We are in the last quarter of 2023 and all the major smartphone companies have announced their 2023 flagships. The thing about the latest premium smartphones cost an arm and leg. Sometimes you have to throw in a kidney, as well.
One proven solution to that is to explore old flagship phones to buy instead. Why? Old flagship phones are always still quite compelling – even more powerful that most newer phones – a year or two after their release. And their prices would have dropped quite a bit within that same period.
I recommend that instead of buying the latest flagship, buy an old flagship phone to get the best performance and features at a bargain price. Bear in mind that the difference in features, specs, and actual performance between the latest flagships and the best old flagship phones are usually incremental. In other words, the difference in practical, usable value is small, and mostly not worth the difference in price.
If you are shopping for a premium flagship smartphone this year and not willing to shell out cash for the latest models, here are my recommendations for the best old flagship phones to buy in 2023.
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Apple iPhone 14 Pro & 14 Pro Max
Released in September 2022, the iOhone 14 Pro smartphones are so close to the current flagship in performance and features that they are easily some of the best old flagships you can buy in 2023.
They both offer top notch performance and cameras – only in two different sizes. Battery life is not the best but it is admittedly better than what was obtainable in older iPhones.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G
The Galaxy S22 Ultra was released in February 2022 and it is such a capable device that it remains compelling today. If you want a periscope telephoto lens, a big screen, stylus support, and great battery life, this is one of the best old flagship phones that offers that package.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
The pure Android OS experience of Pixel smartphones, coupled with prompt software updates, as well as exceptional camera, are good enough reasons to consider buying the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro today.
They were released in October 2022, just about a year ago. I have been disappointed multiple times by Pixel phones, but there are those who swear by them. Which is okay. If you are one of them, the Pixel 7 or 7 Pro will appeal to you tremendously.
Motorola Edge 30 Pro
The Moto Edge 30 Pro hit the stalls in January 2022, about 20 months ago, but it is a powerhouse. Under the hood is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, which is no slouch. While Motorola is not big on software updates, this is one of the best old flagships you can buy today in the United States. The battery life isn’t great, though, and there is no ingress rating for any kind of water and dust protection. Bummer, as we expect those features in top flagship.
But the Moto Edge 30 Pro is the most affordable of the best old flasghip phones to buy in 2023. It is simply superb value for money.