The best smartphones are now greater in number than ever, making the decision of which to buy more difficult than ever. Now you're here, that job just got a whole load simpler. We've put in the work to whittle down this list of only the very best smartphones you can buy right now.
Crucially, this guide will lay out a selection of handsets, each with its special feature listed front and centre, so you can easily see what it is that suits your needs. You may want the very best brand's top flagship smartphone and money is no object. Or perhaps you want something that's a little gentler on your budget but still offers some impressive specs.
One good way to help decide on the best smartphone for you is to prioritize what you want it for. Perhaps you want the best camera possible for images and video, meaning you may also want to consider a great screen so you can see just how those images and videos turn out. Or perhaps it's battery life that you need, where a long performance and a fast charger are worth keeping in mind.
The operating system may be important too as Android and iOS are the main two and have lots of apps that integrate with each but can work better with other similar branded devices, if you have the same OS on them already. If you've already got something from the best tablets list or perhaps the best laptops, then it's worth keeping that operating system in mind.
1. iPhone 14 Pro: Best smartphone overall
Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro is quite simply the best iPhone you can buy right now and, frankly, the best phone outright. Yes, you can go for the larger iPhone 14 Pro Max if you want a bit more screen space but for the extra cost this model serves most needs with its impressive 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display. This also comes with that buttery smooth ProMotion technology and Always-On display ideal for quick glances at the time and notifications without powering up the phone fully.
While there is plenty of processing power thanks to the latest A16 Bionic chip, it's what that can do which is really worth thinking about. It can help get the most out of that impressive array of cameras. On the rear there are three lenses in the form of a 48MP main, an ultra wide and a telephoto – all of which can cover nearly any photographic need. Plus the video smarts are better than ever with fantastic auto focus and background blur for a professional finish.
Battery life is also decent, for an iPhone, thanks to a 5,000mAh battery which will last a full day and maybe more depending on how you use the device. If you want even more life then the iPhone 14 Pro Max does offer more battery capacity and can go a little longer on a full charge.
Above all else, as you'd expect from an iPhone, this is a very easy to use device that doesn't require you to play around with settings to get the most out of everything on offer here. While there are lots of features, and that excellent App Store to pick many apps from, it's all still kept minimal in design and finish.
2. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Best camera
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the best phones you can buy out there right now and would be our number one if it wasn't for that price tag. This has the best camera and the best display of any smartphone. That's thanks to a new 200MP lens and plenty more that equates to a setup that even professionals would be impressed with. In fact this phone now comes with a pro suite to get the best out of the quad camera setup.
Since Samsung is a display specialist, it shows off with this 6.8-inch AMOLED screen which manages a super smooth 120Hz refresh rate - making this perfect for watching movies or for gaming. There isn't any Dolby Vision support unfortunately but that's not a deal breaker for most. It's also very bright which means even when out in the sun you can still use this effectively. There's even an S Pen stylus hidden in the handset so you can slide that out and make the most of your display for business needs and beyond.
All that said, there is still enough room for a 5,000mAh battery which manages a full day of use at the very least – with plenty more if you adjust the handset to work towards longer life output. Then you have a fast 45W charger to get topped back up again when you need. Everything is also IP68 water and dust resistant meaning you don't need to worry too much about it getting wet. Plus, with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the display, this is tougher than any Galaxy device before.
3. Google Pixel 6a: Best value smartphone
The Google Pixel 6a is a smartphone that manages to offer some very impressive features and specs while keeping the price super low. While there is also a 7a available, the 6a is often on sale and if you can get it that much cheaper than its newer sibling it's really well worth snapping up.
This smartphone comes with the Google Tensor CPU meaning you can take advantage of some exclusive Google features. But it also means that you get the very best performance from that 12MP + 12MP dual rear camera setup – the results of which are often amazing thanks to that Google after-processing smarts. Crucially these images are not only impressive in their end result but manage that while keeping the pixel rate down so as to ensure sharing, while staying high quality, is a possibility here.
The 6.1-inch display with 60Hz refresh rate is decent and with that always up to date pure Android OS running on it you can expect to be interacting fast and with ease. What you shouldn't expect is decent battery life as this tops out at a day, if you're lucky. Then recharging isn't particularly fast either so this is clearly where that monetary saving you're making is going to be apparent. That said, there is an Extreme Battery Saver mode that can get you up to 72 hours, should you get desperate and want to stay contactable.
You also have 5G onboard plus TitanM2 security baked in so you should be able to enjoy staying in full use control wherever you go, worry-free.
4. OnePlus 11 5G: Best for fast charging
The OnePlus 11 5G is a phone unlike many others and, as this company started out, it offers stunning specs at a price that is far lower than you'd expect for what you get. This is a smartphone that competes with the top-end flagship smartphones while keeping the price to almost half many of those.
Primarily this is a really, really fast phone thanks to the premium Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor backed by up to 16GB of RAM. That combined with Android and the company's own OxygenOS makes for an easy to use experience. Plus it all looks great on that fantastic 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED display which is great for gaming and movies. Plus this packs in Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support – something which even many flagship smartphones and TVs don't even offer. So expect superb color accuracy.
This is helpful since the impressive triple camera setup, 50MP + 32MP + 48MP, is backed by Hasselblad for some superior color reproduction levels. You also have the rather unique portrait mode which makes for stunning photos of people that really make this camera stand out against even the premium smartphone competition.
All that and yet battery life is also something to praise thanks not only to an all day to two day 5,000mAh battery but some of the fastest charging you can get. The 80W charger can manage to get this handset to full charge in just 30 minutes. There's no wireless charging but then if you want speed that isn't going to appeal anyway.
5. iPhone 13: Best all-rounder
The iPhone 12 was no slouch in any department, but the iPhone 13 takes everything up a notch. There are no new “wow” features, but Apple’s smartphones are in such a good spot that perhaps they aren’t needed anymore.
The iPhone 13’s A15 chip offers impressive performance, while the new diagonally-aligned camera captures 47% more light in the Wide camera, and adds extra detail with the Ultra Wide lens, too. It’ll even switch focus when recording video with the new ‘Cinematic Mode’.
The OLED display is brighter than ever, and you’ll get two and a half extra hours of battery life compared to the iPhone 12.
Looking for a smaller device? The iPhone 13 Mini packs the same specs and components into a smaller, 5.4-inch display footprint.
- Read our full iPhone 13 review.
6. iPhone SE: Best budget iPhone
Magic. It’s magic, or someone sold their soul to the devil. That’s the only explanation we can come up with for the iPhone SE, Apple’s latest budget smartphone. This thing is built with the same A13 Bionic chipset that powers that flagship phones like the iPhone 11, but it costs a fraction of the price.
So how has Apple managed this feat of engineering? By taking things back to an older, cheaper to build design that reminds us of earlier models of iPhone like the iPhone 8. That means the home button is back, which now doubles as the fingerprint sensor. It’s made from aluminum and glass and still has a premium feel to it, but it’s not the completely glass shelled look that the newer models have gone for.
The camera isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s a decent little shooter, especially when you consider that it’s packed into a $400 phone that makes very few other sacrifices. You get great performance, a stylish design and most of the luxuries that you’d expect from a top-end smartphone like fast charging. If you want iPhone quality, but not the price then this is one of the best smartphones and could be the phone for you.
- Read our full iPhone SE review.
7. OnePlus Nord N10: best cheap Android smartphone
The OnePlus Nord N10 is OnePlus's first attempt to burst into the budget smartphone market, and it's a cracking effort. It comes with a 6.49-inch full-HD 90Hz LCD screen that offers smooth screen transitions and a great viewing experience if you're looking to watch movies and TV on your phone.
You also get a hefty 64MP main camera lens, backed up by an 8MP ultrawide lens and a 2MP macro lens which lets you take pictures of small objects up close. There is also a monochrome lens for your artsy black and white photos too.
On top of that, you get 5G connectivity and OnePlus's impressive Warp charge technology for quick battery recharges. The battery itself will easily last you a full day too. The only real downside to the OnePlus Nord N10 is the rather cheap, plasticky shell. But if that's the price to pay for a $300 smartphone with these specs, then its a price worth paying.
- Read the OnePlus Nord N10 review.
8. Google Pixel 7 Pro: Best ultraphone bargain
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is simply the best Pixel phone you can buy right now meaning it's an ideal way to get the best possible pure Android experience. It's also one of the best ways to get an ultraphone feature set while keeping the price lower than the Apple and Samsung competition.
Much like the top-end iPhone competition this handset features a 6.7-inch display which uses LTPO OLED tech to get a beautiful finish while helping to keep battery drain low. It does this with a super high resolution 3120 x 1440 setup to give you lots of detail on the screen while also packing in lots of brightness and color – all of which means this is ideal for seeing your photos at their best, even in direct sunlight.
On the subject of photography, this handset packs in a triple 50MP + 48MP + 12MP camera setup. All backed by the Google Tensor G2 processor. When you consider a single Pixel camera has been beating the multi lens competition for years, you can imagine what this upgrade offers. Photos are stunning, with excellent auto focus, warmth, dynamics and overall accuracy. You can also unblur any photos in your Google Photos library, even ones taken on another phone, thanks to that Tensor G2 chip.
Battery life is where the Pixel phones usually fall down but here you get a full day on a charge and wireless charging too. Charging speeds could be faster and that battery life could still be improved but it's a big step in the right direction here.
9. Google Pixel 6: Best mid-range Pixel phone
Google really went back to the drawing board with its Pixel range in 2021, and it’s fair to say that it worked - the Pixel 6 might be the best mid-range device from the tech giant yet.
Using the Tensor chip, Google’s first-ever internal chip in a smartphone, it runs stock Android like a dream. It’s fast, responsive, and endlessly customizable, making it well worth a look for purists.
Aside from the OS, it’s also packing a new design, a 6.4-inch OLED panel, and a 50Mp camera on the back, as well as a 12Mp ultra-wide sensor. The good news is that it lives up to the Pixel line’s legacy of excellent mobile photography, backed up by the Tensor chip’s image processing that helps in low-light situations.
Finally, the new Titan M2 security chip makes the Pixel 6 much stronger against hacks and vulnerabilities than prior devices.
10. Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus: Best affordable artist smartphone
We like big phones and we cannot lie, and the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus is the largest phone that we tested in our search for the best smartphones. The screen is a 6.8-inch QUAD HD+ display - if it was any bigger you could lay it flat and use it as an aircraft carrier. With the edge-to-edge screen, there are no bezels either so there’s no wasted space.
Samsung’s proprietary stylus, the S-pen also comes with the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus to let you make full use of that enormous screen. We found that it worked great for writing and even drawing, so it’s perfect for high-tech artists or students who need to take quick notes and don’t want to carry a laptop or tablet around with them.
Thanks to the extra size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, there was more room for cameras. So Samsung casually threw four rear-facing lenses into the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. There’s an ultrawide lens for wide shots, a telephoto lens for zoomed in pics and a VGA depth lens that lets you do some funky stuff with Live Focus. There are also two front-facing lenses for snapping selfies making this stand out as one of the best smartphones for selfies.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a great choice for creative people who want to draw, take notes and snap amazing pictures on the go. It’s also the perfect choice for people who just want the biggest phone they can get their hands around.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus review.
Buying advice for the best smartphones
To find the very best smartphone for you there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you reach for your money. First up is what do you really need? Is it the best camera, the most amazing display, the longest battery life, a specific OS, or perhaps unique features like a stylus or folding screen. All that in mind, which can you drop to keep the price down? Or if you want it all, can you stretch to those top-end prices?
When it comes to cameras, you want to think not only about front and rear setups but also about zoom as many now offer optical and digital. The former is important as it won't eat into your pixel count or quality, while the latter simply blows up the image losing quality in favor of zooming in. Other features like portrait mode for faces or macro for extreme close-ups are also worth considering.
Battery life is a big issue for many so you'll either want a large battery or fast charging so you can get back to full power quickly.
The display is also important especially if you want to watch movies or assess images clearly even when in daylight. So consider resolution, brightness, refresh rates and color reproduction here.
Then it's worth thinking about what operating system suits you. Is it pure Android you want or can a company's UI over the top serve you? Or perhaps you're team Apple, narrowing down your search right from the start.
Whichever smartphone you settle on, it's worth finding a store to try it out, in hand, before you commit so you can really decide if it feels right for you.
Why Trust Us
We combine thorough research with hands-on testing to compare all the features, functions, and flaws of the top smartphones so we can recommend only the best of the best.
By now, it’s pretty standard for flagship phones to boast features such as water-resistance, long battery life, great cameras, fast speeds, gorgeous displays and airtight security. We leverage our own extremely high expectations for our smartphones in our evaluations, so you can be confident in your phone purchase.
How we tested the best smartphones
Our best smartphones evaluations combine thorough research with extensive testing. We start by gathering and arranging available information about every smartphone to narrow down the top choices. We get our hands on the best smartphones on the market and then compare the items you see above, including battery capacity, screen quality, camera specs, and internal components.
After we compile our data, our team spends time with each device. We conduct a variety of benchmark tests to assess features such as battery life, CPU processing power, graphic card performance, data read and write speeds, display quality and overall performance, and we factor these results into our overall evaluation of the best smartphones.
Of course, a smartphone is more than the sum of its parts. To gauge how smoothly all the functions and features work together in day-to-day use, we take each phone for a spin for a few days. We play games, watch videos, check our social media, take photos and make phone calls to feel what it’s like to use the phone.