Hundreds of smartphones have flooded the market yearly for the last few years, and it's getting hard to distinguish things like "What's the difference?" and "Is this worth my money?" but also "Will this crap out on me in eight months and force me to buy another?" I get it; it's hard to truly grasp the quality of a new piece of technology before it's literally in your hands.
So I have prepared a list of the top 6 best rated, best functioning, cutting edge smartphones that have come out recently. These range from Apple and Samsung to other manufacturers of Androids (making surprisingly quality machines).
The iPhone 12 Pro Max features a 6.7 inch OLED screen, storage options ranging from 128GB to 512GB, a lightning-fast processor, it is 5G ready, and charges via the cutting edge USB-C system. Not to mention the camera system is fantastic!
One would think "Why not purchase the iPhone 12 Pro? It's cheaper and likely the same in quality," but with its larger screen (and just $100 more) and a longer battery life, the iPhone 12 Pro Max reigns supreme. Not to mention the camera boasts a 2.5 times zoom (versus the iPhone 12 Pro with a still-impressive 2X zoom).
Samsung does this frustrating thing where they put out three or four different models that are very similar, with incrementally different features (yes, Apple does too, but at least the Apple names make sense). However, Samsung still makes a stellar flagship device, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is proof of it.
The phone is a whopping 6.9 inches (for folks who like big phones, this is a plus; for me, I'm wondering if this classifies as a tablet now), and the screen; plays video, apps, and displays photos on a mind-boggling curved "Infinity-O" screen. It also has an astonishing 8K video camera and truly shows how far tech has come since the first Samsung Galaxy.
I personally have not had a lot of experience with the OnePlus (I used to have customers ask for them and I would ask myself where they even heard of it from) but the numbers don't lie. This sucker charges ludicrously fast. It is 5G ready (as most 2021 smartphones aught to me by now) and boasts a gorgeous 120hz refresh rate display. It's 6.5 inches and comes in 128 or 256GB storage options (of course, being an Android, this can be expanded on). It has a decent camera and it charges from 0 to 58% in 15 minutes flat. For just shy of $500, this is a great alternative to an expensive flagship smartphone.
Let's face it: you're totally broke, but your phone finally bought the farm. You need something fast, but you don't want to throw your money away. Luckily with the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, you get to have your cake and eat it too! At $300 this is likely the cheapest (or close to the cheapest) 5G phone on the market.
But with that price tag, you also get a sleek 90HZ refresh rate, a whopping 6GB ram (in comparison to a budget phone you'd grab at Walmart with a measly 2GB, you'll feel the difference), a 64 MP camera system and a warp charger (not unlike the OnePLus 8T). Not too bad, in fact pretty darn neat.
Not exactly ready to spend $1000+ on a new smartphone, but want some current technology and have a particular craving for Apples? Then sink your teeth into the iPhone SE. It may feel like a bit of a throwback with its inclusion of the button, its 4.7" screen (same as the iPhone 8 in case you have your old phone case around somewhere), and familiar assortment of 64GB and 128GB models.
But alongside the addition of a 256GB model, you also get a USB-C charging system with this one, the same A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11, it's lightweight with a premium feel, and still wields a hefty 12-megapixel camera. If you're broke (but not $399 broke) then this one is a win.
So a 12-megapixel camera doesn't do it for you. If I'm honest, it's not exactly my speed either. Luckily, Google has an offering that has a 28.6 (approximately) megapixel camera system, and it still weighs in at only $399.
The Google Pixel 4A 5G also takes the cake with its 5G connectivity, its 6.2 inch full-HD OLED screen, and it still has a headphone jack which, for me, is incredibly exciting. I know, I sound old, but we don't just use headphone jacks for earbuds, and Bluetooth transmitters are finicky at best. Rivaling its flagship partner the Google Pixel 5, the 4A 5G has a lot to offer for its price.
There are many great manufacturers making smartphones that I didn't list; I especially love the Terracube for its environmentally-friendly ethos, however, on a technological level it's only somewhat surprising. I also do love a Motorola as someone who works on smartphones regularly (because Motorola's rarely come in).
But my list is definitive in quality, affordability, and modern offerings. If you are techy, I highly recommend a selection from this list.