5 smartphones not to buy in 2023

5 smartphones à ne pas acheter en 2023

The last decade has been an interesting time for the smartphone industry. During this exciting time, we've seen tons of experimental ideas, bold pricing choices, and even an explosive nightmare. However, in recent years things seem to have slowed down. Most companies have reached an acceptable status quo and new updates seem to be just more numbers for spec sheets. This oasis of boredom makes it much harder to know which phones are actually worth the money. Most mid-range and budget phones look decent in terms of specs, but what matters is how these fancy bits come together. In this list, we've included our best – and also our worst – picks for smartphones that we think you shouldn't buy in 2023.

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5. OnePlus Nord N20

There was a time when OnePlus was the go-to company for getting top-level performance in a budget smartphone. Unfortunately, the company has further strayed from this reputation with its latest models.

The Nord N20 followed the marketing tactic of 5G phones in 2022 for its release, but it failed to deliver the premium smartphone experience that users are turning to the brand for. Instead, this is a device that suffers from performance issues that make it difficult to recommend.

First of all, it comes with a lot of bloatware that installs tediously. If you're using the carrier-specific version of this device, there's a good chance your screen is filled with ad-supported video content that's hard to get rid of.

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A front-facing fingerprint reader may seem like a good feature, but executing it on this device is going to give you a lot of trouble. The haptic engine is unreliable, and the scanner itself is placed at a very low location. Reading is often inaccurate and makes on-screen fingerprints seem like a gimmick rather than a current industry standard.

4. Sony Xperia 1 IV

Sony's Xperia smartphone series is making waves for performance device enthusiasts. The design looks great and the speakers are amazing. However, the praise stops there for us. Unfortunately, this smartphone can't really justify its price. The performance it offers is quite decent, but it is way too expensive for some of the undeniable drawbacks it has.

Gaming is one of the areas where it doesn't perform very well. For intense, competitive games like Call of Duty Mobile, the Xperia 1 IV is unable to maintain high refresh rates for long periods of time. Instead, it becomes noticeably laggy after two or three matches. Additionally, the lack of a variable refresh rate makes the battery difficult to manage.

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This phone is getting hot. If you're buying a smartphone for long binge sessions, no amount of specs should tempt you enough to endure the level of discomfort that comes with prolonged use. Better to opt for a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S23 or the Pixel 7a.

3. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

smartphones you shouldn't buy

The resurgence of flip phones is one of many problems with recent smartphone innovations, but we can't help but cheer for the companies that want to make these devices. Samsung is a leading flip phone vendor, but the Z Flip 4 falls short on a fundamental aspect of the modern smartphone experience: battery life. This device is nice to use, but with its extremely slow charging performance, it's impossible to know when you'll need some juice, and you'll have to carry around a power bank next to the phone you bought for comfort.

If you're dead set on using a flip phone, the newer Z Flip 5 will definitely be worth buying in comparison. The Z Flip 4 also lacks a telephoto lens. An essential part of most of today's flagship phones.

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2. Samsung Galaxy A03s

smartphones you shouldn't buy

Budget smartphones are a necessity in the market, but some of them simply shouldn't be purchased. They allow a large part of society to keep up to date with new updates to the Android suite. However, the A03s is simply unreliable when it comes to a comfortable experience. This device is riddled with performance issues and slowness, and it has poor construction. It feels fragile and doesn't promise to last very long. If you live in a hot climate, the A03s are likely to be hot every time.

Content creation will probably not be possible with this smartphone due to the weak main camera. The secondary cameras are also mediocre due to the 2MP lens. It uses a depth sensor and a macro lens, but these features don't reach their potential due to poor photo processing under the hood.

Charging speed is a major drawback of this smartphone. You're unlikely to get a full charge in less than two hours. In fact, with a 15W charger it will only reach 20% in half an hour.

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You're better off buying an older mid-range phone, like the Samsung Galaxy A32, instead.

1. Apple iPhone 14

Apple iPhone 14

It's a little strange to see an iPhone that's not worth buying, but the iPhone 14 is a device we struggle to recommend in 2023. First of all, the iPhone 14 came out with minimal updates compared to its predecessor. With iPhones costing a fortune regardless of generation, it's best to buy the upcoming iPhone 15 and take advantage of the more substantial updates that are expected.

Pro models tend to get a lot more attention from Apple, but the iPhone 15 appears to be Apple's biggest update to the base iPhone in the last three years. According to rumors from reliable sources, it will be equipped with a USB-C port, eliminating the struggle for Lightning chargers once and for all. It also features a new periscopic telephoto lens allowing content creators to enhance their visuals.

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The Dynamic Island is also expected to be integrated into the base iPhone 15 device, allowing all iPhone users to enjoy a better quality of life.

Which smartphone do you think consumers should not buy in 2023?