It's time to get going towards the direction I want this blog to take. And that is tech reviews. But before we get to that, let's talk about 2021 smartphones. Below you will find the list of the smartphones of 2021 that I consider the most interesting. If I had to pick one 2021 smartphone standing out on top, it's the LG Rollable. That being said, the most interesting phone that would make me change my decision to switch to an iPhone next year as I think it might be the best functioning foldable phone yet. Other than these, the new iPhones will probably be significant improvements over the already great iPhone 12 lineup while providing the longevity that you cannot find on Android devices.
Even that is set to change though in 2021, with the announcement of Google's and Qualcomm's partnership to bring 4 years' worth of upgrades to Android smartphones. I really believe that software will make a difference from now on in the mainstream smartphone market. So let's get to the most exciting 2021 smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup
The new Galaxy S21 lineup will be the first smartphones to bring the Snapdragon 888 to the US and the Exynos 2100 chipset to the rest of the world in most likelihood. Though what will be interesting is whether we actually hit the more-of-the-same mark for mainstream smartphones in terms of hardware, what is most interesting, though, is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Will the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra bring support for the S Pen stylus? A confirmation of this might as well be the nail in the coffin for the Galaxy Note series.
The Apple iPhone 13 lineup
The iPhone 13 range is even more highly anticipated than the Samsung Galaxy S21 range in my mind, but we have a long way to go until September.
There could be some big upgrades for these new models, with 120Hz refresh rate screens, 1TB of storage, in-screen fingerprint scanners, and a smaller notch, all rumored. There’s also the possibility of a periscope camera being added, which would allow for an increased optical zoom range. The iPhone 13 may also be the first portless smartphone, which would justify the lack of chargers in this year's handsets.
With the phones being a long way off at the time of writing, though, we’re not at all confident of these things yet. What you can be sure of is that they’ll be very powerful once again, courtesy of the Apple A15 Bionic chipset. Also, Apple will probably offer the same selection of models as in the iPhone 12 range – meaning an iPhone 13, an iPhone 13 mini, an iPhone 13 Pro, and an iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Finally, the arrival of the Apple M1 in 2020 and its amazing performance and efficiency, along with the fact that macOS 14 Big Sur allows the execution of iPhone, so let's see whether more unification of the ecosystem will come. Yes, I'm sticking to my theory about cross-device convergence coming to iOS in the next couple of years.
OnePlus 9 lineup
In 2020 OnePlus officially entered the flagship market with the OnePlus 8 Pro. That was an entry that made a lot of noise as OnePlus delivered one of the best Android smartphones of 2020.
The OnePlus 8 lineup's successor, the OnePlus 9 range, is likely to land in March or April of 2021. While they are not flagship killers anymore, they are still slightly more affordable than phones like the Galaxy S21 lineup.
There will probably be an OnePlus 9, an OnePlus 9 Pro, and possibly also a totally new model dubbed the OnePlus 9E, which could be the most affordable version of the three.
As for what to expect, all three phones might use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset. If they follow the OnePlus 8T trend, we can expect 120Hz refresh rate screens for the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.
We don’t know a huge amount else about them yet. Still, leaks suggest that the standard OnePlus 9 will have a 48MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide one, an unknown third lens, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The OnePlus 9 Pro will probably be the only smartphone in the lineup to have IP68 certification for water and dust resistance.
Another interesting aspect of the new phones, though, has to do with software. In late 2020 OnePlus sort of shot themselves in the foot as they decided to derive by the almost-vanilla Android experienced they offered with OxygenOS. OxygenOS 11 features OnePlus's own custom thing, resembling Samsung's OneUI, which sadly introduced several bugs and performance issues. As an OnePlus 8 Pro owner myself, I can confirm that performance-wise OxygenOS 11 seems more like a step back, if anything. We can hope that the OS situation will be sorted with the OnePlus 9 lineup and bring back the best of OxygenOS.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Now to the exciting stuff. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold was an interesting phone, but it was more of a prototype. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 featured significant improvements. So the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might as well be the proof that foldable phones are the future of smartphones, as it will probably be the best foldable phone of 2021.
What to expect? An immersive, foldable screen, possibly Samsung S Pen stylus support, and an in-screen camera. There are also rumors of an RGB light strip on its hinge (oh, well…).
We still don't know much, but we will get to know more soon, as the potential release day for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is at some point in June.
If the LG rollable actually exists, and if it's released in 2021, it might as well be the most interesting smartphone of the year. We know so far that LG filed a patent for a device with extendable edges, both to the left and the right. The alleged LG Rollable rolls rather than folds, and because the mechanism is compactly hidden within the phone, it might look much like a normal smartphone when the screen isn’t extended. According to another leak, it might extend from 6.8 inches to 7.4 inches.
A trademark application for the ‘LG Rollable’ name meanwhile includes mention of “electronic touch screen pens,” it might have stylus support too.
If the LG Rollable lands in 2021, it will probably be very pricey, but it certainly sounds like an interesting concept. The only release date rumor for it so far states that it could land in the first half of 2021.
<figure> <a href="https://borderpolar.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/nokia-9-pureview-image-featured.jpg" data-elementor-open-lightbox="yes" data-elementor-lightbox-title="nokia-9-pureview-image-featured"> <img width="1024" height="538" src="https://borderpolar.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/nokia-9-pureview-image-featured-1024x538.jpg" alt="nokia 10 pureview" loading="lazy" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/borderpolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/nokia-9-pureview-image-featured.jpg?resize=1024%2C538&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/borderpolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/nokia-9-pureview-image-featured.jpg?resize=300%2C158&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/borderpolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/nokia-9-pureview-image-featured.jpg?resize=768%2C403&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/borderpolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/nokia-9-pureview-image-featured.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /> </a> <figcaption>The Nokia 9 Pureview. Credit: 91Mobiles</figcaption> </figure> <h2>Nokia 10</h2><p>The Nokia 10 has been coming for a long time, so maybe 2021 is the year we will actually see it arrive. Even now, we are still unsure whether that is true or not. If it lands in 2021, it could be an interesting premium as rumors suggest <a href="https://www.techradar.com/news/nokias-next-flagship-could-get-an-under-display-selfie-camera" data-component-tracked="1">an in-screen selfie camera</a>, a sapphire glass display, a stainless steel frame, and a top-end Snapdragon 888 chipset at its core. It will probably have a different camera system than <a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/nokia-9-pureview" data-component-tracked="1">Nokia 9 PureView</a>, but we don't know much about it just yet. Still, the Nokia 10 could be Nokia's return to premium phones, so that alone makes it a fascinating device.</p><h2>Stay tuned for more exciting 2021 smartphones</h2>One big omission from this list is Samsung Galaxy Note 21 lineup. The reason behind it is the quite high possibility that Samsung has decided to shelf its Galaxy Note devices. However, many more interesting devices are set to land in 2021, so stay tuned for updates to this list. Meanwhile, please have a look at my current best smartphone picks for 2021.<ul><li><a href="https://borderpolar.com/2020/12/31/best-smartphones-2021/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The best smartphones in 2021</a>.</li></ul>