Due to a number of issues — including manufacturing delays caused by the continuing pandemic, increased labor and component costs, and a worldwide chip scarcity — flagship phone prices are higher than ever. The truly expensive phones, such as the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G, are now well over $1,000, or roughly the price of a nice laptop.
Fortunately, you no longer have to pay a fortune to receive something wonderful, as a variety of excellent smartphones are now accessible for approximately $600 to $800. Our vote for the best overall phone is the $829 Apple iPhone 13, while two of Google’s Pixel phones are priced in the midrange rather than at the premium end.
And if you’re looking for the greatest smartphone on a budget, you may get something rather decent for less than $500, if not less. You can find such choices in our guide to inexpensive cellphones.
A great smartphone should last several years (at the very least), have an excellent camera, a good screen, and sufficient battery life to do all the work, social networking, and gaming you want to fit into a day. After all, update cycles are slowing: users are keeping their phones longer, which means they want features that will endure a few years.
BEST PHONES 2022
1. APPLE IPHONE 13
THE BEST PHONE TO PURCHASE IN 2022
The $829 iPhone 13 (unlocked) is the most affordable of the four iPhone 13 models that Apple announced in 2021, and it strikes the perfect balance between affordability, portability, and functionality.
Despite the fact that it is smaller than the celebrated iPhone 12 Pro Max, it boasts a new CPU, a larger battery, and 128GB of internal storage, as well as the same huge camera sensor as the praised iPhone 12 Pro Max.
In truth, the 13 appears virtually identical to the 12, but it is somewhat thicker and heavier, with significantly larger camera bumps and lenses that have been moved around from the previous model. (Please note that your iPhone 12 case will not be compatible with the iPhone 13.)
It boasts the same general design, a brighter 6.1-inch OLED display, the same 12-megapixel selfie camera, the same MagSafe wireless charging, the same water and dust protection (IP68), and the same compatibility for both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G networks as the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9.
On top of that, it is available in five different colors (including pink), which is one more than the options available with the Pro models.
However, the A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 is distinct in that it should continue to feel fast for years to come, although it is impossible to demonstrate meaningful speed increases with iPhones. The new technology allows the iPhone 13 to operate more effectively, allowing it to go far into the evening without the need for a recharge.
Apple’s iPhone 13’s main wide-angle camera has been greatly enhanced thanks to the use of the same camera sensor that helped the iPhone 12 Pro Max become the finest smartphone camera for images and movies in 2020.
Detail is precise and accurate in the photos, colors are vibrant without being oversaturated, focusing is fast and dependable, portrait mode is excellent enough to use on a daily basis, and low light and night vision are great.
However, only slight improvements have been made to the ultrawide camera, which now performs better in low-light conditions.
The video quality is likewise excellent. It is possible to use the primary camera with sensor stabilization, which is beneficial when walking about. It is capable of handling all of the important modes in 4K and slow-motion, and it does it with excellent performance.
Furthermore, you may record films in Cinematic mode, which allows you to effortlessly flip between subjects by altering the depth of field while recording them.
The iPhone 13 comes with 128GB of storage as standard. For this reason, and depending on how you intend to use the phone, you may want to fork up the extra cash and switch to a higher-tier model instead.
For the vast majority of users, the iPhone 13 is an obvious choice: it has comparable performance, design, camera functionality, and (in some cases) greater battery life than other iPhone 13 models while costing less money than other iPhone 13 models.
2. SAMSUNG GALAXY S22 PLUS SMARTPHONE
A MUST-HAVE ANDROID PHONE FOR 2022
The low end of the market is well-served by phones in the United States, but high-end Android devices are becoming increasingly difficult to come by. Fortunately, the alternatives we do have are excellent, making our suggestion a tight call between the Google Pixel 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8. Nonetheless, we believe that the Galaxy S22 Plus is the finest device for the vast majority of users.
The S22 Plus is equipped with a large, brilliant 6.6-inch screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which will be the Android flagship processor of choice in 2022, and three high-quality rear cameras. When compared to the 6.1-inch ordinary S22, you don’t get the 10x telephoto lens or the built-in S Pen of the Ultra.
However, you do get a larger screen with the S22. Most individuals will find it to be a comfortable middle ground with the ideal combination of features and size for their needs.
It is one of the best practices in the industry that SAMSUNG provides up to four generations of operating system upgrades.
While the screen and general performance of the S22 Plus are fantastic, the battery life of the device is a tad on the short side. The 4,500mAh battery can easily last a whole day for light users, but moderate and heavy users who stream a significant quantity of video will likely find themselves with a battery that is in the single digits by the end of the day, according to the manufacturer.
It’s a little infuriating to have to keep track of your battery consumption on a phone that costs $999. If long-lasting battery life is crucial to you, the Google Pixel 6 is a good choice because it performs significantly better in this area.
Aside from the battery, there’s a lot to appreciate about the S22 Plus overall. The screen is easy to use, the camera system is flexible and trustworthy, and Samsung’s policy of delivering up to four generations of operating system upgrades is one of the most generous among Android phones in this category.
A bit more popular appeal may be found in its basic, unassuming appearance, as opposed to the Pixel 6, which isn’t technically any larger but seems and feels thicker. However, don’t be fooled into believing that it’s a winner just because it’s one of the few really high-end Android phones available in the United States at the moment; it also happens to be a very nice smartphone in its own right.
3. APPLE IPHONE 13 PRO AND IPHONE 13 PRO MAX
2022’s Best Camera and Video Phone
Featuring the same top-of-the-line camera technology as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are our picks for the best iPhone for photographs and movies in 2018. This time around, you don’t have to get the most costly and largest model in order to receive the greatest camera system – either of the Pro models will provide you with the same experience.
Because of the combination of Apple’s picture processing and the three back cameras — a regular wide-angle, an ultrawide angle, and a telephoto — the iPhone X produces outstanding photographs, particularly in low light. If the camera and video quality are the most essential factors to you when purchasing a phone, the 13 Pro is the device on which you should invest your money.
When compared to previous versions, the 13 Pro features a physically bigger camera sensor, which helps its main 12-megapixel camera to capture more light and generate higher-quality photographs, especially in low-light or harsh lighting circumstances.
Because of its new close focus capabilities, its ultrawide camera is capable of capturing breathtaking macro images with its new close focus capability.
In addition, the telephoto lens’s 3x optical zoom makes it ideal for portraiture photography. Because of the bigger sensor and the fact that it employs sensor-based stabilization, the video is steady and gorgeous, especially in low light conditions. On the iPhone 13 Pro, you can also record and edit films in ProRes format right from the camera (as long as you have a 256GB or higher storage model).
The Google Pixel 6 Pro ($899) is the greatest Android camera system available, and it is highly recommended if you need to take photos with telephoto lenses. Our comparison video matched the Pixel 6 Pro against the iPhone 13 Pro, and the results were fairly evenly divided.
Watch the video to find out more. However, while the Pixel 6 Pro’s video capabilities are still lagging behind those of the iPhone, it can more than hold its own in terms of still photography, and its telephoto camera is even better than those of the iPhone 13 Pro.
4. APPLE IPHONE 13 MINI
2022’s BEST SMALL SMARTPHONE
Only one reason exists for purchasing an iPhone 13 Mini, but it’s a very essential one: if you want a phone that can be used with one hand and fit into a small pocket, this is the phone to purchase. Because it is one of the very few compact phones on the market with top-tier features and specs, you won’t have to make any compromises when it comes to performance, build quality, or cameras when you choose the iPhone 13 Mini.
The Mini’s 5.4-inch screen is still large enough for text messaging, email, web surfing, applications, video, and gaming, even though it is significantly smaller in size than the other iPhones introduced this year. If you’re coming from an iPhone 6 / 7 / 8, the Mini will feel fairly vast in comparison.
In addition, because it’s tiny, it’ll be comfortable for most people, even those with little hands, to reach the entire screen with their thumb. A PopSocket will not be required for this one.
One significant disadvantage of using a smaller phone is that the iPhone 13 Mini has a lesser battery that will likely not last a power user through the entire day without recharging.
It’s truly intended for a more casual user who isn’t tied to his or her phone the entire day. With the exception of its design, CPU, cameras, and 5G compatibility, the Mini is identical to the bigger iPhone 13: it has the same design, processor, cameras, and build quality as the larger model. It’s simply that it’s smaller and costs less, with a price tag of around $100 less.
In the event that you prefer Android, the Asus Zenfone 8 is a viable option. Despite the fact that it has a slightly larger 5.9-inch screen than the 13 Mini and does not function on Verizon, it is otherwise a very comparable proposition: excellent build quality, a top-notch chipset, and high-end capabilities like a 120Hz screen, all packed into a pocket-friendly gadget.
5. SAMSUNG GALAXY S22 ULTRA DUAL SIM
A MOBILE PHONE THAT CAN DO EVERYTHING
The “Ultra” designation in Samsung’s Galaxy series no longer just refers to the largest phone available; instead, it refers to the largest phone available with everything else but the kitchen sink. The S22 Ultra is equipped with no less than five cameras, a large, brilliant 6.8-inch OLED display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, and, oh yes, a built-in pen.
It’s more or less the spiritual heir to the stylus-centric Note series, but it also seems like the culmination of slab-style smartphone development, which is a welcome development. It costs a hefty $1200, which is related.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU, which is combined with either 8 or 12GB of RAM, lies at the core of the S22 Ultra. Although not unexpected, performance is great; you’ll hardly notice the phone stuttering or hesitating, even when playing graphics-intensive games. Samsung also promises up to four generations of operating system improvements, ensuring that the Ultra will continue to be a very fine phone for many years to come.
The S Pen pen that comes with the phone slides out of a special silo on the bottom of the phone, and Samsung claims that it has been enhanced with reduced latency than prior years’ S Pens. Whether a few milliseconds of improvement is significant is difficult to determine, but it is clearly responsive and simple to use.
You can go deep into the pen’s capabilities with handwriting-to-text recognition settings and rather gimmicky “Air Actions,” which transform the stylus into a magic wand/remote control hybrid device. Alternatively, you may simply scribble notes until your heart’s content. It is all up to you.
The cameras are virtually the same as those on the S21 Ultra, with the exception of a number of minor software-based upgrades. Photographs taken in portrait mode have a more realistic subject separation, and you can now utilize night mode in either high-resolution mode or portrait mode, as well.
Nonetheless, the strong camera system that the S21 Ultra provided is still there and accounted for, featuring a 10x telephoto lens that is among the greatest you’ll find on any smartphone, anywhere.
With so many power-hungry features crammed into the S22 Ultra, the battery life is a little disappointingly low. With a little gas in the tank, it will survive a day of moderate usage, but heavy users may need to keep an eye on the battery % and fill off the 5,000mAh cell at the end of the day. The fast 45W connected charging, on the other hand, makes this a short task.
If you already know that stylus life is for you and that you’d utilize a 10x zoom on a regular basis rather than just a few of times as a curiosity, then the S22 Ultra is the camera for you.
Our overall vote for the best popular Android phone isn’t this device because of its special features, which are fairly niche even if they are strong. However, if you’re searching for a phone that can do just about anything, this is the best option for you.