Skip to main content

Best smartphone 2022: the 10 top phones you should consider buying

Best smartphones
The best smartphones we've tested and reviewed (Image credit: TechRadar / Samsung)

Buying the best smartphone is one of the most important decisions you can make in this day and age - a good phone will be your constant companion, keeping you connected, entertained and informed throughout the day.

Here at TechRadar, we test every new smartphone that's released, whether it's from the big dogs like Apple and Samsung, or the smaller companies like Realme and Vivo. So we can guide you through all the best mobiles you should consider picking up.

This best smartphone guide is our top and definitive ranking of all the handsets out there, but if you've already got a select preference, you might want to consider reading one of our limited lists. Maybe you want one of the best iPhones on the market, or instead think one of the best Android phones might be more your cup of joe.

You'll find our ultimate ranking on this list though, so it's useful whether you're looking to buy a new handset and don't know exactly what you want, or just want to see what the phone landscape is looking like right now.

When choosing a new phone you need to ask yourself: what's important to you? A good screen, a powerful chipset, a long-lasting battery, fast charging, capable cameras, a hardy design or something else entirely? For each of the best smartphones below, we've highlighted which of its specs are the stand-out ones.

It's been a very, very busy few months for smartphones, and nearly every mobile brand has put out one or more handsets that we've considered for this list - not all managed to hit this list of the best 15 though.

So phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and OnePlus 10 Pro have worked their way onto this list, and upset the previous order.

It'll change more through the year, with the iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7 some of the bigger handsets on the way.

Below, you'll find the best smartphones that are available to buy right now, but keep checking back to see the updated order whenever new devices launch.

Best smartphone 2022: which phone is for you?

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)
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

Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra costs a lot, but we'd say it's worth it.

This is a strong phone in almost all aspects - its camera are fantastic, its screen looks incredible, it's got loads of processing power, our list could go on (and does, in our full review).

While many phones have one strong element, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is an all-arounder, and that's why it's listed as our best phone. No matter if you're a passionate photographer or frequent gamer, you'll find the device great.

The camera is great for its versatility. If you want you can take great-looking ultrawide shots, or zoom all the way in with 10x optical and 100x digital limits to get close to your subject. There are also loads of useful modes, like a Portrait mode that takes wonderful pictures of people or Single Take which uses AI to pick the best picture from a selection of them.

Thanks to its wide range of cameras and modes, the Galaxy is the best camera phone right now, beating even Apple's latest iPhones, so it's great for mobile photographers.

The battery lasts for about a day - as long as you're using it normally, and not for non-stop video recording or something equally draining - which is surprising given how some top-end phones have bad battery lives.

The phone also has an S Pen stylus, which is a useful extra for note-takers and doodlers, and you won't find many mobiles on the market nowadays with styli, as well as slots to store them like the Ultra has. This is the main upgrade over the S21 Ultra, which is otherwise pretty similar.

In our benchmark tests the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra scored incredibly highly, sitting in the top few products in our lists, and so it's great for gaming or video editing, or any other intensive process like that.

There are one or two reasons that you might want to read further into this list: the Galaxy charges slowly, is very large and costs a lot, so depending on what you're looking for it might get a red 'X' mark for that. But for most people, the handset's strength across the board makes it the best smartphone to consider.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review

The iPhone 13 Pro being held in a hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best smartphone for iOS fans

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

If you're an Apple fan, then the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are the two best smartphones you should consider - we've combined these two handsets into one entry, as the only big difference between them is the screen size.

These are Apple's newest Pro phones touting three lenses - they each have a main, ultrawide and telephoto (or zoom) camera. You're getting the classic iPhone camera experience here with great night mode, video modes and selfie tricks.

The iPhone 13 Pro phones are more powerful than the iPhone 12 Pro handsets thanks to their newer A15 Bionic chipset, and we found them to be super fast to use, whether you're just swiping between menus or playing loads of games.

We found the phones to both last about a day between charges - that's about the limit of what you can expect from a powerful flagship phone. While the Pro has a smaller 6.1-inch screen and the Pro Max has a larger 6.7-inch one, the battery is also bigger on the Max, which is why battery life is comparable.

The iPhones don't quite compare to the top Android phone - the annoying notch is back, the displays are only OLED, and the design leaves a lot to be desired. But for iFans, these are the top handsets running Apple's iOS operating system.

Read more: iPhone 13 Pro review | iPhone 13 Pro Max review

The OnePlus 10 Pro being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)
Bringing Pro feature to a lower price

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: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Super-fast charging
+
Very tempting price

Reasons to avoid

-
Very large
-
The cameras have some issues

The OnePlus 10 Pro has 'Pro' in the name, and its features rival some of the other handsets on this list that tout that suffix, but in terms of price it's actually more affordable - which is why it's found its way into this high position on our list.

This is a great Android choice if you don't want a Galaxy smartphone - it has a great-looking 6.7-inch AMOLED screen, a super-powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and incredibly fast 80W charging (unless you live in the US, where it's 65W).

There are three rear cameras, and they offer a good degree of versatility, and there are also a few camera modes created in co-operation with Hasselblad, including XPan which will be fun for people who like the classic XPan camera.

In our camera test, we found that the OnePlus 10 Pro performed a little worse than the Galaxy and iPhones above - it's still good for photography, but not enough to justify a higher spot than it has.

But that's arguably the weakest element for an otherwise great phone. Just note, there's no non-Pro OnePlus 10, so don't scroll down expecting to see another from the company in this generation.

Read more: OnePlus 10 Pro review

Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 being held in a hand (Image credit: Future)
The best phones for pure Android

Specifications

Release date: October 2021
Weight: 207g / 210g
Dimensions: 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm / 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.4-inch / 6.71-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 / 1440 x 3120
CPU: Google Tensor
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,614mAh / 5,003mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 12MP / 50MP +48MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP / 11.1MP

Reasons to buy

+
Multitalented camera
+
Big and beautiful screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Contentious design
-
Average battery life

The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are the most exciting phones Google has launched in a long time, or arguably ever.

They both have a design that’s unlike any other phones, with a large camera visor and a three-tone color scheme, and they’re just as interesting on the inside, with a Google Tensor chipset that’s been designed and built specifically for these handsets.

Both also excel for taking photos, with a 50MP main and 12MP ultra-wide snapper – along with a 48MP telephoto camera offering 4x optical zoom in the Pixel 6 Pro’s case.

And speaking of the Pixel 6 Pro, this is a true flagship, with a 6.7-inch QHD+ 120Hz screen and 12GB of RAM. The standard Pixel 6 has slightly lesser specs, but also comes in at temptingly affordable price, and both phones run Android 12, with Google’s vision of the software intact.

So they’re a great showcase for Android, but they struggle with middling battery lives compared to the mobiles higher, which is why we can't rank them in the top three.

The phones are also a touch weaker than rivals, as Google's own chipset is good but not great - however this will only be noticeable for select users who need loads of power, so we can't mark them down too much

Read more: Google Pixel 6 review | Google Pixel 6 Pro review

The iPhone 13 being held in a hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
A great iPhone for people who don't need all the top specs

Specifications

Release date: September 2021
Weight: 174g
Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 15
Screen size: 6.1-inch
Resolution: 1170 x 2532
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: Up to 19 hours
Rear camera: 12MP+12MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Strong battery life
+
Powerful internals

Reasons to avoid

-
Minimal design changes
-
No 120Hz screen

The iPhone 13 isn’t as big an upgrade as the iPhone 13 Pro, as it lacks a 120Hz refresh rate, but with oodles of power and good battery life it’s a strong choice if you don’t have a fortune to spend.

With its 6.1-inch 1170 x 2532 OLED display, the iPhone 13 has a bright and clear screen. It doesn’t have a 120Hz refresh rate, but it does at least have a slightly smaller notch than the iPhone 12.

In our tests the iPhone 13 reliably lasted through a day of use, but not much more. That puts it in fairly average territory, yet it’s still an improvement on many previous iPhones here.

The iPhone 13 lacks a telephoto camera, but its main and ultra-wide perform well, with the former having larger pixels than the iPhone 12’s. With improved image stabilization too, plus some new shooting modes and features, there’s a lot to play with here, and a lot to like.

The iPhone 13 Pro / Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S22 range have the edge over the iPhone 13 when it comes to specs and features, but this standard iPhone model comes close to matching them, especially when it comes to battery life. Plus, it has slightly more power than its Android rivals.

Read more: iPhone 13 review

The Samsung Galaxy S22 being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
Great for fans of small Androids

Specifications

Release date: