The best Android phones in 2022

The best Android phones in 2022

While Android phones come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and price points, there are a few that stand out from the crowd by a wide margin. From the best foldable phones to the most up-to-date specs and software, these phones more than justify their premium pricing. Before you spend days poring over our excellent reviews, let us first look at the best Android phones available today.

 

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is essentially a Note in every way except name. Is the Garaged S Pen back and more clicky than ever? Check. Supersized screen with the most up-to-date features? Check for 1700-nit brightness. Strange colors and a jarring price? Check and double-check! Despite the outrage over app throttling at launch, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is still one of the most powerful Android phones available in Western markets.

The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset provides more than enough power for gaming, productivity, or multitasking, and the Ultra’s larger battery keeps it going without requiring a charger in the middle of the afternoon like its smaller siblings.

The Ultra’s lack of a cohesive camera module may be a dust magnet for some, but the photos and 8K video you’ll get out of these four cameras are award-worthy if you’re willing to switch to Pro mode every now and then when the automatic settings can’t quite match up with your vision. Even among flagships, $1,200 is a bit steep for a smartphone, but you can’t deny the hardware quality or Samsung’s more comprehensive approach to Android software with One UI 4.1. One UI takes Material You and refines and customizes it slightly more than the Google Pixel series.

The S22 Ultra also connects to Samsung’s vast ecosystem, which includes the Galaxy Watch4 and a slew of Galaxy Buds, as well as exclusive, extra-useful features on Windows Your Phone Companion that allow you to see and control your phone from your laptop or desktop. It’s an investment, but with four platform updates and five years of security updates, the S22 Ultra should last you at least a half-decade if you take care of it.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Storage: 128, 256, 512, 1024 GB
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Memory: 8,12 GB
  • Operating System: Android 12 with One UI 4.1
  • Battery: 5,000mAh, max 45W charging, 15W wireless
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.8-inch 1440 x 3088 OLED @ 120Hz
  • Camera (Front): 40MP f/2.2, 26mm
  • Cameras (Rear): 108 MP f/1.8 primary, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10 MP f/2.4 3x telephoto, 10 MP f/4.9 10x telephoto, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12 MP
  • Price: Starting at $1,199
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e; Bluetooth 5.2; 5G mmWave and sub6
  • Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm, 229 g
PROS

  • Excellent display
  • Excellent build quality
  • The S Pen has returned!
CONS

  • Large enough to be awkward to handle
  • Costs $1,200
  • Doesn’t come with a charger
BUY THIS PRODUCT

BEST VALUE

2. Google Pixel 6

The $600 Google Pixel 6 seemed almost too good to be true when it launched, with a new, eye-catching design, the brand-new Google Tensor chipset, and the first actual camera upgrade in years.

The out-of-the-box experience was consistent, the dedicated AI cores made Google Assistant and voice typing in Gboard almost instantaneous, and the cameras reclaimed Google’s position as the gold standard of Android photography.

The regular Pixel 6 lacks the telephoto sensor, which is only available on the Google Pixel 6 Pro, but the main camera takes more accurate photos, which is especially important for people of color who can be whitewashed by traditional smartphone camera processing.

The Pixel 6 was among the first phones to ship with Android 12 and the new Material You interface, which introduced dynamically colored apps, widgets, and system elements. This made Android feel more personal than ever before, and Pixel’s unrivaled software features like Call Screening and Hold for Me are addictive once you try them. Spam blockers on other phones seem archaic after using a Pixel.

We mentioned earlier that the Pixel 6 appeared to be too good to be true, and for some users, that illusion faded quickly due to severe bugs that plagued many of the Pixel 6’s updates since its launch, resulting in delays that put the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro almost a month behind the rest of the Pixel line.

The majority of Pixel 6 users have not reported these issues, but there have been enough that you should be aware of them before purchasing.

A Pixel 6 is still my daily driver and will be for the foreseeable future; I can’t live without Pixel Call Screening and Google’s improved third-party launcher compatibility.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB
  • CPU: Google Tensor
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Operating System: Android 12
  • Battery: 4,614 mAh
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.4″ 1080p OLED, 90Hz
  • Camera (Front): 8 MP f/2.0, 84° FOV
  • Cameras (Rear): 50 MP f/1.85, 82° FOV (primary); 12 MP f/2.2, 114° FOV (ultrawide)
  • Price: Starting at $599
  • Dimensions: 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.4″, 7.3 oz
  • Colors: Stormy Black, Sorta Seafoam, Kinda Coral
PROS

  • Fantastic primary camera quality
  • Google’s custom Tensor chip performs admirably.
  • Material Design on Android 12 You are a delight.
  • Five years of security updates
CONS

  • Lacks a telephoto camera
  • Distracting glare in rear camera photos in certain conditions
  • Fingerprint sensor is often slow
  • Updates have been super-wonky
BUY THIS PRODUCT

The Galaxy Z Fold3 is Samsung’s most expensive phone. It’s jam-packed with cool features, including a super-fast Snapdragon 888 processor paired with 12 gigs of RAM, two 120Hz displays, and S Pen support to fill that Note-shaped hole in your heart. Oh, and it opens to reveal a 7.6-inch tablet.

At least two AP staffers refer to the Galaxy Z Fold3 as “home,” and it’s easy to see why. Although the camera experience isn’t up to the standards of a Pixel 6 or Galaxy S22 Ultra, and battery life can feel shorter than on smaller phones, the large screen and multitasking tools make for the most productive smartphone experience available.

The additional space makes it much easier to stay organized and juggle multiple tasks at once. If you prefer play to work, the big screen provides a much better experience for watching content or playing games.

Early folding phones had durability issues, but the technology has matured to the point where phones like this don’t need to be overly babied, even if they aren’t quite as tough as the rest of this list’s glass and metal slabs. Competitors’ devices now avoid the Z Fold3’s barely visible crease, but Samsung’s software remains more compelling and simple to use.

With all of its flashy features and a starting MSRP of $1,800, it’s pretty much the definition of excess — but if you’ve got the cash and want the coolest phone possible, this one should fit the bill.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Storage: 256 GB, 512 GB
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Memory: 12 GB
  • Operating System: Android 11 with One UI
  • Battery: 4,400 mAh dual-cell
  • Display (dimensions and resolution): 6.70-inch OLED at 2268 x 832, up to 120Hz, 1,500 nits peak (external); 7.6-inch OLED at 2208 x 1768, up to 120Hz, 1,200 nits peak (internal)
  • Camera (Front): 10MP f/2.2 (cover); 4MP f/1.8 (internal)
  • Cameras (Rear): 12MP f/1.8 main w/ OIS, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (123°), 12MP f/2.4 2x telephoto w/ OIS
  • Dimensions: 128 x 158 x 6.4mm (unfolded); 67.1 x 158 x 16mm (folded); 271g
  • Colors: Black, green, silver
PROS

  • It’s a tiny pocket tablet!
  • Snapdragon 888 + 12 gigs of RAM = fast phone
  • Great displays, inside and out
  • Security updates until 2025
CONS

  • Interior selfie camera isn’t very good
  • Middling battery life
  • Really pricey
BUY THIS PRODUCT

The Pixel a-series phones from Google have always been easy to recommend to “normal” people, and the Pixel 5a is no exception. The performance is solid, the cameras are nearly as good as its premium predecessor, the Google Pixel 5, and the battery life is exceptional. With the 5a, water resistance has finally made its way to the a-series, and it still includes a headphone jack. That feature is not even available on the Galaxy Z Fold3!

In terms of software, the Pixel 5a is more consistent and stable than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, receiving updates on time and encountering only minor bugs. Now that the 5a is on Android 12, you still get Google’s vision of Material You, and features like Call Screening, Hold for Me, All of these apps, as well as the auto-transcribing Pixel Recorder app, are now available and ready to use.

With the Pixel 6 priced just above $600, the Pixel 5a’s value proposition appears complicated, but availability is the more important factor. The Pixel 5a was only available in two countries: the United States and Japan, and even in the United States, it is only available from one retailer: the Google Store.

Carriers are still selling the 18-month-old Pixel 4a 5G (aside from Google Fi, because Google).

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Storage: 128GB
  • CPU: Snapdragon 765G
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Operating System: Android 12
  • Battery: 4,680 mAh
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.34″ 1080p OLED, 60Hz
  • Camera (Front): 8MP f/2 fixed-focus (83° FoV)
  • Cameras (Rear): 12.2MP f/1.7 wide-angle (77° FoV) 16MP F/2.2 ultra-wide (177° FoV)
  • Price: $449
  • Dimensions: 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm
PROS

  • Excellent battery life
  • Great cameras for the price
  • The first Pixel A-series phone to be water resistant (IP67)
  • Software updates through August 2024
  • It has a headphone jack
CONS

  • Way bigger than the Pixel 4a
  • The Snapdragon 765G is fine right now, but we are concerned that it will become slow in a few years.
  • Display is only 60Hz and not especially high-quality
  • Very limited availability
BUY THIS PRODUCT

Google Pixel 5a

With its tablet-sized inner screen and S Pen support, the Galaxy Z Fold3 is the darling of the foldable world, but it’s ridiculously large in both size and price. The Galaxy Z Flip3 is without a doubt the more practical, portable, and cost-effective foldable.

The Z Flip3, which is essentially a Galaxy S21+ that can be folded in half, brings back flip phones the right way: with style and stability. Sure, the cameras aren’t as good as those on Samsung’s slab-phone flagships, but they’re more than adequate for sharing or documenting your life. The more cramped flip phone form factor also reduces battery life slightly, but that’s why cute, pocket-friendly power banks exist.

Perhaps most importantly, you should purchase the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 because it is the only flagship-quality Android phone that fits completely in your pocket. Ladies, when was the last time you put your phone in your front pocket and sat down without it popping out and onto the floor? The Z Flip3 not only does this, but it also comes with a plethora of clever cases with straps and/or keyrings to ensure that you never drop the phone while pulling it out, putting it away, or simply reading on it in line.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB
  • CPU: Snapdragon 888
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Operating System: One UI over Android 11
  • Battery: 3,300 mAh
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.7″ 1080p OLED, 120Hz
  • Camera (Front): 10MP f/2.4
  • Cameras (Rear): 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (123°), 12MP f/1.8 main w/ OIS
  • Connectivity: 5G (including mmWave), LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, eSIM and/or Nano-SIM support
  • Dimensions: Unfolded – 72.2 x 166 x 6.9mm Folded – 72.2 x 86.4 x 15.9-17.1mm 183g
  • Colors: Cream, Green, Lavender, Phantom Black, Gray, White, Pink
PROS

  • Folding novelty at a normal flagship price
  • Great build quality
  • Folds hamburger-style to fit more comfortably in your pockets.
CONS

  • Bad battery life
  • Cameras are unable to compete with the best in the industry.
  • Charging speeds top out at 15 watts
BUY THIS PRODUCT

The Pixel 6 Pro retains all of the Pixel 6’s software swank and design darling, as well as hardware upgrades in three key areas. It has 12 gigabytes of RAM rather than eight, a larger 120Hz display rather than 90Hz, and a dedicated telephoto camera, as well as a few minor tweaks such as slightly tighter haptics. The larger size makes it more difficult to handle, especially for those with smaller hands, but the Pixel 6 Pro is worth its weight in gold. The Pixel 6 Pro, like the Pixel 6, has had some nasty bugs in the last six months, and Google has been delaying monthly updates in order to squeeze in all the bugfixes.

Google Tensor is a brand new chipset, and Google is still working out some kinks. A few bugs on the $600 Google Pixel 6 don’t sting nearly as much as a $900 phone occasionally having things like Wi-Fi fail if you’re one of the unlucky ones. As Ryne put it, when compared to the base Pixel 6, the 6 Pro is 50% more expensive for 15% more phone. Unless you absolutely require the Pro’s extra camera or that crucial 120Hz screen, the regular Pixel 6 is a better buy.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Storage: 128, 256, or 512GB; UFS 3.1
  • CPU: Google Tensor
  • Memory: 12GB
  • Operating System: Android
  • Battery: 5003mAh battery, 30W (USB PD PPS) wired charging, and wireless charging up to 23W
  • Ports: USB Type-C
  • Display (Size, Resolution): 6.7” QHD+ (1440×3120, 19.5:9) LTPO OLED, 120Hz, Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Camera (Front): 11.1MP f/2.2 (94° FoV, fixed focus)
  • Rear-facing cameras: 50MP f/1.85 primary (82° FoV with OIS), 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (114° FoV), 48MP f/3.5 telephoto (23.5° FoV with OIS, 4x optical, and up to 20x “Super Res Zoom”)
  • Price: Starts at $900
  • Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, Ultra-Wideband
  • Others: IP68, polished aluminum frame, in-display fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1, dual-SIM via eSIM, and reverse wireless charging
  • Dimensions: 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm, 210 g
  • Colors: Sorta Sunny, Cloudy White, and Stormy Black
PROS

  • The best camera setup available on an Android phone today, including a superb telephoto lens
  • Even better performance than the Pixel 6 with the same Tensor CPU and more RAM
  • Google’s software, as well as Android 12’s Material You
  • Five years of security updates, is addictive.
CONS

  • A 50% price increase over the standard Pixel 6 for what many people would consider a handful of minor improvements.
  • The Pixel 6 has the same slow fingerprint sensor.
  • In certain lighting conditions, rear cameras are also prone to glare.
  • Big bugs since launch, causing delay updates
BUY THIS PRODUCT

Google Pixel 6 Pro

What’s the best Android phone you can buy?

Whether you prefer a large or small phone, one that is complex or one that is blessedly simple, there is an excellent Android phone for you. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the most powerful phones that Samsung has ever created, and aside from S Pen support, the Ultra has significantly better battery life than its smaller siblings, the S22 and Galaxy S22+.

The cameras on the Galaxy S22 Ultra compete with the Google Pixel 6 Pro and then some, with a better wide-angle camera and deeper zoom capabilities to go along with its smorgasbord of camera modes and settings.

However, as powerful as the S22 Ultra is, its productivity pales in comparison to the Galaxy Z Fold3, which, despite being a generation behind in processing power, offers twice the screen when folded open into tablet mode. It has S Pen support, but it isn’t a built-in S Pen like the Ultra; instead, you can buy larger S Pens that are comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Samsung does foldables and foldable software better than anyone else in the industry, including Google, and the improvements in Android 12L will help standardize app behaviors and improve performance even further.

If Samsung’s software doesn’t appeal to you — and we understand that One UI is an acquired taste — the Google Pixel 6 is the first Pixel to feel like a true flagship. Its eye-catching design and Cylon-esque camera bar outperform the ommetaphobia-inducing camera setup on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and the Pixel 6’s processing magic saves shots that most phones discard due to blurs and missed focus.

Of course, if the $600 price tag of the Pixel 6 seems a little steep, the $450 Pixel 5a is by far the best budget Android phone available today. You get all of the same Google Feature Drops and software benefits as the Pixel 6, but without the jerky update delays or growing pains that Google Tensor brings. Sure, you’ll lose wireless charging, but you’ll keep the water resistance, and the 5a has a headphone jack, which none of the premium flagships have had in years.

Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: