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NextPit’s 2021 halftime present: Our high cell picks of the final 6 months

A waft of white smoke drifted throughout the stage. Out of the blue, music blared from the audio system! There’s a silhouette that appeared onto the stage earlier than the spotlights are educated on it! Dazzled, you are proper smack in the midst of 2021 – to not point out additionally proper in the midst of the NextPit halftime present. As we’d usually do, we paused and took a take a look at the cell releases of 2021 whereas selecting our stars over the previous six months.

Why not pencil in July 2 in your calendar and provides your self a fast pat on the again at 12 midday sharp? On this fantastically distinctive second, now we have arrived on the precise center of 2021. This second, distilled all the way down to only one second, brings about uncertainty and hope. Will I nonetheless win the lottery in Q3 or This fall, or will one thing dangerous occur? And extra importantly, what different smartphones shall be launched this yr?

Year Progress Bar
The 12 months Progress Bar on Twitter is about to hit the halfway level! / © 12 months
Progress Bar / Twitter

For smartphone fans, the previous six months have been sort of thrilling. It’s because it felt like Xiaomi alone has unveiled a brand new smartphone each different day and in some way the likes of Oppo, Realme, and others appeared to have adopted this technique. Nevertheless, are there any actual hits?

Programme for the night

  1. Opening act: The new smartphone flood from China
  2. Main act: The (fallen) giants
  3. Cooldown: Sony, Nokia and Motorola fade away
  4. Encore: Our smartphone stars
  5. Audience participation: Have your say on which are your smartphone stars!

In our half-time present, we have a look over what has been launched previously few months. For this objective, I’ve requested our editorial employees on their views the place flagship SoCs featured in handsets launched from January to June. Other than that, I’d additionally very very similar to to listen to from you as to which specific smartphones appealed to you probably the most within the first six months of 2021. That is additionally a part of the rationale why this text is revealed per week sooner than meant – I will current the outcomes subsequent week!

Opening act: The brand new smartphone flood from China

Okay Benjamin, allow us to keep away from utilizing the phrase “invasion”. Let’s start with a sensational begin on the sheer variety of smartphones that hail from China. The flood of smartphones from numerous Chinese language producers, who positively went all-out when it comes to amount in 2021, noticed the likes of Xiaomi launch a whopping 18 smartphones in a matter of simply six months.

How this text works: This text is a assessment of the primary half of 2021. In the event you’re fascinated with a specific smartphone, simply click on on the corresponding hyperlink. You will land on our gadget pages, the place you may discover spec sheets, critiques, and all different associated articles to the gadget in query.

What Xiaomi has been doing appears to be catching on at Oppo, OnePlus, and Realme as nicely. It’s because different producers too, determined to develop their smartphone catalogue by introducing quite a few iterations or rebadged handsets with little or no enchancment between them. Let’s take a more in-depth look:

Xiaomi, Redmi and Poco

Thoughts you, these are simply the gadgets which have made it to Europe from China. For the home market, Xiaomi has additionally launched the Mi 11 Pro and the Mi Mix Fold, along with different fashions from the Word collection. Loopy, do not you suppose so?


Whereas the Discover X collection has at all times been launched as a part of a trio, this yr Oppo selected separating them into 4G and 5G camps. The consequence? A mid-range quartet that had already caused confusion upon its launch.


Realme follows an analogous technique, however makes up for lots with the discharge of the Realme GT. Antoine was fairly enthusiastic concerning the Realme GT in our review, and on the similar time, this underdog from China was the one producer who managed to tame the efficiency of the highly effective Snapdragon 888 with out having the handset run into overheating points. Properly performed!


We’ve reported loads concerning the “Oppofication” of OnePlus lately. The producer introduced that it desires to dive right into a deeper stage of cooperation with its sister firm, Oppo. Within the course of, we will both look ahead to or concern extra rebadging efforts just like the OnePlus Nord CE sooner or later.

Extra fashions from China

In order a smartphone maker, China has as soon as once more confirmed itself to be extremely environment friendly. That is definitely as a result of Chinese language mantra regarding work ethics (I want to suggest you watch the Netflix documentary “American Factory” for added context), however a lot of it’s also attributed to the buying energy and economies of scale of Chinese language firms.

It’s because the smartphone firms now belong fully or at the very least, partly to massive companies equivalent to BBK or TCL. You possibly can learn extra concerning the differentiation of producers in China in Ruben’s very in-depth article of Chinese manufacturers.

Essential act: The (fallen) giants

Whereas the stagehands take away the flags of the Folks’s Republic of China in addition to outsized portraits of Xi Jinping, Apple, Samsung, and others slowly make their approach onto the stage. Each halftime present wants superstars to strut their stuff – the equal of Bob Dylan within the music world. Reminiscent of these wouldn’t have the stress of constantly delivering hits with a purpose to carry an aura of respect round them.


Not even “The Occasions They Are a-Changin'” does tech famous person Apple carry out at our halftime present. Other than new iPads and fancy AirTags, Apple hasn’t unveiled a lot this yr. Nonetheless, you possibly can look ahead to new iPhones later this yr. Nevertheless, it’s a completely totally different story with Samsung!


Mötley Crue or Steely Dan? I am not fairly certain who Samsung symbolizes on this record. It’s because, in true Donald Fagen trend, Samsung has produced some actual hits this yr with the S21 collection and chosen A fashions. Nevertheless, there was additionally a flood of moderately unspectacular fashions that aren’t value mentioning. The names of those sound extra like what Vince Neil would produce on stage with Mötley Crue lately. Hear it for your self!


Though the Mate X2 hasn’t been launched in Europe but, I would like to say it on this record. It’s because the foldable is powered by HarmonyOS, making it a moderately thrilling gadget to look ahead to. In any other case, Huawei very briefly showcased the Huawei P50 Professional at a launch occasion. Whereas fascinating, these will not be so appropriate for markets outdoors of China as a result of firm’s tiff with the US authorities.


Absolutely you’ve got observed that Honor has made a clear break from Huawei. The previous subsidiary is now celebrating its newly acquired independence with the Honor 50, which shares a really shut household resemblance. In our halftime present, it continues to garner applause as Google’s providers are lastly again on board with Honor handsets.


Within the first and second quarters of the yr, Google continues to carry again in terms of new {hardware}. Whereas there’s not a lot to report in regards to the rumored Pixel 5a, the supercompany’s absence from our mega occasion is not a foul factor. In any case, Google is getting ready an actual banger with the upcoming launch of Android 12. Present a bit bit extra persistence, my younger padawans.

Cooldown: Sony, Nokia, and Motorola fade away

Following the instance of fine outdated Aristotle, we have simply overshot the climax of our occasion. I am certain that each one of us want a brief break now, so I will go round some cool drinks. With Sony, Nokia, Motorola, and different moderately unexciting smartphone producers, we’re gearing as much as current our smartphone stars. So it’ll be thrilling as soon as this bit is over. 


Sony’s new smartphones have been a very long time coming, and have but to land in our editorial workplace, however I do know that you’re keen on the Xperia vary. The 2 costlier fashions sport variable telephoto lenses which make all of them the extra fascinating. The Xperia Professional was additionally launched in 2021, however with an MSRP of slightly below $2,500, it is extra for enterprise customers.


Motorola has solely shocked us with one gadget in the previous few months: the re-release of the Motorola Defy! In any other case, there have been many entry-level and mid-range gadgets that weren’t value a re-assessment.





  • Gigaset GX290 Plus
  • Gigaset GS4
  • Gigaset GS3
  • Gigaset GS290


To ensure that our half-time present to transcend the unique time, I’ve listed a number of extra fascinating fashions for you. Do additionally think about how the likes of Ulefone, Doogee, or Oukitel too, are on the market – which interprets to much more handsets. I hope you may forgive me for concentrating on the above manufacturers solely.

Encore: Our smartphone stars

I additionally selected this shortcut as a result of I collected a number of extra votes from the editors. The query right here was, “Which smartphone has been one of the best purchase amongst my colleagues to this point in 2021?” The crux of my query is that this, “What smartphone would you purchase with your individual cash in 2021?”

Antoine: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely or Realme GT

If I had to purchase a telephone proper now presently and wished to forgo financing, I would go along with the Realme GT. The telephone has a very unbeatable price-performance ratio and truly solely the digital camera is unworthy of a flagship.

If I may wait a bit longer, I’d purchase the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely on installments or possibly even look forward to the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Rubens: Aquos R6

I nearly purchased a used Panasonic CM1 the opposite day, simply out of curiosity. A more moderen mannequin with a 1-inch digital camera sensor can be the Aquos R6, and that sounds actually fascinating. The Leitz Cellphone 1 can be an fascinating different, however right here the non-centered Leica button bothers me an excessive amount of. Regardless of the import issues, I would give the Aquos R6 a shot!

Casi: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely

Amongst this yr’s high smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely appears to be the one which strikes me as probably the most full – with no apparent weaknesses. When shopping for a smartphone, I pay loads of consideration to the standard of the digital camera, greater than every other specs.

Together with that, I desire a design that appeals to me loads, and together, the 2 match greatest for me within the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Rahul: Redmi Word 10 Professional or Vivo X60 Professional.

In India, most consumers and buyers would most likely go for the Redmi Word 10 Professional. It’s merely a unbelievable value-for-money proposition. Nevertheless, if I had more cash to spend, I’d attempt a Vivo smartphone once more.

Though I could not assessment the X60 Professional 5G, I favored what Vivo did with the X50 Professional final yr.

Vivo X60 Pro 5G review

Ben: Asus Zenfone 8

Good day, my title is Benjamin and I wish to quote myself! Jokes apart, for me, the Zenfone 8 was probably the most fascinating gadget for me. After numerous large smartphones with mega screens, I am “drained” sufficient to want for small and first rate smartphones to make a return.

Since I am not allowed to choose the Pixel 5 from 2020, therefore it’ll be the Zenfone 8 for this text. It is a nifty factor, for certain!

Asus Zenfone 8 review


Viewers participation: Have your say on that are the smartphone stars!

The final act of this spectacular half-time present is wholly devoted to you. That is proper, the NextPit neighborhood, whom we at all times wish to let have the final phrase. Now, the identical query can also be addressed to you, which smartphone you’ll select?

As soon as once more I want to throw you into the Jigsaw torture cellar and ask in a disguised, deep voice: “I wish to play a recreation with you. Which smartphone would you purchase from the yr 2021 with your individual cash?”

The ballot runs on Google Sheets, because it permits us to tabulate outcomes of all NextPit readers throughout all websites in a single ballot. As you possibly can see above, there may be solely a easy choice obtainable. We are going to current the ends in our publication subsequent week.

Shall be loaded…

Because the final observe involves a detailed and the curtains fall, we stand considerably shocked on the spectacular efficiency that simply concluded. Our ears are barely numb and we really feel a mix of being overwhelmed and are unusually glad. Earlier than you head house, I want to invite you to hitch us for a bit dialogue concerning the 12 months 2021 in Tech.

Are you proud of the gadgets that producers like Samsung, Oppo, and others have delivered over the previous few months? What shocked you and what left you fully aghast? Does it nonetheless really feel bizarre with out having Huawei round, and what are you wanting ahead to in Q3 and This fall? The feedback part will rework right into a backstage space as we speak!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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