Get one of the best big phones if you value 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.
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 feature screens that are 6.2-inches or greater, leaving smaller phones in short supply.
- Best phones overall: Our top picks right now
- Longest-lasting phones: The best phone battery life
- Best wireless chargers for Android phones
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 Apple ever built is also the best big phone available. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch screen powered by the best-in-class A14 Bionic processor. It also has the best battery life of any of the iPhone 12 family. But this model is making way for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, part of the newly unveiled iPhone 13 family. Stay tuned to see where it ranks.
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.
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.
The best big phones you can buy today
The best big phone title goes to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. No, it doesn’t have the largest display, but its 6.7-inch OLED display is bright, colorful and incredibly immersive. Plus, Apple packs a lot of goodness into this device, including a super fast A14 Bionic processor, 5G networking and the best cameras we’ve ever tested. The iPhone 12 Pro Max outperformed the Pixel 5 in various side-by-side comparisons, even if it’s not always the best in low light.
Weighing in at 8 ounces, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is definitely a beast of a big phone, but its Ceramic Shield Display helps protect its screen from drops. The Pro Max is max in other ways, as it offers nearly 11 hours of battery life, which beats the smaller iPhone 12 Pro by over 2 hours. Add in a powerful 2.5x zoom for the camera and sleek flat edge design and you have a big phone champ.
Of course, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is official and we'll be getting that review up in the coming days. Apple promises better battery life, improved cameras, and a 120Hz display powered by the new A15 Bionic chipset.
Read our full iPhone 12 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.
One of the best big phones you can buy is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. And it starts with a huge 6.9-inch screen with a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, offering super smooth scrolling and gameplay when you want it. However, the Note 20's panel is also smart enough to dial things down based on what’s being displayed to conserve battery life. The S Pen also gets a bunch of upgrades this time around, from a faster 9ms response time and new air gestures to the ability to sync your scribbles with voice recordings.
Samsung also went big on the cameras with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. You get a 108MP main camera for capturing a ton of detail, plus a laser autofocus sensor to virtually eliminate blurring. The 50x Space Zoom is also very impressive, letting you cut in very, very close. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has plenty of other talents, too, including the ability to stream Xbox games, running Android apps on your laptop with Link to Windows and a wireless DeX mode that puts Apple’s AirPlay to shame.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 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 12 may not be quite as large as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but with a 6.1-inch display that now utilizes OLED technology, it's got plenty of workspace and a reduced cost. With the arrival of the iPhone 13, Apple dropped the iPhone 12's price by $100.
The iPhone 13 may ultimately prove to be the better option, with its faster processor and camera improvements. But there's still a case to be made for the iPhone 12, which support 5G, uses MagSafe for hassle-free wireless charging and boasts two highly-capable cameras of its own with the ability to record Dolby Vision HDR video. All of this culminates in a phone that is arguably the most well-rounded in Apple's entire repertoire, especially for the price. We just wish it came with more than 64GB of base storage out of the box like the iPhone 13 does.
Read our full iPhone 12 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.
Gamers looking for a mobile phone to call their own will appreciate having 6.78 inches of playing space with the Asus ROG Phone 5. And that screen real estate is designed to really immerse you in games — it can max out its refresh rate to 144Hz, so even the most demanding games can play smoothly.
You won’t have to worry about needing to interrupt your game to recharge. The ROG Phone 5’s massive 6,000 mAh battery held out for more than 12 hours on our test. While that number came with the screen refresh rate set to 60Hz, even having the phone’s screen refresh at more demanding speeds allowed the ROG Phone 5 to go more than 10 hours on a single charge. That’s mighty impressive.
You’ll want to look elsewhere if you demand a top-performing camera, but the number of gaming-influenced touches on the ROG Phone 5 make it a good choice if you live and breathe gaming.
Read our full Asus ROG Phone 5 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.