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Best Android phone 2023: The best budget, mid-range and high-end Android phones

Nathan Spendelow Ben Johnston
13 Jan 2023

Want a great Android smartphone? These are the only phones worth considering

You're here because you're looking for the best Android phone money can buy. You're probably a bit of an Android nut, and you're not alone: after all, Android is the world's most popular smartphone platform. If you’re not shackled to an iPhone, it's the obvious (and only) choice.

The range of Android phones out there is enormous. That means you're sure to find something to suit you perfectly – as long as you know what you're looking for.

Here's our guide to buying an Android phone, with advice about choosing the perfect handset for you and our pick of the best Android smartphones the market has to offer.

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Best Android phone: At a glance

How to buy the best Android phone for you

When it comes to picking a new smartphone, there’s a multitude of features to consider. While aesthetics are important, you should certainly pay attention to features and performance. Most flagship phones (which tend to cost upwards of £700) will be more than satisfactory in all areas, but cheaper devices may come with compromises. You can boil the key considerations down to five key questions…

What's the best smartphone display for me?

A high-resolution display is nice, but on a device this size, you probably won’t notice any difference between a 1,080p or a 1,440p screen – and 4K is completely pointless. What's much more important is contrast and colour reproduction.

AMOLED displays always look fantastic, with perfect contrast and excellent sRGB coverage. Budget phones tend to opt for standard IPS LCD screens, usually at around 1080p or 720p, but that's still fine if you don’t plan to do a lot of photo editing or movie watching on your device.

How much storage do I need?

You'll need space to store your apps, and you might want to keep photos and music on the device. That's less of an issue than it used to be, though, as apps such as Google Photos and Google Music mean your personal media can live in the cloud. Internal storage sizes tend to start at the 128GB mark on flagships and around 64GB on budget devices. Many handsets let you use a microSD card to cheaply expand this.

What's the best version of Android?

These phones are all Android devices, but they can look and feel quite different. Certain manufacturers – notably Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei and Xiaomi – put their own customised “skin” on top of the OS, while the likes of Google and OnePlus use stock Android (or near-stock) to deliver a clean and crisp experience for their users. Aside from Huawei, they'll all run the same apps, though, so it’s mostly a case of personal preference.

READ NEXT: The best budget phones

What's the best smartphone camera?

A decent camera is a great feature: it means you can always capture a moment without having carry around a dedicated camera, and share your snaps in a few taps. Most flagships have excellent built-in cameras, but this certainly isn't something you can take for granted in a mid-range or budget phone. If photo quality matters to you, make sure you investigate the camera before investing.

What's the best smartphone for battery life?

Smartphone battery life has improved over the years, but we’re still living in a world where a charge may only just get you through the day. Bigger phones tend to have better longevity, though – as they can pack in bigger batteries – and some budget phones also have impressive stamina for their size and price. Do your research and, as a general rule, go for the highest-capacity battery you can find.

The best Android phones you can buy in 2023

1. Google Pixel 7: The best Android smartphone

Price: £599 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest Google Pixel 7 contract deals

It's no surprise that the best Android smartphone is the one made by Google. A great showcase for the platform, the Pixel 7 (and 7 Pro) is on par with most other companies' flagships, but at a vastly reduced price. Not only is the Pixel 7's stripped-back Android 13 experience as refined and effortlessly simple as ever, but what really sets the Pixel 7 apart this year is its dual cameras, which are simply in a class of their own.

No matter what you're taking pictures of, and no matter the lighting conditions, the Pixel 7's images and video are absolutely top-notch, and easily the best you can buy right now. Battery life is also a serious step above last year's Pixel 6, courtesy of improvements to Google's second-gen Tensor G2 chipset. And with that cutthroat price being yet another part of the Pixel 7's appeal, there's little reason to spend more.

Read our full Google Pixel 7 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.85GHz Google Tensor G2; Screen: 6.3in 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 13

2. Xiaomi Redmi Note 11: The best budget Android phone

Price: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 is astonishing value for money. Achieving similar levels of performance as phones costing twice the price, the Redmi Note 11 doesn't scrimp on features. More formidable than most, the Redmi Note 11 comes into its own in terms of photography with its 50MP camera, and the 90Hz Full HD display is a massive bonus as well.

If money is tight and you're looking for a competent smartphone that punches well above its weight, then the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 is the smart choice.

Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 680; Screen: 6.43in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (wide) 2MP (macro) and 2MP (depth); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 11

3. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: The best flagship Android

Price: From £1,149 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra contract deals

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra certainly lives up to its hyperbolic name, boasting stylus-friendly features, a crisp 6.8in display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, a robust design and a 22% improvement in CPU performance over its predecessor. If that wasn't enough, the S22 Ultra can charge to 50% in a mere 20 minutes, while the bundled S Pen stylus is ideal for jotting down notes and stows neatly away in the bottom of the handset.

As you'd expect from a new, shiny Samsung, the cameras are impressive. The module has been redesigned from the ground up and now features a main 108MP, a 12MP ultrawide and two 10MP telephoto units on the rear, as well as a gargantuan 40MP selfie camera on the front. The results were stunning in our photography tests, even in low light.

The price is high, but you're getting a vast amount for your money with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. If your pockets are suitably deep, it's the very best flagship Android around.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Samsung Exynos 2200 (1 x 2.8GHz, 3 x 2.5GHz, 4 x 1.8GHz); Screen: 6.8in, 3,088 x 1,440; Camera: 108MP, 10MP (10x zoom), 10MP (3x zoom), 12MP (ultrawide), 40MP (selfie); Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; Operating system: Android 12

4. Nokia C21 Plus: The best Android phone for £100

Price: £100 l Buy now from Amazon

If your buying budget can't stretch past £100, or you're simply hoping to dip your toes into the world of smartphones but don't want to spend much, then the Nokia C21 Plus is a fine choice. Costing just double figures, the Nokia C21 Plus is excellent value and while it doesn't come with the usual lineup of high-end flagship features, what's on offer here is still quite exceptional for the price.

For starters, it has a large 6.52in screen (which we found to be very bright and vibrant in our tests), it has a strong build and it's been updated to Android 11 Go. Sure, it isn't the fastest phone on the market and it lacks NFC, but for just £100 you really can't do any better.

Read our full Nokia C21 Plus review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 1.6GHz Unisoc SC9863A; Screen: 6.52in 1,600 x 720; Camera: 13MP, 2MP (depth); Storage: 32GB; Operating system: Android 11 Go

5. Realme 9 Pro Plus: Flagship features at an affordable price

Price: £349 | Buy now from Realme

An exceptionally well-rounded handset, the Realme 9 Pro Plus is the mid-range smartphone to beat. The MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G processor obliterated the competition in all of our benchmark tests, handling day to day tasks without complaint and faring pretty well in gaming, too.

Battery life proved equally impressive, managing to last for over 25 hours and landing in the top ten in our phone battery life hierarchy. Once depleted, the included 60W fast charger is able to return the battery to 100% in just over 40 minutes. This combination of extensive battery life and super-fast charging is something of a game-changer, even more so at this price.

It’s not perfect on all fronts – there’s no IP rating for weatherproofing and the ultrawide camera isn’t the best that we’ve seen in this price bracket – but for sheer value, the Realme 9 Pro Plus sets a high bar.

Read our full Realme 9 Pro Plus review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.5GHz MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G; Screen: 6.4in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (ultrawide), 2MP (macro), 16MP (selfie); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

Buy now from Realme

6. Oppo Find X5 Pro: A simply stunning flagship

Price: £899 l Buy now from Amazon

If you're hoping to take a step off the well-trodden path, and you've got plenty of cash burning a hole in your pocket, then the Oppo Find X5 Pro should be your next flagship smartphone. It's not cheap, that much is clear, but if you've got the funds you'll be rewarded with one of the best-looking smartphones on the market, with the usual array of high-spec features.

The Oppo Find X5 Pro's mirrored design is truly stunning, and its large 6.7in 1,440p screen is one of the most colour accurate displays we've ever tested, too. The triple-camera offering is also top-notch and the fact that it lasted over 24-hours in our battery test is a huge bonus as well. Oppo's Find X5 Pro is a sublime choice if you're craving the latest and greatest tech, but don't fancy a Samsung or an iPhone.

Read our full Oppo Find X5 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1; Screen: 6.7in, 3,216 x 1,440; Camera: 50MP, 50MP (wide), 13MP (zoom); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 12

7. Nothing Phone (1): A unique, well-priced handset

Price: £350 l Buy now from Amazon

The Nothing Phone (1) is something of a design statement. If you're looking for a phone that turns heads, then this is undoubtedly what you should be buying. Featuring a unique see-through rear and a series of LED lights, there's nothing else on the market that looks as swish as this. And the lights have a purpose, too – they flash when you receive calls, texts and alarms. Handy.

But it's not all about the looks, and thankfully the Nothing Phone (1) is a competent mid-priced handset in all other regards. Performance is solid, courtesy of a Snapdragon 778G Plus chipset, battery life is great – lasting over 20 hours in our test – and it comes with a near-stock Android interface, too. A phone for tech geeks, or for those that simply want to show off, the Nothing Phone (1) is a solid pick.

Read our full Nothing Phone (1) review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus; Screen: 6.55in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP and 50MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

8. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: The best folding phone

Price: £999 l Buy now from Amazon

The Galaxy Z Flip is back and it's yet again the best folding phone you can buy. With IPX8-rated waterproofing, a bigger battery and upgraded performance, the Z Flip 4 is well worth buying, especially if you're growing bored of conventional handsets. The 120Hz display is quite special, with top-notch colour accuracy in our tests, and the cameras have been improved, too.

What's best of all, however, is that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the cheapest foldable on the market. Forn the price of a bog-standard flagship smartphone, the Z Flip 4 is as unique as it gets, and you certainly don't have to pay extra for the privilege, either.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1; Screen: 6.7in, 2,640 x 1,080 (cover: 1.9in, 512 x 260); Camera: 12MP and 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

9. Motorola Edge 30 Ultra: The best-value flagship

Price: £650 | Buy now from John Lewis

Proof that not all flagship phones need to run into four figures, the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is an affordable and feature-rich alternative to the market’s most wallet-hurting models. The high-end Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset easily contends with phones that cost hundreds more, the 144Hz OLED display is bright and colour-accurate, and the battery life managed an impressive 25 hours in our tests. Even better, the provided 125W fast charger can get it back up to 100% in just 20 minutes.

The cameras are decent, though not quite on par with some of the pricier models on this list, and it’s only IP52 rated, so you don’t get full waterproof protection. Still, these are relatively minor quibbles, especially compared to just how much the Edge 30 Ultra gets right. If you want flagship functionality without breaking the bank, the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra is the only phone you need to consider.

Read our full Motorola Edge 30 Ultra review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.19GHz Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1; Screen: 6.67in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 200MP, 50MP (ultrawide), 12MP (3x zoom); Storage: 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

Buy now from John Lewis

10. Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: Samsung's best-value phone yet

Price: £300 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest Samsung Galaxy A53 5G contract deals

Despite what Samsung's slick adverts would have you believe, your smartphone buying options aren't limited to £1,000+ flagships. Yes, some expensive Samsung phones make this list, but if you're after something with a softer impact on your wallet, then the Galaxy A53 5G is just the ticket.

The Galaxy A53 5G is a 6.5in handset with swish looks and features that are more befitting of handsets that cost twice the price. It's powered by a powerful Exynos 1280 processor, and it also has a 64MP camera with a 12MP wide and a pair of 5MP macro and depth sensors. Big, powerful, and good-looking, Samsung's Galaxy A53 5G is a no-brainer for the budget-conscious buyer.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review for more details

Key specs – Processor: 2.4GHz Samsung Exynos 1280; Screen: 6.5in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 64MP, 12MP (wide), 5MP (macro), 5MP (depth); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 12

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