Best Samsung phone in 2023: from the Galaxy S22 Ultra to the Z Fold 4

Best Samsung phone
(Image credit: toma areno on Unsplash)

What's the best Samsung phone? Well that depends largely on what you're looking for. If you want a device with high specs that rival the latest iPhone, then you're well catered for with the latest S22 range. Alternative, if you just want a cheap and cheerful handset, Samsung does some great basic models. And there are lots of phones that lie somewhere in between, too.

At the premium end, the best Samsung phone right now is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (opens in new tab), with fantastic cameras and top build quality. If you want something a bit more affordable though, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, which is one of best camera phones (opens in new tab) and offers superb value. Alternatively, if you're keen on the best fold phones (opens in new tab), the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is worth checking out. 

In short, whatever you're into, you'll find the best Samsung phones below at the very best prices. And we'll list the pros and cons of each, and share the facts and figures you need to make your decision.

Also see: iPhone 13 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra – is Apple or Android best for photography? (opens in new tab)

Best Samsung phone in 2023

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(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)
The best Samsung phone overall

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8, 10MP f/2.4, 10MP f/4.9, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 40MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 228g
Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB/1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Superior rear cameras
+
Sophisticated digital zoom
+
40MP selfie camera
+
Stylus control

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium price

Released in February 2022, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is hands-down the best Samsung phone that money can buy today. 

Its four-camera system is top-notch, featuring wide, ultra-wide, telephoto and super-zoom sensors. The first of these boasts a 108MP sensor, with an f/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel AF, and an 85-degree field of view. The 12MP ultra-wide camera features an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view. There's also one 10MP telephoto with an equivalent three times zoom (f/2.4) and another 10MP telephoto with a 10 times zoom (f/4.9). And that's not to mention the selfie camera, with its 40MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture and 8K video capture at 24fps. 

More broadly, this is a large, stylish and powerful smartphone. Its 6.8-inch AMOLED screen is to die for, with smooth motion, vivid colors, impressive brightness, and 500 pixels per inch resolution. 

The improved S Pen stylus is brilliant, and gives you the kind of productivity you previously only got with a Galaxy Note. There's a powerful 5,000mAh battery to keep it going for hours, and the design and look of the phone is simple but, to our eyes, very stylish. 

In short, you're getting the very highest specs of any Samsung phone on the market today, and they all work together brilliantly in practice to offer a top class experience. For more details, read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)

2. Samsung Galaxy S22

The best Samsung phone for value

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Rear cameras: 50 MP, f/1.8 (wide); 10 MP, f/2.4 (telephoto), 12 MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide)
Front camera: 10MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 167g
Dimensions: 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent camera
+
Lovely screen
+
Amazing value

Reasons to avoid

-
Less powerful than S22 Ultra

Released at the same time as the Samsung S22 Ultra, the plain old Samsung S22 is actually quite a different phone. The simple version is that it's cheaper and a little less high-end, but only just. 

So what are the differences? Well, for a start the screen is smaller: 6.1 inches in diameter compared with the Ultra's 6.8. You still get the same 120Hz refresh rate, but "only" 1300 nits of brightness to the Ultra's 1750. The battery's less powerful too, at 3,700mAh to the Ultra's 5,000mAh. The triple lens camera's similar, but with the main sensor offering just 50MP to the Ultra's 108MP. 

We could go on, but you get the idea: it's less powerful than the Ultra, but still an impressive phone overall. And that means, in our view, it offers the best value on our list right now. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy S22 review, and our guide to Samsung Galaxy S22 vs S22 Plus vs S22 Ultra.

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)
The best mid-range Samsung phone

Specifications

Release date: March 2022
Rear cameras: 64 MP, f/1.8 (wide); 12MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide); 5MP, f/2.4 (macro); 5MP, f/2.4 (depth)
Front camera: 32MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm
Storage: 128/256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely screen
+
Large battery
+
Reasonable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be a little sluggish

If you're looking for a mid-range device, the Galaxy A53 5G, launched this March, is your best bet. It's considerably cheaper than the S22, and the latter is a better phone in most respects (faster processor, better camera, stronger waterproofing, and support for wireless charging). But the differences aren't that great overall. Plus, you may actually prefer the A53 5G's larger screen (6.5 inches to the S22's 6.1) and larger battery (5000 mAH vs the S22's 3700 mAh). 

In short, we think the A53 5G offers excellent value. After all, you're getting a 64MP camera with OIS, a lovely Full HD+ AMOLED screen with 800 nits of brightness, and a premium super-thin design, all for not that much money at all. For more details, read our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review.

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 foldable Android phone

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)
The best Samsung foldable phone

Specifications

Release date: August 2022
Rear cameras: 50MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide); 10MP, f/2.4, 66mm (telephoto); 12MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 12mm (ultrawide)
Front camera: 4 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 2.0µm, under display; Cover camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 24mm (wide)
OIS: Yes
Weight: 263g
Dimensions: Unfolded: 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3 mm; Folded: 155.1 x 67.1 x 14.2-15.8 mm
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliantly foldable
+
Water-resistant
+
Expert RAW compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

Launched this August, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is an absolute delight. Light, slim and more durable than its predecessor, it's fantastically portable when folded up. Unfold it, and you get a beautiful AMOLED display: 7.6 inches in diameter with a high resolution of 1812 x 2176 pixels. This sophisticated screen also supports HDR and has a high refresh rate of 120Hz for super-smooth video and gaming. 

But what about the cameras? They're virtually identical to those on the Samsung Galaxy S22 (so very good indeed), and our reviewer found the Z Fold 4's images looked clean and sharp. What's unique to this phone, meanwhile, is Flex Mode, which means that when it's half-folded, the top half of the screen acts as a viewfinder, while the bottom half serves up your shooting controls. 

This is also a fabulous phone in general, with a powerful processor, support for the S Pen (though you have to buy one separately), and refined styling. On the downside, it's very expensive. But if you really want a foldable phone, this is the best on the market; and it's great at photography too. 

For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review. And for a personal take on the Fold 4, don't miss Basil Kronfli's opinion piece: Why Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is THE best phone for photographers.

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
The best Samsung flip phone

Specifications

Release date: August 2022
Screen size: 6.7-inch, 1080 x 2636 pixels
Rear cameras: 12 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
Front camera: 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide)
OIS: Yes
Battery: 3700 mAh
Weight: 187g
Dimensions: 84.9 x 71.9 x 15.9-17.1mm (closed); 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm (open)
Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Water resistant
+
Flex mode
+
Great cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto lens

Some like to fold, others like to flip. It's a personal choice, but if you come down on the side of the latter, then here's our top recommendation. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is beautifully compact and light when closed, making it perfectly portable: you'll barely notice it in your pocket. Then when you open it, you get a lovely 6.7-inch AMOLED display, with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, support for HDR10+ credentials and 1200 nits peak brightness.

The cameras (12MP on the rear, 10MP on the rear) aren't as good as those on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 (above), but they have been improved from the Galaxy Z Flip 3, thanks to a larger sensor, a wide 24mm focal length, Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS. 

There's a new improved auto night mode, and you can shoot videos at up to 4K, at 260fps. As on the Flip 4, you can use Flex Mode, so when the Flip 4 is half-folded, the top half of the screen acts as a viewfinder, while the bottom half serves up your shooting controls. And battery life is great, too. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review.

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
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Last year's flagship phone is still worth a look

Specifications

Release date: January 2021
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8, 10MP f/2.4, 10MP f/4.9, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 40MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 227 g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
Storage: 128/256/512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic cameras
+
Beautiful display
+
8K video

Reasons to avoid

-
S22 Ultra has better specs overall

Until recently, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was the flagship model, and it remains a stunningly sophisticated device with a lot to offer. It features four rear cameras, including a 108MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and two 10MP telephoto cameras – one with an f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom and one with an f/4.9 aperture and a huge 10x optical zoom. 

You also get a fantastic 6.8in screen. The Dynamic AMOLED 2X display features a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and gaming experiences, HDR10+ support, 1500-nit peak brightness and a 1440 x 3200 resolution. For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
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An oldie but goodie: still one of the best Samsung phones

Specifications

Release date: August 2020
Rear cameras: 108MP, 12MP, 12MP
Front camera: 10MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 208 g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
Storage: 128/256/512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with the S Pen
+
Excellent camera for stills and video

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty expensive
-
Inconsistent battery results

If you're looking for one of the best camera phones for telephoto capabilities, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might be right up your alley. Featuring a triple rear camera, the Note 20 Ultra has a 108MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and – the pièce de résistance – a 12MP f/3 camera with 5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes in three colors, including Mystic Bronze, Mystic White or Mystic Black. While the Note 20 Ultra is a little pricey, we've definitely seen the handset begin to fall since it first appeared on the market back in April 2020. For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Andrew Williams/Digital Camera World)
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Impressive specs, though a few foibles

Specifications

Release date: March 2020
Rear cameras: 108MP (primary f/1.8, 26mm, OIS), 12MP (ultra wide angle f/2.2, 13mm), 48MP (telephoto f/3.5, 103mm), ToF depth-sensing camera
Front camera: 40MP (f/2.2, 26mm)
OIS: Yes
Weight: 222 g
Dimensions: 166.9 x 76 x 8.8mm
Storage: 128 / 256 / 512 GB

Reasons to buy

+
108MP primary camera
+
Up to 100x zoom
+
8K video
+
5G future-proofing

Reasons to avoid

-
100x zoom of limited use
-
8K video comes with caveats
-
Battery life is an issue

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G might not be the latest in its lineup, but it's still one of the best Samsung phones. Its 108MP camera proves to be more than a numbers play. And while the 100x zoom may not deliver at the extreme end, it's more than capable of giving you great-looking telephoto images. 

This, however, is a phone with foibles – namely the inconsistent image processing and battery life. The 8K is more limited you might hope, the 120Hz mode is best avoided for most, and the cost is restrictively high for many. 

However, the hardware is a league above that of the Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus. And judged on its picture performance, when everything clicks, it is one of the best Android camera phones ever. For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
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A great balance of specs and affordability

Specifications

Release date: October 2020
Rear cameras: 12MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.5, OIS), 12MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2), 12MP (Telephoto, f/2.4, OIS), 8MP
Front camera: 32MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 190 g
Dimensions: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm
Storage: 128/256 GB

Reasons to buy

+
Great camera
+
Good processor

Reasons to avoid

-
Still not the cheapest

If you love the high-end capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S20 family, but you can't quite justify the price, then the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is a cheaper version. Retaining many of the features that made the S20 so popular, the FE features a 6.5" 1080 x 2400 Super AMOLED display with a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate. 

Meanwhile, the camera setup is equally impressive, boasting a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra wide camera and an 8PM telephoto camera. Inside the handset, you'll find either the Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 chipsets (the Snapdragon handsets will feature 5G). If you're looking for one of the best Samsung phones at a great price, you'll struggle to do better than the S20 FE. For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Basil Konfli/Digital Camera World)
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10. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G

Samsung's older foldable phone is more affordable

Specifications

Release date: August 2021
Screen size: 7.6 inches
Rear cameras: 12MP, f/1.8 (wide); 12MP, f/2.4 (telephoto); 12MP, f/2.2, (ultrawide)
Front (selfie) camera: 4 MP, f/1.8
OIS: Yes
Weight: 271g
Dimensions: 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm (folded); 158.2 x 67.1 x 14.4-16mm (open)
Storage: 256GB/512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Foldable functionality
+
Fantastic screen
+
Run up to 3 apps side-by-side

Reasons to avoid

-
Still expensive

The previous version of Samsung's foldable phone doesn't have as good a camera or as powerful a processor. But now its price is coming down, it's a more affordable option for those put off by the eye-watering cost of the Z Fold 4.

On paper, the 7.6-inch screen-size might not sound much bigger than a 6.7-inch phablet (opens in new tab), but it feels like a whole new product category (it is). By folding, rather than flipping, this is smaller than some, but encloses a screen 1.4 times bigger than the giant Galaxy Note 10 Plus (opens in new tab)

The crease down the centre of the screen can be used to side-by-side some apps, making this live up to ‘small tablet’ more than any other phone. Full-screening an app makes for amazing photo editing and you’d be churlish to notice the slight bend. A smaller outer screen means you don’t even need to open the device for most uses: checking messages and framing photos are easily achieved while the phone is still closed. And with this model (unlike its predecessor, the Fold 2), you get pen input and water resistance too.

For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) and  Digital Photographer (opens in new tab). Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.

With contributions from