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

Best Android phones
(Image credit: TechRadar / Samsung)

Finding one of the best Android phones isn't always easy, as there are a huge number of options and everyone has different needs - so the best handset for one person won't be the top choice for someone else. But that's where our guide comes in.

Below you'll find a list of what we consider in our expert opinion to be the best Android phones. We've extensively tested and reviewed hundreds of smartphones, including those in this guide, looking in detail at their screens, battery life, performance, cameras, and more, so we know exactly what's good and bad about each model.

There's a lot of overlap with our best smartphones guide, since that simply adds iPhones to the mix, and you'll find several models from our best Samsung phones guide below too, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, since Samsung is the king of Android.

But if you're specifically interested in Android phones and not any one brand, then this is the list for you.

For each entry we've given an overview of exactly what we like about it, so give them all a read, as our number one pick might not be the perfect fit for you personally.

And if you're still in need of inspiration, then consider our best iPhone or best cheap phone guides for some alternate options. Check back soon too, as this list is constantly updated as new Android phones launch.

Best Android phones 2022: which is for you?

A 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, but Android excellence comes at a cost, and for power users it’s well worth the price tag.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review

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 and even undercuts the launch price of 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 more: OnePlus 10 Pro review

A Google Pixel 6 Pro held in someone's hand, with a brick wall in the background

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best phone for pure Android

Specifications

Release date: October 2021
Weight: 210g
Dimensions: 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.71-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3120
CPU: Google Tensor
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,003mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 48MP + 12MP
Front camera: 11.1MP

Reasons to buy

+
Multitalented camera
+
Big and beautiful screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Contentious design
-
Average battery life

The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the most high-end phone Google has ever made, packing a 6.7-inch QHD+ display which we found to be crisp and impressively bright. It also has a highly capable triple-lens camera, with a 50MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 48MP telephoto (sporting 4x optical zoom).

Then there’s its Google Tensor chipset, which is custom silicon designed specifically for the Pixel 6 range, and capable of delivering very smooth performance – though in benchmarks it ranks below the top Android chipsets like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Other highlights include Android 12 software out of the box, and a unique – if divisive – design. The Pixel 6 Pro’s battery life could be better, but as a showcase for Android it’s an impressive handset.

Read more: Google Pixel 6 Pro review

A Samsung Galaxy S22 held in someone's hand, against a background of foliage

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best small Android flagship

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, 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 more: Samsung Galaxy S22 review

A Xiaomi 12 Pro from the front in someone's hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
Xiaomi's best phone right now

Specifications

Release date: April 2022
Weight: 205g
Dimensions: 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,600mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 50MP + 50MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek finish
+
Incredibly fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited optical zoom
-
No IP rating

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a ‘Pro’ handset at a slightly lower price than that suffix usually leads to, but that doesn’t mean this has skimped on specs, as with a display that we described as “brilliant” in our review (and found to offer great color accuracy), plus ridiculously fast 120W charging, the Xiaomi 12 Pro is brimming with highlights.

Other aspects that stood out to us include its sleek, well thought out design, its powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and its large 5,000mAh battery.

The restrictive 2x optical zoom of the telephoto camera lets it down a little, as does its slightly bloated software, but these are small niggles in an otherwise exceptional package and are all the more forgivable given that the Xiaomi 12 Pro undercuts most of the competition.

Read more: Xiaomi 12 Pro review

An Oppo Find X5 Pro in someone's hand, against a background of foliage

(Image credit: Future)
A great all-round Android flagship

Specifications

Release date: March 2022
Weight: 218g
Dimensions: 163.7 x 73.9 x 8.8mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 256/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 13MP + 50MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great main camera
+
Super-fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak zoom camera
-
Buggy software

While the Oppo Find X5 Pro is in many ways an upgrade on the Oppo Find X3 Pro (with there being no X4 models) it’s also a slight downgrade in at least one way, as it lacks its predecessor’s impressive microscope camera.

Still, that was a niche feature, so not the biggest loss, and the 50MP main camera here is fantastic in our experience – though the limited 2x optical zoom of the telephoto lens is rather less impressive.

Away from the camera though almost everything about the Oppo Find X5 Pro impresses, from its fast 80W wired and 50W wireless charging to its remarkably customizable software, its ceramic finish (which is unusual to find on a phone), and of course a chipset and screen that are fit for a flagship. With all that and more, this is easily one of the best Android phones.

Read more: Oppo Find X5 Pro review

A Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in someone's hand

(Image credit: Future)
A still-great Android ultra flagship

Specifications

Release date: January 2021
Weight: 227g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP

Reasons to buy

+
The best camera zoom
+
Mesmerizing design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive at any level
-
No microSD card slot

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra was Samsung’s top, premium flagship for 2021, and what a phone it is. For the first time Samsung has offered S Pen support on an S-range handset here, meaning that you can optionally get the Galaxy Note range’s best feature.

But even without that, this is a stunning handset, with a brilliant quad-lens camera capable of 10x optical zoom. In fact, in our review we called it the best camera zoom on any readily available Android phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also looks great, with a smooth Gorilla Glass back that has a matte finish that looks better than the reflective Galaxy S20 range, while around the front there’s a curved edge-to-edge 6.8-inch screen.

And speaking of that screen, for the first time on a Samsung phone you get both a QHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate at the same time. And being a high-end Samsung screen this is one of the best around.

There’s also oodles of power of course, and while obviously very expensive, this actually has a cheaper starting price than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra did at launch. It's since been beaten by the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it remains a top handset.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

The settings screen on a Realme GT 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best mid-range Android phone

Specifications

Release date: March 2022
Weight: 194.5g
Dimensions: 162.9 x 75.8 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.62-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful processor
+
Very strong primary camera

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak secondary cameras
-
Needs bug fixes and UI tweaks

The Realme GT 2 isn’t one of the biggest names on this list, but Realme could soon be spoken of in the same breath as Samsung and OnePlus if it keeps producing phones like this.

That said, this phone isn’t quite trying to play in the same league as the top handsets from those brands, as it’s more of a mid-range option, with a chipset that was top end a year ago and a FHD+ (rather than QHD+) screen.

But that’s all paired with an extremely reasonable price, and there are some real highlights here, including a 50MP main camera which in our review we described as capable of taking “excellent photos in just about any situation.”

It’s a powerful phone for the money too, packing the same chipset as the likes of the OnePlus 9 Pro, and it has an unusual 'paper-like' biopolymer backplate, and fairly fast 65W charging.

The secondary cameras don’t impress, battery life is unremarkable, and there’s no wireless charging, but if you can live with those issues then you’ll find the Realme GT 2 is easy to love.

Read more: Realme GT 2 review

A OnePlus 9 Pro in someone's hand, with a tree in the background

(Image credit: TechRadar)
A great Android phone for ultra-wide shots

Specifications

Release date: March 2021
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Premium design
+
Great power

Reasons to avoid

-
High price - but worth it
-
No microSD support

There was a time when OnePlus phones cut a few corners to achieve a lower price than rivals, but that’s no longer the case with the OnePlus 9 Pro. While it’s still slightly cheaper than most comparable handsets, it’s one of the best Android phones in every way.

As well as having a big, sharp and all-round high-quality 120Hz screen, high-end power from its Snapdragon 888 chipset, a big battery with fast charging whether wired or wireless (at 65W and 50W respectively), and a premium metal and glass build – with water resistance, it’s also one of the best OnePlus camera phones.

This is notable as it’s an area the company has previously struggled to compete in, but the OnePlus 9 Pro is the first fruit of a new partnership with Hasselblad, and the camera brand’s expertise shows, leaving us impressed in our review - especially in the case of ultra-wide shots.

All this high-end tech does mean the OnePlus 9 Pro is more expensive than the range used to be, and that’s the main point against it, but it’s hard to argue you’re not getting your money’s worth. Though of course it's now been topped by the OnePlus 10 Pro.

Read more: OnePlus 9 Pro review

A Xiaomi 12 Pro from the front in someone's hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
A top smaller Android flagship

Specifications

Release date: April 2022
Weight: 180g
Dimensions: 152.7 x 69.9 x 8.2mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.28-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 13MP + 5MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great handfeel
+
Fun camera modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Overheats easily
-
No zoom camera

The standard Xiaomi 12 isn’t quite as impressive as the Xiaomi 12 Pro, but then it doesn’t cost as much either and it still achieved four stars in our review.

With a compact and attractive design, a great in-hand feel, fast 67W charging and decent power from its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, this is a strong alternative to the similarly small Samsung Galaxy S22.

However, we don’t recommend it quite as highly for most people, as it lacks a telephoto lens, can get hot when gaming, and includes slightly buggy and bloated software – though it is at least highly customizable.

The screen could be sharper too at 1080 x 2400, though the Xiaomi 12 again rivals the Samsung Galaxy S22 on that front. Ultimately, there’s not a huge amount to choose between the two, and both are great options if you want a relatively compact Android flagship.

Read more: Xiaomi 12 review

How to choose the best Android phone for you

Screen size and resolution, battery life, power, camera performance and price tend to be the main things to consider when looking for one of the best Android phones. The top models will excel in most or all areas - but often at a high price.

And when it comes to the screen, bigger isn't always better. If you have small hands or want to use your phone one-handed, then you may want to consider something more compact.

How we tested

Every phone in this list has been put through a rigorous review in which we tested every aspect of it. That allows us to say with confidence which Android phones are the best, and how they compare to each other.

Which Android phone brand is the best?

No one Android phone brand is definitively the best, but Samsung's flagships tend to be among the very best Android phones. However, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo and others often bring out great phones too.

Is Android or iOS better?

Choosing between Android and iOS is a matter of personal preference. With Android you get a much wider selection of phones and brands, so it can be easier to find a handset with the features (and at a price) that you're happy with. With iOS, you get a more consistent experience across phones, and iPhones work well with Apple's other products and services.

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.

With contributions from