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The best smartphone gift guide of 2023

By Mint Fox

Originally published November 17, 2023

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Last Updated January 5, 2024

A phone wrapped as a present with the words "Best smartphone gift guide of 2023"

 You can run from it, you can try to hide, but it’s here regardless…holiday shopping season. Shopping for people you care about, especially those with unique interests, can be daunting, but there’s no need to fear. We at Mint Mobile have put together a handy gift guide that we think yule appreciate. This will help you pair each of your loved ones with the best smartphone for them, based on the features they care about most. So get cozy, pour yourself a glass of whatever you drink this time of year (we’re big nog-heads over here) and let’s sift through some smart gifts.

In this article
A phone that has a sign that says "phone gift ideas for the cool people in your life"

Phone gift ideas for the cool people in your life

No two people are exactly alike, which means no two phones are used in exactly the same way. That friend of yours who wears a gaming headset more often than they wear shoes? They’re likely going to want a different smartphone than the sibling who captures photos & videos everywhere they go. Let’s dig into what smartphones make sense based on each person’s personality type and hobbies.

Gifts for photographers

For the photographers in your life, iPhone 15 Pro Max and Google Pixel 8 Pro are among the best smartphones to give this season. Adding iPhone 15 Pro Max to their camera bag, they can shoot Cinematic mode videos, select their own photographic styles and take ultra close-ups with Macro mode. In addition to its 48 MP (Megapixel) camera, iPhone 15 Pro Max is wrapped in a super-durable titanium frame, making it lightweight and ready to take on any adventure. On the Android side, the Google Pixel 8 Pro is fitted with an amazing camera, loaded with advanced editing software powered by Google AI. The impressive 50 MP Octa Wide camera paired with a 48 MP ultrawide camera with autofocus makes for consistently sharp photos, day and night. Both smartphones brilliantly capture breathtaking landscape photography, vertical video, selfies and close-ups. 

Gift for gamers

The gamer in your life would certainly appreciate iPhone 14 Pro Max. The A16 chip in iPhone 14 Pro Max is a much faster processor than most other smartphones have, meaning lag won’t be an issue when taking on even the most complicated side missions. And with its ProMotion technology, iPhone 14 Pro Max boasts refresh rates of 120 Hz. That ought to take their mobile gaming experience to…the next level (sorry, we had to).   

Gifts for content creators 

For the up-and-coming influencers, content creation is the name of the game, and these are some of the best smartphones to get them trending. The Samsung Galaxy S23 is a great option for those just starting their accounts. It’s equipped with three cameras on the back (including a 50 MP main camera) capable of filming in 8K 30fps along with a crisp, 12 MP selfie lens. The Samsung Galaxy S23 alo includes an Image-Clipping feature that makes removing objects from photos & videos a breeze. Another Android option would be the Google Pixel 7 Pro, with its own amazing camera and user-friendly editing software like Cinematic Blur and Photo Unblur. Capable of up to 17 hours of video playback, it’s ideal for long editing sessions while crafting that master post. You can’t rush art.

Gifts for travelers 

Sometimes the best gift isn’t just used, but experienced. For the travel lovers in your life, the OnePlus Nord 30 5G is a great travel companion to bring along on extended trips. 5G ready with a 6.74 inch 120 Hz Super Fluid AMOLED display, this smartphone makes unwanted layovers bearable with high definition video streaming. With its large 5000mAh battery tucked inside, the jetsetters in your life will enjoy hours of continuous use while exploring new destinations. It’s a great gift idea for parents looking for an additional, easy-to-use device for their next getaway.

A phone with a sign that says "phone gift ideas for family members"

Phone gift ideas for family members

We’ve got your friends handled, now it’s time to shop for family. You might think your parents are only concerned with calling you in the middle of every meal, but they probably want their phones to do other cool stuff too. And the young ones, well…they’re less likely to immediately lose interest in a smartphone as opposed to most toys on the market nowadays. Let’s go over the best smartphones for your relatives. 

Gifts for parents 

Papa’s got a brand new…smartphone? A great holiday gift for Mom or Dad, the Samsung Galaxy A02s delivers everything and more, presented in an intuitive interface. The Samsung Galaxy A02s offers a 6.5-inch TFT LCD display, great for video playback of the kids’ recital. It also features a MicroSD slot for expandable memory, up to 512GB (good luck getting Mom to delete a single photo from the last time everyone got together). Could they use a new wireless plan too? Learn more about our phone plans for seniors by visiting our Mint 55+ plan page.

Best smartphones on a budget

Whether you’re shopping for someone’s first phone or just looking for the essentials, iPhone SE 3rd Generation or the Motorola G Play are both affordable smartphones that make ideal gifts for an uncle, a sibling or if you just want to be the White Elephant MVP. With iPhone SE 3rd Generation’s Touch ID home button, 5G capability and up to 15 hours of battery life, they’ll always be connected and secure on the network. However, if you’re shopping for an Android fan, the Motorola G Play boasts a 6.5” HD 90 Hz display and up to 3 days of battery life — perfect for that friend who’s always losing their charger (even if you’re that friend).

So what’s the best smartphone? 

Before you stuff your stockings, just remember to prioritize the features the smartphone offers over a brand name or a model number. There are highly capable, affordable smartphones out there that will check every box on their wishlist. Ultimately, the “best” smartphone is the one offering the features that matter most to the person you’re gifting it to. And you can find their best smartphone right here at Mint.

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Originally published November 2022; updated November 2023

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