We test a ton of Android phones. We like the ones below, but you’ll be better off with one of the options above. If you haven’t yet done so, check out our Best Cheap Phones guide for more.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE for $600: I used this phone for several weeks and found it was more than enough to meet my needs. The cameras are surprisingly decent—you even get a usable 3X optical zoom, though its results are not as excellent as the ones from the Galaxy S23. The performance gave me zero issues, and the battery often lasted me a little more than a day with average use. The 6.4-inch screen is a pretty nice size that’s not too big and not too small, and you still get perks like wireless charging and a 120-Hz screen refresh rate. It has dipped as low as $400 during Black Friday, so I highly recommend you wait for a sale.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Series ($700+): It seems like last year’s Galaxy S23 range (9/10, WIRED Recommends) may be disappearing faster than usual, as stock is low across a variety of retailers. If you can find them, the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23, the 6.6-inch S23+, and the massive 6.8-inch S23 Ultra are full of high-end features, from the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that keeps even the most demanding games running beautifully to the fluid and bright 120-Hz AMOLED displays. Battery life has improved across the board, with the S23 comfortably lasting more than a day and the S23 Ultra hitting nearly two full days with average use. The triple camera systems are the highlight, delivering remarkable results whether it’s day or night. The S23 Ultra has the special 10X optical zoom camera, which is no longer available on the latest S24 Ultra, and I miss it. It was nice being able to capture sharp photos of objects far away. It’s the only phone in the trio with the embedded S Pen stylus if you like to doodle. Try to avoid the MSRP since they’re a year old; sometimes, these prices match the latest models, which is a bad deal.
OnePlus Open for $1,700: The OnePlus Open (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the first folding smartphone from OnePlus, and it’s surprisingly good. OnePlus has some clever software trickery to make multitasking on this booklike foldable simple and effective. The camera system delivers good results, the screens get plenty bright, and the battery life is excellent. I just wish the water resistance was better and that it had wireless charging.
Google Pixel 6A for $349: Google’s continuing to sell the 2022 Pixel 6A (8/10, WIRED Recommends) at a marked-down price. It’s still excellent value and a worthy purchase. It’s powered by Google’s first-gen Tensor chip, which means you’re getting some of the best performance for the money, and it supports all the same great (and helpful) software smarts as the flagship Pixel 6 series. It’s got an OLED screen, a decent camera system, and lengthy software support. There’s no wireless charging and it has a 60-Hz screen.
Xiaomi Poco X6 for £319 and X6 Pro for £369: Not in the US? You should take a look at the Poxo X6 or Poco X6 Pro (7/10, WIRED Recommends). These are speedy phones considering the low prices, with great displays, and decent battery life, plus the X6 even has a headphone jack! It’s a shame there’s a lot of bloatware, limited water resistance, and the cameras are lackluster.
Google Pixel 7 Pro for $600: The 2022 Pixel 7 Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a good buy if you can find it at this price (or lower). You get a 6.7-inch screen with a 120-Hz refresh rate. There’s Face Unlock, but this isn’t secure like the version on the Pixel 8, so you’ll have to rely on the fingerprint sensor to access sensitive apps. Cameras are a big part of Pixels, and the Pixel 7 Pro remains one of the best with an upgraded ultrawide with autofocus, enabling a Macro Focus mode for close-ups. Its telephoto camera has an excellent 5X optical zoom too.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 for $1,499: The Fold5 (7/10, WIRED Recommends) remains an excellent big-screen folding smartphone. The cameras can take some great photos, the displays can get shockingly bright, and Samsung promises lengthy software support. But the introduction of the Pixel Fold has shown me how much more I prefer the wider front screen. The Fold5’s external screen feels too narrow, and some apps feel squished (though it’s a little easier to grasp when closed). It’s frequently available for $1,499 so try not to pay more.
Samsung Galaxy A54 for $453: Samsung also has a great A-series mid-range phone, the Galaxy A54 5G (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It’s a nice alternative to the Pixel 7A or OnePlus 12R. The 6.4-inch AMOLED screen can ratchet up the brightness like crazy, so you never have to squint, and the screen reacts more smoothly thanks to the 120-Hz refresh rate. It matches the Pixel on security updates but it offers an extra year of OS upgrades for a total of four. The reason why it’s not above? Performance is good, but things can get a little stuttery when you try to juggle many apps at once; the Pixel 7A and OnePlus 12R easily beat it in speed. The A54’s battery can last more than a day at least, and the camera system holds its own. There’s no headphone jack on the phone, no wireless charging, nor is there a charging brick in the box, but you do get a microSD slot if you want to expand the 128 GB of included storage.
Sony Xperia 1 V for $1,398: Sony’s latest flagship phone (7/10, WIRED Review) is super expensive. But it’s one of the few smartphones with a 4K OLED screen, and it’s rare to see a high-end phone with a headphone jack. There are a lot of toys for camera nerds, whether you want to capture a photo with manual settings or use Sony’s Cinema Pro app to capture cinematic footage. You can even use the phone as an external monitor for your camera. It’s a shame Sony has a short software update policy, and its camera system is still too clunky.
Motorola Edge+ 2023 for $600: A Motorola smartphone with contactless payment support, 5G, wireless charging, plus a promise of three OS upgrades and four years of security updates? Say it ain’t so! The Motorola Edge+ finally matches its peers on several counts and exceeds them in some ways. It has a bright 165-Hz OLED screen, it’s lightweight, and its 5,100-mAh battery easily lasts two days. The downside? The cameras are not as good as the cheaper Pixel 7A. Read our Best Motorola Phones guide for more picks.
OnePlus Nord N30 5G for $300: This OnePlus phone (6/10, WIRED Review) doesn’t break the mold, and you should pay up for a Pixel 6A or any of the phones above if you can. But if your budget is tight and this phone goes on sale, it does the job. Performance is good, and there’s two-day battery life.