NextPit

The best smartphones you can buy in 2022

Update: Updated September 2022
NextPit Best Phones 2021
© MawardiBahar / Shutterstock.com, Collage: NextPit

Do you have a rather juicy budget and want to treat yourself to a new high-end smartphone? Choices like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, iPhone 14 Pro, or ROG Phone 6 Pro are just some of the models that we have selected for you in this list of the best high-end smartphones available in 2022.

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The best smartphones in 2022 compared

  Best smartphone Best camera phone Best value-for-money Best foldable phone Most eco-friendly Best gaming phone
Device
Image Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Apple iPhone 14 Pro Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus 5G Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Fairphone 4 Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
Pros
  • Excellent 120Hz QHD+ display
  • Very elegant sleek and square design
  • More consistent S Pen integration
  • Still the champion when it comes to versatile photos
  • Unrivalled Android update policy
  • Dynamic Island is much more than a gimmick
  • Excellent display
  • A16 Bionic SoC is incredibly fast and comparatively easy on the battery
  • 48-megapixels camera performance
  • Perfectly calibrated screen
  • Fast 120 watts charging (yes, it is fun)
  • Efficient 108 MP main camera lens
  • microSD port and 3.5 mm jack
  • Adequate battery life
  • Plain but neat design
  • The hybrid tablet/smartphone form factor remains relevant
  • Neat design and excellent finish
  • More discreet and rigid hinges
  • Efficient and versatile triple 50 MP camera module with 3x optical zoom
  • Very solid battery life
  • Good performance
  • 4 Android updates and 5 years of security updates
  • IPX8 rating
  • Possibly receive up to 6 years of software updates
  • Sustainable device
  • Made under fair working conditions
  • Surprisingly good camera performance
  • Feels well-made
  • Good battery life
  • Well-calibrated AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 165 Hz
  • Large 6,000 mAh battery with excellent battery life
  • Very cool and fully assumed gaming design
  • 3.5 mm jack and IPX4 rating
  • The second USB-C port is placed on the edge
  • Effective temperature control and X mode really boosts performance
  • ROG UI gives you full control of the device
Cons
  • Disappointing Exynos 2200 performance
  • Poor battery life
  • Fast recharge is not fast enough and the $60 charger is not included
  • Expensive price
  • Basic 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage configuration is too limited
  • The Always-on Display is a bit annoying (but can be turned off)
  • No fast-charging
  • No SIM card slot
  • Camera module is not very versatile and disappointing at night
  • Update policy is too limited (Android 11 by default)
  • IP53 certification is limited
  • No wireless charging
  • Adequate performance, but not mind-blowing
  • Ugly Forest Green color
  • Under display selfie camera is disappointing
  • HD+ resolution of the cover screen is too low
  • Cover screen is still a little bit too narrow
  • 25W wired charging is too slow
  • No 3.5mm audio jack
  • Comparatively expensive
  • Rather large and heavy
  • LCD display with a teardrop notch
  • Lags technically behind similarly priced smartphones
  • The camera module is neither groundbreaking nor versatile
  • The rather limited update policy
  • The expensive price
Rating
Read the Galaxy S22 Ultra review
Read the iPhone 14 Pro review
-
Read the Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Read the Fairphone 4 review
Read the ROG Phone 6 Pro review
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Selecting a high-end smartphone means getting the best screen, the best performance, and the best camera possible. In recent years, high-end smartphones have become more and more premium, be it in terms of design, technical specifications, or price.

In this selection, we have classified smartphones into different categories in order to meet different budgets and types of use. A gamer, for example, will not necessarily require the latest 200 MP camera. We have therefore targeted some of the main concerns one has when buying a smartphone.

Jump to:

  1. Buying advice: Things to consider
  2. NextPit recommends: The best smartphones of 2022
    1. Best smartphone in 2022: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
    2. Best camera smartphone: Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    3. Best value-for-money: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    4. Best foldable smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
    5. Best gaming smartphone: ROG Phone 6 Pro
    6. Most sustainable smartphone: Fairphone 4
  3. How did NextPit select the best smartphones?
  4. Alternatives to buying new
  5. Upcoming sales at a glance
  6. Further "Best Of" lists

Buying guide: Things to consider

Each year, smartphone manufacturers try to add exciting new features to their models, ranging from cameras to batteries and even the form factor itself. Below are a few tips on what to look for when buying a smartphone in 2022.

Main characteristics of current smartphones

  • Form factor: Foldable displays are probably the most exciting development in smartphones in recent years. Thanks to flexible displays, the form factors of the smartphones themselves are also becoming more flexible. In 2022, you will have choices between the ultra-compact Galaxy Z Flip 4, the standard brick format from the iPhone to the Xiaomi, or the foldable tablet in the form of the Galaxy Z Fold 4. You can find a current overview of the best foldable smartphones here:
  • Cameras: The vast majority of high-end smartphones offer at least three cameras at the back: ultra-wide, standard wide-angle, and telephoto. Do not be blinded by the resolution count: The difference between 12 and 200 megapixels is not as big as the numbers suggest. What is more important are factors like the sensor size or the image processing algorithms. You can read more about this in the respective smartphone reviews or in the following article.
Google Pixel 6
Essential for a top smartphone in 2022: a good camera! / © NextPit
  • Battery life: You hardly have to worry about battery life in 2022 for flagships. Even with intensive use, you can get through the day with the vast majority of models. However, the differences are starker when it comes to charging: While Xiaomi charges its smartphones completely using 120 watts in a matter of minutes, Apple and Samsung are more conservative. Additional information about batteries and fast charging can be found in the following article.
  • Display: First it was 60 Hz, then 90 Hz, 120 Hz, or even 144 Hz: Over the past two years, smartphones have been getting faster and faster displays, and even Apple has jumped aboard the bandwagon since the iPhone 13 Pro was released. High refresh rates ensure a smoother display, whether for gaming or in everyday use. However, the higher Hertz numbers also nibble away at the battery, so manufacturers usually adjust the refresh rates depending on the content being displayed. You can read more about screens via the following article.
  • Processing power & other specifications: The high-end smartphones of 2022 are all so powerful that you'll have a hard time pushing them to their limits. All flagships offer more than enough power for current games and for everyday life anyway. The same applies to 5G, which is now standard equipment in smartphones. However, you should carefully consider how much memory you need before buying. This is because expansion options like a microSD card slot are almost non-existent in the upper mid-range models.

NextPit recommends: These are the best flagship smartphones in 2022

I presented in a comparative table at the beginning of this article concerning the best flagships in 2022. In what follows, I will approach the different smartphones one by one. Depending on the type of user, there is a perfect choice for everybody. 

The best smartphone of 2022: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
With the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung has presented one of the hottest contenders for the best smartphone of 2022 / © NextPit

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is, in our opinion, the best high-end smartphone you can buy in 2022. Whether it's its screen, design, camera, or user experience, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the best balance by excelling on most of these points without having any real big flaws.

Compared to the Galaxy S22 and S22+, the S22 Ultra offers some exciting innovations. Samsung has managed to integrate the S Pen stylus directly into the smartphone body. That's right, 2022 essentially began with the launch of a new Samsung Galaxy Note. In addition, Samsung managed to improve the already powerful quad-camera module of the Galaxy S21 Ultra once again. The S22 Ultra offers larger sensors and should therefore produce better shots, especially at night.

The best camera phone: Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Apple iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro is an excellent camera smartphone. / © NextPit

The iPhone 14 Pro is not the best iPhone, but also our best camera smartphone. Unlike previous years, Apple made significant changes by replacing the notch with the Dynamic Island in the form of a pill cut-out, but most importantly, a new camera system. The iPhone 14 Pro embeds a new triple camera module that is spearheaded by a new 48 MP camera.

The latest flagship of Apple takes very nice pictures by offering extremely natural renders that iPhone cameras are famous for. The colors are consistent between the different sensors and with the new 2x zoom introduced in the main camera, the ultra wide-angle can also capture macro shots while the telephoto lens excels with its 3x zoom. All these make the iPhone 14 Pro's camera system a very seductive proposition due to its versatility.

Apple has also had videographers in mind by improving the Cinematic Mode with the possibility of filming in 4K and the new Action mode which offers a greater stabilization of your videos.

Best value-for-money: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G

Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus 5G module photo
The 108 MP camera module of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G. / © NextPit

Yes, we managed to place a smartphone that costs less than $400 on this list of high-end smartphones. Antoine claimed that it is the best mid-range smartphone of Xiaomi of the year. The Note 11 Pro+ 5G features a MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC, a high-end mobile processor, coupled with four Mali G-68 GPUs with 128 or 256 GB of UFS 2.2 storage and 6 or 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM. We've seen more powerful, but it's got a lot going for it!

The plus points of this Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G is of course the 120 watts fast charging, which takes 5 minutes to charge from 0 to 40% of battery. The 6.67-inch AMOLED screen in Full HD+ resolution offers a refresh rate of 120 Hz and a brightness of 700 nits.

When it comes to cameras, the primary lens of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G has a wide-angle camera with a 108 MP resolution. This is a lot for a smartphone that costs less than $400. For Antoine, this smartphone did very well under almost all conditions, and the SoC also allows you to shoot in 4K, which other Redmi Note 11s are incapable of. This is what makes the difference and will allow the amateur videographer to be able to film at any time.

Best foldable smartphone: Samsung Z Fold 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 test
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the market reference for foldables. / © NextPit

Samsung is the undisputed champion of foldable smartphones with its Galaxy Z Fold 4. The South Korean manufacturer confirmed its supremacy with their latest magnum opus. The foldable design continues to impress with excellent finishing and technical reliability that continues to make it the best foldable flagship. Samsung has further improved the robustness of the Z Fold 4 this year, and still offers a very good battery life, high performance, and two beautiful screens.

The main strength of the Z Fold 4 is that it offers not only very advanced hardware but also a neat software experience. Features like Flex Mode, Taskbar, split screen, and floating windows make the Galaxy Z Fold 4 a smartphone that was specially built for productivity. Fans of the late Galaxy Note will also be happy to know that they can use the S Pen on their Z Fold 4.

Best gaming smartphone: Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro design au dos coloris Storm White
The back design of the ROG Phone 6 Pro clearly shows its ambitions. / © NextPit

The ROG Phone 6 Pro is the king of gaming smartphones. Asus put all its efforts to offer the best gaming experience on the mobile market in 2022. The extremely original design, the 165 Hz AMOLED screen as well as the impressive performance will seduce gamers. The ROG Phone 6 Pro may be a bit on the pricey side, but for what it offers, you should definitely pick it up if your pockets are deep enough.

The main strength of the ROG Phone 6 Pro, in our opinion, is the enjoyable gaming experience that it offers. The Air Triggers, haptic triggers that increase control possibilities, X mode that boosts performance considerably and allows you to play for hours without overheating thanks to the efficiency of the Aero Active Cooler 6, and its external fan, these all offer an amazing gaming experience. Moreover, with its 6,000 mAh battery, the battery life is simply marvelous and should bode well for your marathon gaming sessions. Armed with the 67 W fast charge system, you can be up and going in double quick time.

Most eco-friendly phone: Fairphone 4

Fairphone 4
Fairphone 4: when was the last time you saw a removable battery / © NextPit

Yes, the Fairphone 4 is neither the slimmest, nor the prettiest, nor the fastest smartphone. And considering what it offers, it's not cheap either. But: Fairphone does everything in its power to ensure that the smartphone is produced in a sustainable manner and under fair working conditions. Furthermore, the smartphone comes with a five-year warranty, and Fairphone plans to roll out Android updates until 2027.

The hardware can also be upgraded: Besides the battery, you can also replace the camera modules or the memory, for example. The solid build quality also gives us hope that the smartphone will last much longer than just the industry standard of two years.

Of course, there is also a downside: For a recommended retail price of €579 (there are no plans for the Fairphone 4 to be sold Stateside), you will receive far less power in the Fairphone 4 than in handsets from Xiaomi and its ilk. At least the Snapdragon 750G SoC offers solid performance and is also capable of 5G support, but will that still be sufficient in 2027? We shall see. The included cameras also performed surprisingly well for a small manufacturer. The bottom line is, the Fairphone 4 offers a well-rounded overall package and has thus earned four out of five stars.

How did NextPit choose the best smartphones in 2022?

Anyone who is considering buying a smartphone for over $1,000 or the hereabouts is likely to be quite familiar with the smartphone world. After all, there has to be a fundamental interest in investing the price of a used small car on a mobile phone!

Before you commit to a purchase, take a hard-look look at the spec sheet. Make sure the phone of your choice meets all your requirements. Flagship Android and iOS smartphones can easily last for several years thanks to frequent updates. Picking up the flagship smartphone is therefore also an investment for the future and should therefore be carefully considered. 

So take a good look at the smartphone and if possible, get a hands-on before you buy. Do you like the software? Are you bothered by elements such as a plastic back or a huge notch in the display? For these reasons, the rankings in the above list are not set in stone. Everyone has different preferences and needs, and so, one smartphone that works for you might not work for your other half. All these things should be considered before you swipe your card.  

Alternatives to buying new

Refurbished, sale units, and used smartphones

If removing the protective film for the first time on your new device does not cause you to jump for joy, you can pick up more expensive smartphones from the second-hand or refurbished market. It is particularly advisable to use devices that carry a refurbished guarantee. These are used smartphones that have been checked and refurbished by reputable companies to ensure that they are in tip-top condition. Refurbished devices are particularly exciting to check out when they come with an extended warranty. This is how you protect yourself when picking one up just in case the handset gives up the ghost just a few weeks down the road.

Of course, you do not have this advantage when buying a used smartphone from private owners on platforms such as eBay, eBay classifieds, or other portals. However, used devices can be found for significantly reduced prices here, as there are no additional costs because the middleman has been cut out. With the so-called 'sale', you also secure older models that online shops still carry in new condition but which are no longer in production.

Promotions and sales

Towards the end of the year, each consumer electronics device that you purchase is accompanied by an even greater risk of stumbling upon a cheaper offer just a few weeks down the road. This can be attributed to sales like Black Friday and its associated Black Week, Amazon Prime Day, Singles Day, and Cyber ​​Monday, all of which are discount days in the months of October and November, which are meant to prime the economy before Christmas shopping frenzy season begins. Since smartphones are one of the most popular consumer electronics devices in the market, you should keep your eyes peeled for great deals. You can check out the dates for this year's sales and promotions in the table below:

Upcoming bargains and sales dates

Mark these days down in your 2022 calendar:
Event Date
Singles Day 11 November 2022
Black Week 21 to 25 November 2022
Black Friday 25 November 2022
Cyber Monday 28 November 2022

It's best to keep an eye on our homepage these days. Because we search for offers in every online shop and manufacturer's website and assess the offers according to their value. As in this article, you can inform yourself with further reviews and news about the respective devices before buying.

Sign up for a contract with a service provider or an installment plan

If your old smartphone is completely broken and cannot be used, leaving you in desperate need of an immediate replacement, you can always opt for an installment plan that covers several months of payments. Normally, this is seen in the traditional framework of smartphone contracts, where you obtain a new smartphone for free for a monthly surcharge or for a lower one-time payment. Generally speaking, restrictions of a particular smartphone model to a specific network operator no longer exists today. However, there is still the risk of paying more for the device at the end of the contract compared to buying it outright now.

On the other hand, you also obtain cheaper prices with a monthly financing plan. You pay off the purchase price of the new device across an agreed number of monthly installments sans contract and with 0% interest. Such financing packages are extremely popular, but it also comes with their own risks. For instance, if you lose your new smartphone immediately after buying it or if it breaks, you will still honor the remaining installments for a device that can no longer be used or is limited in functionality. 

What do you think of this approach as well as our selection? Which models have we missed out on which do you think deserve to be included in the list? Let us know in the comments!

More "Best Of" lists on NextPit


This article was updated in September 2022. Existing comments have been preserved.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
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Readers' favorite comments

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Apr 30, 2017

    No LG phones again!! Come on people why are you so biased against LG? The V20 and the G6 should be on the list.

308 comments

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  • Anjel Arobi 6 months ago Link to comment

    I love to use Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3


  • storm 7 months ago Link to comment

    Coming from already owning a phone that's doing everything I ask of it, none of these phones strike me as worthwhile. They're all software abusers of the consumer.

    There are phones coming to market that should be better at that critical thing than all of these phones. They'll likely be somewhat lesser hardware. But the hardware is more than adequate, it's the software that's so abusive right now.

    It's time for that to change if the companies want to sell me a phone.


  • Simone Costi 10 months ago Link to comment

    My LG V30 has just turned 3 years old and its battery has been worn out over time. I 'm also tired of being stuck with android 9. Should I replace the battery or should I wait for the Galaxy s22 Ultra and buy it?


    • Rubens Eishima 10 months ago Link to comment

      If Android updates are important, one option to consider (depending on where you live) is the Pixel 6.


      • Simone Costi 10 months ago Link to comment

        I don 't like google 's design approach, as well as I don' t like the stock Android OS. Because of that, I 'm not considering devices with a non-customized UI. I 've also been a Samsung fan in the past (I also liked the Touchwiz UI), so the Google Pixel is definitely not a good choice for me!
        Last, but not least, only samsung devices allow to disable fast charge, meaning that I can choose to charge at a maximum of 5V and 2A ( or maybe 3), no matter how much powerful is the charger I use.


  • storm 11 months ago Link to comment

    Pixel and Fairphone are the only phones of interest to me on the list. My phone is more productivity focused and so gaming level features aren't worth the money. I've been very satisfied with mid tier phones for quite a while now.


  • storm Jun 23, 2021 Link to comment

    I guess I don't wAnt to wave a flag. None of these interest me at all


  • Zeeshan_sid Mar 24, 2020 Link to comment

    I think LG phones are good


  • Andrew Burgin Mar 18, 2020 Link to comment

    Motorola Edge should be released soon,and with Samsung now struggling with the sales of there new S20 models,they have got stop over pricing there phones,or they will be struggling soon,and its there own problem cause by copying the pricing policy of Apple


  • storm Mar 18, 2020 Link to comment

    OnePlus is too expensive to merit best value.


  • Kimberley M. Williams Dec 26, 2019 Link to comment

    The upgrades are coming day by day but there is some new phone nowadays and it is amazing


  • Sajibuzzaman Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Thanks


  • Ronald Fwanio Nov 3, 2019 Link to comment

    Been Using Galaxy Note 8 for 3 years and S10+ for awhile and they have the best Specs and Features!! Lovin' it!!


  • David Martrano Nov 1, 2019 Link to comment

    I've been using the s10+ since it's release. This phone is simply a pleasure to use. I really have no complaints. All the premium features. Display, cameras & battery are excellent, there is no finer even after 8 mos of very heavy use!


  • GT Ohh Oct 31, 2019 Link to comment

    I'm rockin a Samsung Galaxy S10 and loving it, my only gripe is the lack of an LED notification. That said its great so far. My wife has the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and she says its the best device shes ever owned. Does anyone know when Samsung is releasing android 10 & the new One UI 2?


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Oct 29, 2019 Link to comment

    Only expensive ones


  • eSparkBiz Jun 7, 2019 Link to comment

    Android phones are the best in terms of cost because iPhones are expensive! Recently, one of my friends has bought Huawei P30 Pro. This phone has excellent features and less price.


  • Steven Clark Seeds May 1, 2019 Link to comment

    £234 as 'best value'?! Come off it. My Moto G5+ was £159 nearly 2 years ago, the G6 and its Play version are now similarly priced...
    While I'm at it, imo it's high time smartphone users, makers and commentators started demanding that ALL battery-powered devices (not only phones...) have batteries that can be replaced by the user. Getting a new phone because the battery is failing is simply unsustainable - and we all KNOW that in our hearts of hearts...


  • Say What?? Apr 30, 2019 Link to comment

    The Mate 20 X has the best battery life. I get around 11-13 hours of screen on time daily. The S9+, Note 9 would be one of the best phones if they gave us a non edge screen version. I'm not a fan of the curves.


  • Ross Downer Dec 25, 2018 Link to comment

    Why is there a crappy iPhone on the middle of your main image when you are talking about android. No android user would be stupid enough to fall into the the Apple arena. I would rather not have a phone then buy Apple. Bring on the Galaxy F. I have used all of the phones above and in my opinion the Samsung Note 9 and Galaxy S9 are by far the best paired with the Galaxy watch they are fantastic.

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