If you want a phone packed with the latest technology and tons of customization, you’ll inevitably look towards one of the best Android phones, such as our pick for best overall, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Android phones have a well-deserved reputation for being more innovative and flexible than the Apple iPhone, and they’re often more affordably priced as well.
Why consider an Android phone over an iPhone? “Android and iOS have grown more similar over the years, but one advantage Android continues to hold over the iPhone is the level of choice and diversity it offers,” notes JR Raphael, founder and publisher of Android Intelligence. Even though Apple’s current iPhone 14 Series has three models, “the iPhone is essentially a single approach, under one company’s close control. Android is an entire platform, with lots of different companies competing and bringing their own unique visions into the mix. You can decide which type of device and experience is right for you.”
Raphael continues: “With the iPhone, if you like what Apple has at any given moment, that’s great. But if you aren’t entirely thrilled with Apple’s hardware choices or the software decisions, you’re pretty much out of luck. On Android, you’ve always got a massive menu of options.”
The 5G Android phones on our list are all priced as unlocked phones for use on any carrier (confirm compatibility with your service before buying). Many of these phones have an additional discount at the time of purchase, if you are activating a new phone plan. Typically, manufacturers and retailers sell these phones directly. Many carriers also sell these phones with a service plan, but the pricing is carrier dependent.
After research and experience, we’ve chosen the best Android phones you can buy today. Whether you’re looking for a phone that matches well to your personal and professional life, or a phone that won’t break your budget, there’s something here for you.
Display size: 6.8-inch | Display type: 3,088 x 1,440-pixel AMOLED, up to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate | RAM: 8GB/12GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery life: 5,000 mAh | Dimensions: 6.4 x 3.1 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 8.3 ounces | Front camera: 12 megapixels | Rear camera: 200 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide), 10 megapixels (telephoto with 10x optical zoom), 10 megapixels (telephoto with 3x optical zoom) | Charging: 45W wired, 10W wireless| Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Best for: Photography, videography and high performance.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best Android phone you can buy today. This phone improves upon its capable predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, with a sharper design and impressive camera that can capture up to 200-megapixel images. The advantage to all those extra pixels is you can crop into the photo and reframe it without losing clarity. Beyond its pro-level camera array, this phone packs the fast Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and a crisp, vibrant QHD+ display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and a maximum brightness of 1,750 nits. It comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but you can step up 12GB of RAM with either 512GB or 1TB at an extra cost—a worthwhile choice if you plan to shoot lots of high-res photos or 8K video. The phone has a strong IP68 water resistance rating, so you can safely take it out about and not worry about the environment.
Another standout feature is this phone’s integrated S Pen stylus, a handy way to write, draw and annotate directly on the screen. And, if you use the phone with the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro noise cancelling wireless earbuds, you can listen to 360-degree audio.
Impressive camera setup
Integrated S Pen stylus
Only includes a USB cable
No memory card slot
Display size: 6.7-inch | Display type: 3,216 x 1,440-pixel AMOLED, up to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB | Battery: 5,000 mAh | Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 7.2 ounces | Front camera: 16 megapixels | Rear camera: 50 megapixels (wide), 48 megapixels (ultra-wide) and 32 megapixels (portrait) | Charging: 80W wired | Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | OS: OxygenOS 13
Best for: Excellent performance and specialty photography.
The new OnePlus 11 5G is currently the best value Android phone you can buy. With its free (at launch) memory upgrade to the 256GB model with 16GB of RAM, this unlocked phone comes in at a lower price than its closest competitor, the Google Pixel 7 Pro. Which to buy comes down a personal decision. Both are competitively priced, are powered by advanced processors and excel at photography (though the Pixel 7 Pro has the edge there). There are subtle differences between the two phones, but both offer a good value for the money—with features you’d expect from a phone more than twice its price. Even without the memory upgrade, the $699 128GB version still bests the Google Pixel 7 Pro’s regular price, giving it a slight edge.
The OnePlus 11 can shoot video at up to 8K at 24 fps (the Pixel 7 Pro only does 4K video). It also captures impressive still images, thanks to a Hasselblad-driven camera array. This phone is good for gaming, thanks to the display’s Dolby Vision and HDR10/10+ support and its 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The internal speakers support Dolby Atmos with noise cancellation, but to hear the highest quality audio, we recommend using this phone with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 wireless earbuds. Functionality for these earbuds is seamlessly integrated into the phone’s OS.
In short, if you want a versatile and highly customizable phone that’s well designed, durable and feature-packed, the OnePlus 11 5G is a great option. We do, however, recommend upgrading to the configuration with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage for $100 more.
Beautiful display with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
Excellent camera setup
Fast and capable processor
Does not support wireless charging
Display size: 6.7-inch | Display type: 1,440 x 3,120-pixel OLED, up to 120Hz refresh rate | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB or 512GB | Battery: 5,000 mAh | Dimensions: 6.4 x 3 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 7.5 ounces | Front camera: 10.8 megapixels| Rear camera : 50 megapixels wide, 12 megapixels ultra-wide, 48 megapixels telephoto | Charging: 30W wired, 23W wireless | Processor: Google Tensor G2 | OS: Android 13
Best for: AI-assisted photography and seamlessly tapping into Google’s service ecosystem.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is an attractive, stylish phone, with a distinctive band across the back housing three cameras. It has a vibrant and bright QHD+ OLED display. At 6.7-inches, the display is a satisfying size, although you can see the difference in the size of text when compared with larger 6.8-inch screens (like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra). This model’s impressive cameras—the best being a 50-megapixel wide lens—can produce well-exposed images even in tricky lighting. It also has Google’s AI-enhanced 30x Super Res Zoom, crystal clear macro photography and background blur effects. Google’s Real Tone feature aims to capture accurately the nuances of any skin tone, and it succeeds at this well (read more in Forbes Vetted’s Pixel Pro 7 review). The phone only captures video at 4K at 60 fps.
Whether you’re shooting video, talking on the phone or on a video call, the Pixel 7 Pro uses stereo speakers and three built-in microphones to ensure you hear and capture clear audio. It has a slim and modern design, 12GB of RAM and starts at 128GB of storage (step up to 256Gb for $100 more, or 512GB for $150 more). Among the features that make this phone stand out from the competition: In addition to its built-in fingerprint scanner and facial recognition, it has a built-in virtual private network (VPN), which provides extra security when accessing the internet without needing to install third-party software. Google’s services—from Gmail and Google Maps, to Google Pay and YouTube—are all well-integrated, creating a seamless user experience.
Excellent AI-enhanced cameras
Display size: 7.6-inch (unfolded), (6.2-inch folded) | Display type: 1,812 x 2,176-pixel AMOLED display, up to 120Hz refresh rate | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB | Battery: 4,400 mAh | Dimensions: 6.1 x 5.1 x 0.3 inches (unfolded), 6.1 x 2.6 x 0.6 inches (folded) | Weight: 9.3 ounces | Front camera: 4 megapixels (front), 10 megapixels (cover camera) | Rear camera: 50 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide) and 10 megapixels (telephoto) | Charging: 25W wired, 15W wireless | Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | OS: Android 12 (upgradable to Android 13)
Best for: A large, tablet-like display that folds up to a pocket-size phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is too small to be a tablet, yet too large to serve as a traditional smartphone. However, it’s ideal for anyone who wants a larger (7.6-inch) touchscreen display that’s reminiscent of a tablet but folds nicely to fit in a sport coat pocket or purse. The integrated S Pen lets you handwrite or draw on the display, and you can easily convert handwriting to editable text. The massive QXGA+ display makes productivity tasks like reviewing and annotating documents a breeze. Since the main display uses a folding design, two separate apps can easily run simultaneously (one on each screen), or a single app can make full use of the display’s real estate. When folded, the phone is narrower and bulkier than most competitors, but fully usable as a phone thanks to the cover display.
As with other top-tier Samsung phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 features an excellent camera setup, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity options, plus enough performance to make the most graphic-intensive games run smoothly. With its top IPX8 water resistance rating, you don’t need to worry about getting the phone wet, while the display’s Corning Gorilla Glass helps prevent scratches and cracks. It comes with 256GB of storage, but 512GB (an extra $120) or 1TB (an extra 240) are strong choices if you plan to use the camera liberally. This phone’s appeal lies with its large, compelling screen, perfect for when you don’t want to carry around a tablet.
Large, vibrant 7.6-inch display (unfolded)
Great for multitasking
Thicker and heavier than a typical smartphone
Display size: 6.3-inch | Display type: 1,800 x 2,400 pixel OLED, up to 90Hz refresh rate | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB | Battery: 4,355 mAh | Dimensions: 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 6.9 ounces | Front camera: 10.8 megapixels | Rear cameras: 50 megapixels (wide), 10.8 megapixels (ultra-wide), up to 8x zoom | Charging: 20W wired, 20W wireless | Processor: Google Tensor G2 Titan with M2 security coprocessor | OS: Android 13
Best for: Apps and photography on a smaller, general-purpose Android phone.
If you don’t need the large size display and pro-level camera setup in the Google Pixel 7 Pro, the scaled-down Google Pixel 7 is a strong, less costly alternative. The baseline unlocked phone has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Since the camera is so strong on the Pixel 7, upgrading to the 256GB version for $100 more is a good bet—especially if you plan to shoot and store lots of high-resolution video.
The Pixel 7 has all the advanced features of the Pixel 7 Pro, but it lacks that model’s telephoto camera and 120Hz display. The phone is sleek and compact in-hand, and its appearance and user interface are extremely customizable. It also seamlessly integrates with other Google mobile devices and services. Like the Pixel 7 Pro, this phone takes security rather seriously, with a fingerprint scanner, facial recognition and a built-in VPN. The phone has an IP67 water resistance rating; plus, it has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for added durability. And with its maximum brightness of 1,400 nits, the display is easily viewable in virtually any lighting situation, including sunlight.
Beautiful and bright 6.3-inch display
Plenty of built-in security features
Powered by Google Tensor G2 Titan
Lacks telephoto lens
Slower display refresh rate
Display size: 6.1-inch | Display type: 1,080 x 2,400 pixel OLED, up to 60Hz refresh rate | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 4,410 mAh | Dimensions: 6 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 6.3 ounces | Front camera: 8 megapixels | Rear camera: 12.2 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide) | Charging: 18W wired | Processor: Google Tensor | OS: Android 12 (upgradable to Android 13)
Best for: Experiencing the features of a Google Pixel smartphone without the high-end features or high price.
For anyone who does not need the cutting-edge features built into the more expensive Google Pixel 7 or Google Pixel 7 Pro, the scaled-down and more affordable Google Pixel 6a might be the perfect choice. Like all Pixel phones, this model gets updates from Google for 5 years after its release, so this 2022 model has plenty of life left in it. The most appealing thing about this phone is its price: You can often find it for less than $350.
The Pixel 6a offers an impressive battery life, fast performance thanks to the Google Tensor processor, plus security features that use the Titan M2 chip. It has a secure fingerprint unlock, but it lacks face recognition. The FHD+ OLED display is good, but it lacks the same faster refresh rates of the Pixel 7 series. The camera array is a generation behind, too, although the software does a great a job focusing on faces, maintaining accurate skin tone and capturing detail even in low light. Like all the Pixel phones, this one is also extremely customizable. One drawback is the phone is only available with 128GB of storage, but for the many, this capacity is more than enough.
Integrates with other Google gear, like the Pixel Buds Pro wireless earbuds and the Google Watch
Comes unlocked and uses eSIM technology
Compatible with all Google apps and services, like Gmail, Google Translate, Google Photos and Google Maps
Cameras are lower resolution than other Pixel smartphones
Slow charging speed
Display size: 6.7-inch (main), 1.9-inch (front) | Display type: 2,640 x 1,080 pixel AMOLED display, up to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate (main) / 512 x 260 pixel (front) | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB, 256GB or 512GB | Battery: 3,700 mAh | Dimensions: 2.8 x 6.5 x 0.3 inches (unfolded), 3.3 x 2.8 x 0.6 inches (folded) | Weight: 6.6 ounces | Front camera: 10 megapixels | Rear camera: 12 megapixels (wide), 12 megapixels (ultra-wide) | Charging: 25W wired, 15W wireless | Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | OS: Android 12
Best for: Unique, hands-free camera angles in a full-featured, pocket-size phone.
Traditional smartphone designs have a rectangular shape that makes it difficult to fit in a pocket or prop up on a flat surface without the use of an optional stand. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4’s design addresses both these issues. It also folds up to fit inside the palm of your hand—or a tight pocket. You can prop this phone up as a tent, or fold the phone into an L-shape, using half of the body as a base. These configurations open up a world of new camera angles, as well as the flexibility to take pictures without having to hold the camera yourself or set it up on a tripod. Unfortunately, the camera array isn’t as advanced as on the larger Galaxy Z Fold4 or the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 has a choice of 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. For the most user, we recommend going with the 256GB configuration. But if you’re a power user, choose the 512GB configuration to ensure you have plenty of storage for your photos, videos, apps, files and related content. The phone has an IPX8 water resistance rating. When folded, the phone has a 1.9-inch outside cover screen so you can view the clock, notifications and messages, for example, without having to open the phone. The main screen is a tall, 6.7-inch AMOLED display. This phone stands out for its folding design, yet it’s able to do everything a typical Android phone can handle.
Outside cover screen gives immediate information
6.7-inch main touchscreen display
Less advanced rear cameras
How We Chose The Best Android Smartphones
We combined research with hands-on testing and experience, and we spoke with product experts and industry leaders to help us determine the products that make the cut. We carefully evaluated each smartphone’s display, processor, camera setup and more. We also paid attention to what sets each Android smartphone apart from its competition.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
The Forbes Vetted tech team strives to offer accurate, trustworthy product assessments that are the result of intensive research and hands-on testing. Our writers and editors have years of experience writing about a broad range of consumer electronics and have the background and expertise to help you make the best buying decisions possible.
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Forbes Vetted regularly covers all types of consumer electronics and then reviews and recommends the best products in specific categories. Here are some other articles you might enjoy reading:
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I am an accomplished author, journalist, and photographer who specializes in consumer technologies. Please visit my website at www.JasonRich.com and check out my eBook, “iPhone 14 Pro Max Digital Photography” (www.iPhoneBookShop.com). I am also the author of The Remote Worker’s Handbook (Entrepreneur Books) that’ll be published in March 2023.
With a passion for all things Android and Apple, Karen Miller is an experienced technology journalist.
She brings her extensive knowledge and keen insight to her coverage of the latest developments in the mobile world as a reporter for DroidGazzete.
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