The best phones for 2021, tested by our expert editors

We've ranked the top 10 smartphones you can buy in Australia right now, based on hundreds of hours of hands-on testing.

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The best smartphones for 2021, ranked

  1. Apple iPhone 12
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20
  3. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  4. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  5. Apple iPhone 12 Mini
  6. Google Pixel 4a 5G
  7. Apple iPhone 12 Pro
  8. Oppo Find X2 Pro
  9. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
  10. Asus ROG Phone II

How did we pick this list?

Finder's team of experts have tested and reviewed every phone featured in this guide to come up with our list of the best smartphones. For each phone, we consider the design, cameras, performance, battery life and overall value for money.

Our editorial team selected the phones on this list based on their overall quality and value compared to other phones on the market. The selection and order is not based on review scores. More detail on methodology below.

Compare the best phones of 2020


1. Apple iPhone 12

If you want to upgrade your current iPhone, this is the phone you should buy.

Apple iPhone 12
6.1-inch display | 64GB, 128GB, 256GB storage options | 12MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Good all-round camera
  • A14 Bionic processor runs superbly
  • Ceramic Shield glass keeps it safer
  • Only a dual-lens camera with no telephoto
  • Charger and headphones not included
  • Battery life mediocre for a premium phone
RRP From $1,349

Why we chose it

Apple's never released five phones in just one year, and ranking them in any kind of order involves balancing features and price carefully. For our money – and yours – the Apple iPhone 12 strikes just the right balance between performance and price, mostly thanks to the fact that it's running on the exceptional Apple A14 Bionic processor behind Apple's rather heavily toughened "Ceramic Shield" glass. While 5G remains a nice-to-have rather than a must-have feature, it's great to see Apple finally join the 5G race, too.

While the "Pro" phones up the ante slightly in the camera stakes, the iPhone 12 keeps it a little simpler and a touch more affordable without losing too much in the way of camera quality.

Read our full iPhone 12 review.


2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Samsung's mid-range flagship is its most impressive phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20
6.7-inch display | 256GB, 128MB storage options | 64MP + 12MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Good camera quality
  • As fast as the pricier Note 20 Ultra
  • S-Pen is good for productivity and artistic endeavours
  • Average battery life
  • Space zoom remains a gimmick
  • Ultra model gets the better display
RRP From $1,499

Why we chose it

In the flagship phone space the battle's long been one between the Apple and Samsung camps, and we're in the same mood when it comes to picking the best of Samsung's impressive 2020 crop of phones. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is 5G capable, comes with Samsung's unique and very useful S-Pen accessory and a triple lens camera that gives you everything from ultra-wide to heavily zoomed in telephoto shots in the one handset. Again, the Note 20 Ultra is the actual flagship of the line, but you can save a serious chunk of change with the Note 20 without losing too much along the way.

Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20.


3. iPhone 12 Pro Max

Big in size, big in camera features and big in price.

iPhone 12 Pro Max
6.7-inch display | 128GB, 256GB, 512MB storage options | 12MP + 12MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Best camera in any iPhone
  • Good battery life
  • Huge display
  • Seriously expensive
  • Quite heavy
  • Australian model lacks 5G bands present in the US model
RRP From $1,699

Why we chose it

If you want the best of the best in the iOS camp and money is no object, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the phone that you should be dropping your cash on, thanks to its larger sensor, improved telephoto lens and very good battery life – although oddly, not quite as good as the 2019 flagship Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max. While Apple's iOS arguably doesn't do enough with the larger screen real estate on the iPhone 12 Pro Max in terms of giving you extra columns for apps or iPad-style functions, it's still a great device for movie watching or gaming, thanks to the power of the A14 Bionic Processor. Like every other 2020 iPhone 12 model it's also 5G capable, although Apple's keeping the full mmWave 5G capabilities purely stateside for now, which can't help but hurt on a phone that costs pretty much exactly the same here as it does in the US.

Read our full Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max review.


4. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

Great cameras and fast performance.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
6.9-inch display | 256GB, 512GB storage options | 12MP + 108MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Great low light performance
  • Slick high refresh rate display
  • S-Pen compatibility works well on a large display
  • 120Hz display is a battery hog
  • Chunky camera bump
  • 50x Space Zoom delivers woeful results
RRP From $1,849

Why we chose it

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a really, really nice phone, presuming that you can meet its rather hefty asking price. You do get a lot of phone for your money, with a 120Hz capable 6.9-inch display, seriously impressive triple lens camera with all the trimmings and, because it's a Note phone, Samsung's own S-Pen stylus thrown in as well. A larger phone needs a larger battery, and predictably if you're using 120Hz all the time it can run down pretty quickly in intense use scenarios. Like other "Space Zoom" cameras Samsung's released in 2020, its combination of digital and optical zoom can be pretty chunky at the extremes, but as long as you dial it back just a little it can deliver some really impressive results.

Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.


5. Apple iPhone 12 mini

Plenty of power in a truly pocket-sized phone.

Apple iPhone 12 mini
5.4-inch display | 64GB, 128GB, 256GB storage options | 12MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Compact size
  • Plenty of power thanks to the A14 Bionic
  • Same cameras as the iPhone 12
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Small screen doesn't suit every app
  • Slower wireless charging
RRP From $1,199

Why we chose it

Apple's strategy with its smaller handsets used to be to cut back seriously on features to tempt you towards the bigger and more profitable models. That's not what it's done with the Apple iPhone 12 Mini, which really is just the iPhone 12 with the corners shaved off. If you favour a smaller handset because you find those hefty models too hard to hold it's a really compelling option, with the exact same processor and near-identical performance to the full-fat options like the iPhone 12 Pro Max at a fraction of the cost.

That smaller screen can be a bit of a trap for some content like video watching, and while it supports the new MagSafe magnetic charging, it does so at a lower wireless charging rate. That's a problem that compounds slightly when you consider its lower battery endurance compared to the other iPhone 12 models, although most users should be able to sail through a day's usage without too many woes.

Read our full iPhone 12 Mini review here.


6. Google Pixel 4a 5G

There's an awful lot to like about this 5G compatible phone.

Google Pixel 4a 5G
6.24-inch display | 128GB storage options | 12.2MP + 16MP rear camera
  • Largest display in any 2020 Pixel phone
  • Camera is very easy to use
  • Good battery life
  • 5G is only sub-6GHz where the Pixel 5 has mmWave
  • Plain design
  • Mid-range processor
RRP From $799

Why we chose it

Google took an interesting take on what its customers might want out of a 2020 flagship, offering up the Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 4a 5G to consumers at a much lower price point than any of its premium competitors. It did so by using the mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset rather than a top-tier CPU, but offset that – to an extent – with its own clean Android take and guaranteed updates for the next couple of years to entice consumers in. The Pixel 5 is the flagship, but the Pixel 4a 5G is the better buy. You only get sub6-5G, not the dual Sub6/mmWave in the Pixel 5 – the tradeoff is a lower price, larger screen and the inclusion of a headphone jack, a true rarity in the premium space these days.

Read our full Google Pixel 4a 5G review here.


7. Apple iPhone 12 Pro

More powerful than the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini and more affordable than the premium iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
6.1-inch display | 64GB, 128GB, 256GB storage options | 12MP + 12MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Adds a telephoto lens option
  • Great A14 Bionic performance
  • Toughened Ceramic Shield glass
  • Premium price but the cameras in the Pro Max are better
  • iPhone 12 is close and cheaper
  • No included headphones or charger
RRP From $1,349

Why we chose it

The iPhone 12 Pro's positioning is meant to be that it's just that bit nicer than the iPhone 12 without having the full whack pricing of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, it's still a premium priced phone and that puts it in the slightly tricky "middle child" position of being more expensive than the iPhone 12 while only being slightly better, and within striking distance of the iPhone 12 Pro Max too. That being said, it's still a very capable handset, and a good choice if the immense size of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is off-putting to you and you want access to features like a telephoto lens and Apple's new ProRAW format for photography.

Read our full Apple iPhone 12 Pro review here


8. Oppo Find X2 Pro

Great performance at a good price.

Oppo Find X2 Pro
6.7-inch display | 512GB storage options | 48MP + 48MP + 13MP rear camera
  • Fast processor with 5G
  • Great array of cameras
  • Vegan leather option
  • ColorOS wants weird permissions
  • Lacks wireless charging
  • Fingerprint sensor is fussy
RRP From $1,599

Why we chose it

Oppo has gone from strength to strength in the premium phone space, and the Oppo Find X2 Pro effectively replaces 2019's Oppo Reno 5G in our best phones roundup, by way of upgrading just about everything that made that phone stand out. You get the choice of a more traditional Ceramic Black phone or the fancier looking "Vegan Orange Leather" finish to suit your style, 5G compatibility, a powerful Snapdragon 865 processor with 12GB of RAM and some really fun and varied cameras to boot, although like most premium phones with a "super" zoom capability, the Find X2 Pro's 60x zoom isn't really worth using.

What makes the Oppo Find X2 Pro really stand out is the asking price; where so many flagship phones now nestle up closely to the $2,000 price point, the Find X2 Pro can be yours for hundreds of dollars less.

Read our full review of the Oppo Find X2 Pro.


9. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The foldable future – at a steep price.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
7.6-inch display | 256GB storage options | 12MP + 12MP + 12MP rear camera
  • Massively improved front display
  • Cameras are good
  • Improved and resilient hinge
  • Still no water or scratch resistance
  • Frighteningly expensive
  • Lacks storage expansion
RRP $2,999

Why we chose it

2020 was meant to be the year of foldable phones, but then, well… 2020 happened. We really only saw a few foldables, and while flip phones as embodied in the Galaxy Z Flip or Motorola RAZR emerged as a category, for our money if you want a foldable, the expanding book style is the way to go. Huawei has its second take with the Huawei Mate Xs but if you're buying a foldable, the model to buy is Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Samsung vastly improved the external display to a level that was far more usable than on the original Fold, added a sturdier hinge, more pleasing internal display and some pretty decent cameras too, making a premium buy that has a lot of appeal. Then again, at a price point higher than anything else save Huawei's foldable, it very much needs to have lots of appeal.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review.


10. ASUS ROG Phone II

Best phone for gaming.

ASUS ROG Phone II
6.59-inch display | 128GB, 512GB, 1TB storage options | 48MP + 13MP rear camera
  • Great 120Hz display
  • Gaming accessories add appeal
  • Immense battery
  • It's HUGE
  • Ordinary cameras
  • Lacks wireless charging
RRP From $1,699

Why we chose it

Asus as a brand is more closely associated with PC parts and gaming laptops, and it's the latter market that Asus taps for the ROG Phone II. ROG, in this case, is Repubic of Gamers, Asus' gaming-centric brand. In the ROG Phone II, it throws a very PC-centric approach to mobile phones, which starts with its immense 6.59-inch AMOLED display, and continues with a range of bolt-on accessories that can turn the ROG Phone II into a near-clone of Nintendo's Switch console visually. If you're a keen mobile gamer it's an easy recommendation on that basis alone, helped along by a 6,000mAh battery.

As a more regular everday phone the ROG Phone II is a harder recommendation. Its size won't suit every hand, and while it sports multiple rear lenses, it shoots well below the competition in more challenging light environments, which is not what you'd typically expect out of a flagship phone.

Read our full review of the ASUS ROG Phone II.


Compare the best phones of 2020

Compare the display size, battery, overall rating and purchasing options of each phone in the table below. (Click on "View Details" for more product specifications.)

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Display Display Rear camera Battery size Overall rating More info More info
Apple iPhone 12
6.1
inches

2532 x 1170

  • Display

    6.1 inches

    2532 x 1170

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    N/A
12MP + 12MP
N/A
View details
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
6.7
inches

2400 x 1080

  • Display

    6.7 inches

    2400 x 1080

  • Rear camera

    64MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    4,300 mAh
64MP + 12MP + 12MP
4,300
mAh
View details
iPhone 12 Pro Max
6.7
inches

2778 x 1284

  • Display

    6.7 inches

    2778 x 1284

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    N/A
12MP + 12MP + 12MP
N/A
View details
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra
6.9
inches

3088 x 1440

  • Display

    6.9 inches

    3088 x 1440

  • Rear camera

    108MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    4,500 mAh
108MP + 12MP + 12MP
4,500
mAh
Not yet rated
View details
Apple iPhone 12 mini
5.4
inches

2340 x 1080

  • Display

    5.4 inches

    2340 x 1080

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    N/A
12MP + 12MP
N/A
View details
Google Pixel 4a 5G
6.24
inches

1080 x 2340

  • Display

    6.24 inches

    1080 x 2340

  • Rear camera

    12.2MP + 16MP
  • Battery size

    3,140 mAh
12.2MP + 16MP
3,140
mAh
View details
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
6.1
inches

2532 x 1170

  • Display

    6.1 inches

    2532 x 1170

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    N/A
12MP + 12MP + 12MP
N/A
View details
Oppo Find X2 Pro
6.7
inches

3168 x 1440

  • Display

    6.7 inches

    3168 x 1440

  • Rear camera

    48MP + 48MP + 13MP
  • Battery size

    4,260 mAh
48MP + 48MP + 13MP
4,260
mAh
View details
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
7.6
inches

2208 x 1768

  • Display

    7.6 inches

    2208 x 1768

  • Rear camera

    12MP + 12MP + 12MP
  • Battery size

    4,500 mAh
12MP + 12MP + 12MP
4,500
mAh
View details
ASUS ROG Phone II
6.59
inches

1080 x 2340

  • Display

    6.59 inches

    1080 x 2340

  • Rear camera

    48MP + 13MP
  • Battery size

    6,000 mAh
48MP + 13MP
6,000
mAh
View details
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Compare up to 4 providers


Methodology

150+
Mobile phones reviewed
10,000+
Hours spent testing
10
Best smartphones ranked
  • We've spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing mobile phones.
  • Our editorial team has a combined 60+ years of experience writing about tech and reviewing the latest devices.
  • The phones on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not based on commercial relationships.

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14 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JamesAugust 4, 2019

    What is the advantage or the object of having Dual Sims on a mobile phone?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiAugust 5, 2019

      Hi James,

      Thanks for your question. Some people prefer carrying a phone that has a dual sim feature. These people do this because they have 2 different sim cards and typically, one sim card is for personal use and the other one is for business. This is best for them as need not bring two phones all the time.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    AnayaSeptember 19, 2017

    Hi

    I am looking at buying a new mobile phone. I am currently using a Note 5. I am just wondering if you could help me find a phone with good battery life and good camera also a decent screen size (phablet type). I had a look at S8, but it appeared too narrow. Note 8 is really expensive and I can’t justify spending that much money. Ideally I am looking at buying something within $1000.00 range.

    Could you please help me find a phone?

    Cheers,
    Anaya

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanSeptember 19, 2017

      Hello Anaya,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Currently we don’t have dedicated page for phablets, but if you’re looking for long-battery life handsets and good camera ones, then we have those on a plan. In case you’d like to buy it outright, you can visit the respective stores of the providers offering them.

      Alternatively, if reading multiple tabs is of no concern then you can use our finder search result page regarding different phablet reviews.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    BobJune 29, 2017

    I want to buy a mobile phone 3G or 4G? All I have seen is you have to swipe a finger across and as I shake it, will not work as I’m over 80.

    I want a simple one like a 2G phone I do not use text only used to dial out and receive phone call only. I do not have much money and with the 2g I have a Vodafone 365 day deal pay $20 per year.

    What can I buy?

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanJune 29, 2017

      Hi Bob!

      It sounds to me that you only need a basic phone or also known as a “feature” phone. :)

      You may stay on 3G handsets since you mostly use it for calls and texts.

      Take note this is only a handset, you need to buy a 3G or 4G compatible sim to use your new phone.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    JeffJune 12, 2017

    After a new one, intending to choose LG or HTC, was wondering what happened to Sony XZ or Z5 ?? Only asking as my old Z1 had an excellent camera, and curious if the new ones are any good.
    Thanks
    Jeff

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleJune 13, 2017

      Hi Jeff

      Thank you for contacting finder.com.au. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      For a review of the Sony XZ you may refer to this page. And for a review of the Sony Z5, you may click here.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

    Default Gravatar
    JohnMay 7, 2017

    Is there any news about a possible release of huawei mate 9 pro in Australia. If so when?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 8, 2017Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      Huawei currently sells the Mate 9 outright in a dual SIM configuration through Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi for $999. If you prefer a phone on contract, the single SIM variant is offered by both Vodafone and Optus on 24 month contract terms. You can check this page for more information on the phone plans.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    BarratoneApril 28, 2017

    Do you know if any of the mobile services in Australia will be picking up the new Android Nokia’s this year, before Christmas hopefully??

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 1, 2017Staff

      Hi Barratone,

      Thanks for your question.

      We don’t have information yet as to which mobile service provider will include Android Nokia in their plan. But there are some speculations. You may want to check this news article for more information.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    KafeAugust 26, 2015

    What is the best mobile phone with the largest ram and expandable memory at a cheap price with excellent features and apps

      Default Gravatar
      BrodieAugust 27, 2015

      Hi Kafe,

      The new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge boasts a massive 4GB of RAM. However, the latest Galaxy handsets (including the S6 Edge) do not offer expandable memory. I’d recommend either waiting to see what the Sony Xperia Z5 offers or settling for a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which has 3GB of RAM and expandable memory up to 128GB.

      Thanks,

      Brodie

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