Best phones 2022: Top Android and Apple mobile phones


The latest smartphones do everything, it seems. Need to take a photo that’s almost as high-quality as an SLR camera can manage? And then view or upload it? Want driving directions, with traffic? Or check your email, fix a food delivery or play a game? The smartphones below have you covered. They even, believe it or not, make calls and send texts, too.

Design quality has changed hugely over the last few years, even if you can’t tell that from the front now that most phones are nothing but screen with a hole or cut-out for the front-facing camera to peep through. But on the back, designers can make their mark.

Metal-backed phones have been largely replaced with handsets that are glass front and back. Stronger glass makes that less precarious than it sounds and it also has the benefit of allowing wireless charging.

There are three operating systems, iOS on Apple’s iPhones, HarmonyOS on Huawei phones, and Android which is basically on everything else. Huawei was forced to create its own system when it fell out with the US government, and it has fewer apps than the other two.

How we tested

We’ve tested for ease of use, build quality, how quickly the phone opens apps, responds to your touch and so on. We’ve checked out the cameras (a deal-breaker on many phones), range of features, elegance of design and, the clincher: battery life. The best smartphone on the planet wouldn’t feature in this guide if it can’t keep going for a day at least.

Read more:

The best phones for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Apple iPhone 13 pro max: £1,049, Apple.com
  • Best for design – Oppo find x5 pro: £1,049, Oppostore.co.uk
  • Best display – Sony xperia 1 III: £1,199, Sony.co.uk
  • Best camera phone – Huawei p50 pro: £1,099.99, Huawei.com
  • Best Android phone – Google pixel 6 pro: £849, Google.com
  • Best value flagship – OnePlus 10 pro: £799 Oneplus.com
  • Best for fast charging – Xiaomi 12 pro: £1,049, Mi.com
  • Best folding phone – Samsung Galaxy z flip 3: £949, Samsung.com
  • Best mid-range Apple phone – Apple iPhone 13: £779, Apple.com
  • Best rugged phone – Nokia xr20: £399.99, Nokia.com
  • Best small smartphone – Apple iPhone 13 mini: £679, Apple.com
  • Best camera phone for zoom – Samsung Galaxy s22 ultra: £1,149, Samsung.com
  • Best Android phone for software – Google pixel 6: £599, Google.com

Apple iPhone 13 pro max

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.7in, 1,284 x 2,778px, 458 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto
  • Camera (front): 12MP
  • Dimensions: 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 240g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

The Apple iPhone 13 comes in four versions, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 pro and iPhone 13 pro max. The max is the biggest of the group but is identical to the iPhone 13 pro in every way except size, battery size and price. So, if the 6.7in display here means the phone is too big for your hands, then the iPhone 13 pro is the one for you. Where the iPhone 13 and mini have two cameras, the pro version has a third, a telephoto lens.

The cameras are one of the standouts on this phone. They are great in low light, have improved sensors and for the first time on an iPhone, a telephoto lens that’s the equivalent of a 3x zoom of the main camera. That main camera has a very cool macro mode: as you get right up close to your subject, the iPhone switches to the ultra-wide lens for a close-up shot that’s sharply focused. There’s also Cinematic Mode, a cool video feature which brilliantly, and automatically, blurs the background to put your subject in focus. It can even pull focus to favour whoever’s facing the camera.

The design of this year’s iPhones is nearly identical to last year’s iPhone 12 series, with flat edges. The pro and pro max were originally released in four colours, graphite (a very dark grey), silver, gold and Sierra blue which has a punch lightness to it. But in the last couple of months a new shade has launched, Alpine green, which is a subtle and elegant new option.It also uses something called a Ceramic Shield, a front covering that’s toughened to withstand being dropped.

Battery life has increased this year, with the iPhone 13 pro max boasting the longest battery life of any iPhone.

Read the full iPhone 13 pro max review

Oppo find x5 pro

Best: For design

Rating: 9/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.7in, 1,440 x 3,216px, 525 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 50MP wide, 13MP telephoto, 50MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 32MP
  • Dimensions: 163.7mm x 73.9mm x 8.5mm                               
  • Weight: 218g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Oppo’s find x5 pro continues the eye-catching design language of last year’s find x3 pro, with the camera panel rising organically from the back of the handset rather than a bolted-on mound. Here, the panel has a different shape that is attractive and appealing. The rear material is ceramic, which looks opulent and feels good.

Oppo is part of the same organisation of companies as OnePlus, which is why both now have links to Hasselblad for their cameras. The cameras are excellent, though this phone sadly lacks the novel and fun microscope camera from the previous x3 pro – on the other hand, the uses for that were limited. Video recording goes up to 8K, though given there are few 8K TVs on the market, this may have limited value, and anyway, 4K is crisp and immaculate. Like the OnePlus, this phone charges fast (empty to 50 per cent in 12 minutes).

Sony xperia 1 III

Best: Display

Rating: 9/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.5in, 1,644 x 3,840px, 643 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? Yes
  • Camera (rear): 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto
  • Camera (front): 8MP
  • Dimensions: 165mm x 71mm x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 186g
  • Headphone jack? Yes
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Sony’s latest flagship phone looks tremendous, especially when you look at the display: it has 4K resolution. Sony’s the only company making phones with a display as high-resolution as a full-size TV and it looks spectacular. This is not a small phone, though the longer aspect ratio helps to keep it slim enough for most hands to find comfortable. It’s a little thicker than previous Sony flagships but the good news is that it means it can accommodate a bigger battery and battery life is strong, lasting a full day with ease.

Sony favours a fingerprint sensor mounted on the side of the phone rather than under the display as with some here, and this works very well. Cameras are the best yet on a Sony phone, with much better results using the default settings, though there are useful advanced features, too.

Huawei p50 pro

Best: Camera phone

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.6in, 1,228 x 2,700px, 450 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? Yes
  • Camera (rear): 50MP wide, 64MP telephoto, 13MP ultrawide, 40MP black-and-white
  • Camera (front): 13MP
  • Dimensions: 158.8mm x 72.8mm x 8.5 mm
  • Weight: 195g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? No

Huawei’s designs are stunning, with a great understanding of colour and material. This new phone comes in two appealing colours, golden black and cocoa gold, both of which have a shimmery and attractive finish. Huawei is also world-leading for cameras, and the four lenses here are arranged in two large black circular cut-outs, evoking a classic film camera. As well as high-resolution wide and telephoto cameras, there’s also a 40mp black and white sensor, which is used to add sharpness for colour shots as well as impeccable monochrome ones.

This Huawei phone uses Android, but does not have Google mobile services such as Google Maps, Gmail or, crucially, Google Play Store. As such the Harmony AppGallery, though growing fast, lacks a number of the biggest apps. Still, there’s Petal Maps, designed in conjunction with TomTom, which is very good. The absence of GMS came about when Huawei fell out with the Trump government, and this has also led to the company being limited to 4G connectivity in this phone (unlike most other flagships which would be 5G-capable).

Google Pixel 6 pro

Best: Android phone

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.7in, 1,440 x 3,120px, 512 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 50MP wide, 48MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 11MP
  • Dimensions: 163.9mm x 75.9mm x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 210g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

The new phones from Google (there’s also the Pixel 6 below) have a distinctive design in the form of a camera panel, which stretches the width of the phone’s back. It has three cameras (two on the Pixel 6) and, this being Google, uses software to boost the image quality. This includes neat features like “magic eraser”, which can remove unwanted elements automatically or with a couple of taps. It’s pretty good, though no match for Photoshop. The main camera has a 50MP sensor and this phone is outstanding at low-light or night photography.

It also comes in cute colours, even if the names are questionable: “stormy black”, “cloudy white” and “sorta sunny”, each with two slightly different colours for the panels above and below the cameras. Like the iPhone 13 pro, it has a display with adaptive frame rates going up to 120Hz for the smoothest user experience.

With this phone, and the Pixel 6, Google has switched to using its own processor. For users who want the purest version of Android (which Google also makes), with extra features onboard, this is the best phone, and it comes at a noticeably lower price than comparable flagships.

Read the full Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 pro review

OnePlus 10 pro

Best: Value flagship

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.7in, 1,440 x 3,216px, 525 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 48MP wide, 8MP telephoto, 50MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 32MP
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 73.9mm x 8.6mm
  • Weight: 201g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Like the Oppo find x5 pro, there are Hasselblad camera smarts in the OnePlus 10 pro, which manages to offer as much as other flagship phones but for a noticeably lower price. Despite the price, it’s hard to find any cut corners. The display is rich and refreshes fast (120Hz), which makes everything look smooth whether you’re scrolling through lists or watching videos. The cameras, as you might expect from the co-branding, are strong, with the main and ultrawide delivering very effective images, though there are better snappers on some rivals here. Battery life is good and this phone recharges fast, though not quite as fast as the Xiaomi 12 pro below.

Read the full OnePlus 10 pro review

Xiaomi 12 pro

Best: For fast charging

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.73in, 3,200 x 1,440px, 521 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 50MP wide, 50MP telephoto, 50MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 32MP
  • Dimensions: 163.6mm x 74.6mm x 8.2 mm
  • Weight: 204g
  • Headphone jack? Yes
  • Wireless-chargeable? No
  • 5G? Yes

Xiaomi’s 12 pro is well-priced and offers a lot for the money. It has very fast charging: from zero to full in less than 20 minutes. It even charges quickly when you’re using wireless charging, though it’s faster when connected by wire. The battery lasts a full day, though nightly recharges are recommended. The processor onboard, the Qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 1, is fast and efficient, ensuring this phone is powerful and responsive. The curved edges make the phone fit the hand comfortably, though this is not a small handset, so it’s worth trying it out for size before buying. The three cameras work well. All have 50mp resolution though the main camera has the biggest sensor, able to deliver strong results even in low light. This is a great all-rounder phone.

Samsung Galaxy z flip 3

Best: Folding phone

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.7in (unfolded), 1,080 x 2,640px, 426 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 10MP
  • Dimensions: 166 x 72.2mm x 6.9mm unfolded, 86.4mm x 72.2mm x 15.9-17.1mm folded
  • Weight: 183g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Folding phones come in two types: ones that are phone size and fold out to be mini tablets. Then there’s this king, which folds in half from being a regular phone size to becoming amazingly pocketable. Where previous z flip phones seemed fragile, here, Samsung has got everything right: from the build to the processor to the screen quality.

There are neat extras: to take a self-portrait, press twice on the power button with the phone closed and the small external screen becomes a monitor to frame your shot so you can use the better, external cameras. The main display has a crease where it folds but, remarkably, when you’re watching a video on this screen, the crease is not evident. There’s a price premium for the convenience of a folding phone, but this is a very cool handset.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy z flip review

Apple iPhone 13

Best: Mid-range Apple phone

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.1in, 1,170 x 2,532px, 460 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 12MP
  • Dimensions: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 174g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Although the iPhone 13 pro is the most advanced iPhone yet, for many people the regular iPhone 13 is an appealing choice. It has a similar design to the pro, mostly different because there are two cameras, not three, positioned diagonally in the camera panel because they’re a lot bigger than last year’s. The other design differences are an aluminium frame and five different colours. These are midnight, pink, blue, product(red) and starlight, which is a cross between gold and silver. Like the iPhone 13 pro, the iPhone 13 has recently gained a new colour: green, a gleaming and attractive shade.

The processor isn’t quite as powerful as on the pro but key features like the excellent cinematic mode for video are here and performance is strong. Battery life is also better than last year’s iPhone 12.

Read the full iPhone 13 review

Nokia xr20

Best: Rugged phone

Rating: 7/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.67in, 1,080 x 2,400px, 395 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: LCD
  • Storage capacity: 64/128GB
  • Expandable storage? Yes
  • Camera (rear): 48MP wide, 13MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 8MP
  • Dimensions: 171.6mm x 81.5mm x 10.6mm
  • Weight: 248g
  • Headphone jack? Yes
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Rugged phones are great for the active, the sporty and the clumsy. Usually, they have less-potent specifications, so the inclusion of 5G connectivity here is a surprise. Nokia has made rugged phones in the past, but this is its best in years.

The front glass is tough and highly protective, and there’s also a free screen replacement offered in the first year should you need it. The back is textured plastic with thick rubber bumpers. It also has waterproofing. Even so, it doesn’t look as much like a ruggedised phone as you might expect. Like several phones here, there’s no charger included, though Nokia makes a donation to charity if one is bought separately.

Apple iPhone 13 mini

Best: Small smartphone

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 5.4in, 1,080 x 2,340px, 476 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 12MP
  • Dimensions: 131.5mm x 64.2mm x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 141g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

In the last decade or so, the size of phones has grown hugely, but our hands haven’t really evolved quite as quickly. In a world of big smartphones, one stands out as perfect for smaller mitts. The iPhone 13 mini is smaller than the entry-level iPhone se, but because it has an all-screen front, there’s a much bigger display – in fact, it’s the highest-resolution screen on any smartphone in terms of pixel density.

Last year’s iPhone 12 mini had decidedly average battery life but this year’s model has 90 minutes more per charge, enough to get through a day. It has a processor and cameras identical to the bigger iPhone 13, and a matching design, down to the tough front glass and chic design.

At first, when you pick it up, it’s such a contrast to other phones it almost seems like a toy, but the display is quickly immersive. It’s highly usable, though bigger fingers may find the small onscreen keyboard a little tight. It comes in the same colours as the iPhone 13 – midnight, pink, blue, product (red) and starlight – with green just added to the range.

Samsung Galaxy s22 ultra

Best: Camera phone for zoom

Rating: 8/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.8in, 1,440 x 3,088px, 500 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256/512GB/1TB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 108MP wide, 10MP telephoto, 10MP periscope telephoto, 12MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 40MP
  • Dimensions: 163.3mm x 77.9mm x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 228g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? No
  • 5G? Yes

This is Samsung’s flagship phone for the first half of 2022. Unlike previous Galaxy s phones, this one has a smart stylus, called the s pen, which tucks away into the bottom of the handset. This is a feature borrowed from the now-discontinued Note series and means that there is room for some productivity, such as scribbling notes on the phone when you don’t have a notepad handy. This phone is the best-designed Galaxy so far, with the four big cameras peeping out of the back of the handset rather than a raised panel as on most phones. The cameras are exceptionally good and especially stand out for their capabilities when you’re zooming in. There’s a 100x option, though realistically picture quality isn’t the best at this level. This is an accomplished, highly capable and very powerful phone, though it’s not cheap.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy s22 ultra review

Google Pixel 6

Best: Android phone for software

Rating: 7/10

  • Screen size and resolution: 6.4in, 1,080 x 2,400px, 411 pixels per inch
  • Screen technology: OLED
  • Storage capacity: 128/256GB
  • Expandable storage? No
  • Camera (rear): 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide
  • Camera (front): 8MP
  • Dimensions: 158.6mm x 74.8mm x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 207g
  • Headphone jack? No
  • Wireless-chargeable? Yes
  • 5G? Yes

Google’s Pixel 6 pro, above, is a great phone. But if you prefer something smaller, then the Pixel 6 offers flagship capabilities at a very keen price. There are two cameras, not three, and the display isn’t as high-resolution, but the phone still looks good and is a fast performer.

Like the pro, the software here is pure Android, so it works seamlessly at all times. It also includes special extra apps like recorder, which is perfect for taking the minutes of a meeting, for instance, because it records and transcribes voices in real time. The new Android 12 software is already on board here and has cute details, like icons that change colour to match the theme you’ve chosen.

Read the full Google Pixel 6 review

The verdict: Best phones

Apple’s iPhone 13 pro and iPhone 13 pro max are handsome and highly effective, with extremely good cameras and great battery life, especially in the bigger max size. Oppo’s latest also has a great design, and charges very fast. And the Samsung Galaxy s22 ultra is a big, effective device with a built-in stylus.

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