The iPhone and Galaxy S23 Ultra prove money is no object for smartphone buyers

iPhone 14 Pro Max review back angled
The iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

A new report from Canalys has revealed the best-selling premium smartphones this quarter, and they unsurprisingly hail from the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 families. What is a little surprising is which phones rule the roost.

Canalys’ report has a few more interesting things to note. While smartphone sales have declined on the whole, more people are buying premium phones – defined as phones costing $500 and above. Other top-selling smartphones featured in the report include the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the Xiaomi 13, and the Huawei Mate 50 – the last one even more so than the others on the list because of its extreme handicap.

We like them big, we like them pricey

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra over iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

While there’s a tendency to think that small smartphones are an untapped market and selling smartphones for less is more attractive to buyers, the research consistently shows otherwise. More expensive smartphones – which are also more often than not bigger – tend to sell better.

It’s a stark reality for many of the best Android phones, which position themselves as cheaper-iPhone rivals, often a feature or set of features that are better than iPhone in this area or that, while being priced lower; a simple price drop isn’t enough though. For many people in the US, UK, and Europe who buy phones on monthly plans, there’s no downside to getting the best smartphone you can buy. A phone which is priced the same as a pizza or a beer per month would, in my opinion, simply devalue itself when placed against the best of Apple and Samsung.

Apple is expected to follow this train of thought to the logical extreme by introducing a more expensive iPhone to a market that has proven eager to buy the most expensive iPhone it sells with the iPhone 15 Ultra. The company’s Pro Max phones are already expensive, but the iPhone 15 Ultra will potentially be upping the ante yet again – taking inspiration from the Apple Watch Ultra – it’s expected to be the biggest and most expensive iPhone yet. And if the iPhone 14 Pro Max is anything to go by, it also has the potential to be yet another best-seller for Apple.

Michael Allison
Staff Writer, Phones

A UK-based tech journalist for TechRadar, helping keep track and make sense of the fast-paced world of tech with a primary focus on mobile phones, tablets, and wearables.

When not writing on TechRadar, I can often be found reading fiction, writing for fun, or working out.