The Best Phones to buy in 2023 - our top 10 list

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The Best Phones in 2023
Smartphones are now an integral part of our world, of our day-to-day lives, and of our existence as human beings. For better or worse, owning a good smartphone can be not only the distinction between "cool" and "lame" but also sometimes a literal lifesaver.

The year is 2023, and the world of smartphones is constantly evolving and changing. This is happening so fast that the best phone of last year might be just a boring midranger this year. With so many options available on the market, it can also be a daunting task to choose the best smartphone for your needs.

In this article, we will explore what constitutes the "best smartphone" and provide some tips on how to choose the perfect one for you. There are some key smartphone features that are very important for the user experience, and even though "best" is a subjective thing to some extent, these features are the ones to look for when buying a smartphone.

  • Display: We consume the world mainly through our eyes, and the bigger and better the display of a smartphone, the better viewing experience we would get. We live in the AMOLED era now, and another buzzy new metric is the refresh rate of the display. Modern flagships sport at least a 120Hz display refresh rate, which makes things very smooth, especially when you scroll through text and websites.
  • Camera: If the display is how we consume the information on our smartphones, the camera is essentially a device for capturing memories. The number of megapixels is not the only thing to think about. The aperture, image stabilization, and processing technology all play a role in the quality of the camera.
  • Battery life: Even the best smartphone in the world is worthless if the battery runs out. A long-lasting battery is essential for those who use their phone frequently. The battery life of a phone varies depending on the model and usage patterns, but the bigger the battery, the better, as Winnie the Pooh often says.
  • Performance: The performance of a smartphone is a composite factor that depends on its processor, RAM, and storage capacity. A powerful processor, ample RAM, and plenty of storage will ensure a smooth and seamless user experience, but you shouldn't forget about the actual software on top of that and the optimization that's going on. A clean and well-optimized smartphone OS could offset more modest hardware inside.
  • Design and Build Quality: The design and build quality of a smartphone is always an important factor that can determine its durability and aesthetic appeal. A well-built phone with a sleek design will not only look good but also last longer. Different protection ratings also fall into this category, such as the IP dust and water resistance rating, and the tempered glass on the front and back, mainly manufactured by Gorilla Glass.

Now that we have looked at the key features to consider when choosing the best smartphone, let's see what's the best phone to buy in 2023.

Also read:

Best phones of 2023 - the top 10 list

  1. Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max - best iPhone available right now
  2. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra - best Android phone
  3. Google Pixel 7 Pro - the flagship Android with the purest Google experience
  4. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 - simply the best foldable phone out there
  5. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 - the best flip phone
  6. Asus Zenfone 9 - the best compact Android phone on the market
  7. Sony Xperia 1 IV - the first phone with a variable zoom camera
  8. OnePlus 11 - back to the flagship-killer roots of OnePlus
  9. Google Pixel 7a - best budget Android flagship
  10. Apple iPhone 13 mini - best compact iPhone

Honorable mentions:

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

best iPhone available right now
PhoneArena Rating: 9.0/10


  • Exceptional, industry-leading performance
  • Dynamic Island is a fun and useful twist on the punch hole
  • Very good battery life
  • Superb video-recording quality
  • Very bright and beautiful display with Always-On functionality
  • Premium, posh design


  • Relatively slow charging speed
  • Small evolutionary improvements
  • Lack of physical SIM feels like an inconvenience

If you're looking for the best phone and you don't have a preference between iOS and Android, the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is the way to go. This model checks all the boxes, and except for the somewhat higher price, it doesn't have any real drawbacks. 

For starters, it has one of the best screens we've ever tested, with a 6.7-inches of real estate and great pixel density, excellent color calibration, and a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits (typical content is 1,000 nits), making it easy to see outside.

Additionally, it features a 120 Hz refresh rate provided by an LTPO panel that can drop as low as 1 Hz to support the new Always-on Display feature without draining excessive battery life. These features work together to make the iOS experience smoother, more responsive, and more satisfying.

Powering everything is the Apple A16 Bionic, which is currently the fastest processor in any smartphone. This phone will tackle every task, play every game, and won't start to feel slower over time. The camera system is also very good, so the iPhone 14 Pro Max delivers on that front as well.

The main 48 MP sensor can take high-resolution photos that look great, and there is also a 12 MP ultrawide camera, and a telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. The phone is capable of covering a wide variety of shooting scenarios and is also very good at recording video with 4K support and Cinematic Mode. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is one of the best phones on the market right now, and it's certainly the best cell phone running iOS.

We did a thorough review of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and you can check it out below.

AT&T iPhone 14 Pro Max can be had for just $99, or $1000 off

Get the iPhone 14 Pro Max on AT&T for $1000 off when trading in an eligible smartphone, on a qualifying installment and a qualifying Unlimited plan (basically every unlimited plan other than the Unlimited Value Plus plan).
Buy at AT&T

Save with Verizon's iPhone 14 Pro Max One Unlimited iPhone plan offer

Verizon has a new and exclusive One Unlimited for iPhone plan bundle with the 14 Pro Max and will give you $1000 towards its purchase for any iPhone 11 Pro and up, even with cracked screen damage. Get Apple One (Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+) in one plan, with Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband to boot. Switchers get $200 extra in the form of a Verizon gift card.

T-Mobile iPhone 14 Pro Max at $1000 discount with Magenta Max

T-Mobile also offers up to $1000 off any iPhone 14 series with 24 monthly bill credits when trading in an eligible device on Magenta MAX; Business Unlimited Advanced, Ultimate or Ultimate+ for iPhone; or the equivalent Sprint plan.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max can be traded down by up to $720 at Apple

Apple doesn't offer many deals on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, save for its less than generous $720 trade-in for the next best iPhone models.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
best Android phone
PhoneArena Rating: 9.2/10


  • 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


  • 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

If you're in the Android camp, your best phone bet is the Galaxy S23 Ultra. This phone has an updated, next-generation Dynamic OLED screen that can reach a record-breaking peak brightness of 1750 nits. The screen is an LTPO OLED that can switch between 1 Hz and 120 Hz to save battery life and still show smooth animations when needed.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra also has something the iPhone is missing: the mighty S Pen stylus. Thanks to this little pen, the S23 Ultra is a productivity champion. You can also use it for drawing and writing; it's super sensitive and also has its own slot inside the phone.

If you were impressed with the camera system on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, prepare to be blown away by the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The phone has a huge 200 MP sensor, which gives it a lot of flexibility. You can combine pixels to make 50 MP photos, or you can take 12 MP photos that work well at night.

Also, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has the newest and most powerful Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which has been overclocked for Galaxy phones. It's one of the fastest Android phone we've ever tested, and by far the fastest Galaxy phone out there.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has the same 5000 mAh battery as the S22 Ultra and maintains the 1440p resolution. You can count on the battery life, and there are several ways to save it if you need to. In our tests the Galaxy S23 Ultra showed a clear improvement in the battery life department compared to its predecessor. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is without a doubt the best phone Android can offer at the moment, and also the best phone to buy if you're a Samsung fan. For a more detailed look, you can check out our full Galaxy S23 Ultra review.

Galaxy S23 Ultra 8GB 256GB - NOW 19% OFF

6.8 inches AMOLED 120Hz screen | Customized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip | 200MP + 12MP + 10MP 3x + 10MP 10x rear cameras | 5,000mAh battery | S Pen

Google Pixel 7 Pro 

the flagship Android with the purest Google experience
PhoneArena Rating: 8.8/10


  • Great deal at $900
  • Speedy performance, clean software
  • Powerful zoom camera
  • Guaranteed day 1 software updates


  • Portrait Mode is bad
  • Tensor G2 is not as powerful as rivals
  • Slow-ish charging

Pixel phones have always been sort of a peculiarity, mainly due to the limited stock and availability. Google has been attempting to alleviate this with its latest Pixel 7 series by making the phones more widely available. If you care about your software features, and want to get them as fast as possible (faster than with any other phone), then the Pixel 7 Pro is the best phone for you and one of the best Android phones as well.

All of the great Google features are onboard from day one, and if you're an Android Beta user, you're guaranteed to get them before anyone else. This phone also manages to deliver on the hardware front as well. The Pixel 7 Pro sports one of the best displays in the industry, color-calibrated to perfection.

Google Pixel 7 Pro comes with a triple camera with 5x optical zoom and tons of software tricks in the background to enhance the quality of your photos. Plus, the Google Assistant is at its best on a Google phone. We found the integration of Google's best software features to be the best in the Pixel 7 Pro, which is not a surprise at all.

The individually calibrated Pixel 7 Pro camera set is now up there with the best of them in wide and ultrawide camera quality, while the periscope zoom rivals the S22 Ultra quality at each zoom level, even 10+ ones. Well, OK, the Pixel taps out at 30x zoom, but that's still plenty of magnification on demand. For a deep dive check out our full Google Pixel 7 Pro Review.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is the best Android phone for enthusiasts who want their software updates as fast as possible.

Pixel 7 Pro at Best Buy: save $250 with activation

You can also buy the Pixel 7 Pro from Best Buy unlocked or on all three major carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Best Buy is currently rocking an epic deal on it.
$899 99
Buy at BestBuy

Pixel 7 Pro Unlocked - NOW 9% OFF

You can now buy a Pixel 7 Pro with a notable discount from Amazon. This is currently the best Pixel phone out there and you can get it with a nice 9% discount.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

simply the best foldable phone out there
PhoneArena Rating: 9.0/10


  • Solid build
  • Empowering multitasking features
  • Beautiful displays
  • Stylus support
  • Smooth performance
  • Good battery life


  • Expensive
  • Still has a crease
  • Thick and heavy, harder to carry around than a slab phone

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 may not have a significant upgrade compared to its predecessor, but it is arguably the ultimate smartphone for tech enthusiasts who want a device that can do it all. It can function as a phone, tablet, or even emulate a desktop PC.

The device comes equipped with numerous polished power user features, including split-screen and windowed multitasking, a fixed taskbar, Samsung DeX, and stylus support, giving users the ability to do everything they desire with Android.

Even if you just want to enjoy media or play games on a larger screen that is still comfortable to hold, the Z Fold 4 is an excellent choice. This is the best phone for people who want to be on the forefront of technology, and also do some serious work on their phones.

However, if you are not a hardcore tech enthusiast or already own a Z Fold 3, shelling out $1800 or more for this phone may not be justified. However, during our time with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, we fount it to be a clear upgrade compared to its predecessor, so if you want the best of the best, and the latest in technology, there's nothing better on the market.

Save $900 on a new Galaxy Z Fold 4 with trade-in

The cutting-edge Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available at for as low as $1019.99 with eligible trade-in. And this is for the 512GB variant! You can get it for even cheaper if you go with the lower 256GB model, and further cheaper if you buy it locked on certain carriers.
$1019 99
$1919 99
Buy at Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

the best flip phone
PhoneArena Rating: 8.0/10


  • Improved battery life
  • Main camera is much better now
  • Compact form factor with no real competition
  • Improved reliability, screen protector better glued
  • Faster charging


  • Cannot open with one hand
  • Crease is still very much there
  • $1,000 price might be too high for some
  • Front screen is still too tiny

In 2020, the Galaxy Flip series was introduced, offering a fresh take on the classic clamshell flip phone, which had been popular during the 2000s. This new style of foldable phone was a major technological achievement. Samsung had to solve a lot of engineering problems to come up with this new shape.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the latest iteration of this clamshell idea, and it features the flexible OLED screens that are at the forefront of the foldable revolution. This phone is all about refinement; it takes everything its predecessor did well, and amplifies it.

It's faster, it can last longer, and its camera system has been upgraded as well. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is now a true flagship that's not hampered by its innovative design. If you want to get a taste of the foldable phone, but don't like the huge Galaxy Z Fold (and its price tag), the Z Flip 4 is the best phone for you. It's even cheaper than some more "rigid" and non-folding Android phones out there.

Galaxy Z Flip 4: get $20 - $740 instant trade-in credit

You can save a good amount at Samsung with an eligible trade-in.

Galaxy Z Flip 4: discounted at Amazon

You can also get a great discount on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 at Amazon. Both the 128GB and the 256GB version are discounted.

Asus Zenfone 9

PhoneArena Rating: 9.1/10
the best compact Android phone on the market


  • Gorgeous 5.9-inch Samsung AMOLED display, 120Hz, 1ms response, HDR10+
  • Very fast and snappy, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 onboard
  • Compact and lightweight, one-hand operation is a breeze
  • Impressive 6-axis gimbal stabilization on the main camera
  • Good stereo sound with Dirac tuning
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Impressive battery life (4,300mAh battery)
  • IP68 water and dust protection
  • Fast and accurate side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • UI tricks to make your life easier
  • Comes with a 30W fast charger and a back cover in the box


  • No dedicated telephoto camera
  • No wireless charging
  • No micro SD card
  • Design might not be everyone’s cup of tea
  • Gets hot under load

The compact Android flagship is dead! Wait, Asus doesn't think so. If you long for the old Xperia Compact days, there's an alternative, and it is just great. Asus has been perfecting its Zenfone line in the past couple of years, and the Zenfone 9 is the pinnacle of all that effort.

The phone has one of the highest scores on our site, and for good reason. It's super fast, the form factor is one of the most comfortable on the market, the display is great—bright and vivid, with all the feature you could ask for (always on display, lift to wake, and more)—and the battery life is amazing, especially at this compact size.

There are almost no cons to this model, and if you want to nitpick, there's no wireless charging, and no microSD card slot, but these are absolutely not necessary. The user experience with the Zenfone 9 is just great, and the only drawback here is that the phone is not more widely available. The Zenfone 9 is the best phone for compact enthusiasts and one of the best Android phones out there. Period.

Asus Zenfone 9

5G, LTE Unlocked, Dual SIM, US Version, White, 256GB Storage, 8GB RAM

Sony Xperia 1 IV

the first phone with a variable zoom camera
PhoneArena Rating: 8.0/10


  • Light and comfortable
  • Camera records very good video
  • Headphone jack, notification LED
  • Stereo speakers sound great
  • Runs buttery smooth


  • Exorbitant price
  • Camera photos are not as great
  • Three different camera apps, none of them feels fully fleshed out
  • No charger, no cable, no earbuds in box

Do you like notches and cutouts in your smartphone display? You don't? Well, there's one brand that stubbornly sticks to its guns and keeps on designing 21:9 phones with great displays, professional-grade software, innovative hardware, and a ton of features that are lacking from other phones. That's right, Sony!

Sony's Xperia 1 IV is the pinnacle of what Sony could do in 2022. It's a very camera-focused phone, with three different apps that can either turn it into a manual shooter, a vlogging camera, or a cinematic mini rig. It also has a very impressive telephoto lens that moves physically to offer true optical zoom between 3.5x and 5.2x (85 mm and 125 mm).

This phone has it all: a 3.5mm audio jack, a microSD card slot, great battery life, wireless charging, premium design—the list just goes on and on. The only real drawback is the price. Sony was asking a ridiculous $1,599 for this phone at launch, but the good news is that just a few months later the price dropped significantly to a more pleasant level.

Sony Xperia 1 IV

5G, Unlocked, 512GB Storage, 12GB RAM, Black

Sony Xperia 1 IV

5G, Unlocked, 512GB Storage, 12GB RAM, Black
$1199 99
$1599 99
Buy at BestBuy

OnePlus 11 

back to the flagship-killer roots of OnePlus


  • New, more elegant design with round camera system
  • Three cameras on the back
  • 2X zoom camera for portraits
  • OnePlus alert slider is back!
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside
  • Possibly best haptics ever on an Android phone
  • 6.7-inch OLED screen with 120Hz
  • Insane 100W fast charging


  • No wireless charging
  • no IP68 rating
  • not exactly cheap

OnePlus used to be great, but then it became greedy. The flagship-killer days of the great OnePlus One are long gone. But are they really? The company is taking a sharp turn with the OnePlus 11 in a bid to return the brand to its flagship-killing glory.

There's no Pro version here; the OnePlus 11 is the only model in the lineup, and it aims to do what the original first model did back then. Offer a ton of features at a great price. This phone starts at $699, and there's little to no competition at that price range, if you want the latest hardware (and software).

The OnePlus 11 is one of the cheapest phones with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and the only thing that comes close is the vanilla Galaxy S22, but at $100 more. The OnePlus 11 comes with a new design, a Hasselblad stamped camera system, and a super-fast charging. It might be the best budget flagship out there.

OnePlus 11 256 GB - trade in for $300 off and free memory upgrade!

Order the OnePlus 11 256 GB with free storage upgrade and up to $300 in trade-in bonuses.

Get the OnePlus 11 at Amazon - get $100 off

You can order both the 128GB and 256GB of storage variants of the OnePlus 11 at Amazon with a free $100 storage upgrade, too.

OnePlus 11, NOW $200 OFF!

You can get the new OnePlus flagship at BestBuy as well. The retailer is selling the unlocked versions of the device, but you can activate it on any carrier at the time of order or later.
$599 99
$799 99
Buy at BestBuy

Google Pixel 7a

best budget Android flagship
PhoneArena Rating: 8.5/10


  • Good value for money
  • Flagship-grade performance
  • Capable camera with lots of fun features
  • Display finally has a 90Hz refresh rate
  • Compact and user-friendly size
  • Face Unlock on board
  • Wireless charging


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

The A series in the Google Pixel range has always brought a great value for the money, and the Pixel 7a is no exception. Granted, it's a tad more expensive than the Pixel 6a but also brings onboard some flagship features, such as the Tensor G2 chipset (the same ticks inside the vanilla Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro), Face unlock, wireless charging, and a 90Hz display refresh rate.

All these goodies come in a similar design package to the core Pixel 7, but cost just $499. And even though this is a $50 bump compared to the predecessor, the deal is still very sweet. If you already have the Pixel 6a, then there's no need to worry about upgrading. But if you're coming from an older Pixel, this phone is a great deal - the best affordable Android flagship at the moment.

Apple iPhone 13 mini

best compact iPhone
PhoneArena Rating:9.0/10


  • Compact, light, comfortable to carry
  • Bright and accurate screen
  • Great camera system
  • Fast performance
  • 128 GB base storage


  • 60 Hz screen
  • Small screen is not for powerusers - feels cramped
  • Battery life is OK, but still the worst in the lineup

The Apple iPhone 12 mini was pretty good and all, but it kind of lacked in the battery department. The 13 series remedied that issue. So the iPhone 13 mini has the same powerful processor as the 13 Pro, but is a tiny little phone that stays out of the way most of the time. 

And, for $600, it's pretty hard to beat — a 5.4-inch display is OLED with excellent colors and brightness, a thin and compact body, superb performance, and pretty respectable cameras. There's no alternative on that front - the iPhone SE is terribly outdated, and aims to capitalize on nostagia, and the iPhone 12 mini has terrible battery life.

If you tend to two-thumb type on your phone often, the 13 mini is probably not your cup of tea. If you want a phone that can fit any pocket and can bring the power and performance if you happen to need it throughout your day — that's the contender right here.

Honorable mentions

It's hard to pick just top 10 phones as the best ones, especially in 2023. There are some pretty niche devices that are worth mentioning, and that's what we're going to do in the next few lines. These are top phones that for some reason couldn't make it into our top 10 list but they absolutely deserve your attention.

Sony Xperia Pro-I

pro camera in a smartphone
PhoneArena Rating: 8.0/10


  • Sharp and accurate 4K 120Hz OLED display
  • Distinctive industrial design
  • Remarkable camera versatility
  • Superb video-recording capabilities
  • Natural, not overly processed photos and videos
  • Loud and clear stereo speakers
  • Plenty of storage plus microSD card support
  • Outstanding flagship-grade performance
  • User-friendly hardware features


  • High price
  • Shutter button is too sensitive
  • Only 30W fast charging
  • Mushy haptic feedback
  • No biometric alternative to the fingerprint scanner
  • White balance discrepancies between the different cameras
  • Camera interface doesn't rotate

There's much talk about camera phones nowadays, and many manufacturers want to coin their models as DSLR equivalents. There's only one phone that does it right, though: the Sony Xperia Pro-I. This model comes with a 1-inch sensor taken from Sony's compact RX-100VII camera, and if you're into photography, this is one of the best phones for you.

Perhaps it's the phone's impressive camera capabilities, its surprisingly user-friendly design, or the overall unconventional concept behind it. The Sony Xperia Pro-I is unlike any other phone released in 2021.

Smartphones have replaced traditional cameras as the most popular way for most people to take photos. However, there have been surprisingly few phones made for professionals that offer the level of fine-tuning that is needed for essential features. The Sony Xperia Pro-I occupies that niche.

Sony Xperia Pro-I now with 41% off the price for a limited time

Get the best camera phone currently available at a significant discount right away! The Xperia Pro-I checks all the boxes and outperforms other flagships, and it's now cheaper than the majority of them.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

the best gaming phone
PhoneArena Rating: 9.0/10


  • The 165 Hz AMOLED HDR10+ screen is excellent
  • Top tier performance
  • Incredibly good speakers, plus subwoofer in the cooler accessory
  • Camera is adequate even though it's a "gaming phone"
  • Massive battery, good battery health options
  • Buttons and controls for handheld gaming


  • The edgy gamer design is a taste thing
  • Camera is adequate, but is outclassed by other flagships
  • No wireless charging

Gaming phones are a bit of a meme, but it’s nice to see Asus fully embracing it. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is just what it says on the tin - the ultimate gaming phone.

It wouldn’t be a “gaming phone” if it didn’t have absolutely silly specs, too, and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate delivers. 16 GB of RAM on a smartphone? 165 Hz screen? External cooler? Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2? Yes, yes, yes, and how else would you have it?

It’s a niche phone, absolutely, but it’s hard to keep it away from a “best” selection. After all, it is probably the (or among the) most powerful Android phone(s) out on the market right now. It could be world's best phone, if you ask the avid gamer. Even if you don’t need all the power — you definitely get the bragging rights.

If the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a bit too much for you, go for a more toned-down version - there are quite a few iterations in the ROG universe. They're all just as good, there are also limited editions for Diablo fans, a Batman Edition, so if you want, you can go full-nerd with this.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

the best midrange phone
PhoneArena Rating: 8.5/10


  • Nice and clean design styling
  • Improved camera quality
  • Solid battery life
  • Has a microSD card slot
  • Improved haptics


  • Performance occasionally feels stuttery
  • Video stabilization could be improved
  • No wireless charging

Samsung perfected one of the best-selling midrange phones and made it even better. The Galaxy A54 5G now looks like a flagship, borrowing its design from the Galaxy S23 series. It boasts a 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display that delivers vivid colors and sharp details, making it a joy to use for entertainment, gaming, and work. And it boasts a 120 Hz display refresh rate!

The phone is powered by an octa-core processor and 6GB of RAM, which provides sufficient power for most everyday tasks, including multitasking and running multiple apps simultaneously. There's also 128GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 1TB via a microSD card. (There's a 8GB/256GB version available outside of the US as well).

This Samsung mid-range phone is one of the best budget phones you can buy. That's because it doesn't really make you compromise with anything. The Galaxy A54 is a great value-for-money device, and that's why it is even Samsung's best selling phone worldwide. You can find one on a deal for much lower than the $450 MSRP these days. It's a steal!

Best phones - benchmarks and test results

Below you'll find all the benchmarks and nerdy stuff, if you want to compare those phones but don't want to be bothered to check out each and every individual review. Let's start with the display tests.

Now moving to performance, let's see which one is the fastest out there.

Geekbench 5 Single Higher is better
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 1884
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 1583
Google Pixel 7 Pro 1047
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 1304
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 1305
Asus Zenfone 9 1322
Sony Xperia 1 IV 1163
OnePlus 11 1488
Apple iPhone 13 mini 1728
Geekbench 5 Multi Higher is better
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 5491
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 4937
Google Pixel 7 Pro 3192
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 3782
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 3782
Asus Zenfone 9 4309
Sony Xperia 1 IV 3265
OnePlus 11 4872
Apple iPhone 13 mini 4695
3DMark Extreme (High) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 3382
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 3828
Google Pixel 7 Pro 1836
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 2105
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 2094
Asus Zenfone 9 2822
Sony Xperia 1 IV 2534
OnePlus 11 3692
Apple iPhone 13 mini 2469
Google Pixel 7a 1631
3DMark Extreme (Low) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 2327
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 1951
Google Pixel 7 Pro 1292
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 1524
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 968
Asus Zenfone 9 1488
Sony Xperia 1 IV 1292
OnePlus 11 1739
Apple iPhone 13 mini 1646
Google Pixel 7a 1095

And finally, the battery. A phone can be amazing on all fronts but if the battery dies prematurely, it's as good as a door stopper, right? Here are all the battery tests for the best phones you can get.

hours Higher is better
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
19h 5 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
18h 57 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro
14h 19 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
12h 43 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
11h 40 min
Asus Zenfone 9
17h 13 min
Sony Xperia 1 IV
10h 42 min
OnePlus 11
13h 22 min
Google Pixel 7a
15h 27 min
Apple iPhone 13 mini
12h 33 min

Best upcoming phones in 2023

Why should you trust this buying guide

The Author

Mariyan Slavov is a technology enthusiast and expert in mobile phones. With a background in Nuclear Physics and Journalism, Mariyan is the former Editor-in-Chief of PCWorld Bulgaria and currently writes for PhoneArena. He enjoys writing about emerging technologies such as graphene batteries, holographic smartphone displays, smart contact lenses, and nanotechnology. In his free time, Mariyan can be found playing guitar, practicing Japanese, or hitting the running track.

The Publisher

PhoneArena has been around since 2001 and, as the name suggests, was intended as a platform where phones can be explored, compared, and pitted against each other. We never stopped building and evolving our expertise and with our 20-some years of experience we serve an audience of over 5 million monthly US readers.

The Approach

We believe that there is not one true phone that is “the best” as each user has their unique needs and preferences. Through our wide range of testing procedures and review approaches, we try to find where each phone shines and what it lacks, and we strictly follow our rating guidelines. We spice it up with our professional opinion and empower you to make an informed decision on which phone is “the best” for you!

How to choose the best phone for you in 2023

So, which is the best cell phone? After all of the devices you've seen on these list, you're probably wondering how do you pick the best one for you? Well, as you should know, everyone has different needs from their smartphones. Some are into photography and need the best camera smartphone there is. Some want the best screen and performance. And some are more modest and want a more affordable, yet all around good and reliable smartphone. On this list there are great camera phones, like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the Sony Xperia 1 IV. The best performance and screens are once again found in the Samsung and Apple, but also in OnePlus' 10 Pro. 

When it comes to functionality or quirkiness, you will find it in Samsung's foldable Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 phones. Example of an affordable, yet good smartphone, are the Galaxy A53 5G, the iPhone 13 mini, and the OnePlus 10T. The 13 mini is one of the few compact phones left, and it is actually an excellent device to have, as long as you're not looking for a battery champ. 

Consider all we've spoken about in this list carefully, and when you're wondering which phone to pick, ask yourself what are the main features I need daily. That mentality should make your decision a lot easier.

How we test the best phones

We won't lie, we're putting our review phones through many, many tests. The include display, performance, and battery life tests, among others. We are checking every screen's color temperatures, brightness, we are checking the performance of its processor and memory, and we are running days worth of tests to determine how much the battery lasts in different conditions. 

Still, real-life conditions are just as, if not even more important. That's why we make sure that we always spend enough time with the devices we review so we can say with certainty what are their strengths and weaknesses. Cameras are very important in phones too, so we put these to the test in many conditions in our goal to determine which one wins and which one is still behind in the smartphone photography race.

Should you go for Android or iOS when choosing the best phone

The safe answer to this question is to go for a platform that is familiar to you. For example, if you've been using an Android phone your whole life, an iPhone will be quite an adjustment, and vice versa. Still, you should consider what phones your close friends and family, the people that you're going to text and share files with, are using. If most of them are using an iPhone, AirDrop will be a very missed feature once you switch to Android. If you have a MacBook or an iPad, getting an iPhone is the most logical thing, as it will allow you to stay in the 'ecosystem'. But Apple's iOS doesn't let you share files via Bluetooth-only to any device, so if that's a feature you use often, then an iPhone is a no no. 

When it comes to customization and freedom, Android was and still is king. iOS 16 is set to allow for more iPhone customization by the user, but we doubt it will go to the lengths Android has gone. Android also allows you to download and open files more easily, and supports more types of these. That's another important feature if you're either a gaming or app enthusiast. 

But the elephant in the room is the fact that iPhone users tend to hold onto their phones much longer than people with Android phones. That's mainly because the long-term software optimization of iOS phones is superior to Android phones. Also, iPhones get major OS updates for many years, while most Android brands only give you two to three years of software updates. Apple's phones also tend to stay fast and unproblematic for longer, which as you may have heard isn't the case with most Android-running phones.

However, you should also consider what you get for the money you spend. Here, the mid-range Android phone market is offering you phones with many flagship features for much cheaper than Apple. That's a fact that shouldn't be overlooked. Of course there's also a downside to this lower class and lower price tag type of phones. These tend to loose their value with time much quicker than iPhones.
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