Various Android pictures on a wall at Google CES 2023 booth
Justin Duino / How-To Geek
Update, 05/12/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have updated our best mid-range recommendation to the new Google Pixel 7a.

How to Shop For an Android Phone in 2023

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a new phone. If you’re here, you’re already considering Android, so that’s one big decision out of the way. Android devices offer more flexibility than iPhones (with Apple’s closed ecosystem), and there are many, many more phones to choose from.

We’ll be throwing a lot of technical jargon at you in this list. Processors, RAM, megapixels, refresh rates, and more are mentioned in this list. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to worry about all the tech specifications. There’s not one single “spec” that makes or breaks a phone.

The whole smartphone package is what matters, and that’s how we’ve approached this list.

Best Android Phone Overall: Samsung Galaxy S23

Front and rear facing cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Series
Justin Duino / How-To Geek


  • Sweet spot size
  • 120Hz, HDR display
  • Same performance as the Ultra


  • Not much of a camera upgrade over last year's model

When it comes to the best Android phone, we’re looking at five main areas—price, performance, design, cameras, and battery life. The Galaxy S23 has all bases covered.

The S23 features a durable aluminum exterior that comes in six color varieties. Whether you like a sleek, understated approach to your phone’s aesthetics or a bright, “look at me!” shell, Samsung’s 2023 flagship is for you.

But what if you care less about how the phone looks and more about its performance? The S23’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 octa-core processor will not disappoint. Working with 8GB of RAM, the 2023 Galaxy handset can handle almost anything you throw at it. Work, school, and gaming sessions in between, the S23 can run it with ease.

Whether you’re into selfies or nighttime astronomy shots, the S23 also has a camera to catch your eye. There’s one 12MP camera on the front-facing side of the device, perfect for selfies. Flipping around to the rear-facing side, you’ll find a set of four cameras for different situations.

The main (Wide-angle) camera comes in at 50MP, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, especially when the Apple iPhone 14 has two 12MP cameras in total. Alongside the S23’s 50MP camera is a 12MP Ultrawide lens for capturing a large frame and a 10MP telephoto lens for crisp details from far away.

The specs sound great, but they also sound power-hungry. However, the Galaxy S23 has a battery that can keep the phone running all day. At 3,900mAh (a 200mAh improvement over the S22), the S23’s battery is good for up to 22 hours of video playback.

At its starting price of $800, the Galaxy S23 is a great blend of performance, design, and a reasonable smartphone price point, with a powerful camera set to boot.

Best Android Phone Overall

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung's latest flagship phone strikes a nice balance between price and function. You'll get a beautiful 120Hz display, fantastic cameras, and a capable battery life.

Best Budget Android Phone: Moto G Play (2023)

Moto G Play 2023 on purple background


  • Great battery life
  • 3GB of RAM is good at this price
  • Clean software
  • Only $180


  • Can't handle memory heavy tasks or gaming

While “budget” used to be a bad word in the Android world, the days of awful, cheap Android phones are mostly behind us. There are plenty of great budget Android phones available on the market today, and many of them go for under $200. The best of the bunch is the Moto G Play (2023).

With this latest model of the popular Motorola brand, you’ll get a 6.5-inch, 90Hz, 720p screen. It’s not the bleeding edge, but this is a fantastic display for the price. It does suffer a little in direct sunlight, but with budget phones, you generally have to accept little downgrades like this.

The 2023 Moto G Play has a MediaTek Helio G37 processor and 3GB of RAM. This is great for most light tasks, such as looking at photos, apps, and social media. If you’re looking for a gaming phone, though, you’ll need to raise your budget.

On the camera front, the Moto G Play has three 16MP cameras on the back (an improvement over 2021 and 2022 models), and a 2MP selfie camera on the front. This Motorola phone gets great pictures for a device under $200.

Finally, Motorola uses a light version of Android without much bloat. This is already great in general, but the lack of bloat also helps with the 2023 Play’s battery life. With a huge 5,000mAh battery, Motorola says that the Moto G Play can last up to three days. It may not last quite as long in practice, but there’s no denying this phone will last more than a day and still have plenty of juice remaining.

Best Budget Android Phone

Moto G Play (2023)

The latest model of the Moto G Play series has a great screen, a triple camera system, and a 5,000mAh battery, all for under $200.

Best Mid-Range Android Phone: Google Pixel 7a

5G logo on the Google Pixel 7a
Justin Duino / How-To Geek


  • Every bit as speedy as the Pixel 7
  • Display now has a 90Hz refresh rate
  • Wireless charging
  • Camera is excellent for the price


  • Pricier than previous model
  • Plastic back

Quality mid-range phones are difficult to find between the higher-priced premium phones and a sea of mediocre budget phones. Google’s Pixel A-series has been one of the best options in this class for years, and with the Google Pixel 7a, this line is better than ever before.

As has been the case with previous Pixel generations, the Pixel 7a shares the same chipset as the 7—the Google Tensor G2. However, unlike the Pixel 6 and 6a, the Pixel 7a now has the same 8GB RAM you’ll find inside the Pixel 7. The only major difference in specs is that you can choose 256GB of storage on the Pixel 7 instead of the lone 128GB option on the Pixel 7a.

Aside from size, differences have also largely disappeared when it comes to the screens. The Pixel 7a has a 6.1-inch screen, as opposed to the 6.3-inch screen on the Pixel 7. That said, while the previous generation limited the Pixel 6a to a 60Hz refresh rate, the 7a has the same 90Hz refresh rate as the 7.

The Google Pixel 7 has a larger camera sensor than the 7a, but the megapixel count is higher on all three of the 7a’s lenses. Pixel 7a features 64MP wide and 13MP ultra-wide cameras on the rear, with a 13MP front lens. The angle on the ultra-wide lens is also wider than the 7’s.

Something unique to phones from Google, as opposed to other manufacturers, is that you can be sure you’ll have the latest updates on OS upgrades as soon as they’re available. You may find yourself waiting months for updates with phones from other manufacturers.

On top of that, there are plenty of Pixel-exclusive features that will never come to other Android devices, as mentioned in our Google Pixel 7a review:

But the icing on the cake is all of Google’s Pixel-exclusive features. My favorite is still Now Playing, which automatically listens to music playing in the background and displays the title and artist on your lock screen. There are also Google Assistant-powered call assist features that sit on hold for you, screen incoming calls from unknown numbers, and so much more.

The Google Pixel 7a retails for $50 more than the previous generation, but with all these upgrades, the slight price increase is easier to swallow. The phone is available in three color options: Charcoal, Sea, and Snow.

Best Mid-Range Android Phone

Google Pixel 7a

Read How-To Geek's Full Review

The Pixel A-series have always been great mid-range phones, but the Google Pixel 7a is better than ever, with the same Tensor G2 chipset, 8GB RAM, and 90Hz display as the Pixel 7.

Best Premium Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Person holding the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its S Pen with a hand-written note
Justin Duino / How-To Geek


  • Five total cameras
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • High-end performance
  • Beautiful display
  • Great software support


  • Very expensive
  • Very large

Take the Samsung Galaxy S23, our pick for the best Android phone overall, and add a host of extra features, improved hardware, and $400 to the price tag, and what do you get? The fantastic, premium Galaxy S23 Ultra.

There’s little to wish for with this Android phone, and it’s a champ through and through. It features a beautiful 6.8-inch, 120Hz HDR display, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery.

The S23 Ultra also has five cameras, all for specific photo-taking situations. Starting with the 200MP main (wide-angle) camera, this is what you’ll probably use the most if you’re not a selfie aficionado. Yes, you read that right: 200MP from a smartphone camera. It’s ready to stand and deliver the best quality you can get from an Android handset.

And it’s not alone. You also have access to a 12MP Ultra Wide camera, two 10MP telephoto lenses for distance, and a 12MP front-facing selfie cam. With the S23 Ultra, you can take any picture you’d want easily—though according to our sister site Review Geek’s Galaxy S23 Ultra review, they’re not always crystal clear:

Yes, that means you can take crazy 100X zoom shots. And those are impressive. Not because they’re clear as day, mind you. They can be fuzzy as dryer lint if I’m being honest. But the fact that Samsung’s stabilization software is good enough to zoom in that far and actually take a passable photo of your intended target is pretty darn impressive.

Performance, design, cameras—where’s the downside? Look to the price tag for one of the only drawbacks of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. You’ll have to shell out $1,200 for Samsung’s premium smartphone and more if you want upgrades to storage and RAM.

However, for those searching for the best of the best in almost every handheld category, the S23 Ultra is worth the price of admission.

Best Premium Android Phone

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Read Review Geek's Full Review

Samsung's high-end flagship is the bleeding edge of Android tech. Five cameras, a 5,000mAh battery, and more make this the premium smartphone to beat, though it comes at a price.

Best Android Phone for Gaming: ASUS ROG Phone 6

The ASUS ROG Phone 6 floating in space, for some reason.


  • Huge, high refresh rate display
  • Powerful processor
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Big battery


  • Very large
  • Expensive

If you’re looking for a great gaming phone, ASUS’s ROG series has been a solid choice for a few years. The ROG Phone 6 continues in that tradition as it replaces our previous pick, the ROG Phone 5S.

The ROG Phone 6 has a massive 6.8-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 165Hz refresh rate, perfect for gaming. It’s also powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and up to 16GB of RAM. That’s enough to handle even the most resource-intensive games. Finally, the 6,000mAh battery will keep you playing for hours.

For those non-gaming moments, you’ve got three cameras on the rear. That’s a 50MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide, and 5MP macro camera. The selfie camera is 12MP. That’s a pretty good array of cameras for a device focused on gaming performance. You’ll be able to take some great pictures in between gaming sessions!

All that gaming potential doesn’t come cheap, though—the ASUS ROG Phone 6 costs around $1,000. If performance for gaming is important to you, the price is worth it.

Best for Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone 6

The ASUS ROG Phone 6 continues the company's line of great gaming phones. With a new 165Hz refresh rate display and the latest Snapdragon chip, your mobile games have never looked and played better.

Best Android Camera Phone: Google Pixel 7 Pro

The Google Pixel 7 Pro stood up on a side table.
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek


  • The camera is mind-blowingly good
  • The display is spacious and vibrant
  • Great speakers, calls, and connections
  • Android 13 and the Pixel UI do the job right


  • Battery life is so-so
  • The occasional pause in speed
  • Awkward placement of volume button

Except maybe our budget phone recommendation, any phone in this guide will take great photos. However, the Pixel 7 Pro is above the rest as the best Android camera phone. On top of that, the Pixel 7 Pro is a good contender to the Galaxy S22, our best Android phone overall.

The Pixel 7 Pro has a massive 6.7-inch display with 1440 x 3120 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It’s certainly a large phone, but that big size comes with many extra benefits.

For starters, you get a big 5,000mAh battery, which provides much better battery life than its smaller sibling. It also has Google’s Tensor processor and 12GB of storage. Extra goodies include wireless charging and water resistance.

Let’s get to the most important part, the cameras. The main camera is 50MP, it’s joined by a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom. These cameras make sure you are equipped for any situation you should come across. Whether far-away subjects, group shots, or anything else, it’s all good on the Pixel 7 Pro.

The Pixel 7 Pro costs $900, and comes with 3 years of Android updates. You’ll always get those updates first, and the software is the cleanest version of Android you can find.

Best Camera Phone

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Read How-To Geek's Full Review

The Pixel 7 Pro has three amazing cameras and excellent camera software to make your photos look great.

Best Android Phone for Battery Life: ASUS ROG Phone 6

White ASUS ROG Phone 6 on purple background


  • Massive 6,000mAh battery and 16-hour battery life
  • 165Hz Samsung AMOLED display
  • Variable refresh rate for smooth motion
  • Fully charges in as little as 42 minutes


  • No wireless charging
  • Can heat up over time

Often, looking for a phone with optimal battery life means skimping on features. That isn’t the case with the ASUS ROG Phone 6, a gaming phone that offers more battery life than many phones have had in years.

While battery capacity in most phones known for battery life ranges from 4,250mAh to 5,000mAh, that isn’t enough for ASUS. The ROG Phone 6 packs a 6,000mAh battery, approaching the capacity you see in portable chargers.

The ROG Phone 6 offers plenty of gaming features, including a 165Hz Samsung AMOLED display with variable refresh rate. Of course, this can eat up battery pretty quickly, hence the decision to outfit the ROG Phone 6 with such a large battery.

That said, if you disable that variable refresh rate and keep the display at a 60Hz refresh rate, you can expect around 16 hours of battery life. That’s with the screen on, actively using the phone, not how long you’ll go before you have to charge it.

The ROG Phone 6 also supports Quick Charge 5.0 and USB-PD charging. With the right charger, like ASUS’ own ROG 65W adapter, you can charge the ROG Phone 6 from empty to 100 percent full in just 42 minutes.

The base ASUS ROG Phone 6 has 128 GB internal storage and a black finish. You can also buy it with 512GB of storage in black or in white. For a more affordable option, the 2023 Moto G Play offers a 5,000mAh battery, but doesn’t have as much to offer as the ASUS phone.

ASUS ROG Phone 6

ASUS Rog Phone 6

The ASUS ROG Phone 6 features a 6,000mAh battery to last you through long gaming sessions, and it will, but you can get even more battery life out of it, letting you take it on weekend trips without packing a charger.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Best Foldable Phones of 2023

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Best Foldable Phone Overall
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
SAMSUNG Galaxy Z Fold 4
SAMSUNG Galaxy Z Fold 4
Motorola Razr 2022
Best Flip Foldable Phone
Motorola Razr 2022
Oppo Find N
Best Foldable Form Factor
Oppo Find N
Xiaomi Mix Fold 2
Another Great Foldable Phone Experience
Xiaomi Mix Fold 2
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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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