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It's basically impossible to make a wrong choice when you're shopping for a new smartphone these days. Pretty much every product you can buy will deliver a stellar performance, snap shareable photos, and power through a full day between charges.
However, depending on their price tag, the best smartphones will differ depending on which features are most important to you — such as a vibrant screen, a great camera, or a trendy and convenient foldable display.
Since new products are constantly hitting the shelves, we're continually researching and testing the latest ones to determine the best options worth your attention. We vetted multiple devices, ranging from entry-level Motorola and OnePlus phones all the way through the entire iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lineups.
Best Smartphones of 2023
How We Tested
We tested each smartphone included on our list for at least a week as our daily driver. We focused on features that we know matter the most to you — evaluating things such as design, performance, ergonomics, and battery life. We spent hours using each smartphone to browse the web, scroll through social media feeds, crank out emails, stream music, and play video games, among many other tasks.
We chose phones that, in addition to offering top-tier hardware features, have an agreeable price tag that's well below $1,000. Regardless of your choice, every phone with a four-digit sticker is all but guaranteed to deliver excellent performance and a user experience to match.
What to Consider
In today's world, a smartphone is your most-used object, so it's worth picking one that has all the features that fit your lifestyle. We highly recommend that you keep an eye out for a high-quality screen, a multi-sensor camera, and enough memory to hold your apps and the memories you capture.
Every phone on this list has a powerful chip that will deliver a stellar performance until you replace it. Water resistance is also essential, so, except for our budget choice, all products we picked have an official rating, ensuring they have been proven to withstand exposure to water and/or dust.
Regarding the screen, don’t settle for one with a lower resolution than Full HD. An OLED panel is also mandatory for a good phone in 2023, regardless of its price range. Its individually backlit pixels deliver vibrant colors and deeper contrast than a standard LCD display.
A high maximum refresh rate above the standard 60 Hz is another smartphone display feature to look for. It makes scrolling through apps and content, gaming, and other interactions smoother and more enjoyable.
Your next phone should have at least two rear camera sensors, allowing you to capture photos and videos from different angles and (when available) zoom settings. Look for at least three rear cameras if your budget has no limit.
As is the case with most tech products, the more you spend on a smartphone, the better it will be. You'll almost certainly get faster performance, a better camera, a longer battery life, and a superior overall experience. You'll also be able to hold onto the device longer between upgrades.
Onboard 5G network connectivity is one of the most important bits to consider when shopping for a new smartphone. The new technology brings significantly faster network speeds and countless other benefits over the older 4G LTE standard.
Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 (or higher) standards are essential for up-to-date experience on compatible internet networks and flawless links to the latest wireless headphones, earbuds, and speakers, respectively. Save for our budget pick that lacks Wi-Fi 6, all phones we selected have such connectivity.
And if you're an Android user with a big budget, we have some exciting news: You can finally consider switching to a foldable smartphone! The latest products in this buzzworthy category no longer require you to sacrifice durability to have a futuristic phone.
Learn more about the best smartphones on the market today, and find the best one for you.
Note: Most phones on this list are carrier-unlocked variants, which allows you to take your phone with you if you ever switch carriers. Even more importantly, when it comes to Android phones, this also means you don't have to deal with annoying carrier bloatware.
The iPhone 14 Pro is Apple's finest and the best smartphone for most buyers. Fresh design and rugged build? It has them. The most powerful chip in the business? Yep, it's onboard. A fantastic camera setup, a captivating display with stereo speakers, and stellar battery life? Check, check, and check.
Compared to the iPhone 13 Pro, the 14 Pro has more graphics and processing power, a superior camera setup, a brighter display panel with an interactive dynamic island instead of a notch, and new color options. The camera upgrades include a primary sensor with more megapixels, action video mode for smoother clips, and a front-facing snapper with autofocus for better selfies.
Powered by iOS, the iPhone 14 Pro has a platform that's as futureproof as its hardware. And then there's MagSafe, which makes the iPhone compatible with an eclectic selection of cases, chargers, wallets, and other snap-on accessories.
You can choose between a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and an iPhone 14 Pro Max with a larger 6.7-inch screen and longer battery life for $100 more. The products are available with up to 1 TB of memory in silver, gold, space black, and deep purple.
Samsung's Galaxy S23 5G is the best Android option for most consumers. It has everything you'd want from a great phone: a sleek and durable design, a vibrant display, abundant power, dependable battery life, and a sophisticated camera setup, all at an agreeable price. The product undercuts the iPhone 14 Pro — its head-on Apple competitor — by $200.
The AMOLED display of the Galaxy S23 is fantastic and a joy to interact with, thanks to a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. Common tasks like scrolling through emails or social media and gameplay look amazing on the screen.
Its triple camera has a high-resolution primary sensor and impressive 30X zoom capabilities — enough to capture objects way down the block and wildlife photos. The primary sensor's 8K video-recording capabilities are also remarkable — the clips have four times as many pixels as 4K video.
Like Apple, Samsung has been offering its range-topping smartphone in two distinct sizes for years. You should consider the Galaxy S23+ if you want a bigger screen and more screen-on time between charges. It has a similar design and specs, except for a 6.7-inch display panel and a battery with a larger capacity.
The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is the best Android phone for upgraders on a tight budget, vastly exceeding the expectations set by its sub-$300 sticker. It has a modern design, a big screen and vibrant AMOLED display, reliable performance, and excellent battery life.
The device's sharp 6.4-inch display is great for gaming and watching videos. While testing the phone, I found that the screen made it feel like a much pricier product. While it's not the most capable on this list, its Qualcomm chip has plenty of oomph and sufficient RAM memory to power through any task you throw at it.
The triple camera of the N20 5G includes a macro unit to capture photos from an impossibly close distance. Its 16MP selfie camera is solid, too. However, as versatile as the setup is, it could use rear sensors with more megapixels.
Unlike many pricier rivals, the product offers expandable memory, a standard audio jack, and a bundled fast charger. Most of today's smartphones — regardless of their price point — lack these features.
Samsung's foldable Galaxy Z Flip4 5G is the phone to get if you want to ditch your old one for something different. In addition to having an attention-grabbing design, the product is also a great smartphone with top-tier specs and a water-resistant build. And like its predecessor, it has a sub-$1,000 starting price, so you don't need to break the bank to get your hands on its innovative form factor.
The standout design of the Z Flip4 is accompanied by a user interface that can utilize it best, with two halves showing different displays if you so choose. The phone folds in half when not in use, so it's easy to carry around. Its external display shows time and notifications without the need to unfold it.
Unlike other $1,000 smartphones that rock at least three rear camera sensors, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 5G has only two. This is the most significant compromise you must make to enter the foldable smartphone realm. You can order the Z Flip4 in blue, graphite, purple, and pink gold.
If budget permits, consider the (much) pricier Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4. It has a superior triple rear camera, as well as larger foldable and exterior display panels. It can easily replace a tablet and a premium smartphone.
Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G is hands-down the best big-screen Android phone. It has an elegant design with a large display, an integrated S Pen, an incredible multi-sensor camera, and a price tag to match. It's the Android to get if you want the best all-around and your budget has no restrictions.
The iconic S Pen sets the latest Ultra apart from all top-shelf Android rivals, making it more proficient in conquering countless productivity and creativity tasks. I always enjoy using the accessory for taking notes and editing images, to name a few activities.
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S23+, the Ultra has a more distinctive design, a larger display with a higher resolution, a bigger battery, a mightier camera, and the S Pen stylus with a nifty storage slot. The starter version of the phone also comes with more storage. Spending more will double the latter and get you more RAM for better multitasking.
The Ultra's quadruple camera brings class-leading resolution and glorious zoom capabilities. It has two optical zoom lenses and the magical ability to snap photos with 100X Space Zoom. On the other hand, its primary sensor has the highest resolution in the business and almost twice as many megapixels as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Even though it's been on the market for over a year (Apple didn't launch a successor alongside the iPhone 14), the iPhone 13 mini is still the best small phone available today by a huge margin. Unlike other big-screen-toting, top-shelf smartphones, its compact housing and 5.4-inch display panel make it easy to use with one hand — with or without a protective case.
As its name suggests, the iPhone 13 mini is a smaller variant of the iPhone 13 with the same design and workmanship. Save for display size and battery capacity, the phones are practically identical — meaning that the mini will get you the same power and excellent performance but in a much smaller package.
Best of all, the mini's $599 starting price tag makes it the most affordable iPhone 13 iteration. You can order the product in blue, green, midnight, pink, starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED.
The Pixel 7 delivers the best Android experience in a smartphone today. It runs the latest and most advanced iteration of the Google platform — free of any bloatware — and is always the first to get new Android features and critical security updates. The tech giant will treat its creation to updates for 5 years.
The Pixel 7 also has an elegant design with an eye-catching camera section, a crisp and vibrant OLED display with a high refresh rate, a fantastic dual snapper, and stellar battery life. Best of all, it rocks an incredible sub-$600 price tag, so it's as value-packed as a premium smartphone can be.
If you're looking for a bigger Pixel, we have good news! The Pixel 7 Pro has the same design but with a bigger screen and a more capable triple camera. Android enthusiasts on a tighter budget should consider the Pixel 6a.
The Sony Xperia 5 IV smartphone sets itself apart from all top-shelf rivals by featuring a standard audio jack, expandable storage, and the ability to reproduce high-resolution audio content over a wired and wireless connection. Like the tech giant’s legendary Walkman players, the phone can make your digital audio collection sound better via sophisticated enhancement tech. This is the phone that audiophiles with a big upgrade budget should get — it will successfully replace their old phone and MP3 player.
Featuring tech and a user interface from the outstanding Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras, the triple camera of the Xperia 5 IV is one of the best in its class. We like that the phone has a camera shutter button. It makes the device feel like a legit point-and-shoot camera alternative.
In a manner befitting its hefty price tag, the Xperia 5 IV packs a powerful chip, a gorgeous screen with a high refresh rate, and a massive battery, all packed into a sleek and durable housing. Unlike its similarly priced competitors, the device is also easy to use with one hand. It is the best compact Android.
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