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The best Android phones you can buy right now (including flipping foldables)

ZDNET's experts have tested the best Android smartphones on the market to help you find the right one for your needs.
Written by June Wan, Reviews Editor on
Reviewed by Gabriela Jordan

2023 is turning out to be one of the most significant years for Android, with the likes of Google, OnePlus, and even Motorola hitting high marks with their respective flagships. 

And recently, Samsung demonstrated why it's still the king of foldables with two new releases, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. The latter of which goes head-to-head with Google's first-ever Pixel Fold.

Also: Best Samsung phones you can buy right now

To give you a grand scope of what your best Android options are, the expert team at ZDNET, along with a pool of industry professionals, tested and reviewed the latest devices to determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash, with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra coming out on top. Read the list below for more hand-picked devices to decide which best suits your needs.

The best Android phones in 2023

Pros & Cons
  • The most complete smartphone experience money can buy
  • Quad-camera setup that's flexible and reliable
  • 256GB of base storage leads the competition
  • Integrated S Pen stylus for enhanced functionality
  • Phone can be unwieldy for some, especially with a case
  • Fast charging is still capped at 45W
  • Pricier than most Android phones
More Details

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy | Display size: 6.8 inches | Storage options: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Rear cameras: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 10x optical, 10MP 3x optical | Front camera: 12MP

Last year's Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra took the crown for best Android phone overall, and its newly-released successor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, is on track to earn back-to-back titles for the Korean giant in 2023. From testing, it's clear that Samsung is once again taking the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach with the new Ultra flagship -- and it still works.

The device comes with arguably the best-looking display on the market with excellent brightness and a quad-camera setup on the rear that's headlined by a high-resolution 200MP camera. Plus, it still features an integrated S Pen stylus for notetaking, sketching, and more. That's only the tip of the iceberg, of course.

There are several more subtle upgrades to this year's S23 Ultra, including storage configurations that start at 256GB (versus last year's 128GB), a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset that's one of the most performant mobile platforms we've tested, and a more boxy form factor that makes the phone easier to hold and write on. Unsurprisingly, all of this comes with a lofty price tag: $1,199 to start. But if you want the most uncompromising phone available, and our top Android pick so far, the S23 Ultra is the one to get.

Review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Pros & Cons
  • A smartphone that doubles as a tablet
  • Large 7.6-inch, 120Hz, OLED panel
  • S Pen support
  • Flex Mode features
  • Expensive at $1,800
  • Charging speed can be better
  • Form factor takes some getting used to
More Details

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Display size: 6.2 (outer) and 7.6 inches (inner) | Storage options: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Rear cameras: 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto | Front camera: 10MP (outer) 4MP and (inner)

Foldables are inching closer and closer to mainstream acceptance, but that doesn't mean it's too early to hop on the innovation wagon. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the company's most polished 2-in-1 smartphone yet, and it's also the best one on the market, though Google's Pixel Fold is a competitor. (You can also make the argument that its Galaxy Z Flip 5 sibling is better with its smaller learning curve and practical design.)

With the latest model, you'll get up to 12GB of RAM, a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor powering the system, a flexible display that can expand from 6.2 inches to 7.6 inches, and all the software perks of Android 13. Samsung has also made some improvements to its industrial design to create a more uniform, durable, and lightweight form factor.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Pros & Cons
  • Compact size is refreshing to use
  • Uncompromising build quality and performance
  • First foldable with dust resistance
  • Moderate battery life with only 30W charging
  • No telephoto camera
More Details

Motorola Razr Plus features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | Display size: 3.6 inches external, 6.9 inches internal | Storage options: 256GB | Rear cameras: 12MP main, 13MP ultra-wide | Front camera: 32MP

Phones are getting faster and more powerful, but they're also taking up more space in our pockets. That's why the Motorola Razr Plus shines in the sea of 2023 smartphones. This is a clamshell-style foldable, to be clear, meaning it shape-shifts from a smaller 3.6-inch display figure to a larger 6.9-inch size when you need it. Naturally, when folded, the phone is no larger than a card slot wallet.

Despite its small stature, the Motorola Razr Plus packs a lot of features and performance. It's powered by an older Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor but is still capable of running the typical slew of apps and services like Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, games, and more. Thanks to the large external display, you can run the same programs without ever needing to flip open the phone. It feels like a two-phones-in-one device in that sense.

This quote from my full review sums up my main thoughts: "Razr Plus is Motorola's return to form, modernizing a classic flip phone into one of today's best foldables." While the aforementioned Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 remains the best in its class, the Razr Plus is just as considerable if you want a dual-screen handset for a fraction of the price.

Review: Motorola Razr Plus (2023)

Pros & Cons
  • 30x Super Res Zoom is ahead of the competition
  • Android 13 is buttery smooth
  • Timely updates and support for years
  • Software tricks unique to Pixel
  • Battery life and charging speed lag behind
  • Curved display makes it difficult to find a screen protector
  • Software experience can be too minimal
More Details

Google Pixel 7 Pro features: Processor: Google Tensor G2 | Display size: 6.7 inches | Storage options: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Rear cameras: 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 48MP telephoto | Front camera: 10.8 MP

The Pixel 7 Pro is no longer the highest-tier flagship that Google offers; that would be the $1,799 Pixel Fold, but it's still the company's most refined and tested device yet. The 6.7-inch model is now fitted with a more uniform glass-to-aluminum body and sees an updated Google Tensor G2 chip at the helm. With the new processor, the Pixel 7 Pro gets a boost in efficiency, performance, and a series of practical software features like Unblur and Guided Frame, along with last year's fan-favorite, Magic Eraser

It's this focus on "accessible creativity" that gives the Google phones a wonder that's absent from almost every other smartphone brand. I sat down with one of the company's product managers, Navin Sarma, late last year to talk about the philosophy behind the Pixel 7 Pro's camera system. The main takeaway was that Google isn't catering to a specific demographic of users with the Pixel camera. "If you have any inclination to take a picture, then this (Pixel) camera's for you," said Sarma.

To the Pixel 7 Pro's credit, the triple camera array, paired with the company's computational chops, is what puts it ahead of the competition. From the natural-colored photo and video capture to the new 30x Super Res Zoom that can snap crisp and surprisingly detailed close-up shots, the flagship Pixel's camera system is more capable than ever before.

The $699 price tag, which undercuts Samsung and Apple's very best, is the cherry on top. 

Review: Google Pixel 7 Pro

Pros & Cons
  • Glyph Interface is bold and practical to use
  • Nothing OS 2.0 software is bloatware free
  • All-day battery life
  • Priced well at $719
  • Slippery without a case
  • No telephoto lens
  • No Verizon support
More Details

Nothing Phone 2 features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | Display size: 6.7 inches | Storage options: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Rear cameras: 50MP main, 50MP ultrawide | Front camera: 32MP

Nothing is easily the hottest Android maker in recent years, with a flashy transparent design language that tugs the heartstrings of retro-tech enthusiasts. It's also one of the few, if not only, new entrants in the smartphone market, joining the fray at a time when others have pulled out.

Fortunately, Nothing Phone 2, the company's most recent flagship handset brings the sizzle and the substance to back it up. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor with up to 12GB of RAM which, from ZDNET's testing, proved to be more than enough for Nothing's minimalist and digital wellbeing-focused software experience.

The key selling point of the Phone 2 is what Nothing calls Glyph Interface, an assembly of LED strips on the back of the phone that blinks in unique patterns depending on incoming alerts and notifications. It's a clever way to leverage the transparent back panel and encourages users to stare at their phone screens less. Bold design philosophy, I know.

For $719, the Nothing Phone 2 undercuts most flagships on the market today while offering a reliably charming smartphone package that most design freaks and fashionistas will adore.

Review: Nothing Phone 2

Pros & Cons
  • Snappy and smooth performance
  • 100W fast-charging (80W in the U.S.) with charger in the box
  • Premium build quality for the price
  • Competitive main camera for photos
  • Storage and RAM configuration is limited to 128GB/256GB
  • No wireless charging
  • No IP68 rating for water and dust resistance
More Details

OnePlus 11 features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Display size: 6.7 inches | Storage options: 128GB/256GB | Rear cameras: 50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 32MP telephoto | Front camera: 16 MP

OnePlus has had its ups and downs over the past three years, pivoting from value-driven smartphones to ultra-premium, and then back to square one with the new OnePlus 11. The phone starts at $699 and here's everything you get for the price: a large 6.7-inch AMOLED 120Hz display, a 5,000mAh battery, a triple camera setup with a competent 50MP main lens at the helm, the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and more. Again, $550. 

Putting the bang-for-your-buck aspect aside, the OnePlus 11 shines above the competition with its charging speed, something you'll quickly take for granted once you realize that phones don't have to be sitting by an outlet for two hours every day. "The 80W charger is a significant increase in charging speed compared to current market standards and we expect more OEMs to increase fast charging support with future devices," Maurice Klaehne, Senior Market Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, tells ZDNET.

The 100W charging brick (80W in the U.S.) included in the box can take the OnePlus 11 from 0 to 50% with just a 10-minute charge, or 0 to 100% in less than 30 minutes. 

Review: OnePlus 11

Pros & Cons
  • Smooth-looking 90Hz OLED display
  • First A-series with wireless charging
  • Reliable dual-camera system
  • Middling battery life with acceptable charging rates
  • Only one storage configuration
  • Display may not be bright enough for some
More Details

Google Pixel 7a features: Processor: Google Tensor G2 | Display size: 6.1 inches | Storage options: 128GB | Rear cameras: 64MP main, 12MP ultrawide | Front camera: 13 MP

For a fraction of the cost of Google's Pixel Pro, the Pixel 7a gives you a near-similar smartphone experience. I daily-drove the mid-range Pixel for two weeks and kept asking myself whether a "Pro" phone was even a necessity anymore. That's how competent this $444 handset is.

To be frank, last year's Pixel 6a had already set the bar for the middle market, offering essential features like an OLED display, a reliable camera system that's backed by Google's computational expertise, and a software experience that includes all the fantastic Pixel features we've come to love, like Photo Unblur and Magic Eraser.

This year, Google's taking things up a notch by adding a smoother 90Hz refresh rate display, wireless charging support (though it's capped at 7.5W), and it's signature Tensor G2 chipset for improved machine learning and overall performance. The new processor also enhances the Pixel's photo-taking capabilities, lending to better capturing of various subjects in various lighting conditions. That's all accented by an inclusive 13MP front-facing camera with a 95-degree field-of-view, which, from ZDNET's testing, proved to be the phone's most underrated feature.

Review: Google Pixel 7a

Pros & Cons
  • Exceptional value at $350
  • Up to five years of software and security updates
  • Reliable 5,000mAh battery
  • Smooth 120Hz OLED display
  • Mid-range processor is not as performant
  • Hardware can have a plastic feel
  • Night-time photography can use some work
More Details

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G features: Processor: Exynos 1380 | Display size: 6.4 inches | Storage options: 128GB | Rear cameras: 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro | Front camera: 32MP

Yes, the mid-range Android market has gotten so competitive that we had to nominate an alternative, too. You deserve options, so let us introduce you to the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G.

Samsung's Galaxy A series of smartphones focus on value, display quality, and battery life above all else. That's a recipe for a great handset if you can live without the flashy features found on more premium devices. And that's also compared to Google's Pixel A devices that put camera performance before other things.

Like last year's Galaxy A53, the new A54 sports a 120Hz OLED display, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage (expandable up to 1TB), and all the Samsung software fix-ins. While the improvements are minor this year -- you're looking at a more modern design that pays homage to the S-series models and an updated Exynos processor -- the A54 somehow costs the same as its predecessor at $350.

The camera system is solid, though I wouldn't put it above the Pixel 7a's standard. The A54 won't snap the sharpest shots in the dark, but the built-in optical image stabilization helps the 50MP camera capture images of people, animals, food, places, and more to an acceptable degree. From ZDNET's testing of the device, the image results were satisfyingly clear, with a hint of saturation that should suit most users' tastes.

Again, if your feature priority list starts with display quality, battery life, and performance, and in that order, the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is for you.

Review: Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Pros & Cons
  • 6.78-inch OLED display ramps up to 165Hz
  • A whopping 6,000mAh battery
  • Included cooling fan doubles as a subwoofer
  • Software experience can feel cluttered
  • May not support your carrier network
  • Pricey when it's all been said and done
More Details

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Display size: 6.78 inches | Storage options: 512GB | Rear cameras: 50MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 5MP macro | Front camera: 32MP

If there's one area that Android completely dominates iOS in, it's gaming. Whether you game on existing mobile apps or take to the cloud for streaming, Android manufacturers have spent the past decade forging a new category of gaming-tailored smartphones, and the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate may just be the best in its class. 

Here's a rundown of its key features for gaming: The phone has a 165Hz refresh rate display for buttery-smooth visuals, 16GB of RAM and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset to power through games and background tasks, capacitive side triggers that are mappable to various in-game functions, an additional LED back panel that casts animations depending on what you're doing (it's excessive, but we're here for it,) and a 6,000mAh battery keeping the lights turned on.

But perhaps the most important addition to this year's ROG Phone, and it's bizarre to think that there's more to all the madness above, is the bundled AeroActive Cooler. On the surface level, it's a cooling fan that snaps onto the back cover of the device. And when it's turned on, a small vent opens up from the phone, allowing any internal heat to ventilate out. The cooler doubles as a subwoofer for enhanced audio output and has extra buttons to give you more controls when in-game.

Review: Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

What is the best Android phone?

After weighing out the specs and reviewer-tested experiences, the best Android phone is currently the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. It's got a beautiful AMOLED display, a powerful CPU, and a state-of-the-art camera that covers all the bases and angles. Here's how the best of the best compare to each other: 





Cameras (rear)


Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

6.8 inches, 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED

200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 10x optical, 10MP 3x optical


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

6.2 and 7.6 inches, 120Hz Flexible AMOLED

50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto


Motorola Razr Plus


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1

3.6 and 6.9 inches, 144Hz and 165Hz OLED

12MP main, 12MP ultrawide


Google Pixel 7 Pro


Google Tensor G2

6.7 inches, 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED

50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 48MP telephoto


Nothing Phone 2


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1

6.7 inches 120Hz AMOLED

50MP main, 50MP ultrawide


OnePlus 11


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

6.7 inches, 120Hz AMOLED

50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, 32MP telephoto


Google Pixel 7a


Google Tensor G2

6.1 inches, 90Hz gOLED

64MP main, 12MP ultrawide


Samsung Galaxy A54 5G


Exynos 1380

6.4 inches, 120Hz OLED

50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro


Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

6.78 inches, 165Hz AMOLED

50MP main, 13MP ultrawide, 5MP macro


Which is the right Android phone for you?

All of these phones run the same base operating system, but the user interface ranges from stock Android to more elaborate options. First, you need to figure out which fits your needs best.

Camera performance across the board is solid for just about every phone on the list, but some are better than others. If you plan to capture photos as your primary function, then you should look to Google, Samsung, or even OnePlus.

If you plan to spend $1,000 or more, then you may also want your phone to last for at least a couple of years. You should consider companies with a good track record of regular updates, notably Google and Samsung.

Choose this Android phone…

If you want…

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The overall best with nearly no compromises. Buy this phone if you want a device that delivers on display and camera quality, performance, and battery life. It also comes with an S Pen stylus for precision inputs.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The best foldable phone on the market right now, whether you're based in the US or not. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 makes subtle yet meaningful refinements to last year's model, including a better processor.

Motorola Razr Plus

A compact phone that doesn't compromise on performance. It's rare to find such a combination, but that's exactly what you're getting with this clamshell foldable.

Google Pixel 7 Pro

A clean and minimal software experience and several Google-exclusive perks, like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur, that distinguish it from the rest of the competition.

Nothing Phone 2

A great-looking Android phone that puts hardware and software design first. The Nothing Phone 2 has a unique Glyph Interface feature and a relatively affordable starting price of $719. 

OnePlus 11

A phone that takes less than 30 minutes to completely top up, with other specifications that are just as capable. The best is its $550 starting price, which undercuts the industry's best.

Google Pixel 7a

Arguably the best sub-$500 phone on the market right now, with a camera system that rivals flagships and a rather comfortable form factor compared to the industry norm.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

Another great-value Android with all the essentials, including a large 120Hz display, a 5,000mAh battery, up to five years of software updates, and MicroSD card support.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

A high-performance package that comes with all the features necessary for an enjoyable gaming experience. That includes side triggers and a cooling fan add-on.

How did we choose these smartphones?

We chose these smartphones by testing the phones for weeks and months, evaluating them based on real-world applications like phone calls, messaging, web browsing, and taking way too many pictures and videos. 

ZDNET's mobile experts also liaise with industry colleagues and analysts who have hands-on experience with the handsets, sifting through the Android pile for the best of the best. Here's the breakdown of what factors we look for.

  • Display: Possibly the most overlooked feature on a smartphone, the display is what you stare at, scroll at, and interact with day in and day out. Therefore, when picking the best Android phones -- no matter the budget -- ZDNET put an emphasis on the devices with above-average panels. Ideally, a good display covers a wide color gamut, is durable, and has a high refresh rate for the smoothest visuals.
  • Performance: Most Android devices are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets, and we've found its more recent offerings very capable of running the daily and weekly onslaught of apps and services. When you have a task at hand, the best Android phones above are more than able to get the job done.
  • Camera quality: From group selfies to slow-motion videos, the best Android phones feature camera systems that are reliable and flexible to capture any shot you want. Naturally, an ample amount of storage size is also considered during the selection process.
  • Battery life: For how reliant we've become on smartphones, the top picks on this list are not only able to last you from morning to night but support fast charging when it's time to top up. 
  • Price: What you won't find on this list is a device that's not worth the money, or is overcharging you for the hardware-software package you're getting.

Can I use eSIM on an Android phone?

While Apple's iPhone 14 made headlines for its eSIM integration, the digital service also works -- and has been for some time -- with Android devices, including the latest Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and OnePlus smartphone. As always, it's best practice to consult with your local carrier before converting to eSIM

What is the best small Android phone?

Besides the Motorola Razr Plus, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a worthy runner-up, with only a 3.4-inch display when folded together, up to 512GB of storage, and a gapless hinge design. During ZDNET's testing, the small-but-mighty Android proved capable of handling apps and services typically run on larger devices.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is another great pick if you prefer a compact handset.

Are there alternative Android phones to consider?

Outside of this list of excellent options, here are worthy alternatives that will surely delight you.

Google Pixel 6a Display


Google Pixel 6a

The Pixel 6a is my sleeper pick for best value smartphone of the year, now that Google sells it for $349. It's not too bulky, has a reliable display that isn't curved, and boosts a similar camera configuration as the Pixel 6 series. 

View at Best Buy
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 in hand


Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

While the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is not as flashy as the Z Fold 5, it's argued to be the best foldable for most users. In fact, it's the model that Samsung continues to sell more of; the combination of the nostalgic clamshell form factor with a more accessible $1,000 starting price is stellar.

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Hand holding a Samsung Galaxy S23, showing the line of three cameras


Samsung Galaxy S23

Small phone enthusiasts, rejoice! Besides the Motorola Razr Plus, the latest Samsung Galaxy S23 is another Android worth considering if you're shopping for a compact handset that doesn't settle on specs. 

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