Best Android Phones to Buy in 2023

$439 on Amazon

Nothing Phone 1 with LEDs turned on

Nothing Phone 1

A flashy, affordable phone (Update: Low stock)

Apple’s iPhones isn’t the only choice if you’re in the market for a new phone. Android has several advantages over iOS, and one of the biggest is the sheer variety of devices you can choose from. From the supersize Galaxy S23Ultra to the more modest and affordable Pixel 6A, Android phones are available in a huge range of sizes and prices. But this sprawling selection of phones can make it difficult to know which ones are worth your hard-earned money. If you aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place: We’ve tested and researched all the best Android phones you can buy in 2023.

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. CNET’s team updates this list periodically as we review new products.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
James Martin/CNET

likes:

  • Fast performance
  • Excellent playing camera
  • Brightscreen
  • Included stylus
  • Double the storage in the base model
  • Four generations of Android OS updates

Don’t like:

  • High price
  • Photos don’t always look natural
  • No improvements to fast charging

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 to 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 are willing to pay more for a giant screen and a high-quality, versatile camera won’t be disappointed. Read our full review of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Pixel 7 Pro face down on a wooden table next to a cup of coffee
Google

likes:

• Refreshed design looks great
• Superb cameras
• Clean and enjoyable interface

Don’t like:

• Battery life could be better

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. It typically sells for $899, but Google currently has it on sale for $150 off.

Read our Google Pixel 7 Pro review.

Pixel 7
Patrick Holland/CNET

likes:

• Sleek design
• Great value
• Main camera is Google’s best

Don’t like:

• Battery life is good but not great
• Not as much Android version supports as Samsung

At around $600, the Google Pixel 7 offers a great way to put some of Google’s best tech in your pocket without emptying your bank balance in the process. It undercuts the fully-specced 7 Pro model by some way, but still packs the same Tensor G2 processor, a glorious screen and a great main camera.

Like the 7 Pro, it has a refreshed design which looks classy and stylish, while its Android 13 software is clutter-free and easy to use. The battery life could be better, but with careful use you’ll get through a day on a charge. It lacks the telephoto zoom and a couple of the other bells and whistles of the 7 Pro, but if you’re after a solid everyday phone at a decent price, then the base Pixel 7 is a great option.

back of Samsung Galaxy S23 phone, held up in front of a plant
James Martin/CNET

likes:

  • Longer battery life
  • Attractive design
  • Four generations of Android OS updates
  • Fast performance

Don’t like:

  • Cameras are basically the same as last year
  • Expensive
  • No improvements to fast charging
  • No upgrading to base storage

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 full review of the Galaxy S23.

The back of Google's Pixel 6A phone
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

likes:
• Nice screens
• Speedy performance
• IP67 water-resistant
• Affordable prices
Don’t like:
• No wireless charging
The next-gen Pixel 6a is available now, and if you want 5G on the cheap the smartphone is a solid choice. This Pixel phone has a high-end chipset, great rear camera, a good display, and average battery life. It is one of the cheapest good 5G smartphones you can buy right now.

Read our Google Pixel 6A review.

oneplus-11-review-cnet-lanxon-promo-17

likes:

  • Incredible performance for gaming
  • Slick, refreshed design
  • Hyper-fast charging
  • Five years of security support

Don’t like:

  • Cameras are good but not great
  • Better waterproofing on rivals

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 full review of the OnePlus 11.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 in burgundy unfolded displaying wallpaper
Sarah Tew/CNET

likes:
• 120Hz cover screen
• Water resistance
• Enhanced tablet experience
• Software improvements for multitasking and Flex Mode
Don’t like:
• $1,800 is still expensive

Foldable phones haven’t really hit the mainstream, remaining instead only in the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest in mobile innovation. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the best folding phone around, offering top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its folding technology that make this Android smartphone more desirable than its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 folded shut in purple, black, gold and blue colors
Samsung

likes:

  • Better battery life than before
  • Still the best flip phone to get into foldables
  • water resistance

Don’t like:

  • Same cameras as the Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is an iterative update but it packs a punch for the $1,000 price tag. With a better battery life thanks to a more power efficient processor and a bigger battery, the Flip is finally worth investing in as a flagship device.

The Sony Xperia Pro
Patrick Holland/CNET

likes:

  • Professional level video monitor features
  • Robust utilitarian build
  • Live broadcast streaming over 5G
  • As a phone, it’s essentially the Sony Xperia 1 II

Don’t like:

  • Price is high, limiting its narrow appeal
  • 2020 specs and Android 10
  • Wished it recorded video via HDMI input

At a whopping $1,800 list price, the Sony Xperia Pro isn’t for everyone. But if you’re a photographer or videographer looking for professional-level camera phone features, you can’t go wrong. The Xperia Pro is essentially four products in one: a phone, a camera monitor, a speedy photo file transfer device and a 5G machine suitable for broadcasting and livestreaming.

Read our Sony Xperia Pro review.

Nothing Phone 1 with LEDs turned on
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

likes:

• Flashing designs
• Solid performance
• Affordable prices

Don’t like:

• Cameras are only OK
• Not yet available in the US

The Nothing Phone 1’s affordable price, solid performance and good-enough camera setup already make it a solid option to consider if you’re looking for an Android phone on a budget. But this phone takes the pizzazz up a notch with its suite of flashing LED lights on the rear, which certainly makes it stand out against its competitors.

It’s a great phone, which we enjoyed reviewing, but there is a downside: As of right now, there aren’t any plans to launch the phone widely in the US. You can get it unlocked on Amazon, but it’s GSM-only so it won’t work on Verizon. The company’s next phone, the Nothing Phone 2, will be coming to the US later this year.

How we test phones

Every phone that appears on this list has been thoroughly tested by CNET’s expert review team. That means actually using the phone, testing the features, playing games on it, and taking photos with it. No marketing promises are taken at face value, and if we find something we don’t like, be it battery life or build quality, we’ll tell you all about it.

Testing a phone means testing every element of the device. Is the display bright, sharp, vibrant? Does the design feel good to hold? Is it heavy? Does it feel well made? Is it water resistant? We test the processor performance using standardized benchmark tools like GeekBench and 3DMark, along with our own anecdotal observations while navigating the interface or playing demanding games.

All the cameras (both front and back) are tested in a variety of conditions, from bright sunlight through to dark scenes (for any available night modes), and we compare our findings against similarly priced models. We conduct battery tests, running them down from full to see how long they’re likely to keep going out there in the real world.

We take into account additional features such as 5G, fingerprint or face scanners, styluses, fast charging, flexible displays, or other extras that can be useful. And we of course balance all this against the price, to give you the verdict on whether that phone, whatever the price is, actually represents good value.

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