2021 was another rich year for smartphone launches. If you want to buy a new mobile, but it is difficult for you to see it clearly in this market, we have selected the best mobiles according to your uses.
The smartphone buying guide at a glance
It has become our first communication tool, our portable camera, and our mini play station all at the same time. The smartphone has taken a prominent place in our lives. Even now it is the main computer for many users.
The industry is so flourishing that there are now smartphones of all sizes, colors and tastes. We recommend the best smartphones for your uses.
iPhone 13 Pro: the essentials
In 2021, Apple kept a good part of its novelties for its range of iPhone “Pro”. Therefore, the iPhone 13 Pro incorporates a mode dedicated to macro photography, a display with variable refresh rates (to save power), and software and hardware improvements that allow you (almost) to shoot like a pro.
The iPhone 13 Pro also has excellent battery life, near-perfect photo quality, and consistently flawless finishes. We are sorry that Apple did not convert to the USB-C port for your phone. Certainly, to 1,159 euros the phone is expensive, no one will say otherwise. But for those who want the best that iOS has to offer, this is the best option right now.
If you are a fan of big smartphones, then the 13 Pro Max (sold from 1,259 euros) might be right for you.
Galaxy S21: the Android benchmark
Samsung’s flagship, the Galaxy S21 comes with almost all the latest technologies available in the Android world. Excellent photophone, monster of power and neat object, this S21 still makes some concessions in autonomy compared to its bigger brothers which are the S21 + or the S21 Ultra, but it is also much cheaper since the S21 sells for € 799.
Specifically, the S21 will offer you the best of the Android experience and it will surely last a few years. If you want to equip yourself with a high-end mobile for less than € 1000, the S21 is a safe option. It is also the manufacturer’s most compact high-end mobile if this point is important to you.
The best smartphone for photography
Google Pixel 6 Pro: knowledge and versatility
Like every year, Google is making a small place in our shopping guide thanks to its Google Pixels. And this year is no exception as the Pixel 6 Pro, sold at 899 euros, it’s probably one of the best phones Google has ever released, as we noted in our test.
Equipped with three photo modules on the rear (a 12MP ultra-wide angle, a 50MP wide angle, and a 48MP 4x zoom), the 6 Pro is efficient and versatile in photographic exercise. Google has put all its know-how into its Google Tensor chip that sublimates your photos with neat image processing. Many more or less fun modes will also allow you to create fun effects in your shots.
In addition to that, the latest from Google enjoys excellent autonomy and many advanced features related to artificial intelligence. On the other hand, its rather split design and imposing size might put you off. If so, the slightly more compact (and cheaper) Pixel 6 since it is sold at 699 euros) may suit you better.
But if you want the best of the best on Google, then the Pixel 6 Pro is your best option.
The compact smartphone
The iPhone SE 2: small size at a low price
For those who want a compact iPhone at a low price, the iPhone SE 2 is the ideal solution. Available at a price of € 489This model allows you to enter the Apple universe without breaking the bank, and it has strong arguments for this, as we explained in our iPhone SE 2 test.
It should be noted the presence of TouchID (practical to unlock your phone when you are hidden) or the quality of its screen and its finished copies. The mobile is also excellent in photos. The small size instead rhymes with the small battery, so you will have to be careful to charge the iPhone SE every day so that it does not dry out. But if you are looking for a small and inexpensive smartphone, go for it.
For those who want a more premium compact smartphone, Apple also has what they need: the iPhone 13 Mini. Compared to the previous generation, this iPhone offers better battery life, better photographic results, and more storage. The mobile is sold from 809 euros.
The excellent quality / price ratio
OnePlus Nord CE: balanced and stylish
The OnePlus Nord CE uses what made the success of the Chinese brand, namely a solid data sheet for a minimal price. Sold at 329 €, the OnePlus Nord CE offers enough power for most purposes. The phone is also stylish and well finished. A feature not found on all phones offered at this price.
However, it is not the best in photography in its price category. The North CE produces cliches with slightly forced colors that purists may dislike. Other than that, the Nord CE guarantees a balanced and efficient experience thanks to a beautiful display and solid battery life. Recommended for all those who want a powerful and efficient phone without spending a lot of money.
The best smartphone for less than € 250
Redmi Note 10S: Xiaomi’s unbeatable entry level
Still unbeatable in the budget phone segment, Xiaomi has achieved a feat with the Redmi Note 10S. The phone offers you excellent battery life and a more than respectable data sheet. for its price of about € 229.
The mobile is not the most expert in photography (few phones at this price are), but it has an OLED screen, it can run a game like Fortnite well, and it has a great design for a price.
If you want to buy a cheap and relatively versatile phone, then the Note 10S could be for you.
What criteria should be taken into account to choose the right smartphone?
iOS or Android: choose the operating system
The mobile world is now divided into two camps: iOS and Android. The operating systems of Apple and Google have swept away the competition to establish themselves as the only valid platforms in 2021. The choice of one operating system or another will be more of your personal preferences since the two solutions are today ‘technically and graphically mature’.
The Apple ecosystem deserves credit for taking privacy and software tracking very seriously. IPhones generally get updates for at least 5-6 years and come with features like ad tracking blocking. Android mobiles are based on a code open to all, which allows users to customize and model the system as they wish, both technically and aesthetically.
Evaluate the photographic capabilities of the smartphone
The current trend in mobile photography is the proliferation of sensors. Many smartphones are increasing the number of devices on the back to offer more versatility in photographic exercise. If the presence of a zoom or ultra-wide-angle module certainly allows you to vary the pleasures, this does not guarantee that your photos will be flawless. Sometimes having a single great camera is better than a bunch of average sensors.
Should we carry a 5G smartphone?
The latest generation of mobile broadband has been a long time coming, but it finally settled in France from the end of 2020. At the moment, the territory is still not very well covered and 5G speeds are often random. These problems should resolve themselves over time. So should you fall in love with a 5G phone? It depends.
If you want to keep your mobile for many years, it may be worth preparing for the future. Also, 5G phones are quite capable of navigating older generation networks. Many operators also use the 4G bands for 5G. Result to ensure better network reception, 5G is preferable.
Are folding smartphones interesting?
Obviously technically impressive, foldable smartphones are now more of a tech demo than a true revolution. Be it the Huawei Mate Xs, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or Motorola’s Razr, they are all still very expensive and still have some juvenile flaws.
What is the repairability index?
Since the beginning of 2020, all phones sold in France must be accompanied by their repairability index. This detail lets you know if you can repair your smartphone yourself or have a third party repair it. The easier a smartphone can be repaired, the longer you can keep it. All resellers must indicate this index on their product sheet. So don’t hesitate to take a look.
A universal charger?
Today, USB-C charging has become widely used in the mobile industry. Most Android phones have opted for this handy reversible port. Only Apple persists and signs with its LIghtning port still present on the iPhone. But the EU has tightened its screws on the issue, so we will have to see what happens in the next few years. In the meantime, if you buy an Android phone, it most likely comes with a USB-C port, which has become the new standard.
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