If you are looking to upgrade your smartphone to a premium option, choosing the right one can be disconcerting due to the sheer number of options available in the Indian market. You’ve got premium phones from smartphone OEMs such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, Google, Realme, Tecno, and more – across price brackets; from ₹50K all the way up to nearly ₹2 lakhs. Naturally, it can be a cumbersome process to research in depth about each of these smartphones. However, at the Digit Test labs, we spend hours on end, all year, doing just that. So, we are able to give you an informed opinion and suggest phones that would be ideal for your specific needs. Premium smartphones in 2023 don’t just pack the latest, cutting-edge specifications. Instead, they go above and beyond by providing premium materials, robust AI algorithms that improve your phone’s performance based on your usage, reliable multi-camera setups with advanced lenses, latest-generation memory and storage standards, and of course, the best-in-class chipsets capable of speedy performance. However, since these phones are manufactured by different OEMs, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Through our rigorous testing processes and time spent with these premium devices, some of the absolute best premium smartphones in India are the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Xiaomi 13 Pro, OnePlus 11, iQOO 11, and Pixel 7 Pro. We’ve even added foldables to mix such as the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5.
- Important design tweaks, Powerful performer, Brilliant cameras, Beautiful display, Great battery backup
- Too big, No expandable storage, Slow charging
Although the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an incremental upgrade over the S22 Ultra, it solved one of the biggest issues of its predecessor – excessive heating. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performs excellently without signs of too much heating no matter what task you run. The battery life has also monumentally improved icer its predecessor. The cameras throw up impressive results irrespective of lighting conditions – we’ve taken some absolutely gorgeous low-light shots with this phone and the sharpness and detail are handled very well in less than ideal conditions. The display is gorgeous as well. It is also extremely immersive due to the small punch hole cutout that puts it a peg above the iPhone 14s. Overall, this is one of the most complete packages you can get in 2023.
- Smooth Dynamic Island animations, Excellent performance, Reliable and versatile camera system, Good battery life, Bright display
- Still an incremental upgrade, No USB-C charging, Quite heavy, Only 20 W charging
Apple improved quite a few things with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. They overhauled the entire camera system with the phone packing an amazing triple camera setup including a new 48 MP main lens. That coupled with the new Photonic Engine leads to the 14 Pro Max taking amazing photos no matter what the lighting conditions are like. The performance of the new A16 Bionic chipset is incredible with the phone scoring well in benchmarks and showing no signs of slowing down in real life. iOS is also one of the best UIs on smartphones with smooth transitions, great animations, and fluid performance. Battery life is excellent as well – the phone can manage 9-10 hours of screen-on time without a hitch. All of this makes for one of the most well-rounded and reliable phones on the market in 2023.
- Brilliant cameras, Vibrant, responsive display, Super fast performance
- Very heavy weight, Battery backup is average, Camera module is too thick
The Xiaomi x Leica partnership shines on the Xiaomi 13 Pro bringing us one of the very best camera systems on the market and possibly, the best portrait smartphone camera. Alongside excellent camera performance, you also get the speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC that breezes through any task with ease and the latest memory standards with LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage. The phone is a bit too heavy for our liking, but if you can get past that, you get a beefy monster capable of handling all your photography, performance, and content consumption needs.
An absolute performance beast, the iQOO 11 has managed to blow us away with its gaming abilities and handling of everyday tasks. The smartphone not just looks premium but also has a flagship-level display, long-lasting battery, and of course, super powerful performance. The 144 Hz E6 display is slick and games such as COD: Mobile run on the highest possible frame rate. The camera, however, is pretty average for the price. You don’t get a telephoto lens and the primary camera can blow up highlights and get the colours wrong in some instances. Also, the UI isn’t the cleanest. However, if you only want the greatest performance monster in 2023 and don’t care too much about the camera and software, this is your best option.
Priced extremely aggressively, the OnePlus 11 is a very alluring option for those who want flagship power without spending a fortune. The phone is well-built, looks attractive and has a very premium in-hand feel. In typical OnePlus fashion, the battery life is outstanding, and of course, charging is one of the speediest in the market. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC offers solid performance, so don’t worry about the phone’s ability to handle just about anything you throw at it. The AMOLED display is bright, vibrant, and has great viewing angles. It is also quite power-efficient which helps prolong the battery life.
- Premium design, Beautiful display, Superb cameras
- Camera module protrudes too much, No telephoto shooter, No improvement in FunTouch OS
A stunning phone, the moment you set your eyes on the Vivo X90 Pro, you will know it is a camera-oriented device. The module is thick, but it means business. It is one of the best camera stacks in the smartphone market right now and the collaboration with Zeiss has borne fruit. The camera clicks stunning photos, be it in daylight or nighttime. The Dimensity 9200 SoC offers reliable performance as well. FunTouch OS, however, is a bit too bloated which can sour the overall experience.
Samsung recently launched its latest foldable iteration – the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5. And with it, come a few iterative improvements which refine the popular foldable even more. You now get a brighter screen that maxes out at 1,700 nits of peak brightness, which makes it more competitive in the flagship space. The hinge is completely redesigned as well and now, there’s no gap between the fold, which means lesser chances of dust and dirt damaging the device over time. The phone is also slimmer and lighter than the previous iteration and feels more svelte in the hand.
- Best outer display software, Very good performance, Camera quality is awesome
- Slow charging, Main display is not very bright, Phone seems slightly bent when fully opened
The new Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is making waves with its massive cover display. It offers almost full functionality as you would get on the regular screen of the phone, which is what sets it apart from the rest. The large 3.6-inch pOLED external display can be used to use apps, reply to messages, play games, for hands-free recording, and pretty much everything a normal screen can do once you give it the necessary permissions. The phone is also well-designed; it has a Leather back panel that looks quite stunning. We especially love the Viva Magenta colour variant. The inner display is a large 6.9-inch pOLED panel which has a tall aspect ratio with 165 Hz and HDR10+ support. So, expect smooth scrolling in social media apps and vivid visuals when consuming content. All in all, this is an exciting foldable, one that turns up the heat in the foldable race that was so far dominated by Samsung.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is a fantastic Android phone. While it is not perfect, it embodies the essence of Android with its clean and functional OS. Pixel phones are also known for their cameras and the Pixel 7 Pro is the best of the lot, so far. The telephoto lens has been upgraded to a new 48 MP shooter that clicks great shots even at high zoom levels. The primary camera is stunning and it captures beautiful pictures in daylight and lowlight, using Pixel’s famous Nightscape mode. As for the performance, the Tensor G2 processor is decent enough to handle gaming and day-to-day tasks, but it fails to live up to the mettle of other flagship processors in the market.
- Beast of a performer, Premium vegan leather design, Brilliant colour accurate display,
- Front camera is average, Battery drains sometimes, No expandable storage
The iQOO Neo 7 Pro is the phone to get if you want flagship-level performance at a fraction of the cost.Sporting the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, the iQOO Neo 7 Pro blew past our expectations, joining the race for being the fastest phone in not just the mid-range smartphone market, but the entire smartphone market. This is just astoundingly good performance for the price, and gamers can choose this phone without blinking an eye. However, while the cameras are decent, it is not exactly flagship-level, so if cameras are as important to you as performance, consider the phones at the top of this list instead.