The big event in the world of Android phones this month is Google I/O 2023, which was on Wednesday, May 10. Not only is Google the company behind the Android OS that powers all the phones in this list, but it also makes its own range of excellent Pixel Android smartphones.
At Google I/O, we got shown the new Pixel 7a, a cheaper version of the excellent Pixel 7, as well as the Pixel Fold, Google's first foray into foldable smartphones.
We only had a short time with the Pixel Fold for a hands-on review, so you're going to have to hold on a little longer to see if it's good enough to make it onto this list of best Android phones.
However, we do have a full Pixel 7a review, and while there is a lot to like about the new affordable handset, it doesn't quite impress us enough to be included here. At the moment, the older Pixel 6a remains a better value-for-money proposition.
Matt Hanson, Managing Editor, Core Tech
The best Android phones aren't just for cutting edge tech fanatics. Android phones have the best cameras, the best displays, and the most advanced wireless connectivity you can buy in a smartphone.
If you want the latest tech, whether that's the biggest camera sensor, a folding glass design, or AI-enhanced software, you need to buy an Android phone. That means that Android owner tend to be ahead of the curve.
Among the best smartphones right now, these Android phones are fun to use yet powerful at the same time. We've got something for everyone, from budget-friendly handsets to popular, kitted-out flagships. So, if your focus is on keeping costs down, guaranteed you'll find best cheap phone for you that's Google-powered.
We've tested and reviewed hundreds of Android phones over the years, using each one just how you would, pushing it to its limit, checking out every little thing it can do, and knowing exactly what to look for. And, while it isn't hard to pick one, we can help you look for the one that truly meets your needs.
We've focused primarily on phones that are available worldwide - including the US market. Right now, Samsung dominates that field, thanks to its great devices, along with reliable service and support – and the headliner on our list is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, our current pick as the best Samsung phone overall.
Don't get cozy, because our Galaxy S23 Ultra review is on the way, and we could have a new top Android, and maybe best all around smartphone if Samsung can top last year's champion.
Looking for something Apple related? There's also the best iPhones for you to check out. If you're sticking with Android, these are the best Android phones we found in 2023.
The best Android phones 2023
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The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is designed to be the ultimate Android phone – or at the very least the ultimate Samsung phone – and it succeeds at both, by building both on the impressive Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and taking the essence of the Samsung Galaxy Note range.
Of course, we already have the follow-up in hand, and our Galaxy S23 Ultra review is on the way. It's not a huge upgrade over the S22 Ultra, but the differences could be important enough to take the top spot on our list.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has what we described as zoom capabilities that “simply blow away anything we’ve ever seen before from a mobile phone camera,” thanks to 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom – which actually delivers usable shots.
The other highlight is the S Pen stylus, which for this model is included with the phone, and also has its own slot, just like on a Galaxy Note. It’s a useful feature for productivity and creativity.
The battery life could be better, and it sure is expensive. However, Android excellence comes at a cost, and for power users it’s well worth the price tag.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
The Google Pixel 7 Pro takes amazing photos with ease, night and day, but it also takes the photo experience further than ever before – it actually made our photos from older phones look better. For now, that’s something you can only do with a Tensor G2-enabled phone like the Pixel 7 Pro; in fact, there are quite a few things the Pixel 7 Pro can do that none of its competitors even attempt.
The Pixel 7 Pro listens better – literally. It recognizes speech more accurately, making Google Assistant more useful. It doesn’t just make photos better, it makes them more clear, and more inclusive, using Real Tone technology to enhance skin tones. It will soon make phone calls sound better.
We wish that the battery life were more impressive, and the Macro Focus mode wasn't as magical as many other Google Photos features. The phone delivers on some amazing promises, even if it can't keep them all. If this phone is a bit too expensive, consider the new, more affordable, Pixel 7a instead.
Read our full Google Pixel 7 Pro review
We are prioritizing our budget, and the Galaxy A53 has all of its priorities straight. It has a huge camera array, with four different lenses, giving you tons of options. It has a great screen, solid battery life, and it's water resistant. For the price, what you get is truly remarkable.
The Galaxy A53 comes with an attractive screen that has the same resolution and refresh rate as the S22. In fact, apart from the size, most people aren't likely to see that big of a difference between this budget phone's display and that of the S22.
The phone boasts some pretty impressive photo-taking prowess. It has a 64MP f/1.8 main camera, joined by a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide lens, a 5MP f/2.4 macro, and a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor. There are far more expensive phones with fewer camera options.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy A53 review
Like the Pixel 7 Pro and recently-released Pixel 7a, the Pixel 7 arrives with Google's latest Tensor G2 chipset, which, paired with Google's own take on an Android 13, delivers a satisfying user experience, with everyday tasks made that little bit easier.
The Pixel 7 sports a design that, while divisive, feels considered and premium. The cameras sit within an imposing aluminum band that helps the phone stand out from the crowd, especially in its price range, and the smaller 6.3-inch display size and thinner bezels (compared to the Pixel 6) mean the Pixel 7 is more comfortable to hold, and more pocketable, than before.
The biggest shortcomings are most notable in areas where this phone, by design, trails behind the Pixel 7 Pro, with its slower display and the absence of a telephoto zoom lens.
Even so, the user experience feels polished, the AI-supported features are unique and competent, and the promise of more functionality via forthcoming 'feature drops' mean this Pixel is only likely to get better with time.
Read our full Google Pixel 7 review
The OnePlus 11 is a return to what made OnePlus phones great. When you buy OnePlus, you get flagship-level performance and specs at a budget-friendly price. Instead of offering a more expensive Pro model, this year the OnePlus 11 gets all the best bits, at price that is lower than the Galaxy S23 or iPhone 14.
The cameras aren't very versatile; you don't get a telephoto zoom. Instead, you get great portrait shots that look more artistic than clinical. You get warm and appetizing shots of food, instead of close-up macro photos or space zoom. It isn't for everyone, but photography fans might enjoy the unique offering.
Unfortunately, while the OnePlus 10 Pro was water resistant (if you bought it on T-Mobile, at least), the OnePlus 11 is less durable and can only take a spray of water. If you dunk it, you're sunk. For cautious fans of the brand, it's a phone worth having on this list.
Read our full OnePlus 11 review
The Samsung Galaxy S22 isn’t a major improvement on the Samsung Galaxy S21 – so if you have that phone, it’s probably not worth upgrading, but this is still an excellent handset in its own right. It’s especially good for fans of compact phones, as with a 6.1-inch screen, small bezels, and a slim build, this is definitely on the small side by modern Android phone standards.
It’s a good-looking phone too, and significantly more affordable than the rest of the Galaxy S22 range – or than many other high-end phones. That’s despite packing in flagship power – benchmarking the Galaxy S22 against the bigger S22 Ultra, we found their Geekbench scores to be comparable. So the Samsung Galaxy S22 won’t hold you back.
Its cameras can’t touch those on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and that small screen may feel cramped for some users. But, for everyone else this is one of the best Android phones – and at a surprisingly great price.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 review
Samsung virtually perfected the clamshell foldable with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, so it’s not surprising to find that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is only a minor upgrade.
You get a bigger battery here plus faster charging and a more powerful chipset, but almost everything else is as it was on the previous model.
That’s okay though, because the Z Flip 3 was an excellent phone, and the Z Flip 4 is even better. In our review we were particularly impressed with its performance and how compact it is, while the larger battery helps fix one of the biggest issues with the Flip 3.
We’re hoping for bigger changes on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, but for now this is the best clamshell foldable you can buy, and one of the best Samsung phones.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review
The Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is such a good phone, with a fantastic value-for-money proposition and collection of specs, that it’ll make your Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra green with envy.
Every aspect of the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is utterly premium, making for a fantastic user experience. The display is top-notch, with a 144Hz refresh rate, and combined with a top-end Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor the phone is fantastic for gaming or other power-hungry processes.
Talking of power, the phone charges incredibly quickly at 125W. Every aspect of the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is utterly premium, making for a fantastic user experience. It’s going to be hard for other phones to seem impressive, or even interesting, in the wake of the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra and all the ways it wows us.
For anyone looking for a gaming phone to reckon with, the Asus Rog Phone 6D Ultimate is impressive. It has a 6.78-inch full HD OLED panel with a 165Hz refresh rate that's ideal for fast-moving games. A series of viewing modes help here, while powerful speakers ensures the phone is suitably immersive.
While it has the same camera lens as the Oppo Find X5 Pro (a 50MP lens featuring a Sony IMX 766 sensor), it lacks optical image stabilization so this isn't a good pick for a photographer.
Still, for performance and speed, the Asus Rog Phone 6D Ultimate is fast and potent, while staying cool over extended use. For gamers, it's hard to resist.
Read our full Asus Rog Phone 6D Ultimate review.
How to choose the best Android phone for you
Screen size and resolution, battery life, power, camera performance and price tend to be the main things to consider when looking for one of the best Android phones. The top models will excel in most or all areas - but often at a high price.
And when it comes to the screen, bigger isn't always better. If you have small hands or want to use your phone one-handed, then you may want to consider something more compact.
How we test
Every phone in this list has been put through a rigorous review process. We test every aspect of a device's hardware, software and functionality, and put manufacturers' claims to the test (where possible).
We compare camera samples, measure charging speeds, assess display viewing angles, brightness and color balance, performance and heat management under intense load (such as gaming), analyse battery life and more.
This process – paired with real-world usage and our year's of experience – allows us to say with confidence which Android phones are the best, and how they compare to one another.
Which Android phone brand is the best?
No single Android phone brand offers the definitive 'perfect smartphone', so instead we try and filter out what different users are looking for and make recommendations based on the greatest strengths of a particular brand's devices.
Samsung's flagships tend to be among the very best Android phones out there; namely for their rich feature set, capable software, versatile cameras and great long-term software support, but there are a wealth of other devices from other phone makers worth considering too.
Brands including OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, Google and others, all have something to offer to the right user, and we aim to show a diverse range of handsets, including those you might not have heard of or considered.
Is Android or iOS better?
Choosing between Android and iOS is a matter of personal preference. With Android you get a much wider selection of phones and brands, so it can be easier to find a handset with the features (and at a price) that you're happy with. With iOS, you get a more consistent experience across phones, and iPhones work well with Apple's other products and services.
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