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The best Samsung phones you can buy (plus the latest foldables)

There's a Samsung phone for everyone, from innovative foldables to value-driven handsets. If you're ready to explore a new Galaxy, ZDNET has you covered with the best Samsung phones of 2023.
Written by June Wan, Technology Editor on
Reviewed by Amy Lieu

In the world of consumer electronics, Samsung is arguably the most popular, with its product empire spanning from home appliances to mobile computing to software and services. Even if we tunnel into its smartphone lineup, there are almost too many options to count. And with the recent introduction of the Galaxy A54 5G, there are even more reasons to consider an upgrade if you're a Samsung loyalist.

Also: Google Pixel Fold vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Who did it better?

That said, ZDNET has tested, reviewed, and compared the best and worst Samsung Galaxy smartphones over the years, including the value-driven A-series, the flagship S-series, and the shape-shifting foldables that make up the Z-series.

See below for our top picks of the year so far, starting with the best of the best. And if that's not a fit for you, definitely peruse through the list as there's a great option for virtually every user.

Pros & Cons
  • Most complete smartphone experience money can buy
  • Reliable quad-camera setup
  • 256GB base storage leads the competition
  • Integrated S Pen stylus for enhanced functionality
  • Phone can be unwieldy for some, especially with a case
  • Fast charging is still capped at 45W
  • Pricier than most Android phones
More Details

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra tech specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy | Display: 6.8 inches, 3088 x 1440 | RAM/Storage Options: 12GB RAM with 256GB/512GB/1TB | Rear cameras: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 10x optical, 10MP 3x optical | Front camera: 12MP | Colors: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender | Battery: 5,000mAh

In the grand calculus of the Samsung multiverse, the Galaxy S23 Ultra reigns supreme. It's arguably the most no-frills smartphone that you can buy on the market, let alone from Samsung, which puts it at the top spot on our list.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with a large 6.8-inch AMOLED display, a beefy 5,000mAh battery that can last you as long as two days, a customized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor to keep things running efficiently, and the sacred Samsung S Pen -- ideal for jotting down notes, graphics designing, or even signing PDFs.

Review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Being the latest and greatest also means that the S23 Ultra comes equipped with Samsung's newest advancements in camera technology, including a 200-megapixel main lens that's capable of capturing the highest-resolution images we've seen on any Galaxy phone. There's also 8K video recording at 30 frames per second if you're into that.

All this is to say that the Galaxy S23 Ultra is our pick for the best Samsung phone overall, at least for now. Who knows how game-changing the company's line of foldables will be this year, and what other models are on the docket?

Pros & Cons
  • An innovative engineering marvel
  • Armor Aluminum material for a lighter and sleeker phone
  • High IPX8 water resistance
  • S Pen support
  • Improved software optimized for foldables
  • Still expensive, but generous trade-in offers abound
  • S Pen purchase and store separately
More Details

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 tech specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 | Main display: 7.6 inches, 2176 x 1812 pixels | Cover display: 6.2 inches, 904 x 2316 pixels | RAM/Storage: 12GB RAM with 256GB/512GB/1TB internal options | Cameras: 12MP ultrawide, 50MP wide angle, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP cover screen, 4MP under main display | Battery: 4,400mAh 

The 2020 Galaxy Z Fold 2 set the bar for foldable devices that also serve as mini tablets. The Z Fold 3 improved on that phone with S Pen support and IPX8 water resistance, two features requested by Fold users. With the Z Fold 4, Samsung again addressed user requests and improved the rear cameras and form factor of the phone.

The cameras are not as good as those found on the S22 Ultra, but the hardware is clearly superior to any foldable before it. And it certainly helps that the Z Fold 4 is not as heavy and bulky as its predecessors.

Review: Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4

In addition to the new rear cameras, Samsung updated the under-display camera found in the larger Main Display for a more immersive viewing experience. There's also Android 12L, Google's software designed for large-screen experiences, operating in the background.

Pros & Cons
  • High-quality materials, fit, and finish
  • IPX8 water resistance
  • High refresh rate main display
  • Affordable price for a foldable
  • Folds into a pocketable form factor
  • No telephoto camera
  • Battery is reasonably underwhelming compared to larger phones
More Details

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 tech specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 | Main display: 6.7 inches, 1080 x 2640 pixels | Cover display: 1.9 inches, 260 x 512 pixels | RAM/Storage: 8GB RAM with 128GB/256GB/512GB internal options | Cameras: Two rear 12MP, 10MP selfie | Battery: 3,700mAh 

While the Z Fold 4 remains the best Samsung foldable, it's the Z Flip 4 that will likely sell the most and appeal to the masses. Not only is the clamshell handset less expensive than the Z Fold, but it's more compact and portable and has a more user-friendly learning curve.

Shape-shifting displays aside, the Z Flip 4 is very similar to the standard Samsung Galaxy S-series flagship, with a large 6.7-inch AMOLED panel that's crisp and bright, up to 512GB of RAM for those high-resolution pictures and videos, and a healthy 3,700mAh cell powering it all.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Folks who thrive in social media and content creation will love the Z Flip 4's ability to switch between shooting styles like camcorder mode and flex mode. And for more personalization, Samsung offers its Bespoke service so you can customize the color of the back plating, hinge, and edges of the Z Flip.

Pros & Cons
  • Rugged build to withstand the toughest hits
  • Stacked with computing power, including 5G support
  • Relatively affordable compared to flagships
  • Four years of software support
  • Bulky and rubberized design won't appeal to most
  • 4,050mAh battery is just okay
More Details

Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro tech specs: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G | Display: 6.6 inches, 2408 x 1080 pixels | RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB | Cameras: 50MP wide and 8MP ultrawide. 13MP front-facing camera | Battery: 4,050mAh 

Samsung released the Galaxy XCover 6 Pro last September and it remains the best rugged option from the Korean giant. In fact, it's one of the only rugged smartphones that support 5G connectivity, making the XCover 6 Pro a top prospect for industrial and enterprise users who work in hazardous environments.

By the numbers, the XCover 6 Pro is MIL-STD-810H compliant, meaning its undergone a series of military-level testing for durability and protection. The device is also rated IP68, allowing it to withstand a complete submersion below one meter for as long as 30 minutes.

Also: Samsung's Galaxy XCover 6 Pro and Tab Active 4 Pro are built to last

The dual cameras at the rear -- a 50MP wide and 8MP ultrawide -- are passable but you're mainly paying for the ruggedness of the phone and nothing more. Fortunately, Samsung does bundle it with a Snapdragon 778G processor and a dependable 6.6-inch display that's covered in a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass Victus Plus.

Pros & Cons
  • Price is more than reasonable
  • A 'jack of all trades, master of none' smartphone
  • Reliable 5,000mAh battery
  • Up to five years of software and security updates
  • Low-band 5G support
  • Plasticky build quality
  • Cameras are not as capable as flagships
More Details

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G tech specs: Processor: Samsung Exynos 1380 | Display: 6.4 inches, 2340 x 1080 pixels | RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB | Cameras: 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and 32MP front-facing camera | Battery: 5,000mAh

While the flagship Galaxy S and Z fold series provide compelling options, they are flagship phones priced in the $900 and higher range. In order to offer customers another alternative, Samsung created the Galaxy A series, led by none other than the A54 5G.

There are really three key reasons why you should buy the Galaxy A54 5G over any other sub-$500 phone: For $449, you get a fantastic 6.4-inch AMOLED display that ramps up to 120Hz refresh rate, a triple-camera setup that includes a 50MP main sensor, and a beefy 5,000mAh battery. Clearly, Samsung knows what features users value the most, and if you have preferences beyond that list, then there are plenty of other picks above and below.

Review: Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

The A-series of smartphones also fall under Samsung's five-year commitment to software and security updates, which is rare for devices in this price range. So if you buy the A54 5G today, you can expect the phone to receive the latest features and updates until 2028 -- and maybe longer.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G tech specs: Processor: Mediatek Dimensity 700 | Display: 6.6 inches, 2408 x 1080 pixels | RAM/Storage: 4GB/64GB | Cameras: 50MP wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, and 13MP front-facing camera | Battery: 5,000mAh 

The flashiest of smartphone features tend to exist only on flagships, but many will find appeal in Samsung's humble Galaxy A14 5G, which boasts 5G connectivity, a massive 5,000mAh battery, and a budget-friendly $200 price tag. That's a compelling new package at a time when consumers are cutting down on spending.

Also: Samsung just launched its cheapest 5G Galaxy phone yet

And don't let the lower cost fool you; the Galaxy A14 5G has all the specs you'd want for a feasible mobile companion, from the relatively large 6.6-inch 90Hz display -- a rarity in this price range -- to the expandable storage (up to 1TB) to Samsung's four-year commitment to security patches. Oh, and the front-facing camera is higher resolution than ever for the selfie-lover in your life.

What is the best Samsung phone?

While the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra sits at the top of this year's ranking list, here's a wider scope of ZDNET's best picks and their respective feature sets. 

Samsung phone





Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G


6.8 inches

10MP with 10x optical, 10MP with 3x optical, 200MP, and 12MP ultrawide. 12MP front-facing camera


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4


7.6 inches and 6.2 inches

10MP with 3x optical, 50MP wide, and 12MP ultrawide, 10MP cover screen, 4MP under main display


Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4


6.7 inches, and 1.9 inches

Two rear 12MP, 10MP selfie


Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro


6.6 inches

50MP wide and 8MP ultrawide. 13MP front-facing camera


Samsung Galaxy A54 5G


6.4 inches

50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and 32MP front-facing camera


Samsung Galaxy A14 5G


6.6 inches

50MP wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor, and 13MP front-facing camera


Which Samsung phone is right for you?

It was much easier to choose a Samsung phone option in the past when just the S and Note series were available, along with some low-range, basic phones. Samsung has significantly expanded its offerings with the A Series, Fold, and Flip options. So, the first thing you should now consider is your desired form factor.

First, decide if you want a standard "glass rectangle" smartphone or if you want a folding device. For maximum screen real estate, get a Z Fold 4. Or, for taking up the minimum space in your pocket and providing that extra bit of style, get a Z Flip 4 or Galaxy S23.

With Samsung's current lineup, you have phones priced from under $200 to over $1,200. Your budget should quickly help you figure out which price point is right for you. From there, begin comparing individual features, like stylus support, or which device has the best camera array. 

Choose this Samsung phone...

If you want...

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The top-of-the-line flagship Samsung phone with all the bells and whistles in a traditional form factor. It's pricier than most but is worth the money if you want a no-frills handset that can do just about everything.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

A tablet/smartphone hybrid foldable and one of the most innovative Samsung devices available. It's arguably the best foldable phone on the market, too.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

A stylish and pocket-friendly smartphone that doesn't compromise performance. If you're shopping for your first foldable phone, this is the best place to start.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro

The standard suite of smartphone features, packaged in a rugged shell that can take a hit or two. The XCover 6 Pro is great for outdoor use.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

You're shopping on a $500 budget. Even then, you'll receive a generous suite of premium features like the 120Hz OLED display, triple-camera setup, and long-lasting battery.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

You're shopping on a $200 budget, but still want a good handset. It's difficult to impress in this price range, but the A14 5G gets the job done.

How did I choose these Samsung phones?

ZDNET writers spend upwards of months with every phone in this best list, while sourcing opinions and recommendations from industry experts and analysts who have also tested the devices. We only include phones that are readily available and accessible from most major retailers. That way, you get more, reliable buying options.

What is the newest Samsung phone?

The newest Samsung phone is the Galaxy A54 5G, which succeeds last year's Galaxy A53 5G.  And much like its predecessor, the A54 delivers a great package of premium smartphone features, including a 120Hz display, a 5,000mAh battery that supports fast charging, 5G, and up to five years of security updates, at an affordable price. This year, the mid-ranger is selling for $449.

What is Bixby on Samsung phones?

Bixby was first introduced in the Galaxy S8 phones and, according to Samsung, is an "intelligence assistant" that can be activated by voice, taps, or text. Bixby is essentially Samsung's version of Siri and can perform the typical smart assistant functions like telling you the weather, translating text, and even controlling smart home appliances.

Which Samsung phone has the best camera?

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the best camera of any Samsung phone and one of the best overall cameras on the phone market. It features a 200MP main camera along with four accompanying cameras, which allow it to take extremely high-quality shots including close-up images and ones that are ultrawide. The S23 Ultra can also video record in up to 8K UHD quality at 30fps, making it one of the most capable phone cameras money can buy.

Which Samsung phone is the best value for money?

There's beating around the Galaxy A54 5G and its wealth of flagship-killing features and specs. As flagship smartphones continue to creep up in price -- no thanks to inflation -- a $449 that does everyday tasks well is both a surprise and a blessing. As mentioned earlier, the value package of the A54 5G only looks better when you compare it to other smartphones in its price range, like the iPhone SE (2022) and now Google Pixel 7a.

Are there alternative phones to consider?

Be sure to check out ZDNET's comparisons of the best phones and Android phones available. We've also listed the top (non-Samsung) picks from both those guides below for your convenience. 

Galaxy S23 Plus on a table.


Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus

A runner-up for best big Samsung phone, the Galaxy S23 Plus offers a similar feature set as its Ultra sibling; just without the S Pen and boxy form factor.

View at Samsung
Person holding the Pixel 7a.


Google Pixel 7a

The latest mid-range Pixel to hit the market, the Pixel 7a delivers a familiar Google camera experience but now with an improved 90Hz display and wireless charging support.

View at Amazon
iPhone 14 Plus in yellow on a tabletop.


Apple iPhone 14 Plus

If you're eyeing a large-screen device, but don't want to pay a premium, the iPhone 14 Plus is a great alternative to Samsung's handsets. It comes in fun colors, too.

View at Apple

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