Best premium all-rounders 2021 - buyer’s guide

GSMArena team, Last updated 15 November 2021.

Last updated: November 15, 2021 (Changelog)

A bit of an arbitrary distinction here - what's a premium phone that can do it all, how does it differ from the true top-dogs, where do the aggressively-priced models that can pass for 'flagship killers' go? Well, we tried to make some sense out of it, so here's our selection of all-around excellent smartphones with premium prices and features.

We've spilt this category into two halves - the first one is up to €400, where we'd show you all phones that didn't make it into our mid-range and flagship-killer lists.


Best premium all-rounders up to €400


Editors' choice

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

Specs
  • Attractive design, IP67-rated
  • 6.5" Super AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Plenty fast Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset
  • Capable quad-camera, good photo and video quality
  • Stereo speakers, dependable battery, NFC, 3.5mm jack, microSD
  • Plastic back
  • So-so selfies

The €380 Samsung Galaxy A52s is our new top pick for this category as it strikes a balance between premium features and attractive pricing. The latest Galaxy A52s features a great 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, there is also the Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset with flagship-like performance and HRR gaming, we did like the stereo speakers and all sorts of ports and wireless connectivity.

The A52s is also a particularly reliable cameraphone and we did like the photos and videos coming from its rear 4-camera setup. The selfie weren't that good, though.

Finally, this Galaxy is IP67-rated for dust and water resistance, and we liked its design and matte rear panel even if it was a plastic one. For all those niceties we picked the Galaxy A52s for Editor's Choice in this category.

Read full review
Realme GT Master

Realme GT Master

Specs
  • Super AMOLED, 120Hz
  • Top-class performance with Snapdragon 778G 5G
  • Good photo quality
  • Incredibly fast charging, great battery life
  • Games capped at 60fps
  • No IP rating
  • Poor video quality
  • No stereo speakers

The €349 Realme GT Master is another great all-rounder, quite similar to the OnePlus Nord 2. It tops the Nord with a 120Hz OLED screen, but it's a plastic phone and omits stereo speakers. Just like with previous Realme and OnePlus phones, HRR gaming is a no-go here.

Obviously, the GT Master is not a perfect smartphone, but at that price we do recommend considering it - it impressed us with its gorgeous display, fast performance, reliable photo camera, and great battery life and charging experience. The Realme UI is easily likable, too.

Read full review
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE

Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE

Specs
  • Great build with attractive design, splash resistance
  • 90Hz OLED, 1B colors, Dolby Vision HDR10+
  • Snapdragon 778G with 5G
  • Excellent battery life, fast charging
  • Reliable camera
  • Loud stereo speakers, NFC, IR port
  • No telephoto, no OIS

The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE is the replacement of the Mi 11 Lite 5G on the market and it's one incredibly good all-round offer priced at €370. It is also about €100 cheaper than the 11T yet it offers comparable experience. The 11 Lite 5G NE features an outstanding Dolby Vision OLED screen with 1 billion colors and 90Hz refresh rate. The performance of the Snapdragon 778G 5G chip is impressive and allows for HRR gaming.

The triple-rear camera is capable, too, it offers particularly good photo and video quality and the only possible caveat we can think of is the lack of optical/lossless zoom.

The 11 Lite 5G NE also impressed us with its battery life and fast charging. The memorable experience continues with the loud stereo speakers, rich connectivity options, side-mounted fast fingerprint sensor and, of course, official splash resistance.

Read full review
Motorola Edge 20

Motorola Edge 20

Specs
  • 6.7" 144Hz 1B color, HDR10+ OLED screen
  • Snapdragon 778G 5G chip
  • Ready For support
  • Plenty snappers with good overall quality
  • Water-repellent design
  • No stereo speakers
  • Average battery life

Reviewing the Motorola Edge 20 left us with mostly positive impressions, and we remembered it as a good all-round offer. It offers a large 144Hz OLED and powerful Snapdragon 778G with 8GB RAM and 5G. We also liked the versatile camera options and the Ready For connectivity that's all but a gimmick.

There are no stereo speakers on the Edge 20, the battery life isn't that impressive. But having a good screen, enough power and the Ready For support make this Edge one versatile smartphone. Oh, and it costs just €380, which makes it a great offer of you are on a budget.

Read full review
OnePlus Nord 2 5G

OnePlus Nord 2 5G

Specs
  • Fluid AMOLED, 90Hz
  • Dual Gorilla Glass 5 body
  • Top-class performance with Dimensity 1200 5G
  • Good photo and video quality
  • Incredibly fast charging, great battery life
  • Loud stereo speakers
  • Android 11, Oxygen OS
  • Games capped at 60fps
  • No IP rating

The €399 OnePlus Nord 2 5G is an excellent all-rounder with a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate, a powerful Dimensity 1200 5G chip, loud stereo speakers, and capable cameras. It also offers great battery life and blazing-fast charging.

So, if you are a fan of Oxygen OS, as we are, you should consider the OnePlus Nord 2 5G if you are after a more affordable flagship-like phone. It doesn't offer a 120Hz screen and most games are capped at 60fps, but it's still one solid smartphone with thoughtfully picked premium features.

Read full review
Xiaomi 11T

Xiaomi 11T

Specs
  • Great build with attractive design, splash resistance
  • 120Hz OLED, 1B colors, HDR10+
  • Dimensity 1200 with 5G
  • Good battery life, fast charging
  • Reliable camera
  • Stereo speakers, NFC, IR port
  • No telephoto, no OIS
  • Mediocre standby performance
  • Outdated selfie camera
  • Dolby Vision reserved for 11T Pro

The Xiaomi 11T is an attractive all-rounder priced at about €500. It features a great OLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+, though Dolby Vision is reserved for the 11T Pro model. We are quite happy with the Dimensity 1200 5G chip performance - it delivers flagship-like speed.

The triple-rear camera is dependable - it offers good photo and video quality. It cannot offer lossless zoom though, and the selfies aren't up to par.

The good all-round experience also includes loud stereo speakers, rich connectivity options, side-mounted fast fingerprint sensor and splash resistance.

Read full review

Best premium all-rounders up to €700


Here, we've cherrypicked all offers up to €700, which didn't fall into flagships, cameraphones or flagship-killers. While not the best on the market, they deserve some special attention because of their all-around equipment and a price segment of their own.


Editors' choice

Motorola Edge 20 Pro

Motorola Edge 20 Pro

Specs
  • 6.7" 144Hz 1B color, HDR10+ OLED screen
  • Snapdragon 870 5G chip
  • Good battery life
  • Ready For support
  • Plenty snappers with good overall quality
  • Water-repellent design
  • Single speaker, quiet at that
  • Not that fast to charge
  • No Night mode on the ultrawide and zoom camera

The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is a great offer for those seeking an all-round experience - it has a great 144Hz OLED and powerful flagship-grade Snapdragon 870 chipset with 8GB RAM and 5G. It also packs a premium triple camera with a 108MP primary, an 8MP 5x tele, and an 16MP ultrawide snapper. The cool Ready For connectivity is also supported.

For the extra €250 over the regular Edge 20, the Edge 20 Pro brings a faster chipset, a longer zoom camera, and a larger battery that offers much better battery life.

But it still cannot offer stereo speakers, the battery charging speed is far from impressive, and the limited Night Mode are things that won't be everyone's cup of tea. The quiet single speaker is a big bummer, too. Still, its price is quite reasonable and we do recommend it for its all-round flagship-like experience.

Read full review
OnePlus 9

OnePlus 9

Specs
  • 120Hz Fluid AMOLED, HDR10+
  • Snapdragon 888 5G chip
  • Stereo speakers
  • 65W fast charging
  • Good photo and video quality
  • Oxygen UI
  • No ingress protection
  • Poor battery life
  • No HRR gaming
  • No zoom camera, outdated selfie snapper

The OnePlus 9 is another all-round smartphone that deserves a spot on this list. It did not make it to the flagships, or the flagship killers, but its current price of €640 makes it an excellent contender in its price bracket.

The OnePlus 9 has a superb 6.55-inch 120Hz Fluid AMOLED screen with HDR10+ support and it employs the most current Snapdragon 888 5G chipset. We found its primary and ultrawide cameras on the back to be quite capable with good photo and video quality.

The good OnePlus traits continue with powerful stereo speakers and the incredibly fast 65W charging.

The OnePlus 9 is not without a few caveats, of course. The international model has no ingress protection, there is no zoom camera on the back, the selfies aren't that good, and most importantly - the battery life is uninspiring.

Still, those omissions aren't enough to distract us from this excellent versatile smartphone and we do recommend exploring it.

Read full review
Xiaomi 11T Pro

Xiaomi 11T Pro

Specs
  • Great build with attractive design, splash resistance
  • 120Hz Dolby Vision OLED, 1B colors
  • Snapdragon 888 with 5G, 8GB RAM
  • 120W fast charging
  • Reliable camera
  • Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, NFC, IR port
  • No telephoto, no OIS
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Outdated selfie camera
  • Poor sustained performance, throttling

The Xiaomi 11T Pro price has dropped to some more reasonable levels and we are ready to recommend it for its outstanding Dolby Vision screen, excellent Dolby Atmos speakers, flagship performance, and reliable camera experience.

One of the key features of the 11T Pro is the 120W fast charging - a full charge is achieved in 21 minutes - that's absurdly fast. Let's hope it doesn't destroy the battery in a year.

The triple camera on the back is rather good, too, even if the daylight processing isn't up to par. The selfie camera on the other hand is in dire need of an update.

The battery life on the 11T Pro is rather disappointing, the top-of-the-line chipset is prone to throttling and not having complete ingress protection is worrisome. Then again, at that price and with these versatile skills, we believe many will find the 11T Pro an excellent daily driver. Xiaomi is advertising it for its video capturing skills and it indeed deserves a praise, so if you fancy shooting videos, you should definitely consider it.

Read full review
Asus Zenfone 8 Flip

Asus Zenfone 8 Flip

Specs
  • Unique design with a flip rear camera, no screen notch
  • 90Hz HDR10+ Super AMOLED
  • Snapdragon 888 with 5G, 8GB RAM
  • Dependable battery life
  • Great photo and video quality across the board
  • The best selfie camera you can have
  • Stereo speakers, NFC, microSD
  • No OIS on main and tele cameras
  • No ingress protection
  • Not that fast charging
  • Outdated selfie camera

This is the first time we are recommending the Zenfone 8 Flip over the Zenfone 7 Pro because it is now €100 cheaper. The Flip is basically a Zenfone 7 Pro with updated Snapdragon 888 chipset and the same motorized and rotatable triple camera.

Unfortunately, while the three shooters are the same as on the Zenfone 7 Pro - a 64MP primary, an 8MP 3x tele, and a 12MP ultrawide snapper, Asus has decided not to offer optical stabilization on the primary and the zoom snappers. We can understand not having stabilization on the main camera, but it's a bit preposterous not having such on the telephoto cam.

Still, the Zenfone 8 Flip is an impressive all-round smartphone with flagship skills on a reasonable €700 price. Plus, it's a selfie master and an incredibly powerful selfie tool, skills few can match. And that’s why it's worth considering. This, or the OIS-enabled Zenfone 7 Pro (we picked that one for our cameraphones list), if your budged allows it.

Read full review

Finally, we've decided to make these two honorable mentions even if they are above the €700 limit. They are often subsidized enough by carriers to drop around €700-€750, so if you are going to renew your contract this holiday season, you should check these two offers as well.


Niche choice

Google Pixel 6

Google Pixel 6

Specs
  • Improved Pixel dual-camera
  • 90Hz OLED, HDR10+
  • Google Tensor chip with 5G
  • Attractive design, IP68-rated
  • Stereo speakers
  • On-time Android updates
  • No tele camera
  • Not that fast charging
  • Still 8MP selfies, still no AF

The Pixel 6 deserves a spot on the premium all-rounders list. It is a waterproofed smartphone with a reasonably large 6.4-inch OLED with 90Hz refresh rate support and HDR10+. The highlight of the Pixel 6 is the Google's first inhouse developed Tensor chip, which turned out to be the fastest Android platform with incredibly powerful photographic skills.

The new dual-camera is impressive - it has a new 50MP primary with OIS and an improved 12MP ultrawide shooter. Super Zoom is supported, too, which is the AI replacement of the missing telephoto camera. The photo quality is the usual Pixel-level, which says a lot, plus there are some new cool tricks possible thanks to the Tensor chip.

The (€700) Pixel 6 is an excellent all-rounder with all sorts of flagship traits sold at a reasonable price. It will be getting the new Android updates first, will be leading the Android photography once again, and the Tensor chip is showing some great potential. Its limited availability, 90Hz instead of 120Hz screen refresh rate, potential for hardware issues (it's a Pixel after all), and the missing telephoto camera is what's stopping it from being the top pick here.

Read full review

Niche choice

Apple iPhone 13

Apple iPhone 13

Specs
  • Durable design with improved resistance to the elements
  • Compact 6.1" XDR OLED, Dolby Vision, HDR10
  • The chipset is among the most potent on the market
  • Very good image quality, Night mode, selfies are great too
  • Very good video quality and stabilization
  • Loud stereo speakers
  • Huge notch, 60Hz refresh
  • No charger, no headphones
  • No telephoto camera, ultra wide cam lacks autofocus

The iPhone 13 is replacing the iPhone 12 in this category, and it is sort of a runner-up because it lacks a high refresh rate screen (again). The iPhone 13 is one of the most durable and powerful phones on the market, yet lightweight and comfortable. The OLED screen is great, it has reduced though still huge notch, offers outstanding contrast and brightness, Dolby Vision and HDR10 support.

The iPhone 13 has the latest Apple chip with 5G, there is also latest Apple dual-camera with Cinematic mode, you get stereo speakers, fast charging, and even MagSafe support.

The iPhone 12 is still on sale if you want to spend €100 less - it's pretty much the same phone sans the halved storage and lack of Cinematic mode. The rest are mostly cosmetic changes.

Read full review

Niche choice

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

Specs
  • Compact, nostalgia points
  • Waterproofed!
  • Well-executed folding display
  • Flagship dual-camera
  • Snapdragon 888 5G chip is ideal for everything
  • Stereo speakers, NFC, 5G, reverse wireless charging
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Slow to charge
  • Screen is susceptible to scratching
  • Expensive

The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is the latest compact foldable smartphone by Samsung and its highlight is probably the waterproofed design. The device also features an improved hinge and foldable AMOLED, now with 120Hz refresh rate.

The new Flip3 also utilizes the best Snapdragon 888 5G chip available to date, and it features a flagship-grade Samsung dual-camera with a small rear-facing AMOLED screen for selfies and notifications.

The folding screen is the centerpiece of this device, but it’s also its weakest point. The repairs aren't a piece of cake with this phone. The battery life is mediocre at best, while the fast charging is not that fast and there is no bundled charger. Finally, the Z Flip3 5G is expensive despite its caveats!

The Flip3 is quite the premium all-rounder - a small yet powerful phone, with excellent performance and camera, gorgeous build and screen, and its foldable design that's prone to all sorts of customizations and that's why it's on this list.

Read full review

Most recent updates

November 15, 2021: Added the Motorola Edge 20 Pro, OnePlus 9, Xiaomi 11T Pro, and the Zenfone 8 Flip.

November 8, 2021: Replaced the Moto G100 with Motorola Edge 20. Replaced the Apple iPhone 12 with the iPhone 13. Replaced Pixel 5 with Pixel 6. Replaced OnePlus Nord with OnePlus Nor 2 5G. Replaced the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G with Galaxy Z Flip3 5G. Added Realme GT Master, Xiaomi 11T, Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE, and the Samsung Galaxy A52s (as new top). Removed the OnePlus 8T and Motorola RAZR 5G.

June 30, 2021: Moved Realme GT 5G to Flagship killers.

May 20, 2021: Replaced the Moto Edge with Moto G100. Added Realme GT 5G. Removed LG Velvet, Huawei P30 Pro.

Nov 27, 2020: Replaced the Apple iPhone 11 with 12. Replaced OnePlus 7T with 8T. Replaced the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip with Z Flip 5G. Added LG Velvet, Google Pixel 5, OnePlus Nord, and Motorola Razr 5G.


Best phones by category

Reader comments

Wow! They really jacked up the best phones catalogue! Talk about fresh new arrivals.

Yes, that should be right. The Nord 2 is an outstanding deal and should not be ignored. and ben, the Poco F3 is more of a flagship killer, so they put it there. Notice how the phones they put in there is not in premium all-rounders - to differentiate...

  • Anonymous

I think the Nord 2 is coming