Skip to main content

Best phone 2022: the top 15 smartphones you can buy in the US right now

The OnePlus 9 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra all feature in our best phone list
The OnePlus 9 Pro (left) iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra all feature in our best phone list (Image credit: OnePlus, Apple, Samsung)

The best phone in the world right now is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but if that isn't for you we've got 14 other top picks that may suit you, including the best iPhones and a variety of the best Android phones.

Our phone experts have spent years reviewing smartphones, and we've tested all the best on the market to put together this definitive list. Buying a cell phone is a complicated decision, and you need options. That's why we've come up with a list of the best rather than just a single 'best phone' recommendation.

We're constantly updating our best cell phones list to make sure you're buying the absolute top phone for your needs. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is our latest number one pick, but also consider the iPhone 13, OnePlus 9 Pro iPhone 13 Pro or Google Pixel 6 Pro, which we've found to be powerful phones for different reasons beyond operating system of choice. 

There are price considerations, too, and we've factored that in, with choices like the OnePlus 9 making our list for the value it provides. Some phones even debuted at a notably cheaper price than competitors, like the Google Pixel 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, which are great picks for those who don't want to spend a lot to get a good phone.

Likewise, your particular cell phone plan may sway your preference; especially since certain carriers often provide especially good cell phone deals for certain handsets, whereas others don't. Almost all smartphone prices have crept up to – and above – $1,000 so you'll want to take your decision seriously before committing to a phone you'll likely use for years.

There are always upcoming new phones too, with the Xiaomi 12, OnePlus 10 Pro, Oppo Find X5, iPhone SE 3 and more likely to land or join our list in the next few months, so expect this list to keep being updated. Plus, we expect to see an iPhone 14 later in 2022.

Best phone 2022: which smartphone is for you?

A Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra against a white background

(Image credit: Samsung)
A top tier smartphone, and it takes our best crown

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 the best smartphone in the world right now: here's why.

Why it's the best smartphone: The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra builds on everything great about the Galaxy S21 Ultra – such as its superb cameras and power – while adding an S Pen stylus as standard (and a slot to house it). This is the ultimate smartphone, and ideal for fans of either the Galaxy S or Galaxy Note range. Whatever you want to do with your phone, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is likely to be one of the best choices for it.

Screen: The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 6.8-inch 1440 x 3088 AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and a super-high peak brightness of 1750 nits. In every sense this is one of the best screens you’ll find on a smartphone.

Battery life: The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a large 5,000mAh battery, and we found that in general it would last for a full day no matter how you used the phone. It also supports speedy 45W charging – though note that there’s no charger in the box.

Camera: The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a similar camera setup to the impressive Galaxy S21 Ultra, but key improvements have been made, making this the best zoom snapper around. It’s capable of 10x optical or 100x digital zoom, and it has three other lenses too, including a great 108MP main one.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
Price comparison: 
The best Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra deals

The best iPhones

Specifications

Release date: September 2021
Weight: 204g / 240g
Dimensions: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.7mm / 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 15
Screen size: 6.1-inch / 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1170 x 2532 / 1284 x 2778
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 3,095mAh / 4,352mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great performance
+
Strong battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited design changes
-
Notch still too large

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are the best iPhones available at the time of writing, offering more power than ever before, improved cameras, 120Hz refresh rates and surprisingly good battery life.

Why they're ranked 2nd: While the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are the best iPhones, they’re slightly topped by the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which has a better design and a more versatile camera, but these phones come very close, and are the obvious choice for iPhone fans. With a higher refresh rate than the iPhone 12 range, a new macro mode and a smaller notch, they aren’t the biggest upgrades but they’re undeniably great.

Screen: Whether you choose the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro or 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max you’re getting a sharp OLED screen with a 120Hz variable refresh rate. The continued presence of the notch is annoying, but it’s slightly smaller this time and easy to ignore, especially once you see the overall quality of the display.

Battery life: Apple has outdone itself with the battery life on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which is genuinely great, rather than just being great for an iPhone. The iPhone 13 Pro’s isn’t quite as good, but it’s still decent and an upgrade on the iPhone 12 Pro’s life.

Camera: The iPhone 13 Pro range includes the same lens types as last year, but with larger pixels and new modes, including an impressive macro mode, and a slightly less significant Cinematic mode. Between all this and their improved low light performance, these cameras are ace.

Read more: iPhone 13 Pro review | iPhone 13 Pro Max review
Price comparison: The best iPhone 13 Pro deals
The best iPhone 13 Pro Max deals

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra from the front and back with its screen on

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Samsung)
The second best Galaxy S Ultra

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

+
Excellent camera zoom
+
Mesmerizing design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive at any level
-
No microSD card slot

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra used to be the best smartphone in the world and it still ranks high.

Why it's ranked 3rd: We think the S21 Ultra is a fantastic choice for you with one of the best camera suites, phenomenal power, great battery life, a solid design and a whole host of other great features. The Galaxy S21 Ultra isn't a cheap handset with a price that, despite being cheaper than its predecessor, is still costlier than most competing flagships, but this remains very close to the ultimate smartphone experience.

Screen: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a top 6.8-inch screen with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and a Quad HD resolution. This is one of the best smartphone displays on the market.

Battery life: The Samsung S21 Ultra's battery life is solid, and we found it'd often see us through a whole day from a full charge. If you're playing around with the 120Hz refresh rate, battery life is likely to drain faster, but it's a top choice if you're after a long lasting phone.

Note the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't come with a charger in the box though, so you'll have to use your existing one or buy one separately.

Camera: Samsung's 108MP camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is going to be the highlight for many, and the camera doesn't disappoint on this phone. Like its predecessor, you can take 100x zoom photography, but it's far improved here over the Galaxy S20 Ultra with two telephoto cameras working in tandem to do the heavy lifting.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review
Price comparison:
The best Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra deals