The Best Android Phones for 2023

The Best Android Phone Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our commerce team

Whether you’re looking for a big or small phone, entry-level or top-of-the-line, Android offers options for everyone. And unlike Apple’s rigid release cycle, Google’s hardware partners unleash an endless stream of new devices year-round. And therein lies the problem: With so many options, how do you settle on the right one? Lucky for you, we test and review nearly every smartphone available from all the major US carriers.

Keep in mind that though some of the devices listed here may not show your carrier of choice, you can buy most of these phones unlocked and use them with multiple US carriers. Read on for what to look for, as well as our top picks for Android phones.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Google Pixel 7a

Best Affordable Pixel Phone

Why We Picked It

Google’s software is the choice of the techno-elite for its speed, elegance, and simplicity. The Pixel 7a brings you that software—along with years of Android updates before anyone else gets them—at an affordable price. Although the Pixel 7a is available from carriers, we encourage you to look at pairing an unlocked model with an alternative (but still reliable) carrier like Google Fi or US Mobile to save money.

Who It’s For

Folks whose taste outpaces their budget. Google’s Pixel phones aren’t the best-selling Android models (Samsung models are more popular), but many people still prefer these phones because of their clean software and capable cameras.


  • Solid performance
  • Above-average cameras
  • Unique design
  • Wireless charging


  • Wi-Fi disconnection issue in testing

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Best for Artists and Power Users

Why We Picked It

The Galaxy S23 Ultra scratches two specific itches: It has a built-in S Pen stylus (like the now-defunct Galaxy Note) and a 10x optical zoom camera, with 100x digital zoom. Although other stylus-compatible phones are available, none has flagship specs, let alone a camera that can match the Samsung’s zoom power. Rounding out the package is a terrific screen and class-leading cellular reception.

Who It’s For

If you think you will use the stylus or the super-zoom camera, don’t bother looking at other phones. Artists who want a digital drawing platform and photographers who work at telephoto distances should both find appeal here.


  • Large, bright display
  • Speedy performance
  • Excellent cameras
  • S Pen integration
  • Solid battery life
  • Durable hardware
  • Strong software update commitment


  • Expensive
  • Big, heavy build

Motorola Moto Edge+ (2023)

Best Android Flagship for Most People

Why We Picked It

The Motorola Moto Edge+ currently strikes the best balance of power, connectivity, and price among Android phones. With an excellent three-lens camera array, a bright 6.7-inch screen, and a fast Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, it’s the mainstream leader. Battery life is also top-notch at nearly 17 hours in our tests.

Who It’s For

This is the no-brainer choice if you want a high-quality Android phone for under $1,000 right now.


  • Stellar battery life
  • Solid performance
  • Attractive curved screen
  • Rapid charging


  • Display is only 1080p
  • Finicky fingerprint reader

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Best Foldable Phone

Why We Picked It

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 works out all the major kinks that were present in the Z Fold 4. The lighter package and more compact body make it a lot easier to carry around this incredibly powerful machine. Moreover, it finally loses the wedged shape when folded and closes flat. It costs a lot of money, but Samsung justifies it with lots of features, such as multitasking, S Pen stylus support, the latest 5G and Wi-Fi radios, and speedy performance.

Who It’s For

If you are looking for one device to replace your phone, tablet, and maybe even your laptop, the Z Fold 5 is built for you.


  • Incredibly versatile
  • Excellent productivity software
  • Beautiful screens
  • Slimmer, lighter design than previous generation


  • Pricey
  • Odd speaker placement

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

Best Affordable Android Phone

Why We Picked It

The Samsung Galaxy A14 5G easily justifies its very affordable price. You get a big 6.6-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate, good performance, and many years of updates to keep your phone current. We also like that the phone still features both a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot.

Who It’s For?

If you need to keep to a strict budget or get your kid their first smartphone, this is your best bet. Yes, kids will probably ask for iPhones, but it’s your wallet and they should adjust to Android quickly.


  • Large, sharp display with 90Hz refresh rate
  • Good performance for the price
  • Excellent software update policy


  • Not protected against dust or water
  • Screen is hard to see in sunlight

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Best High-End Pixel Phone

Why We Picked It

The Pixel 7 Pro takes everything we like about the base Pixel 7 and makes it better. It adds a high-end telephoto camera, more RAM, and a bigger, faster screen. It maintains the stock Pixel software experience we love, which makes it worth considering for die-hard Android fans.

Who It’s For

If you want a larger phone, the best-possible mobile camera, and demand the pure Android experience offered by Google Pixel phones, this is the one to buy. While the base Pixel 7 provides a better value, the Pixel 7 Pro takes everything to the nth degree.


  • Excellent photography features
  • Powerful software tools
  • Fast, pixel-rich display


  • Shorter battery life than the Pixel 7
  • Connectivity could be better

Motorola ThinkPhone

Best Business Flagship

Why We Picked It

The powerful Motorola ThinkPhone offers a 144Hz screen, a long-lasting battery, and an excellent IP68 rating that protects it from all kinds of dust and spills. For business users, the Ready For companion app unlocks a toolbelt full of enterprise features such as app streaming, cross-device copy and pasting, and drag-and-drop file sharing with Windows PCs. Management apps such as ThinkShield, Moto Secure, Moto OEMConfig, and Moto Device Manager should satisfy IT managers as well. Did we mention that it’s tough as nails?

Who It’s For

The ThinkPhone is an ideal work phone, with enough power and features to succeed in professional environments.


  • Excellent performance
  • Speedy 144Hz display
  • Above-average battery life
  • Resistant to drops and water

Samsung Galaxy S23

Best Small Phone

Why We Picked It

The base Samsung Galaxy S23 hits many of the same high notes as its two siblings: fast performance, good cameras, and excellent cellular reception. This model is just a bit smaller and more affordable with slightly shorter battery life.

Who It’s For

If you have trouble operating a big phone, this is our favorite small Android model with flagship specs. It isn’t actually a small phone like the iPhone 13 mini, but it’s still your best bet if you want something pocketable.


  • Pocket-friendly size
  • Strong performance
  • Good battery life
  • Respectable cameras
  • Reasonable price


  • Slower charging than S23+ and S23 Ultra
  • No ultra-wideband (UWB) support

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Best Pocket-Sized Flip Phone

Why We Picked It

We love that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 lets you access quick bits of information, widgets, and key notifications from the outer screen without even opening the phone. And when you do open it, you get access to a large screen with the full Samsung Galaxy experience. It also features the latest software from Google and Samsung, and the top specs available.

Who It’s For

This handset is perfect for a person who would love to have a big 6.7-inch Android phone in a tiny package. It’s also great if you want to take creative selfies because the folding screen works as a tripod of sorts.


  • Beautiful design and finish
  • Excellent performance
  • Sharp screens
  • Surprisingly rugged build


  • Outer display functionality is limited by default
  • Poor app continuity between screens

Buying Guide: The Best Android Phones for 2023

When Is the Best Time to Buy a New Android Phone?

The Android release cycle is perpetual, and a new set of flagship phones arrives practically every month. For instance, so far in 2023, we saw fresh Galaxy S hardware from Samsung in February and a new phone from OnePlus shortly thereafter. A significant number of new, innovative handsets debuted at Mobile World Congress in March, and we recently tested the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, the Motorola Razr+, and the Google Pixel Fold.

Our point is that there’s almost always a new Android phone available, and there is no bad time to buy.

The Best 5G Android Phones

Support for 5G has now become fairly standard on any phone costing more than $200. Devices below that threshold might not work on every band, but don’t worry too much; 4G networks are robust, still offer excellent performance, and will continue to do so for years.

Speaking of bands, if you want the best network speeds in the US, look for a phone with C-band (band n77). On T-Mobile and Verizon, C-band 5G offers several times the speed of 4G. The number of phones with C-band support is growing quickly, but you should confirm that the particular phone you’re considering supports it. We detail whether a phone supports C-band in each of our reviews to make the process easier.

For more, you can find our favorite 5G handsets in our list of the best 5G phones.

What Is the Best Cheap Android Phone?

This list has phones that cost anywhere from below $200 to nearly $2,000. On the low end, Motorola, OnePlus, and Samsung models tend to be excellent values for the money. Of note: carrier-branded phones (which don’t mention the name of their manufacturer) often aren’t very good, and you should avoid them.

Most of the phones available in the US cost $600 or more because most people buy them on monthly payment plans that hide the cost over 24 to 36 months. But there’s also a thriving market, mostly in the prepaid space, of phones that cost $300 or less. Take a look at lower-end OnePlus phones or models from Motorola and Samsung at prepaid carriers for decent quality at a low price.

For more, see our stories on the best cheap phones, the best cheap phone plans, and our top tips to get the best price on a cell phone.

What Size Android Phone Is Right for You?

There’s been a dramatic shift in Android phone shapes and sizes over the last few years. Many manufacturers have started to make their phones taller and narrower, resulting in one-hand-friendly models with improbably large screen sizes. We go into more detail on evolving form factors in our piece on how we need to measure phone screens now.

Left to right: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 standing up on a table

Left to right: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+, Galaxy S23 (Credit: Eric Zeman)

You can find Android phones with stated screen sizes from 3 inches (the Unihertz Jelly 2E) to over 7 inches (the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5). With the new designs, though, it’s very important to look at the width of the phone and the width of the screen. A tall, narrow phone can be much easier to handle than something wider, but it’s also a less common aspect ratio for apps to use.

In the end, don’t discount the value of handling several options in person at your local wireless shop. And check out our roundup of small phones for your best compact options.

Which Is the Best Android Version?

Generally speaking, the newest version of Android is the best version of Android. Android 13 is the most recent version of Google’s mobile platform at the time of this writing. Many phones currently have access to Android 13, but some still don’t.

Whatever you do, don’t buy a phone that comes with anything below Android 11; the older the Android software version, the more likely it is to have security flaws. Also, check how many rounds of full operating system upgrades and security patches the manufacturer promises; Google and Samsung tend to lead the pack for multi-year upgrades, but some competing phone makers are catching up.

Last, remember that not all experiences on Android are the same. If you want a pure Google experience, opt for a Pixel device—they’re the models that Google upgrades first. Motorola and Nokia also offer a mostly clean Android interface, though the companies lag on long-term software support. Samsung, OnePlus, TCL, and other phone makers ship their phones with skins that change the look and functionality of Android to some degree.

Recommended by Our Editors

Google Pixel 7 in hand

Google Pixel 7 (Credit: Eric Zeman)

What About Oppo, Vivo, or Xiaomi?

Three of the world’s five biggest smartphone makers don’t sell phones in the US (at least, via carriers), and PCMag primarily serves US consumers. In the cases of Oppo and Vivo, it’s because they’ve ceded the US market to their sibling brand OnePlus (Oppo and OnePlus have now essentially merged). Xiaomi has said several times that its business model, which relies heavily on advertising revenue and subscription services baked into its phones, won’t work in the US. Huawei, once near the top of the list, has been battered by sanctions that prohibit the company from using US components or software in its smartphones. The same is mostly true for ZTE, once a mainstay of US prepaid carriers. Honor, a former subsidiary of Huawei, is now making a more global push, particularly in Europe, but has yet to commit to selling phones in the US.

We do not recommend importing foreign phones for use in the US because they often perform poorly on US carrier networks. When we tested the Oppo Find X5 Pro, for example, we couldn’t get it to connect to T-Mobile’s 5G system, even though it theoretically should have worked.

Is It Better to Buy an Android Phone Unlocked or Through a Carrier?

Carrier-sold phones still dominate the US market, but buying your phone direct and unlocked gives you more freedom to switch carriers. Unlocked phones don’t feature carrier bloatware and are something you buy upfront, so you don’t have to worry about monthly payments.

You can buy every phone on this list directly without any carrier involvement. But most people still buy their phones through carriers, which offer a single point for service and support and monthly payment plans that dramatically lower the upfront price. Many even offer increased trade-in values on phones, further lowering the price.

You should also make sure your carrier (especially if you’re using an MVNO) supports a phone fully before buying it. Although you can always hop between MVNOs without penalty, if you’re happy with your current carrier, it’s best to make sure the phone you buy works on that network.

With all that in mind, choosing Android as your mobile operating system is only half the battle; you still need to pick the right phone. If you’re still on the fence, check out our list of the best phones, regardless of OS.

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