The year 2022 is nearly half over, and the tech gods have blessed us with some truly outstanding mobiles. Whether you want performance, camera prowess, or value, our definitive list of the top ten phones has it all.
The best phone on this list will not be the best phone for everyone, so make sure to look at all ten. The best phone for you is out there, depending on your priorities, which include camera, battery life, design, specs, price, and other factors.
Of course, Samsung and Apple are included, but looking further afield to Android competitors such as OnePlus, Google, Oppo, and Xiaomi may lead you to your ideal pocket companion. Trust us, these phones all deliver – just in different ways, which is a good thing. Better phones for everyone means more competition!
1. iPhone 13 Pro – Best iPhone
Unlike in 2020, when the standard iPhone 12 triumphed over its Pro-branded sibling. The iPhone 13 Pro in 2021 is unquestionably the one to beat.
The 13 Pro appears to use a familiar 6.1in Super Retina XDR display at first glance. However, Apple has finally decided to bring ProMotion to the iPhone. Now with the panel topping out at a super-smooth 120Hz. The notch is 20% smaller as well.
In terms of cameras, larger sensors, and faster apertures mean improved low-light performance. They are far better when switching to the phone’s ultrawide. Also, they added a 3x telephoto snapper, allowing you to shoot further than before.
Furthermore, the iPhone continues to lead in video capture. It’s gaining some clever new features like Cinematography Mode, which gives you more control over how your footage looks in real-time.
Combine that ProMotion technology with the phone’s powerful A15 Bionic chip and a larger battery, and you can expect some significant battery life gains. This makes this a two-day iPhone on a single charge.
2. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Best Android phone
While the S21 Ultra experimented with Note-like features, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is unquestionably a full-fledged successor to 2020’s Note 20 Ultra in every way except name.
The design is distinct from the other Galaxy S22 models (i.e., very ‘Note-like’). Which includes an integrated S Pen stylus that extends functionality beyond most competitors, particularly in terms of productivity.
Despite the familiar-looking camera hardware, Samsung’s upgrades make it one of the best systems in any phone right now. With a 108Mp main shooter supported by an ultrawide and two telephoto lenses at various zoom levels – zoom performance significantly improved over previous models.
The large 6.8in LTPO AMOLED display offers high WQHD+ resolution as well as an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Also, long-term software support that outperforms even Google’s Pixels rounds out an impressive list of advantages.
3. iPhone 13 – Superb all-rounder
While it lacks the high refresh rate display of the 13 Pro, the iPhone 13 still has cutting-edge features such as Apple’s newest 5nm A15 Bionic chip and the latest camera features such as Cinematic Mode.
The rear camera system is now diagonal, primarily to accommodate the impressive sensor-shift OIS that was exclusive to 2020’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. While on the front you still get a stunning 6.1in OLED display with a smaller notch.
Out of the box, iOS 15 is an excellent improvement on Apple’s already well-respected mobile operating system. Apple also added well-being features like a notification summary to ensure you’re not constantly distracted by your device.
Like the Pro, the iPhone 13 offers some of the best battery life on an iPhone. But fast charging speeds remain well behind the curve.
4. Google Pixel 6a
Although the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have larger, better screens and improved cameras, the $449/£399/€459 Pixel mobile offers better value and is the Pixel phone that the majority of people should purchase.
For the asking price, you get the same Google Tensor chip as the 6 and 6 Pro, which results in flagship-level performance. The older A-series Pixels were slow, but not this one.
There is only a 60Hz refresh rate screen, slow 18W charging, and a plastic back that scratches easily. In addition, the main camera is only 12.2Mp, the same as on the Pixel 5, rather than the Pixel 6’s 50Mp shooter.
Aside from that, this is a near-complete Pixel experience at a great price. Especially with three years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates.
5. Google Pixel 6 Pro – Best user experience
Google changed things up for 2021, with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro introducing Tensor silicon and a refreshed Android 12 experience out of the box, as well as a completely new design and significantly improved cameras.
Despite ditching the ‘Pixel XL’ moniker, the 6 Pro is an undeniably large mobile with a stunning QHD+ curved-edge OLED display that – for the first time in the series – switches to a higher, smoother 120Hz refresh rate (just like the iPhone 13 Pro range).
The camera system also makes use of a new 50Mp main sensor, which has an incredible dynamic range and smart new features like Magic Eraser and rock-solid Face Unblur. It’s also supported by a 12Mp ultrawide and a periscopic 48Mp telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom, which is a far cry from the Pixel range’s previous single-sensor approach to photography.
Tensor does not perform well in comparison to the competition, but in real-world use, it provides more than enough grunt to handle the most demanding mobile apps and games, as well as a specialized skill set for machine learning and AI tasks that rival silicon falls short of.
A massive 5003mAh battery provides some of the best battery life on a Pixel ever, even if fast charging is a bit of a shambles.