Flagship Phone of the year winner

The Pocket-lint Awards 2023, sponsored by a new EE, were held on 9 November, celebrating the best devices and products across 21 categories from smartphones to cameras. Each of the categories was narrowed down to six nominations, all of which have been reviewed by the Pocket-lint team in full at some point during the last 12 months.

The Best Flagship Phone category is all about the most desirable phones offering the greatest features and is always one of the most anticipated awards. There can only be one winner, however, in a hugely competitive category.

iPhone 15 Pro Max review - 4-1

Flagship Phone of the Year: Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

iphone 15 pro max gradient

Apple / Pocket-lint

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple’s flagship device offers heaps of power, a dazzling display and a camera that’s hard to beat. It’s the best iPhone so far.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max – keeps the Flagship Phone category in the grips of Apple, with another win for 2023. It brings more power through Apple A17 Bionic and a tweaked design, but most of the interest is in the new camera on the rear and the charging port on the bottom. Yes, there’s now a USB-C connection, meaning more convenience and more capability.

This model sets itself apart from the regular 15 Pro thanks to the addition of a new telephoto lens, which enabled 5x optical zoom, enabling higher-quality long range photos as part of a camera system that’s really comprehensive and delivers great results in all conditions. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is also notable, because this is the first time that the regular Pro models and the Pro Max have been different.

A big screen experience, that refined body design, excellent battery life and the buttery-smooth iOS 17 experience round out the package for the best phone of the year.

Highly Commended: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra on a table


The Galaxy S23 Ultra packs in loads of cameras, loads of screen space, loads of power and that Samsung One UI that has loads of features. Then there’s the S Pen that slots into the body bringing a further range of functions.

Samsung shoots for the stars with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it’s one of the most loved phones of the year – truly flagship quality. Samsung’s phone line has been boosted with solid updates, so if you go opt for the Ultra, you know you’ll get 5 years of software updates for it.


The best of the rest

Asus Zenfone 10

Zenfone 10 white back in hand

When it comes to compact flagship phones, the Zenfone 10 delivers. It packs in the latest hardware, so has plenty of power, a great display and a good main camera.

But the smaller form factor means it fits better into pockets and hands, while also being more affordable than larger rivals. Once you’ve had this phone in your hand, you might decide that it’s worth moving to something smaller.

Google Pixel 8 Pro



The Pixel 8 Pro leads with an AI-driven camera, offering some unique editing functions in Magic Editor, while maintaining the stellar quality that Pixel is known for. This is now a more powerful phone with an outstanding display and that comes through in the daily performance.

It helps that the finish is also improved, making for a flagship phone that’s worthy of attention and better looking than ever before.

OnePlus 11 5G

OnePlus 11 5G back top down

OnePlus settled on one flagship phone in 2023 – and what a phone it is. The OnePlus 11 5G has great display, excellent performance and a great camera are all pulled together by OnePlus’ attention to detail in the software, leaving you with a package that feels well optimised.

It’s also great value for money, giving you that flagship experience for a little less cash. OnePlus might not be getting the attention that it once used to, but it still knows how to make a great phone.

Xiaomi 13 Pro

Xiaomi 13 Pro rear in hand

Another phone that impresses with its value for money is the Xiaomi 13 Pro. A great display sits on the front, but it’s the 120W wired charging that many will appreciate, fully charging the phone in 20 minutes. There are some quirks from MIUI, but on the whole, you get a decent phone.

The camera is also competitive, rounding out a package for a smartphone that might not be the first to pop into your head, but is worthy of your attention.

How the EE Pocket-lint Awards judging works

The winner for the Best Flagship Phone category is decided by the Pocket-lint team, along with a panel of expert judges from publications across the industry. Following a rigorous scoring process, the Best Flagship Phone winner for 2023 was announced at an in-person event on 9 November 2023, along with the winners from the other 20 categories.

A Product of the Year winner was also announced, chosen from the winners of the 21 categories.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.