The Best Phones You Can Buy in 2023

The smartphone audience is so wide that it’s difficult to settle on just one best phone of 2023. Some of us want huge screens, fast processors, and tons of memory. Other people want the very best camera so they can share photos on social media. And then there are the folks who want the best budget phone and/or best small phone (they’re often the same thing), just something simple and cheap that will easily fit in a pocket.

Your personal decision about what smartphone to buy starts, like many things, with picking a side: Android or iOS? The Google-backed Android operating system is the world’s most popular, with more than 70% market share around the globe, in large part because it’s cheap and used by lots of small companies in developing markets. But Android’s market share is trailing behind Apple in the U.S. and Canada, and iPhones recently scored more than 50% of the total US market for the first time ever.

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What phone should I buy?

New hardware lines have complicated the buying decision. In the Android world, Samsung gave up on its Galaxy Note line but doubled down on foldables with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. Non-folding options like the Galaxy S23 Ultra are exciting, too. Oppo, which has a massive audience overseas but is working to attract more global attention, is coming for Android fans with attractive clamshell options like the Find N2 Flip. And Google’s Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and even its mid-range Pixel 7a feature some of the best smartphone cameras we’ve ever tested. They also pack Google’s second-generation Tensor chip, unlocking sophisticated AI-powered features like scrubbing people out of pictures. That chip is also in the Pixel 7a, offering budget users a great option.

Meanwhile, on the iOS side, we’re patiently waiting for what’s on the horizon with the iPhone 15. Currently, Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro is one of the company’s best phones ever and even makes a strong case for ditching Android entirely. And the regular iPhone 14 impressed us with its photography skills compared to the Pixel 7.

We’ve got recommendations for people on both sides of the iOS/Android divide, along with some picks for people looking for a more affordable fare.

What smartphones are coming this year?

The iPhone 15 will launch this fall, but there’s no fourth-gen iPhone SE (it’s a bummer, too, because it was rumored the SE 4 would be Apple’s first foray into making its own mobile modems). We’re also waiting for the Google Pixel 8/8 Pro to debut, which typically follows the iPhone refresh.

Although the Nothing Phone (1) didn’t make our “Best of” list last year—it made the list for the most gimmicky phone of the bunch—we do have the Nothing Phone (2) in line for review. The heavily-stylized Android smartphone is $600 and boasts a better camera than before. It’s also received positive feedback on social media from folks who have bought the device.

The editorial staff of Gizmodo independently tests and reviews each product found in our Buyer’s Guides. If you purchase something using our affiliate links, G/O Media may earn a commission. Affiliate linking does not influence our editorial content.

The Best All-Around Phone

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Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Our Pick: Google Pixel 7 Pro

If you’ve already picked a side in the Android vs. iOS fight, you can’t go wrong with either the Google Pixel 7 Pro or Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro. Both devices get you the best Android and iOS have to offer and are the most recent releases from each camp.

But if you want the very best, regardless of platform, there’s a clear choice: The Google Pixel 7 Pro ($899) is the one to get. It ships with the latest version of Android and the second-generation Google Tensor G2, which is the key to some of the Pro’s unique AI smarts. Apple users might not be willing to swap because of having to deal with Android, but when it comes to hardware, we like the Pixel.

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