Choosing the right smartphone can be overwhelming, especially with the continuous advancements in technology and the plethora of options available in the market.
As such, we have done extensive research and analysis from various sources and have compiled a list of the top 10 best smartphones currently on the market.
Major tech websites like CNET, The Verge, and Android Central often analyze sales data and publish articles discussing market trends and the performance of specific brands.
Large retailers like Amazon and Best Buy sometimes publish top-selling smartphone lists based on their own sales data.
Publicly traded smartphone companies like Apple and Samsung publish quarterly and annual reports containing sales figures and insights into their plans.
Choosing the Best Smartphone: Essential Criteria
The selection criteria focused on good camera quality, sharp display, long-lasting phone support, reliable usage, strong customer support, and software that can support the device for 5 to 7 years.
- Processor: Choose a powerful chipset (e.g., Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, A17 Pro) for smooth performance, especially for demanding tasks like gaming and editing.
- RAM: 4GB is the minimum nowadays, aim for 6GB or more for heavy multitasking.
- Storage: 128GB is considered baseline, opt for 256GB or higher if you take lots of photos/videos or download large files.
- Size & Resolution: Consider your preference: larger screens excel at content consumption, while smaller ones are more pocketable. Full HD (1920×1080) is good, but higher resolutions offer sharper visuals.
- Panel Technology: OLED/AMOLED displays provide superior brightness, contrast, and color accuracy compared to LCD.
- Megapixels: Don’t fixate on megapixels alone. Look for larger sensor sizes, wide aperture (e.g., f/1.8), and good software processing for high-quality photos and videos.
- Multiple Lenses: Consider cameras for different focal lengths (e.g., wide, telephoto, ultrawide) for more versatility.
4. Battery Life:
- Capacity: Aim for 4000mAh or higher for all-day usage. Consider fast charging capabilities for quick top-ups.
- Operating System: Android or iOS? Choose based on your personal preference and ecosystem compatibility.
- Updates: Timely software updates are crucial for security and new features. Check manufacturer update track record.
- Our experiences: We have an iPhone 6s Plus bought in 2015 and Apple continues to support iOS version 15.8 with the update, allowing us to use it till today 2024. We have been using it for 9 years.
6. Other Important Factors:
- Design & Build Quality: Choose a durable phone with a design you like.
- Network Connectivity: Ensure compatibility with your preferred network bands and 5G if available.
- Additional Features: Consider features like water/dust resistance, expandable storage, headphone jack, etc., based on your needs.
Historical sales data and reliability information play crucial roles in evaluating smartphones for several reasons:
Strong sales figures indicate consumer preference and market success. A phone with consistently high sales suggests it meets users’ needs and offers good value.
Consistent track records of reliable devices build brand trust. Data on return rates, warranty claims, and device lifespan can reveal potential durability and quality issues.
Understanding a phone’s sales trajectory and brand commitment to specific models can indicate its longevity and potential for updates and support.
Bonus Tip: Set a budget and research phones within that range. Read reviews, compare specifications, and consider trying out models at a store before making your final decision.
Remember, the “best” smartphone is subjective and depends on your individual needs and priorities. Use these criteria as a guide to find the phone that perfectly suits you!
Our review is tailored to readers who are considering the best smartphone options for their usage.
Market Share for Major Smartphone Brands
Here’s an analysis of the total quantity shipped for each of the mentioned smartphone brands in the past five years (2018-2023), based on data sources from Counterpoint Research, IDC, Statista, Individual brand reports, and press releases.
**Note:** Data may vary slightly between sources due to different methodologies and reporting periods.
Consistently the market leader, shipping approximately 1.48 billion units over the five years. This translates to an average of 296 million units annually.
Relatively stable shipments throughout the period, with some fluctuations due to model releases and market conditions.
Dominated the market with an average share of around 22.5% throughout the five years.
Maintained a strong second position, shipping around 610 million iPhones with an average of 122 million units yearly.
Experienced steady growth, particularly in recent years, driven by strong demand for newer iPhone models.
Held a stable share of around 18.8% on average, occasionally surpassing Samsung in some quarters.
3. Google Pixel:
Significantly lower shipment volumes compared to the top two, reaching around 18.5 million units in total (3.7 million units/year on average).
Saw an initial uptick in shipments but remained stagnant or slightly declined in recent years, indicating challenges in competing with established players.
Occupied a very small share, rarely exceeding 1% annually.
Showed modest growth but still occupies a smaller market share, shipping roughly 75 million units over the five years (15 million units/year on average).
Showed initial rapid growth but slowed down in the later years, possibly due to increased competition and brand saturation.
Gained some share initially, reaching around 3-4% at its peak, but later settled in the 1-2% range.
Premium flagships from Apple and Samsung tend to drive higher shipment volumes compared to mid-range offerings from Google Pixel and OnePlus.
Regional variations exist, with Samsung and Apple performing better in specific markets like North America and Asia, while OnePlus finds popularity in regions like India.
Brand marketing, pricing strategies, and carrier partnerships significantly influence shipment figures.
The Top 10 Best Smartphones Unveiled
Now, let’s explore the top 10 best smartphones on the market.
(1) Google Pixel 8 Pro:
This phone has excellent camera quality and a sharp display. It can support long-term usage, and the software support is impressive, with Google offering updates for five years.
The downside of this phone is that the battery life is not as long as some other options.
Specs: 6.7″ OLED 120Hz display, Google Tensor G3 processor, Titan M2 security coprocessor, 12GB RAM, 128GB to 512GB storage, 50MP+48MP+48MP rear cameras, 10.5 MP Dual PD selfie front camera, typical 5,050mAh battery.
Pros: Excellent camera performance, clean and uncluttered Android experience, long-lasting software updates, and unique software features.
Cons: Lower battery life compared to competitors, some design compromises (e.g., no telephoto lens), Tensor chip not as powerful as latest Snapdragon/Apple’s offerings.
(2) iPhone 15 Pro Max:
The newest iPhone was launched in September 2022 and boasts a great camera and display quality.
Apple has a solid reputation for reliability, and the phone has long-term support, with Apple offering updates for around five to six years.
The downside here is that it is one of the most expensive options on this list.
Specs: 6.7″ OLED 120Hz display, A17 Pro chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB to 1TB storage, triple-lens rear camera system with improved sensors and powerful 5x optical zoom i.e. 48MP+12MP+12MP, 12MP front camera, slightly larger battery than iPhone 14 Pro Max i.e. 4,441mAh battery.
Pros: Expectedly top-notch performance, unmatched ecosystem integration, iOS stability and security, high resale value.
Cons: Typically high price points, with a closed ecosystem, can feel restrictive, with limited customization options compared to Android.
(3) Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra:
This phone boasts impressive camera quality and a sharp display. The battery life is long-lasting, but it is also one of the most expensive on the list.
The long-term support from Samsung is a bonus, as they usually provide updates for around four years.
Specs: 6.8″ AMOLED 120Hz display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 12GB RAM, 256GB to 1TB storage, a 200-megapixel primary camera, 10MP front camera, a 5000mAh battery that supports fast charging and wireless charging.
Pros: The integrated S Pen unlocks a world of possibilities for note-taking, sketching, and creative expression, turning your phone into a digital canvas. It comes with 4 years of Android OS updates.
Cons: The selfies photos taken do not look natural at times. There is still a lag in the shutter speed. The price is rather expensive.
(4) Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra:
The newest Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra was launched on Jan 17, 2024 and it comes with AI-powered features. Its screen is now completely flat and has a peak brightness of 2,600 nits.
It has a new titanium design and a Corning Gorilla Armor glass display. This makes the phone more sturdier.
Specs: 6.8″ AMOLED 120Hz display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, 12GB RAM, 256GB to 1TB storage, a 200-megapixel primary camera, 12MP front camera, a 5000mAh battery that supports your gaming and streaming.
Pros: The AI-powered features allow you to search for anything with just a circle or scribble. You can use this phone as a multitasking tool or on-the-go gaming console
Cons: The S24 series of Samsung phones did not include Qi2 wireless charging.
(5) Google Pixel 7a:
Google has managed to make an affordable phone while still offering quality cameras and displays.
Its long-term software support from Google makes this a reliable option. Its downside is that it may not be as powerful as other options, and the battery life is not as long-lasting.
Specs: 6.1″ OLED 90Hz display, Google Tensor G2 processor, Titan M2 security coprocessor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, 64MP + 13MP rear cameras, 13MP front camera, typical 4,385mAh battery.
Pros: Budget-friendly alternative to Pixel 8 Pro, excellent camera performance for its price, clean Android experience, and long-lasting software updates.
Cons: Lower-resolution display and less powerful processor compared to flagships, the plastic build may feel less premium, with limited storage options.
(6) Google Pixel 7 Pro:
This phone is a slightly pricier option than Google’s 7a model, but it offers a more powerful processor and long battery life.
Its camera and display quality are also impressive. Its downside is that it may not have as great of a resale value compared to other options.
Specs: 6.7″ OLED 120Hz display, Google Tensor G2 processor, Titan M2 security coprocessor, 12GB RAM, 128GB to 512GB storage, 50MP + 48MP + 12MP rear cameras, 10.8MP front camera, typical 5,000mAh battery.
Pros: Excellent camera performance with unique features, clean and uncluttered Android experience, long-lasting software updates, and attractive design.
Cons: Higher price point than Pixel 7a, not as powerful as some competitor flagships, battery life could be better.
(7) OnePlus 11:
This phone has a solid reputation for its battery life and camera quality. Its display is sharp and great for gaming.
The downside here is that the software support may not be as long-term compared to other options on the list.
Specs: 6.7″ AMOLED 120Hz display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 16GB RAM, 128GB to 256GB storage, 50MP main camera + 48MP Ultra-wide camera + 32MP tele camera, 16MP front camera, 5,000mAh battery.
Pros: With similar specifications, the OnePlus 11 pricing is considered attractive as compared with similar classes of smartphones.
Cons: There is no wireless charging. The water resistance rating is only at IP64 as compared with other devices in the same class rating, which provide robust IP68.
(8) OnePlus 12R:
This is a more budget-friendly smartphone than the full-fat flagship Oneplus 12 model. It will be on sale in the USA and Canada from February 2024.
For those smartphone users looking for high-end gaming and multitasking, the OnePlus 12R is the phone to consider.
Specs: 6.78″ AMOLED 120Hz display, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 16GB RAM, 128GB to 256GB storage, 50MP main camera + 8MP Ultra-wide camera, 16MP front camera, 5,500mAh battery.
Pros: One of the first smartphones offering the latest LTPO technology, allowing a more dynamic refresh rate resulting in smoother and more battery-efficient performance. It is a much cheaper smartphone.
Cons: Has a less powerful camera with only an 8MP Ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro lens.
(9) iPhone 15 Pro:
This phone offers amazing camera and display quality. Apple’s long-term software support is a plus, as they tend to offer updates for about five to six years.
The downside is that it is one of the most expensive options on this list.
Specs: 6.1″ OLED 120Hz display, A17 Pro chip, 8GB RAM, 128GB to 1TB storage, triple-lens rear camera system with improved sensors and 3x optical zoom i.e. 48MP+12MP+12MP, 12MP front camera, slightly larger battery than iPhone 14 Pro i.e. 3,290mAh battery.
Pros: Easier to use one-handed as compared with iPhone 15 Pro Max. The price is also about 20% less than the larger model Pro Max.
Cons: Less optical zoom than the Pro Max version, only at 3x zoom capabilities. Smaller telephoto lens at one micron in size, instead of 1.12 microns for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
(10) iPhone 15:
The iPhone 15 offers a compelling compromise between price and performance.
While lacking some of the Pro’s high-end features like the triple-lens camera, 120Hz display, and A17 chip, it delivers a great everyday experience with the familiar iOS polish and impressive A16 Bionic power.
Specs: 6.1″ OLED 60Hz display, A16 Bionic chip, 4GB RAM, 128GB to 512GB storage, advanced dual-camera system with 48MP for the main camera and a 2x optical zoom, 12MP front camera, slightly larger battery than iPhone 14 i.e. 3,349mAh battery.
Pros: Featuring the widely supported and faster USB-C port, instead of the usual Lightning port.
Cons: Misses out on telephoto and LiDAR scanner in the rear camera system, as compared with the iPhone 15 Pro version. Scrolling and animation might feel less smooth compared to the Pro.
Choosing the best smartphone for your usage can be a daunting task. Our review of the top 10 best smartphones on the market aimed to make the process easier by providing a comprehensive analysis of the different options available.
We reviewed different brands such as Samsung Galaxy Smartphones, Apple iPhones, Google Pixel phones, and OnePlus smartphones, with selection criteria focused on good camera quality, sharp display, reliable usage, software support, and strong customer support.
We hope that our review has provided an overview of each phone’s pros and cons, allowing readers to make a more informed decision about which smartphone to purchase.