Best Android phones 2022: which Google-powered mobile should you buy?

Best Android phones against a green TechRadar background
(Image credit: TechRadar / Samsung)

The best Android phones are fun to use, with unique features that lean into the cutting edge of technology. Android owners get to try things first, whether it's the biggest camera sensor, the folding glass designs, or the amazing advances in AI software. If you're looking for a phone that is cool because it's really cool, not because a company says so, you're looking for an Android. 

We know Android, and we're here to recommend the best Android phone for you. We've extensively tested and reviewed hundreds of them, using them just the way you would, then going further. We push the phones to their limit and check out every little thing each phone can do. 

Android phones always rank among our best smartphones, so there's sure to be something here for you. This year we focused primarily on phones that were available worldwide, including the US market. Samsung dominates, but it's the company's reliable service and support makes it a great phone brand.

Once again our list is topped by the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, the best Samsung phone. It's the phone that does everything, except fold in half. We've included some of those as well, and the cool folding design is an aspect you need to hold in your hand to believe. 

Android phones also represent a great value, so we've included some good budget options from top manufacturers. If you don't care as much about saving money, you may also want to check out one of the best iPhones. If, like us, you're on a budget, our look at the best cheap phones may suit you better. 

The best Android phones 2022

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best Android phone Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra held in someone's hand, with a fountain in the background

(Image credit: Future)
The best Android phone

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Weight: 228g
Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3088
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 / Exynos 2200
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible cameras and zoom
+
Excellent little S Pen

Reasons to avoid

-
No microSD slot
-
Battery life could be better

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is seemingly designed to be the ultimate Android phone – or at the very least the ultimate Samsung phone – and it succeeds at both, by building both on the impressive Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and taking the essence of the Samsung Galaxy Note range.

You can see this in the two things we liked most about this phone in our 4.5-star review. It has what we described as zoom capabilities that “simply blow away anything we’ve ever seen before from a mobile phone camera,” thanks to 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom – which actually delivers usable shots.

The other highlight is the S Pen stylus, which for this model is included with the phone, and also has its own slot, just like on a Galaxy Note. It’s a useful feature for productivity and creativity, while beyond that the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a superb screen, oodles of power, and more tech and features than you’ll probably ever use.

The battery life could be better, and it sure is expensive. However, Android excellence comes at a cost, and for power users it’s well worth the price tag.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review

Google Pixel 7 Pro

(Image credit: Google)
The best Pixel phone

Specifications

Release date: October 2022
Weight: 212g
Dimensions: 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3120
CPU: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 48MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10.8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Intuitive and easy to use
+
Photo Unblur truly fixes older photos
+
Snappy and responsive interface

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks the deep feature set of best competition
-
Battery and charging time could be better
-
Macro Focus didn’t blow us away

The Google Pixel 7 Pro takes amazing photos with ease, night and day, but it also takes the photo experience further than ever before – it actually made our photos from older phones look better. For now, that’s something you can only do with a Tensor G2-enabled phone like the Pixel 7 Pro; in fact, there are quite a few things the Pixel 7 Pro can do that none of its competitors even attempt.

The Pixel 7 Pro listens better – literally. It recognizes speech more accurately, making Google Assistant more useful. It doesn’t just make photos better, it makes them more clear, and more inclusive, using Real Tone technology to enhance skin tones. It will soon make phone calls sound better.

We wish that the battery life were more impressive, and the Macro Focus mode wasn't as magical as many other Google Photos features. The phone delivers on some amazing promises, even if it can't keep them all. 

Read our full Google Pixel 7 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

(Image credit: Carlos Pedrós)
The best budget Samsung phone

Specifications

Release date: March 2022
Weight: 189g
Dimensions: 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.5-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Exynos 1280
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB + support for a microSD card up to 1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Good cameras for price
+
Good-looking screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow to charge
-
Slow to navigate

We are prioritizing our budget, and the Galaxy A53 has all of it's priorities straight. It has a huge camera array, with four different lenses, giving you tons of options. It has a great screen, solid battery life, and it's water resistant. For the price, what you get is truly remarkable.

The Galaxy A53 comes with an attractive screen that has the same resolution and refresh rate as the S22. In fact, apart from the size, most people aren't likely to see that big of a difference between this budget phone's display and that of the S22. 

The phone boasts some pretty impressive photo-taking prowess. It has a 64MP f/1.8 main camera, joined by a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide lens, a 5MP f/2.4 macro, and a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor. There are far more expensive phones with fewer camera options.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A53 review

Google Pixel 7 lemongrass front and back

(Image credit: Google)
The best Pixel for less money

Specifications

Release date: October 2022
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 13
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Google Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4355mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10.8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Unique color options and design
+
Same Tensor G2 performance as Pixel 7 Pro
+
Great camera with creative features

Reasons to avoid

-
90Hz display feels dated at this level
-
Lacks the zoom camera of the Pro
-
Faster charging would be nice

Like the Pixel 7 Pro, the Pixel 7 arrives with Google's latest Tensor G2 chipset, which, paired with Google's own take on an Android 13, delivers a satisfying user experience, with everyday tasks made that little bit easier.

The Pixel 7 sports a design that, while divisive, feels considered and premium. The cameras sit within an imposing aluminum band that helps the phone stand out from the crowd, especially in its price range, and the smaller 6.3-inch display size and thinner bezels (compared to the Pixel 6) mean the Pixel 7 is more comfortable to hold, and more pocketable, than before.

The biggest shortcomings are most notable in areas where this phone, by design, trails behind the Pixel 7 Pro, with its slower display and the absence of a telephoto zoom lens.

Even so, the user experience feels polished, the AI-supported features are unique and competent, and the promise of more functionality via forthcoming 'feature drops' mean this Pixel is only likely to get better with time.

Read our full Google Pixel 7 review

best Android phone OnePlus 10 Pro held in someone's hand

(Image credit: Future)
The best ultra-premium phone for budget-conscious buyers

Specifications

Release date: March 2022
Weight: 201g
Dimensions: 163 x 73.9 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic screen
+
Super-fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Cameras aren’t perfect
-
Too big for all users

With a price that undercuts key rivals, not to mention the launch price of its predecessor – the OnePlus 9 Pro – it’s easy to recommend the OnePlus 10 Pro. You’re getting a whole lot of phone for that price too, with incredibly fast 80W charging (or 65W in the US), a big, bright, and beautiful 6.7-inch 1440 x 3216 screen, top-end power, and a distinct design.

Where it struggles a little is the cameras, which we found were great at times but inconsistent. Portrait mode would often be overzealous with its blurring, the color profile noticeably changed when jumping between lenses, and the 8MP telephoto lens struggles once you move beyond 3.3x optical zoom.

Still, most of the time – and particularly when sticking to the 48MP main and 50MP ultrawide cameras – photos come out well, so even these are small complaints, really. Given the cost and everything that the OnePlus 10 Pro does get right, it comes highly recommended, and is one of the very best Android phones.

Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review

best Android phone Samsung Galaxy S22 held in someone's hand, against a background of foliage

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
A powerful, budget-friendly Android phone

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Weight: 167g
Dimensions: 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 / Exynos 2200
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 3,700mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP

Reasons to buy

+
Small and solidly built
+
Attractive design

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a major update
-
Camera system pales in comparison to its Ultra cousin

The Samsung Galaxy S22 isn’t a major improvement on the Samsung Galaxy S21 – so if you have that phone, it’s probably not worth upgrading, but this is still an excellent handset in its own right. It’s especially good for fans of compact phones, as with a 6.1-inch screen, small bezels, and a slim build, this is definitely on the small side by modern Android phone standards.

It’s a good-looking phone too, and significantly more affordable than the rest of the Galaxy S22 range – or than many other high-end phones. That’s despite packing in flagship power – benchmarking the Galaxy S22 against the bigger S22 Ultra, we found their Geekbench scores to be comparable. So the Samsung Galaxy S22 won’t hold you back.

Its cameras can’t touch those on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and that small screen may feel cramped for some users. But, for everyone else this is one of the best Android phones – and at a surprisingly great price.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 review