My top 5 phones of 2021 – Sagar

Yet one more yr handed by amongst all of the chaos and uncertainty that prevailed in lots of elements of the globe because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continued to have an effect on the provision chains leading to delayed or canceled launches of smartphones. Nevertheless, that did not cease the manufacturers from launching new telephones, and we remained busy testing them all year long as we revealed greater than two critiques every week on common.

Whereas I did not get my palms on new devices as a lot as my colleagues at our HQ did this yr, as’s India-based Editor, I obtained fairly a couple of smartphones launched domestically, a few of which did not make it to our workplace, together with the iQOO 7 Legend, iQOO Z3, iQOO Z5, and Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G (Dimensity). And, as a substitute of choosing my favorites from the smartphones that went official this yr, I made a decision to compile the record from those I obtained to make use of myself for prolonged intervals. So with out additional ado, these are my prime 5 telephones of 2021, in no specific order.

Realme GT 5G

Realme’s first large smartphone announcement of the yr was the Realme GT 5G – its flagship for 2021. The GT 5G is an nearly full bundle. And I say “nearly” because the solely factor I feel it was lacking was the telephoto digital camera. The final time we noticed Realme launch a correct flagship was the X2 Pro in 2019. It had a top-tier chip, HRR display, versatile digital camera setup, glass-metal construct, 50W charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The X50 Pro 5G that arrived in 2020 got here with related flagship-level specs however ditched the headphone jack. With the GT 5G, Realme introduced again the three.5mm headphone jack however eliminated the telephoto digital camera. Not simply that, we now needed to make do with a 2MP unit for macro pictures, not like the X2 Professional and X50 Professional, which sported 8MP ultrawide cameras for macro images.

Realme GT 5G Dashing Blue colour mannequin

Moreover, the Realme GT 5G does not have an IP score, and whereas that is one thing I can ignore for its worth, what I can not is the truth that most video games had been capped at 60FPS, that means the HRR panel remained unutilized when gaming.

That stated, the Realme GT 5G has lots going for it that earned it a spot on this record. The smartphone is powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, which throttled at peak hundreds at instances however provided an total easy expertise.

The smartphone is constructed round a pleasant 120Hz FullHD+ Tremendous AMOLED show, options stereo audio system, helps 65W quick charging, and takes good photographs from the first digital camera. It additionally felt very compact in my palms, making it comfy to carry for prolonged intervals.

Realme GT 5G's Dashing Silver color model with the Racing Yellow Leather Edition
Realme GT 5G’s Dashing Silver colour mannequin with the Racing Yellow Leather-based Version

The Realme GT 5G has three colour choices – Dashing Blue, Dashing Silver, and Racing Yellow. The primary two flaunt a glass again with a comet-like design harking back to Realme 6‘s, whereas the third one sports activities a vegan leather-based panel, which feels premium and is a pleasure to make use of. You may read our Realme GT 5G Racing Yellow Leather Edition hands-on here to be taught extra about it.

Realme GT Neo2

The GT Neo2 is yet one more spectacular smartphone Realme launched in 2021, and it’s a simple suggestion, particularly in the event you do not wish to purchase the pricier GT 5G. In spite of everything, it is powered by the succesful Snapdragon 870 chip – which is not the sizzling mess that the Snapdragon 888 is however supplies a lag-free expertise – and has related specs on supply.

You get a 120Hz AMOLED display, 64MP digital camera system (once more with no telephoto), stereo audio system, NFC, 65W charging, and a 5,000 mAh battery, which is 500 mAh bigger than the GT 5G’s cell. It has a pleasant construct and its haptic suggestions is without doubt one of the finest I’ve seen on a Realme smartphone but, making typing an pleasing expertise, one thing maybe extra manufacturers ought to concentrate on.

Realme GT Neo2 in the attractive Neo Green color
Realme GT Neo2 within the enticing Neo Inexperienced colour

Nevertheless, the Realme GT Neo2 is heavier and wider than the GT 5G, making it much less comfy than the latter to make use of. It additionally does not have the three.5mm headphone jack onboard, and video games do not transfer north of the 60FPS mark. The smartphone additionally has no IP score and microSD card slot, however there’s solely a lot you may ask for at this worth. Extra so when you think about the INR4,000 ($55/€45) low cost by Realme India on pay as you go orders, which brings down its beginning worth to INR27,999 ($375/€330), making it much more interesting.

iQOO 7 Legend

vivo sub-brand iQOO introduced the iQOO 7 sequence in India in April, consisting of the iQOO 7 and the iQOO 7 Legend. Nevertheless, the Indian iQOO 7 is a rebranded Chinese iQOO Neo5, whereas the iQOO 7 Legend is a rebadged Chinese iQOO 7 with slower charging.

The iQOO 7 Legend is a gaming smartphone and comes with a characteristic referred to as In-Show Monster Contact – a elaborate identify for the pressure-sensitive areas on the display that mimic the press of a {hardware} button to enhance your gaming expertise. And in my expertise, they really do.

The best way this characteristic works is it means that you can map on-screen recreation controls for a faster response time, which is useful in fast-paced video games as a result of all it’s a must to do is press the display tougher to execute an motion with out having to maneuver your finger. One other benefit of the In-Show Monster Contact controls is that you could have extra space on the display for further controls, or possibly simply take away them by mapping to the Monster Contact.

My top 5 phones of 2021 - Sagar

The In-Show Monster Contact characteristic labored very well for me and obtained me fairly hooked on Name of Obligation: Cellular. A lot so, that I prefered the iQOO 7 Legend over different telephones when it got here to enjoying COD. The iQOO 7 Legend’s In-Show Monster Contact can be the explanation I now refuse to contemplate one thing a “gaming smartphone” simply because the processor inside it may run video games easily. There needs to be a characteristic just like the In-Show Monster Contact which elevates the gaming expertise on that cellphone for me to contemplate it a gaming smartphone.

That stated, the In-Show Monster Contact presently solely helps two video games – the opposite is Free Hearth. In addition to, there have been hardly any video games that ran past 60FPS, that means the 120Hz refresh price on the AMOLED panel was solely utilized by apps. Nevertheless, the iQOO 7 Legend ran all of the video games I performed easily – because of the Snapdragon 888 SoC, which, on my unit, was paired with 12GB RAM. Though there’s additionally an 8GB model priced decrease.

Whereas the iQOO 7 Legend was marketed as a gaming smartphone, it is fairly an interesting possibility for the non-gamers as properly because it comes with stereo audio system, NFC, Hello-Res Audio, and versatile digital camera setup on the rear comprising 48MP major (with OIS), 13MP ultrawide, and 13MP telephoto models.

The smartphone additionally helps 66W charging, which, in our exams, stuffed up the comparatively small 4,000 mAh battery in 32 minutes. In addition to, the iQOO 7 Legend feels premium to carry and has a sturdy construct. After which there’s the paint job on its AG Glass again panel, which is not as flashy as those we see on different gaming smartphones – but one more reason for non-gamers to contemplate the iQOO 7 Legend.

vivo X70 Professional+

At INR79,990 ($1,075/€945), the vivo X70 Pro+ is the costliest smartphone from the BBK group you should buy in India proper now. Nevertheless, that is simply justifiable because it affords you a really premium expertise – proper from opening the equally premium-feeling retail bundle to the second you maintain the cellphone in hand. I imply, you may inform the X70 Professional+ is an costly, premium smartphone the second you maintain it.

My top 5 phones of 2021 - Sagar

The vivo X70 Professional+ has a sturdy construct, and the again panel made with the brand new Fluorite AG expertise and having a satin end feels good to the touch. In fact, it additionally makes the smartphone slippery at instances, however that is simply mounted if you snap on the bundled protecting case to it.

This protecting case has a leather-like end and vivo included it into the bundle of worldwide fashions because the leatherback variations are unique to China, not like the X60 Pro+.

My top 5 phones of 2021 - Sagar

That stated, there’s extra to the X70 Professional+ than simply the design and construct. The smartphone is packed to the brims because it comes with the Snapdragon 888+ SoC, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage, 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED panel with a fingerprint reader beneath, stereo audio system, 4,500 mAh battery, 55W wired charging, and 50W wi-fi charging. It additionally helps reverse wi-fi charging, permitting you to cost different units wirelessly.

The X70 Professional+ can be IP68 rated, contains a 32MP selfie digital camera, and sports activities an intriguing digital camera system on the rear, consisting of 50MP major, 48MP ultrawide (with gimbal), 12MP telephoto (2x optical), and 8MP periscope (5x optical) models. All 4 of those include OIS. The one factor lacking within the specs division is the three.5mm headphone jack, however vivo features a headphone jack adapter and USB-C earphones with the retail bundle to make up for it.

My total expertise with the vivo X70 Professional+ was fairly good, however I did not discover it to be excellent for one-handed utilization.

My top 5 phones of 2021 - Sagar

In addition to, the battery life may’ve been higher, and the default Digital camera app may have been made extra pleasant for one-handed utilization. The software program on the X70 Professional+ was additionally half-baked, and the software program points I confronted with the X70 Professional+ had been one thing I encountered on the vivo X70 Pro and iQOO Z5 as properly, which is no surprise since all these telephones run Android 11-based Funtouch OS 12 out of the field.

To conclude, if you’re keen to shell out INR80k, you will not actually go fallacious with the vivo X70 Professional+. That worth is justified for what you might be getting – a premium design with beefy {hardware} and an total good expertise, which compelled me to incorporate it in my record of prime 5 telephones of 2021.

Tie: Motorola Edge 20 Professional and Oppo Reno6 Professional 5G

It is a tie for the fifth smartphone within the record between the Motorola Edge 20 Professional and Oppo Reno6 Professional 5G. Let’s examine why.

Motorola Edge 20 Professional

The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is on the market for INR36,999 ($500/€440) in India on the time of penning this, and that a lot cash will get you Snapdragon 870 SoC, 6.7″ FullHD+ 144Hz OLED display (with correct HRR implementation), clear Android, water-repellent design, and a 4,500 mAh battery with stellar endurance.

For images, you’ve gotten a 32MP selfie shooter contained in the punch gap, and the versatile digital camera system on the rear consists of 108MP major, 16MP ultrawide, and 8MP periscope telephoto models, which take good daylight photographs.

My top 5 phones of 2021 - Sagar

So the place’s the issue? Properly, for starters, it costs at 30W, which could possibly be quick sufficient for a lot of, however is a deal-breaker for me. At this level, if I am shopping for a smartphone, I would like it to go as much as at the least 50W. That is the naked minimal for me.

In addition to, the Motorola Edge 20 Professional contains a side-mounted fingerprint reader as a substitute of an in-display answer and does not include stereo audio system. The smartphone does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack both, however that is one thing I can ignore.

So if you’re high-quality with the Edge 20 Professional’s specs sheet, it’s one smartphone that is price contemplating.

Oppo Reno6 Professional 5G

Oppo launched two Reno6 Pro 5G telephones in 2021 – one with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200 SoC and the opposite with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 chip. I’ve included the Dimensity 1200 variant within the record that was launched in India. And, truthfully talking, I added it to this record primarily due to its design and aesthetics and the AMOLED display.

The Aurora colour model I obtained appears to be like beautiful. It is fairly premium, has a pleasant construct, and the again panel made with the Reno Glow course of having a soft-touch matte end affords an ideal in-hand really feel.

Just look at this beautiful Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G Aurora color version
Simply have a look at this stunning Oppo Reno6 Professional 5G Aurora colour model

The 65W bundled adapter stuffed the 4,500 mAh battery from flat to 100% in about 37 minutes in our exams, and the Dimensity 1200 chip proved reliable – whether or not it was gaming or searching the online. Nevertheless, the efficiency wasn’t as easy because the Realme X7 Max 5G‘s, powered by the identical chipset.

Actually, if I had to decide on between the Reno6 Professional 5G and the extra inexpensive X7 Max 5G, I might go together with the latter just because I discover it to be a greater total bundle for the worth. There’s additionally the OnePlus Nord 2 5G, and this precisely is the explanation why I stated the Reno6 Professional 5G made it to the record for its design and aesthetics.

My top 5 phones of 2021 - Sagar

The Reno6 Professional 5G itself is not a nasty cellphone per se. I loved utilizing it, and the cellphone’s underlying {hardware} is succesful too, however the price ticket (at the least in India) makes the Reno6 Professional 5G a much less thrilling possibility than the Realme and OnePlus telephones I discussed. I truly have not added the Realme X7 Max 5G right here as a result of the X Sequence is discontinued, and I am not vouching for the Nord 2 5G since I haven’t got any private expertise with that cellphone.

That stated, the Reno6 Professional 5G is available in a single 12GB/256GB configuration in India. Maybe Oppo may’ve launched a model with lesser RAM/storage to decrease the entry barrier, however that hasn’t occurred to date and sure will not. I hope Oppo may have extra aggressive pricing for the Reno7 series in India. However till that arrives, the Reno6 Professional 5G stays top-of-the-line smartphones to purchase in India if you’re somebody on the lookout for a stunning cellphone with total respectable efficiency and do not thoughts paying further.

And that is just about it, of us. These are my prime telephones of 2021. Thanks for studying by means of! When you, too, obtained an opportunity to make use of any of the smartphones talked about above, let me know the way your expertise was within the feedback part beneath and what different would you go for. The vacation season is already over, and 2022 has begun, so Pleased New 12 months, get vaccinated when you may, put on a masks, hold sanitizing, and keep secure! There’s undoubtedly gentle on the finish of the tunnel.

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My top 5 phones of 2021 – Sagar

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