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The best iPhone 13 alternatives: 7 phones to consider before you buy
It feels like just the other day that Apple revealed the iPhone 12 range, expanding its flagship range to four models for the first time. At launch, there was no shortage of options, from the tiny iPhone 12 Mini to the top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max. Now, we have the iPhone 13 series and iPhone 14 series, and they all look like pretty solid smartphones. What if you wanted something a little different, though? We’ve got you covered with our rundown of the best iPhone 13 alternatives.
Looking for something more up-to-date? Check out our picks for the best iPhone 14 alternatives, too.
The best iPhone 13 alternatives
1. Samsung Galaxy S23 series
Samsung’s phones have always gone toe-to-toe with Apple’s devices when it comes to flagship wares. So is it any surprise that the Galaxy S23 family is easily one of the best iPhone 13 alternatives on the market?
One of the most significant selling points is that Samsung promises four years of OS updates and five years of security patches for the S23 series (among other device lines). This isn’t as good as Apple’s devices, but it’s miles better than most Android OEMs.
What we thought: Galaxy S23 review | Galaxy S23 Plus review | Galaxy S23 Ultra review
All three phones offer 120Hz OLED panels, 5G connectivity, 12MP ultrawide cameras, and 8K video recording. The Galaxy S23 is the cheapest and smallest model, packing an improved 3,900mAh battery, a relatively solid triple camera system, and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 all around. Meanwhile, the S23 Ultra is the largest and most expensive entry, featuring a 5,000mAh battery, two telephoto cameras (3X and 10X), a glass design, and a QHD+ panel.
2. Apple iPhone SE 2022
Like the idea of getting an iPhone but want something much cheaper than the flagship devices? That’s where the iPhone SE 2022 comes in, serving as the newest iPhone on the market.
The wallet-conscious iPhone SE now comes in at $429 in the US, making it the cheapest new iPhone you can get by a large margin. And you’re getting some solid specs for the price, such as a 5G-ready A15 Bionic processor, IP67 water/dust resistance, and wireless charging.
Learn more: Apple iPhone SE 2022 review
That being said, you do miss out on iPhone 13 features like multiple rear cameras, higher resolution screens, and newer designs. The iPhone SE 2022 doesn’t carry an updated refresh rate, either, though that’s still reserved for the iPhone 13 Pro lineup. Still, it’s one of the cheapest ways to hop aboard the Apple train.
3. OnePlus 11
The OnePlus 11 marks a return to an age gone by for the brand in ways both good and bad. It carries 80W wired charging in the US, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, a 50MP primary camera, and a 48MP ultrawide snapper.
While we usually see a OnePlus Pro device launched alongside the standard model, that’s not the case this year — nor does it sound like it will be the case going forward. Instead, there’s only the OnePlus 11, which features a QHD+ OLED screen and a 32MP 3.3x telephoto camera. Unfortunately, the flagship drops wireless charging in favor of all models getting an IP54 rating.
More reading: OnePlus 11 review
OnePlus has also confirmed that the flagship will be getting three years of OS updates and four years of security patches. This is welcome news for anyone looking at Apple’s devices purely for the long-standing commitment to updates.
4. ASUS Zenfone 9
The Zenfone 9 follows up on one of our favorite small phones from 2021, and it’s certainly worth considering if you want to carry on the iPhone 13 Mini’s legacy. Yes, the ASUS device is one of the few compact Android flagship phones this year.
Our thoughts: ASUS Zenfone 9 review
It’s a pretty solid device otherwise, as you’re getting a 5.9-inch 120Hz OLED panel, Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC, a dual rear camera system (50MP main and 12MP ultrawide), and a 4,300mAh battery with 30W charging. Two more notable features are an IP68 rating and a 3.5mm port — yes, a headphone jack in 2023.
The Zenfone 9 starts at just $650, another massive point in its favor. So those looking for a compact flagship on a budget can do a lot worse than this.
5. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
The foldable phone segment is heating up in a big way, but Apple still hasn’t taken the bait. Samsung keeps widening its lead, and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is arguably the foldable to get.
Samsung’s cheapest foldable in 2022 adds minor tweaks to the classic clamshell design. Open the phone, and a 6.7-inch main display will greet you while closing the device protects this main screen and reveals a tiny external display. The smaller screen is used for everything from notifications and the date/time to viewing messages and taking selfies.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 also sports flagship silicon, a water-resistant design, and dual 12MP rear cameras (main, ultrawide). The only real downsides to the device are that the $1,000 price tag is still pretty expensive (although it’s cheap for a foldable), the cameras aren’t amazing, and the 3,700mAh battery is on the small side for an Android phone.
6. Sony Xperia 1 IV
Sony has quietly been producing flagship phones for years now, but 2022’s phones might be the best devices the brand has ever made. The Xperia 1 IV leads the charge, delivering a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, a 5,000mAh battery, 30W wired charging, and wireless charging. But it also packs a few extraordinary innovations.
Verdict: Sony Xperia 1 IV review
For one, the Sony device packs a 6.5-inch 4K OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate — so you don’t have to choose between a pixel-dense screen and a high refresh rate. Sony’s phone also sports an updated variable telephoto camera, delivering the ability to take shots across 3.5x to 5.2x optical zoom. A 12MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide shooter, IP68 rating, and a headphone port round out the package.
Like the idea of the Xperia 1 IV but want something smaller? That’s where the Xperia 5 IV comes in. You lose out on a 4K display resolution but gain a 6.1-inch FHD+ screen instead. Sony’s smaller flagship also slows the charging speed, but you’ve still got almost everything else, including the 3.5mm jack.
7. Google Pixel 7 series
The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro arrived in October 2022, and they built on the success of the Pixel 6 series. While the designs might be similar, the upgraded internals give Google’s new flagships more punch than ever. You get a powerful Tensor G2 chip on both the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as a refined Gorilla Glass and aluminum design.
Google equipped both models with crisp OLED panels, though the Pixel 7 Pro offers the larger 6.7-inch 120Hz unit. You still get a 90Hz, 6.3-inch option on the Pixel 7, which is more than enough for most people. Google’s revamped camera bar keeps the same high-powered lenses, with a 50MP wide lens and a 12MP ultrawide on both models. Of course, the Pixel 7 Pro adds a 48MP telephoto lens to the mix for up to 5x optical zoom.
iPhone 13 alternatives: honorable mentions
- Google Pixel 6a ($449): Can’t afford the Pixel 6 series but want a pure Android experience with plenty of updates? That’s where the Pixel 6a comes in. It’s well equipped like its Pixel 6 siblings, and you get 5G connectivity, IP67 water/dust resistance, and good cameras. You’re also getting Pixel features like Call Screening, astrophotography, and astrophotography timelapse.
- Xiaomi 12 Pro (€875): If you’re intrigued by Apple’s Pro devices but want to know what else is out there, then the Xiaomi 12 Pro is a good starting point. Xiaomi’s premium flagship is expensive, but you get high-end silicon, a hefty 4,600mAh battery, 120W wired/50W wireless charging for super-fast charging, and a 120Hz QHD+ screen. The phone also packs an impressive camera system (50MP main, 50MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto), and a Gorilla Glass Victus display.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ($699): Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE may not have blown us away quite like its predecessor, but it’s still one of the best iPhone 13 alternatives out there. The phone will cost you $699, but it still ticks plenty of boxes, with a 4,500mAh battery, wireless charging, an IP67 rating, a flexible triple rear camera system (12MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 8MP telephoto), and a 120Hz OLED screen. Toss in three years of OS updates and four years of security patches, and you’ve got a very enticing proposition.
These have been our best iPhone 13 alternatives. Are there any devices you’d recommend? Then let us know via the comments section below.