Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G

When it comes to budget phones, both the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G fit the bill. They both come in at under $300 unlocked yet boast premium features. They are solid phones for someone who doesn’t need the latest and greatest. They offer plenty to impress, from great cameras to long battery life, powerful processors, 5G, and more. But how do they compare to one another? Let’s take a closer look.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G: The look and feel

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Samsung Galaxy A23 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

Both the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G and OnePlus Nord N20 5G are solid-looking phones that impress and look more expensive than they actually are. 

The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G has a 6.6-inch Infinity-V FHD+ PLS LCD that boasts 1,080 x 2,400 resolution. Finished in classic matte black, the Ambient Edge design beautifully connects the camera with the matte finish at the back to provide a more seamless look than you might see with other similar phones. It is only available in the one, single color, but black goes with everything. And like with any other phone, chances are you’ll be protecting it with a case anyway. 

At 165.4 x 76.9 x 8.4mm in size and 197 grams, the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G is slighter larger and thicker than the OnePlus Nord N20 5G. A fingerprint scanner is on the side, and you’ll be able to comfortably use this phone all day thanks to its 5,000 mAh battery. 

While the phone runs on Android OS 12, with support for up to two OS upgrades, it also includes Samsung’s One UI overlay, which allows for greater customization of the look and feel of the phone. This includes everything from the wallpaper to the style of the clock and how and where notifications arrive. It’s a nice feature for someone who likes this level of personalization.

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G comes with a slightly smaller 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED 1,080 x 2,400 screen that looks stunning. Though in his review, Nicholas Sutrich thought it could be a bit brighter. He did, however, describe the phone's design as “superb.” 

Also available in only one finish, BlueQuantum, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G has a fingerprint sensor built into the screen along with face unlock. It measures 159.9 x 73.2 x 7.55 mm and weighs 173 grams, making it the slightly more compact option of the two, though also with a smaller screen. 

The battery isn’t as powerful at 4,500mAh but it does support 33W fast charging and Sutrich says he got a day-and-a-half out of each charge. The OnePlus Nord N20 5G, also introduced in mid-2022, runs on the Oxygen OS, based on Android 11, and only supports one OS update. This makes it a slightly more outdated choice. But you do get some useful personalization features with OxygenOS, like dark mode, a redesigned shelf for the home screen, various themes, and more. 

It's worth noting that while both use USB-C, Sutrich discovered that he could not plug anything into the USB port of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G beyond a charger: no PS5 controllers, earbuds, or even a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter would work.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G: Diving into specs

I’ll get into the performance of both these phones, but first, let’s see how they compare on paper in terms of baseline specs.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy A23 5GOnePlus Nord N20 5G
OSAndroid 12, One UIAndroid 11, Oxygen OS
OS UpdatesUp to 2Up to 1
ProcessorSnapdragon 695Snapdragon 695
Screen Size & Type6.6-inch Infinity-V FHD+ PLS LCD6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED
Screen Resolution1,080 x 2,4001,080 x 2,400
Screen Refresh Rate120Hz60Hz
ColorsMatte BlackBlueQuantum
Storage64GB (Expandable up to 1TB)128GB (Expandable up to 512GB)
Rear Camera50MP, 5MP Ultra-Wide, 2MP Depth64MP, 2MP Macro
Front Camera8MP16MP
Headphone JackYesYes
Size165.4 x 76.9 x 8.4 mm159.9 x 73.2 x 7.5 mm
Weight197 grams173 grams

Seeing these specs side-by-side, a few differences really stand out that could sway you towards one over the other. But let’s look even deeper.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G: Processing, power, and more

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

When it really comes down to it, what we want to know is how a phone performs, especially when it’s one that fits into the “affordable” and “budget” categories. So, let’s look at these two. 

The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G runs on a Snapdragon 695 processor and boasts a decent 4GB RAM. You’ll get 64GB of storage built-in, which is not a ton in today’s day and age, but you can expand this to up to 1TB via an optional microSD card. Since most of us need much more than just 64GB on a phone to accommodate photos, videos, apps, messages, and more, you should factor a memory card into your overall cost. 

Running on Android 12 with further customization via One UI, as mentioned, the support for up to two OS upgrades for the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G is something that will assure the longevity of the phone. If you plan to keep this device for a while, knowing it will be current and up-to-date for years to come adds peace of mind. 

The phone has interesting other features, like Game Booster that optimizes battery life, temperature, and memory, and even halts background activities and notifications while you’re playing so you can fully immerse yourself in the action. It’s worth noting that the screen refresh rate is 120Hz, which will be appreciated by not only gamers but also other power users for watching videos, multitasking, and more. 

Business users will appreciate the built-in Samsung Knox, which offers multiple layers of security against malware and other potential threats. If you’re getting this phone as a personal one to use alongside a business phone provided by the company, you’ll also love the secure folder where you can place any work-related documents you might temporarily have on the device for safekeeping.

Getting a software update on the OnePlus Nord N20 5G

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G also runs on a Snapdragon 695 processor but boasts more RAM with 6GB. It also has more built-in storage at 128GB but its expandable storage options top out at 512GB, so keep this in mind if you think you’ll need more than that. 

The clincher here for some is that the OnePlus Nord N20 5G runs on Android 11, and though it’s upgradeable to the most current Android 12, it tops out there: OnePlus only guarantees one software upgrade. 

The phone technically runs on OxygenOS, which is close to the stock Android system, but along with the aforementioned levels of personalization when it comes to the look, there are also some usability advantages with OxygenOS. These include private safe for storing items you don’t want to be visible to others (similar to Samsung’s secure folder), and battery optimization options so you can do things like drop the screen refresh rate or disable GPS temporarily to conserve battery life, and more. 

OxygenOS in the OnePlus Nord N20 5G has a feature for gamers, too: it’s called Game Mode and it allows for conserving battery while gaming or, conversely, upping all the relevant capabilities of the phone to boost gaming performance. There’s also a game focus mode that blocks incoming notifications and calls so you won’t be disturbed. The refresh rate is only 60Hz, but Sutrich believes this is a good thing, since the processor may be unable to keep up with such a high refresh rate anyway. 

Both phones operate on 5G, but it should be noted that Sutrich found that the OnePlus Nord N20 5G will only work on the 4G LTE network with AT&T and isn’t compatible with Verizon: you can, however, access the 5G network through T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G: The cameras

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Nowadays, the camera is a crucial part of the phone experience, and these two devices boast decent specs when it comes to capturing photos and videos. 

The Samsung Galaxy A23 5G has a 50MP main camera along with a 5MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP depth camera for customizing the focus so you can feature the subject of the photo more prominently. It also has an 8MP front camera for selfies, including a studio-style Portrait Mode. 

You can capture videos at 30 frames-per-second as well with the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G, at 1,920 x 1,080 full HD resolution. 

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G blows the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G out of the water when it comes to camera specs. It has a triple camera system with a main camera that is a whopping 64MP along with a 2MP Macro camera. The front selfie camera, meanwhile, offers twice the resolution of Samsung’s at 16MP. It’s able to capture HD videos as well. 

Sutrich found the 2MP Macro camera to be the only one lacking. But even if you don’t use it, you still get impressive photos from the main and front cameras. 

In his review, Sutrich called the OnePlus Nord N20 5G’s cameras the best he has used in the price range.

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy A23 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

Both the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G vs. OnePlus Nord N20 5G are viable phones worth considering in the price range. They were both released around the same time and include many of the same features and specs, or have features that are similar to one another, like One UI versus OxygenOS overlays, boosting gaming performance, a secure folder, and more. 

If you want to hold onto the phone for a long time, you might be better off going with the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G, which is confirmed to receive up to two software upgrades. Since it already comes loaded with Android 12, this means you’re safe through to Android 14, which likely won’t see the light of day until 2024. 

By contrast, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G comes with Android 11 and is only supported up to the current Android 12 OS. This means whatever new features come with Android 13 and up, you won’t be able to enjoy through with the OnePlus Nord N20 5G. 

If photos are your thing, however, you might be willing to sacrifice longevity to make use of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G’s amazing triple-camera system, which, as noted, Sutrich called the best he has used in the price range and a major improvement from the OnePlus X. 

We haven’t yet reviewed the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G so can’t compare; but given the specs and how impressed Sutrich was with the OnePlus Nord N20 5G camera, you won’t be disappointed in that respect.

OnePlus Nord N20 5G

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

A third consideration is storage: the two phones are similar in price, but the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G comes with half the built-in storage, which almost guarantees you’ll need to buy a memory card. These are pretty cheap nowadays, nonetheless, it’s worth adding to your total cost. 

Meanwhile, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G can only be expanded up to 512GB. This should be enough for most people. But if you think you’ll need more, you need to consider the cost of offloading content like photos and videos to a cloud service or external drive or make sure you have room on your computer for a backup. 

Size is also worth considering: the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G has a slightly larger screen, leading to an overall larger size. The OnePlus Nord N20 5G has a smaller screen but is thinner overall, and the AMOLED screen really pops. 

Overall, the fact that Sutrich was blown away by the quality of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G given its price point, calling it “seriously impressive,” suggests it’s worth the price of admission and might be the better option if you’re looking for something short-term. 

But the carrier could also be a deciding factor: if you want to enjoy 5G with the OnePlus Nord N20 5G, you need to go with T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile. If you’re with or plan to go with another carrier, the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G will be the better option so you can enjoy all the benefits of 5G. 

Either way you go, both these phones are among the best Android phones under $300

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.