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Best Phone to Buy for 2022

Whether you want Samsung's folding Z Fold 4, Apple's iPhone 13 or another phone, we've rounded up the best of the best.

The best phones in 2022, which include the iPhone 13 Pro, the Pixel 6 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, all offer everything you could want in a handset: top performance, beautiful camera quality and much more. Want something a bit more eye-catching? Samsung's new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and its bendy screen will draw attention, but you'll need deep pockets. If your cash doesn't stretch that far then worry not. More and more affordable phones, such as the new Pixel 6A, pack great specs, high-speed 5G connectivity and more approachable prices. 

The sheer amount of smartphone competition means you get great options at whatever price suits your budget, regardless of whether your biggest concern is an AMOLED display, 5G data or a cracking camera. 

To help you figure out the best of the best, we rounded up our picks for the best phone to buy in 2022. Every phone on this list has been thoroughly reviewed and tested, from its battery life to camera performance. Each link is to an unlocked phone, and the phones should run on most of the big four US wireless carriers, unless otherwise specified. We update this list regularly.

For more info, read our guide to help find the best phone for your needs and take a look at our tips on how to buy a new Apple iPhone or Android phone

Stephen Shankland/CNET

The iPhone 13 Pro is the best phone Apple produces and it received a stellar score in our review. The new smartphone adds a third rear camera with 3x optical zoom (up from 2x on the iPhone 12), a stainless steel body and a ProMotion screen with refresh rates up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling.

Read our iPhone 13 Pro review.

 

Samsung

Samsung's latest flagship superphone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has an impressive lineup of specs, including a quadruple rear camera, a big, vibrant display and the S Pen stylus you might remember from the Galaxy Note series. It comes with a high price, but those of you looking for one of the best Android phones around should have this on your short list.

Google

The Google Pixel 6 Pro's unique design, great software additions, superb camera quality and solid all-around performance have already earned the phone an excellent rating in our full review. With performance that's every bit as good as its design, it's the best phone Google has ever made. The main camera is on par with the best iPhones. And at $899 for the base 128GB model, it trounces its premium phone rivals in price.

Read our Google Pixel 6 Pro review.

 

Patrick Holland/CNET

The standard iPhone 13 is a reliable choice for most people, sporting a 6.1-inch screen and two excellent rear cameras. For this model, Apple has pledged longer battery life, improved cameras and better durability than the Apple iPhone 12. What do you miss by not going Pro? A third rear camera with 3x optical zoom and a ProMotion screen with refresh rates up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling. It is not a cheap phone, but definitely a more affordable flagship pick than the Pro siblings.

Read our iPhone 13 review.

 

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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.

Patrick Holland/CNET

With a starting price of $599, Google's Pixel 6 is the best Android phone you can get for the money. In terms of design, power, features and performance, the Pixel 6 is a big step up from its predecessor, the Pixel 5. Google's latest and greatest offers improved cameras, Android 12 and the company's in-house Tensor chip.

Read our Google Pixel 6 review.

 

Patrick Holland/CNET

Apple's 2022 iPhone SE may not have the incredible multiple cameras of the top-end iPhone 13 Pro, but the iPhone SE has a lot to offer if you're looking for a great experience without spending flagship levels of cash. It's 5G-enabled, for one, it runs the latest iOS 15 software and it packs the same A15 Bionic processor found in Apple's top phones. As a result, performance is lightning-fast.

Read our iPhone SE (2022) review.

 

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Pixel 6A is Google's newest Android 12 phone, replacing the Pixel 5A as the $449 device in its lineup. CNET's Lisa Eadicicco called it the "best Android phone under $500" in her Pixel 6A review, calling out how it keeps the same Tensor chip seen in the $599 Pixel 6 and many of its features.

The phone is slightly smaller than the Pixel 6, featuring an 6.1-inch OLED display and a refresh rate of 60Hz. And it has a similar camera to the Pixel 5A, including a 12.2-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. But by including the Tensor chip, photos can benefit from its Real Tone skin tone feature, Face Unblur, Night Sight for darker photography and the Magic Eraser for removing unwanted elements from a photo.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Update: Samsung has recently unveiled the Galaxy Z Flip 4, an updated version of its smaller clamshell folding phone with a revised design and beefed-up specs. We're yet to give it the full review treatment so we can't say for certain it's a "best" phone for this list, but if you're considering the Z Flip 3 then it's worth holding onto your cash until we've given it a final verdict. 

If the Galaxy Fold is a tablet that folds in half to become a phone, the Z Flip is a phone that folds in half to become a smaller phone. When it's open, this Samsung Galaxy phone has a big 6.7-inch display, but fold it in half and it becomes a small square that's easy to slide into a jeans or jacket pocket. We like its neat design, along with its decent all-round specs and 5G connectivity and it's a more affordable folding option among Samsung Galaxy phones.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.

 

Patrick Holland/CNET

If you're someone who prefers smaller, pocket-friendly devices, this is the phone for you. The 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Mini is easy to use with one hand and even fits into tight jean pockets. Starting at $699, this is the cheapest model in Apple's iPhone 13 lineup. While battery life isn't as long as the iPhone 13, this petite Apple iPhone doesn't sacrifice on camera capabilities or processing power.

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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