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The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is your Reader's Choice for best phone of 2023

After last year's win by Google, Samsung fans have come back with a vengeance to put the Ultra back on top.
By

Published onDecember 16, 2023

Every year, we orchestrate the voting for the Reader’s Choice Award for the best smartphone of the year. Historically, it’s been easy to foresee the winner by simply looking at Samsung’s top-of-the-line flagship that year, as this almost always ends up being our readers’ pick. In 2022, though, Google broke through and nabbed the Reader’s Choice award for 2022 with the Pixel 7 Pro — a first for any Pixel. However, this year, Samsung fans came out with a vengeance to return to tradition and assign the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra as the best phone of 2023.

Congratulations to Samsung for this win! The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a beast of a device and rightly deserves all the praise it continues to receive. To learn why this phone is so great, be sure to read our Galaxy S23 Ultra review.

samsung galaxy s23 ultra hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
best of 2023 readers

Now that you know the Reader’s Choice award winner, you might be curious how that came to be. We’ve got all the data for you below!

And what about our pick? You can find out the Editor’s Choice award winner for Android Authority‘s phone of the year at the link?

Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
AA Editor's Choice
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
New 200MP main camera • Beautiful display • S Pen functionality
MSRP: $1,199.00
The Ultra release of Samsung's 2023 flagship line
Powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 as the smaller models in the series, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offers larger storage capacities and a whopping 200MP camera. S Pen support and a 6.8-inch display make the Ultra ideal for note-takers on the go.

Elimination round: 32 enter, four leave

google pixel 8 vs samsung galaxy s23 vs iphone 15 cameras
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Our first round of voting happened exclusively at Android Authority. We had a whopping 32 phones in this initial round. As usual, some old favorites immediately jumped ahead, but we saw some interesting results for underdogs, too.

The vanilla Samsung Galaxy S23 made some big strides, earning 5.4% of the vote. The standard model in the Galaxy S series tends to be the second-best seller but rarely gets the critical love that the Ultra model receives. So seeing it have some support in this initial round was excellent.

It was great to see some underdogs earn some significant votes in this round.

Likewise, the Google Pixel 7a got some attention with 3.2% of the vote. Being a mid-ranger, it had the deck stacked against it, but clearly, that didn’t stop people from voting for it. This was great to see!

Really, though, the standout underdog was the OnePlus Open, the company’s first foldable phone. Nabbing a very respectable 5.2% of the vote, it was nearly as popular as the vanilla Galaxy S23. Who knows, maybe next year, the inevitable OnePlus Open 2 will make it into the final four — or even take the main prize.

Check out the full results of the elimination round below, and then let’s move on to the final four.

Elimination Round Reader's Choice 2023 Tally

Final four: The titans of tech

Pixel 8 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro camera shootout
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Although underdogs made significant advancements in the elimination round, the final four phones were pretty predictable. The list was dominated by the titans of tech: Samsung, Google, and Apple. In fact, the final four list — the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Pixel 8 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro, and Pixel 8 — was identical to 2022, albeit with 2023 variants. Even the results turned out exceptionally close to what we saw in 2022.

Voting for this round happened at Android Authority along with our YouTube, X (formerly Twitter), and Threads accounts. This gave readers four chances to vote. Check out the summarized results across all platforms in the chart:

When we saw these results, we became pretty confident the Galaxy S23 Ultra was going to take the big prize. However, we also thought that in 2022, and the Pixel 7 Pro ended up coming in hot in the final round. So we tried to keep an open mind.

However, it was clear the Apple iPhone 15 Pro and the Google Pixel 8 were outmatched. The former pulled some respectable numbers, but the latter couldn’t even break into double-digits.

With the final four pared down to just two phones, it was time for things to get serious.

Final round: The best phone of 2023, according to you

google pixel 8 pro vs samsung galaxy s23 ultra cameras in hand
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Voting for the final round happened in six places: Android Authority and our Threads, X, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. This gave readers a whopping six places to vote, which resulted in more votes to tally for this round than any other.

Unlike last year, the Galaxy S23 Ultra had this in the bag from the very start. Across the six voting platforms, the only place the Pixel 8 Pro had even a chance of winning was here at Android Authority. At all our social accounts, the Pixel 8 Pro was lagging very far behind. In the case of YouTube, it basically wasn’t even a contest, with the Galaxy S23 Ultra getting an overwhelming 65% of the vote.

Things were a bit more even at Threads, with the Pixel 8 Pro getting 48% of the vote, which isn’t bad at all. Still, the numbers speak for themselves. Check out the data below to see just how much the Galaxy S23 Ultra dominated this year.

Final Round Reader's Choice 2023 Tally

That’s a wrap for this year! Thank you to everyone who voted, shared, and commented on our Reader’s Choice award 2023 event. It’s always amazing to see thousands of you get passionate about your favorite phone of the year.


Now, it’s time for you to let us know how you feel about the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s win! Was it well-deserved, or did the Pixel 8 Pro get snubbed? Was there another phone that should have made it further into the event before getting voted out?

Sound off in the comments with your thoughts, and be sure to check back tomorrow to find out the Android Authority team’s pick for the best phone of the year as we crown our Editor’s Choice award winner.

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