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Unlike the iOS ecosystem, where Apple’s iPhone is the only game in town, one of the best things about the Android phone market is the wide range of different devices and providers to choose from. That said, when it’s time to upgrade, the wealth of options can make it difficult to choose the right headset for you. If you’re looking for a new phone and don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered with our selection of the best Android phones for every budget.
Best Android Phones 2023
When it comes to choosing our favorite Android phones, the main things we look for are pretty straightforward: good performance (both math and AI), great display, solid design, sharp cameras, battery life length, and a significant commitment to ongoing software development. support. For performance, we not only look at benchmarks and other metrics, but also rate phones based on responsiveness. Whether you’re reading, texting, scrolling through social media, or playing a game, no one wants a slow device.
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When it comes to displays, we all prefer OLED panels that can produce rich, saturated colors with at least 600 nits of brightness, although most mid-range and high-end phones can reach 1,000 nits or more. And more recently, most of our favorite devices also support displays with fast 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rates, which add an extra level of enhancement and fluidity.
Now we will get a little bit of the subject in deciding which phones are the best, but there are other design features like dust and water resistance or screen strength that can make a big difference to long-term survival. It’s also important to consider things like wireless charging support, power sharing (aka reverse wireless charging), and UWB connectivity, which can affect how your phone communicates with other devices.
Obviously, for photos, we want sharp, colorful shots in both bright and low light conditions. And we love videos with high resolution, rich sound and brilliant image stabilization. Additional cameras for ultra-wide and telephoto lenses are added. It is also important to consider features such as dedicated night modes, support for different video recording resolutions, and additional photo modes such as time lapse, slow motion, and more.
Finally, in terms of battery life, we’re looking for longer all-day life from devices that also scored well in our local video review test (at least 16 hours on a charge, but more is obviously better more than). Wireless charging capabilities have become almost ubiquitous over the past few years, and most of our top picks have this added benefit. Finally, with people holding on to their phones longer than ever, we want to see companies commit to at least three years of software support, upgrades and regular security updates.
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The Pixel 7 phones may not be the fastest on the market, but what they lack in pure performance they make up for with thoughtful software.
The Pixel 7 Pro and standard Pixel 7 may not be the fastest phones on the market, but what they lack in pure performance they make up for in smart software. Thanks to Google’s Tensor G2 chip, the Pixel 7 series has powerful AI and machine learning functionality to support things like on-device language recognition and real-time translation. It also boasts gorgeous OLED displays and the best overall camera quality of any smartphone available today. And with the standard Pixel 7 priced at just $600, Google’s new flagship is still an incredible value. The main differences between the two are that the Pixel 7 Pro has a larger 6.7-inch screen and has a third rear camera with 5x optical zoom. But whether you prefer a smaller or larger device, you can’t go wrong with the Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro.
For those who want a phone with a big screen, great cameras and great performance, but for less than a traditional flagship, the OnePlus 11 strikes a good balance between budget phones and more premium devices. In many ways, the OnePlus 11 looks like a more affordable Galaxy S23+. Not only does it get the same 6.7-inch 120Hz display, but it also packs a speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a massive 5,000mAh battery. Meanwhile, thanks to OnePlus’ 100-watt wireless charging, it charges faster than any phone from Google or Samsung. And on the camera side, the company’s ongoing partnership with Hasselblad has resulted in notable improvements in image quality.
The main drawbacks to the OP11 are that its IP64 rating for dust and water resistance is less than what you get from competing devices, and the camera’s 2x optical zoom lens feels a little on the short side. But with OnePlus adding extended portability and rolling out four years of OS updates and five years of security patches, the OP11 is a well-equipped option that costs less than its rivals.
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The $500 Pixel 7a offers everything we’re looking for in a great affordable Android phone (if you’ve got less money to spend, check out our best budget phones guide). New features include a faster Tensor G2 chip, a flexible 90Hz display, and for the first time on one of Google’s series phones: support for wireless charging. And with an innovative design with IP67 water resistance, it looks and feels like the standard Pixel 7, but for $100 less. You also get better support thanks to five years of security updates and at least three years of software updates. The Pixel 7a’s only drawbacks are very small, and include the lack of a dedicated zoom lens and no mmWave 5G support (unless you buy the more expensive $550 model from Verizon).
The Galaxy S23 Ultra may be very expensive, but it has everything you could want or need in a smartphone.
With a starting price of $1,200, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is very expensive, but it has great performance, a great camera system, and everything you could want or need in a smartphone. Its specifications include a large 6.8-inch OLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, a total of five cameras (primary, ultra-wide, 3x zoom, 10x zoom and selfie camera) and a built-in S Pen drawing and taking notes. It also packs a massive 5,000mAh battery that delivers some of the longest battery life we’ve seen on any phone. And with Samsung’s renewed commitment to software support, you can expect at least four major OS updates and five years of regular security patches.
Despite increased competition from the Pixel Fold, for people looking to increase their mobile productivity, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still the best large folding device on the market.
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Despite increased competition from the Pixel Fold, for people looking to increase their mobile productivity, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still the best foldable phone on the market. On the new model, Samsung not only added two new controls for participating in side-by-side multitasking or switching from full screen to a windowed application, but also increased the number of recent applications that can be found on the center from two to four. The Z Fold 5’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset also performs faster than the Pixel Fold, and while this Samsung phone has a lower capacity cell (4,400 mAh vs. 4,800 mAh), it still has better battery life. But the biggest change for this generation is Samsung’s new Flex Hinge, which allows the phone to fold completely flat and makes it slimmer to boot. Unfortunately, its camera system hasn’t changed much from last year, and with prices starting at $1,800, the Z Fold 5 isn’t even remotely affordable. Whether you want everything but a kitchen or high performance at a moderate price, you have options.
By Alison Johnson, reviewer with 10 years of experience writing about consumer technology. He has a special interest in mobile photography and telemetry. Previously, he worked at DPReview.
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The Android ecosystem is optional. While iPhone owners have fewer new devices to choose from when it’s time to upgrade, there are plenty of new Android phones available every year. Some of them even fold in half! Want a built-in pen? Main processor for less money? Maybe even – dare I say it – a pink non-gifting phone with matching headphones? You have options on Android.
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On the other hand, every choice can make for some tough decisions. This is where I would like to help; I’ve tested a whole load of recent Android phones and I think it has
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