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Best smartphones 2022: The best phones we’ve tested this year

Trusted Reviews recommends the very best mobile phones available now on Android and iOS, including the top options for photos, battery life and gaming

Introduction

The smartphone is one of the most impactful pieces of technology ever created, and your smartphone is likely the most important piece of tech you own, which is why it can be very overwhelming when you need to upgrade. With so many different phones available on the market, all with distinctive features and styles, finding the best phone can be far from easy.

That’s why we’re here, and why we’ve carefully curated this list of all the best smartphones we’ve ever reviewed. We get through dozens and dozens of phones every year, from feature-packed flagships to budget handsets and everything in between, our expert team has plenty of experience.

Though we are also aware that everyone is looking for something different when they buy a new phone; whether you’re after a device that can last for hours without needing to be charged, you want the best camera on a smartphone, or you’re looking to play the latest games.

That’s why our list covers a variety of phones made by different companies, with iPhones and Android phones being featured on this list.

We also have curated other best lists if you’re looking for a more specific handset. Our best camera phone round-up focuses on a device’s photographic and videography skills, while our best cheap phone and best mid-range phone lists focus solely on more affordable options depending on your budget.

Which is the best smartphone 2022?

How we test

Learn more about how we test mobile phones

Every phone included in the below list has been properly tested and used for an extended period by one of our product experts. We don’t review phones based purely on specs or a manufacturer’s claims – we use them as our everyday devices for at least five days and usually for much longer. 

If you read a phone review on Trusted Reviews, you’ll know the reviewer has popped their personal SIM card into the phone, transferred across their most-used apps and even their backlog of WhatsApp messages. We go all in, so you know you’re getting an honest view of a product.

Our review process includes a mixture of real-world tests, along with more than 15 measured tests and industry-standard benchmarks. We believe this gives the most rounded view of a device. The scores a phone receives from a run under our professional colourimeters aren’t worth much if the screen can’t be used comfortably on a sunny day.

iPhone 14 Pro

The best iPhone
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Pros

  • Great screen that gets very bright outdoors
  • Versatile camera system for both photography and videography
  • Always-on display and Dynamic Island are both neat tricks
  • Additional safety features are always welcome

Cons

  • Not the quickest to charge
  • Zoom photography isn’t on the level of the competition
  • Only really a day of battery life

If you’re looking for a true flagship phone and want iOS, as opposed to Android, you’re going to be looking at the iPhone 14 Pro – the current best iPhone on the market.

For the first time, the Pro model of the iPhone 14 line feels like a true step forward over the modest iPhone 14. This is where the true innovations lie, from the clever Dynamic Island that finally makes sense of the notch to the first always-on display on an iPhone.

The Dynamic Island caught the eye when the iPhone 14 Pro was first announced, not least because of the slightly silly name. In practice it works very well, turning the notch into a sort of secondary interaction zone where your currently playing song and timers go. The functionality will only improve once the developers have access to it and I am sure we will see something similar from Android makers in the coming months.

The camera is another big upgrade. Like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the majority of Android phones on this list, the camera uses the high megapixel (in this case 48-megapixels) sensor to combine multiple pixels into one, giving you 12-megapixel images. The results are mostly great and, some oversharpening aside, stand out as the best pictures from any smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best choice for zoom though, and we still think the Pixel 6 Pro captures more natural and realistic skin tones.

When it comes to video the iPhone is the true star though, easily capturing the finest footage on test. Add in the new Action Mode that improves stabilisation and you’ve got the best phone for videography we’ve tested.

The screen is also the brightest and best we’ve tested, while the performance skills here are comfortably above the Android competition. Battery life is good too, though the charging speeds pale in comparison to phones from Oppo, OnePlus and Xiaomi.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Apple iPhone 14 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The best flagship Android phone
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Pros

  • Stunning display with fantastic detail and brightness
  • Versatile camera system with impressive zoom
  • Good low-light camera performance
  • Fast charging
  • Promise of many years of updates

Cons

  • Battery life should be better
  • Design a step backward
  • You need to buy the fast charger separately

For some, the fact our pick for the best phone runs iOS means that it is not really an option for them. For those that will only consider the best of what Android has to offer, we don’t think you can go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

It might be an S series smartphone in name, but truth be told this is essentially the next-generation Galaxy Note – and that means it’s the only handset on this list to boast an integrated stylus. The S Pen lets you doodle, jot down shopping lists, or navigate the UI with a dinky pen – you can’t do that on the iPhone 14 Pro.

Samsung’s latest effort doesn’t always come out on top in all photographic situations, but it does leave the competition choking in the dust when it comes to zoom. If you push the telephoto zoom even as far as 10x, you’ll find that the results are far crisper and more usable than those of the iPhone 14 Pro and the Pixel 6.

Our reviewer praised the high-res display on the S22 Ultra for its accurate colours and beautiful representation of HDR video. We were also impressed with the excellent performance for both gaming and general use thanks to the top-end chipsets. It might not be able to match the iPhone 14 Pro for pure speed (both in Geekbench scores and our user experience), but really it’s not too far off.

However, the S22 Ultra does leave a little to be desired in its battery performance. This might not be so bad compared to other high-end Android phones like the Oppo Find X5, but it doesn’t last anywhere near as long in normal usage as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Our reviewer managed to, in some cases, get through two days with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, while the S22 Ultra only just made it until the end of day one. Considering the sheer size of both phones, this is a bit of a shame.

If you want a slightly cheaper – but still very capable – Android superphone then the outgoing Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra remains an admirable performer with an overall design that we actually prefer to the newer model.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Review

Google Pixel 7 Pro

The best software
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Pros

  • Excellent camera and loads of clever camera tricks
  • The best version of Android on the market
  • Priced well for the European market

Cons

  • Charging could, and should, be faster
  • Very glossy finish and some odd design elements
  • Not a huge upgrade on the Pixel 6 Pro

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is a fantastic Android phone that undercuts rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra when it comes to price, without ditching too many features.

Google’s latest flagship, launched alongside a smaller Pixel 7 model, ticks just about all the boxes our reviewers look for in a phone that ends up on this list. It has a great screen with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, a sleek design, capable internals thanks to the Tensor G2 and battery life that matches up to phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus.

But there are really two areas where the Pixel 7 Pro stands out. First of all – the camera. Our reviewer was very impressed with the photography skills of this phone, praising its true-to-life skin tones, colours and landscape reproduction. It handles skin and pictures of faces better than the iPhone 14 Pro, or Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

There are lots of software tricks in the camera app too, many utilising the AI skills of the Tensor G2 chipset. You can remove unwanted elements from snaps, be it people or objects, and smooth out blurry shots.

The rest of the phone’s software is great too. It’s not as buggy as previous Pixel phones and feels clean, smooth and quick to use.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Google Pixel 7 Pro Review

iPhone 14 Pro Max

The best big iPhone
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Pros

  • Stunning display
  • Performance that should stay fast for a long time
  • Reliable cameras in all conditions
  • Long battery life
  • Dynamic island is a great idea

Cons

  • No big zoom camera improvements
  • Uncomfy design without a case

If you’re looking for an iPhone that not just gets everything done but also offers you a lovely big screen to enjoy as well, then your best bet would be the iPhone 14 Pro Max. With this 6.7-inch OLED display, we found especially that HDR-supported content from the likes of Netflix or Disney Plus looked simply brilliant on this panel, which also gives so much more space to get immersed in your games.

Of course, with such a big screen then you’ll have to be ready to handle this handset’s bulkier profile as well, and it measures a healthy 240g which is far from featherweight.

This device has far more to offer than just its large screen. The camera is both brilliant and versatile, with three lenses on the rear, and it’s powerful too thanks to its muscular new A16 Bionic chipset. What’s more, the battery life is very generous too, making this device the excellent all-rounder that it should be for the price.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: iPhone 14 Pro Max Review

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Best for features
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Pros

  • Brilliant screen
  • Great camera
  • Attractive design
  • Strong performance

Cons

  • Battery life could be better
  • Expensive

Sitting below the Galaxy S22 Ultra in Samsung’s 2022 range of flagship devices, the Galaxy S22 Plus rids itself of a few of the dearer phone’s luxury features and comes in at a lower price. The display, for example, is 1080p rather than 1440p so there’s a step down in sharpness, and the camera array isn’t as extensive either. You also miss out on the novelty of an S Pen, and the screen here is flat rather than curved.

If you’re not particularly upset about those omissions then we can very easily recommend the S22 Plus as one of the best Android phones we’ve tested, especially if you’re familiar with previous Samsung phones.

The S22 Plus is a large phone, though it remains marginally smaller and easier to slip into a pocket than the Ultra or the iPhone 13 Pro Max; however, it can’t match the Apple flagships for endurance. We managed to consistently get through the day with the S22 Plus, but it’s not close to being a multi-day phone.

The three rear cameras offer a good deal of versatility, and images don’t look too different from the Ultra. Samsung loves to push up the colour saturation in its photo processing, so you’ll notice colours – especially reds and green – pop more than in the iPhone competition. These punchier colours look great on the phone’s bright OLED display.

Reviewer: Peter Phelps
Full review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review

Realme GT 2 Pro

The best mid-range phone
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Pros

  • Gorgeous display
  • Flagship-grade performance
  • Excellent battery life and fast charging

Cons

  • Lacks a dedicated telephoto camera
  • Paper-like design will divide opinion
  • No wireless charging or IP rating

If you’re unaware of Realme, then you should sit up and take note of the brand now that it’s launched the GT 2 Pro. For the price, this is a top Android phone that performs just as capably as the Galaxy S22 Ultra according to our range of benchmarking tests. Open up a high-spec game on the Realme GT 2 Pro, and it holds its own against much pricier competition.

It’s a similar story again for the display. We put the Realme GT 2 Pro next to the Pixel 6 for comparison, and the 6.7-inch screen here is sharper, smoother when scrolling, and brighter in sunny conditions. It’s not quite on the same level as the iPhone 14 Pro or S22 Ultra – but we wouldn’t expect that for this price.

In our charge tests, the GT 2 Pro impressed us yet again. Not only is there a charger in the box (unlike the latest handsets from Apple, Samsung, and Sony) but a full 0-100% charge only takes around 30 minutes, which is the fastest out of any of the other phones that make this list.

A couple of sacrifices have been made to hit the desired price, but we don’t consider any one of these to be a dealbreaker. For instance, the rear design lacks the glass finish of some of the top phones (though in its place there’s an innovative paperlike texture), and it doesn’t have the ability to charge wirelessly. More concerning is the lack of IP rating for certified protection against dust and water, and the lack of a telephoto camera for photographic versatility.

Reviewer: Tom Morgan
Full review: Realme GT 2 Pro review

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Best phone for gaming
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Pros

  • Muscular performance
  • Smooth and responsive screen
  • Good battery life and fast-charging

Cons

  • Cameras aren’t the best
  • Not for non-gamers
  • Expensive

While the other devices on this list do of course have their own specialities, they remain very strong all-rounders. This one’s a little different in that its raison d’être is purely to be the best at gaming. According to our review experience, it achieved that goal with style to spare.

The Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro offers absolutely scorching performance levels and runs even the most demanding games with an invigorating smoothness, with this quality being further enhanced by the incredible 165Hz refresh rate boasted by the highly capable display. This screen also supports a dizzying 720Hz touch-sampling rate, so you’ll get every possible advantage over your adversaries in competitive multiplayer games.

What’s more, as if the internals weren’t impressive enough, the externals also nail the gaming aesthetic with a small external screen and a confidently stylish look in a fetching white colour, along with support for an array of gaming peripherals (such as a cooling fan) that further enhance the experience.

On the other hand, the camera isn’t quite up to the standards of the other brilliant devices on this list, with the wide angle sensor being good but unspectacular, and the less being said about the underwhelming ultrawide and macro snapper the better. You’d only be advised to buy this phone if you’re an avid gamer who wants nothing but to be the best.

Reviewer: Peter Phelps

Full Review: Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The best foldable phone
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Pros

  • Smart UI tweaks
  • Camera no longer an issue
  • The form factor really does work

Cons

  • Lack of apps making true use of the big inner screen limits usefulness
  • Crease and thick body remain from the previous iteration
  • Price still puts it out of reach for most

If it’s a foldable phone you want, the best one we’ve reviewed – by some margin – is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s not a monumental upgrade over the outgoing model, but it features a number of smaller tweaks that make it the one to choose.

For instance, the camera is no longer a reason not to buy a foldable phone. The triple sensor array on the back of the Z Fold 4 takes pictures that are on par with the Galaxy S22 Plus – something we couldn’t have said about the Z Fold 3. Our reviewer also found it was hard to tell the difference between daylight snaps shot with the Z Fold 4 and Samsung’s other high-end smartphone, the S22 Ultra.

It’s not a perfect camera though. Low-light performance is good, but not on par with the Pixel 6 Pro, while the iPhone 14 Pro captures more pleasing video. The 3x optical zoom is also merely adequate, and not a patch on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Of course, the real reason to choose this phone over another on this list is the display. There’s a small panel on the outside, but open the phone up and the 7.6-inch 120Hz OLED panel gives you a full tablet view. The aspect ratio is a lot squarer than you might expect, so you will have black bars around video. Still, it’s great for multitasking and Samsung’s new taskbar lets you flip between apps without heading back to the home screen every time.

The 4400mAh battery got our reviewer through a busy day, even if they did wish the charging situation was a little faster. You’ll need a full 90 minutes to get from 0-100%, which is triple the time required to get a full charge on the OnePlus 10T.

Durability is also worth a look, as previous Fold devices have struggled in this area. This feels like the strongest Z Fold yet. The IPX8 water resistance remains, there’s a stronger Gorilla Glas Victus on the front and the hinge feels sturdy.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review

FAQs

What is a 90 or 120Hz display, and why would I want one?

Most of the phones included within this list feature a high refresh rate display, either at 90Hz or 120Hz. This means the display refreshes at either 90 or 120 times per second, up from the older standard of 60Hz. Having a fast display makes everything feel a bit smoother, be it swiping through Instagram or gaming. The iPhone 14 with its 60Hz display, for example, simply can’t compare to the smooth scrolling you’ll get from the 120Hz iPhone 14 Pro.

Should I buy a phone with 5G?

Most new phones, especially those over £400/$400, will now support 5G. This is the next step up from 4G, and provides faster and more reliable download speeds in areas where the network is live. 5G varies by country, with the USA touting a tech called mmWave that has far superior speeds if you’re in the right spot. While 5G isn’t a must have yet, it’s always good to futureproof your purchases and as most new phones come with the tech now you likely won’t miss out.

How much should I spend on a phone?

There are excellent phones at all price points these days, with the best often costing above a grand if you want the very best. If you aren’t so fussed on things like camera performance and display quality you can get an excellent device for £500/$600.

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

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Comparison Specifications

Here are all the specs for our best phones. Remember, the number of megapixels doesn’t always equal a better camera.

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Wirless charging
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
Ports
Chipset
RAM
Colours
Stated Power

Trusted Reviews test data

While test data doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s an important part of our review process. As you can see, the iPhone 14 series is the king when it comes to benchmarks, especially Geekbench, providing top scores.

Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
sRGB
Adobe RGB
DCI-P3
Max brightness
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
30 minute gaming (intensive)
30 minute gaming (light)
1 hour music streaming (online)
1 hour music streaming (offline)
Time from 0-100% charge
Time from 0-50% charge
3D Mark – Wild Life
3D Mark – Wild Life Stress Test

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Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

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