The best big phones have basically everything you could want from a smartphone, especially if you love big screens and equally large batteries. They just may not fit well in your pocket. 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 iPhone 12 models to Google's Pixels and Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 series. All three phones in the entire Galaxy S21 lineup feature screens that are 6.2-inches or greater, and foldable phones promise even more display real estate.
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- 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 new Apple phones.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best big-screen Android phone available, thanks to its dynamically refreshing 6.8-inch screen. That's a feature Samsung first introduced with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, which has an even bigger screen at 6.9 inches. These two flagships can do it all, thanks to their powerful Qualcomm processors and multiple cameras.
If money is truly no object, there is no bigger phone than the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which packs a 7.6-inch display when unfolded. Of course, you'll pay a hefty price for it — $2,000. 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.
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.
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.
The new 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 sized similarly to the outgoing iPhone 11. The difference with the new device's panel is its far higher resolution and richer colors, which vastly outperform the quality of visuals on the iPhone 11.
But the differences go beyond the display. The iPhone 12 supports 5G in all its forms, no matter what network you take it to; it features MagSafe, for hassle-free wireless charging and a range of accessories; it has two highly-capable cameras with the ability to record Dolby Vision HDR video; and of course, it benefits from Apple's best-in-class A14 Bionic processor. All of this culminates in a phone that is arguably the most well-rounded for its price in Apple's entire repertoire. We just wish it came with more than 64GB of base storage out of the box, and a charger, too.
Read our full iPhone 12 review.
The most appealing thing about the Samsung Galaxy S21 isn’t its screen size, which at 6.2 inches is pretty large. It’s the fact that the price tag on this phone is so much smaller than what Samsung was charging a year ago.
The Galaxy S20 debuted at $999. Samsung cut the price on the S21 by $200, though. Some of the compromises to get that lower price are a lower resolution, no expandable storage and less expensive materials. 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 review.
The 6.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 20 may not have the astonishing 108MP camera from the $300 more expensive Note 20 Ultra model, nor does it have its 120Hz display or glass-and-metal design. But it is just as capable when it comes to getting things done, thanks to its Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, S Pen and all the enhancements Samsung has made to its Notes app and productivity features.
The Note 20 can cast to a wireless display or your Windows PC via the desktop Your Phone app, and now allows users to append audio recordings to handwritten or types notes. It also supports Xbox cloud gaming via the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate beta, making it well suited for play as well as work.
We do wish the Note 20 came with a beefier battery or perhaps more efficient chipset, as it lasted a fairly average 9 hours and 26 minutes in our custom battery test. That said, there aren't many serious downsides to going with the cheaper Note 20 versus the pricier Ultra, but you will save a ton of cash in the process.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review.
You don’t get a much bigger phone than one with a 7.6-inch display, which is precisely how large the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 unfolds to be. A massive panel like that is ideal for running multiple applications at once, which the Z Fold 2 lets you do with its App Pair feature.
But let’s say you’re on the go, and the time’s not right to be carrying a massive tablet display everywhere. The Z Fold 2 folds down to a 6.2-inch cover display that can support all the same applications and activities as the primary panel. Even better, thanks to Samsung’s clever Continuity software, whatever app you’re using on either display will transition to the other one when you open or close the device.
Thoughtful features like that make the Galaxy Z Fold 2 not only the best foldable phone on the market, but the most versatile big phone — for those willing to shell out $2,000 for the privilege, that is.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 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.