10 Best Phones for Hotspot Tethering

Wally Nowinski
editor

Hotspot tethering is a very useful feature which allows you to use your mobile data connection to give other devices access to the Internet. It comes in handy when you’re out and about with limited or no Wi-Fi networks available, or when your broadband connection goes down. Tethering is very draining on the phone’s battery, so when you’re without a power supply it’s important to have a phone with good battery life. Another crucial feature is 5G for a much faster connection, but nowadays most phones have this except some very low-budget models. Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our phone database and find the best phone for hotspot tethering available in 2023. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best phone for hotspot tethering:

  • Battery: Hotspot tethering is an inherently battery-intensive activity, thus we have focused on phones that can last a long time while using this feature.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized phone recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Phones for Hotspot Tethering

1
BEST RATING
Overall Camera:
5.0
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Best in Class
Battery: Excellent




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max has a premium price and is a high-end smartphone featuring 256GB of storage, released in September 2023. It runs on iOS and the back is made of glass. The battery capacity is large, offering long hours of use before needing to recharge. It has a large 6.7-inch OLED screen with high resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. Its camera system is top-of-the-line, with a main 48MP camera and additional 12MP ultrawide and telephoto lenses, supporting high-quality photo and video capture including 8K recording. The phone does not have a headphone jack but includes front-facing stereo speakers, 5G connectivity, NFC, and fast wireless charging capabilities. Additionally, it is water and dust-resistant, ensuring durability. This phone is best suited for users looking for the latest technology and best possible camera in a smartphone, prioritizing premium features and performance over cost.
Pros
  • Top-notch photo quality
  • Superb video capabilities
  • Long battery life
  • Bright and vivid OLED display
  • Fast A17 processor
Cons
  • Lacks 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card slot
  • Expensive compared to rivals
  • Heavy at 7.8 ounces
2
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.9
Size: Largest Android
Camera: Excellent
Battery: Best in Class




Expert Summary
If you're looking for a premium phone with top-of-the-line features, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra might be a great choice with its excellent camera system including a very capable 200-megapixel main camera and a 10x optical zoom telephoto lens. It also comes with an integrated stylus, which can be quite handy for note-taking or drawing. The high-resolution OLED display is large, and it offers a high refresh rate for smooth visuals. Moreover, it supports 5G connectivity for faster data speeds. The Galaxy S23 Ultra runs on Android and offers a high-quality build with a glass back. However, all these advanced features come at a premium price. Keep in mind that there is no headphone jack or SD card slot, so if those are important to you, you might need to look at other options.
Pros
  • High-resolution OLED screen
  • Very capable 10x optical zoom
  • Integrated stylus
  • Excellent overall camera quality
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Heavy weight
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card support
3
BEST RATING
Videos:
4.9
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Excellent
Battery: Excellent




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is a high-end device with a premium price tag. It boasts a large 6.7-inch OLED display with a high refresh rate and always-on capability, providing excellent screen quality. Its A16 processor and 6 GB of RAM offer top-tier performance. The phone has a highly capable camera system, with a 48-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, all contributing to what is considered excellent overall camera quality, including best-in-class still photo and video capabilities. It has a substantial battery life and offers 5G connectivity, but doesn't come with a headphone jack and can't expand storage with an SD card. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is designed with a glass back, supports wireless charging, and is rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, ensuring good durability. It operates on iOS and comes with a Lightning port for charging and data transfer. If you're looking for one of the best displays and cameras on a smartphone and are willing to invest in a premium device, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a strong choice.
Pros
  • Excellent camera photo quality
  • Outstanding camera video quality
  • Dependable battery life
  • Premium screen quality
  • Powerful A16 processor
Cons
  • No headphone jack
  • Lacks SD card slot
  • Higher price point
  • Heavier weight
4
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.6
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 14 Plus comes with a high-end price tag and offers a large 6.7-inch OLED screen, which is great if you prefer a bigger display for streaming or gaming. It runs on iOS and has a strong glass build. You'll find a potent A15 chip inside, paired with ample storage for your apps and media. Camera capabilities are excellent, with a high-quality 12 MP main camera that supports advanced features like Dolby Vision video recording. The battery is robust, likely to last a full day on a single charge, and it supports wireless charging. However, if you're looking for a high refresh rate display, you should know this model is capped at 60Hz, which is lower than some competitors that offer smoother visuals. The phone lacks a headphone jack, which is common in newer smartphones, but it has a notably good sound system. For connectivity, it uses the proprietary Lightning port over the more widely used USB-C. Overall, if you're invested in the Apple ecosystem and prefer a larger screen and strong performance, this phone is a solid choice, though it comes at a premium price without some features found on competitors, like high refresh rate screens or USB-C ports.
Pros
  • Large 6.7-inch OLED screen
  • Excellent still photo and video quality
  • Long battery life up to 9.3 hours
  • Runs on the smooth iOS platform
  • Wireless charging capability
Cons
  • No high refresh rate display
  • No always-on display feature
  • Lacks a headphone jack
  • Maximum brightness could be higher
5
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.4
Size: Large Android
Camera: Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is a budget-friendly phone with a glass body and released in January 2021. It operates on Android, featuring a sizable 6.7-inch OLED display with a high refresh rate of 120Hz for smooth visuals, though it doesn't have a curved screen edge. With a battery capacity that allows for around 8 hours of battery life, it should last most users a full day on a single charge. Photographers will appreciate its good-quality triple camera setup including a 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide lens; it also supports HDR10+ video, captures still photos well, and can record video at high resolutions, including 8K at 24fps. The phone offers solid performance with the Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB RAM, ensuring apps and games run smoothly. It does not have a headphone jack, but it supports NFC, 5G connectivity, and wireless charging, including reverse wireless charging. Lastly, while it does not support SD cards, the internal storage of 128GB should be adequate for most users.
Pros
  • High-quality OLED display
  • Strong overall camera performance
  • 5G connectivity for rapid data
  • Robust processor for smooth performance
  • IP68 water and dust resistance
Cons
  • No headphone jack
  • Average battery life
  • Lacks microSD card slot
  • No charger included in the box
6
BEST RATING
Performance:
4.9
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 15 Plus comes with a premium price tag and is a high-end offering from Apple's 2023 lineup, released in September. It operates on iOS and features a glass back. The phone has a large battery and a 6.7-inch OLED screen without curved edges, offering a crisp viewing experience with high peak brightness, although it lacks a high refresh rate. The A16 processor and 6GB of RAM ensure top performance, while its 128GB storage is ample for most users. Camera enthusiasts would appreciate its excellent photo and video capabilities, with the main camera boasting a high megapixel count and additional features like RAW output and Dolby Vision for HDR video. The device supports 5G but omits a headphone jack and SD card slot. It is equipped with a USB-C port, offers great battery life, and is built to withstand dust and water exposure. If you value top-notch camera performance and a large screen in an iOS device and are not deterred by the high cost, the iPhone 15 Plus is an impressive choice.
Pros
  • Excellent still photo quality
  • Excellent video quality
  • Premium OLED display
  • Very good screen brightness
  • Powerful A16 processor
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No high refresh rate
  • No always-on display
  • Limited battery capacity
7
BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Large Android
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a premium-priced phone with a high-quality glass build and a large 6.6-inch OLED screen. It operates on the Android system and is equipped with a very good camera setup including a 50-megapixel main camera and a 10-megapixel telephoto camera, offering excellent photo and video quality. It features a 4700 mAh battery, which provides a decent battery life. Being a recent 2023 model, it also supports 5G connectivity. It has a considerable amount of storage space and does not have an SD card slot for expansion. There is no headphone jack, but it does support NFC, Wi-Fi 6e, and both wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. The device is also water and dust resistant. If you're looking for a high-performance device with a top-tier camera system and modern features, and you're okay with the absence of a headphone jack and SD card slot, the Galaxy S23+ could be suitable for you.
Pros
  • Latest Android operating system
  • Large screen size at 6.6 inches
  • High battery capacity for extended use
  • Exceptional photo and video quality
  • Supports 5G for fast connectivity
Cons
  • No headphone jack included
  • No room for SD card expansion
  • No support for stylus input
  • Moderately heavy weight at 6.91 ounces
8
Samsung

Galaxy A54

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.6
Size: Medium Android
Camera: Fair
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy A54 is a midrange phone with a glass back and a 6.4-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, giving you a smooth display experience. Its camera system is decent with a 50 MP main camera and a 12 MP ultrawide lens. It captures fair quality still photos and videos. Battery life is substantial with a 5000mAh capacity, offering extended use between charges. The device runs on Android and packs an E1380 processor with 6GB of RAM, which should provide good performance for everyday tasks. It features 128GB of storage, a fingerprint sensor under the display, IP67 water and dust resistance, and supports 5G connectivity, giving you fast internet speeds. Notably, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack or wireless charging. If you're looking for a modern phone with a solid camera and screen at a midrange price, the A54 could be a good fit.
Pros
  • Good screen quality
  • Decent performance
  • Large battery capacity
  • Expandable storage option
  • Water and dust resistance
Cons
  • Average still photo quality
  • Average video quality
  • Lacks wireless charging
  • No telephoto or periscope camera
9
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
4.7
Size: Largest iPhone
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max comes at an upper midrange price offering 128GB of storage and runs on iOS. It features glass on the back and houses a hefty 4352mAh battery. The display is a 6.7-inch OLED screen without curved edges but with a high refresh rate for smoother visuals. Its screen delivers peak brightness for visibility even in bright conditions. The A15 processor paired with 6GB of RAM ensures top-notch performance. Camera capabilities are very good for both stills and videos, supporting HDR video and RAW output. It has a 12MP main camera as well as telephoto and ultrawide lenses. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of 4K video recording and supports 5G connectivity. Note that it lacks a headphone jack, but offers NFC and dual SIM capabilities. If you're looking for high performance, excellent camera quality, and long battery life with premium screen features, this phone is a strong choice, albeit at a higher price point.
Pros
  • Large, high-quality OLED screen
  • High refresh rate for smooth visuals
  • Exceptional camera with RAW and HDR video
  • Long battery life
  • Solid build with water and dust resistance
Cons
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No SD card slot for expandable storage
  • No always-on display feature
  • Heavy compared to some other phones
10
Samsung

Galaxy S23

BEST RATING
Performance:
4.8
Size: Medium Android
Camera: Very Good
Battery: Very Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Galaxy S23 is positioned at an upper midrange price with 128GB of storage. Released in February 2023, it operates on Android, featuring a glass body and a 6.1-inch OLED screen without curved edges. The display offers excellent quality with a high refresh rate and is capable of high brightness. Its 3900mAh battery supports a reasonable length of battery life. The camera system is impressive with high-quality photo and video capabilities; it includes a 50MP main camera, 10MP telephoto with a 70mm focal length, and a 12MP ultrawide lens. Video recording goes up to 8K at 30fps and 4K at 60fps. The S23 has stereo speakers but lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card slot. It supports 5G, NFC, the latest WiFi 6e, and Bluetooth 5.3 standards, offers wireless charging, and has an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, making it a durable choice. The device has a punch-hole front camera, in-display fingerprint sensor, and supports Wireless DeX for desktop-like functionality.
Pros
  • High-quality OLED screen
  • Excellent camera performance
  • Wireless and reverse charging
  • Durable with IP68 rating
  • Supports 5G networks
Cons
  • Moderate battery life
  • No headphone jack
  • No SD card slot
  • No periscope camera