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

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The Best Phones in 2023
Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our contemporary world and of us, ingrained in our daily routines and essential to our existence as individuals. As Elon Musk once said, we're already modern cyborgs, we just lack the interface. Whether it enhances our social standing or serves as a literal lifesaver, a smartphone plays a significant role in our lives.

As we find ourselves toward the end of 2023, the smartphone landscape is in a constant state of flux and evolution. The rapid pace of change means that a top-tier phone from the previous year may now be relegated to the status of a mundane mid-range device. With a plethora of choices available, selecting the best smartphone for one's needs can be a challenging endeavor. Fret not, we're here for you and we will make it simple!

Best phones of 2023 at a glance

  1. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max - The best iPhone available right now, boasting the latest and fastest chipset, three main cameras, and the new Dynamic Island feature. 
  2. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra - The best Android phone you can get right now. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has it all - fast processor, bright and vivid AMOLED screen, and something other flagships lack - a stylus.
  3. Google Pixel 8 Pro - The flagship Android with the purest Google experience. If you want to get your new "feature drops" before anyone else and you want to dip your toes into the wonderful world of AI directly on your smartphone, the Pixel 8 Pro is your best option.
  4. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 - Simply the best foldable phone out there. If you want to hop on the foldable train, there's nothing better on the market, at the moment. Not only is the Galaxy Z Fold 5 a multitasking machine, but you can also use it with a stylus!
  5. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 - The best flip phone at the moment. The Galaxy Z Flip series is another take on the foldable idea, folding a regular phone in half rather than unfolding a phone into a tablet. If you miss the compact phones of the past, the Z Flip series may be the right one for you.
  6. Asus Zenfone 10 - The best compact Android phone on the market, if you don't want to fold your display in half. The Asus Zenfone 10 is specifically designed to be one-hand operation friendly, and also comes with a flagship processor, great battery life, and one of the best optical stabilization systems in the business.
  7. Sony Xperia 1 V - The first phone with a variable zoom camera. The Xperia 1 IV is for serious photography enthusiasts. It basically has the first and only truly variable camera system on the smartphone market. Plus, you're getting Sony's creator-focused Pro apps, namely - Photography Pro, Video Pro, Music Pro, and Cinema Pro.
  8. OnePlus 11 - Back to the flagship-killer roots of OnePlus. This phone will get you most (if not all) flagship smartphone features that matter, but at a very reasonable price.
  9. Google Pixel 7a - The best budget Android flagship is a Pixel. You're getting all software tricks that Google holds up its sleeve, great camera algorithms, and a rather distinctive design for not a lot of money.
  10. Apple iPhone 13 mini - The best compact iPhone is also the best compact phone of them all. With its 5.4-inch display, the iPhone 13 mini is unbeatable when it comes to size. Your pockets will thank you for that choice.

Honorable mentions:

  • OnePlus Open - The first attempt of the company at the foldable smartphone. Also, one of the best foldable debuts on the market.
  • Sony Xperia Pro-I- A pro camera in a smartphone, the Xperia Pro-I takes a 1-inch sensor from one of the company's most successful compact cameras (RX-100) and slaps it on a smartphone. The usual Sony Pro-grade creator apps are also onboard. If you're serious about your photography, this one's for you.
  • Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate - The best gaming phone, period. Asus has a great pedigree when it comes to mobile gaming (and gaming in general), and if you enjoy your Fortnite and want to take it everywhere with your, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is your best choice.
  • Samsung Galaxy A54 5G - The best midrange phone. Sometimes you don't have to cough up a lot of money to get the best smartphone experience, and the Galaxy A54 is a perfect example. This midranger has a great design, a beatiful 120Hz AMOLED display, and a price tag that will make you smile.

The above list is just a quick summary of the best phones you can get at the moment. If you want the deep dive, the whole experience, if you like to weigh in pros and cons, get every available information, you should keep on reading. You can always check out each and every review if you want to go even deeper and find every little bit of information about each model.

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.
  • Software support: This might seem unimportant but getting five years of software updated versus only two or three could potentially save you a lot of trouble and also money. When you pay premium money for a premium phone, you expect it to last. We shouldn't overlook this aspect and even though most manufacturers now strive to offer longer support cycles, there are some clear winners and losers here.

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:

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

The best iPhone available right now
PhoneArena Rating: 8.7/10

If you're looking for the best phone and you don't have a preference between iOS and Android, the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max is the your only option at the moment (at least until the next Galaxy flagship family launches). This model checks all the boxes, and except for the somewhat higher price, it doesn't have any real drawbacks.

Apple decided to change things around a bit with the Pro lineup this year, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max now comes with a titanium frame! The phone also features the next-gen A17 Pro chipset, poised to climb on the top of every mobile benchmark. Another big change is the newly developed Tetraprism camera system. It more or less exploits the same concept as a periscope zoom lens but uses one prism to bounce light around and offer longer focal length, in the case of the iPhone 15 Pro Max it is 120mm or 5x optical zoom.

Of course, this year marks the big transition from Lightning to USB-C, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max features the faster USB 3.0 (10 Gbps) standard. Last but not least, there's a brand-new Action button replacing the Mute switch. It's a programmable button and you can do a lot of things with it, check out our dedicated Action Button explainer article to learn more about it.

All in all, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best phone you can get at the moment, and it's reflected in its price tag. The phone starts at $1,199 - the most expensive iPhone to date (although the base storage is now 256GB, so the price remains the same if we compare it to the same storage option last year).

Read the full iPhone 15 Pro Max review for a deep dive.

iPhone 15 Pro: get for FREE with a trade-in and a new line

The incredible iPhone 15 Pro is available for order at Verizon for FREE. To take advantage of this awesome deal, you need to provide a suitable trade-in and create a new line activation. Don't miss out on this amazing offer.
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iPhone 15 Pro Max: get at Verizon and save up to $1,000 over 36 months

Apple's newest and most capable smartphone yet can be yours for $33.33/mo. However, you can get up to $1,000 off the new smartphone over 36 months with an eligible trade-in and a new line activation.
$199 99
$1199 99
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Get the iPhone 15 Pro Max at AT&T and save up to $1,000 with a trade-in

The iPhone 15 Pro Max can now be ordered at AT&T. The smartphone arrives at $5.56/mo instead of $33.34/mo, allowing you to save a total of $1,000 over 36 months. You need to provide a suitable trade-in and pick or upgrade to an eligible plan.
$5 56 /mo
$33 34
Buy at AT&T

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The 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: up to $750 off at Samsung

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 | Trade-in credit
$449 99
$1199 99
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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 8 Pro 

The flagship Android with the purest Google experience and AI magic onboard
PhoneArena Rating: 7.9/10


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


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

Phones are so similar nowadays that you'd be hard pressed to find a single original feature that stands out from one brand to another. But there are exceptions to this. Behold the Pixel 8 Pro! The latest Google flagship not only continues to expand Pixel's arsenal of cool software and hardware features, but also bets heavily on AI.

If you want something different, with clever tricks such as the ability to erase objects from photos, manipulate audio, unblur faces in images and videos, alongside generative AI wallpapers, a thermometer, a custom built SoC, and SEVEN years of software support, the Pixel 8 Pro is the right phone for you.

The Pixel 8 Pro offers the cleanest and most genuine Android experience that you won't get with other Android flagships. There are things to improve, for sure, but Google is closer and closer to the big guys, Samsung and Apple, and they will have to pay attention. Competition is a great thing, and kudos to Google for bringing the fight to the veterans in the business.

Pre-order the Pixel 8 Pro at Amazon now and get the Pixel Watch 2 as a gift

The Pixel 8 Pro is available for pre-order at Amazon. The smartphone has one of the brightest screens and most impressive cameras. While the pre-order campaign lasts, you get the Pixel Watch 2 as a gift with your Pixel 8 Pro purchase.

Google Pixel 8: pre-order at Amazon today and get the Pixel Buds Pro as a gift

The Google Pixel 8 can now be pre-ordered at Amazon. Right now, the phone comes with an awesome gift - the Pixel Buds Pro. This deal lasts during the pre-order campaign only.

Pre-order the Pixel 8 Pro at Best Buy and get the Pixel Watch 2 as a gift

The Pixel 8 Pro is available for pre-order at Best Buy. The smartphone has one of the brightest screens and most impressive cameras. While the pre-order campaign lasts, you get the Pixel Watch 2 as a gift with your Pixel 8 Pro purchase.

Google Pixel 8: pre-order at Best Buy today and get the Pixel Buds Pro as a gift

The Google Pixel 8 can now be pre-ordered at Amazon. Right now, the phone comes with an awesome gift - the Pixel Buds Pro. This deal lasts during the pre-order campaign only.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

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


  • 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


  • 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 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. This year's model comes with a new and revised hinge, that closes with almost zero gap.

The device comes equipped with numerous polished power user features, including split-screen and windowed multitasking, a fixed taskbar with up to 4 recent apps, Samsung DeX, and stylus support, giving users the ability to do everything they desire with Android. Plus, this year's model comes equipped with the latest Snapdragon chipset, so you won't lack power.

Even if you just want to enjoy media or play games on a larger screen that is still comfortable to hold, the Z Fold 5 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.

Snatch the Galaxy Z Fold 5: now $200 off

Get your hands on the hottest foldable phone on the market at a bargain price. The device is now some $200 off its price tag on Samsung. But that's not all. If you trade in an eligible device, you can save an additional up to $1000!
$1799 99
$1999 99
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Snatch the Galaxy Z Fold 5: up to $1000 with a trade-in and a plan by AT&T

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is now available with a payment plan with AT&T. The device comes at up to $1000 off with an eligible trade-in. Get it today and enjoy your savings.
$800 28
$1799 99
Buy at AT&T

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The best flip phone
PhoneArena Rating: 8.0/10


  • Larger Flex Screen is better than before
  • Solidly built, almost no wobble in the hinge
  • First Flip phone with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Long 4-year software update commitment
  • Better camera than competition, but still not great


  • Flex Screen feels limited and unfinished
  • Phone is pricey
  • Battery life and charging speeds are just average
  • Some dust protection would be nice to have

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 5 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 cover screen can now do a lot more stuff, plus it's bigger at 3.4 inches, and better. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 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 5 is the best phone for you. It's even cheaper than some more "rigid" and non-folding Android phones out there.

Snatch the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and save big on Samsung

The Galaxy Z Flip is now available at the Samsung store with trade-in credit for $600 less. If you want everyone's eyes to be on you every time you take out your phone (and not break the bank), now's your time to get the Galaxy Z Flip 5.
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$999 99
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Snatch the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with an Amazon gift card: now

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is now available at Amazon as well. Currently, the retailer sells it alongside a $150 Amazon gift card. The price is for a fully unlocked device with 512GB of internal storage space.

Asus Zenfone 10

PhoneArena Rating: 8.5/10
The best compact Android phone on the market


  • Compact size
  • Powerful chipset
  • Good stereo speakers
  • Wireless charging
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint scanner
  • 144 Hz display refresh rate in games
  • Solid battery life
  • Great selfie camera
  • IP68 water and dust protection


  • Design is the same as last year
  • Main camera system not flagship-grade
  • Display could be brighter
  • No telephoto camera
  • Only two major OS updates

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 10 is the pinnacle of all that effort.

Despite being criticized for its derivative design (it looks identical to the Zenfone 9), this little fellow sticks to the winning formula of its predecessor. There are some upgrades, don't get us wrong, the phone now comes with wireless charging support, which is a feet in and of itself, given that Asus has managed to keep the same exact size.

There are almost no cons to this model, and if you want to nitpick, there's no microSD card slot, and no telephoto camera, but these are absolutely not necessary. The user experience with the Zenfone 10 is just great, and the only drawback here is that the phone is not more widely available. The Zenfone 10 is the best phone for compact enthusiasts and one of the best Android phones out there. Period.

Read More:Asus Zenfone 10 review

Sony Xperia 1 V

The first phone with a revolutionary mobile camera sensor
PhoneArena Rating: 8.0/10


  • Stylish, classy, and light — great design
  • Plethora of manual camera modes for fine-tuning video and photos
  • Eye tracking autofocus is super-fast and responsive
  • MicroSD slot and headphone jack
  • Stereo speakers sound pretty good (though a bit boxy)


  • Price is well above any other premium phone (sans foldables)
  • For all its focus on camera, its image quality is not ahead of the competition
  • Two years of Android updates?

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 V is the pinnacle of what Sony could do in 2023. 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 still features the impressive telephoto lens from last year that moves physically to offer true optical zoom between 3.5x and 5.2x (85 mm and 125 mm). The biggest innovation here is the all-new Exmor T sensor that uses dual-layer transistor-pixel technology to offer low levels of noise and better light gathering capabilities.

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 is still asking a hefty $1,399 for this phone at launch (much better than the $1,599 price tag of its predecessor), but the good news is that just a few months later the price dropped significantly to a more pleasant level.

Sony Xperia 1 V 256 GB

Grab a free set of Sony LinkBuds (the open-back in-ears that took the world by storm) and a $50 gift card from Best Buy

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.

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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

The 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

The best (and last) 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.

AT&T iPhone 13 mini at Walmart

Deal: The AT&T persion of the iPhone 13 mini is available at Walmart. 36 installments.
$13 31 /mo
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iPhone 13 mini 128GB

Apple's iPhone 13 mini with 128GB storage can be yours with up to $401 discount in trade-in credits.

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.

OnePlus Open

The best foldable debut of the year
PhoneArena Rating: 7.5/10


  • Excellent lightweight design
  • A rather versatile camera system
  • Decent performance and great thermal management
  • Decent battery life even when using the main display
  • Very fast SuperVOOC charging
  • Large and bright HDR-capable displays with smooth refresh rate
  • The OnePlus alert slider is here!


  • Relatively high price
  • Audio system lacks base
  • No wireless charging
  • Just IPX4 water resistance

When OnePlus teased the public that it's been working on a foldable everyone got excited. And for good reason. Even though the company practically own the Oppo brand and probably has access to some really cool foldable designs and blueprints, the OnePlus Open is a great debut and a feat in and of itself.

OnePlus' first foldable comes with a lot of bells and whistles, actually - all of them. There are two 2K screens that are super-bright and can do adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz,  the latest Snapdragon chipset is onboard coupled with 16GB of RAM, the design is super streamlined with minimal crease, and last but not least, the camera system is one of the best in a foldable to date.

To top it all up, OnePlus offers a great trade-in option: you can return ANY phone in ANY condition and receive a minimum $200 off the $1,699.99 list price of the OnePlus Open

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!

Save $230 on the Galaxy A54 at Samsung with a trade-in

Grab the newest Samsung Galaxy A54 midranger with up to $350 off when you trade for an older eligible phone. The Samsung smartphone is available unlocked or for the carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular. It comes with 128GB of storage.
$99 99
$449 99
Buy at Samsung

Galaxy A54, Unlocked: now $100 off at Amazon

Get a fully unlocked Samsung Galaxy A54 5G on your hands and save big. The device is available for $100 less at Amazon right now, allowing you to grab it for a 22% cheaper price than usual. Get the Galaxy A54 5G (2023) today and enjoy your savings.

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 6 SingleHigher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max2958
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1971
Google Pixel 8 Pro1720
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 52062
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 51984
Asus Zenfone 101684
Sony Xperia 1 V1994
OnePlus 111510
Google Pixel 7a1437
Apple iPhone 13 mini2285
OnePlus Open1560
Geekbench 6 MultiHigher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max7288
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra5115
Google Pixel 8 Pro4268
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 55531
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 55194
Asus Zenfone 105221
Sony Xperia 1 V5167
OnePlus 115046
Google Pixel 7a3461
Apple iPhone 13 mini5424
OnePlus Open5093
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max4236
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra3828
Google Pixel 8 Pro2382
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 53886
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 53700
Asus Zenfone 103753
Sony Xperia 1 V3613
OnePlus 113692
Google Pixel 7a1631
Apple iPhone 13 mini2469
OnePlus Open3634
3DMark Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max2632
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1951
Google Pixel 8 Pro1622
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 52158
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 51351
Asus Zenfone 102610
Sony Xperia 1 V1999
OnePlus 111739
Google Pixel 7a1095
Apple iPhone 13 mini1646
OnePlus Open2488

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.

hoursHigher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
19h 20 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
18h 57 min
Google Pixel 8 Pro
15h 51 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
9h 22 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
12h 21 min
Asus Zenfone 10
27h 28 min
Sony Xperia 1 V
8h 15 min
OnePlus 11
13h 22 min
Google Pixel 7a
15h 27 min
Apple iPhone 13 mini
12h 33 min
OnePlus Open
13h 20 min

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

Charge%reached in 15 minsHigher is betterCharge%reached in 30 minsHigher is betterCharging time(hours)Lower is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max28
2h 1 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra41
1h 6 min
Google Pixel 8 Pro26
1h 31 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 529
1h 20 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 525
1h 34 min
Asus Zenfone 1028
1h 24 min
Sony Xperia 1 VNo data
No data
No data
OnePlus 1157
No data
0h 32 min
Google Pixel 7aNo data
No data
1h 59 min
Apple iPhone 13 mini29
1h 40 min
OnePlus Open32
0h 43 min

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 S23 Ultra, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and the Sony Xperia 1 V. The best performance and screens are once again found in the Samsung and Apple. 

When it comes to functionality or quirkiness, you will find it in Samsung's foldable Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 phones. Example of an affordable, yet good smartphone, are the Galaxy A54 5G, the iPhone 13 mini, and the OnePlus 11. 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 17 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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