Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus on table
Samsung
Update, 01/24/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have updated our best battery pick with the ASUS ROG Phone 6.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you unlock an Android phone?
The process for unlocking an Android phone varies greatly depending on your mobile carrier and specific phone model. You will need to find your phone model and see if it’s compatible with your mobile carrier. The carrier will have information about unlocking if it’s possible.
How can you find a lost Android phone?
+
Thankfully, Android phones come with Google’s “Find My Device” software installed and activated. There’s no setup required on your part to find a lost Android phone.
How can you find your Android phone number?
+
You can find the phone number for your Android device in the “About Phone” section of the settings.
How do you record a phone call on Android?
+
Recording phone calls with an Android device is not supported in many US states and some countries. If it’s legal in your area, you can do it from the Phone app.
Can you use an Apple Watch with Android phones?
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You can’t connect an Apple Watch to an Android phone.

Best Android Phone Overall: Samsung Galaxy S22

People watching video on Galaxy S22
Samsung

Pros

  • Sweet spot size
  • Beautiful display
  • Same performance as the Ultra
  • 4 years of updates

Cons

  • Not as many cameras as the Ultra

Samsung releases a lot of phones in a year, but there’s one that usually hits the sweet spot. The regular non-plus/non-Ultra model fits the bill. That’s theΒ Samsung Galaxy S22Β in 2022. It’s got many of the same great features as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it’s in a more palatable package.

The Galaxy S22 has a nice 6.1-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 3,700mAh battery. If you peek down at the Best Premium Phone, you’ll notice this one has many of the same specs as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

It doesn’t skimp on the cameras either. You’re getting a 50MP main camera, 10MP 3x telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide on the back of the device. The front selfie camera is 10MP. It’s a very comparable camera setup to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Having a telephoto and ultrawide lens opens up a lot of photo possibilities.

There are a couple of things you don’t get if you opt for this model over the Ultra, the premium Android phone pick. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has one more camera, a 10MP 10x telephoto camera. It also has a bigger 6.8-inch display, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage.

Another benefit of Samsung phones is software support. Samsung offers 4 years of software updates for its One UI Android skin. That’s actually better than what Google offers for its own Pixel phones.

One of the best things about the Galaxy S22 is its price. The phone starts at $800, which is considerably cheaper than the S22+ ($1,000) and the S22 Ultra ($1,200) for many of the same features.

Best Android Phone Overall

Samsung Galaxy S22

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Samsung's latest flagship phone strikes a nice balance between price and function. You'll get a beautiful display, fantastic cameras, and 4 years of Samsung support.

Best Budget Android Phone: Moto G Play (2021)

wet blue motorola phone on blue background
Motorola

Pros

  • Big display
  • 3GB of RAM is good at this price
  • Clean software
  • Only $150

Cons

  • Poor cameras

The days of crappy cheap Android phones are (mostly) behind us. There are a lot of great options out there now, many of which go for under $200. The best of the budget phones is certainly the Moto G Play (2021).

You won’t be sacrificing screen size for a low price here, as the Moto G Play has a 6.5-inch 720p display. It does suffer a little in direct sunlight, but at this price point, you generally have to accept little downgrades like this.

The area where you’ll feel the price the most, however, is with the processor. Motorola has equipped the Moto G Play with the Snapdragon 460 and 3GB of RAM. That’s a solid combo for typical daily tasks, but try to do any serious gaming and the Moto G Play won’t be able to keep up.

The Moto G Play has a basic camera setup of one 13MP camera on the back and a small 2MP camera on the front. You’ll get fine photos in well-lit conditions, but low-light will suffer.

Motorola uses a light version of Android without much bloat, which is important for a budget device. You can usually grab a Moto G Play (2021) for around $150, which makes it one of the cheapest phones around.

Best Budget

Moto G Play (2021)

A capable phone that can handle your daily tasks while costing less than $200.

The Best Budget Android Phones of 2023

Moto G Play (2023)
Best Budget Android Phone Overall
Moto G Play (2023)
Moto G Power (2021)
Best Budget Android for Battery Life
Moto G Power (2021)
Google Pixel 6a
Best Budget Android Camera Phone
Google Pixel 6a
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Best Android Phone Under $500
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
OnePlus Nord N20 5G
Best Android Phone Under $300
OnePlus Nord N20 5G
OnePlus Nord N100
Best Android Phone Under $200
OnePlus Nord N100

Best Mid-Range Android Phone: Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a's home screen with widgets
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Pros

  • Shares two cameras with the Pixel 6
  • Only costs $450
  • Fast software updates
  • Good RAM and processor

Cons

  • Middling battery life
  • Not full water resistant

The Pixel 6a hits a sweet spot on the edge of mid-range and budget. For under $500 you get mostly the same camera experience and many other specs as the more expensive Google Pixel 6.

The Pixel 6a has the same 12.2MP and 8MP selfie cameras as the standard model, plus a wide-angle camera. However, it does not have a 50MP main camera, but cuts need to be made somewhere to drop the price. And since this is a Pixel phone, you also get Google’s great portrait mode, Night Sight, Astrophotography, and one of the best standard camera apps in general.

The Pixel 6a hits the lower price tag with a few other changes. First of all, the Pixel 6a’s 6.1-inch display has a refresh rate of 60Hz, whereas the Pixel 6’s is at 90Hz. That isn’t a big deal to most people.

The Pixel 6a also has 6GB of RAM, compared to the 8GB on the Pixel 6. However, they both have the same processor, Google’s Tensor chip, so you’ll get a smooth performance, albeit a little slower sometimes.

Google Pixel phones may not be the beasts of the Android world regarding raw specs and performance, but they make up for it with refined software and fast updates. For example,Β Android 13 will be on Pixel phones first,Β so you’ll be able to use the latest operating system while other phone manufacturers are playing catch-up.

Things you miss out on with this mid-range phone are IP68 water resistance and wireless charging, but you are getting great cameras. All of that for $450 is a pretty sweet deal.

Best Mid-Range Android Phone

Google Pixel 6a

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Google's Pixel a line is a great choice if you want a good middle point between budget and bleeding edge, and the Pixel 6a continues that tradition. Between the fantastic software support for photos, first access to updates and Android 13, and solid specs, this phone is sure to please.

Best Premium Android Phone: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Pink Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra phone on pink shadowbox
Samsung

Pros

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

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Very large

If there’s a word that describes “premium” smartphones, it’s “ultra.” The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most beastly Android phone you can buy. It’s got every feature you could imagine, including a stylus.

Let’s start with the cameras. The Galaxy S22 Ultra features five total cameras—four on the rear. The main camera is 108MP and it’s flanked by a 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, and 10MP 10x telephoto. The front selfie camera is 40MP. All of these cameras put you in a good position to capture any situation. You have ultrawide for stepping back, and telephoto for zooming in.

Is battery life important to you? The Galaxy S22 Ultra has that covered too.Β  It has a beefy 5,000mAh battery, but that large capacity also means a large footprint. The Ultra has a big 6.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Looking underneath that big display, you’ve got the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, wireless charging, fast charging, and IP68 waterproofing. When Samsung says Ultra, they meanΒ Ultra. This is the “kitchen sink” phone of the Android world.

Speaking of Android, Samsung has some of the best software support you can get. The Ultra comes with four years of major Android updates. That’s better support than you’ll get with Google’s own Pixel phones.

Obviously,Β a premium phone like the Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t going to be cheap. The base model costs $1,200. If you want the best of the best, this is what it looks like. You pay for what you get.

Best Premium Android Phone

Samsung Galaxy S22

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Samsung's high-end flagship is the bleeding edge of Android tech. Five cameras, a 5,000mAh battery, and more make this the phone there is, 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.
ASUS

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 give you good photos. However, the Pixel 7 Pro is above the rest. 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’sΒ 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

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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
ASUS

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

The Best Android Camera Phones of 2023

Google Pixel 7 Pro
Best Camera Phone
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google Pixel 6a
Google Pixel 6a
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Best Premium Android Camera Phone
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Google Pixel 7
Best Camera Phone
Google Pixel 7
Samsung Galaxy S22
Best Android Phone Overall
Samsung Galaxy S22
Sony Xperia 1 IV
Best for Video
Sony Xperia 1 IV
Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
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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