Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to Mi 11 Ultra, best premium smartphones of 2021

Global chip shortage coupled with pandemic made the premium smartphones a tad costlier this year. But it didn’t stop people from grabbing their favourite devices, which justified their prices with loads of new features. For premium smartphones, mobile phone makers moved their focus from technical specifications to customisations, optimisations, features and algorithms. From productivity-centric features to personalised user experience, top-notch imaging, power-packed performance, and efficient battery, the premium smartphones justified ‘premium’ experience.

Business Standard takes a look at the top five best smartphones launched in 2021. Here is the list:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra impresses on all fronts, including the hard-to-get-right areas like design, imaging and value-added features. The smartphone shows the South Korean electronics maker’s innovation competence with regard to technology. Among many other notable things that give it an edge over others in its segment is the support for Samsung’s SPen (Digital Stylus – sold separately). That said, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is an all-purpose premium smartphone that brings the best of both worlds — Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. Its novel and bold design, exceptional display, top-notch imaging, sleek performance and productivity-centric value-added features justify the ‘Ultra’ moniker, and thus the phone’s premium stature.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Screen: 6.8-inch QHD+ curved dynamic AMOLED 2x, adaptive 120Hz

Processor: Exynos 2100

RAM: Up to 16GB

Storage: Up to 512GB

Rear camera: 108MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 10MP (telephoto) + 10MP (periscope)

Front camera: 40MP

Battery: 5,000 mAh

Price: Starts at Rs 1,05,999

With this, Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus finally managed to find its way into the coveted premium segment. From its Hasselblad partnership for the camera system to custom-made ultra-wide-angle sensor, QHD+ resolution screen of 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, IP68 ingress protection rating and fast wireless charging support, the OnePlus 9 Pro has a lot to show for itself. It is a distinct smartphone that deserves every bit of its premium tag.

Screen: 6.7-inch QHD+ curved fluid AMOLED, adaptive 120Hz

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

RAM: Up to 12GB

Storage: Up to 256GB

Rear camera: 48MP (wide) + 50MP (ultra-wide, freeform lens) + 8MP (telephoto) + 2 (monochrome)

Front camera: 16MP

Battery: 4,500 mAh

Price: Starts at 64,999

ALSO READ: OnePlus 9 Pro review

The Apple iPhone 13 Pro brings many big and small upgrades, which together form a big package. Among the most noticeable are the upgrades with respect to display, imaging and battery efficiency. These are also the areas where this smartphone has an edge over others simply because the upgrades influence the overall user experience in a positive way. That said, the iPhone 13 Pro is a solid all-round premium smartphone with something in store for everyone. Sure, it does not look radically different from the iPhone 12 Pro, but do not let the looks deceive you. The iPhone 13 Pro is a meaningful upgrade with a bright and smooth display, stellar cameras with industry-first video-centric features, swift performance, and solid on-battery time.

Screen: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR with ProMotion, adaptive 120Hz

Processor: A15 Bionic

Storage: Up to 1TB

Rear camera: 12MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 12MP (telephoto)

Front camera: 12MP

Price: Starts at Rs 1,19,900

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

This Galaxy Flip3 5G is an inexpensive smartphone with a bendable screen that makes a solid entry-point to Samsung’s foldable smartphone future. Unlike the Galaxy Fold3 5G, which is a smartphone and a big-screen device integrated into one, the Galaxy Flip3 5G is just a smartphone. However, it is novel and unlike any other. It is a bold and beautiful smartphone, which attracts attention.

Screen: 6.7-inch fullHD+ bendable Dynamic AMOLED 2X

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888


Storage: 128GB and 256GB

Rear camera: 12MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide)

Front camera: 10MP

Battery: 3,300 mAh

Price: Starts at Rs 84,999

Touted as ‘the Superphone’, this smartphone is brimful with industry-leading features and specifications. Capable of beating other premium smartphones on more parameters than one, the Mi 11 Ultra seems to be an undersell for its price. That said, the smartphone is among the best Android smartphones that not just rubs shoulders with other premium flagships but outpaces them on several parameters. There is barely a smartphone as rich in features and tech as the Mi 11 Ultra.

ALSO READ: Mi 11 Ultra review

Screen: 6.81-inch curved WQHD+ AMOLED, adaptive 120Hz

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888


Storage: 256GB

Rear camera: 50MP (wide) + 48MP (ultra-wide) + 48MP (telephoto)

Front camera: 20MP

Battery: 5,000 mAh

Price: Rs 69,999

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