The 10 Coolest New Phones Of 2021 (So Far)

Top new phones for 2021 so far include devices in Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series and Galaxy A series, as well as the OnePlus 9 series.

New Phones For 2021

While Apple has yet to release a new iPhone so far in 2021, there’s no shortage of cool new Android phones that are worth checking out. And like with the iPhone 12 series, many of the Android smartphones that’ve launched during the first half of the year include support for high-speed 5G connectivity (even on some of the new budget phones). Other key features for some of the top new phones of 2021 so far include large OLED displays, strong battery life, updated camera systems and speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Our list of the coolest new phones of the year so far includes both premium and budget Android phones, including smartphones in Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series, Samsung’s Galaxy A series and the OnePlus 9 series—along with devices from Motorola and Kyocera.

What follows is our roundup of the 10 coolest new phones of 2021 so far.

For more of the biggest startups, products and news stories of 2021 so far, click here .

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW

Aimed at serving enterprise mobility needs, the Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G UW launched in March with a focus on offering durability and high-speed 5G connectivity. The 5.45-inch display is scratch-resistant and the phone meets the military-standard 810H ruggedness certification--enabling the device to survive drops of up to five feet onto concrete, as well as water immersion, dust exposure, extreme temperatures and other conditions. Kyocera is also touting the DuraForce Ultra 5G UW as the first “ultra-rugged” Android phone for the Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband Network. The 5G connectivity is enabled through the inclusion of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G mobile platform, with the Snapdragon X52 5G Modem-RF System, promising fast speeds and “ultra-low latency,” Kyocera says.

Motorola Moto G100

Motorola is touting high-speed 5G connectivity and massive performance for its Moto G100, which features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G Mobile Platform along with 8 GB of RAM. The Moto G100 includes a 6.7-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate and comes with a sizable 5000mAh battery, enabling battery life of up to 40 hours on a charge, according to the company.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

Among budget phones, Motorola’s new Moto G Stylus 5G stands out by including a built-in stylus along with 5G support. The phone also features a sizable display at 6.8 inches as well as strong battery life, with Motorola promising up to two days of battery life on a charge. In terms of performance, the Moto G Stylus 5G includes the Qualcomm Snapragon 480 5G Mobile Platform and can be configured with 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM.

OnePlus 9

For the OnePlus 9, differences from the OnePlus 9 Pro include a triple camera system and a smaller--though still sizable--display at 6.55 inches. Like the Pro model, the OnePlus 9 display features vibrant AMOLED technology and a 120Hz refresh rate, and the camera system includes the same 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera as well as a 48-megapixel main camera. The OnePlus 9 is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and offers up to 12 GB of RAM and 5G support.

OnePlus 9 Pro

The OnePlus 9 Pro features a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and resolution of 525 pixels per inch, along with Corning Gorilla Glass for durability. The phone supports 5G and includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and up to 12 GB of RAM for strong performance, OnePlus says. For the camera setup, the OnePlus 9 Pro includes a quad rear camera—a 48-megapixel main camera, 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 8-megapixel telephoto camera and a 2-megapixel monochrome camera.

Samsung Galaxy A42

For Samsung’s Galaxy A42, differences from the A52 include a slightly larger display at 6.6 inches and a three-camera system on the rear instead of four. The Galaxy A42 also features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor and support for 5G, as well as Samsung’s Knox security and manageability platform. The Galaxy A42 does not offer the 120Hz refresh rate on the display or IP67 durability, however.

Samsung Galaxy A52

Samsung’s Galaxy A52 features a 6.5-inch display along with a quad rear camera (including a 64-megapixel main camera). The smartphone also comes with an IP67 water- and dust-resistance rating, making it the first Galaxy A phone to offer IP67 durability. And, the A52 is the first Galaxy A series model to offer a 120Hz refresh rate for a smoother display experience. In terms of performance and connectivity, the Galaxy A52 is powered by the eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor and offers support for 5G. And, the A52 comes with Samsung’s Knox security and manageability platform, offering “multilayered defense-grade security” along with capabilities for deploying and managing devices, the company said.

Samsung Galaxy S21

The Samsung Galaxy S21 features a vivid 6.2-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, redesigned camera housing on the back of the phone and support for both types of 5G connectivity—sub-6GHz and higher-speed, mmWave 5G. The phone comes with a three-camera system on the rear with up to 30X zoom and a new zoom lock feature for clearer photos. On performance, the Galaxy S21 offers Qualcomm’s eight-core Snapdragon 888 and 8 GB of RAM. For business users, the S21 provides enhanced support for the DeX Android desktop, including support for wireless connectivity to DeX on PCs and Macs.

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung’s Galaxy S21+ differs from the base-model S21 with a larger dispaly at 6.7 inches. The phone’s three-camera system--consisting of a pair of 12-megapixel cameras (wide-angle and ultra-wide) along with a 64-megapixel telephoto camera--is the same as on the S21, as is the support for both sub-6GHz and higher-speed, mmWave 5G. The Galaxy S21+ does include a larger battery capacity, at 4,800 mAh, compared to 4,000 mAh for the Galaxy S21, while featuring the same processor and RAM configuration--Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor and 8 GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra expands to a quad-camera system (from three cameras on the predecessor model from last year) and works with Samsung’s S Pen stylus—the first time that a Galaxy S series device has featured S Pen support. Other key features include improved resolution (of 515 pixels per inch) on the 6.8-inch display with up to 1,500 nits of brightness; automatic adjustment for the refresh rate (between 10Hz and 120Hz) to optimize both viewing quality and battery life; up to 100X zoom on the camera along with the new zoom lock feature; and support for both types of 5G connectivity.