From Google's Pixel 7 Pro to new foldables from Samsung and Motorola, these are the best Android phones of 2023.
Updated Nov. 12, 2023 2:35 a.m. PT
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Andrew LanxonEditor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Whether you prefer Samsung, Google or OnePlus, there are plenty of Android devices to choose from. But that can also make the buying process more difficult, since it can be hard to know where to start. To help you choose, we've researched and tested all the best Android phones you can buy in 2023.
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A great phone should have high-quality cameras, long battery life, compelling software features and 5G support. We considered these factors when putting together our list of the best Android phones in 2023, which you can check out below. The CNET team updates this list periodically as we review new products.
What's the best Android phone?
The Google Pixel 7 Pro sits at the top of our list of best Android phones, largely because it has some of the best cameras found on any phone sold today and represents one of the best values for your dollar on this list. The Pixel 7 Pro also packs a number of convenient features that are unique to it. There are calling tools like the ability for the phone to wait on hold and notify you when a representative becomes available. You can also sharpen old photos that are out of focus to make the subject look clearer. And there's the ability to automatically caption videos, podcasts, phone calls and more.
There are plenty of other excellent choices out there, however, even though the Pixel 7 Pro is our current favorite.
What about the Pixel 8 Pro?
The Google Pixel 8 Pro is now available, with updates to the camera, along with various software features that make full use of the next generation of Google's processors. We ran into issues with the cameras during our testing and are holding off on our final review as we work with Google to get to the bottom of things.
Google's latest flagship phone, the Pixel 7 Pro, isn't a huge overhaul from the already excellent Pixel 6 Pro Google launched last year. But it's taken that winning formula and made some key tweaks to almost every element, resulting in a superb phone that's bliss to use. The refreshed camera can take stunning images too, earning its spot among the best flagship phones around. Read our Google Pixel 7 Pro review.
• Refreshed design looks great • Superb cameras • Clean and enjoyable interface
The Galaxy S23 is a lot, but in a good way. It's more than most people need in a phone, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. Samsung made improvements to the camera's resolution (200 megapixels compared with 108 megapixels), color tones and dynamic range, while retaining the same edgy design and massive 6.8-inch screen as its predecessor. There's also a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that's been optimized specifically for Samsung's phones, which brings faster performance compared with the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
It may be an understatement to call this phone expensive: It starts at $1,200. But people willing to pay more for a giant screen and a high-quality, versatile camera won't be disappointed. Read our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.
Google's budget phone took a leap forward in 2023 with the Pixel 7A, which offers many of the same benefits as the Pixel 7 but at a cheaper price. Like the Pixel 7, the Pixel 7A runs on Google's Tensor G2 processor, meaning it has many of the same photo editing and language translation features as its pricier sibling. The Pixel 7A's 64-megapixel camera also takes excellent photos that rival the Pixel 7's in quality.
While we still like the Pixel 7, the Pixel 7A's lower price makes it a better deal for most people. Only opt for the Pixel 7 if you really want a slightly larger screen and are willing to pay the extra $100 for it. Otherwise, the main differences between the Pixel 7 and 7A come down to the former's more durable build, slightly faster charging and its ability to wirelessly charge compatible accessories. The Pixel 7 also has a larger camera sensor that's more sensitive to light, according to Google, but CNET's Lisa Eadicicco didn't notice much of a difference. Read our Google Pixel 7A review.
Many of the same features as the Pixel 7 at a cheaper price
Gains wireless charging, face unlock and high refresh rate
Screen still looks dim outdoors
Higher price compared with Pixel 6A at launch
Only three generations of Android OS updates compared with Samsung's four-generation pledge
Android fans looking for a petite phone don't have much to choose from. But the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23 provides a compelling option for those who want a phone that feels compact but still provides enough screen space. The Galaxy S23 comes with routine upgrades like a fresh processor (a version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that's been optimized for Samsung's phones), a slightly new design and a higher-resolution selfie camera. But it's the Galaxy S23's larger battery that makes it worth recommending. Read our Samsung Galaxy S23 review.
The Pixel 6A is a solid choice if you want 5G and a great camera on the cheap, especially at its new $349 price. This Pixel phone has the same Tensor chip that powers the Pixel 6, great rear cameras with many of Google's shooting and editing tools, a 6.1-inch display and average battery life. At this price, it's the best value you can get from an Android phone right now. Read our Google Pixel 6A review.
The $700 OnePlus 11 is a powerful phone that's well equipped to handle gaming, video streaming and other common tasks. In typical OnePlus fashion, this phone is also cheaper than the $800 Galaxy S23 and $900 Pixel 7 Pro. The cameras aren't the best, but they're fine for casual photographers who just want to capture their next vacation or a night out. What sets the OnePlus 11 apart from many of its rivals is its blazing 100-watt fast charging, which can replenish the battery in just 25 minutes. (The US version only supports 80-watt charging, but that's still an improvement over the Galaxy S23 Ultra's 45-watt charging).
Overall, the OnePlus 11 is ideal for people who want a powerful phone that charges quickly and won't break the bank. Read our OnePlus 11 review.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the biggest leap forward Samsung's flip phone has seen in years. Samsung has significantly expanded the size of the cover screen located on the outside of the device, meaning you can look up directions, take photos and send messages without opening the phone. It's this combined with the Z Flip's solid battery life and sturdy design that makes it a top pick.
The Z Flip 5 may be our favorite flip phone, but there are still some drawbacks to be aware of. At $1,000, it's still expensive for a phone without a telephoto camera. And not all apps work natively on the front screen as they do on the Motorola Razr Plus. Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review.
Big cover screen is fun to use
New hinge eliminates the gap when closed
Solid battery life
More storage in base model
Not all apps work on the cover screen natively
Apps don't transition from main screen to cover screen
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is an incremental improvement that further refines Samsung's large-screened foldable. If you're looking for a phone that can double as a tablet for viewing work-related documents, running multiple apps on screen at once or watching movies, the Z Fold 5 is our top choice. The Pixel Fold may have better cameras, but the Z Fold 5's bright screen makes Samsung's phone better at its intended purpose: providing a big display that fits in your pocket.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5's $1,800 price is still hard to swallow and puts it out of range for most people. But if you can afford it, the Z Fold 5 is the best iteration of Samsung's phone-tablet hybrid yet. Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review.
The Nothing Phone 2 stands out for its unconventional design that incorporates flashing LED lights, relatively low price and fast performance. And unlike the Nothing Phone 1, you can actually buy the Nothing Phone 2 in the US, for $699. It's best suited for those who want a phone with a large, bright screen, powerful processor and a design that makes a statement, all for well below $1,000.
That said, it's important to remember that Nothing has a lot of competition in this price range. If camera quality is your top priority, you can get the Pixel 7A at a lower price of $449. Read our Nothing Phone 2 review.
The Motorola Razr Plus raised the bar for what a flip phone should be in 2023. Its 3.6-inch cover screen allows you to use almost any app without opening the phone, plus battery life is long enough to get you through a busy day. It's also thinner than the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which could make it the ideal choice for those who prioritize portability in a phone.
While I recommend the Galaxy Z Flip 5 as the best flip phone overall, the Razr Plus is worth considering if you prefer a thinner design and want to use more apps on the phone's front screen without much extra fuss. The Razr Plus felt more fragile than the Z Flip 5 during my testing, but it's certainly thinner, making it a great choice for those who care about compactness above all else. Read our Motorola Razr Plus review.
The Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola has a lot going for it, from its palatable regular $700 price to its unique aesthetic, easy compatibility with PCs and smooth 6.6-inch screen. But it's the ThinkPhone's incredibly fast charging that truly makes it stand out. It supports 68-watt fast charging and notably comes with a compatible power adapter in the box, making it one of the fastest-charging phones you can buy in the US. In CNET's testing, the ThinkPhone's battery went from empty to 92% in 30 minutes.
Every phone has its drawbacks. The cameras on the ThinkPhone struggle in low light, which means it may not take the best photos in dim restaurants and bars. And even though it's a great value at $700, there are some cheaper alternatives that are also compelling, such as Google's Pixel 7A. Read our Lenovo ThinkPhone review.
Incredibly fast charging
Cross functionality with PCs
Incredible value for the price
The cameras are good, but struggle in low light
The Google Pixel 7 is $100 less
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Other phones we tested
The $450 Samsung Galaxy A54 5G proves, you can get a phone with solid performance for a very reasonable price. It packs a 6.4-inch display, an octa-core processor that offers enough power for daily essentials (including light gaming) and a camera that does a decent job of handling your out-and-about snaps. Its 128GB of storage will be enough for most people, and those who need more space can expand it with microSD cards up to 1TB in size.
The $1,400 Sony Xperia 1 V retains all the best features of previous Xperia 1 phones, like a 4K high refresh rate display, expandable storage, cutting-edge cameras with eye-tracking autofocus, a 5,000-mAh battery, a dedicated hardware shutter button and a headphone jack, all wrapped in Sony's lovely, mundane utilitarian design. The phone brims with numerous quality of life improvements for its target audience of creative types like photographers, filmmakers, musicians and gamers who want nuanced control over the content they make. But its $1,400 price tag keeps this phone squarely aimed beyond most consumers.
The $1,000 Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a gaming phone that takes nearly every feature to the extreme. It has a 6,000-mAh battery, a 6.7-inch AMOLED with high refresh rate and touch sampling rate, 65W wired charging and even a door on the back for a detachable fan to keep the phone's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip as cool as possible. The software is optimized and easily customized for gaming including touch sensitive areas on the sides of the phone that double as shoulder buttons for games.
How we test phones
We test every phone in real-world scenarios focusing on its features, design, performance, cameras, battery life and overall value. We document our findings in an initial review that is periodically updated when there are new software updates or to compare against new phones from phones from competitors like Apple, Samsung, Google and OnePlus.
Photography is a major focus for most phones these days, so we take pictures and videos of various subjects in a variety of settings and lighting scenarios. We try out any new camera modes such as Action mode that debuted with the iPhone 14 line or the Unblur photo tool that launched with the Google Pixel 7 series.
Battery testing is conducted in a variety of ways. We assess how long a phone lasts during a typical day of use, and note how it performs during more focused sessions of video calls, media streaming and gaming. We also conduct a video playback test, which isn't always included in the initial review and added later in an update.
We use benchmarking apps to measure the performance, alongside our own anecdotal experiences using the phone for our review. Of particular note are how graphics and animations look. Are they smooth? Or do they lag or stutter? We also look at how quickly the phone switches between horizontal and vertical orientations and how fast the camera app opens and is ready to take a photo.
We perform processor-heavy tasks like editing photos, exporting videos and playing games. We evaluate whether a newer version of a particular phone includes enough features to make it worth upgrading from older models.
Look at last year's phones: Companies typically keep previous models around at a discounted price. For example, while you can buy the $699 Pixel 8 or $999 Pixel 8 Pro, Google still sells the Pixel 7 for $599 and the Pixel 7 Pro for $899.
Get more for less with cheap phones: For a fraction of the cost, you can get a solid phone that does almost everything a pricier flagship phone can do. The Google Pixel 6A packs a good camera and costs only $349 before discounts or trade-in offers.
Check your Android type: Some phones, like Google's Pixel series, run a stock version of Android. Others, like Samsung's Galaxy phones, have their own software (OneUI) on top of Android. Each type has its own appeal and drawbacks. But if you've been rocking a Samsung phone for years, you'll likely still be more at home on a new Galaxy phone.
Be ready for Black Friday sales: The holidays usually bring big discounts and sales, even on phones.
Test your phone: It's definitely worth going to a store and trying out a phone before you shell out hundreds of dollars on it.
Find peace of mind with a case: You spent all this time picking a phone, now protect it from damage with a case.
Android phone FAQ
How reliable is an Android phone?
Android phones come in all shapes and sizes. Prices range from just a couple hundred dollars for a basic smartphone to $1,800 for state-of-the-art foldable phones. All the phones on this list are durable, have an IP rating for water and dust resistance and years of software support.
How long does an Android phone last?
While every phone on this list varies in how many years of software support you get and how long you can extend the warranty, most should last you a few years if not more.