Modern flagship smartphones are miniature works of engineering. And they ought to be given that prices can range from roughly $800 to well over $1,000. Since they typically endure for over four or five years, the hefty price is a little bit easier to bear, but for the majority of us, it’s still a significant investment.
We’ve chosen the finest of the best to ensure that you receive the greatest value for your money. Although the phones listed below are expensive, they offer outstanding daily performance, fantastic cameras, and they will continue to function for the foreseeable future. Just keep in mind that a new batch of flagship phones, along with the trade-in offers and carrier freebies that go along with them, are probably just around the corner. Fans of Android, in particular, might want to wait and see what the upcoming weeks bring.
You can buy a great decent smartphone for under $500 if you’re wanting to spend a bit less and still get the best smartphone on a budget. Check out our article on low-cost smartphones for those suggestions.
The top smartphones for 2023
iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max from Apple
Many iPhone users will not be upgrading this year, especially if they are upgrading from a 12 or a 13. However, if you do require a new iPhone right away and want the greatest model available, the Pro is the best option. Apple introduces some new concepts with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max that are absent from the normal iPhone 14. One such concept is “Dynamic Island,” a fun mash-up of hardware and software that transforms the notch into a shape-shifting status indicator. A new high-resolution camera and an always-on display are also included.
The best iPhone available right now is the iPhone 14 Pro, which has a starting price of $999. However, it’s somewhat of an early adopter exclusive. There is a lot that is wonderful, but Apple has a lot of potential to tweak and enhance these features in the upcoming years. If you don’t want to shell out $1,000 for the initial iteration of a new design, consider the iPhone 13 from a prior generation. The 13 is still available and starts at $699; the regular iPhone 14 is only a slight improvement over the 13 and doesn’t offer you all that much more. That’s the option we recommend to most people, but the 14 Pro has a lot to offer as well.
Pixel 7 Pro from Google
The Pixel 7 Pro has the feel of the device that its forerunner ought to have been. It’s better late than never; the 7 Pro (and the 7, on its own) is a premium smartphone with a long battery life, a consistently fantastic camera, and great daily performance. The best part is that it is a bit more affordable than flagship models, coming in at $899.
Tensor G2, an improved version of Google’s proprietary chipset, is installed. Some small advancements in the phone’s intelligence and speech recognition are the result of it. But for the most part, it simply provides lag-free performance for routine operations. It is also battery-efficient. By the end of the day in our testing, it was challenging to get the Pixel 7 Pro into single-digit percentages. Only really heavy users will need to recharge in order to make it to the end of the day; for the majority of users, this battery life is easily considered all-day.
The enormous 6.7-inch screen is comfortable to use even in bright sunshine thanks to an increase in peak brightness. The speedier under-screen fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 7 Pro is one of the nicest additions. The addition of face unlock makes it slightly faster than the (slow) mechanism on the Pixel 6 device. Using either of these techniques to unlock the phone results in a smoother overall experience.
2013 Apple iPhone
If you need a new iPhone but don’t want to upgrade to the 14 Pro, the iPhone 14 seems like the obvious decision. But heed my warning: the iPhone 13 costs $100 less and performs nearly identically to the iPhone 14. Yes, go ahead and purchase that one if your carrier is giving you a decent trade-in offer, dirt-cheap financing for the 14, or you want the (slight) year-over-year enhancements. The best! The $799 iPhone 14’s enhancements are so tiny that they are not worth the extra money; nonetheless, if trade-in deal season is past or you are paying out of pocket, we believe the basic iPhone 13 is the better option.
If you choose the 13, neither the screen nor the processor are compromised in any way. There is no smooth-scrolling ProMotion on the 6.1-inch screen of the iPhone 13, nor is there one on the iPhone 14. Both phones have an A15 Bionic chipset, and while the 14 has a modest boost with an additional GPU core, both offer superb performance. They are both IP68-rated for strong water and dust protection and MagSafe compatible for wireless charging.
You do get a marginally better camera system with the 14, but the enhancements are minor. In comparison to the 13, the ultrawide and front-facing cameras perform better in low light, while the main camera has a larger sensor with a somewhat improved ability to retain detail in low light. However, most individuals seeing their photographs at web- and social media-friendly sizes won’t notice what has changed; you have to hunt for these subtle variations.
Galaxy S22 Ultra from Samsung
With Samsung’s Galaxy range, the “Ultra” designation no longer simply denotes the largest phone; rather, it now signifies the largest phone and everything else. The S23 Ultra, which is expected to have a more sophisticated camera, will most likely replace the S22 Ultra very soon.
Apple 13-Mini iPhone
You don’t have to sacrifice performance, build quality, or cameras with the iPhone 13 Mini because it is one of the very few compact phones on the market with top-tier features and specs. Apple chose to go big and bigger with the 6.1-inch 14 and 6.7-inch 14 Plus instead of announcing a new Mini with the 14 series. Get the 13 Mini while you can because it’s probably your last chance to own a compact, highly functional iPhone.
The Mini’s 5.4-inch screen is large enough for text messaging, email, web surfing, apps, video, and gaming while being significantly smaller than most other recent smartphones. If you’re coming from an iPhone 6, 7, or 8, it will also feel rather roomy. The majority of adults, even those with small hands, will be able to easily reach the entire screen with their thumb because it is also small enough. On this one, a PopSocket is not necessary.
Android Pixel 6A
The Pixel 6A adheres to the same budget phone formula Google has been using for years: give essential Google functionality in a basic, condensed hardware. Previously, that meant receiving the flagship phones’ camera systems. With the 6A, that recipe saw a little alteration. You now receive an older camera system along with the same Tensor custom chipset as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. The Pixel 6A is a terrific all-around affordable smartphone that still has one of the best cameras in its class despite not having the newest technology. Although its chipset is a generation older than the very latest Pixel phones, performance is still excellent and you don’t lose out on many new features.
The 6.1-inch 1080p screen on the 6A has a typical 60Hz refresh rate, which is one area where Google made a compromise to achieve a lower pricing point. Even other low-cost smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, have better refresh rates than the screens on the 6 and 6 Pro. Don’t worry if your current phone has a typical 60Hz display; you’ll only notice this if you’re switching from a phone with a high refresh rate screen. Water resistance isn’t quite as strong as it is on the Pixel 6, and there is no wireless charging or IP68 rating.