The year 2022 is almost over, and the gods of technology have granted us some truly remarkable mobile devices, specifically smartphones. Our final list of the 10 best phones includes options that excel in all categories, including performance, photographic capabilities, and overall value.
It’s not likely that the best phone on this list will be the best phone for everyone, therefore it’s important to test out all 10 of them. There is a phone out there that is ideal for you, but it will depend on the aspects that are most important to you. These aspects include the camera, battery life, design, specifications, pricing, and more.
It goes without saying that Samsung and Apple are represented, but expanding your search to include other Android rivals like OnePlus, Google, Oppo, and Xiaomi can help you locate the perfect companion for your pocket. Believe us when we say that each of these mobile devices is a strong performer; they simply do it in somewhat different ways, which is a wonderful thing. When there is healthy competition, everyone benefits from better phones.
Best smartphone 2022
1. iPhone 13 Pro – Best iPhone
In contrast to the situation in 2020, in which the ordinary iPhone 12 was victorious over its Pro-branded sister, the iPhone 13 Pro of 2021 is unquestionably the model to beat.
At first sight, the 13 Pro utilizes a well-known 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display. However, Apple has now made the decision to introduce ProMotion to the iPhone, and as a result, the screen is now capable of reaching a maximum of a very smooth 120Hz. Additionally, the notched area is 20% more compact.
When it comes to the cameras, you can anticipate larger sensors and faster apertures, which will result in improved performance in low light. Additionally, the quality will be much more comparable when switching to the phone’s ultrawide (which now also offers macro shooting capabilities), and there will be a 3x telephoto snapper, which will allow you to shoot further than you were previously able to.
In addition, the iPhone maintains its position as the market leader in terms of video capture, and it has recently added some useful new capabilities, such as Cinematography Mode, which gives you a higher degree of control over the way your movie appears in the moment.
If you combine that ProMotion technology with the strong A15 Bionic processor included in the phone and a larger battery, you can anticipate some significant improvements in lifespan, which will let this iPhone last for two days on a single charge.
- 120Hz display
- Superb cameras
- Exceptional level of performance
- Increased longevity of the battery life
- Pricey needs improvement in Cinematography Mode and the HDR process.
Read our full Apple iPhone 13 Pro review
2. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Best Android phone
While the Galaxy S21 Ultra experimented with certain Note-like features, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is without a doubt a full-fledged successor to 2020’s Note 20 Ultra in all respects saves for the name.
The design is considerably different from the previous entries in the Galaxy S22 line (which may be summed up as being extremely ‘Note-like’), and it boasts an integrated S Pen pen that enhances capability beyond that of most competitors, particularly in terms of productivity.
In spite of the fact that the camera hardware appears to be familiar, Samsung has made improvements that make it one of the best camera systems available in any phone right now. It has a 108-megapixel main shooter that is supported by an ultrawide and two telephoto lenses that offer different zoom levels, and the zoom performance has been significantly improved in comparison to earlier models.
The enormous 6.8-inch LTPO AMOLED display has a high resolution of WQHD+ as well as an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. To finish off an already outstanding list of benefits, long-term software support that outperforms even that of Google’s Pixels is included.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
3. iPhone 13 – Superb all-rounder
The iPhone 13 does not have the high refresh rate display that the iPhone 13 Pro has, but it does include other cutting-edge features, such as Apple’s most recent 5nm A15 Bionic CPU and the most recent camera capabilities, such as Cinematic Mode.
The rear camera system has been moved to a diagonal position, primarily to make room for the impressive sensor-shift OIS (optical image stabilization) that was exclusive to 2020’s iPhone 12 Pro Max (although there is still no telephoto sensor). On the front, you still get a stunning 6.1-inch OLED display, despite the same 60Hz refresh rate as the previous model, but the notch has been made smaller.
Apple’s iOS 15 is an amazing enhancement on the company’s already well-respected mobile operating system out of the box; it adds wellness features like a notification summary, which guarantee that you are not continually distracted by your smartphone.
The iPhone 13, much like the iPhone Pro, offers some of the finest battery life on an iPhone as part of its experience, but its fast charging rates are still a long way behind the pace.
Read our full Apple iPhone 13 review
4. Google Pixel 6a
Even though the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have larger displays, better cameras, and other improvements, the Pixel phone that costs $449, £399, or €459 is the better deal and the one that the majority of consumers should purchase.
You receive performance on par with premium devices thanks to the inclusion of the Google Tensor processor, which is also included in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Pro. Older Pixels in the A-series were known for their slow performance, but not this one.
You are only given a screen with a refresh rate of 60Hz, a charging power of 18W, and a plastic back that readily scratches, according to our testing. In addition to this, the primary camera has just 12.2 megapixels, the same as on the Pixel 5, rather than the 50-megapixel snapper seen in the Pixel 6.
Aside from that, though, you get a nearly identical experience to that of the Google Pixel at a price that can’t be beaten, along with three years of Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates.
Read our full Google Pixel 6a review
5. Google Pixel 6 Pro – Best user experience
In 2021, Google shook things up by releasing the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, both of which featured a completely new design and some significantly improved cameras, in addition to the company’s very own Tensor silicon and an updated version of the Android operating system preinstalled right out of the box.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is an undeniably large smartphone, despite the fact that it does away with the ‘Pixel XL naming convention. It features a stunning QHD+ curved-edge OLED display that, for the first time in the series, makes the move to a higher, smoother 120Hz refresh rate. Despite this change, the phone retains the ‘Pixel’ moniker (just like the iPhone 13 Pro range).
Magic Eraser and rock-solid Face Unblur are just two of the innovative new features that can be found on the camera system, which also makes use of a brand-new primary sensor with a resolution of 50 megapixels and which provides an astonishing dynamic range. It is also backed up by both a 12-megapixel ultrawide and a periscopic 48-megapixel telephoto camera, both of which have a 4x optical zoom, which is a far cry from the older single-sensor approach to photography that the Pixel line used.
Tensor does not benchmark well when compared to the competition; however, in real-world use, it offers more than enough grunt to handle the most demanding mobile apps and games. Additionally, it boasts a specialized skill set for machine learning and AI tasks, an area in which competitor silicon lags behind.
Even if the quick charging feature is a little bit of a mess, the enormous battery capacity of 5003 mAh guarantees some of the finest battery life ever seen on a Pixel device.
Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review
6. Oppo Find X5 Pro – Superb cameras
By any standard, the Oppo Find X5 Pro is a remarkable piece of mobile technology. Oppo backs up the display with 80W wired and 50W wireless charging, a 5000mAh battery, and a top-tier camera that boasts 50Mp sensors on both the main and ultrawide lenses. The 6.7-inch 10-bit 120Hz QHD+ panel is one of the best displays in any phone right now, and Oppo backs it up with these features.
The telephoto lens on this camera only has a meager 2x zoom, so you’ll have to go without a periscopic zoom lens, but the results from all three of the camera’s back lenses are outstanding. The design is also one of a kind since it has a camera module that is flawlessly slanted and incorporated directly into the ceramic that makes up the body of the phone.
When it comes to raw performance, the Find X5 Pro is difficult to top. In addition to everything mentioned above, it also has 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM, making it a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. You just need to be ready to pay the price, since it does not come at a low cost to you.
Read our full Oppo Find X5 Pro review
7. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
The Z Flip 4 from Samsung is an all-day phone that has the same primary and ultrawide cameras as the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus. This is an improvement over the Z Flip 3, which suffered from poor battery life and a camera performance that was only average considering the price.
It indicates that this is currently the greatest foldable phone that can be purchased, and it comes at a price that is comparable to premium slab smartphones. Although there are concerns about the display’s longevity due to the crease in it, we are unable to verify this hypothesis. However, Samsung claims that the Flip will stay functional for at least 200,000 opens and closes, which is about equivalent to five years of regular usage.
It is likely due to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor with its enhanced energy efficiency that the battery life has been much improved, which means that you no longer need to charge the Flip in the middle of the day. Even if 8 GB of RAM is more than plenty, you should probably consider spending a little extra money to obtain 256 GB of storage. We also really like how the fingerprint sensor is located on the side.
This is essentially an S22, except it has a more powerful CPU and can fold down to a size that’s just half as big as the original. It is enticing and is without a doubt one of the greatest phones available.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review
8. OnePlus 10 Pro – Outstanding battery life
If you reside in the United States and don’t have many other high-end Android alternatives to choose from, the most recent flagship phone from OnePlus is a solid alternative to other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 or the Pixel 6 series.
The 10 Pro features fundamental specifications that are on par with those offered by its competitors, including a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and rapid wired charging of up to 80 watts, and we are generally admirers of the sleek appearance, although not everyone is.
Despite having support from Hasselblad, the camera system is still the primary weakness of the phone and the primary thing that differentiates it from the more expensive but similarly-specified Oppo Find X5 Pro. This is the case even though Hasselblad is supporting the phone.
Inconsistencies, especially in exposure, only serve to remind us that it’s not up there with the best of the best, and that makes it a touch harder to recommend; even though the OxygenOS user experience is superb, and the battery life is among the best of any flagship smartphone that is currently available.
Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review
9. Vivo X80 Pro
The X80 Pro from Vivo is an absolute home run when it comes to its camera, which is on par with the very finest offerings from Apple, Samsung, and Google. Vivo has outdone themselves with this model.
Four lenses on the back of the phone are powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, the most important of which is a 50-megapixel sensor. Every lens has access to the features of Vivo’s V1+ image processing technology, and the telephoto lens has gimbal stabilization built in to further improve the sharpness of zoom pictures. It has a very extensive feature set, and the low-light photography is particularly impressive. You have a powerful camera in your pocket if you take into account its great video settings, which include cinema-wide aspect ratios and a grain that mimics the look of the film.
Because this is a large phone, you will have to settle for an AMOLED display that measures 6.78 inches. It has a refresh rate that can be adjusted and a resolution that is higher than QHD+.
The phone’s irritating software and the absence of Gorilla Glass, which offers proven protection against scratches and cracks on both the front and the back, are also significant drawbacks. If you want a high-quality camera on the back of your phone, however, you should give this new offering from Vivo significant consideration since it represents yet another step forward for the company.
Read on for our comprehensive analysis of the Vivo X80 Pro.
Read our full Vivo X80 Pro review
10. Xiaomi 12 Pro – Great for multimedia
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is marred by a pair of significant shortcomings, despite the fact that it has a great deal going for it.
It has a stunning display that is combined with a quad-speaker arrangement, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU provides great performance. Other notable features include its sleek and understated design; a quad-speaker setup; and a lovely display. The camera system is outstanding overall, however, it is not exactly the finest in its class, but it is still quite decent.
Unfortunately, the battery life is a glaring weakness, which may be addressed in future updates but, for the time being, continues to be a source of frustration. This is an excellent phone to have if you don’t spend much time away from a power source throughout the day.
Read our full Xiaomi 12 Pro review
2022 phone purchasing guide
When selecting a new phone, it is important to think about the following factors: build quality and design, simplicity of use, features, performance, and value.
In general, the price of a flagship phone in 2022 will begin at around £700, although the price may easily go beyond £1,000 in some circumstances. On contract, you can expect to pay anything from £30 to £50 per month on average; but, if you want a high-end phone and a large amount of mobile data, you may expect to pay much more.
It is important to note that although this list focuses on the top smartphones on the market right now, “flagships” are not always included in that category (even though they do feature heavily here). There are some entries in this chart that are also included in our charts for mid-range and budget phones; nonetheless, they have earned their spot here due to the capabilities and quality they provide in relation to the price at which they are offered.
Buying a phone entirely will normally offer you the greatest value, but we recognise finances in the real world don’t always permit such significant one-off expenditures. In order to use the phone, you will, of course, need a SIM card and a plan in addition to the phone itself. If you don’t already have a SIM card, you should check out the greatest discounts we have on them.
iPhone vs. Android?
Android and iOS are the only worthwhile mobile operating systems.
Android 12 is the newest publicly-released version, running on most phones. Developers nearly always deploy applications for Apple’s iOS platform first, despite its smaller market share. It has one of the greatest app marketplaces because of this.
It’s simple to transfer contacts and other data from an Android or iPhone to a phone running the other OS. Paid applications and app data (like WhatsApp backups) can’t be moved, so bear this in mind if you’re switching platforms – and explore any issues you may have.
Buy an unlocked phone
Unlocked phones are those that are not restricted to using the services of a single mobile network provider, such as Vodafone or EE. When you purchase a phone that is “unlocked,” it often indicates that you are purchasing it outright without a SIM card or a contract linked to it.
If you have the financial means, purchasing a phone that is already unlocked is almost always going to be a better value for you than signing a contract for a new phone. This is the most crucial point.
The Apple iPhone is the one and only genuine exception to this rule; due to the iPhone’s perennially high demand, network providers often subsidize its purchase price in order to bind customers to more profitable contract terms for a longer period of time.
If you are able to afford the initial purchase of the handset, purchasing an unlocked phone will almost always result in lower total costs over the course of the device’s lifetime.
You are not bound by a protracted contract, which is maybe the most crucial benefit. If you decide at any time that you desire a new phone, you are free to go ahead and acquire one without being required to up-purchase your way out of the current contract or make a commitment for another two years.
Be cautious to check that the phone you’re acquiring is not restricted to use on a certain network before you buy it.
The right SIM
One other thing to consider is the size and shape of the SIM required for your phone. If your phone only accepts nano-SIM cards, then you need to make sure you purchase one of them.
To clarify, a nano-SIM card may be used in any of the phones on this list.
In the event that you get this incorrect, there is a simple solution; any network would happily send you a SIM card of a different size. SIM cards typically come in all three sizes; to use one, you simply need to pop it out of the package.
However, this is based on the assumption that you would be purchasing a new SIM card; if you are searching for a SIM-free phone or an unlocked phone, it is likely that you already own one of these devices.
More importantly, if you want 5G service, you need to be sure that both your phone and your SIM card can support it.