Below are the best smartphones of 2022 for everyone.
- Best Overall: Apple iPhone 13 at Apple
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21 at Amazon
Best Camera: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra at Best Buy
Best Value: Apple iPhone SE at Amazon
Best Value (Android):Google Pixel 4a at Amazon
Best Design: OnePlus 9 Pro at Amazon
Best 5G:Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G at Amazon
Best small smartphone: Apple iPhone 13 mini at Apple
Best Google: Google Pixel 5a at Google.com
Best Overall: Apple iPhone 13
The iPhone 13 is Apple’s latest, and most definitely greatest, iPhone. There are four models to choose from, the smaller iPhone 13 mini, the ‘base’ iPhone 13 we review here, and the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, which feature a larger screen and better cameras.
iPhone 13 lasted an impressive 29 hours on a single charge, On paper, the camera setup on the iPhone 13 looks nearly identical to the iPhone 12 but Apple has made a number of software and sensor upgrades that make this camera among the best our tester has used.
Overall, the iPhone 13 is the sweet spot of the iPhone range, and is not only the best phone Apple has ever made, but the best smartphone from any manufacturer.
Screen Size: 6.1 inches | Resolution:2532×1170 | Processor: A15 Bionic | Camera:12MP/12MP rear and 12MP front | Battery: 3,227mAh
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S21
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 is a more refined, smarter and crucially cheaper new flagship phone.
The flagship for the Samsung Galaxy series of phones, and indeed for most of Android itself, is the Samsung Galaxy S21. The Galaxy S21 comes in three different versions – the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 Plus, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Anyways, Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus. They’re both very similar with the Plus version carrying a larger screen, larger battery, and larger price tag. Most of what we’ll say about the Galaxy S21 rings true for the S21.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a 6.2-inch FHD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. It has great viewing angles and is what our reviewer.
The processor is top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, boasting a 9% speed improvement over the last generation of Samsung phones. The S21 also has 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage which is not expandable via a microSD card.
The S21 has three cameras including a 12-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor, and 64 megapixel 3x lossless zoom lens. “All three of the cameras pump out sharp, stellar shots.
Screen Size: 6.2 inches | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 | Camera: 64MP/12MP/12MP rear and 10MP front | Battery: 4,000mAh
Best Camera: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has 108MP main camera, and 12 MP ultrawide, this phone carries dual optical zoom sensors at 3X and 10X. The photos you can get with this phone are simply incredible. If you’re someone who values the ability to zoom in from far away – parents, travel bloggers, this is simply the best camera setup you can get on a phone.
Screen Size: 6.8 inches | Resolution:3200×1440 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 | Camera:108MP/10MP/10MP/12MP rear and 40MP front | Battery: 5,000mAh
Best Value: Apple iPhone SE (2020)
In early 2020, Apple wanted to offer most of what made the iPhone 11 great, but at a substantially lower price. The iPhone SE (2020) was the result. This little phone comes in a compact package but still carries the A13 bionic processor.
The iPhone SE also has the same RAM and storage options, but it’s all behind a diminutive 4.7-inch screen and Touch-ID enabled home button. The phone has a single 12MP camera which is about as good as a single camera can be on a phone.
The phone mimic’s the iPhone 6 in terms of design, so some consider it dated. But the iPhone SE is more for people who want a powerful phone, but don’t want to carry a phone which is big enough to land small planes. Apple did leave out 5G connectivity and indeed wouldn’t debut a 5G iPhone for another 6 months after the iPhone SE came out.
Screen Size: 4.7 inches | Resolution:1334×750 | Processor: A13 Bionic | Camera:12MP rear and 7MP front | Battery: 1,821mAh
Best Value (Android): Google Pixel 4a
Pixel phones are phones that are made by Google, which also makes Android. One area where Google Pixel phones have consistently stood out is in photography. Google uses the Pixel as a showcase for what Android can be. Add to that, Google typically treats its own phones to perks like feature drops and updates earlier than just about any other Android phone. The A-series of Pixels tend to have a little less power and be a little less pretty, but otherwise, give you an amazing Android experience.
The Google Pixel 4a delivers a quality Android experience, powered by the Snapdragon 730G mid-range processor along with 6GB of RAM.
Screen Size: 5.8 inches | Resolution: 1080 x 23400 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G | Camera: 12.2MP/12.2 rear and 8MP front | Battery: 3,140mAH
Best Design: OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 Pro, is the best phone OnePlus has ever made and it shows in many ways. OnePlus’s latest flagship brings high specifications, very good cameras, and 5G on two of America’s three 5G networks. AT&T doesn’t support the OnePlus 9Pro on its 5G network, but Verizon and T-Mobile do.
OnePlus has had a reputation up until now of delivering great specs, but with consistently substandard cameras.
One area where the OnePlus 9 particularly excels is in the area of charging. OnePlus not only ships a charging brick in the box but that charging brick delivers an astonishing 65W of charging, bringing your phone from zero to full in just 33 minutes. A wireless charger sold separately can charge your phone from 1% to 70% in just 30 minutes.
Screen Size: 6.7 inches | Resolution:3216×1440 | Processor: Snapdragon 888 | Camera: 48MP/8MP/50MP/2MP rear and 16MP front | Battery: 4,500mAh
Best 5G: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is something of a compromise and course correction all in one. The “fan edition” of the Galaxy S20 cuts back on a lot of the extras of its flagship siblings while still providing an excellent core of functionality. You get a 1080p screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. The phone has a plastic back, but it still has wireless charging. In short, if you’re willing to accept a little compromise, you’re otherwise getting a whole lot of phone.
You still get the Snapdragon 865 processor, 6 or 8 GB of RAM, and 128 or 256GB of storage. You get 5G, but not mmWave 5G. Overall, this is a speedy phone with a really good battery life. Andrew, our reviewer, wrote, “On a standard day, I’d typically wind up within spitting distance of a 50 percent charge by the time I hit the pillow.”
As for the camera setup, you get the same cameras found on the Samsung Galaxy S20 except instead of a cropped 64GB cropped sensor, you get a 3x optical zoom. According to Andrew, “Everyday snaps are pretty excellent across the board, with strong detail and vivid coloring, although Samsung’s aggressive processing can give photos an unrealistic sheen at times.”
Screen Size: 6.5 inches | Resolution: 2400×1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 | Camera: 12MP/8MP/12MP rear and 32MP front | Battery: 4,500mAh
Best small smartphone: Apple iPhone 13 mini
The iPhone 13 mini has everything the iPhone 13 has but comes in a smaller package with a smaller battery.
On the plus side, this makes this one of the most powerful compact phones you can buy. You get the powerful A15 bionic processor and great cameras, plus 5G connectivity. But the trade-off is that the battery is tiny by most modern standards and it can struggle to make it through a full day on a single charge. iOS usually runs well on a smaller battery, but in the case of the iPhone 12 Mini, the battery might be a little too small.
Of course, if you don’t mind charging up a bit during the day, or while you’re at work, that’s not a problem at all. The iPhone 13 Mini has flagship power in a tiny package that slips easily into your pocket or your bag.
Screen Size: 5.4 inches | Resolution:2340×1080 | Processor: A15 Bionic | Camera: 12MP/12MP rear and12MP front | Battery: 2,227mAh
Best Google: Google Pixel 5a 5G
Google built its Pixel phones to showcase the best of Android, at least according to Google. The Google Pixel 5a is a sort of combination of last year’s Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. Put those phones together and you get the Pixel 5a, which is the best Google experience you can buy at the moment, at least until the Pixel 6 comes out this fall. After that, the Pixel 5a will still be a great budget option, with 5G which places it more of a premium than the Pixel 4a above.
The Pixel 5a uses the exact same camera setup as the Pixel 5,between a 12-megapixel wide-angle and 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera on the back, you’ll consistently take great shots with minimal effort. The results typically are more natural-looking than you’ll see from Samsung’s flagship cameras, for example, which tend to provide an overly vibrant look that not everyone will be fond of. From nature to faces, pets, and places, the Pixel 5 is well-equipped to take sharp, detailed snaps in nearly any scenario.” The camera on this phone is really good, though a bit dated. But if you want a reliable camera that you can whip out of your pocket and grab a good snap every time, this is your phone.
Screen Size: 6.34 inches | Resolution: 2400×1080 | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G | Camera: 12.2MP/16MP rear and 8MP front | Battery: 4,680mAh