2023 is coming to a close, and almost all the major phone launches of the year have now taken place.

But hundreds of new handsets have been released since January, so how do you actually decide which is best for you?

That’s where this article comes in. We’ve reviewed and ranked loads of phones, but only the 10 absolute finest have made the grade for inclusion here. Whether performance, cameras, design or simply value for money are your top priority, there’s a phone here for you.

And it’s a diverse list, with phones from the likes of Google, Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola and Xiaomi all included. Nothing, Nokia, Realme, Asus and Oppo aren’t represented here, but you will find them in some of our other smartphone round-ups – including the best budget phones and best mid-range phones.

But if money is no object, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the 10 best phones you can buy right now.

Best smartphone 2023

1. Google Pixel 8 Pro – Best phone for most people

The Pixel 7 Pro was already an excellent smartphone, but the Pixel 8 Pro takes things to the next level.

Not only does the Tensor G3 chip boost performance, it enables a range of genuinely useful software features. Many of these improve the photography experience, where Google’s advanced processing and capable lenses deliver consistently excellent photos.

Android 14 on the Pixel is the cleanest and most intuitive software on any smartphone, and it’ll now be supported by Google for an incredible seven years. Add in a luxurious, premium build and price that still undercuts the top-tier flagships, and the Pixel 8 Pro is a superb smartphone.

However, it’s not all good news. The battery life and charging could still do with improvement, while the big, heavy design won’t suit everyone.

If the latter is an issue for you, the regular Pixel 8 is a better bet. But there are a few other differences between them.

Read our full

Google Pixel 8 Pro review

2. iPhone 15 Pro – Best iPhone

iPhone 15 Pro -  Best iPhone


  • Excellent cameras
  • Superb display
  • USB-C port


  • Slow charging
  • Missing Pro Max 5x optical zoom

The iPhone 15 Pro has a collection of small changes that, when combined, represent a significant upgrade.

A new titanium build is durable but noticeable lighter, and there’s also a new customisable Action Button to replace the mute switch. Apple’s A17 Pro chipset is the most capable on any smartphone, and delivers truly stellar performance, while the introduction of USB-C is undoubtedly a step forward.

The 6.1in display is relatively compact by modern phone standards, but it looks excellent and benefits from the 120Hz refresh rate. Battery life is generally solid, though you’ll still have to put up with slow charging speeds.

But despite the missing 5x optical zoom on the telephoto lens, the all-round camera experience is superb. Many apps now support the genuinely useful Dynamic Island, and iOS 16 is just as slick and intuitive as ever.

For most people, the iPhone 15 Pro is the sweet spot in Apple’s 2023 smartphone range.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Pro (128GB) review

3. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – The phone with everything

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra - The phone with everything


  • Outstandingly fast
  • Very good cameras
  • Excellent battery life
  • Lovely premium object


  • Slow 45W charging
  • Poor selfie camera
  • Huge premium object

If you want the phone on the market with the most features possible, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is it. It’s a big, expensive phone but you get every possible feature you could want in a smartphone in 2023 with incredibly good triple cameras, very good battery life that lasts well over a day, performance as fast as any rival phone, and of course, the now-unique S-Pen stylus tucked away in the phone for when you need it.

It’s one of few phones out there with a squared off body and screen, but it feels good to hold thanks to top build quality and nicely tapered edges and screen. This design rewards you with the best screen of any phone, perfect for any app you can throw at it, and superlative for watching videos.

The 200Mp main camera is outstanding, particularly if you like slightly saturated colours that pop more than they do in real life. That’s not to say they look artificial though – the quality is superb with the versatility of an ultrawide and two separate 3x and 10 optical telephoto lenses that are all excellent. It;s a shame the selife camera is terrible in low light.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

4. Google Pixel 7a – Best value phone

Google Pixel 7a - Best value phone


  • Phenomenal camera for the price
  • Excellent Google software
  • Strong performance
  • Water-resistant


  • Slow charging
  • Wireless charging is unreliable
  • Not as fast as the Pixel 7
  • Only 90Hz display

The Google Pixel 7a takes all the best parts of 2022’s Pixel 6a – great camera, solid performance, several years of software support – and improves it with a better 90Hz screen and more premium design.

It’s a little more expensive at $499/£449/€509, but this is still one of the best value phones you can buy considering you really don’t lose much for this price compared to the $899/£849/€899 Pixel 7 Pro. With a smaller 6.1in display, the Pixel 7a is also much easier to use and pocket than many of the larger phones on this list, plus it has the same Tensor G2 chipset as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

The 64Mp main camera is truly exceptional. There is no better phone camera for still images at this price, and barely any better at any price. You can also buy the phone in playful blue and coral colours, or stick to white or black if you prefer.

The charging is very slow, and the added wireless charging was unreliable in our testing. But if you want an Android phone with five years of software support that’s a good all-rounder with an incredible camera – here you go.

Read our full

Google Pixel 7a review

5. OnePlus 11 – Best value flagship phone

OnePlus 11 - Best value flagship phone


  • Excellent screen
  • Fast performance
  • Competitive price
  • Strong cameras
  • Five years of software support


  • No wireless charging
  • Not fully waterproof

OnePlus has nailed the balance with the OnePlus 11, bringing a fully-featured premium smartphone for an outstanding price. At $699/£729/€849, the only things it noticeably misses out on are wireless charging and full waterproofing (we are more annoyed about the latter than the former).

If you can forgo those nice-to-haves then you’ll find yourself with a phone that has everything else you could want: amazingly fast performance, an excellent display, strong cameras including a very good main 50Mp lens, and four years of Android updates and five of security updates. That’s only matched in the Android world by Samsung and Fairphone (iPhones get the longest software support at more than five years).

The OnePlus 11 is also a slim and svelte phone despite its 6.7in screen, which isn’t the case with other huge phones. You can go for the green glossy model or the black version that has a matt, almost-silk like finish to the back glass. It means it gets zero fingerprints, but it’s one of the slipperiest phones out there.

So long as you don’t mind the slight laboured newer version of OxygenOS that often changes Android for change sake, then this is a great phone at a price that ensures you’ll get your money’s worth if you can make it last five years.

If you’re looking for a foldable, consider the OnePlus Open.

Read our full

OnePlus 11 review

6. iPhone 15 – Superb all-rounder

iPhone 15 - Superb all-rounder


  • Versatile USB-C
  • Useful Dynamic Island
  • Great performance
  • Good value for money


  • Display only 60Hz
  • Slow charging

There are two upgrades that make the regular iPhone 15 instantly better than 2022’s iPhone 14. The introduction of USB-C makes the device more versatile, allowing you to easily connect a range of different accessories.

And then there’s the Dynamic Island, the pill-shaped cut-out used to display a variety of useful information – it was previously exclusive to Pro models.

The iPhone 15 is very similar in other areas, but that’s usually not a bad thing. The A16 Bionic chip delivers small boosts to performance and power efficiency, with the latter helping deliver solid batter life.

With slick iOS software and a premium build, it’s the best value iPhone 15 model you can buy. But if a higher refresh rate display or fast charging are important to you, you’ll be better off elsewhere.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 review

7. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 – Best foldable phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 -  Best foldable phone


  • Truly compact
  • Premium build quality
  • It’s fun to have a flip phone
  • Clever software features


  • Outer screen a solution to a created problem
  • Middling battery life
  • Cameras solid but same as Z Flip 4
  • Slow charging

Even though it has minimal upgrades to previous Z Flips, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the best folding phone you can buy thanks to its winning combination of price, design, features, and software support.

At $999/£1,049, it’s priced to compete with ‘regular’ phones, and its inner display is the same size as those rivals, except this one folds in half so it’s smaller in your pocket. The Z Flip 5 also now folds completely flat, and has a larger outer screen so you can check the time, notifications, and even whole apps without unfolding it.

This is slightly contradictory given you can just unfold the phone, and the attraction of that is you are less tempted to look at your phone the whole time. But on pure gadget terms, having two screens is irresistibly fun. You can just about have fun with all day battery life too, but if you’re always on your phone you’ll creep into the red before bed. Charging is annoyingly slow at 25W, with no charger in the box.

Samsung’s five years of software support, with four years of Android updates, is still very impressive. And the One UI software features for this folding design are excellent, such as turning it into a tripod for taking hands-free photos – but you can get better smartphone cameras for this price if you get a phone that doesn’t fold.

If you prefer a book-style Samsung foldable, go for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

8. Samsung Galaxy A14 – Best budget phone

Samsung Galaxy A14 -  Best budget phone


  • Premium design
  • Great battery life
  • Intuitive One UI software


  • Performance isn’t 120Hz-worthy
  • Slow 15W charging
  • Camera struggles in less than optimal lighting

Samsung isn’t all about flagship phones and foldables – the company also makes some very good budget handsets. And the $179/£150 Galaxy A14 is the best evidence of this.

While not quite S23-level, the design is certainly inspired by Samsung’s flagships, and it looks almost as good. The 5000mAh battery also delivers excellent battery life, although that’s due in part to a basic 6.6in Full HD 60Hz panel.

Performance and cameras are the obvious downgrades compared to more expensive phones, but MediaTek’s Helio G80 chipset is still fine for everyday usage. And in good lighting, you’ll still be able to get good photos from the 50Mp main rear lens

Samsung’s One UI is also a big reason to buy the Galaxy A14 over rivals – it’s slick and intuitive. Slow charging and no 5G are the other main compromise, but this is still a great budget buy.

If you really want 5G, the Galaxy A14 5G is also available for $199.99/£219.99, but it’s not just the connectivity that’s different there.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy A14 review

9. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus – Goldilocks Android phone

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus - Goldilocks Android phone


  • Bright, sharp, flat screen
  • Great battery life
  • Five years of software support
  • Solid, versatile cameras


  • Expensive
  • 45W charging a little slow
  • Software takes some tweaking

The Galaxy S23 Plus is a great choice if you don’t want a truly enormous Samsung phone with a pen (S23 Ultra) but do want a decent size display, top battery life and an excellent five years of software support.

We found the phone performed excellently in testing and comes equipped with three capable rear camera lenses without the bulk of other triple-camera phones out there. The design is a little plain, sure, but once you’ve got it in a case then you won’t mind anyway. The software takes more tweaking to get it to your liking compared to Pixel phones, but Samsung’s OneUI is more customisable than Google’s version of Android.

The phone feels premium in aluminium and glass, the display is truly excellent with good outdoor visibility and if all this seems great apart from it being to big for you then fear not – there’s also a regular Galaxy S23 that has a smaller display.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review

10. Xiaomi 13 Pro – The newest phone camera tech

Xiaomi 13 Pro - The newest phone camera tech


  • Class-leading performance 
  • Excellent cameras 
  • Impressive 120W charging 
  • Solid battery life


  • Unintuitive software 
  • Huge rear camera module 
  • Expensive

We’ll say it up top – this phone would be higher in this chart if Xiaomi’s MIUI software was better and more pleasant to use than it currently is. It’s a shame, because the Xiaomi 13 Pro has some of the most accomplished hardware in the smartphone world.

It’s one of the first phones you can buy outside of China that has a 1in camera sensor, tech that is hotly tipped to level-up smartphone cameras in the next couple of years, but Xiaomi got there early doors. In our testing, the larger sensor area takes in more light, resulting in sensational low light photography and a level of detail not found on smaller sensors. Throw in a capable 50Mp telephoto sensor and a 50Mp ultrawide and you’ve got a great set up, despite the large camera bump.

The phone runs the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, powering through every task with ease, and it has great battery life to boot. It’s also worth considering the more expensive Xiaomi 13 Ultra, but that’s overkill for most people/

Now, if it weren’t for that pesky software…

Your buying guide for the best phones in 2023

When choosing a phone you should consider these things: build quality and design, ease of use, features, performance, and value. 

Generally speaking, a flagship phone in 2023 will start at around $700/£700 but can cost over $1,000/£1,000 in some cases. On contract, you’re looking at between £30 and £50-per-month on average in the UK but you can spend a lot more if you want an expensive phone and lots of mobile data.

In the US you can often find very good contract deals on phones, better than in the UK and Europe.

It’s worth noting that while this list highlights the best smartphones available right now, that doesn’t explicitly mean flagships (even though they do feature heavily here). There are entries that cross over with our
mid-range and
budget phone charts too, but earnt their place here, based on the capabilities and quality on offer, relative to their price.

Buying a phone outright will usually give you the best value, but we appreciate finances in the real world don’t always accommodate such big one-off purchases. If you can, you’ll obviously need a SIM card and plan, as well as the phone. If you don’t already have one, check out our best SIM-only deals.



Should you buy an iPhone or Android phone?

There’s more than one mobile operating system, but really only two worth talking about: Android and iOS.

The vast majority of phones today run Android – 13 being the latest publicly-released version. Apple’s iOS platform, currently on iOS 16, may have a lower market share but developers almost always release their apps on iOS first. As a result of this approach, it has one of the best app stores you can find.

If you have an Android phone or an iPhone and want to move to a phone running the other OS (operating system), it’s fairly easy to transfer your contacts and other select data from one to the other. What you can’t move are paid-for apps and certain app data (like WhatsApp backups), so keep this in mind if you’re considering a change of platform – and research any specific concerns you may have about the process.


Why should you buy an unlocked phone?

An unlocked phone is one that is not tied to any particular mobile operator, such as Vodafone or EE. Buying ‘unlocked’ usually means buying the phone outright without a SIM card or contract attached.

The most important point is that an unlocked
phone is almost always a better deal than buying a phone on contract – if you can afford it.

The only real exception to this is Apple’s iPhones – because of their traditional popularity, operators often subsidise the cost of buying an iPhone in order to lock you into a lucrative long-term deal.

Generally speaking, if you can afford the upfront cost of the handset, you will pay less over the life of your phone by buying unlocked.

More importantly, you are not locked into a lengthy contract. If you want a new handset at any time, you can buy one without having to up-purchase your way out of said contract or commit to another two years. 

Just be sure to make certain the phone you’re getting is not locked to a certain network.


Which SIM or mobile plan should you get?

One other thing to consider is the size and shape of the SIM required for your phone. Make sure you get a nano-SIM if a nano-SIM is what your phone requires.

For the record, every phone in this list takes a nano-SIM.

If you get that wrong it is easily solvable; every network will gladly send over a different-sized SIM. SIM cards tend to come in all three sizes, you simply pop out the one you need.

But that’s assuming you are getting a new SIM, and if you’re looking for a SIM-free phone or unlocked phone you probably already have one.

More important is to make sure that if you want 5G you get a 5G-enabled phone and SIM.

How we test smartphones