The best phone 2023: top smartphones in the UK right now

Choosing the best phone to suit your needs is no easy task, not least because there are now more great options to choose from than ever before. Picking the right device remains crucially important, too, given how integral to our everyday existence smartphones have become.

In this guide, we've compiled a list of the best phones money can buy in the UK, collating specs for each model, along with pros, cons, and links to their full reviews. The options highlighted below cover a range of prices, so whether you're on a tight budget or have a bottomless supply of cash, you'll find a great phone that fits your requirements (side note: those in the former camp may be better off checking out our guide to the best cheap phones).

If you're after a handset from a specific brand, you might also want to check out our ranking of the best iPhones, best Android phones or best Samsung phones. Oh, and one of the best power banks may come in handy, too!

Quick List

The best phone in 2023 

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Below, you'll find full write-ups for each of the best phones in our list. We've tested each model extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best phone for most people

Apple iPhone 14 Pro home screen

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best phone for most people


Weight: 206g
Dimensions: 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.9mm
OS: iOS 16
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1179 x 2556
CPU: A16 Bionic
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 3,200mAh
Rear camera: 48MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 12MP (telephoto with 3x optical zoom)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

Outstanding performance
Powerful camera array

Reasons to avoid

High(er) price YoY
Still Lightning (no USB-C)
Buy it if

You want a top-level iPhone for a reasonable price: Following the arrival of the iPhone 15 Pro, Apple's 2022 flagship is now cheaper than ever and yet remains one of the company's very best handsets.

You want to be in Apple’s world: If you want iMessage, Apple Home, iCloud backup, and App Store-exclusive games, the iPhone 14 Pro is the best place to start.

You want photos with less work: The iPhone 14 Pro doesn’t have the high-spec camera features of its rivals, but Apple doesn’t make you fuss about with settings, either. The capable 48MP main lens will be more than enough for most people.

Don't buy it if:

You want more zoom power: Apple’s maximum 3x optical zoom is starting to seem more quaint than useful. Samsung (and Xiaomi) owns the super-zoom space.

You want better charging technology: Apple’s 2022 flagship is inexplicably still stuck on the Lightning port when USB-C will work with a lot of the cables you already have – including some from Apple.

You want more technology for less: The iPhone 14 Pro gives you less RAM and storage than its Android rivals.

Before you read on: a disclaimer. We're still testing the iPhone 15 Pro, which prohibits us from including that phone in this list. Once we've published our full review of the iPhone 15 Pro, it will likely replace the iPhone 14 Pro in our ranking as the best phone for most people. That said, the iPhone 14 Pro continues to drop in price at third-party retailers, so it remains an excellent choice.

Apple's A16 Bionic chip underpins everything that's good about the iPhone 14 Pro, which is still one of the best iPhones ever and arguably the best phone on the market for most people right now.

While the iPhone 14 Pro's (admittedly great) 6.1-inch screen is carried over from its predecessor, this generation of Pro shrugs the notch in favor of Apple's swanky Dynamic Island – a smart digital cutout that houses Face ID components but also adapts to offer a range of functionality, from music playback controls to connecting AirPods and more.

ProMotion tech in the iPhone 14 Pro means visuals can range from 10Hz to a super-smooth 120Hz in general use, and a 1Hz mode enables always-on display functionality, too. The phone's rear triple camera setup is fronted by a 48MP main sensor that takes better stills and video than any iPhone released prior to Apple's iPhone 15 line, and the overall photography capabilities of the iPhone 14 Pro rival those of models from Samsung and beyond.

Provided you can swing the (still) high asking price, the iPhone 14 Pro continues to operate as one of the most capable phones on the market, while also being more pocket-friendly than the Pro Max.

Read our iPhone 14 Pro review

The best iPhone

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best iPhone


Release date: September 2023
Weight: 221g
Dimensions: 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25mm
OS: iOS 17
Screen size: 6.7 inches
Resolution: 2796 x 1290 pixels
CPU: A17 Pro
RAM: 8GB (unofficial)
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 4,422mAh (unofficial)
Rear camera: 48MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 12MP (telephoto with 5x optical zoom)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

Gorgeous albeit subtle redesign
Excellent photography

Reasons to avoid

Pricier baseline (but more storage)
Charging should be faster
Buy it if

You want the biggest and best iPhone: The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most technologically advanced iPhone Apple has ever made, period.

You want the most powerful phone: Apple's A17 Pro chipset is more powerful than anything else on the market, so much so that you're able to play console-quality games on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

You want a versatile camera system: In addition to its 5x optical zoom capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro Max features the smartest portrait photography tech around.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the best mobile zoom camera: The addition of 5x optical zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is welcome, but Samsung's 10x optical zoom on the Galaxy S23 is better.

You need fast charging: The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers reassuringly-solid battery life and functionally-fine charging, but rivals from every angle offer much faster speeds.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is indisputably the best iPhone money can buy in 2023, so for Apple fans with a bottomless supply of cash, this is the top choice. The smaller iPhone 15 Pro is also an exceptional handset that's worth considering if you prefer its more practical 6.1-inch size, but since the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max offers a 5x periscope zoom lens, the latter phone is the objectively superior device.

In addition to that periscope zoom lens – which marks the first of its kind on an iPhone – the iPhone 15 Pro Max boasts a 48MP quad-pixel main lens and a 12MP ultra-wide lens, making it the most capable and versatile iPhone yet for mobile photographers.

Beyond its photography capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro Max packs an excellent 6.7-inch Super XDR OLED screen (with ProMotion), a gorgeous titanium design, a USB-C port and Apple's all-new A17 Pro chipset, which delivers mobile gaming performance comparable to some high-end PCs (yes, really).

In other words, when it comes to iPhones, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best of the best, but you'll have to pay handsomely for the privilege of owning one, and Samsung's similarly priced Galaxy S23 Ultra actually has slightly better cameras.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro Max review

The best Samsung phone

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Peer Hoffmann)
The best Samsung phone


Release date: February 2023
Weight: 234g
Dimensions: 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 13 w/ One UI 5.1
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3088
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 200MP (wide) + 12MP (ultra-wide) + 10MP (telephoto with 3x optical zoom) + 10MP (telephoto with 10x optical zoom)
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

Phenomenal cameras
Bespoke Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset

Reasons to avoid

Faster charging would have been nice
Seriously expensive
Buy it if

You want a phone that can do everything: The Galaxy S23 Ultra packs in every feature in the history of mobile devices, including wireless charging, water resistance, and even a stylus.

You need to photograph the moon: There isn't a longer optical zoom lens on a phone right now, but the S23 Ultra doesn't stop at 10x. It can enhance astrophotography and also add details to moon shots.

You want a pocket computer: The Ultra can drive a monitor and keyboard in a desktop environment, or just run multiple apps in side-by-side windows

Don't buy it if:

You don't like big phones: The S23 Ultra is smooth, and curved, and also very, very big. It's so big that it can hide a full stylus and a huge battery inside and remain water resistant. With a case, it's a behemoth.

You hate One UI: Samsung messes with Android, and though One UI gets better every time we use it, Google's own Pixel version is still simpler and more refined.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is Samsung’s most feature-packed handset of 2023. It’s big, powerful, and quite frankly more phone than most buyers will need. But for those who want it all, this delivers. 

As ever with Samsung’s Ultra series, the price is excessive, but in almost every other way the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a superb phone, from its screen to its cameras, performance, battery and beyond.

For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has an enormous display with a QHD+ resolution, a 120Hz variable refresh rate, and a high maximum brightness. It’s among the biggest and best screens you’ll find on a phone. 

On the battery front, we found that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra would last well over a day with moderate mixed use, which makes its life comfortably above average. It also charges fairly fast at 45W, though some other phones on this list charge even faster.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera setup is incredibly versatile, as there’s a wide, ultrawide, and two telephoto cameras, giving you optical zoom at 3x and 10x. Add to that a new 200MP sensor for the primary camera, and this is easily one of the best phones for photography.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review