Top 5 smartphones for 2021

It is that time of the year! What is the top 5 smartphones for 2021 so far?

That is a good question, but to make it interesting. Let us divide the top 5 smartphones for 2021 into different categories and not just one general category.

We will name and discuss the following:

  • Top 5 most purchased smartphones in South Africa.
  • Top 5 budget sensitive smartphones to purchase.
  • Top 5 best cameras smartphone to have.
  • Top 5 best gaming smartphone to obtain.
  • Top 4 new smartphones rising popularity in South Africa

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Top 5 most purchased smartphones in South Africa

The top 5 most purchased smartphones in South Africa currently are the following:

  1. Samsung A32
  2. Huawei P40 Lite
  3. Huawei P Smart 2021
  4. Samsung S21
  5. Samsung A12


Here below is a table that shows the key features for each of the top 5 most purchased smartphones in South Africa:


The top 5 budget smartphones to purchase worldwide

This category is specifically for customers that are price sensitive and do not have much cash to purchase a smartphone.

The top 5 budget smartphones to purchase worldwide are the following:

  1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
  2. Oppo A72
  3. Nokia 5.4
  4. Samsung A32
  5. Huawei P Smart 2021


Here below is a table that shows the key features for each top 5 budget smartphones to purchase worldwide:


The top 5 best cameras smartphones to have worldwide

This category is for customers that want the best camera on their smartphone. In general, many customers want this specific feature.

The top 5 best cameras smartphones to have worldwide are the following:

  1. Samsung S21 Ultra
  2. Huawei Mate 40 Pro
  3. iPhone 12 Pro Max
  4. Samsung Note 20 Ultra
  5. Huawei P40 Pro


Here below is a table that shows the key features for each top 5 best cameras smartphone to have worldwide:


The top 5 best gaming smartphones to obtain worldwide

This category is for customers that love gaming and want the best gaming experience on their smartphone.

The top 5 best gaming smartphones to obtain worldwide are the following:

  1. Samsung S21 Ultra
  2. iPhone 12 Pro
  3. Samsung S20+
  4. LG V60 ThinQ
  5. Samsung S10+


Here below is a table that shows the key features for each top 5 best gaming smartphone to obtain worldwide:


The top 4 new smartphones rising popularity in South Africa

In each country, different smartphones become more popular than in other countries.

In South Africa, where I come from, the following new smartphones are becoming really popular:

  1. Oppo A53s
  2. Oppo A15
  3. Hisense H50
  4. Hisense H50 Zoom


Here below is a table that show the key features for each top 4 new smartphone rising popularity in South Africa:



I find it interesting how certain smartphones get repeated in different categories like the Samsung S21 Ultra, Samsung A32 and Huawei P Smart 2021. It just reflects how great these smartphones are and might be ones to consider to purchase.

It is also interesting how each smartphone differ in different key features they have. Like the Android smartphones differ with iPhones greatly in terms of battery capacity. For example: the Samsung S21 Ultra has 5000mah battery, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max only has 3687mah battery. But even with so many differences, certain smartphones still thrive to be at top of pack out of the other smartphones. I believe it might because of the smartphone brand itself.

Then it is great to know about the new smartphones emerging in different countries. Some countries may not even know about these great emerging smartphones. Like for example the Hisense H50 and H50 zoom is not even known in certain countries. Certain countries do not even know Hisense is in the smartphone industry. Shocking ain’t that.

I really hope you like the current results regarding smartphones in 2021. Maybe consider some of these top ranking smartphones depending on your smartphone requirements.

Were you happy with the smartphones listed in each category? If not, please comment in the comments below.

26 thoughts on “Top 5 smartphones for 2021”

  1. I am glad that I came across this blog. Choosing a new cell phone is overwhelming. I don’t live in South Africa, so they sell all of these phones worldwide. Your blog is an excellent resource for reviewing phones. The comparison table helped me check on the benefits of each phone. I am looking for a budget phone with the best camera.

    • Hi Sharon

      Thank you for the comment!

      The first table is based what is popular in South Africa, but can also be for other countries. However, each country differs and might reflect a smartphone I did not mentioned.

      Glad you like the articles and will consider to share it with others. 

      For budget smartphone with best camera, I would suggest looking at the Nokia 5.4 which I have did a article before which you can read at this link.

  2. I’m due for an upgrade this year with my cheaper smartphone, and am considering my options already.  I’m leaning towards another budget phone since I try not to use it too much.  Out of the ones shown here, the Samsung A32 seems like a great investment for me.  Enough storage space and RAM to keep it OK for a couple years before I get another upgrade, and it seems somewhat lightweight.

    • Hi Max

      Thank you for the comment.

      The Samsung A32 is a wise choice as it is one of the popular most purchased smartphone and also ranked 4th in top 5 budget smartphones. Definitely will not regret that selection in my opinion.

  3. Thanks for bringing us these great mobile phones to consider.

    I appreciate how you have divided them up do that we can consider them based on what we look for most on a phone.  For me it’s the camera and memory.  I can’t believe that the Samsung S21 ultra as a 105MP camera.  That is just totally away off the scale compared to its competitors.

    • Hi Geoff

      Thank you for your comment!

      Glad you enjoyed the article. Especially how each section was divided which smartphones are the best in different categories like camera, budget, gaming, etc.

      Samsung S21 Ultra is definitely a premium smartphone as it has been ranked a lot as number one in different categories. The best camera smartphone is definitely the Samsung S21 Ultra. Samsung worked hard on this smartphone to ensure they stay number one in smartphone brands.

  4. Just came over your site while surfing and I had to read your article. I always like to read Top smartphone articles to keep myself updated on trends.  What puzzled me was that some of these brands I have never heard of Like oppo , Hisense and xiaomi. New to me. Personally I love Samsung phones . How would you say Oppo, Hisense  and Xiaomi compares to Samsung in features, price and quality?

    • Hi Hilde

      Thank you for your comment and surfing by!

      Xiaomi is very close in competing against Samsung as they are ranked number 4 best smartphone brand worldwide. While Oppo is a new smartphone brand for worldwide and is already ranked number 5 best smartphone brand worldwide in 2020. Which is shocking. 

      Samsung is still number one due they are known worldwide and always focus to stay number one. Samsung currently has the best camera smartphone which is the Samsung S21 Ultra. But do not count out Xiaomi and Oppo. Their smartphones are also in great quality, features and price. They are catching up quickly and definitely smartphones to consider. Hisense smartphone brand is still not known worldwide and limited to certain countries like South Africa and China.

      Hisense is also catching up in the countries mentioned and actually provide great features in their H50 series. If you want to know more about them, please click on this link.

      Hope I answered your question and please surf more on my site to learn more of these smartphone brands and other brands emerging into the smartphone market.

  5. Thanks for sharing such a detailed article on a very popular and dynamic subject. There are always lots of questions and doubts when time comes to buy a new device and your work becomes a helpful reference.

    Personally, I would like to buy a new device by the end of the year and I am been following the foldable smartphones market specially the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, which is expected to launched by September /October. Can this be an idea for a new post on foldable devices? 

    I look forward to it. 

    • Hi António

      Thank you for your comment and giving a new post suggestion!

      Foldable smartphones is one of categories I still want to talk about. Please subscribe to my site or follow my social platforms in order to stay tuned when the foldable smartphones are posted.

      Glad you enjoyed the article and found the information informative.

  6. Hi Burnheart,

    Thank you for this very informative blog. It is amazing how I came across your article at the right time. I’m still using my iPhone 6, and my wife has been pushing me to get a new phone. I now have valuable information to use when choosing my next new smartphone. I’m leaning towards getting iPhone 12 pro. Thanks

    • Hi Patrick

      It is a pleasure and thank you for your comment!

      Hope you will enjoy your iPhone 12 Pro selection. 🙂

  7. Hi Burnheart,

    I appreciate all the detail you have put into this review.  I am really wanting to upgrade my current iPhone, to the latest iPhone 12.  I am a devoted iPhone fan, but after looking at your comparison table, I might actually consider getting a Samsung, especially when looking at the battery capacity.  I don’t live in South Africa, I am in Canada, and we have some of the highest cell phone rates in the world, which makes owning the latest phone a bit challenging for most people.  I like how you included the best budget phones as well, it helps many people choose a great phone.


    • Hi Jenny

      Thank you for the comment!

      I am glad you pointed out one of the major features the iPhone smartphone differ with the android smartphones. The battery capacity. Many customers tend to choose a smartphone that has a long battery life and other good features. That is why the Samsung brand is so popular. 

      South Africa table I had to mentioned as each country experience their smartphone sales quite different. The one country may have the Samsung S21 range as the most purchased smartphone while another country might have the Huawei Mate 40 range more popular. That is why I mentioned the country where the data is based on.

      Glad you enjoyed the best budget smartphones. It does help a lot for customers that are price sensitive and want to have smartphone with good features, but have budget constraints.

  8. Hello there..

    This is exactly the post i needed in order to make an informed decision for buying a new smartphone. The phones are all up to date. This makes me exciting. I just love samsung phones because of their user friendly experience. If not samsung , i would definately go infor a nokia phone due to their great cameras and maybe hawei would be my third option. Thank you for sharing

    • Hi Paul

      Thank you for your comment!

      Glad you found this post at the right time. All the smartphones you mentioned are all good smartphones. Just make sure you know the main reason you are buying a smartphone to avoid disappointment. To help with that, please view the following page.

  9. It’s nice to see Nokia 5.4 here. I have been a long time Nokia fan. It is the lightest phone in the world wide selection. Back in October 2013, Nokia predicted a more profitable future for its NSN (now Nokia Networks) business, which became the company’s core business. Currently, this division accounts for 90% of Nokia’s revenue. But it’s always nice to see them back into phones.

    • Hi Ann

      Thank you for your informative comment!

      I am also glad to see Nokia’s come back. Especially the Nokia 5.4. It is a nice big size and light weight smartphone. I also like the color options for smartphone, but of course my favorite one is the blue one. I would recommend the Nokia 5.4 for any Nokia smartphone brand customer and even customers that have a tight spending budget, but wants a smartphone that is easy and have good features. 

      If you want to read more of the Nokia 5.4, please read at the following post.

  10. Hey there! Thanks for this useful and engaging article. I have a Huawei phone and really like using it so it was nice to see that brand on your list. I like how your list provides for all types of phone users like photographers and gamers. My question for you is, what phone do you personally use on a daily basis? 

    • Hi Gabriel

      Thank you for your comment!

      Glad you find the article useful and engaging. As a customer I always want to know what is best smartphone in different categories, thus I made different categories. I always say if a specific smartphone repeats in different top smartphone category, you have found the best smartphone to select for.

      I personally use a Samsung Note 10+. I just love to use the s-pen to write notes on the screen and also the size of the smartphone. Plus it was ranked number 7 as the best gaming smartphone. Which I love to do when I have a opportunity. But, now I majority do my work on my smartphone which is very fast and effective.

  11. I’m actually quite surprised to see iPhone so low on the table. Nokia Too. But Samsung seem to have the market sewn up in South Africa. It has been interesting to see the facts in perspective with the charts you’ve made here. They clarify things a little in the mind as it puts things into perspective.

    • Hi Kwidzin

      Thank you for your comment.

      Samsung has dominated a lot in the year 2021  especially with their Samsung S21 Ultra which has appeared twice in different top categories. The same with the Samsung A32. Will be interesting how the results will change later in the year when more new smartphones from different brands appear.

      Namely: Honor, Huawei and iPhone. They due to bring new releases later the year and I believe Honor might be a good contendor against its former owner Huawei. 

  12. It’s strange that Iphones aren’t in the list of top phones in south Africa and there’s one I haven’t even heard of before. I know different cultures have different styles, different brands, even different eating habits. I should have though that would also apply to phones as well. This has made me consider a lot of things.

    • Hi DashDNations

      Thank you for your comment!

      Reasons why iPhones are lately ranked lower in South Africa:

      – Availability

      – Too low battery capacity compare to Android smartphones.

      – Price sensitive

      Thus, iPhone does not get mentioned in the top 5 best smartphones in South Africa and the customers tend to explore the Android smartphones more. But the rankings will change later in the year as iPhone tends to pick up when they launch a new version of it. 

      Which smartphone brand have you not heard of before? 🙂

  13. It is great to see this review on different smartphones.  For someone who needs a phone upgrade, your tables showing the differences and features will help to make a decision what phone to buy.  I am not ready to buy a 2021 smartphone.  I have iphone 11 PRO and it is still very good and I still love it. If I hear anybody that is upgrading a smartphone, definitely I will refer a friend to your website as those tables will be very helpful in making a decision.   Thank you for this opportunity to read your review on smartphone.



    • Hi Evelyn

      Thank you for your comment! 

      I really appreciate you like the tables I illustrated in the website. The main goal is to provide a clear view to customers how each smartphone differs among each other. This will help everyone make the right smartphone selection for themselves.

      iPhone 11 Pro is still a good smartphone to use and I agree it won’t be the time to upgrade yet. Some previous years smartphones are still ranked high in the top smartphone list. Just not between one and five. Like my Samsung Note 10+ is ranked number 7 currently for top gaming smartphone in 2021 of which I was surprised.


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