October 2, 2022


The world of Android phones is vast, with a variety of manufacturers trying to tempt you with premium features like 5G, fast charging, and powerful multi-camera systems. Samsung remains one of the biggest forces in the mobile industry, offering cutting-edge technology at high prices — even innovative foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Her own Google Pixel 6 The series uses custom processors, runs Android 12 and has a solid camera system on the back.

But all that choice can also make the shopping experience overwhelming and confusing, so I’ve rounded up my favorite picks. These phones they all generally have great cameras, displays, battery life, or all of the above. I also looked at features like 5G and wireless charging. Read on to see my top picks for the best Android phones and see the best tips how to buy a new phone, very. The CNET team updates this list periodically as we review new products.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Like:
• The S Pen is included with the phone and there is a slot to store it
• Excellent low-light photography
• Closer zoom than most competitive phones
• Separate design

I do not like:
• Expensive
• The cameras are mostly the same as the Galaxy S21 Ultra
• Battery life is not 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 huge 6.8-inch display, an S Pen that 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 has also improved the way all of its new Galaxy phones take photos in low light, which is especially important on a photo-oriented phone like the Ultra.

The only downsides? The S22 Ultra’s high price and relatively short battery life. However, 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 these benefits.

Read our Galaxy S22 Ultra review.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

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

I do not like:
• $1,000 is still expensive for a phone
• Battery life is not as long as the iPhone 13 Pro
• No new built-in camera features
• 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 room for those who prefer larger phones but feel the Ultra can be too overwhelming (and expensive). The upgrade to a 50-megapixel camera also makes a huge difference compared to last year’s Galaxy S21 series, especially when it comes to color and contrast in photos.

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

Read our Galaxy S22 Plus review.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Like:
• Excellent cameras
• Solid overall performance
• Neat Android 12 interface
• Attractive design

I do not like:
• Battery life is good, but not great
• Fast charging is not that fast
• No face unlock

Google stayed away from the flagship for a few years and spent time building its own chip that specialized in machine learning and artificial intelligence. The Pixel 6 Pro has it all with a photographic prowess that’s hard to beat.

Google’s top-of-the-range $899 phone still undercuts competitors on price while packing so much value. It’s a big phone, with a 6.7-inch screen that’s sharp thanks to its 3,120×1,440 pixel resolution. It has an adaptive refresh rate that can go up to 120Hz when playing fast-paced games, but also slow down to just 10Hz when the phone is basically idle. The 5,003mAh battery should be good for a full day of mixed use.

Patrick Holland/CNET

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

I do not like:
• The under-display fingerprint reader can be frustrating
• Battery life is good, but hardly gets more than a day
• The ultra-wide camera is decent but not on par with the main camera

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

The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch 1080p display. It can be set to automatically switch from 60Hz to 90Hz depending on the content on the screen. 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 ultra-wide-angle lens.

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

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

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

I do not like:
• Battery life could be better

Finding a smaller sized Android phone is no easy task these days. Most phones have 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’s got everything we loved about the Galaxy S22 Plus — stunning design, a great camera system with a 50-megapixel main lens and a sharp display — but in a more pocket-friendly size.

However, the Galaxy S22 falls short in the same area as its more expensive siblings: battery life. I was able to get through a full day with the S22’s refresh rate set to adaptive, which bumps it up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling, but 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 for those looking for a smaller phone.

Read our Galaxy S22 review.

Like:
• Nice screen
• Fast performance
• Waterproof IP67
• Affordable price

I do not like:
• No wireless charging
• 5G support in the US is unclear

While the next-gen Pixel 6 is available now, if you want 5G on the cheap, the Pixel 5A 5G is still a solid choice. This Pixel phone has good battery life and great rear cameras, and at $449 it’s one of the best, cheapest ways to get 5G.

Read our Google Pixel 5A review.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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

I do not like:
• Disappointing camera
• Water resistant rating limited to T-Mobile exclusive models
• Does not have 80-watt fast charging in the US

The OnePlus 10 Pro earned a good score in our review thanks to its sleek design, strong performance and a price that undercuts its main rivals. It needs a few improvements — mostly to the camera, which is good, but not great — but this flagship offers a great overall experience. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line 5G phone that’s a little different from your friends’ iPhones and Galaxy phones, then it’s a solid option to consider.

Patrick Holland/CNET

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

Read our Sony Xperia Pro review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Like:
• 120Hz coverage screen
• Waterproof
• Great tablet experience
• The S stylus is great to use
• Software improvements for multitasking and Flex Mode

I do not like:
• Battery life lasts about one day
• Weird, heavy phone when closed
• $1,800 is still expensive

Flip phones haven’t really hit the mainstream, instead remaining only within the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest mobile innovation. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the best foldable phone, it offers top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its foldable technology that make this Android smartphone more desirable than its predecessor.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.

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