Best Verizon phones to buy in 2023: With contract and prepaid

The best Verizon phones to buy
When it comes to buying a smartphone, there's a huge list of devices to choose from. Today's market is flooded with handsets spread across different price tiers and niche sectors. Then, we have mobile carriers offering various discounts, deals, or monthly payment plans to purchase that one expensive handset that is much easier for the customer.

Chances are, you may be looking to sign a new contract with Verizon and may be wondering which of their phones would make for a good purchase. Whether to get on a plan or score a prepaid phone, Verizon has the full roster. The phones come with a plan, however, and it's good to be well-informed about those as well.

These days all plans revolve around the amount of mobile data you'll get and how you'll use it. Being able to stream movies with HD quality will cost you extra. Using your phone as a hotspot will also cost you extra. It's up to you to pinpoint your priorities and choose the plan that fits them best. To get more information, check our Verizon plans guide

Once you've selected your plan, it's time to choose the phone to go along with it.

Best Verizon phones, a summarized list:

Also read: 

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How to choose the best phone for you? Four words: budget, ecosystem, plan, and size. 

Getting the most expensive smartphones would almost certainly give you the most premium experience with the best possible features, but it's not at all compulsory to go that way. You can even consider a basic phone. Most affordable smartphones these days offer rather similar hardware and software features that mostly match what a more expensive device would get you, save for a few exclusive features. Most of these include exclusive cameras and camera modes, as well as some exclusive software features.

In terms of ecosystem differences, it wouldn't make big sense to go with an iPhone if you have surrounded yourself with Android devices, and vice versa. However, if you're willing to switch, there's currently a rather big selection of top smartphones on either the iOS or the Android ecosystems that let you score a superb device and enjoy the benefits of the opposite camp. 

You could also consider getting one of the Verizon prepaid phones, which are similar to their regular versions, but available with select prepaid plans that let you save. Prepaid phones are not engaged with a strict annual plan, but require you to pay in advance for the service you're going to use. Some of the best Verizon prepaid phones are also the most popular handsets available right now, so you should consider scoring one of those prepaid phones.

Finally, when it comes to size, everyone wants a big phone until they have to fit it in a pair of tight jeans, so picking the right size for you is essential. While it's true that the largest phones are usually a tad more premium and more advanced than compact ones, this isn't necessarily always the case. For example, the iPhone 15 Pro is much more compact and adept than, say, the iPhone 15 Plus, so you have to conduct your research correctly.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 

The best Android phone of 2023

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Good

  • Battery life is great, big improvement from predecessor
  • New Snapdragon chip is the best one in years
  • Design is improved, feels more ergonomic
  • Screen is less curved and gets very dim (perfect for night time use)
  • Camera improvements are there, but not quite huge
  • Loudspeakers sound much better now
  • You get double the storage (256GB) at base model

The Bad

  • Base model still only has 8GB RAM
  • Charging speeds have not improved
  • Haptics are still not as good as rivals
  • Camera system hasn't improved as much as hoped for
  • Expensive if you buy at full price

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is easily the best Android phone to get in early 2023, and easily the best Samsung phone right now. Announced in early February, the latest Samsung top-end phone perfects the flagship formula, with remarkable performance gains over its predecessor as well as an exciting new quad-camera configuration, with an exciting 200MP primary camera. Thanks to this, it's a proficient and versatile camera phone that doesn't lack any major features.

If you're constantly looking for the greatest and most modern device, you should consider this one. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, this one pairs the excellent hardware with potent software and sprinkles S Pen support on deck, making it the ultimate power user's dream. With a 5,000mAh battery and fast 45W charging, this one will last you a long time before you have to juice it up.

Overall, we are quite delighted with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, though admittedly, the camera improvements aren't that grand and did not live up to the hype that Samsung built around the phone. Nevertheless, it's still a super-versatile phone that will be supported for years to come, making it an excellent companion for all those on the hunt for the best tech.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

The best large iPhone

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

The Good

  • Cool new titanium frame
  • Action Button opens up more possibilities
  • Speakers are great as always
  • A17 Pro chip is an absolute beast
  • USB Type C with USB 3 speeds!
  • Slightly improved, much welcomed camera image processing

The Bad

  • Color options are a bit limited
  • Action Button needs fleshing out — it only does one thing
  • Doesn't come with USB 3 cable in the box
  • 5x zoom camera doesn't feel like a huge benefit

Currently, the most feature-rich, most sought-after design, and most competent camera of any iPhone is found in the new iPhone 15 Pro Max. Along with a configurable Action Button, a titanium body with slightly curved sides to help keep the iPhone's weight in mind, and a USB Type-C connection in place of a Lightning port, this is the first iPhone.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max's new tetraprism telephoto camera, which increases the iPhone's long-zooming capabilities and provides 5X optical zoom, is the main new feature. There are three separate camera FOVs available with the primary camera.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with the Apple A17 Pro chipset, the first 3nm chipset on mobile, which delivers exceptional performance. The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with a 4,422mAh battery, one of the largest ever fitted on an iPhone, which ensures for more than decent endurance. The device is available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB versions. You can have it in Blue Titanium, Natural Titanium, White Titanium, and Black Titanium.

iPhone 15 Pro Max Verizon prepaid version

Apple's best new iPhone is also available as a prepaid phone on Verizon. Currently, no deals are available on the prepaid version of the device. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Possibly the best phone of 2022
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Good

  • S Pen in a flagship, great for creatives
  • Industry-leading screen quality
  • Faster charging than before
  • 10X zoom camera is improved significantly
  • Video recording gets smoother stabilization
  • 4 years of major software updates!

The Bad

  • Battery life has gone down from the S21 Ultra
  • You get less RAM than last year
  • No microSD card slot, no headphone jack
  • Loudspeaker quality could be better
  • Jittery swiping, microstutter with gesture nav in One UI

The Galaxy S22 Ultra truly has it all: a quad-camera system with a long-range periscope zoom lens, a built-in S Pen that doesn't come at the expense of battery size, the latest and most powerful Android processor, the newest generation Samsung AMOLED display, and wireless charging. Everything it takes for a blockbuster flagship. 

Oh, and then add a few bonus features on top like record-breaking screen brightness, a more granular refresh rate, and a few fancy colors. Of course, all of that comes at a premium $1,200 price, but not much higher than last year's model, despite the many new features.

On top of it all, we have the always-useful S Pen stylus inside, the accessory that used to define the Galaxy Note lineup is now part of the main Galaxy S22 flagship series. Or, we can say that Samsung essentially axed its regular Ultras in favor of adopting the Note lineup into the main flagship family. Whatever floats your boat, but the bottom line is that Samsung's top regular flagship is a phone that should be shortlisted by anyone willing to experience the best of Android. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Verizon prepaid version

This Samsung Galaxy Verizon prepaid phone lets you enjoy the same basic Verizonprepaid phone plans, which start at $35 a month for the most basic service, and up to $60 for the Unlimited plan (which goes down to $50 with Auto Pay). Whichever Verizon prepaid plan you choose, you will have to pay for the phone in full (tax not included).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The best Samsung foldable so far

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The Good

  • Improved hinge feels better
  • Fast and solid performance
  • Sharp, colorful screen with smooth refresh rate
  • Wide and detailed sound from the speakers
  • S Pen (separate purchase) is excellent

The Bad

  • Battery life is ok at best
  • External screen can be too narrow for comfortable typing
  • The crease is shallower, but still very much present

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 has a slightly different hinge than its predecessor, which creates a zero-gap wedge between the top and bottom panels. Still, this improved design hasn't resulted in a decrease of the unsightly display crease, which has been plaguing Galaxy Fold devices since day one, but is mostly a non-issue on other foldable devices. 

Technical specifications include a 6.2-inch cover display that is surprisingly usable despite its considerably narrower size, and a 7.6-inch inner display that folds inwards. The phone includes a 12GB RAM that should be sufficient for even the most ardent multitaskers, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor from Qualcomm, and a starting 256GB of storage that can expand to 1TB.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Verizon prepaid phone

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 can be yours as a prepaid phone on Verizon, just like the rest of the best-prepaid phones available on Big Red. Surely, the most advanced Samsung phone to date is also one of the best Verizon prepaid phones available today, with all prepaid plans available for the phone. Unlimited and Unlimited Plus, at $60 and $70 a month respectively, are the two recommended options. 

Google Pixel 8 Pro

The finest stock Android phone

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro

The Good

  • Good battery life
  • Seven years of updates!
  • Clean software, no bloat
  • Top notch camera system

The Bad

  • Portrait Mode is frustratingly bad
  • Charging is on the slow side
  • No one really big standout new feature
  • Pricier now

Google is back on track with the Pixel 8 Pro, a phone that doesn't reinvent but greatly improves the formula behind the Pixel flagship. The enhanced and friendly design is better than ever with the Pixel 8 Pro

In terms of hardware, the device surely excites. We get very bright 2,400-nit display that is perfectly legible even in the most extreme lighting conditions. The phone also comes with the third generation of the Google Tensor chipset. There's also a thermometer on board, but this feature is mostly a gimmicky addition to the Pixel lineup that you will most likely forget sooner rather than later. 

The Pixel 8 Pro comes with a pretty capable triple-camera system, which comes with.a 5X telephoto camera, similar to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. As far as quality goes, you can expect very decent performance consistent with previous Pixel phones and delivering that unmistakable Pixel look that we know and love.

Google Pixel 8 Pro Verizon prepaid phone

The Pixel 8 Pro is available as a prepaid phone on Verizon, with all prepaid plans available to choose from. Verizon recommends the $60 Unlimited and $70 Unlimited Plus plans. 

Apple iPhone 15

The essential iPhone experience, now redefined

Apple iPhone 15

Apple iPhone 15

The Good

  • Dynamic Island replaces notch
  • New 48MP main camera delivers greater detail
  • Automated Portrait mode
  • USB-C, finally!
  • More ergonomic design
  • Brighter display
  • Roadside assistance via satellite

The Bad

  • Poor utilization of USB-C: same charging and transfer speeds
  • 60Hz display refresh rate, come on!
  • No dedicated telephoto camera
  • Ultra-wide camera needs an upgrade

While the iPhone 14 was a pretty non-existent refresh over the iPhone 13, the iPhone 15 doubles-down on overhauling the experience. With a new design and the Dynamic Island now available on a non-Pro iPhone, as well as a 48MP main camera that enables lossless 2X zoom, the regular iPhone 15 now ranks as one of the best iPhone generations to upgrade to, especially if you're coming from an older device.

The Apple A16 Bionic is on board the iPhone 15, delivering excellent performance on par with last year's iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Unlike the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the iPhone 15 doesn't come with a 120Hz display, a titanium build, or a customizable Action Button. It still has the same mute switch as most iPhones before it. Battery life and charging speeds definitely leave a lot to be desired about, but generally don't disappoint. 

Apple iPhone 15 Verizon prepaid phone

Apple's basic iPhones, the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14, are most likely among the most popular Verizon prepaid phones. After you buy both in full, you can choose one among the top four Verizon prepaid plans. We'd expect many will consider these Verizon prepaid phones when shopping for one.

Samsung Galaxy S23 / Galaxy S23 Plus

The Samsung flagship experience redefined

Samsung Galaxy S23+

Samsung Galaxy S23+

The Good

  • Superb performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Super-bright and vivid display
  • Improved camera image quality
  • Excellent selfie camera
  • Friendly and ergonomic design
  • Superb video stabilization

The Bad

  • Display isn't as accurate as previous Galaxy flagships
  • Lots of storage reserved by the system
  • Boring color options

With a bespoke Snapdragon chip worldwide, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus set new benchmarks for Samsung. With a slightly revamped design that's now more in line with the Galaxy S22 Ultra/Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 also look the part as decent 2023 flagships that aim to bring out the best of Samsung.

With no Exynos chipset in sight and instead exclusively relying on a special version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset globally, the smaller Galaxies are now finally perfectly adept to take on their US-based competitors in the best way possible.

The same but slightly improved triple-camera setup at the back provides a coherent and versatile camera experience, while the batteries of both phones have grown up in size and now provide longer battery backup during web browsing, video playback, and 3D gaming. 

On Verizon, you can get the Galaxy S23 or the Galaxy S23+ for free if you trade in a qualifying device and opt for any of the select 5G Unlimited plans. 

Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus Verizon prepaid phones

Both of Samsung's flagship devices are available as prepaid phones on Verizon. Verizon offers the four essential prepaid plans for these mid-tier flagships, with the best value one being the $60/month offer. Verizon will still require you to pay these two in full beforehand. 

Google Pixel 7a

The affordable Pixel experience, redefined

Google Pixel 7a

Google Pixel 7a

The Good

  • Good value for money
  • Stock Android with tons of AI/ML-powered software features
  • Display finally has a 90Hz refresh rate
  • Compact and user-friendly size
  • Face Unlock on board
  • Wireless charging
  • Capable camera with lots of features

The Bad

  • More expensive than its predecessor
  • Some slight build quality issues
  • Only a single 128GB storage option
  • Uninspiring digital zoom
  • Charges slowly

The Pixel 7a is Google's affordable phone for 2023, and it embodies everything that made older Pixel phones so successful. The Pixel 7a comes with a 6.1-inch 90Hz display and a huge battery that lasts a long time, as well as the flagship-grade Tensor G2 processor.

Overall, the phone is quite small and easy to use. With its small size and strong internals, the Pixel 7a is one of the best compact Android phones available today, a must-have phone for all those clamoring the undisputed reign of all large phones these days. 

Then there's the camera, which is just as good as the one on the ordinary Google Pixel 7. Sure, some functions are missing, but the core photographic experience, along with the typical superb image quality, more than compensates.

Can I get a free phone from Verizon?

Although not always, Verizon usually has some super-lucrative deals that allow you to score a phone either for free or at least majorly discounted. Usually, these deals require you to present an eligible trade-in device and/or opt for a new line with Verizon. It's often worth it, as the carrier is willing to offer major discounts on the promoted devices. Such deals are usually rampant during Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping festivals. 

Are phones from Verizon sold locked?

Yes, devices purchased from Verizon are sold locked for up to 60 days following your purchase. At the same time, devices bought from Verizon's retail partners are locked for 60 days following their activation. Once the 60-day period expires, Verizon will automatically unlock the device. This policy applies to both prepaid and postpaid devices. 

What are the benefits of prepaid phones at Verizon?

One of the key reasons why you might want to get a prepaid phone on Verizon is for cost-cutting reasons. Yes, Verizon's prepaid service seems to be way more affordable than the carrier's regular postpaid contract plans, which are usually more costly in comparison. Another perk of prepaid phones on Verizon is the sheer amount of devices you can get, with the added caveat that you can't purchase these on a monthly plan; instead, you have to buy the phone in full or bring in an unlocked device to use with a prepaid plan. 

Some of the downsides of a prepaid phone (and plan) are throttling and deprioritization, which could ruin just about anyone's day. Throttling is a rather familiar term for anyone well-versed in carrier practices and usually means that once you go over your data cap, you can kiss your fast data speeds goodbye as you succumb to the depths of 2G-like downlink and uplink bandwidth. On the other hand, deprioritization means that during times of network congestion, you might also experience temporarily slow data speeds. 

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