Best Android Phones to Buy in 2022


The Android phone world is vast. The amount of hungry phone manufacturers out there vying to provide the best Android phone 2022 has yet seen is staggering. They all want to at least convince you they make the best one on the market, and they’ve got a lot to tempt you with these days. There are so many great Android phone choices out there with standout features, like fast charging, 5G, and next-level multicamera systems just waiting to wow you.

Samsung, who remains one of the absolute rock stars of the mobile device world, keeps offering us cutting-edge technology (for the top tier price tags that usually come with such innovation) — with larger screens, higher definition and more, like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and even folding phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Not to be outdone, Google’s own Pixel 6 series uses stock Android, custom processors and comes equipped with a solid camera system on the back. 

But all those choices can also make the shopping experience overwhelming and confusing, which is why I’ve rounded up my favorite picks. These powerful Android phones all have generally great cameras, screens, battery life or all of the above. I also considered features such as 5G and wireless charging. Read on to see my top picks for the best Android phones and check out the best tips on how to buy a new phone, too. CNET’s team updates this list periodically as we review new products.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Like:
• S Pen is included with the phone and there’s a slot for storing it
• Great low-light photography
• Closer zoom than most competing phones
• Distinct design

Don’t like:
• Expensive
• Cameras are mostly the same as on the Galaxy S21 Ultra
• Battery life isn’t as long as the S21 Ultra

The $1,200 Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the most expensive Android phones out there, but for good reason. It has a giant 6.8-inch display, an S Pen stylus you can store inside the phone (just like the Galaxy Note), and a four-lens camera with a zoom range that’s hard to beat. Samsung also improved the way all of its new Galaxy phones take photos in low light, which is especially important on a photography-oriented phone like the Ultra. 

The only downsides? The S22 Ultra’s sky-high price and relatively short battery life. Still, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best phone for people who want the biggest screen and one of the best cameras available in a smartphone. You just have to be willing to pay a higher price for those perks.

Read our Galaxy S22 Ultra review.

 

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Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Like:
• Bright screen
• Good balance of screen size and comfort
• Better camera with improved color and contrast
• Attractive design

Don’t like:
• $1,000 is still expensive for a phone
• Battery life isn’t as long as the iPhone 13 Pro’s
• No new built-in camera modes
• Fast charging requires a special $50 adapter

The $1,000 Galaxy S22 Plus has the right balance of size, performance and camera performance for most people. The 6.6-inch screen provides plenty of space for those who prefer larger-sized phones but feel like the Ultra might be too overwhelming (and expensive). The upgrade to a 50-megapixel camera also makes a huge difference compared to last year’s Galaxy S21 lineup, especially when it comes to color and contrast in photos. 

My biggest complaint is that the battery life was just mediocre, although it did outlast the regular Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Ultra during CNET’s battery test. It also would have been nice to see new features that take advantage of the S22’s improved camera, especially since the S22 Plus is more expensive than several phones on this list. Still, the Galaxy S22 Plus has everything most people need in a new phone.

Read our Galaxy S22 Plus review.

 

You’re receiving price alerts for Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (128GB, Green)

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Like:
• Excellent cameras
• Solid all-round performance
• Neat Android 12 interface
• Attractive design

Don’t like:
• Battery is good, but not great
• Fast charge isn’t all that fast
• No face unlock

Google stayed out of the flagship segment for a couple of years and spent the time making its own chip that specialized in machine learning and artificial intelligence. The Pixel 6 Pro packs all of it with a photography prowess that’s hard to beat. 

Google’s $899 higher-end phone still undercuts rivals on price while including so much value. It is a big phone, with a 6.7-inch screen, which is pin-sharp thanks to its 3,120×1,440-pixel resolution. It has an adaptive refresh rate that can go up to 120Hz when you’re playing fast-paced games, but also slows down to only 10Hz when the phone is basically sitting idle. The 5,003-mAh battery should be good for a full day of mixed usage. 

You’re receiving price alerts for Google Pixel 6 Pro (128GB, Stormy Black)

Patrick Holland/CNET

Like:
• Two-tone design
• Value for the price
• The main camera is Google’s best

Don’t like:
• Under-display fingerprint reader can be frustrating
• Battery life is good, but hard to get more than a day
• The ultrawide camera is decent but not on the same level as the main camera

Google’s Pixel 6 is the smartphone to get if you want a big screen, flagship performance, some of the best cameras on the market and a look that distinguishes it from the competition. Google extended its three years of OS and security updates to five, so it’ll last. In the US, the Pixel 6 is available both through Google and all major carriers. 

The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch, 1080p screen. It can be set to automatically switch from 60Hz to 90Hz depending on the content onscreen. However, the fingerprint sensor is on the slower side. It comes with two rear cameras: the main camera with a wide-angle lens and a second camera with an ultrawide-angle lens. 

If you have $599 and are looking for a new phone, the Pixel 6 is our recommendation.

You’re receiving price alerts for Google Pixel 6 (128GB, Stormy Black)

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Like:
• Improved camera with better low-light photography
• Elegant design
• Great size for people who prefer smaller phones

Don’t like:
• Battery life could be better

Finding a smaller-sized Android phone is no easy task these days. Most phones come with screens that are at least 6.4 inches or larger, leaving people who prefer petite phones with few options. The $800 Galaxy S22 checks that box. It has everything we loved about the Galaxy S22 Plus — an eye-catching design, an excellent camera system with a 50-megapixel main lens and a sharp screen — but in a more pocket-friendly size. 

Still, the Galaxy S22 falls short in the same area as its pricier siblings: battery life. I was able to get through a full day with the S22’s refresh rate set to adaptive, which cranks it up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling, but only barely. That said, the S22’s battery life might be enough for some people, especially those who spend most of their day at home or in the office with a charger nearby. The Galaxy S22 is otherwise a solid choice for any Android user, but especially those looking for a smaller-sized phone.

Read our Galaxy S22 review.

 

You’re receiving price alerts for Samsung Galaxy S22 (128GB, Phantom Black)

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Like:
• Nice screen
• Speedy performance
• IP67 water-resistant
• Affordable price

Don’t like:
• No wireless charging

The next-gen Pixel 6a is available now, and if you want 5G on the cheap the smartphone is a solid choice. This Pixel phone has a high-end chipset, great rear cameras, a good display, and average battery life. It is one of the cheapest good 5G smartphones you can buy right now.

Read our Google Pixel 6A review.

 

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Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Like:
• Classy design
• Powerful performance
• All-day battery life
• Vibrant screen

Don’t like:
• Disappointing camera
• Waterproof rating restricted to T-Mobile-exclusive models
• Lacks 80-watt fast charging in the US

The OnePlus 10 Pro earned a good score in our review thanks to its slick design, its powerful performance and its price tag, which undercuts its main rivals. It needs a few improvements — most notably to the camera, which is good, but not great — but this flagship offers a great overall experience. If you’re after a top-end 5G phone that’s a bit different to your friends’ iPhones and Galaxy phones then it’s a solid option to consider.

You’re receiving price alerts for OnePlus 10 Pro (128GB, Volcanic Black)

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like:
• 120Hz cover screen
• Water resistance
• Enhanced tablet experience
• Software improvements for multitasking and Flex Mode

Don’t like:
• $1,800 is still expensive

Foldable phones haven’t really hit the mainstream, remaining instead only in the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest in mobile innovation. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the best folding phone around, offering top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its folding technology that make this Android smartphone more desirable than its predecessor.

You’re receiving price alerts for Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 (512GB, Phantom Black)

Samsung

Likes:

  • Better battery life than before
  • Still the best flip phone to get into foldables
  • Water resistance

Dislikes:

  • Same cameras as the Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is an iterative update but it packs a punch for the $1,000 price tag. With a better battery life thanks to a more power efficient processor and a bigger battery, the Flip is finally worth investing in as a flagship device.

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Patrick Holland/CNET

At a whopping price of $2,500, the Sony Xperia Pro isn’t for everyone. But if you’re a photographer or videographer looking for professional-level camera phone features, you can’t go wrong. The Xperia Pro is essentially four products in one: a phone, a camera monitor, a speedy photo file transfer device and a 5G machine suitable for broadcasting and livestreaming.

Read our Sony Xperia Pro review.

 

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More phone and Android recommendations

Best Android Phones to Buy in 2022 21


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