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No two Android phones are alike, just as what you need in your next phone will differ from what someone else needs. Lucky for all of us, Android phones come in all shapes, sizes, and price points, but some are just better than all the rest. Whether you're looking for a foldable phone powered by the latest and greatest in mobile processing, one of the best budget phones that don't hold back on power, or Google's latest Android enhancements, there's something here for you.

We may only be just a handful of months into 2023, but the smartphones that make up the best Android phones are ever-changing. With the launch of Samsung's Galaxy S23 series and the stateside arrival of the OnePlus 11, there are plenty of fresh choices to pick from if you're shopping for a new smartphone. Plus, as soon as the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is available here in the US, it will also be a contender to make our list.

Your next daily carry should be one of the best Android phones

Render of the Pixel 7 Pro in Hazel
Source: Google
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Best overall

The best all-around Android experience

The Google Pixel 7 Pro might not look all that different from the Pixel 6 Pro, but it features some key upgrades that might cement it as the best in the series to date. Everything we loved about those last-gen phones is unchanged. It's still packed with 12GB of RAM, features a huge 120Hz OLED display — now brighter than ever — and keeps the large camera bar design that, while not everyone's cup of tea, does support the phone from rocking back and forth on a table.

  • Excellent camera software
  • Biometrics are pretty reliable
  • Battery life is a little lackluster

So what's new with this gen? More than you think. It all starts with the design, which has been subtly revised in some crucial ways. The back panel is still glossy glass — a bummer, to be sure — but the camera bar is coated in polished aluminum that blends directly into the phone's frame — hot stuff. The curved screen is still here, but it's much less rounded this time, making it easier to hold in your hand than the Pixel 6 Pro ever was. Tensor G2 also powers it, and while it might not be a generational leap in performance, it makes a slew of new AI-powered software tricks possible.

The real highlight here, as always, is the camera. Google kept the same 50MP primary sensor around, outputting images at 12.5MP. It's able to crop in at 2x this year, though, and the resulting images are incredible. The ultra-wide lens has been upgraded to a much wider field-of-view — one that can actually be labeled as "ultra-wide" — and thanks to those improvements, the Pixel 7 Pro features an exclusive Macro Mode. Of course, the biggest upgrade over the base Pixel 7 is the telephoto lens. It's 5x this year — up from 4x — and supports up to 30x digital zoom using Super Res Mode. It takes some incredible photos, especially at 10x, which seems to be Super Res Mode's sweet spot.

No phone's perfect, and that includes the Google Pixel 7 Pro. As taken as we might be with it, the battery life leaves something to be desired. You'll likely get through a full day with normal use, but not much more. We also prefer some of the design choices on the smaller Google Pixel 7; that polished aluminum looks great at first glance, but our review units have already picked up some scratches.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Premium pick

If money is no object, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the phone for you. Samsung has once again crushed the competition with impeccable hardware — you truly cannot find a nicer-feeling phone on the market right now. It's also packed with features: a massive 6.8" 1440p display, an S Pen for taking notes or doodling while on the go, all-day battery life that will carry well into the following day, and an incredible array of cameras on the back.

  • Best display in a smartphone
  • Incredibly powerful
  • Amazing camera array
  • Very expensive
  • Camera software has a few quirks

Of those four lenses on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, its main 200MP sensor packs an absolute punch, even if most of your shots result in 12MP binned images. Photos and videos alike turned out great, though it's not without some limitations, especially when it comes to motion. The Pixel 7 Pro might be the go-to phone for anyone who prefers an easy auto mode, but if you want to shoot manually, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will make you feel right at home.

No phone is perfect, and that includes Samsung's latest. The S23 Ultra doesn't come with a charger in the box, and although it's capable of 45W charging, you'll need a very specific power supply to reach it. Some shoppers may be disappointed in its overall design — after all, this phone is nearly unchanged compared to its predecessor. But if it's been a few years since you've upgraded your smartphone, the hardware quality here is bound to impress you.

$1,200 is a lot of money — especially considering that's the starting price. But Samsung has a proven track record of keeping its phones updated with consistent and timely monthly patches. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is set to get four major OS upgrades alongside five years of security updates, which means you're covered until Android 17 and 2028, respectively. That bests Google's policy and ensures that your money is set to go a long way. It's a big asking price, but if you can afford it, and you're in the market for a new phone, this is the device to beat for 2023.

Google Pixel 7 in Lemongrass render
Source: Google
Google Pixel 7
Best value

Incredible price for lots of features

The design improvements are even more evident on the Pixel 7 than on the Pixel 7 Pro. The matte aluminum finish covering the frame and blending in the camera bar looks phenomenal and should age better than the polished metal on the larger phone. It's also smaller this year, with a 6.3" 90Hz OLED display and smaller bezels that make the phone feel much more comfortable in hand. Yes, the glossy back glass is still here, but overall, we actually prefer some of the design choices here over what's on the Pro.

  • Refined design and hardware
  • Great software experience
  • Excellent price
  • No telephoto camera
  • Battery life is a little lacking

Really, the biggest downgrades to the Google Pixel 7 come in the camera department. Google kept the same 114° ultra-wide lens as the Pixel 6, which means no Macro Mode. It's also missing that phenomenal telephoto lens, which restricts just how far you can zoom in on photos. Sure, that absolutely fantastic 50MP main sensor still lets you crop in at 2x, but after that, you're fully reliant on software-enhanced digital zoom. It restricts Super Res Zoom to just 8x on this phone, a far cry from 30x on the Pro.

For some buyers, it won't matter. The $300 savings between the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro is a lot of money, and you're getting nearly the same great experience here as you would on the more expensive device. There's always a chance that the Pixel 8 series will see a price hike when it debuts in late 2023, but for now, the Pixel 7 continues on the legacy of its predecessor. You don't need to pay over $1,000 to get a flagship phone experience — the Pixel 7 proves that and then some.

Source: Google
Google Pixel 6a
Even cheaper Pixel

Few drawbacks with a great price

$320 $449 Save $129

If you thought Google's flagship was priced well, its budget phone offers even more savings. It finally brings the a-series in line with the new design style that debuted on the Google Pixel 6 and gives us the same power and performance of the Google Tensor chipset within those flagship phones. To put this in the simplest terms, the Pixel 6a is a smaller Google Pixel 6 with the Pixel 5a's camera, a slightly duller 60Hz screen, and no wireless charging. And shockingly, the only thing you'll likely miss from the Pixel 6 is the wireless charging and screen brightness.

  • Excellent software
  • Great camera
  • Decent battery life
  • Subpar fingerprint sensor
  • No wireless charging

While many reviews lament the Pixel 6a's battery because it doesn't last quite as long as the Pixel 5a's, this is still a phone that will easily last you a day, probably even two if you're not on your phone six hours a day like me. Tensor's performance is fast and consistent, and its camera-processing prowess helps the cameras here — almost identical to the ones in the Pixel 5a, 5, 4a 5G, etc. — capture images more quickly and accurately, taking advantage of Real Tone as well as post-processing features like Magic Eraser and its new Camouflage mode to keep busy, distracting photos focused on you and your subject.

As much as this phone is like the Pixel 6 in good ways, it's like it in bad ways, too. For example, signal strength on the Pixel 6a is slightly (but noticeably) weaker than its competitors, probably due to the modems inside this phone not being made by Qualcomm. If you live somewhere with strong coverage or tend to use Wi-Fi calling anyway, it shouldn't impact you, but if you live in a borderline dead zone, you might want to look elsewhere.

Finally, it's important to keep in mind that the Pixel 7a is likely right around the corner. If you can wait a few months, you might get an even better phone for a similar price point — not too shabby.

Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
The compact foldable

Flip phones are back in style

$900 $1000 Save $100

From the outside, The Galaxy Z Flip 4 looks nearly identical to the Z Flip 3, with a matching clamshell design and external cover screen. But, when unfolded, it looks almost identical to any other Galaxy device — and that's the magic of this device. You'll still get the big display that every smartphone maker insists on including these days, but in a pocketable design that folds or flips into a smaller package perfect for taking on the go.

  • Cover screen is super useful
  • Great software update support
  • High-end performance
  • Not cheap
  • Battery life could use a boost

Unfortunately, these minor year-over-year improvements mean you'll still find numerous issues on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. For example, the cameras are lacking, especially compared to devices in this price range. That said, some software trickery — not to mention the functionality added by the folding display and the cover screen — might make it easy to overlook the middling quality to focus on just how fun shooting with the Z Flip 4 can be.

Battery life is still a concern here, too. Although Samsung increased the overall capacity, it's still only enough to get through a full day of use and nothing more. But if you find yourself bored by modern Android smartphones and don't mind the compromises you'll need to take here, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is worth your consideration.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The premium foldable

The ultimate phone/tablet hybrid

$1400 $1800 Save $400

If you're looking for a smartphone guaranteed to catch the eye of every passerby on the street, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is for you. Although it's a minor upgrade over last year's foldable, Samsung has improved on its predecessor in some crucial ways. For example, the camera performance is better than ever, though it's still a far cry from what you'll find on the Galaxy S23 Ultra or the Pixel 7 Pro. And while the under-display camera on the interior screen still isn't great, it's camouflaged better than ever before.

  • Tablet-sized display in your pocket
  • Super powerful
  • S Pen support
  • Very expensive
  • Camera still not as good as many cheaper phones

At its core, this phone keeps all the things we love about Samsung's tablet-sized foldable. With an external 6.7" display and a massive 7.6" inner screen, it's a productivity machine. Fire off replies in the group chat using the front screen, or take notes during your next meeting with S Pen support. Plus, thanks to the power efficiency of its Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, it'll last longer on a charge than ever.

The dual displays are, without a doubt, the reason to buy Samsung's high-end foldable, but be warned — you'll be paying for the privilege. This year's Z Fold 4 is just as expensive as last year's, starting at $1,800 for an entry-level 256GB of storage. Ultimately, this phone won't be right for everyone, but if Samsung has swayed you over with its vision of the future, this is the best Fold yet.

OnePlus 11 (1)
OnePlus 11
Stellar battery life

A return to form for OnePlus

The OnePlus 11, sports a high-res and ultra-fast display, perfect for movies and gaming. In addition, its build quality feels back up to par with the original OnePlus 10 Pro, even if its glossy green variant feels a little too slippery in our hands. The Hasselblad color science is back for its third generation, and while the overall camera system isn't as impressive as the best you'll find from Google and Samsung, you can still score some pretty great shots. Even the alert slider has made its grand comeback.

  • Excellent battery life
  • Ultra-fast charging speeds
  • Excellent specs for the price
  • No wireless charging
  • OxygenOS 13 remains a pretty mixed bag

OnePlus is coming off a rough couple of years. The OnePlus 10 Pro wasn't exactly the hit the company wanted, especially considering its $900 price tag. The 10T acted as a pseudo-successor, featuring a better processor but a lower-quality display. It also had a cheaper feeling build quality and missed out on the usual Hasselblad branding and alert slider. At $650, it wasn't a bad phone, but it was tough to justify when the Pixel 6 was available for $50 less. However, the OnePlus 11 is here to right the ship

The OnePlus 11's best feature, though, might be its battery. A massive 5,000mAh cell is good enough for two full days of use on a single charge, and thanks to its bundled 80W charger — 100W outside the US — you can fully charge the phone in just about half an hour. And yes, the alert slider has made its grand comeback.

Granted, this phone isn't perfect. OxygenOS 13 is still a bit of a post-Oppo mess, a far cry from the days of completely clean builds. Meanwhile, its design is a little uninspired, combining a generic glass slab with a massive circular camera module. But for $700, it's a solid alternative to Samsung's Galaxy S23+, delivering a similar experience while keeping $300 in your pocket. Not too shabby, OnePlus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 in Lavender
Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23
A great compact flagship

The small S23 is finally good!

The Galaxy S23 Ultra and S23+ are excellent phones in their own right, but they're also huge. So if you're looking for something a little easier to hold, Samsung's smallest Galaxy S23 shouldn't be missed. It matches those larger models in nearly every way — Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 8GB of RAM, the same camera lineup as the S23+ — but in a much smaller package.

  • Improved battery life over its predecessor
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is efficient and powerful
  • A compact design that's easy to hold
  • 25W charging is slow
  • Camera struggles slightly in low-light

The Samsung Galaxy S23's display may be limited to 1080p, but it looks plenty sharp thanks to the smaller panel. Unfortunately, you'll have to settle in a couple of key areas, as the S23 is downgraded to UFS 3.1 storage — only the 128GB; 256GB has 4.0 — and 25W wired fast charging.

Don't let those sacrifices get you down, though. The Galaxy S23 still represents the best small phone Samsung has made since the days of the Galaxy S10e nearly half a decade ago. It sports phenomenal battery life for its size, capable of up to two days on a single charge depending on your use case. And everything else we love about the S23 series is here as well, including an excellent design, great camera quality, and One UI 5.1.

OnePlus Nord N20 5G render
Source: OnePlus
OnePlus N20 5G
Surprisingly good

A cheap 5G phone for T-Mobile customers

The OnePlus 11 is a solid upper mid-range offering, but it's still too expensive for plenty of shoppers. Thankfully, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G is a great budget offering from OnePlus, and in some ways, it's even better than its more powerful big brother. The Snapdragon 695 powering it might not sound impressive on paper, but its performance is pretty solid across the board. It's even powerful enough to play older 3D titles without much issue, although games like Fortnite might struggle to keep up.

  • Great battery life
  • Very fast charging
  • Subpar camera

For just $300, you're looking at an excellent 1080p OLED display — though, unfortunately, it's capped at 60Hz — 33W fast charging and a clean design that's arguably more attractive than the 10-series. Battery life is the star of the show here; Ryne hit over 10 hours of screen-on time in his review, guaranteeing most users should hit two or three days of battery life with regular use. OnePlus ships the phone with Android 11, and there's still no sign of an update to Android 12 (let alone 13), but some users might find that to be a good thing. The software experience here is far above what current OxygenOS builds offer, with minimal changes to the typical Android experience. OnePlus has committed to a software update schedule for the N20 5G, though we have yet to see anything come from this.

Of course, no phone at this price comes without some sacrifices. The cameras are, unsurprisingly, pretty mediocre. They're good enough for social media, but you probably won't want to order prints of these shots. There's just one bottom-firing speaker, so say goodbye to stereo sound for movies or music. Finally, the phone only supports 5G on T-Mobile — it's 4G only on AT&T and lacks support for Verizon. If you can overcome these shortcomings, the Nord N20 5G is a great budget buy.

If you're looking for a newer budget device from OnePlus, check out the Nord N300 5G. It's not quite as sleek or powerful as this phone, and considering the regular sales we see on the N20, they're usually similarly priced. But it's a good alternative if you're on T-Mobile.

Render of a Green Samsung Galaxy S23+
Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23+
The middle child

Good middle child of the S23 lineup

$850 $1000 Save $150

The Galaxy S23 Ultra might be our current pick for the best premium Android phone, but if you want a high-end experience while spending a little less, the Galaxy S23+ is a great contender. Don't get us wrong — at $1,000, it's still an expensive phone — but if you're willing to make a couple of sacrifices, you can keep $200 in your pocket and still get a flagship-worthy experience.

  • Excellent display and speakers
  • Software support well into the future
  • Good camera hardware
  • Still pretty expensive
  • Camera software could be better

The Samsung Galaxy S23+ has a large (and blessedly flat) AMOLED display, a massive battery, and a clean design that feels as great in your hand as it looks.

So what are you giving up by not just splurging for the Ultra? For starters, the 6.6" display is a bit smaller than the behemoth panel on the Ultra. It's flat, which is a pretty big benefit, but it's also limited to 1080p, sporting the least PPI of any S23 model. You're also losing out on the 200MP sensor and that 10x periscope zoom. Most people likely won't notice a difference when shooting photos, as everything's binned down to 12MP by default, but it's hard not to miss that zoom lens. Finally, you won't find an S Pen here, though that shouldn't make a huge difference for most shoppers.

ASUS Zenfone 9 Render
Source: ASUS
Asus Zenfone 9
Compact for a great price

Power to the petite

$650 $700 Save $50

It's hard to find a small flagship smartphone, but if you're on the hunt for one, the Asus Zenfone 9 might be your best bet. Not only is it designed for one-handed use — perfect for anyone sick of phablets — but it does so without sacrificing anything you'd want in a premium device. You're looking at a flagship through and through with a 5.9" 1080p 120Hz OLED, a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, and excellent battery life.

  • Excellent gesture shortcuts
  • Easy to use one-handed
  • Stellar battery life
  • No wireless charging
  • Camera could be better

The Asus Zenfone 9 even has a headphone jack (good luck finding that on any Samsung smartphone). If you're fine with settling for some so-so cameras and giving up wireless charging, the Zenfone 9 might be a great choice.

So what's the biggest shortcoming here? Its carrier support, specifically in the US. If you're on T-Mobile, you shouldn't run into any issues, but it's missing a couple of key bands for AT&T. Verizon customers are in the worst spot, as LTE band 13 support isn't here. Ultimately, T-Mobile users can buy this phone without hesitation, and AT&T subscribers shouldn't have too much of an issue. Still, the last thing you want when dropping a grand on a smartphone is to feel uncertain about carrier support.

If you feel strongly about the idea of smaller phones, make sure to grab the Zenfone 9 before it disappears for good. Early rumors about its successor, the Zenfone 10, have it pegged with a 6.3" display, something that could ruin what made this Asus flagship so appealing in the first place.

ASUS ROG Phone 6
For the gamers

Built to play games

The Asus ROG Phone 6 is one of the best gaming phones around and shouldn't be ignored if you're after power above all else. This thing is built to handle everything you can throw at it, with a super-speedy Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, a massive 6.78", 1080p, 165Hz display, and a battery big enough to get you through even the longest of gaming sessions.

  • Stellar performance
  • Great display
  • Cameras are lackluster
  • Design isn't everyone's taste

At $1,000, the ASUS ROG Phone 6 is an expensive smartphone, but you get what you pay for. Asus has added all sorts of software enhancements for gamers, including some specialized widgets.

Just keep in mind that there are some sacrifices here, as with most gaming phones. For instance, those dual USB-C ports are nice, but the bottom-facing one is off-center, so it might not fit with third-party controllers. The overall design screams gamer, for better or worse, so if you want something sleek and thin, you're better off elsewhere. The cameras are pretty lackluster — no surprise there — and Asus's reputation for software upgrades is rather mixed. Still, if you're after a phone that'll keep you winning match after match of "League of Legends: Wild Rift" or just the most powerful smartphone, the ROG Phone 6 is worth a good, long look.

What's the best Android phone you can buy?

Whether you prefer your phone big or small, complex or blessedly streamlined, there's a brilliant Android phone for you. Google returned to steal our hearts with not one but two of the best phones you can buy today. If you're looking for an all-around fantastic phone, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is it. It sports a refined design over its predecessor, improved performance, and, most importantly, the best cameras on a smartphone today. The primary sensor is just as good as it was in 2021, but the 5x telephoto is where the Pixel 7 Pro shines. It can take some incredible shots, and with Super Res Zoom, it can hit as high as 30x while retaining quality. The Pixel 7 Pro also manages to undercut its closest competition, Samsung — truly, it's an impressive device.

Render of the Pixel 7 Pro in Hazel
Source: Google
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Best overall

Best all-around Android experience

The Google Pixel 7 Pro doesn't look all that different from the Pixel 6 Pro, but it features some key upgrades that may cement it as the best in the series to date. Everything we loved about those last-gen phones is unchanged. It's still packed with 12GB of RAM, features a huge 120Hz OLED display — now brighter than ever — and keeps the large camera bar design that, while not everyone's cup of tea, does support the phone from rocking back and forth on a table.


Q: What are the most important things to look for in an Android phone?

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the specifications and features thrown around in a phone's product listing or reviews. 100x zoom cameras, ultrasonic fingerprint sensors, S Pen stylus support, UWB, and the list goes ever on, but what do you actually need, and what’s just icing on the proverbial cake? There are four key features you should look at in a new phone — after you decide on your budget, of course.

  • Camera
  • Screen
  • Battery
  • Software & updates

Why isn’t processor or RAM in here? In recent years, the power of smartphone chipsets has more or less leveled out, and even the performance gap between mid-range and premium chipsets has shrunk considerably. In short, most phones in the same price bracket have the same level of performance, and in the flagship space, you’re already getting more memory than you probably need, too.

Q: What should you look for in a smartphone’s camera?

google pixel 6 pro samsung galaxy s22 ultra cameras

While the camera might not be the most important feature for some buyers, it’s a good indicator of overall speed, performance, and quality. For example, if a review mentions that the camera takes too long to open or too long between shots — such as on our Samsung Galaxy A53 review — when snapping multiple photos in succession, that’s a hint that the phone’s long-term performance might be more sluggish than what initial reviews indicate.

Camera speed becomes essential in many situations, such as grabbing a picture of a car fleeing an accident or capturing your daughter’s first steps. It’s also a good indicator of how your phone handles when under a heavy load. Camera features can also be vital depending on your use case. If you have small children or pets, you’ll want a camera that consistently does well with moving subjects. The Pixel 7's Real Tone — may appeal to users who despise their camera trying to whitewash them in every shot. If you go to concerts every weekend, you might care about zoom video and photography to get that perfect shot even when you’re twenty rows away.

Q: What matters most in a smartphone screen?

OnePlus 10 Pro review (8)

Most phones today come with screens in the 6.4 to 6.8-inch range, though aspect ratio certainly plays a role in how wide/narrow/tall/short a phone ends up feeling in your hand. If you prefer more petite devices, be prepared for a difficult search if you want to go smaller than the 6.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S23. Foldables like the Galaxy Z Flip 4 offer us a compact form factor in our pockets but a large screen when we want to scroll through our feed, so it’s a worthwhile compromise.

There are three other screen features to consider: curved screens, high refresh rates and maximum brightness. Curved screens can look lovely, but it’s often harder for tempered glass screen protectors to fit on them — and they can also be harder to grip without accidental touches. Some prefer the more seamless look of curved while others like the flat displays (and the lower price they often come with).

Flat or curved, refresh rates are now a feature to check whether you’re spending $200 or $1200 on new phones. The high the refresh rate on a screen, the more smoothly scrolling and other animations can appear on the screen. 60Hz is the classic rate, but 90Hz and 120Hz are becoming much more common, even among mid-range and budget phones like the OnePlus Nord N20. The higher the refresh rate, the more time your screen refreshes its content in a minute, but it can also use more battery.

Another feature that you might not find in spec sheets is the screen’s maximum brightness, but it’s important for anyone who spends much of their time outdoors. If a screen doesn’t get very bright, it’ll be hard to read outside, but high-brightness modes are also handy when watching HDR content as you’ll get a wider dynamic range and be able to make out details better. You don’t necessarily need a screen that can reach 1,750 nits like the S25 Ultra, but 800 nits is a nice goal if you need to reliably, regularly use your phone outside in full sun.

Q: Why you should look at reviews, not spec sheets, for battery details

The brighter your screen, the more power it consumes. However, battery is more than just a number on a spec sheet; be sure to read the reviews and see how that battery fares in actual use in reviews. While a good power bank or a fast phone charger can somewhat offset a smaller battery, nothing can replace getting a phone with a proper battery life from the start.

Smaller phones are more prone to weaker battery life — smaller housings mean less room for battery, after all — but larger phones aren’t immune to poor optimizations or power-hungry chipsets guzzling power like cheap beer at a baseball game. While sometimes software optimizations can mitigate some of that power drain, it won’t fix it all, which is why it’s best to avoid it if you can.

If you want phenomenal battery for less, look to the Pixel 5a.

Q: Why is software such a subjective category? And which updates matter?


Google’s done its best to try and standardize Android as much as it can, but Samsung One UI, OnePlus OxygenOS, Google Pixel, and most Android manufacturers have distinctly different visual designs and feature sets. Because visual design really comes down to preference, reviews of Android software can vary quite a bit from person to person.

For instance, some users can’t stand how One UI behaves towards most third-party launchers or how over-stuffed Samsung’s apps and features are, flocking instead to the Pixel 7, its cleaner design, and automatic call screening (which is a US-only feature for now). However, Samsung is the most popular Android phone manufacturer, and tens of millions of users like how One UI lays out your apps, widgets, and some system settings that are even more advanced than Google.

Smart Launcher on Android 13

If you like how your Android phone looks now, you’ll likely want to stick with that brand. If you’ve been as annoyed with One UI as I have, this is the time to try something new, especially considering the best Android phones receive updates for longer than ever before.

When looking at a phone’s promised updates, it’s important to remember a few things. Platform updates are updates to the features and Android level of your phone; the Pixel 6 series gets at least three years of platform updates while the Galaxy S23 series will receive four generations of Android version updates after its launch.

Security updates are updates that patch vulnerabilities and fix bugs, and these are arguably the more important updates to consider. A three-year-old phone getting the latest version of Android might bog it down, but security updates shouldn’t change how anything looks or performs on your phone. All phones in our best Android phones lineup will receive five years of security updates.

Q: How much RAM and storage does a phone really need in 2022?

Random Access Memory (RAM) is short-term storage, it stores the data of whatever you're doing on your phone right now — both on-screen tasks and background tasks like checking for notifications and finding Wi-Fi networks to connect to. When your RAM fills up, apps and processes running in the background are ended as the phone clears the necessary space for new tasks.

Most flagship phones these days ship with 8-12GB of RAM, but for most users, 6-8GB is just fine so long as you're not constantly gaming. If you're looking at budget Android phones, 4GB of RAM is okay but 6GB is better. Some sub-$200 phones are still selling with 2GB of RAM, but that will severely limit your experience.

How much long-term storage you need grows more important among the best Android phones as fewer and fewer premium phones include a microSD card slot for expandable storage. Manufacturers have done this in the name of saving space and providing a more stable experience — and they're not wrong, microSD storage is always slower than internal, and a corrupted/broken card can screw up your phone — but it also provides them the chance to upsell you on a more expensive configuration of their phones.

For internal storage, most midrange and flagship phones seem to be launching with 128GB these days, which is a godsend after years of 64GB being "standard" and filling up within a year or year and a half. 64GB is workable for budget phones — most of those still have microSD card slots — 128GB is good enough, 256 is great, and 512GB-1TB is icing for all of us except those who hoard their entire lives on their phones. Admittedly, we hold our lives on these devices whether or not we download every song, movie, and game we've ever bought anywhere, so if you have the space, why not?