Do you need to buy a top spec phone in 2023?

With technology advancing so fast, mid-range handsets are becoming more and more powerful

Four of the Redmi Note 12 Pro devices, showcasing the different finish options and the display, on a white background
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Right now, the phone market is arguably the most competitive it has ever been. From the best iPhones to top Android phones, users have more choice than ever, and the quality of those options is incredibly high. There's even a strong line-up of foldable phones, if that's your thing.

Since the start of this year, we've seen top notch devices like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Xiaomi 13 Pro take centre stage. Plus, familiar favourites from Apple and Google look set to get a substantial update later in the year, with the iPhone 15 and the Google Pixel 8, respectively.

These phones are packed with features. Some have whopping 200MP camera sensors. Others have a processor under the hood which could comfortably tackle intensive computing tasks. But does anyone really need all of that horsepower?

For most users, I suspect that answer is no. If your average use for your phone involves a few hours of scrolling social media, taking the odd photo and checking your emails, you're never going to put the full power of something like a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to use.

Last week, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 was unveiled. That chipset promises a massively upgraded performance for mid-range handsets, with improvements across the CPU, GPU and AI engine which will make a massive difference to some of the best cheap phones on the market.

That could bring 200MP cameras, improved mobile gaming, and lossless audio to phones in the £400-£600 range. Plus, it should be pretty hot on battery life, thanks to the 4nm fabrication process, which begs the question: why would you pay more for a flagship?

I suspect a lot of it comes down to brand loyalty – many are driven by the knowledge that they've used a certain make before and trust it. There's also an argument for taking the top-spec model if you're looking to hang onto a handset for a long time. The technology that is new and exciting in these flagships is more likely to still be relevant in five years time than a more affordable handset.

And I should add, I've got nothing against premium phones. We're all tech lovers here, and watching the continual evolution of phones from primitive 8-bit screens slapped onto a brick with a dial pad, to the fully-fledged computer-in-your-pocket that exists today, is always exciting.

But hey, times are tough. Many tech lovers may struggle to justify buying a thousand-pound handset right now. And if that's you, don't panic. The mid-range is catching up in a big way, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.