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9 Best Smartphones in Malaysia 2023 (Budget to High-End)

From budget-friendly to premium phones; this list has it all.

Expert In This Title
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Umar Naqshbandi

Umar Naqshbandi is ProductNation's resident tech enthusiast, photography expert and video maestro. He is also the host and brains for our YouTube channel as well as the main reviewer for all our tech-related content.
"Picking smartphones these days can be very confusing because of the simple fact that there’s just too many of them. All their specs and feature start melting into one making it very difficult to give a clear distinction and pick the right one. The easiest way to declutter from that mess and pick the right phone for you is by looking at the 5 main factors - Processor, Display, Camera, OS, Battery." - Umar Naqshbandi

Smartphones are an integral part of (almost) everyone’s life – even more so in recent years. According to Statista, there are 2000000 smartphone owners in Malaysia. 

Your mobile phone helps you achieve a series of feats, from connecting with people half the world away to entering a romantic relationship via dating apps as well as making QR code payments before one could even blink. Hence, a good quality smartphone is vital.

Needless to say, smartphones have evolved into such a necessity that they should not be going anywhere, anytime soon.

When it comes to smartphones, the first brands that typically come to mind are Apple, Samsung, or HUAWEI – these are decent smartphone manufacturers in their own right, but there are plenty of other brands that provide good value and quality performance too.  From budget and mid-range phones to high-end premium devices, there are so many choices on the market that it’s easy to feel lost. 

Therefore, we’ve engaged our resident tech enthusiast, Umar, to help you break down the best smartphones in Malaysia. He’s a tech enthusiast who takes his interest in gadgets seriously, just like he does his coffee, photography, and filmmaking.


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9 Best Smartphones To Get in Malaysia

Best smartphone for gaming - also best smartphone battery life
ROG
ROG Phone 6 Review Malaysia
Check ROG Phone 6 price below:
add_circle Superb performance
add_circle Long lasting battery life
add_circle Unique gaming features
remove_circle Weak camera setup

Why It’s Our Top Pick

The ROG Phone 6 continuous to do its predecessors proud, bringing back more robust performance for hardcore gamers and daily drivers. 

Overview

The ROG Phone 6 excels in just about everything you would need a smartphone to do, and more. It’s fast and snappy when gaming, but that’s all it’s capable of; the screen is bright and vibrant with a very high refresh rate, so watching videos on the phone is also extremely enjoyable. Of course, we cannot forget the battery: it can last you a good while before needing another charge. 

ROG Phone 6 Specs

  • Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • Display: 6.78” AMOLED FullHD+, 165Hz
  • Memory: 6GB/8GB/16GB + 128GB/256GB/512GB
  • Rear Camera: Triple camera, 50MP + 13MP + 5MP
  • Front Camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 6000mAh with reverse charging
  • Operating System: Android 12

Who Is This For?

Needless to say, this is an excellent phone for gamers looking for the best hardware possible, though the cost may be a little hard to justify. Plus, although the camera setup looks good on paper, the results are less than satisfactory, especially for a phone of this price range.

Still, for anyone looking for a great long-lasting phone and who wants the best performance possible on a smartphone, the ROG Phone 6 is definitely the way to go.

Best camera smartphone
Samsung
Samsung A1 The Galaxy Note
Check Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G price below:
add_circle Built-in S Pen
add_circle IP68 dust/water resistant
remove_circle Fast charging capped at 45W

Overview

As the latest addition to the Galaxy S series, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is an interesting smartphone. It's the first S series to have parts of Samsung's popular Galaxy Note features. Some highlights about it include a powerful processor, incredible display, and most notably a built-in ultra-fast S Pen.

Aside from the shiny S Pen feature; this device comes with a classy signature design that's equal parts bold and simplified, giving it a premium feel. With a 6.7-inch dynamic AMOLED display, an Octa-core SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, and running on the latest Android OS, the Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is Samsung’s 2022 phone to own.

The best thing about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is the sophisticated camera system. Featuring a rear camera with a quad setup of 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP and a 40MP front-facing camera, the Galaxy S22 Ultra can take ultra-clear and amazing photos, even in low-light conditions. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G Specs

  • Processor: Octa-core SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Display: 6.7” Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz
  • Memory: 128GB+8GB RAM / 256GB+12GB RAM / 512GB+12GB RAM / 1TB+12GB RAM
  • Rear Camera: Quad camera, 108MP +10MP +10MP +12MP
  • Front Camera:  40MP
  • Battery: 5000mAh with reverse charging
  • Operating System: Android 12, One UI 4.1 

Who Is It For

This is by far the best camera smartphone we’ve reviewed, especially with Samsung’s famed Nightography thrown into the equation. Apart from the camera, it’s also a superb productivity device, thanks to the S Pen. If you’re looking for the best Samsung smartphone out there, then this is it. 

Best mid-range smartphone
Realme
realme 9Pro+ 5G
Check Realme 9 Pro Plus price below:
add_circle Superior camera
add_circle Super AMOLED display
add_circle 60W fast charge
remove_circle Not suitable for heavy gaming

Overview

The realme 9 Pro Plus offers a stunning Sony IMX766 OIS camera, which supports that triple rear camera to yield photos that are as good as any other recent flagship smartphones. With optical image stabilisation, you can get smoother handheld videos and clearer low light shots. Another bonus point is its Super AMOLED display which delivers richer colours. 

Outside of photography, the realme 9 Pro Plus is equipped with a MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset, offering enough grunt to tackle day-to-day tasks. You can enjoy your favourite mobile games at a reasonable framerate with some minor tweaks to graphics settings. 

Moreover, the 4500mAh battery is long-lasting and can charge quickly at 60W. Finally, the realme UI 3.0 works wonders with Android 12 to bring the best out of all the features.

Realme 9 Pro Plus Specs

  • Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 920 (6 nm)
  • Display: 6.4" Super AMOLED, 90Hz
  • Memory: up to 8GB RAM + up to 256GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: Triple camera, 50MP Main + 8MP Ultrawide + 2MP Macro
  • Front Camera: 16 MP
  • Battery: 4,500 mAh
  • Operating System: Android 12, Realme UI 3.0

Who Is It For?

If all you need is a formidable camera, the realme 9 Pro Plus might be perfect for you. It offers a flagship-level camera for half of the price of a true flagship smartphone. 

Best smartphone under RM1000
Xiaomi
Xiaomi POCO M4 Pro
Check Xiaomi POCO M4 Pro price below:
add_circle Budget-friendly
add_circle Supports NFC
add_circle Amazing battery life
remove_circle No 5G connectivity

Overview

Even with a tight budget of RM1000, you can still get a decent mid-range specced phone with the Xiaomi POCO M4 Pro.

The POCO M4 Pro sacrifices 5G connectivity to bring you a better visual experience, camera performance, and last but not least, a more budget-friendly price tag. With its 90Hz AMOLED display, the phone is able to deliver more vibrant colours and bright images. 

Fast charging is one of the signature features of Xiaomi that fans have come to pride their phones on; the Xiaomi POCO M4 Pro doesn’t disappoint in this regard, as it can get to 100% in just an hour. Performance-wise, the MediaTek Helio G96 octa-core processor is capable enough for general tasks and light gaming.

That said, it’s unrealistic to expect this phone to run graphically-demanding games, since its chipset is just not built for it. For the base variant, you can get 6GB RAM and 256GB internal storage, which is more than enough for daily drivers.

Xiaomi POCO M4 Pro Specs

  • Processor: MediaTek MT6833P Dimensity 810 (6 nm)
  • Display: 6.6” IPS LCD, 90Hz
  • Memory: 4GB / 6GB / 8GB RAM + 64GB / 128GB / 256GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: Dual camera, 50MP + 8MP 
  • Front Camera: 16MP 
  • Battery: 5,000mAh dual battery
  • Operating System: Android 11, MIUI 12.5

Who Is This For?

If you’re looking for a decent phone with a budget and don’t mind losing 5G, then the POCO M4 Pro is the way to go. It provides a great display and enough performance to power you through your daily tasks.

Another best mid-range smartphone
OnePlus
Check OnePlus Nord 2T 5G price below:
add_circle Modern, sleek design
add_circle Compact form factor
add_circle Fast processor
remove_circle Throttles under heavy loads
remove_circle Smaller screen

Overview

The OnePlus Nord 2T 5G is priced as a midrange phone but sports flagship specs. With the same flagship 80W SUPERVOOC fast charging as the OnePlus 10 Pro, the phone is able to give you a full day’s power in just 15 minutes, which is 120% faster than the original OnePlus Nord.

At its price, the Nord 2T 5G comes with a 6.43” AMOLED display that allows cinephiles to binge the latest movies and series comfortably. Combined with the 90Hz refresh rate, scrolling social media or online shopping has never been smoother! 

OnePlus Nord 2T 5G Specs

  • Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 1300
  • Display: 6.43" AMOLED, 90Hz
  • Memory: 8GBRAM, 128GB ROM / 12GB RAM, 256GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: Triple camera, 50.0 MP + 8MP Ultrawide + 2MP depth
  • Front Camera: 32.0 MP
  • Battery: 4500 mAh
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Operating System: OxygenOS 12.1, Android 12
  • Other features: DualSIM, in-display fingerprint, Alert Slider 

Who Is This For?

OnePlus has always been a cult favourite amongst tech enthusiasts. The OnePlus Nord 2T 5G, as part of the brand’s affordable Nord lineup, is one of the best mid-range phones you can get that does just about everything. 

Best Foldable Smartphone
Buy Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Malaysia
Check Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 price below:
add_circle Compact design
add_circle Good camera

Overview

Sporting Armor Aluminum frames along with exclusive Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the Cover Screen and back, the Flip4 is Samsung's most durable foldable phone to date. 

The Main Screen is fortified with the optimized layer structure to reduce damage from external shock. It’s also IPX825 certified water resistant, making it one of the first water-resistant foldable phones in the world.

Plus, the upgraded camera system now comes with 65% brighter sensor and the newest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Mobile Platform, so your photos and videos will come out clearer and crisper, even in low light conditions.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Specifications

  • Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm Octa-Core Processor
  • Display: 6.7” FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (Main Screen), 1.9” Super AMOLED (Cover Screen)
  • Memory: 8GB RAM + 128GB/256GB/512GB ROM
  • Rear Camera: Dual Camera, 12MP Ultra Wide + 12MP Wide-angle with OIS
  • Front Camera: 10MP 
  • Battery: 3700mAh, 25W Super Charging
  • Operating System: Android 12, One UI 4.1.1 

Who is this for?

If you’re tired of the same old brick-like smartphones, then you should try the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4! It’s unconventional yet as powerful as a typical flagship smartphone, packing all the features you need and more. Plus, you can also customize the colours with the Bespoke Edition to really make a statement with your phone!

More: Find Out Which Of These 9 Best Xiaomi Phones Are For You

Best foldable phone for multitaskers
Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3
Check Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 price below:
add_circle Sturdy, book-like design
add_circle Powerful performance
add_circle Great cameras
remove_circle Pricey

Overview

Thanks to its unique form factor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 can be a smartphone, a tablet, or even a laptop! Plus, the Multi-Active Window feature allows you to open up to three windows on the main screen, while the Taskbar feature keeps all your favourite apps in an accessible location. As the first smartphone to run the Android 12L, the Galaxy Z Fold4 takes your multitasking skills to the next level!

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 Specifications

  • Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4㎚ Octa-Core Processor 
  • Display: 7.6” HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (Main Screen), 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (Cover Screen)
  • Memory: 12GB RAM + 256GB/512GB/1TB ROM
  • Rear Camera: Triple camera, 12MP Ultra Wide + 50MP Wide Angle with OIS + 10MP Telephoto
  • Front Camera: 10MP Selfie Camera (Cover), 4MP (Under-display camera)
  • Battery: 4.400mAh dual battery
  • Operating System: Android 12L, One UI 4.1.1

Who is this for?

This is really for workaholics and multitaskers, as the giant phone screen allows you to open up to three different windows at the same time. It’s also great for on-the-go video meetings, as you can just prop it up like a laptop and make video calls without having to hold up your phone constantly!

Best iPhone
Apple
Check Apple iPhone 14 Pro price below:
add_circle Good build quality
add_circle Incredible camera quality
add_circle Dynamic Island
remove_circle Pricey
remove_circle No SIM tray

Overview

It’s no surprise that the new iPhone 14 Pro has overtaken the iPhone 13 to be the best iPhone currently. While the iPhone 14 Pro looks almost identical to the iPhone 13 on the surface, there are still several major upgrades to the phone on the software side. 

Powered by the Apple A16 Bionic Chip, the fastest chip ever in a smartphone according to Apple, the iPhone 14 Pro is the most advanced iPhone yet. It also sports Apple’s newest class of pro camera systems, complete with the first-ever 48MP Main Camera, a quad pixel sensor, and the Photonic Engine.

The front camera notch on the iPhone 14 has been replaced by the Dynamic Island, a brand new feature on the iPhone 14 Pro that has been making headlines. The Dynamic Island also allows users easier access to controls with a simple tap and hold.

iPhone 14 Pro Specs

  • Chipset: Apple A16 Bionic (4 nm)
  • Display: 6.1” LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED
  • Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM / 256GB 6GB RAM / 512GB 6GB RAM / 1TB 6GB RAM
  • Rear Camera: 48 MP + 12 MP + 12 M
  • Front Camera: 12 MP
  • Battery: 3200 mAh with Fast charging & MagSafe wireless charging 15W
  • Operating System: iOS 16
  • Weight: 206 g
  • Dimensions: 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.9 mm

Who Is This For?

The iPhone 14 Pro continues Apple’s legacy in snappy CPUs, amazing displays, and impressive cameras. For Apple fans looking for an upgrade, there’s really no better choice than this smartphone.

Best flagship smartphone
Xiaomi
Xiaomi 12T Pro
Check Xiaomi 12T Pro price below:
add_circle Large 200MP camera
add_circle Great screen
remove_circle No wireless charging

Overview

The Xiaomi 12T Pro features a world-first 200MP main camera, which is groundbreaking technology where mobile photography is concerned. Combining these with a variety of other optimizations,, the Xiaomi 12T Pro is capable of delivering superb imagery with high clarity, strong night photography, and quick focusing.

Equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Ultra, this smartphone is also able to provide peak performance across the board, from capturing photos and videos to watching movies and scrolling social media. Plus, the larger vapour chamber allows for greater heat dissipation, protecting the hardware from overheating.

XIaomi 12T Pro Specs

  • Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (4 nm)c
  • Display: 6.67” AMOLED, 120Hz, Dolby VIsion, 68B colours
  • Memory: 128GB+8GB RAM, 256GB+8GB RAM, 256GB+12GB RAM
  • Rear Camera: Triple camera, 200MP +8MP +2MP
  • Front Camera:  20MP
  • Battery: 5000mAh with reverse charging
  • Operating System: Android 12, MIUI 13 

Who Is It For?

For the features it has, the Xiaomi 12T Pro is really a capable flagship priced as a premium mid-range. With snappy performance, great cameras, and one of the best batteries to date in terms of both longevity and charging, the XIaomi 12T Pro offers an experience like no other. 

More: Everything To Know About The iPhone 12 Series Before You Buy Them...


FAQ:

- How To Choose a Smartphone

  • Display

    Choosing the right display may be a hassle when it comes to buying a smartphone regardless of age, as smartphone displays vary in size. For instance, if portability is what you’re looking for, a smaller display would suffice as it is easier to hold and use with one hand.

    Meanwhile, if you’re an avid mobile gamer, opt for a bigger display so you would be able to see more details such as your enemies’ whereabouts. Logically, the smaller the display, the harder it is you’re going to read texts.

  • Storage

    Storage is another factor when it comes to purchasing a smartphone. Some smartphones have limited storage and some are not expandable. Hence, choose your storage wisely to best fit your own usage. Futureproof a little by purchasing a bigger capacity model to avoid deleting things that matter to you.
  • Price

    If budget is an issue, set a maximum price you’re willing to pay and then determine what features you want or need in your smartphone. That way, it would be easier to not break your budget.

    The price of smartphones differs depending on its model, specification, features and more. Lower-end brands such as Xiaomi would cost around RM 400 and above. Meanwhile, middle-range brands like Samsung cost roughly above RM 1,000 and the higher-end ones such as Apple would cost you at least RM3,000.

  • Operating System

    iPhone runs only on the iOS software whereas, brands like Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi, and more commonly run on Google’s Android platform. Both OS have their own perks (ways to achieve seamless connection offered by both OSes also differ) so choose wisely!

  • Smartphone operating systems vary depending on the brand. Moreover, different OS commonly offers its own set of basic apps such as messenger and web browsers. The user interface also differs depending on its brands and model.


- Which are the most popular smartphone brands in Malaysia?

Some of the more popular smartphone brands in Malaysia include Huawei, Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, Nokia, and Realme. Among these brands, Huawei, Apple, and Samsung have established themselves as the top three in the mobile world.

Huawei

The main reason Huawei’s products resonate with a lot of buyers is its well-rounded product portfolio. This ranges from high-end smartphones that come with beautiful designs and premium specs (P and Mate series) to more budget-friendly picks that fall under its Honor offshoot brand. 

However, as of 2019, major US tech firms such as Google have reportedly cut business ties with the firm. The lack of access to Google Mobile Services means that users will lose access to Android software updates and popular Google apps like the Play Store and Gmail. Whether or not this proves to be a deal-breaker for potential buyers remains to be seen.

Apple

The brand loyalty that the Apple iPhone manages to achieve is nothing short of remarkable. In its most recent iPhones, its A13 Bionic chip trumps everything that Android has to offer. Furthermore, the iPhone is often favoured by developers as the launch platform of choice for new apps. Apple also seems to be one step ahead of the rest in terms of software and hardware.

Samsung

Similar to Huawei, Samsung caters for smartphones in all price brackets. While its Galaxy S series carries its flagship and high-end devices, the Galaxy M and Galaxy A series are treasured by budget-conscious buyers. Samsung is also quite the trendsetter. The brand is known for making the large screen fashionable, revolutionizing the thin bezel design, and producing the first phone with an AMOLED display.


- Android vs iOS: Which is Better?

Ah, the endless debate over which operating system is the best for humankind. But the truth is, none is better than the other.

Instead, they both have their own pros and cons:

Android OS

Of course, Android OS is the world's most used operating system due to the vast availability of it in many branded smartphones such as Samsung, Huawei, Sony & Xiaomi. From here, it's easy to switch between phones once you mastered the ways of this OS.

A catch here is that because Google (parent developer of Android) only outsources the primary coding for the latest Android system versions, they are not able to control what phone manufacturers do to the end-result of the smartphone and the OS in it. Thus, this can distort the perfect Android experience and overall user satisfaction.

Pros of Android phones:

  • Easy to switch between phone brands
  • Different OS experience across phone brands
  • Budget to high-end price range
  • The latest hardware and is generally value-for-money

iOS (Apple iPhones)

Not a surprise; they are known for their premium look and feel yet seemingly exorbitant prices. If you look at the hardware, iPhones seem to have lower specifications for the price you are paying compared to Android phones. Moreover, the built of iPhones feel fragile, though they excel in their aesthetics.

A (big) surprise to using iPhones: their software is superior compared to almost, if not, all Android phones. From playing games to taking good photographers, iPhones are known to be reliable in executing tasks seamlessly and have better longevity on average according to users in terms of useability.

And while iPhone specifications may seem lower than Android phones, the hardware is carefully optimized and updated, resulting in constant outperformance to Android phones with similar or even better specification.

Pros of iOS (iPhones):

  • Seamless execution especially when multitasking
  • Simple and easy-to-understand layout
  • More constant updates and support - a longer phone lifespan 
  • Have better software security overall

Conclusion

Buying a smartphone isn’t rocket science, but it’s also wise to plan out your purchase decision before going in for the kill. Common questions to ask yourself: do I need this much storage? Would it be able to last the past 3 years? 

An expensive product does not necessarily mean that it’s the right pick for you. Hence, it’s important to always have these questions in mind alongside doing research online to find out what’s the best smartphone for you.


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