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The hottest (and coldest) smartphones of 2023, as voted by Android Authority readers

The three hottest phones of the year didn't belong to Samsung, Google, or Apple.
By
December 29, 2023
Honor Magic V2 Ultimate side profile showing hinge at 90 degree angle
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

There were loads of smartphones launched in 2023, from Apple and Google to Samsung and Xiaomi. But what did Android Authority readers think of these devices at launch?

We posted polls throughout the year asking whether you thought a newly launched device was “hot or not.” Now, we can return to these polls to find out which phones were the hottest devices of 2023 at launch and which ones were the coldest.

We grabbed results from polls that received 400 or more votes. Unfortunately, this means some devices that weren’t so popular at launch fell through the cracks, such as the Motorola Razr 2023 series, HUAWEI P60 Pro, and vivo X90 series. We also opted against including devices powered by the next-generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 or Dimensity 9300 flagship chips, for which we expect to see true global launches in 2024. Nevertheless, there are still some prominent devices on the list. Check out the graph below for a quick breakdown.

The hottest and coldest phones of 2023

The big winners

2023’s hottest device was the Redmi Note 12 Turbo, as 93.1% of polled readers thought it was a hot phone. It’s a bizarre outcome as the phone eventually came to global markets as the POCO F5, yet the POCO handset didn’t garner enough votes. Nevertheless, we’re guessing that the powerful Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 chip and cheap Chinese pricing (~$400 for the 1TB model) helped this phone stand out.

Just missing out on the top spot was the HONOR Magic V2, as 92.7% of surveyed readers reckoned it was a hot phone. The foldable stands out thanks to its ultra-thin design, lightweight, powerful internals, stylus support, and more. Unfortunately, HONOR really dropped the ball by only confirming a Q1 2024 launch for the foldable. That’s six months after the initial launch in China back in July 2023. Ouch.

The Redmi Note 12 Turbo (known as the POCO F5 globally) was the hottest device of 2023, followed by the HONOR Magic V2.

Rounding out the top three was the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, with 89.2% of respondents saying it was a hot device. Xiaomi’s Ultra phone was positioned as a top-tier camera phone, featuring four 50MP cameras (including a 3.2x shooter and 5x camera) and flagship specs elsewhere. The only drawback was the steep price in global markets.

Just missing out on the podium was the REDMAGIC 8 Pro (88.5% hot), launching way back in January 2023. This was one of the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 gaming phones and packed a host of gaming-specific features, as you’d expect. This included a cooling fan, capacitive shoulder triggers, and plenty of software tweaks for gaming. The phone had a starting price of just $649, making it one of the cheapest gaming phones of 2023.

Rounding out the top five was the Sharp Aquos R8 Pro, with 86.5% of surveyed readers calling it hot. This phone was a Japan-only release but packed neat features like a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm port. That’s a surefire way to earn praise from enthusiasts.

And the losers

Nothing Phone 2 Essential Glyph Light On
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Unlike last year, no phones received more “not” than “hot” votes in 2023. But we’ve still got plenty of devices with mixed poll results. The coldest handset of 2023 goes to the Nothing Phone 2, as only 50.7% of surveyed Android Authority readers said it was “hot.” We’re guessing that the similarities to the Nothing Phone 1 worked against the brand here. The Phone 2 also missed out on features like full-fledged water resistance and a telephoto camera, although it still brought a powerful chip, improved Glyph features, and a bigger battery.

Second from the bottom, unfortunately, goes to the Galaxy S23 FE (50.9% hot). Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy FE phone used 2022’s Snapdragon and Exynos silicon and switched from a 12MP main camera to a 50MP sensor. But these were the only major upgrades on offer, as the rest of the phone was largely identical to the Galaxy S21 FE, which in turn looked similar to the Galaxy S20 FE.

Rounding out the bottom three was the Google Pixel Fold (52.8% hot). Google’s first attempt at a foldable brought the firm’s excellent software features, a handy form factor, water resistance, and polished cameras. But the phone was very expensive at $1,799, while also packing a less capable chipset compared to the competition, ho-hum battery life, and poor thermal performance. We still loved it, though.

Samsung’s mega foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, missed out on the bottom three, with 54.9% of respondents calling it a hot device. Fifth from the bottom was the OnePlus 11 (60% hot), ranked way below the OnePlus Open (78.2% hot).


Now that enough time has passed following these device launches and their polls, do you think some phones deserve to be ranked higher or lower? Let us know in the comments below.