Best 5 smartphones released in South Africa in 2021

South Africans have seen their fair share of new smartphones become available in the country during 2021.

Larger players in the industry such as Apple and Samsung released their flagship devices and smaller players like Xiaomi launched powerful but affordable smartphones.

The new smartphones boast better cameras, with improved performance and battery life.

Notably, Samsung’s Galaxy Z devices that launched earlier this year offer significant improvements to the durability of foldable displays.

The top five smartphones that released in South Africa this year are listed below.


Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple launched its iPhone 13 line in September 2021 during a live-streamed events it called “California Dreaming”.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max features a 6.7-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and contains Apple’s A15 Bionic chip.

Apple has fitted the iPhone 13 Pro Max with 6GB RAM and it is available with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage.

Pricing and specifications for the iPhone 13 Pro Max are provided in the table below.

iPhone 13 Pro Max
OS iOS
Display 6.7-inch 2,778 x 1,284 OLED with 120Hz refresh rate
Processor A15 Bionic
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
RAM 6GB
Rear Camera 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front Camera 12MP
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6
Cellular 5G
SIM Dual with nano-SIM and eSIM
Biometrics Face ID
Battery 4,352 mAh, 20W fast charging
Dimensions and Weight 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7 mm (240g)
Pricing From R23,699

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3

Samsung revealed the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Fold 3 during its Galaxy Unpacked event in August 2021.

The smartphones are Samsung’s third iteration of its foldable range of devices, offering several improvements over its previous foldable models.

Both devices feature displays with 120Hz refresh rates, with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 offering 7.6 inches of viewing real estate while the Flip 3 has a 6.7-inch display.

The smartphones are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, and the Fold gets 12GB of RAM while the Flip comes with 8GB of RAM.

In terms of storage, the Flip 3 offers a choice of 128GB or 256GB, and the Fold 3 comes with 256GB or 512GB of memory.

The table below summarises pricing and specs for Samsung’s latest foldable smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
OS Android (One UI) Android (One UI)
Display 6.7-inch 2,640 x 1,080 AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate 7.6-inch 2,208 x 1,768 AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 888 5G Snapdragon 888 5G
Storage 128GB / 256GB 256GB / 512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB
Rear Camera 12MP + 12MP 12MP + 12MP +12MP
Front Camera 10MP 4MP
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6 Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6
Cellular 5G 5G
SIM Dual with nano-SIM and eSIM Dual with nano-SIM and eSIM
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint scanner Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
Battery 3,300 mAh, 15W fast charging 4,400 mAh, 25W fast charging
Dimensions and Weight 166 x 72.2 x 6.9 mm (183g) 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm (271g)
Pricing From R21,999 From R37,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 Ultra in January 2021, setting a benchmark for all Android devices to be launched this year.

At the launch, Samsung revealed that the Galaxy S21 Ultra sports an overhauled design and a refreshed camera system that wraps around the side of the smartphone.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 6.8-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

It is powered by the Samsung Exynos 2,100 combined with 12GB of RAM and is available with a choice of 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage.

The device has the largest battery of those included in this list, with 5,000 mAh of capacity. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also supports 25W fast charging.

The table below provides the pricing and specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
OS Android (One UI)
Display 6.8-inch 3,200 x 1,440 OLED with 120Hz refresh rate
Processor Samsung Exynos 2100
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
RAM 12GB
Rear Camera 108MP + 12MP + 10MP + 10MP
Front Camera 40MP
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6
Cellular 5G
SIM Dual with nano-SIM and eSIM
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint scanner
Battery 5,000 mAh, 25W fast charging
Dimensions and Weight 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm (227g)
Pricing From R27,999

Xiaomi 11T Pro

The Xiaomi 11T Pro is the most cost-effective smartphone on this list, but it offers performance similar to, if not the same as its more expensive competition.

Launched in September, the 11T Pro is powered by a Snapdragon 888 5G chip combined with a choice of 8GB or 12GB of RAM.

It is available with a choice of either 128GB or 256GB of storage and boasts an impressive rear-camera setup.

The Xiaomi 11T Pro has a 6.7-inch FHD AMOLED display, with a refresh rate of 120Hz.

With its hypercharge technology, Xiaomi claims the 11T Pro will charge to full capacity in 17 minutes when using the company’s 120W fast charger.

The table below provides the pricing and specifications of the Xiaomi 11T Pro.

Xiaomi 11T Pro
OS Android (MIUI)
Display 6.7-inch 2,400 x 1,080 AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 888 5G
Storage 128GB / 256GB
RAM 8GB / 12GB
Rear Camera 108MP + 8MP + 5MP
Front Camera 16MP
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6
Cellular 5G
SIM Dual with nano-SIM and eSIM
Biometrics Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
Battery 5,000 mAh, 120W fast charging
Dimensions and Weight 164.1 x 76.9 x 8.8 mm (204g)
Pricing R13,999

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Best 5 smartphones released in South Africa in 2021