CNET: Best 5G phones for 2023

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The best phones to buy in 2023 — including Apple’s iPhone 14 line, Samsung’s Galaxy S23 range and Google’s own Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — are all 5G-ready to let you enjoy those fast data speeds. But you should expect they would be, given their high price tags.

Even if you don’t want — or need — to spend big bucks on today’s top-end flagships, you can still get those sweet data speeds at lower prices. There are loads of superb affordable 5G handsets, including the excellent Google Pixel 6A and other options from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus and Motorola, too. Even Apple’s cheapest 2022 iPhone SE is 5G-enabled.

Although it won’t replace 4G in its entirety, 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity. 5G works fast, and many industries and products can benefit from the upgraded network, including drones, self-driving cars and internet-of-things devices. Its growth across the U.S., the UK and the wider world has been fast, but it’s still not everywhere quite yet, so make sure 5G coverage is available — or at least coming soon — in your area before you spend your cash on a 5G-enabled handset.

With 5G handsets being offered by every major phone manufacturer now, it can be difficult to work out which is best for you. We’ve done some of the hard work and put together a list of our top 5G-enabled phones that you can go and buy right now at Here are three of CNET’s absolute top picks below.


Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max

CNET TAKE: Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce a variety of changes, like the Dynamic Island instead of the old notch, a new 48-megapixel camera system that’s seriously impressed us, and the new A16 Bionic processor. All these upgrades come together to make for an experience that feels fresh and fast compared with older generations.

It’s the most expensive iPhone you can buy, especially if you opt for the larger Max version, but if you want the high performance and stellar camera quality of Apple’s top phone, then the iPhone 14 Pro is for you.


Google Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7

CNET TAKE: Google’s Pixel 7 range has seriously impressed us with the combination of a slick refreshed design, superb cameras and a smooth overall experience, which makes both these phones a joy to use. At $599, the base Pixel 7 is an affordable option for those of you looking for a solid Android phone for all your everyday needs.

The Pixel 7 Pro has a larger $899 price tag, for which you get a larger display and a more fully featured camera system that includes a superb telephoto zoom lens. Otherwise its processor and interface is the same as the cheaper model, so it’s worth considering how important the extra camera features are.


Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

CNET TAKE: The Galaxy S23 is a lot, but in a good way. It’s more than most people need in a phone, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Samsung made improvements to the camera’s resolution (200 megapixels compared to 108 megapixels), color tones and dynamic range, while retaining the same edgy design and massive 6.8-inch screen as its predecessor. There’s also a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that’s been optimized specifically for Samsung’s phones, which brings faster performance compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

With a starting price of $1,200, it may be an understatement to call this phone expensive. But those willing to pay more for a giant screen and a high-quality, versatile camera won’t be disappointed.


The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Senior Editor Lisa Eadicicco, Managing Editor Patrick Holland, Editor at Large Andrew Lanxon and Copy Editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit