When you think of the ‘best smartphones’ of the year, it’s easy to just picture expensive, flagship phones. However, like every year, we’ve had some real standout mid-range offerings as well in 2023 that might not go toe-to-toe with proper flagships, but offer enough performance and features at much more affordable prices. Folding phones continued to get better in 2023 thanks to Samsung pioneering this segment in India, while charging speeds reached new heights. However, the big focus for all the phones on our list is cameras. We’ve seen smartphones with incredible zoom perfjoamcne, high-resolution sensors, and next-level video stabilisation for content creators. Depending on your budget and requirements, there’s something for everyone in our list.
All these smartphones have been reviewed by us and we’ve chosen only the best of the best, based on the ratings they received and what we felt were unique enough offerings that still stand out, even today. Here’s Gadgets 360’s list of the best smartphones in India for 2023, in no particular order.
Google Pixel 7
After a couple of years of neglecting the Indian market, Google finally decided to launch its 2023 flagships in India, and we’re really glad it did. Between the Google Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro, we feel the Pixel 7 is the flagship that most people should have their eye on because it offers the best of Google’s vision but at a fairly approachable price. Apart from the telephoto camera and a higher resolution display on the 7 Pro, the Pixel 7 does pretty much everything that its more expensive sibling can. It has a slick design with good build quality, a bright display, useful software features, quality cameras, and very good battery life. Being a Pixel, you can expect day-one updates from Google which should keep the phone fresh and relevant for a couple of years at least.
iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro raises the price bar once again in India, making it the most expensive Pro model yet. Apple’s big upgrades this time is a more powerful SoC, new-age display notch which it refers to as the Dynamic Island, and a higher resolution main camera. The latter is possibly the most exciting feature and the improvements are noticeable in stills and recorded videos. While not as good as the Google Pixel 7 Pro for still photography in our experience, the 14 Pro is in a league of its own when it comes to video recording. The rest is business as usual. The iPhone 14 Pro features excellent build quality, very good performance, strong battery life, and comes with promise of long-term software updates. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is also available with a larger display and battery, but is considerably more expensive.
iPhone 14 Plus
While some of us are sad to see the iPhone mini being discontinued, we’re happy that Apple has replaced it with something that has more mass appeal. The iPhone 14 Plus resurrects the plus-size model that ended with the iPhone 8 Plus, and is the perfect choice for those that want a Pro Max-sized iPhone but without the steep premium. The iPhone 14 Plus is essentially an iPhone 14 with a larger 6.7-inch display and bigger battery and for a lot of people, that should be a good enough reason to get one. Despite having a large footprint, it’s actually lighter than even the iPhone 14 Pro, which is a huge bonus.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Last year’s folding phones from Samsung really raised the bar by introducing an IPX8 rating for water resistance and this year, we saw a further refinement of the design and features. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 this year wasn’t a huge upgrade over its predecessor, which is why it misses a spot on our list, but the Galaxy Z Flip 4 received some meaningful updates making it the best entry-point to foldables. The new model has gotten a more refined design, a better outer display, and battery life has improved drastically. It also features the more power-efficient version of Qualcomm’s flagship SoC, which helps it achieve top-tier performance with no significant heating issues. The cameras are good, the display is excellent, and the fact that it can fold to half its size is not just a novelty act anymore.
Nothing Phone 1
Behind all the hype and flashing LED lights of the Nothing Phone 1 lies a very underrated mid-range offering that till today, offers a complete package at an unbeatable price. Considering it is the startup’s first smartphone, it really nailed the premium fit and finish. For a smartphone that costs around Rs. 30,000, you get a powerful 5G SoC, an IP53 rating, and wireless charging. The Phone 1 also has a vivid 120Hz display, clean software, and a very good primary camera. Even if you never use the Glyph lights (which we still think is more of a gimmick), the Phone 1 still delivers a premium Android experience that not many can brag about, especially at these prices.
OnePlus 10R (150W)
One would typically expect one of the fastest charging smartphones to be a flagship, but surprisingly, it’s a mid-range offering. The OnePlus 10R defies the typical design philosophy of the brand for a more generic design, but if you can make your peace with that, you’ll find that it’s a good little mid-range smartphone. The 150W or Endurance Edition of this phone really steals the show as you can charge the battery at a ridiculously quick rate. The smartphone also has an impressive main camera, good battery life, and lean software. The standard version of this phone can charge at 80W, which is still impressively quick. One more phone that’s worth mentioning is the Realme GT Neo 3, the twin brother of the 10R. It’s essentially the same phone but with a different design and software.
Vivo X80 Pro
If we had to pick the best phone for video content creation that’s not an iPhone, we’d have to go with the Vivo X80 Pro. Although pricier than its predecessor, Vivo’s flagship for 2022 is the best Android phone for shooting video content thanks to its dedicated imaging chip and the gimbal-stabilisation system. It also has an extremely good Night mode for low-light stills, something that could give Google’s Night Sight a run for its money. Apart from the cameras, the smartphone looks and feels the part of a premium flagship. You get a sophisticated design, an excellent display, great performance, and very good battery life.
Xiaomi 12 Pro
The Xiaomi 12 Pro represents a more grown-up and mature flagship compared to the year before. Rather than focusing on big numbers and gimmicky features, the 12 Pro boasts of a sophisticated design and premium components that focus on delivering quality, rather than quantity. The Xiaomi 12 Pro comes with excellent build quality, a crisp 120Hz display, 120W wired charing, great sounding speakers, and a very capable camera. What truly makes it better than the Mi 11 Ultra from last year is that you can actually buy this smartphone in India.
Asus ROG Phone 6
The Asus ROG Phone 6 remains unchallenged in India as no other company has released a dedicated gaming phone this year. The Phone 6 offers better value than the ROG Phone 6 Pro, and elevates the specialised gaming features that we’ve seen in previous generations even further. With support for up to a 165Hz refresh rate and a massive 6,000mAh battery, the ROG Phone 6 is truly a beast when it comes to slaying pretty much any game you throw at it. Some new noteworthy features include an IPX4 rating for splash resistance, improved cameras, and quicker charging. The accessories are something you’ll want to invest in too, as some of them like the Aeroactive Cooler 6 actually make a big difference to the performance.
OnePlus 10 Pro
The OnePlus 10 Pro is a solid, no-nonsense flagship that offers the best OnePlus experience (whatever’s left of it anyway) and very good cameras. Its design is unlike any previous OnePlus smartphone and there in lies the charm. It’s sleek and stylish, has an excellent display, top-notch performance, and very good battery life. It misses out on an official IP rating in India, but it does have all the seals and protections in place to make it water and dust resistant. With the company going through an identity crisis, this may just be the last time we see trademark OnePlus features such as the ‘Alert slider’ on a flagship OnePlus phone, which was conspicuously missing on the OnePlus 10T 5G that came after it.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The union of Samsung’s Galaxy Note and S series was complete this year with the arrival of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. If we had to pick a single Android phone which we felt was near-perfect, it’s hard to find anything better than this one. Samsung has thrown in everything but the kitchen worktop sink this time by including a built-in S Pen stylus, an incredible display, and what are arguably the best telephoto cameras in any phone. It is quite expensive compared to other Android flagships on our list but still cheaper than an iPhone 14 Pro. If you want a phone which excels in pretty much every area, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is an easy choice.
Motorola Edge 30 Pro
The ‘flagship-killer’ award this year goes to the Motorola Edge 30 Pro as apart from having a flagship-grade SoC, it also features the typical frills such as wireless charging and an IP rating. What makes it an easy contender for this title though is its price, which was pretty aggressive when it launched in February this year, and is even better value now after recent price cuts. The Edge 30 Pro offers a clean Android experience, very quick charging, a 144Hz refresh rate, and a very good selfie camera. If you’re not keen on spending a lot but still don’t want to miss out on things such as a good telephoto camera or solid gaming performance, it’s hard to find a better all-rounder at this price.