The Best Smartphones of Q3/2021

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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 4G 89 % 6.55″ 6.81 mm 92 % 157 g 90 % AMOLED 2400×1080 402 PPI 20:9 85 % 809 cd/m² 1.3 090 Hz 64 % 44.37 7.32 71 % 8064 32 % 2935 12 30 90 % 692 min 91 % 32.2 °C 37.6 °C 77 % 86.7 dB 94 % 51 %
79 % Motorola Moto G50

SD 480, Adreno 619
Motorola Moto G50 84 % 6.50″ 9 mm 89 % 192 g 83 % IPS 1600×720 270 PPI 20:9 84 % 325 cd/m² 4.75 090 Hz 57 % 37.51 8.35 63 % 31 % 2563 19 30 92 % 1198 min 88 % 29.8 °C 41.4 °C 58 % 79.2 dB 91 % 44 %
78 % Motorola Moto G20

Tiger T700, Mali-G52 MP2
Motorola Moto G20 84 % 6.50″ 9 mm 88 % 200 g 85 % IPS 1600×720 270 PPI 20:9 82 % 352 cd/m² 3.35 090 Hz 53 % 41.77 10.36 57 % 8438 16 % 1516 12 30 91 % 1009 min 90 % 29.4 °C 39.3 °C 70 % 80.3 dB 94 % 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 mm 91 % 170 g 89 % AMOLED 2400×1080 409 PPI 20:9 85 % 596 cd/m² 1.9 090 Hz 68 % 44.82 8.3 72 % 8224 32 % 2923 11 30 91 % 924 min 87 % 30.7 °C 42.7 °C 78 % 90.1 dB 91 % 48 %
86 % realme GT 5G

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
realme GT 5G 84 % 6.43″ 8.4 mm 89 % 186 g 90 % Super AMOLED 2400×1080 409 PPI 20:9 86 % 606 cd/m² 1.3 120 Hz 64 % 42.81 7.56 79 % 59 % 8987 44 89 % 755 min 90 % 32.4 °C 37.7 °C 78 % 90.1 dB 94 % 54 %
86 % Xiaomi Black Shark 4

SD 870, Adreno 650
Xiaomi Black Shark 4 84 % 6.67″ 10.4 mm 88 % 210 g 84 % Super AMOLED 2400×1080 395 PPI 20:9 85 % 669 cd/m² 5.77 144 Hz 71 % 9.49 10.67 92 % 14315 65 % 8975 34 89 % 710 min 88 % 28.2 °C 42 °C 76 % 82 dB 96 % 46 %
83 % Sony Xperia 10 III

SD 690 5G, Adreno 619L
Sony Xperia 10 III 89 % 6.00″ 8.3 mm 91 % 169 g 91 % OLED 2520×1080 457 PPI 21:9 80 % 540 cd/m² 1.1 060 Hz 60 % 42.12 4.86 65 % 7356 25 % 2308 8 30 91 % 809 min 92 % 29.4 °C 35.6 °C 75 % 88.7 dB 93 % 65 %
87 % Vivo X60 Pro

SD 870, Adreno 650
Vivo X60 Pro 87 % 6.56″ 7.59 mm 90 % 177 g 92 % AMOLED 2376×1080 398 PPI 19.8:9 90 % 796 cd/m² 0.7 120 Hz 74 % 27.14 4.94 87 % 62 % 33 89 % 665 min 90 % 31.1 °C 38.8 °C 75 % 94.1 dB 91 % 54 %
80 % Oppo A54 5G

SD 480, Adreno 619
Oppo A54 5G 82 % 6.50″ 8.4 mm 89 % 190 g 89 % IPS 2400×1080 405 PPI 20:9 84 % 504 cd/m² 1.4 090 Hz 56 % 46.17 7.28 66 % 7713 27 % 2563 10 30 91 % 987 min 89 % 34.2 °C 39.4 °C 80 % 92.1 dB 87 % 48 %
87 % Sony Xperia 1 III

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Sony Xperia 1 III 90 % 6.50″ 8.2 mm 89 % 186 g 84 % OLED 3840×1644 643 PPI 21:9 83 % 539 cd/m² 4.78 120 Hz 75 % 25.59 8.04 86 % 10231 61 % 6110 37 85 % 534 min 90 % 26.4 °C 39.9 °C 84 % 81.5 dB 97 % 52 %
76 % Nokia G20

Helio G35, PowerVR GE8320
Nokia G20 83 % 6.50″ 9.2 mm 88 % 197 g 82 % IPS 1600×720 270 PPI 20:9 81 % 447 cd/m² 5.75 060 Hz 56 % 20.44 7.83 61 % 5594 4 % 373 4.8 93 % 1186 min 91 % 26.8 °C 39.6 °C 54 % 80.6 dB 94 % 37 %
80 % Vivo Y72 5G

Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Vivo Y72 5G 84 % 6.58″ 8.5 mm 89 % 193 g 85 % IPS 2408×1080 352 PPI 20:9 84 % 384 cd/m² 3.32 060 Hz 63 % 18.91 15.83 68 % 6368 30 % 2476 8.4 92 % 1084 min 88 % 30.1 °C 41.5 °C 62 % 86.1 dB 89 % 45 %
80 % Nokia X10

SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia X10 83 % 6.67″ 9.1 mm 88 % 220 g 84 % IPS 2400×1080 395 PPI 20:9 79 % 630 cd/m² 3.39 060 Hz 64 % 17.25 5.58 67 % 27 % 2562 9.9 30 90 % 896 min 89 % 29.1 °C 41.3 °C 64 % 82.6 dB 94 % 50 %
81 % Nubia RedMagic 6R

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Nubia RedMagic 6R 82 % 6.67″ 7.8 mm 89 % 186.41 g 86 % AMOLED 2400×1080 395 PPI 20:9 87 % 442 cd/m² 2.2 144 Hz 59 % 45.4 4.09 85 % 57 % 9374, 8921 42 60 85 % 541 min 25 % 35.2 °C 52.9 °C 74 % 92.1 dB 91 % 64 %
87 % Asus Zenfone 8 Flip

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus Zenfone 8 Flip 87 % 6.67″ 9.6 mm 88 % 230 g 88 % Super AMOLED 2400×1080 395 PPI 20:9 84 % 686 cd/m² 3.1 090 Hz 72 % 44.48 6.96 88 % 66 % 8744 37 87 % 556 min 91 % 30.8 °C 38.1 °C 81 % 87.9 dB 95 % 55 %
80 % Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

Dimensity 700, Mali-G57 MP2
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G 83 % 6.60″ 9 mm 88 % 203 g 83 % IPS 2400×1080 399 PPI 20:9 81 % 378 cd/m² 5.41 090 Hz 58 % 45.66 12.69 65 % 25 % 2463 8.1 30 92 % 1156 min 91 % 24.7 °C 40.1 °C 64 % 83.5 dB 94 % 49 %
85 % OnePlus Nord 2 5G

Dimensity 1200, Mali-G77 MP9
OnePlus Nord 2 5G 83 % 6.43″ 8.3 mm 89 % 189 g 88 % AMOLED 2400×1080 409 PPI 20:9 86 % 594 cd/m² 2.74 090 Hz 70 % 31.05 16.42 78 % 9973 53 % 31 40 91 % 958 min 80 % 24.8 °C 48.7 °C 74 % 81.6 dB 94 % 51 %
82 % Oppo A74 5G

SD 480, Adreno 619
Oppo A74 5G 82 % 6.50″ 8.4 mm 89 % 190 g 90 % LTPS 2400×1080 405 PPI 20:9 84 % 573 cd/m² 1.8 090 Hz 60 % 45.64 10.12 80 % 31 % 2563 10 93 % 1223 min 90 % 34.7 °C 36.8 °C 73 % 90.4 dB 93 % 50 %
85 % Vivo V21 5G

Dimensity 800U, Mali-G57 MP3
Vivo V21 5G 84 % 6.44″ 7.29 mm 90 % 176 g 89 % AMOLED 2404×1080 409 PPI 20.03:9 85 % 749 cd/m² 2.7 090 Hz 72 % 35.17 4.55 86 % 39 % 3281 12 90 % 839 min 92 % 29.8 °C 34.1 °C 77 % 91.5 dB 91 % 51 %
86 % Xiaomi Mi 11i

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Xiaomi Mi 11i 86 % 6.67″ 7.8 mm 88 % 196 g 89 % AMOLED 2400×1080 395 PPI 20:9 86 % 879 cd/m² 1.8 120 Hz 70 % 42.55 9.85 86 % 13282 59 % 7270 42 30 90 % 690 min 90 % 29.7 °C 39.5 °C 77 % 87.5 dB 93 % 55 %
78 % Samsung Galaxy A22 4G

Helio G80, Mali-G52 MP2
Samsung Galaxy A22 4G 81 % 6.40″ 8.4 mm 89 % 186 g 80 % Super AMOLED 1600×720 274 PPI 20:9 65 % 352 cd/m² 5.87 090 Hz 59 % 43.7 7.95 57 % 6168 14 % 1379 9.5 30 93 % 1252 min 87 % 24.4 °C 45.4 °C 62 % 80.1 dB 94 % 44 %
74 % Wiko Power U30

Helio G35, PowerVR GE8320
Wiko Power U30 80 % 6.82″ 9.45 mm 88 % 214 g 80 % IPS 1640×720 263 PPI 20.5:9 81 % 369 cd/m² 4.1 060 Hz 49 % 47.25 5.31 44 % 5279 5 % 481 4.7 93 % 1235 min 92 % 35 °C 34.4 °C 70 % 89.6 dB 83 % 41 %
81 % Nokia XR20

SD 480, Adreno 619
Nokia XR20 86 % 6.67″ 10.6 mm 87 % 248 g 87 % IPS 2400×1080 395 PPI 20:9 77 % 598 cd/m² 4.52 060 Hz 60 % 43.44 4.89 68 % 27 % 2566 10 30 90 % 927 min 91 % 24.4 °C 39 °C 62 % 83.9 dB 97 % 54 %
84 % realme GT Master Edition

SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642
realme GT Master Edition 84 % 6.43″ 8.7 mm 90 % 180 g 86 % AMOLED 2400×1080 409 PPI 20:9 83 % 584 cd/m² 4.06 120 Hz 61 % 46.3 11.18 78 % 54 % 5469 20 40 89 % 728 min 83 % 24.6 °C 47.6 °C 70 % 84.9 dB 95 % 52 %
89 % Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G 92 % 7.60″ 6.4 mm 87 % 271 g 90 % Dynamic AMOLED 2208×1768 372 PPI 3.75:3 90 % 820 cd/m² 2.9 120 Hz 78 % 44.7 7.53 84 % 57 % 8804 27 60 89 % 610 min 92 % 30.8 °C 36.3 °C 78 % 88.7 dB 97 % 70 %
89 % Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5 Pro 85 % 6.78″ 9.9 mm 87 % 239 g 91 % AMOLED 2448×1080 395 PPI 20.4:9 82 % 795 cd/m² 1.4 144 Hz 70 % 44.98 7.15 93 % 71 % 9649 42 90 % 885 min 92 % 29.8 °C 37.3 °C 81 % 92.4 dB 99 % 73 %
86 % Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G 91 % 6.70″ 6.9 mm 90 % 183 g 91 % AMOLED 2640×1080 426 PPI 22:9 85 % 842 cd/m² 1.9 120 Hz 77 % 43.33 7.11 85 % 53 % 7074 32 85 % 541 min 93 % 28.2 °C 35.4 °C 78 % 88.6 dB 90 % 52 %
89 % Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate

SD 888 5G, Adreno 660
Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate 85 % 6.78″ 9.9 mm 87 % 239 g 91 % AMOLED 2448×1080 395 PPI 20.4:9 82 % 795 cd/m² 1.4 144 Hz 70 % 43.15 7.53 92 % 70 % 9413 40 90 % 762 min 92 % 29.8 °C 37.3 °C 81 % 92.4 dB 99 % 76 %
81 % Motorola Moto G60s

Helio G95, Mali-G76 MP4
Motorola Moto G60s 85 % 6.80″ 9.6 mm 88 % 212 g 88 % IPS 2480×1080 398 PPI 85.3 % 564 cd/m² 2.23 120 Hz 61 % 45.51 8.47 64 % 27 % 10 30 89 % 763 min 92 % 24.3 °C 38.2 °C 79 % 82.9 dB 93 % 48 %
86 % ZTE Axon 30 5G

SD 870, Adreno 650
ZTE Axon 30 5G 81 % 6.92″ 7.8 mm 89 % 189 g 88 % AMOLED 2460×1080 388 PPI 20.5:9 86 % 458 cd/m² 1.9 120 Hz 67 % 43.41 4.37 83 % 65 % 8548 29 89 % 658 min 88 % 31.9 °C 42.2 °C 78 % 90.4 dB 93 % 63 %
84 % Oppo Reno6 5G

Dimensity 900, Mali-G68 MP4
Oppo Reno6 5G 85 % 6.43″ 7.6 mm 90 % 182 g 89 % AMOLED 2400×1080 409 PPI 20:9 91.7 % 593 cd/m² 2.6 090 Hz 67 % 46.21 15.22 73 % 38 % 3875 15 40 90 % 824 min 88 % 32 °C 42.7 °C 78 % 91.7 dB 93 % 53 %
85 % Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

SD 778G 5G, Adreno 642
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 87 % 6.50″ 8.4 mm 89 % 189 g 89 % AMOLED 2400×1080 405 PPI 20:9 83 % 751 cd/m² 2.18 120 Hz 66 % 37.88 14.45 85 % 11645 50 % 5355 19 40 90 % 721 min 87 % 24.9 °C 45.4 °C 70 % 83.6 dB 94 % 51 %
78 % Motorola Defy

SD 662, Adreno 610
Motorola Defy 88 % 6.50″ 10.9 mm 88 % 232 g 82 % IPS 1600×720 270 PPI 20:9 77 % 386 cd/m² 4.83 060 Hz 57 % 45.54 7.22 58 % 12 % 1176 8.9 90 % 948 min 91 % 25 °C 40 °C 66 % 83.9 dB 95 % 46 %
83 % Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro

SD 888+ 5G, Adreno 660
Nubia RedMagic 6S Pro 82 % 6.80″ 9.8 mm 88 % 220 g 83 % AMOLED 2400×1080 387 PPI 20:9 85 % 705 cd/m² 5.9 165 Hz 60 % 46.1 5.25 83 % 57 % 8770 31 60 90 % 829 min 70 % 29.6 °C 37.1 °C 79 % 92.8 dB 94 % 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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