The 3 Best Android Phones of 2023

Top models from Samsung and Google

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The best Android phones should incorporate high-end features with a good combination of price and performance, and the phones on our list do just that. You should be able to find something for everyone here.

Best Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23.

Best Buy.

What We Like
  • Excellent battery life

  • Significant speed boost over S22

  • Gets 5 years of software updates

What We Don't Like
  • Bland design

  • Cameras could be better

The Galaxy S23 is a sleek, powerful, and capable Android flagship. It packs a powerful Android chip with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2; the 120Hz screen is beautiful (and protected with Gorilla Glass Victus 2), and battery life is much improved over the S22. It has the same cameras as the S23+ and should suffice for most people. If you're really into phone photography, splurge on the S23 Ultra, which has four main cameras (200MP, 12MP, 10MP, 10MP) and a 12MP selfie camera.

Screen Size: 6.1 inches | Resolution: 2340x1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2| Main Cameras: 50MP/10MP telephoto/12MP ultrawide | Battery: 3900 mAh

Best Pixel

Google Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7.

Best Buy

What We Like
  • Nice set of features for the price

  • Great camera

What We Don't Like
  • Screen has only a 90Hz refresh rate

Google's Pixel 7 shares the same basic features and design as the Pixel 6, except it's smaller and more pocket-friendly. Like the Galaxy S23, it's protected by Gorilla Glass Victus to protect against drops. It also has IP68 water and dust resistance. Its screen has a 90Hz refresh rate screen compared to the S23's 120Hz. While the screen is responsive, that higher refresh rate (found on the Pixel 7 Pro) offers smoother scrolling.

It supports reverse wireless charging, meaning you can charge smaller devices, like a smartwatch, using your Pixel 7. The camera sensors are unchanged from the Pixel 6, but the software offers performance improvements, including Portrait mode.

Screen Size: 6.3 inches | Resolution: 2400x1080 | Processor: Google Tensor G2 Main Cameras: 50MP/12MP ultrawide | Battery: 4355 mAh

Best Folding

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4


What We Like
  • Slim design

  • Improved hinge

  • Excellent camera

What We Don't Like
  • Pricy

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is slimmed down compared to its predecessor, with a new hinge design that's easier to fold and unfold. The gorgeous screen has a 120Hz refresh rate and measures 7.6 inches when folded out, making it about the same size as a small tablet.

There are three storage capacities (256GB, 512GB, and 1TB), all of which have 12GB of RAM, plenty for multimedia, productivity, and gaming. The camera array consists of a 10MP cover camera, 4MP under-display camera (for selfies), and three rear cameras: 12MP ultra-wide, 50MP wide angle, and 10MP telephoto.

It supports fast charging (including wireless) and reverse wireless charging and has a dust and water resistance rating of IPX8.

Screen Size: 6.2 inches and 7.6 inches | Resolution: 2176 x 1812 and 2316 x 904 | Processor: Qualcomm SM8475 Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | Main Cameras: 50MP/12MP ultrawide/10MP telephoto | Battery: 4400 mAh

Samsung Galaxy S23 series
Samsung Galaxy S23 series (Samsung).

What to Look for in an Android Smartphone

Doing just a little bit of research can pay big dividends. While all current Android phones provide the same basic functionality, their little differences can significantly impact how you use your phone daily.

Every Android phone is an amalgamation of various components, features, and perks, so you’ll want to ensure you get as many of your must-haves as your budget allows.


Some screens are much better than others—and some are much larger than others. What used to be considered a large phone or a "phablet" just a few years ago is on a more compact scale today, as screens keep getting bigger.

Today, a premium Android flagship phone will typically have a screen that is 6 inches or larger diagonally, such as the 6.2-inch display of the Samsung Galaxy S20 or the 6.55-inch screen of the OnePlus 7T. "Compact" smartphones aren't usually much smaller than that: it's rare to see a brand-name Android phone with a screen smaller than 5.5 inches today. These phones are taller than in the past thanks to aspect ratios of 18:9 or even 20:9, which helps phones avoid feeling overly broad in your hand. Even so, larger-screened phones can be challenging to control with one hand. If possible, get your hands on a phone before buying it.

Beyond size, your next most significant consideration is screen resolution. Higher is better: many phones opt for 1080p resolution, and the OnePlus 7's 1080 x 2400 means nearly 2.6 million pixels crammed into that handheld display. That's very crisp. Some pricier phones reach 1440p (or Quad HD) resolution, while others even opt for 1920p (4K Ultra HD). On a small screen, however, you're unlikely to see much of an advantage to a 4K display. On the other end of the spectrum, however, some cheaper phones have lower-resolution 720p panels, where text and graphics tend to look fuzzier.

Some pricier phones offer increased screen refresh rates of 90Hz or 120Hz (60Hz is standard), meaning menus and animations look smoother, which is especially important for gaming. Also, phones with OLED or AMOLED displays tend to have bolder contrast and deeper black levels, while LCD panels typically don't look as punchy. Additionally, some phones offer always-on screens, which means you'll see details like time, battery life, and incoming notifications on an otherwise black screen when not in active use.


It’s generally true that the more you spend on a new smartphone, the more processing power you’ll get. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are used in most top phones, and the Snapdragon 800-series is typically what you’ll find in pricey flagship phones. The top-of-the-line is the Snapdragon 865 chip, although some lingering phones use the Snapdragon 855 or a slightly improved Snapdragon 855+.

Less-powerful mid-range phones use Snapdragon 600-series or 700-series chips, while budget phones will likely use Snapdragon 400-series processors. Some makers use lower-powered MediaTek chips instead, typically found in budget phones. Samsung’s Exynos processors aren’t used much in North America, but a couple of its lower-priced phones run them, while Huawei uses its in-house Kirin chips.

A powerful processor paired with a solid amount of RAM (usually 4GB or more) and a quality graphics processing unit (GPU) will typically result in a phone that feels snappy in everyday usage, can switch between multiple apps with ease, and can run visually impressive games without sluggishness. Every step down from flagship to mid-range, and ultimately the budget range, tends to result in slower-feeling phones that are less capable of running top games.


As with processing power, you'll typically get better cameras the more you spend on a phone. Flagship Android phones today often pack several cameras with varying capabilities.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has four back cameras: a 108-megapixel standard wide-angle camera, a 48-megapixel telephoto camera for zoomed-in shots, a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera that is pulled back for landscape and group shots, and a DepthVision sensor that captures distance data to improve the results. Between those four cameras, the Galaxy S20 Ultra can produce 10x hybrid optical zoom with clear outcomes and up to 100x "Super Resolution Zoom" that grabs much fuzzier, faraway shots.

That's an extreme example, and it's a costly phone. Even so, most of today's big flagship phones have two or three back cameras, and even mid-range phones give you two or four back cameras. However, mid-range phones are less likely to deliver outstanding results, and budget phones usually produce good results at best.

Today's Android phones all come with front-facing "selfie" cameras, and sometimes more than one—you might get a wider-angle camera for group shots, too. These cameras are sometimes in a little "notch" at the top of the screen or in a "punch-hole" camera cutout near the top, or perhaps just in the black strip of bezel above the screen.


All Android phones run Android… obviously, right? While that’s true, there are different versions of Android. More importantly, each hardware manufacturer puts its stamp on the operating system, and thus the interface may look or act differently. Again, it’s well worth getting hands-on with an Android phone before you buy it to ensure that you like the feel and flow of the customized interface.

Google’s Pixel phones run the purest and latest versions of Android because Google is the primary developer of Android, and its services are considered essential to the experience. Each maker must release updates to its “skinned” version of Android, so it can take many months for an update to hit your phone after Google releases its new core version.

Battery Life

Nearly any smartphone you buy today is equipped to give you a solid full day of uptime, from when you wake up to when you plug it back in at bedtime. Some phones will provide you with even more.

Many top-end phones offer wireless and wired charging capabilities, which means you can put the glass back of the phone onto a wireless charging pad to top up the internal battery. It’s usually a slower process, but it’s also very convenient.

Some phones also offer a reverse wireless charging feature, so you can put another wirelessly chargeable phone on the back to share some of your battery life. Some accessories, such as wireless earbud cases, can also be charged on the back of these phones.

Note that removable batteries are incredibly uncommon with today’s smartphones. One rare example available in North America is the budget-friendly Nokia 2.2.


The amount of internal storage in a phone determines how many apps and files you can carry around. Many higher-end phones start at about 128GB of internal storage, a significant amount to play around with. Higher-capacity versions may be available for more money, such as 256GB or 512GB, if you plan on carrying a lot of local music or video files or want a bunch of mobile games downloaded.

Less expensive phones may only come with 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, which limits how much data you can carry around. Luckily, many phones let you expand your storage with tiny microSD memory cards, which are affordable and easy to come by. However, some phones, such as OnePlus and Google Pixel, don't allow external storage.


Today, you'll find a fingerprint sensor on nearly every Android smartphone, but some aren't immediately visible. Most are located on the back where your pointer finger would generally rest, but some are placed in the power button on the phone's right side.

However, some higher-end phones put their fingerprint sensors within the screen. These aren't always as speedy and reliable as traditional sensors. Samsung's ultrasonic sensors on its expensive Galaxy phones have been spotty in recognizing your finger to unlock the phone. In contrast, the optical sensors in OnePlus phones, for example, are pretty swift.

Many phones also offer facial unlock capabilities, but if they have a standard 2D front-facing camera, then it's not a very secure system—an attacker could easily fool it. On the other hand, Google's Pixel 4 phones had iPhone-like 3D facial scanning hardware that is more precise and secure than regular 2D cameras. Some phones also offer an additional layer of security that allows you to wipe the data off if lost or stolen remotely.


Not every phone is compatible with every mobile service, so if you’re buying a phone online or otherwise not directly from your phone carrier, ensure it will work. Some phones are “unlocked” and may be compatible with both cellular bands, while others are specific to particular carriers or bands.

Also, only certain phones are compatible with higher-speed 5G cellular service, which is still a pretty new feature. More and more phones will support 5G in the coming months as it gradually replaces 4G LTE as the cellular standard, and the carriers are constantly expanding their respective service maps so that you can access 5G speeds in more places.

Headphone Port

A 3.5mm headphone port seems like a standard feature, but more and more high-end phones have been omitting it in recent years—the Galaxy S20, Pixel 4, and OnePlus 7T all lack a headphone port. Your choice is to use Bluetooth wireless headphones or a USB-C-to-3.5mm dongle adapter, which may or may not come with your phone.

Curiously, it’s the cheaper mid-range and budget phones that typically still keep the classic headphone port intact. It’s the odd example of paying less and getting more in the phone world.

Unique Form Factors

Most smartphones have the familiar slate design with a large touch display, but recently we’ve seen more experimentation with foldable smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr are modern smartphones that reimagine the classic flip-phone design, while the Samsung Galaxy Fold has a small outer screen and a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display on the inside. These phones are significantly more expensive than typical smartphones, so you’ll pay extra for an out-of-the-ordinary, experimental design.

  • Which Android phone has the best camera?

    The top-tier Android phones from companies like Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola, Google, and LG have great cameras and usually boast multiple sensors for different purposes. You typically get a primary sensor, a depth sensor for bokeh shots, an ultrawide sensor, and a telephoto sensor for a zoomed-in image. Other features include AI enhancements, with the Google Pixel series being particularly well-optimized in the software and post-processing department, especially regarding low-light shots.

  • What is the best unlocked Android phone?

    Most smartphones on this list can be purchased unlocked, like the latest Samsung Galaxy, and the Google Pixel can work on any major carrier. Read our guide to buying an unlocked phone to learn more.

  • What is the best Android phone for Boost Mobile?

    Boost Mobile supports all major smartphones on its network. The phones tend to be more mid-range and affordable, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise.

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