Our selection for the best smartphones to buy by the end of 2023

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Discover our curated collection of top-performing smartphones in November 2023. Identify the ideal phone for your budget, whether you lean towards high-end, optimal value, or budget-friendly options.

Determining the standout smartphone of 2023 isn’t a straightforward task, considering diverse factors such as budget constraints, screen dimensions, battery longevity, and photographic capabilities. Hence, a comprehensive phone comparison is indispensable for making an informed decision.

In pursuit of the paramount smartphone that precisely caters to your requirements? One equipped with cutting-edge components? Be it a robust processor, exceptional camera quality, or a steadfast battery life? Explore the detailed analysis below, presenting a side-by-side comparison of the finest phones in 2023. These premium smartphones leave no room for compromise, reflecting their elevated aspirations in both performance and, unsurprisingly, price.

The best smartphone to buy by the end of 2023

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: The best smartphone of 2023

Galaxy S23 Ultra Camera

In the realm of high-end smartphones, Samsung has once again claimed the spotlight with its latest offerings. The standout among them is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Securing its position as the premier smartphone of 2023 due to its exceptional performance across all domains.

A notable enhancement in this top-tier smartphone is the introduction of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, coupled with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. Resulting in impressive overall performance. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra stands out as one of the most potent Android smartphones with its robust configuration. The OneUI 5.1 software brings a host of appealing customizations, and the utilization of the S-Pen has been streamlined for user convenience.

Maintaining a design reminiscent of its predecessor, the phone boasts a substantial build that ensures a secure grip, complemented by a generously sized 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel. The adaptive refresh feature ranging from 1 to 120 Hz adds to the visual experience. Achieving a peak brightness of 1609 cd/m2 and a Delta E of 4.58, the display excels, albeit with a minor precision caveat.

A standout improvement lies in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s battery life, managed by a robust 5000 mAh battery. In the testing, the smartphone demonstrated an impressive endurance of two full days. According to our ViSer protocol, it took 15 hours and 14 minutes to deplete from 100% to 10%. This places it among the top performers in terms of battery life. Notably, this stellar performance is complemented by a 45W charger (available separately for $50), capable of charging the device to 100% in approximately an hour.

Turning our attention to photography, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra builds upon its predecessor’s success, positioning itself as the pinnacle of camera smartphones. The four rear lenses, including the remarkable 200-megapixel main lens, deliver high-quality shots with effective optical stabilization. Regardless of the shooting scenario, the camera consistently performs well, showcasing remarkable versatility.

However, the only notable drawback is the price tag. While the base version is now available at €1,159, reflecting a substantial reduction from its initial launch price of €1,419, it still positions the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in the upper echelons of smartphone pricing.

iPhone 15 Pro Max: The Best iPhone of 2023

iPhone 15 Pro Max
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The latest additions to the iPhone lineup, the iPhone 15 Pro Max and 15 Pro, bring forth several noteworthy features, albeit falling short of a revolutionary overhaul. The introduction of a titanium chassis adds a welcomed touch, contributing to the remarkable lightness of Apple’s premier phone. Complementing this, the phone’s back boasts a matte glass coating, providing a pleasantly soft feel for enhanced grip.

A standout feature this year is the inclusion of the A17 Pro chip, delivering impressive performance, particularly in the realm of gaming. The iPhone 15 Pro Max, owing to its robust capabilities, emerges as one of the most potent smartphones available.

The display of the 15 Pro Max is nothing short of spectacular, featuring a 6.7-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2,796 x 1,290 pixels at 460 ppi. The panel’s 120 Hz refresh rate and compatibility with Dolby Vision contribute to a visually immersive experience. While the maximum brightness earns commendation, some users might find the colorimetry slightly on the cooler side.

Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the triple-sensor setup, comprising a 48MP wide-angle lens, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and a potent 12MP 5X telephoto lens. The device excels not only in photo performance but also in video capabilities, with Portrait mode delivering aesthetically pleasing results.

In terms of battery life, the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers a respectable day and a half of usage. However, it’s worth noting that charging speed remains a point of anticipation, as the current generation still caps charging at a maximum of 23W, leaving users awaiting faster charging advancements.

On a related note, the iPhone 15 Pro presents an attractive option, available at approximately $200 less, making it an excellent alternative for those seeking a compact smartphone while also enjoying some cost savings. However, it’s essential to be mindful of a slightly reduced battery life compared to its counterpart, and in the camera department, the X5 telephoto lens is replaced by the still satisfactory X3.

For those working within a tighter budget, the iPhone 14 Pro emerges as a noteworthy recommendation. It stands out as one of the best high-end Apple smartphones in terms of offering a compelling balance between features and cost-effectiveness.

Google Pixel 8 Pro: The ultimate sustainable Android smartphone

Google Pixel 8 Pro Durability - best smartphones

Introducing the Google Pixel 8 Pro, representing the pinnacle of Google’s smartphone offerings in 2023 and proving to be a notable success. Notably departing from its predecessor, the Pixel 7, the device boasts a more rounded and original design, a welcomed aesthetic enhancement. Both the Pixel 8 Pro and 8 models also shed weight on the scales, contributing to a more streamlined feel.

The Pixel 8 Pro’s 6.7-inch OLED display stands out with impressive features, including a 120 Hz refresh rate, well-calibrated color reproduction, and an outstanding maximum brightness measured at 1770 cd/m2.

Google continues its strong emphasis on photography and videography with the Pixel 8 Pro. The camera setup includes a 50MP wide-angle sensor, a 48MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, and a 48MP 5x telephoto lens. The camera system excels in sharpness, contrasts, color management, and portrait mode. The integration of AI introduces versatile options for retouching, such as the Magic Eraser to remove or replace unwanted elements. A Pro mode has been added to provide greater control over various settings. The video component also performs well, showcasing effective stabilization. In summary, the Pixel 8 Pro, and to a slightly lesser extent the Pixel 8, offers versatile photography capabilities throughout the day.

Under the hood, the new Tensor G3 chip, supported by 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, powers the Pixel 8 Pro. While potent for everyday use and gaming, it falls slightly short of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s level. The chip does seem to consume more power, reflected in the 5050 mAh battery’s ability to provide just about a day’s worth of battery life. Charging capabilities reach a maximum of 27W, a choice that may not raise eyebrows for a phone in this price range.

Notably, the “Pixel Experience” with Android 14 remains a strong point. Google’s commitment to providing 7 years of software updates is unmatched, offering impressive longevity to this model.

However, it’s essential to note a price increase for the two new models, with the Pixel 8 Pro priced at €1099 and the standard Pixel 8 at €800. To form a more precise opinion, further exploration and hands-on experience may be advisable.

Samsung Galaxy A54: The smartphone with the best value for money

Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy A54 5g

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Samsung has recently distinguished itself with the commendable quality of devices within its Galaxy A range, offering smartphones that excel in delivering exceptional value for money. The Samsung Galaxy A54, in particular, stands out as the premier smartphone under $500 in the current market.

This distinction is attributed to thoughtful material choices, resulting in a device with a pleasant and ergonomic design, despite the presence of slightly thick borders. Notably, the Galaxy A54 boasts an IP67 certification, ensuring resistance to splashes and dust. The device features a striking 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a commendable 120Hz refresh rate. The testing revealed a peak brightness of 1275 cd/m², establishing it as the best mid-range smartphone screen currently available.

Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy A54 is equipped with the Exynos 1380 chip paired with 8GB of RAM. While not claiming the title for the best performance on the market, it proves to be faster than its predecessor. Additionally, the substantial 5,000mAh battery impressively delivers 19 hours and 21 minutes of battery life, equivalent to two days of usage with a conservative approach. However, the absence of fast charging is notable, as the device takes 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach a full charge.

In terms of photography, the overall performance is commendable under optimal conditions. The main sensor, however, encounters challenges in low-light scenarios. The software aspect maintains a high standard. Especially with the promise of 4 years of major Android updates, ensuring the phone’s longevity and future relevance.

In summary, the Samsung Galaxy A54 emerges as the epitome of value in the smartphone market. Offering a starting price of $499 that is likely to see further reductions in the future.

A noteworthy contender that poses a credible alternative to the Samsung Galaxy A54 is the Pixel 7a. A true rival albeit at a slightly higher price point. As the budget-friendly iteration of Google’s Pixel 7, it reasserts itself as the pinnacle of photography prowess within this market segment. The Pixel 7a’s compact design and its stunning 90 Hz OLED display further strengthen its appeal. However, it’s important to acknowledge that the device’s limited range, coupled with a slower charging speed, may be perceived as potential deterrents to purchase. Despite these considerations, the Pixel 7a stands out as one of the preeminent Android smartphones currently available. Offering an exceptional balance of features and performance.

Nothing Phone (2): The most stylish smartphone

Nothing Phone (2) Nothing OS 2.0.2 - best smartphones

Following the success of its initial smartphone, the Nothing Phone (2) faces the challenging task of solidifying its position in the market. The new model impresses with a sublime design that not only looks exceptional but also ensures an excellent grip. Particularly noteworthy is the return of the “Glyph,” contributing to making it one of the most stylish smartphones available.

The user experience takes center stage, marked by the impeccable performance of the Nothing OS 2.0 operating system. Day-to-day usage is streamlined, allowing users to navigate the smartphone without the need for an app drawer. Moreover, it boasts a distinct graphic identity, setting it apart from most other brands on the market. Notably, the inclusion of three Android versions ensures longevity. Positioning it among the best Android smartphones in terms of user experience.

Performance is another strong suit, with the Phone (2) equipped with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip accompanied by a minimum of 8GB of RAM. This not only results in swift task execution but also ensures efficient mobile gaming without overheating. The 4700 mAh battery provides a full day of usage, though it’s essential to note that a charger is not included in the box.

The 6.7-inch Full HD OLED display boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, enhancing the overall visual experience. While the brightness may fall slightly short of expectations, it remains decent. The camera performance is commendable, yet there’s a notable absence of a telephoto lens that would have enriched the overall photographic capabilities.

Redmi Note 12 5G: the best smartphone under $300

Redmi Note 12 5G

The Redmi Note 12 5G stands out as the premier smartphone under $300. Continuing Xiaomi’s tradition of delivering exceptional value for money. Building on the success of the previous year, this budget-friendly device maintains a modest yet appealing design.

Continuing the trend from the previous iteration, the Redmi Note 12 5G features an OLED panel. Measuring 6.67 inches with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The display impresses with excellent color fidelity, though the brightness may leave room for improvement. Nevertheless, it stands as one of the best displays within its price range in 2023.

Powering the device is a Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chip, ensuring reliable day to day performance with minimal slowdowns. Surprisingly adept in gaming, albeit with a slight tendency to heat up, the Redmi Note 12 5G manages to meet various demands seamlessly. On the downside, the battery life is a bit underwhelming, lasting just a day.

In the realm of photography, the Redmi Note 12 5G offers a good, straightforward experience without delivering stunning photos. The user experience is buoyed by MIUI, which proves to be smooth and functional.

Priced at less than $300, the smartphone emerges as one of the most attractive options in 2023, underscoring Xiaomi’s commitment to providing affordable yet capable devices.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G: A good cheap smartphone

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G - best smartphones

Samsung’s presence in the affordable smartphone sector remains strong, and the Galaxy A23 5G stands as the flagship offering for those seeking a capable device for less than $300.

Notable for its appealing design, the A23 showcases Samsung’s trademark clean lines and understated elegance. Even though the phone’s case is constructed from plastic. The ergonomic grip and overall harmonious aesthetics add to its appeal. Samsung’s commitment to display quality is evident with a 6.6 inch LCD panel offering FHD+ resolution and an impressive maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. However, the display tends towards cooler color tones, with an average color temperature of 7405K.

Equipped with a 4-sensor configuration, including a 50MP wide angle sensor, a 5MP ultra wide angle sensor, and dedicated portrait and macro sensors, the Galaxy A23 5G delivers commendable photo performance in normal lighting conditions. The software processing and vibrant color reproduction characteristic of Samsung devices contribute to the appeal. While low light performance, especially with the ultra wide angle lens, may pose some challenges, the camera proves versatile for most scenarios within its price range.

Battery life emerges as a strong point, courtesy of the generous 5000 mAh battery. Ensuring at least a day’s usage, if not more, depending on individual usage patterns.

In summary, the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G offers an attractive package for those desiring a Samsung smartphone with the reliable One UI overlay, all at an affordable price. It’s a compelling option for users seeking a balance between brand reliability and budget-consciousness.

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