Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

The best Samsung phones: High-end, mid-range, and entry-level models

There are plenty of options to choose from.
The Best
By
November 24, 2021
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 1
Adam Molina / Android Authority

Samsung is, without a doubt, the biggest name in the Android world, and if you’re considering purchasing a new phone, logic dictates you may be looking to pick up a phone made by the Korean giant. However, while it’s easy to say “get a Note or the latest Galaxy S,” Samsung’s lineup is quite robust, with a variety of phones covering prices as low as under $200 or as high as $1,300 or more.

Also read: The best Android phones to get

Some of Samsung’s mid-range and entry-level lineups are similar in specs and design that picking a phone can be confusing. That’s where we come in. We break down some of the best Samsung phones from the high-, mid-, and even entry-level options in this list.

BLACK FRIDAY 2021

Like every year, Samsung is discounting its most popular smartphones for Black Friday. We have details in our best Samsung deals roundup, and we also recommend checking out our big roundup of the best Black Friday deals.

The best Samsung phones:


1. Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 Plus vs S21 Ultra 1 1
David Imel / Android Authority

The Galaxy S21 family arrived as expected at Samsung’s January Unpacked event, and the three models will likely set the tone for phones throughout 2021. You get everything you’d expect, and, in the case of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, you get even more.

See also: Samsung Galaxy S21 buyer’s guide

This year’s lineup has three core phones, just like last year’s Galaxy S20 lineup. The cheapest is the Samsung Galaxy S21, followed by the Galaxy S21 Plus, and finally the S21 Ultra. Aside from the display and battery sizes, there’s not much difference between the S21 and the S21 Plus.

Only the S21 Ultra stands out from the pack with its impressive camera setup and support for Samsung’s S-Pen stylus. However, all three come with the same Snapdragon 888 processing package, so you don’t have to worry about performance. For once, Samsung found a way to make the Galaxy S21 line slightly more affordable. The base S21 now starts at just $799.


Samsung Galaxy S21 specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, QHD+
  • SoC: SD 888 or Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB or 256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 64MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: SD 888 or Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB or 256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 64MP
  • Front cameras: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,800mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.8-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: SD 888 or Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 12 or 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256, or 512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 10, 10, and 108MP
  • Front cameras: 40MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra pen leaning against phone
David Imel / Android Authority

Although the Galaxy S family is the most popular line of Samsung devices, the Galaxy Note line always takes things up a notch, especially if you’re a fan of the S Pen.

Both the Galaxy Note 20 and 20 Ultra are great options for demanding users. However, the Ultra model brings a lot more to the table. It has a larger display with a higher resolution, more RAM, a larger battery, and a big 108MP primary camera sensor. You can also further expand storage with a microSD card. The display on the Ultra is also the first with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus.

Featuring the Snapdragon 865 Plus (or the Exynos 990, depending on the market), 12GB of RAM, and a 6.9-inch AMOLED panel with the Infinity-O punch hole, this is a powerful phone. The phone is also IP68 rated and comes with the embedded S Pen stylus.

It is expensive, but that’s not surprising given everything it has to offer. If you’re hoping to save a little money, the regular Galaxy Note 20 is a good option since it provides the same performance. However, quite a few compromises make the Note 20 Ultra the far better choice if you can splurge.


Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.9-inch, Quad HD+
  • SoC: SD 865 Plus/Exynos 990
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

See also: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review


3. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open front bricks
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung’s latest foldable phone is the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The phone shows just how far Samsung has come with its experimental foldable in only a couple of years. The Z Fold 3 addresses one of the biggest concerns with previous generations, which is durability. It’s a good-looking, well-built phone that won’t be out of place as a daily driver. If you’re willing to splurge, that is.

It doesn’t mean an end to experimentation, though. With the Z Fold 3, Samsung introduced an under-display selfie camera tucked away below the 7.6-inch internal display. Before you get too excited, this isn’t a good camera by any means. But it’s great to see Samsung try something new. And for your selfie needs, the 10MP shooter with the external display is more than up to the task.

Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

Like its other 2021 flagships, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor, backed by 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a 4,400mAh dual battery. Both the internal and external displays come with a 120Hz refresh rate as well. Samsung decided not to launch a Note device this year, favoring its foldables instead. To somewhat make up for it, the Z Fold 3 also comes with S-Pen support.

If there’s one letdown, it’s the cameras. There are still three 12MP rear cameras, a 10MP front-facing camera on the external display, but the under-display camera is a 4MP shooter. It’s not the worst camera setup around by any stretch but doesn’t match the performance of its flagship siblings.

At $1,800, the Z Fold 3 is $200 cheaper than the launch price of the Z Fold 2. That’s a lot of money for a phone, but the Fold line is steadily taking steps towards becoming a mainstream option. 


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs:

  • Display: 7.6-inch QXGA+ and 6.2-inch HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256 or 512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP and 4MP UDC
  • Battery: 4,400mAh
  • Software: Android 11

4. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in hand showing cover display
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Samsung’s other foldable is the one that is far more within reach of everyday consumers. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 continues the clamshell model of the Flip line, but it’s far more refined this time around.

The build quality is excellent, the exterior finish looks fantastic, and you get a much better 6.7-inch internal display. The external display gets a necessary boost as well. It’s larger, more vivid, and makes managing your notifications much easier. Performance isn’t an issue either, with the Snapdragon 888 and 8GB of RAM keeping everything running smoothly. You don’t get as much storage as other Samsung flagships, but up to 256GB should be enough for most.

See also: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review

Like the Z Fold 3, the camera setup isn’t the best. There are two 12MP rear cameras and a 10MP front-facing shooter. You won’t get the camera performance you’d get with the S21 series, but it’s still a decent option to have at hand. The 3,300mAh battery is the one major flaw here, unfortunately. If used sparingly, the phone can last through a day, but that’s not something you want to hear for an expensive flagship.

Speaking of expensive, the Z Flip 3 starts at $999. That puts it right in line with current-generation flagships and makes it the most affordable foldable yet. If you were hoping to jump into the foldable game, the Z Flip 3 is a great entry-point to consider.


Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch and 1.9-inch
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128 or 256GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,300mAh
  • Software: Android 11

5. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in the hand with fence
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is technically a part of the S20 series, but the Fan Edition is different enough to warrant its own mention. In fact, it was the affordable flagship sleeper hit of 2020. The phone takes a kitchen-sink approach with a brilliant 120Hz display, bells, and whistles like an IP68 rating, wireless charging, and a trio of competent cameras. Yet, it’s the most affordable Samsung flagship you can get.

The phone competes directly against the OnePlus 8T, and for the most part, it bests it if you are looking for a more well-rounded package with significantly better cameras and feature set. For the most part, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE offers more bang for your buck with software features and a competent feature set. It’s definitely one of the best Samsung phones you can get without breaking the bank.


Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

6. Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and A52s 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G angled on table
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung’s 5G-capable series of smartphones get more affordable with the latest additions to the company’s mid-range A-series. Leading the charge is the Galaxy A52 5G. Its predecessor was one of the best mid-rangers you could get, and the A52 is an excellent follow-up.

Samsung brings high refresh rates to its mid-rangers, with the A52 featuring a Super AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Another helpful upgrade is in the camera setup, headlined by an impressive 64MP shooter. You get dual-SIM capabilities, with the second slot doubling as a microSD card slot, and it’s one of the few phones in 2021 to come with a headphone jack. The 4,500mAh battery also comfortably lasts through an entire day and beyond.

If you’re in the UK or India, you should also consider the Galaxy A52s 5G. It’s essentially the same device, with the only difference being the processor. The A52s is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G processor, which is a solid upgrade over the 720G. There’s no word on if the A52s will release in the US, but you can pick it up on Amazon in India and the UK.


Samsung Galaxy A52 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 720G
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, 5, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

7. Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

Samsung Galaxy A42 rear profile shot
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

If the Galaxy A52 is a little too expensive, you can still get solid Samsung phones with 5G support with the following two options. Up first is the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G. It actually has a slightly bigger display than the A52, at 6.6-inches. It also has a bigger 5,000mAh battery but less RAM at 4GB.

Other specs include a 48MP main rear camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP depth sensor, along with a 13MP selfie shooter. It’s not as impressive as what you get with the A52, but it’s still a perfectly capable camera setup. The key here is the price. The A42 5G is a hundred dollars cheaper than the A52 and is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for 5G on a budget.


Samsung Galaxy A42 specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch Full HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 750G
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 13MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

8. Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

galaxy a32 5g front - cheap samsung phoes
Samsung

Taking another step down the affordable Samsung phone ladder, the Galaxy A32 comes with a 6.5-inch display with a dew drop-shaped notch up top for the 13MP selfie camera. Inside, there’s a MediaTek octa-core processor with 4GB RAM. You can get this phone with either 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, with a microSD card slot for additional storage, and keeping everything running is a 5,000mAh battery.

The rear camera setup has four sensors. You get a 48MP main camera, combined with an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 5MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth camera.

This phone targets young people who may not have a lot of money to get a flagship device but still want a phone that looks good, performs decently, and comes with 5G support. It’s currently available for around $300.


Samsung Galaxy A32 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch Full HD+
  • SoC: MediaTek MT6853
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 13MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

9. Samsung Galaxy A12

Samsung Galaxy A12 back panel
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Galaxy A12 is the way to go if you’re looking for a sub-$200 Samsung smartphone. It’s a solid upgrade over its predecessor, with a larger 5,000mAh battery, and double the RAM and storage. You also get a similar camera setup as its more expensive siblings like the A32 and A42, with a 48MP primary shooter on the back.

This phone is understandably not going to best its more expensive siblings in performance and the camera department. You may not get many bells and whistles here, but the Galaxy A12 is a fantastic option for those looking for an affordable Samsung phone.


Samsung Galaxy A12 specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 450
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Cameras: 48, 5, 5, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

10. Samsung Galaxy A02s

samsung galaxy a02s
Samsung

We jump into entry-level territory with the Samsung Galaxy A02s. This phone isn’t going to win any performance or awards, but it has a few advantages that make it worth considering for anyone on a budget.

The screen is quite large, coming in at 6.5 inches, even with HD+ resolution. Three cameras at the back get the job done, and it is good for a phone at this price point. Other specs and features include 32 or 64GB of expandable storage, a 5,000mAh battery, and Android 11 with Samsung’s One UI on top. All these things considered, the Galaxy A02s is one of the best you can get for under $150.


Samsung Galaxy A02s specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 450
  • RAM: 2/3/4GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Cameras: 13, 2, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

These are our picks for the best Samsung phones you can get, although there are many other options out there as well. We’ll be sure to update this post once new models hit the market.