’s 5G network with the same stock software you love from Google and the same feature set. If you’re a Verizon customer looking for a phone with an amazing camera that doesn’t come that costly, this is definitely one of the best Verizon phones worth a look.
Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE was one of Samsung’s greatest hits from last year, providing one of the best price-to-performance ratios we’ve seen from Samsung in the last few years. While the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is actually meant to succeed the Galaxy S20 from last year, prices got slashed $200 across the board with all Samsung Galaxy S21 devices, bringing the regular Galaxy S21 a lot closer to the price of the Galaxy S20 FE, making it a much more compelling deal overall. The Galaxy S21 has the same Snapdragon 888 processor, 120Hz display, and most internal specs while also cutting down on aspects such as the camera to keep the costs down.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is definitely one of the best Verizon phones currently available.
Best Compact: iPhone SE
The second-generation iPhone SE from Apple was actually launched earlier this year, and it’s a completely different beast from the first device that launched as the iPhone SE. While that one launched in 2015 as pretty much a smaller iPhone 6s (in terms of internals) in the small 4-inch build of the iPhone 5, the new iPhone SE brings the iPhone 11’s internals, such as the Apple A13 Bionic SoC, in a smaller 4.7-inch form factor reminiscent of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.
While it’s not the best compact iPhone anymore (that award goes to the iPhone 12 Mini, which is actually smaller than the iPhone SE now), it’s still the cheapest one around, starting at a digestible $399 for the 64GB model. It’s not the best phone you can get at Verizon right now, and it doesn’t support 5G, but it is still pretty good, especially if you’re looking for an iOS device on a budget.
Best Bleeding-Edge: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
Want something that will make you stand out of the pack immediately and don’t mind paying a huge sum for it? Well then, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 might be the phone for you. The astronomical cost though is well worth it in this case. It comes with the same internal specs as the Note20 Ultra, including the same Snapdragon 865+ processor, 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a slightly stepped down 12MP triple camera setup. But the device packs a foldable 7.6″ panel that folds inward as well as an external 6.2″ display with a 25:9 aspect ratio. The foldable panel comes with a 120Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth usage in full resolution.
There are many advantages to having a foldable display, and if you’re one of them who wants to try out the experience, then go ahead and check it out on Verizon. It does come at a considerable premium compared to any of the other options in our list, but given how much Samsung has improved their foldable smartphones year-on-year, we think it’s well worth it for one of the best Verizon phones on the premium segment.
Best Mid-Range: Google Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel 4a continues the successful formula that Google started with the Pixel 3a lineup. This is a really cheap smartphone with very average mid-range specifications, but also packs everything that makes a Pixel smartphone so good and iconic. It packs Google’s fast updates and clean, stock Android software, and also comes with Google’s world-class camera processing, although the dual lenses that come with the higher-end smartphones are dialed back to a single rear camera sensor.
It comes with its downsides though, the main one being that this smartphone doesn’t support 5G connectivity. But still, it’s a pretty solid offering from Google.
Best Battery Life: Motorola Moto G Power 2021
If you just want a cheap device that can provide you with amazing battery life, then the Motorola Moto G Power 2021 is the phone for you. The specs? Nothing amazing. There’s a Snapdragon 662 SoC, up to 4 GB of RAM, a rear 48MP camera, and up to 64GB of storage. The selling point of the phone though is the battery. The phone packs a 5,000 mAh battery cell which can provide the phone with up to, according to Motorola at least, 2 days of juice on a single charge. The Snapdragon 662 is built in an 11nm process and sips battery, which definitely helps the Moto G Power’s case here.
Don’t expect 5G or any other fancy features, but if what you want is simply a smartphone that can endure a lot of abuse without being connected to a wall every six hours, then the Moto G Power 2021 is the phone for you. It’s one of the best Verizon phones in terms of battery life.
Best Budget Phone: Motorola Moto G Play 2021
The Motorola Moto G Play 2021 isn’t going to blow you out of your seat either if you’re expecting the same amount of features that are featured on some of the other smartphones on this list. In fact, “Play” smartphones in Motorola’s lineup are usually among the less powerful options available. But if you want a smartphone that focuses on the essentials and comes with a few extra perks, then you won’t want to miss this one. Unlike the Moto G Power, the Moto G Stylus goes down to a Snapdragon 460 and up to 3GB of RAM. It also comes with a measly 32GB of storage, although that’s expansible, and the camera is nothing to write home about either, with a main 13MP sensor.
It’s one of the best phones to consider if you’re looking for something on Verizon that actually gets the essentials right.
There’s a lot of options here, whether you’re looking for a premium flagship in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, an iOS device in the iPhone 12 Pro, or a more affordable option in the shape of the Galaxy S21 or going all the way down to Motorola’s Moto G lineup. Depending on whatever you want to do with your device, there are some options that are better than others.
What do you think about our picks? Let us know down below in the comments section.