Smartphones today are an integral part of our daily routine. Therefore, having a great phone with zero compromises and all the latest features is essential. For this reason, we have curated a list containing the best flagship phones you can buy right now.
These smartphones contain the latest in cutting edge mobile technologies. This includes the latest CPUs, displays, cameras, software, higher refresh rates, and so on. We have also including the crucial aspects you must keep in mind when buying a flagship phone.
Best Flagship Phones
1. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
OS: iOS 14.1 | Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 2778×1248 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | CPU: Apple A14 Bionic | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 3,687mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP+TOF 3D LiDAR | Front camera: 12MP | Weight: 228g | Dimensions: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the best Apple has to offer in the smartphone space and truly is one of the best flagships when looking at its innovative features and new industrial design aesthetic. Although coming in at $1,099, the flagship iPhone manages to justify itself when compared to the other competitors in the market.
The A14 Bionic on the inside is one of the most powerful SoC’s in the market yet, and its 5nm design helps increase performance while also improving the chipset’s efficiency. The 6 GB of onboard RAM is plenty to run and store multiple apps thanks to the efficient integration between software and hardware.
The Super Retina XDR OLED screen supports HDR10, has a max brightness of 1200 nits, provides vivid and highly detailed content, and is one of the best screens for content consumption. The lack of a high refresh rate is regrettable but understandable considering the small battery in this year’s model is just 3,687mAh, lesser than even last year’s models. A smaller battery was required to fit the 5G technology into the slim chassis.
Although it may seem small compared to other smartphones, it should comfortably last you through a day thanks to the excellent software optimizations and switching the network when it’s not using 5G back to LTE. Charging this battery can be done through a 20W fast charger or a 15W MagSafe charger that magnetically attaches to the phone’s back. Apple has also decided against including a charger in the box, so keep that in mind.
The triple camera system in tandem with the new A14 Bionic chipset can offer a plethora of different photos and video options. The LiDAR sensor on the back helps set the autofocus in low light, allowing for features like night mode portraits. The iPhone also features an OIS sensor that allows for super stable videos and more. iOS 14 applies a fresh look to the traditional home screen and is still one of the most well-designed and intuitive software in a smartphone with guaranteed long-term support.
If you can afford the hefty price tag, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will surely not disappoint you. With its premium build and components paired with excellent software well optimized for the hardware, nothing much can come near to the experience on this iPhone. The phone’s only weakness is to do with the small battery and absent charger in the box in an otherwise perfect smartphone.
2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
OS: Android 11 (One UI 3.1) | Screen size: 6.8-inch | Resolution: 3200×1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 888 (U.S.) / Exynos 2100 (Global) | RAM: 12/16GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 5,000mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+10MP+10MP+12MP | Front camera: 40MP | Weight: 229g | Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
Samsung’s S21 Ultra is one of the top flagship phones of 2021, making sure to provide the best in areas like performance, cameras, battery life, and viewing experience. In raw power, the latest Snapdragon 888 processor paired with 12 to 16GB of RAM should be able to breeze through even the most demanding games and applications with ease.
The 6.8-inch AMOLED display features a high peak brightness, ideal for use outdoors. Unlike its predecessor, the S21 Ultra’s panel can support the 1440p resolution at 120 Hz, giving it one of the best viewing experiences possible. Powering the smartphone is a 5,000 mAh battery that should easily last a day on a single charge. You can top up the battery via a 25W charger wired or a 15W wireless charger, though you will need to purchase each separately.
Samsung upped their camera game with the S21 Ultra, using an advanced 108MP sensor that solves the past generation’s focusing problem. An additional telephoto camera for better long-distance shots is also included. The Android 11 based One UI 3.1 includes numerous valuable productivity and multitasking features that make use of the phone’s powerful internals. Samsung also decided to bake-in S-pen support with the S21 Ultra, selling the S-pen separately.
The S21 Ultra makes use of UFS 3.1 storage, though the exclusion of a storage slot might force you to go with the higher storage capacity model. Connectivity options include WiFi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2, and mmWave 5G. For a price tag of $1200, the S21 Ultra offers everything you would expect from a flagship smartphone. With a premium build, class-leading screen, large battery, and the latest connectivity options, the price premium is worth it.
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
OS: Android 10 (OneUi 2.5) | Screen size: 6.9-inch | Resolution: 3088×1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865+ (U.S.) / Exynos 990 (Global) | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+12MP+12MP | Front camera: 10MP | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
Samsung’s recently launched Note 20 Ultra is one of the more expensive phones out there but is one of the most decked out flagships out there with exclusive features like the S-pen. On the inside, you get a Snapdragon 865+ coupled with 12GB of RAM, a powerful combination for productivity-oriented workloads and gaming. The phone also has UFS 3.0 for fast data transfer speeds.
The incredibly large 6.9-inch QHD AMOLED display supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz for a smooth experience, though it will lock the screen resolution at FHD, but should do for applications like gaming. The display also supports HDR10+ for a better viewing experience and Corning’s new Gorilla Glass Victus for more durability.
The camera suite includes a triple camera setup, wide, ultrawide, and a periscope lens with up to 50x of zoom, which produces vivid photos with an excellent dynamic range. Battery life is a downgrade, though, with a 4,500mAh capacity. You can get a day’s worth by tuning the refresh rate down to 60Hz and the resolution to FHD. Another let down is the 25W fast charging, which is slower when compared to other flagships.
One UI 2 running on Android 10 provides excellent functionality with the included S-pen and with the hardware is the top smartphone for note-taking and other productivity tasks. Samsung also significantly reduced the S-pen’s latency, making it almost seem like you’re writing in real-time. The phone also comes with 5G, which offers a significant future-proofing, although it is still in its infancy.
Starting at $1200, the Note 20 Ultra 5G is an excellent flagship that aims to offer the features that improve your experience, and we recommend it if you plan on using the S-pen regularly. Otherwise, the smaller battery and slower charging speed make the S20 Ultra a better option.
4. OnePlus 8 Pro
OS: Android 10 (Oxygen OS 10) | Screen size: 6.78-inch | Resolution: 3168 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 4,510mAh | Rear camera: 48MP+48MP+5MP+8MP | Front camera: 16MP | Weight: 199g | Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5mm
OnePlus decided to go the flagship route with the announcement of the OnePlus 8 Pro. Although a flagship, the OnePlus 8 Pro is priced competitively and is an excellent choice. It comes equipped with a spectacular 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a crisp QHD display, HDR 10+ support, and a 10-bit color input, allowing it to display more colors. The 120 Hz refresh rate also supports the QHD resolution, unlike the S20 Ultra, making it one of the best smartphone screens. The Snapdragon 865, combined with the 8 or 12 GB of RAM which depends on your storage configuration and allows for faster games and multitasking.
The camera system employed by OnePlus is much better than previous versions. It offers excellent photos and videos, even in low light scenarios, though it lacks the color provided by other smartphones on the list. The 4,510 mAh battery will comfortably take you through the day, though, keep in mind to lower the refresh rate and possibly the resolution, and the WarpCharge 30T and 30 Wireless will allow you to quickly to it up. The OxygenOS software provides the best Android experience with tweaks to make the software as useful as possible. Also, the 5G compatibility is incredible, considering the price tag.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is our recommendation if you can make do with the camera and afford a $900 budget. It beats every other phone in terms of value and even provides features like an extraordinary screen and 5G support while not going overboard on features that are not very important.
5. Google Pixel 4
OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 2280 x 1080 | Refresh rate: 90Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 2,800mAh | Rear camera: 12.2MP+16MP | Front camera: 8MP+TOF | Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2 mm
Pixel 4 is Google’s latest attempt at a flagship smartphone. Released in 2019, the Pixel 4 has not aged quite well but has features that are still relevant currently in 2020. The 5.7-inch P-OLED panel comes with a lower resolution FHD display, though it might not be that apparent considering the screen size. The screen also does not shoot up to a very high brightness, which might hinder outdoor visibility. The massive top bezel housing a speaker and the Motion Sense sensors are quite apparent. It supports a 90Hz refresh rate for a smoother experience.
What is perhaps the flagship feature is the Pixel 4’s camera system. The quality of photos is the best among any smartphone with a vast dynamic range and realistic colors. The excellent industry-leading Night Sight and Super Res Zoom make for an even better experience. The Face Unlock feature is also a great addition, whereas the Motion Sense gestures still need some work. The Snapdragon 855 inside, though not as powerful as the current 865 will run games, and tasks fast, while the 6 GB of RAM is decent enough. As for software, the vanilla Android again is the best with fast updates and much more features. What is most disappointing is the 2,800 mAh battery, which will need you to charge your smartphone frequently.
The Pixel 4 is a dated smartphone with a small battery and older processor but makes up by having the best camera in a smartphone. The $590 price tag makes it budget-friendly and excellent value for the price. Buy this if the camera quality, software, or budget is essential to you.
6. Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
OS: Android 10 (MiUI 11) | Screen size: 6.67- inch | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 | Refresh rate: 90Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8/12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 108MP+12MP+8MP+20MP | Front camera: 20MP | Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 9 mm
The Mi 10 Pro is Xiaomi’s latest flagship handset, which is an excellent choice for those living in non-US markets. It comes with the Snapdragon 865 SoC with up to 12 GB ram for optimal performance. The 6.67-inch AMOLED display supports a refresh rate of 90Hz, though providing an FHD resolution and the pop-up selfie camera allows for an all-screen smartphone.
The camera system on the Mi 10 Pro includes a 108MP sensor for detailed shots and excellent low light photos. The pictures taken have a more realistic color profile with lesser saturation than the competition, and the camera quality offered is almost on par with the S20 Ultra. The 4,500 mAh battery will last easily for a day, while the 50W charging will charge it up in no time. The added 5G support is a bonus feature absent in most flagships. As for software, the MiUI 11 has quite a lot of bloat, but you will get used to it quickly.
The Mi 10 Pro 5G is one of the best value smartphones at $700, with an excellent camera system and 5G support. It may lack great software and a high-resolution screen, but delivers at this price point, though keep in mind this will only be available in non-US markets.
7. Oppo Find X2 Pro
OS: Android 10 (Color OS 7.1)| Screen size: 6.7-inch | Resolution: 3168 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | CPU: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256/512GB | Battery: 4,510mAh | Rear camera: 48MP+13MP+48MP | Front camera: 32MP | Weight: 217g (Ceramic) / 200g (Leather) | Dimensions: 165.2 x 74.4 x 8.8 mm (Ceramic) / 165.2 x 74.4 x 9.5 mm (Leather)
Oppo’s Find X2 Pro places itself as a great alternative to the S20 Ultra or an iPhone 11 Pro Max, especially if you live in a region outside the U.S., The smartphone comes with beautiful vegan leather or ceramic as a finish for the phone which screams luxury. The brilliant 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED display comes with an HDR10+ certification and a peak brightness of 1200 nits. Adding to that is the ability to run the screen at 120Hz even at higher resolutions. The Snapdragon 865 paired with 12 GB of RAM will easily shred through any given task.
The cameras are also great, employing a three-camera system on the rear with great colors and dynamic range with an option for 60x zoom. As for the battery, the 4,510 mAh capacity will easily last you your day provided you keep the refresh rate low, but the 65W charging is fantastic, allowing you to quickly top-up your battery. Another addition is the 5G support for faster mobile network speeds. Color OS has come a long way from what it used to be and will complement the hardware just fine.
The Oppo Find X2 Pro is an excellent buy for $1180 and beats the S20 Ultra for its premium looks and fast charging. The only downsides are unavailability in the U.S. and a lack of wireless charging, but it still proves to be a great flagship overall.
What to Look for in a Flagship Phone
Before purchasing the latest flagship, be it from Samsung, Apple, or any other manufacturer, it is vital to keep these five pillars that make a great smartphone in mind before pulling the trigger.
The first aspect is the smartphone’s performance. Flagship phones offer the best processors like Apple’s A14 Bionic or the Snapdragon 865+, paired with a sizeable amount of RAM, typically 8GB and above, to produce the fantastic performance they are known for. Thanks to their superior optimizations, iPhones tend to have a lesser amount of RAM than Android smartphones and can be exempted from the minimum amount of 8GB.
The SoC or processor is responsible for day-to-day tasks like gaming and AI. Simultaneously, the RAM helps keep open apps and games in memory to prevent them from reloading when you visit them later, making for a snappier experience. Also, look at the smartphone’s storage speed as it dramatically impacts the loading times of apps and games. Also, keep in mind that manufacturers like Samsung sell the Exynos variants in certain countries, which cost the same as their Snapdragon counterparts but are relatively less powerful and inefficient.
Flagship phones should come with a top-notch camera feature set that allows for various photo and video options. Many modern flagships include at least three primary shooters on the back: standard, telephoto, and ultra-wide. Some manufactures include extra niche features like periscope cameras and LiDAR sensors.
The front camera array ranges typically from a single selfie shooter to a complex face mapping system like that on the newer iPhones. While looking for a flagship, identify the camera features that are most important to you, and accordingly determine the phone that has all of them. Features may range from night photography to video resolution, so definitely go through them and make a list.
The display is one of the most important aspects of a smartphone when it comes to the overall experience as that is the part of the smartphone you will interact the most with during use. Most flagships come with high-resolution 1440p and even 4K displays with a variety of features. The choice of a smartphone screen primarily depends upon your use case.
A high refresh rate is excellent for playing games since the lower response times will enable you to react much quicker. If you prefer content consumption, HDR support, and color accuracy should be what you should be looking for. High brightness is also a feature you must see in smartphones if you regularly use it in an outdoor environment.
Battery life is a feature that can make or break a smartphone for many people. You should decide the battery life of a smartphone not by its specs alone but by considering factors like software optimization and the smartphone hardware. For, e.g., flagships with 5G are most certainly going to drain batteries much quicker. Features like fast charging, wireless, and reverse wireless charging are also essential to consider since they can significantly change your smartphone experience.
The final pillar of an excellent flagship is its connectivity. For wireless networks, 5G, preferably with mm-Wave support, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth 5, should be the standard option if you’re paying the big bucks, which will future-proof your smartphone, not needing you to upgrade when the technology goes mainstream. Your phone should also be able to support high-speed data transfers through a physical cable in case you need to transfer over large files.
These are the best flagship phones currently on the market. You can’t really go wrong with any of these smartphones as they are all top of the line. The one you select should be the flagship phone with the feature set you deem more useful for your daily mobile needs and your budget of course.