There have been so many Android phone launches in 2023, each wanting its own bit of attention, but which Android handsets are the best of the best? Plenty fall into our best phones list, of course, but this page is completely Apple-free.
We've been busy reviewing all the latest and greatest phones running Google's mobile operating system, which we've compiled into this handy best-of 2023 guide – it combines the most premium Android flagships with more affordable, lower-spec, cost-effective alternatives.
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Best Android phone 2023: Top 3
Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The best premium Android phone experience goes to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. We called it "the master of all" in our review, because it quite simply betters any other Android handset out there right now.
On a balance of cost to features, however, the best Android phone for most people crown falls to the Google Pixel 7 Pro. As stated in our review, it rivals the Samsung on cameras performance, brings a distinctive design, and is more competitively priced.
If you're looking to save even more cash but still get great features, the best budget Android phone is the Google Pixel 6a. Thanks to Google's own chipset, Tensor, and great cameras and software, this 'lite' version of the Pixel is a super choice – as we said in our review.
As Google is the godfather of Android, it goes without question that it makes the best pure Android phone in the Google Pixel 7 Pro – as the software is always one step ahead of anything else on the market, bringing the latest and greatest features before they arrive on other handsets.
Not only that, the Pixel 7 Pro's camera is astounding for pointing-and-shooting in all conditions. There's Google's own second-gen processor, too, called Tensor G2, that's super-fast and crunches through images and tasks with such ease. Oh, and that design is super distinctive and a breath of fresh air.
The model has since been replaced by the Google Pixel 8 Pro, which reviewed well but its new design, some minor hiccups with its new processor, and much higher price point mean its predecessor is, for now, still the more sensible purchase.
Like the idea of Google's flagship? Read our full Google Pixel 7 Pro review to learn more
The top dog Samsung flagship delivers everything you'd expect and more – including a built-in S Pen stylus which we've found really useful for interacting with the additional software features, and the company's first 200-megapixel main camera. What's particularly great about the cameras (and we love rear module design too) is the versatility and variety of zoom lenses, which is an increasing rarity in high-end Android devices.
Add battery life that starts off so-so but improves with learning, and you've got one killer flagship Android phone that'll last and last. It'll cost you a fair chunk of change, of course, but it's worth every penny in our view. And if you disagree then the older Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is still a mighty fine (and similar) option instead, as are the less expensive options in the S23 series.
Read of our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review for the full breakdown on why it's such a top pick
The Google Pixel 6a is a model example of a small-screen Android phone – and its size, thanks to the 6.1-inch display, is the key selling point. And if you're looking for super-smooth software, lots of great features (including the cameras), and long-lasting battery life per charge, then your search could well end here.
Yes, it's since been replaced by the Pixel 7a, but we'd wait until the newer (and also excellent) model comes down in price a bit. As the Pixel 6a, right now, is superb value for money, hence its position in this guide. That's the only real thing that work against the Pixel 6a: the existence of the other Pixel models! You can read our Pixel 6a versus Pixel 7a guide to see how to two compare.
Read our full Google Pixel 6a review where we explain whether it's the most sensible affordable Android phone you can buy
Best Android phones 2023: Best of the rest
As said in our review: "the Nothing Phone (2) impresses threefold: first it's so comfortable to hold and use, with a distinctive design; two, the improvements to everyday essentials compared to the first-gen phone, such as battery life and screen quality, are a real mark of quality; third, it adds a dollop of fun on top all of that, with features such as Glyph lights not just being a throwaway gimmick.
Sure, it's pricier than its predecessor, but it's worth it and this handset is one of those rare moments of unexpected Android phone joy. That's largely down to the Glyph lights on the rear, which illuminate to alert you to different notifications and other features. Not one for everyone, but for those who take the plunge this iPhone-lookalike Android handset is a real treat.
Check out our full Nothing Phone 2 review to see if this affordable yet high-spec handset is the Android phone for you
If you're looking for one of the best cameras in any Android phone then you might have to look no further than the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Its main 1-inch sensor is supreme thanks to great lenses and a Leica collaboration. Seriously, in the photography department this stuff is even more impressive than what rival Samsung is offering.
There's tonnes of power under the hood too, insanely fast charging, and a display to rival the best of them. The finish is a bit too fingerprint-friendly, however, and software irks prevent this handset from sitting higher up the list... plus it's tricky to track down in many territories! Just because the brand name is less familiar doesn't mean you should ignore what this phone can do for you.
Read our full Xiaomi 13 Pro review to see if this tip-top camera phone delivers all the right points to make it your perfect Android match-up
Motorola isn't necessarily the first brand name you think of when it comes to the best Android handsets, but the Edge 40 Pro is a fantastic handset – it gives you plenty of power and excellent specs for your money, and it's all wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing frame with a curved screen on top.
There are a few too many prompts for our liking to install apps when you first set up the handset, but these apps are all optional. Generally speaking, Motorola's version of Android is neat and tidy, and considering you get extras like IP68 waterproofing and dustproofing as well, it's a straightforward choice for this list.
Our full Motorola Edge 40 Pro review will tell you everything you need to know about this leading Android phone.
OnePlus has risen through the ranks over the years, always offering seriously big spec for a not-so-big price point. In the case of this handset it's the stunning 6.7-inch screen that we found to be its main lure – especially thanks to its 120Hz fast refresh rate and high-res 10-bit colour depth quality.
Another headline grab that we really love about this phone is how fast you can charge it up – it only took us about 25 minutes to take it from empty to full. That 100W wired charging is game-changing (and a good job given the fact that the battery life is otherwise just okay), and one feature that helps it stand apart from Google's Pixel offerings.
Check out our full OnePlus 11 review to read why we think it's a great Google Pixel alternative
Oppo's Find X5 Pro is an ideal alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7 series, delivering a gorgeous design finished in ceramic and a really impressive camera system. And just like the OnePlus model further up this page, there's ultra-fast charging too, so you don't have to sit around waiting for the battery level to get back up to 100 percent.
If you’re big on photography then the Find X5 Pro is a stunner, its dual 50MP main/wide cameras and 13MP telephoto camera are able to take super pictures – helped along by Oppo's own processing hardware that helps it stand apart from the crowd. Note that the Find X6 series has now been announced, but at the time of writing the newer Pro model still isn't (yet) destined for UK or US shores.
Read our full Oppo Find X5 Pro review to get a better look at this stylish handset and what its cameras can do
This was the first ever phone to use a 200-megapixel camera, and if you pair that with stacks of power on tap from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, plus its curved-edge screen, the Moto Edge 30 Ultra has serious appeal. As the Moto Edge 40 Pro has now appeared, you can get this for a lower price than ever.
Overall, battery life is so-so – but if you're near to a plug that's not so important, as the 120W charging is blisteringly fast (and a plug is included in the box). You won't find this handset over in the US though, which is almost baffling given how accomplished a piece of kit it is.
Read our full Moto Edge 30 Ultra review to see why this high-res camera option is a great Android option
The former top dog Samsung flagship delivers everything you'd expect and more – including a built-in S Pen stylus (like the old Note used to have), which we've found really useful for interacting with the additional software features. While it launched back in 2022, it's getting to be a lot cheaper than the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which adds another reason for it to be on this list.
If you want to go even cheaper then there are the other Galaxy S22 options of course, but the Ultra stands out for its design, its power, and its rear camera system: there's a quad-lens camera on the back, led by a 108MP main sensor and offering up to 10x optical zoom (beating even the iPhone in that department).
Take a read of our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review for the full breakdown on why it's such a top pick
Best Android phones: extra information
The best Android phone for you isn’t necessarily going to be the most expensive or advanced phone, although of course you’ll find lots of big-name flagship phones such as the best Samsung phones in our list. While flagships are great choices for many buyers we’ve also taken great care to include phones for every kind of Android user, and for every budget.
The Android market gets ever more competitive, and that’s brilliant news for buyers: Android is the OS for many of the best cheap phones you can buy, many of the best compact phones, and almost all of the best gaming phones too.
Android phones also completely dominate the best foldable phones market: right now interesting new models from Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and more are currently competing for the folding phone crown, unchallenged by Apple.
Let's face it. Many, perhaps even most, of the best phones overall in 2023 are Android ones that deliver hardware and features as good as or better than any iPhone.
How to choose the best Android phone for you
When it comes to choosing the best Android phone, budget will probably be the single biggest factor that guides your hand. Will you go for the cutting-edge ultra-premium model? Or the second highest tier of still being premium, but without the most ridiculous features? Or are looking for a great bang-for-buck mid-range set? Or do you have a strict lower budget in mind?
Then, two of the biggest factors are size and the cameras. Phones are still creeping up and up in screen size, and some people want the biggest they can get, while some want to find a more one-handed phone, or a middle ground. Regarding the cameras, we all want something that can take excellent shots, right? But do you need fancy zoom lenses, or are you happy with a simpler array as long as it takes great shots?
Who are the best Android phone makers?
There are so many Android phone makers today that recommending the best can be quite a task. Here at T3 we think Samsung has consistently produced quality smartphones over many years, making it a no-brainer for this list. Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Oppo also consistently produce phones with great hardware, too – but you might find the software can be a bit contentious at times.
So aside from a few exceptions – Huawei, for example, has no access to Google Play Store apps – all Android phones today offer a very similar and high-quality baseline experience. Maker choice really comes down to aesthetic preference and high level features and software – or you might get so used to one manufacturer's ways that you'll always want to stick in their stable.
How we test the best Android phones
T3 is one of the world's foremost experts in terms of reviewing and rating phones, and when it comes round to testing the best Android phones we've got a very detailed, multi-step process to sort the pretenders from the champs.
The first step we undertake is reviewing the phone from a design and build quality point of view. Here we want to discover exactly what the phone offers physically, aesthetically and in terms of connectivity. We're looking at general things like fit and finish here, too.
Next we're specifically looking at the Android phone's screen. We break the screen out as its own section, as a phone's screen is absolutely critical to a device's usage experience. We want to know what its size, resolution, panel type, coating, brightness and features are.
We also evaluate what the Android mobile offers in term of core internal hardware. So we're talking about its CPU, GPU, RAM and storage specs. Crucially, though, as we understand that specs and benchmark scores on paper can only take you so far in any judgement, we actually use the phone thoroughly in a variety of applications and games to see just what the hardware is capable of in a day-to-day usage case.
Cameras get a lot of weight in T3's testing – as a person's Android handset is also their primary camera in most circumstances. We're looking at not just the quality and size of the phone's camera lenses, but also the types delivered (wide-angle, telephoto, macro, black and white, etc) as well as what advanced sensors are on board. Of course we're obviously judging a camera system's quality by the images it produces, with us looking out for key scoring areas such as accuracy of colour reproduction, detail, and so forth.
We then move on to testing the phone's battery life. T3 does this purely based on real-world testing, using a phone continuously for a series of days as our own and then reporting in on just how long it lasts. We also compare the phone to other Android mobiles that offer the same sort of package or retail for the same sort of money to provide context.
Only then do we bestow a star score out of 5 and, if it's high-scoring, we then consider it for inclusion in our best Android phones buying guide.