The best big phones give you all the screen and battery you could want, though at the cost of one-handed use. They prioritize screen size and battery life over whether or not they fit in your pocket. They're the opposite of compact, but you can watch videos, lose yourself in games or text with fewer typos. Every single one of the phones here is sure to require two hands to use.
Practically every high-end handset comes in a super-size option, from Apple's new iPhone 13 Pro Max to the OnePlus 9 Pro and Samsung's foldable Galaxy Z Fold 3. All three phones in the entire Galaxy S21 lineup as well as both new Pixel 6 models sport giant displays, as well, leaving smaller phones in short supply.
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Alongside their more expansive displays and improved longevity on a charge, the best big phones pack more elaborate cameras, with a greater quantity of lenses and the best optics and sensors on the market.
If you're ready to go big on your next phone, we've put together a list of some of our super-sized favorites. And should you want one of the best small phones instead, we've got you covered there, too.
What are the best big phones?
The biggest iPhone is also the best big phone available. The iPhone 13 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch screen powered by the best-in-class A15 Bionic processor. It also has the best battery life of any of the iPhone 13 family. The ProMotion display can go up to 120Hz, putting the iPhone 13 Pro Max in line with many high-end Android phones.
While Apple has a changing of the guard, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra remains one of the best big-screen Android phones available, thanks to its dynamically refreshing 6.8-inch screen. If money is truly no object, there is no bigger phone than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, a $1,799 phone that opens up to reveal an expansive 7.6-inch display. Not only is this updated foldable more durable, it also adds S Pen support. The Pixel 6 Pro — the larger of Google's two latest flagships — makes this list as well.
At the other end of the price spectrum, you can turn to the $250 Moto G Power, available in a new version for this year with a larger screen and the same 5,000 mAh battery that outlasts just about every phone out there. For another $300, you can go for the Google Pixel 5a, which offers a good mix of quality and budget features, as does the $549 Motorola Edge 5G UW.
Big phone Black Friday deals
It's that time of year, which means sales on phones abound. From carrier deals giving away an iPhone 13 or knocking a nice chunk off the price off an unlocked phone, you can save a lot of money on many of the below options.
The best big phones you can buy today
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is not only the best big phone around, but it’s the best phone period. Its beautiful 6.7-inch OLED display with its 120Hz refresh rate wowed us, as did the cameras and battery life. Apple made serious improvements this year, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max going for over an hour longer than the iPhone 12 Pro Max in our battery test.
The main and ultrawide cameras have larger sensors now, which let in more light for better photos all around. The telephoto lens got bumped to 3x. So not only is the hardware impressive, but so are the actual photos.
Apple didn’t leave it at that, adding in Cinematic mode and Photographic Styles to improve your creativity. Cinematic mode is basically portrait video with dynamically shifting focus. Photographic Styles are real-time filters that you can adjust to your liking.
If you want the best phone possible, then you want the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review.
The only thing bigger than the display on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the number of premium features Samsung has been able to pack into this year’s flagship. Like the Galaxy S20 Ultra before it, the display on the S21 Ultra offers a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. But you don’t have to downgrade the OLED panel’s resolution to enjoy that feature, and the refresh rate adjusts automatically based on whatever task you’re performing.
This is the first Galaxy S flagship to support Samsung’s terrific S Pen — the productivity-boosting stylus is sold separately — and it’s one of the first phones to offer Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 processor. In addition to the big performance boost, you also get a long-lasting battery, though battery life improves if you keep the dynamic display rate fixed at 60 Hz. Two telephoto lenses highlight a terrific set of cameras that proves there’s more to the Galaxy S21 Ultra than just a super-sized display.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review.
While the 6.4-inch Google Pixel 6 is a big phone in its own right, it's the Pixel 6 Pro that offers the most screen space of any new Google flagship. You get a 6.7-inch screen that can refresh at up to 120Hz depending on your activity.
The screen isn't the only great feature on this new Pixel, powered by Google's Tensor chip. You also get a 48MP telephoto lens capable of a 4x zoom. And like the regular Pixel 6, that Tensor chip coupled with Android 12 means you get some pretty powerful new features like a magic eraser for removing unwanted people from the background of photos and a smarter Google Assistant.
Battery life could be better on the Pixel 6 Pro, but thanks to the beefed-up smarts on this device, it's the one for people who want a big screen and a pure Android experience.
Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review.
The 6.7-inch AMOLED panel on the OnePlus 9 Pro is one feature that really stands out on this flagship phone and not just because of its size. Like the Galaxy S21 series, OnePlus has outfitted its latest phone with a dynamically refreshing display, so that the refresh rate picks up if you’re doing something that would benefit from a higher rate (like, say, scrolling through a web page). But the OnePlus 9 Pro offers an even wider range than the Galaxy S21, jumping between 1Hz and 120Hz as your activities warrant.
As impressive as that display is, there’s more to the OnePlus 9 Pro, which thanks to a partnership with camera specialist Hasselblad, sports the best array of lenses ever featured in a OnePlus phone. The 9 Pro lasts a long time on a charge — more than 10.5 hours in our test — and OnePlus’ fast-charge technology means you can top off the battery quickly whether you charge wirelessly or not. We also found that the Snapdragon 888 inside the OnePlus 9 Pro can match any Android phone for performance.
Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review.
If it’s big phones you like, why not opt for a phone that gets even bigger when you open it up? That’s the idea of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, which features a 6.2-inch cover display but can open up to reveal a tablet-sized 7.6-inch screen.
Even better, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is more durable than before, thanks to an IPX8 water-resistance rating and both tougher glass and aluminum used for its screen and body. Samsung added S Pen support, too, though that feature is optional, requiring you to buy a separate stylus.
With more apps optimized for the Galaxy Z Fold’ 3’s screen, you should be able to enjoy features like multitasking to a greater extent. While the Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t for everyone, it’s a very good choice for big phone fans who need a mobile productivity tool.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.
The iPhone 13 is the best phone for most people. It features several camera enhancements such as larger sensors and sensor-shift OIS. Apple also included the Cinematic mode and Photographic Styles found on the Pro models.
The 6.1-inch OLED is crisp and beautiful with a smaller notch. You get 128GB base storage, up from 64GB last year. The new A15 Bionic chip is a powerhouse, destroying the best you can find in an Android phone. Whatever you need your phone to do, the iPhone 13 can do it.
Read our full iPhone 13 review.
The Galaxy S21 Plus from Samsung does just about everything the smaller S21 does well, but in a bigger package. With a more premium construction, it's a nicer phone all around. It sports the same three cameras that its smaller brother has, while rocking the same performance. Better yet, the battery life across the board is better in both 120Hz and 60Hz modes
There is no charger included in the box and Samsung removed the microSD card slot. But those are pretty minor trade-offs, considering you still enjoy a screen with a dynamic refresh rate, a super-fast Snapdragon 888 chipset and very good cameras.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review.
With a notable increase in screen size over its predecessor, the Pixel 5a has become a cheaper choice among the best big phones. Don't mind the lower price however, this phone still takes on much more expensive rivals when it comes to photography and display quality.
Other phones from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus, and Motorola should take note. That said, we don’t think they have much to worry about considering that the Pixel 5a is only available in the US and Japan. So UK readers will miss out on this one. It also uses the Snapdragon 765G, an upgrade over the Pixel 4a, but an old chip nonetheless.
The Pixel 5a also sports mmWave and sub-6Ghz 5G support, and it’s unlocked for all major carriers. It’s $100 more than the Pixel 4a last year, but $449 is still a great price for what you get — that is, the best camera phone under $500.
Read our full Google Pixel 5a review.
Big screens require big batteries to stay powered up, but that's not a concern with the Moto G Power (2021). Like last year's version of the long-lasting Motorola phone, this device features a 5,000 mAh battery. And it makes every bit of use from all that power, lasting for more than 14 hours on our battery test.
Other aspects of the Moto G Power like its cameras and processor are more basic, but the price is certainly eye-catching. The 64GB version of the Moto G Power with 4GB of RAM costs an appealing $249. But if you can get away with less RAM and storage, you can find the phone for less than $200. That's a bargain almost as big as the Moto G Power's 6.6-inch display.
Read our full Moto G Power (2021) review.
If you're a Verizon customer looking for a less expensive big-screen phone, don't overlook the Motorola Edge 5G UW. You get a 6.8-inch LCD display on a device that costs less than $600 and works with Verizon's super-fast Ultra Wideband 5G network.
A 108MP main sensor delivers great photos, though we did notice some color issues with shots taken in more challenging lighting. Battery life is solid, though you can expect a hit if you set the display to refresh at 120Hz. But other features like fast-charging make this a good value at a midrange price.
Read our full Motorola Edge 5G UW review.
How to choose the best big phone for you
- Android or iPhone? Android phones give you more choice in terms of price, size and innovative designs — many of them happen to be larger, too. However, iPhones offer speedier software updates, better games and apps and better security and privacy. See our iPhone vs Android face-off.
- Unlocked or carrier? Most shoppers in the U.S. buy new phones through their wireless carrier. But an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to buy the device without any sort of contract and then bring it to the provider you want to use.
- Screen size: For fans of big phones, 6 inches and up is a good place to start. The biggest phones are 6.5 to just under 7 inches. If you want something you can easily use with one hand, go with one of the best small phones with a screen under 6 inches.
- Cameras: Don't pay attention to the megapixel count. Instead, look at camera face-offs between phones to see the photo quality and look for special features like Night Mode to get better quality in low light. Also see our best camera phone roundup.
- Battery life: Generally, phones with larger batteries (measured in mAh) offer the longest battery life, but that's not always the case. That's why we run our own custom battery tests, where phones repeatedly load webpages over a T-Mobile data connection while set to 150 nits of display brightness until they run out of juice.
How we test smartphones
In order for a smartphone to make our best phone list, it needs to excel on several tests that we run on every handset. We perform some of these tests in our labs and some in the real world.
When it comes to performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and 3DMark to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result.
To measure the quality of a phone's display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and score of 0 is perfect.
One of the most important tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery test. We run a web surfing test over 5G or 4G at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11 hours makes our list of the best phone battery life.
Last but not least, we take the best phones out in the field to take photos outdoors, indoors and at night in low light to see how they perform versus their closest competitors. We take shots of landscapes, food, portraits and more, and also allow you to be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews.