The best Samsung phones rankings reflect a busy year for the smartphone giant. Not only have we seen new Galaxy S flagships and improved foldables in the last 12 months, but Samsung has also come out with budget devices that should appeal to anyone looking to save on their next smartphone.
It true that our pick for the best Samsung phone remains the very pricey Galaxy S23 Ultra, but you’ll find a whole range of devices on this list. If a phone’s on offer from Samsung, you’ll find it here, listed according to our test results and evaluation for each model we’ve gotten our hands on.
Whether it’s Samsung flagships or more budget-friendly midrange devices, we can help you find the right Samsung phone for your needs. See what you can save with the best Samsung Galaxy S23 deals along with our Samsung promo codes.
If you do wind up grabbing a Samsung device, make sure you check out the first app you should install on your Samsung Galaxy phone and all of the Samsung hidden features that will change the way you use your phone.
Want to read about what’s next for Samsung? Here are the latest Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Ultra rumors.
The quick list
No time to explore Samsung’s current phone lineup. Here’s where you can find summaries of the best Samsung phones currently on offer from the top-of-the-line Galaxy S23 Ultra to some older models that remain on sale at a discount. You’ll find a number of options at a wide range of prices.
1. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Best Samsung phone overall
If money is no object, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best Samsung phone you can buy. The $1,199 price isn’t for everyone, but you’ll get the best camera phone around, plus the productivity boosting S Pen stylus.
Best value Samsung phone
The Galaxy A54 delivers many of the key features found in Samsung’s entry-level flagship including the same 50MP main camera. But at $449, the A54 costs hundreds of dollars less.
Best general phone
Best choice for most people
At $799,. the Galaxy S23 fits the budgets of most flagship shoppers. You won’t get the superior zoom of the S23 Ultra, but the S23 cameras hold their own and the phone offers top performance.
4. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Best sub-$1,000 big-screen Samsung phone
The Galaxy S23 Plus gives you a big 6.7-inch screen to go with all the features of the smaller S23. Yet, it still costs less than $1,000, while letting you enjoy features like fast-charging.
5. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best foldable Samsung phone
Don’t look for big changes in the Galaxy Z Fold 5. But the ones that are there — a new Flex Hinge and a more power-efficient chipset — are welcome changes that fine tune Samsung’s best foldable phone.
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Cheap telephoto lens
Low-cost telephoto lens
At $599, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is one of the cheapest phones to offer a telephoto lens. It also boasts photo capabilities that closely match the more expensive S23 flagships, while retaining a low price.
Best Samsung phone overall
As well as being the new top Galaxy S model, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is also one of the best phones around generally, beating even the usually indomitable iPhone on photography and performance in some areas.
The new 200MP camera proves to be very versatile, offering wonderful detail and color depending on your priority. The overclocked version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset offers lots of power too, while the display is as colorful and bright as ever, even though Samsung’s improved the phone’s power efficiency.
Samsung’s still asking for a lot of money for this phone, and has stuck with the divisive curved display, even if the angle’s less extreme than in previous years. We’re also unimpressed by its charging speed, which even at 45W is a bit slow. But if you’ve got the cash to splash, you won’t get a better Galaxy phone right now than this one.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.
Best value Samsung phone
The Galaxy A54 provides a low-cost alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships, but don’t dismiss it as a mere budget device. Samsung has packed a lot of value into the A54, starting with the same 50MP main camera that the Galaxy S23 uses. That camera helps the Galaxy A54 produce quality photos that outshine many of the other camera phones in its price range.
The Exynos 1380 powering the Galaxy A54 doesn’t exactly impress in terms of performance, but it does help the phone last a long time on a charge. (The 5,000 mAh battery plays a role, too.) And we like the fact that Samsung didn’t rest on its laurels with last year’s Galaxy A53 display, making the Galaxy A54 screen even brighter than before.
As impressive as the Galaxy S23 models are, not everyone can pay $799 or more for a new phone. The Galaxy A54 means you don’t have to, and you can still get a very capable device in return.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 review.
Best choice for most people
The changes that Samsung made with the Galaxy S23 lack the pizzaz of some Galaxy S23 Ultra features. Nevertheless, there are some solid improvements over past Galaxy S flagships, largely driven by the introduction of the customized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. Not only does this silicon bolster the Galaxy S23’s performance, it also helps improve battery life over last year’s model, addressing one of our key concerns about Samsung’s flagships.
Samsung also improved the Galaxy S23’s display, giving it the same maximum brightness as the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra screens. Throw in some worthwhile if not earth-shattering photo processing improvements, and this is certainly a solid addition to the Galaxy lineup. At $799, it’s the Samsung flagship most people can afford, and they’ll be getting plenty of premium features for their purchase.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 review.
Best sub-$1,000 big-screen Samsung phone
Everything you get from the Galaxy S23, you’ll find in the Galaxy S23 Plus, only with a much bigger screen. It’s the best Samsung phone to get if you prefer super-sized displays but can’t swing the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s $1,119 starting price.
While screen size is the most prominent difference from the standard S23, it’s not the only way the Galaxy S23 Plus stands out from its smaller sibling. You also get a bigger battery that helps the S23 Plus last nearly 11.5 hours on our battery test — an outstanding time. And the phone charges at 45W speeds, too, allowing you to top off that battery faster.
Otherwise, there’s little difference between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, though we’d say that’s a good thing. You can expect a bright, beautiful display, good cameras, and four years of Android software updates. That should be more than enough for fans of big-screen phones.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review.
Best foldable Samsung phone
Samsung didn’t make dramatic changes for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. In fact, Galaxy Z Fold 4 owners will likely be able to skip this version of the foldable phone without regret. But if you’re new to foldables, this is Samsung’s most polished version yet, thanks to a new hinge design that makes the Fold both thinner and lighter than it’s ever been.
The biggest addition to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy silicon. You get top performance from the chipset, which is the same one found in the Galaxy S23 series. But the bigger benefit is battery life. For the first time ever, a Galaxy Z Fold performs well on our battery test, holding out for more than 11 hours. That’s not only better than the average smartphone, it’s also an improvement over the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s sub-10 hour time.
The newer silicon also helps with image processing, so the Galaxy Z Fold 5 turns out better photos than before even if the camera specs are unchanged from its predecessor. We wish Samsung would start adjusting the price on the Galaxy Fold, particularly with the Pixel Fold costing an identical $1,799, but Samsung’s phone re-establishes itself as the best foldable phone overall.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review.
Most affordable Samsung foldable
Like the Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 doesn’t see big changes from its predecessor. The same Flex Hinge found in Samsung’s other foldable is on display here, too, and the new design helps the Flip to fully snap shut at last. But the bigger change comes to the Flip’s outer display — instead of a 1.9-inch strip, you now get a 3.4-inch panel that’s big enough to run more widgets without ever having to open up the flip phone. Unfortunately, there’s a limitation — you can only run select apps on the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s outer display. (That’s not something Motorola Razr+ owners need worry about.) Still, we’re happy to see the Flex Window arrive on the Galaxy Z Flip 5.
We’re also happy with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset powering the phone. You get better performance, sure, but you also get improved battery life over past Flips — the Z Flip 5 now comes close to the average battery life for smartphones on our test, which is a big improvement over the Z Flip 4. Unfortunately, other phones still outlast Samsung’s flip phone.
At $999, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 remains Samsung’s most affordable foldable phone. It’s good news then, that Samsung continues to offer a solid phone at that price, though we’d like to see more substantial changes down the road.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review.
A low-cost telephoto lens
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE targets anyone who wants a Galaxy S flagship but balks at paying higher prices. You’ll make some compromises for that lower price, like an older Snapdragon 8 chipset powering the phone. But that allows the Galaxy S23 FE to be the rare sub-$600 phone that offers a dedicated telephoto lens.
That zoom lens performed well in our testing, as did the main and ultrawide cameras that make up the Galaxy S23 FE’s triple camera array. The Galaxy S23 FE also adopts the look of the Galaxy S23 lineup, and even though it uses cheaper materials, the phone still offers an IP68 water resistance rating to match its pricier siblings.
While the Galaxy A54 is a better overall buy for bargain hunters, people who have big camera expectations and limited budgets should take a look at the Galaxy S23 FE.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review.
Best older flagship
Does the Galaxy S22 get better with age? Perhaps not, but the fact that Samsung cut the price on this phone by $100 after the arrival of the Galaxy S23 makes it an attractive option for bargain hunters.
Our Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S22 face-off addresses the differences between these two phones, but the upshot is that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in the newer phone gives a big boost to both performance and battery life. There’s not much difference in the cameras, though, and while the Galaxy S23 display has a higher maximum brightness, the Galaxy S22 is plenty bright in its own right.
Thanks to Samsung’s generous update policy, the Galaxy S22 can expect another three years of software updates. If you don’t need the latest and greatest hardware, this older model could be your chance to save on one of the best Samsung phones.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 review.
How to choose the best Samsung phones
Picking which Samsung phone to buy is primarily driven by budget considerations. You’re not going to spring for a Galaxy S23 Ultra, for example, if you’re not prepared with at least $1,199 even if you opt to spread those payments out over time. But other factors need to be taken into consideration as well.
Start with how you use your smartphone. If it’s primarily a productivity device, the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 5 are appealing, despite their high price tags, because they both support the S Pen. (Like the S22 Ultra before it, the S23 Ultra comes with an S Pen; the stylus is an optional add-on for Samsung’s foldable.) If you turn to your phone for photography, the Galaxy S series is usually first in line for Samsung’s camera innovations, and all three S23 models offer impressive camera features — particularly the 200MP main camera on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. (Check out our 200MP camera test results.)
Budget-minded shoppers have a plethora of options, from the reduced price tag of the Galaxy S22 to the midrange Galaxy A series. The Galaxy S23 FE has also arrived as another Samsung phone with a low starting price. Additionally, you can find discounts on Samsung phones by buying directly from the phone maker and trading in your current device. Check out the best Samsung phone deals for the latest savings.
Now that Samsung’s 2023 phone releases have ended with the Galaxy S23 FE, attention will turn to the next big flagship launch for Samsung — the Galaxy S24. We’ve already started hearing rumors about that device, including forecasts for the Galaxy S24 Ultra.
How we test the best Samsung phones
In order for a smartphone to make our best phone list, it needs to excel on several tests that we run on every handset. We perform some of these tests in our labs and some in the real world. See our detailed explanation on how Tom’s Guide tests and reviews smartphones for more information.
When it comes to performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 6 and 3DMark to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. (Note that some phones in the chart below are still showing their Geekbench 5 numbers.) We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result. (We unfortunately have to skip this test on some phones due to app compatibility issues, but we attempt this benchmark with each device we get in to review.)
|Row 0 – Cell 0||Geekbench 6 (single-core / multicore)||3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)|
|Galaxy S23 Ultra||1578 / 5081 (Geekbench 5)||87.5|
|Galaxy A54||950 / 2731||16.9|
|Galaxy S23||1881 / 4972||87.3|
|Galaxy S23 Plus||1524 / 4642 (Geekbench 5)||87|
|Galaxy Z Fold 5||1879 / 4842||81.3|
|Galaxy Z Flip 5||1801 / 3942||76.2|
|Galaxy S23 FE||1714 / 4068||60.2|
|Galaxy S22||1204 / 3348 (Geekbench 5)||60|
To measure the quality of a phone’s display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and score of 0 is perfect.
|Row 0 – Cell 0||sRGB (%)||DCI-P3 (%)||Delta-E|
|Galaxy S23 Ultra||193 (Vivid) / 111 (Natural)||136 (Vivid) / 78 (Natural)||0.37 (Vivid) / 0.3 (Natural)|
|Galaxy A54||127.1% (Natural)||90%||0.06|
|Galaxy S23||212 (Vivid) /128 (Natural)||150 (Vivid) / 91 (Natural)||0.34 (Vivid) / 0.24 (Natural)|
|Galaxy S23 Plus||204 (Vivid) / 117 (Natural)||148 (Vivid) / 83 (Natural)||0.33 (Vivid) / 0.23 (Natural)|
|Galaxy Z Fold 5||180.7 (Vivid) / 106.1 (Natural)||128 (Vivid) / 76.2 (Natural)||0.1 (Vivid) / ).11 (Natural)|
|Galaxy Z Flip 5||181.6 (Vivid) / 114 (Natural)||128.7 (Vivid) / 80.8 (Natural)||0.08 (Vivid) / 0.28 (Natural)|
|Galaxy S22||210 (Vivid) / 100 (Natural)||149 (VIvid) / 78 (Natural)||0.33 (Vivid) / 0.22 (Natural)|
One of the most important tests we run is the Tom’s Guide battery test. We run a web surfing test over 5G (or 4G if the phone doesn’t have 5G support) at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11 hours makes our list of the best phone battery life.
|Row 0 – Cell 0||Battery life (Hrs:Mins)|
|Galaxy S23 Ultra||12:22 (Adaptive) / 13:09 (60Hz)|
|Galaxy A54||10:20 (adaptive); 11:46 (60Hz)|
|Galaxy S23||10:27 (Adaptive)|
|Galaxy S23 Plus||11:24 (Adaptive)|
|Galaxy Z Fold 5||11:15 (Adaptive) / 11:25 (60Hz)|
|Galaxy Z Flip 5||8:52 (Adaptive) / 9:42 (60Hz)|
|Galaxy S22||7:51 (Adaptive) / 8:02 (60Hz)|
Last but not least, we take the best phones out in the field to take photos outdoors, indoors and at night in low light to see how they perform versus their closest competitors. We take shots of landscapes, food, portraits and more, and also allow you to be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews.