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The 8 best Android phones to spend your money on (August 2022)
Android has always been the best operating system if you want freedom of choice. There are heaps of great options from tons of OEMs, but sometimes that just makes it harder to choose the best Android phone.
We can’t promise that the decision will be easy. No two phones are exactly alike, but that’s why we love this operating system. Each manufacturer is developing its own hardware and version of Android, so it’s all about what you value in a device. Now, let’s get into our best Android phone picks for 2022.
Buying the best Android phone for your needs
The buying road gets tougher from here, but you’ve already made an important step — choosing an operating system. This page is all about Android phones, so you won’t find the iPhone 13 or any other Apple product among our picks.
Now it’s time to get into the specifics of your new phone. There are so many Android devices on the market, and you can use practically any spec you want to narrow down the options. Maybe you want the best camera phone you can get, or perhaps you need the biggest battery around. You’ll also want to consider how much RAM you want and how much storage you need for your apps, videos, and more.
Locking down Android as your operating system is only the first step.
Another thing to keep in mind is the build quality of your device. Many premium flagship devices are what we call glass sandwiches in 2022 — glass on the front and back with a metal frame to hold it all together. You can save money and go for a plastic device, though it may not feel as sturdy in your hand.
We’ve broken all of our recommendations below into categories to help you figure out just what each phone is best for. If you’re not sold on our top pick, we’ve added some honorable mentions to guide you further.
The best Android phones
- The Google Pixel 6 is the best Android phone overall, with a revamped camera system, Tensor chip, and unbeatable price tag.
- The Asus ROG Phone 6 series is the best for gaming thanks to its great performance, excellent battery life, and powerful gaming features.
- The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus offer the best software experience, with plenty of updates and curated features.
- The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the best foldable phone you can buy, and it keeps pushing the limits despite its cost.
- The Google Pixel 6a is the best phone on a budget you can get, offering the best camera in its class ad great software.
- The OnePlus 10 Pro is our battery king with a 5,000mAh cell and up to 80W wired charging.
- The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is our camera king with a flexible setup and great overall specs.
- The Sony Xperia 1 IV is a creator’s dream, and it also keeps the headphone jack alive on premium devices in 2022.
Google Pixel 6: The best Android phone right now
Samsung’s premium Galaxy S21 Ultra dominated our list as the best Android phone for much of last year, but there’s a new king in town. The Pixel 6 has taken its place atop the standings, and it’s our Editor’s Choice pick for the best phone of last year. A quick look at our review, and it’s not hard to see why we voted the way we did.
Google created the right mix of speed, price, and camera prowess to retake its place as the best Android phone.
For starters, Google has finally revamped the camera unit to match its powerful image processing chops. The camera bar houses a 50MP primary lens and a 12MP ultrawide shooter, with the Pixel 6 Pro adding a 48MP telephoto option for good measure. However, we’re sticking with the vanilla Pixel 6 as our top pick for its incredible value. At just $599, it’s a tough device to top in the flagship realm, and it doesn’t pull many punches.
You’ll get 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage on board, and Google’s brand-new Tensor chip ties the experience together. The standard Pixel 6 offers a 6.4-inch display, or you can jump to the 6.7-inch beast on the Pixel 6 Pro. Both models also carry IP ratings and speedy wireless charging to keep you up and moving.
- Premium, unique design
- Solid battery life
- Unbeatable price
- Slow charging
- Iffy fingerprint sensor
Asus ROG Phone 6 series: The best Android gaming phones
There are two phones to choose from. The first is the ROG Phone 6 Pro, which is the best of the two. It has everything a gamer needs, including a large 6.78-inch display with a 165Hz refresh rate, a massive 6,000mAh battery with 65W charging, and great performance thanks to Snapdragon’s latest chipset paired with 18GB of RAM.
Here’s our take: Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro review
The handset sports ultrasonic Airtriggers that are fully customizable in terms of sensitivity and button mapping. To level up your gaming experience, you can also get various accessories like Asus’ Aero Active Cooler 6 that does a great job cooling down the handset when playing games for a long time, or the Kunai 3 controller that makes the gaming experience more enjoyable for most people.
The second device in the series is the ROG Phone 6, and it’s more or less identical to the Pro model. The only two differences are that it tops out at 16GB of RAM instead of 18GB and that it lacks a secondary rear display, which is capable of displaying the time, text messages, logos, and other simple things.
The phones are not perfect, though, as they lack wireless charging, have a limited IPX4 rating, and don’t really stand out in terms of camera quality. But then again, you’re buying a phone like this for its gaming features above anything else.
- Extreme performance
- Powerful gaming fetaures
- Excellent battery life
- No wireless charging
- Limited IP rating
- So-so camera performance
Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus: The best software experience
Samsung spent years lagging behind Google on the software front. From the simplicity of Pixel UI to the speed of Google’s updates, the Galaxy S series couldn’t keep up. Now, the roles have flipped. The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus offer the best software experience in the Android world.
For starters, you won’t find a better update commitment for an Android flagship. Samsung promises four years of full version updates, which means the Galaxy S22 will see Android 16 before it retires. It also offers five years of regular security patches, which takes the duo through 2027. Of course, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the same promise, but that device has its own section later on.
One UI has also become one of our favorite Android skins. It packs plenty of curated features and customization options. The Edge Panel, for example, gives quick access to some of your most-used apps. Elements of Material You have made their way into One UI 4, which means you can match your app icons to your wallpaper and more.
See also: Samsung Galaxy S22 buyer’s guide
As for hardware, Samsung tapped the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor to power the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, and both models top out at 256GB of storage. Unfortunately, both phones offer smaller batteries than previous generations — the Galaxy S22 dropped to 3,700mAh and the S22 Plus fell to 4,500mAh. The smaller phone charges at up to 25W, while the larger can hit 45W.
- Unbeatable update commitment
- Refined camera setups
- Faster charging on the S22 Plus
- Smaller batteries
- Limited storage options
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: The best foldable Android phone
We’ve mostly been focused on powerful and traditional Android phones so far, but now it’s time for something that will turn heads. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 takes the cake as the best foldable phone you can buy right now. While it may not be the same value buy as a Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 packs all the bells and whistles you could ever ask for.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 packs all of Samsung's best technology into an ultra-premium package.
It’s perfectly pocket-sized when folded, yet the 6.2-inch display is plenty large enough to manage just about all of your notifications. Then, when you open it up, you’re treated to a massive 7.6-inch AMOLED display, complete with a 120Hz refresh rate. It also features Samsung’s first official crack at an under-display selfie camera, even if it’s not the best camera around. You’ll also find a true flagship processor for the first time, in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888.
Although the Galaxy Z Flip 3 shows that foldables are becoming more affordable, the Z Fold 3 shows just how far they can go. It still commands a premium price point, but it offers features you won’t find anywhere else in the Samsung Galaxy.
- Highly refined design
- Improved displays
- IPX8 rating
- Bulky to carry and hold
- Only average camera performance
- Mediocre battery life
Honorable mention: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Google Pixel 6a: Best on a budget
The new Pixel 6a has a lot going for it. The affordable mid-ranger is powered by Google’s own Tensor chip which is also found in the more expensive Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. It supports 5G, but you can only get mmWave if you go for the Verizon version of the handset. The unlocked variants of the phone only support sub-6GHz.
Our take: Google Pixel 6a review
Like all the Pixels before it, the 6a is known for its great camera and awesome software support. It may not get as many OS updates as some Samsung phones — three instead of four — but it will get the latest version of Android on day one.
The phone also features an in-display fingerprint scanner, an IP68 rating, and stereo speakers. But it does have a few cons including slow 18W charging, bad battery life, and just a 60Hz display.
- Powerful Tensor chip
- Great software
- Excellent image processing
- Long-term update commitment
- Worse than average battery life
- Slow charging
- Only 60Hz display
- Tensor runs hot
Honorable mention: Samsung Galaxy A53
OnePlus 10 Pro: The best battery experience
OnePlus has been leading the battery charge for years, bringing speedy Warp Charging to flagship and mid-range models alike. Now, the OnePlus 10 Pro takes things a step further. You can either tap into 80W or 65W wired charging with 50W wireless speeds to boot.
The OnePlus 10 Pro doesn’t offer the largest battery around, but 5,000mAh is no slouch. However, it’s actually a pair of 2,500mAh cells that can charge simultaneously. It should get you back on your feet in no time to enjoy the rest of the flagship setup. Did we mention that you even get a charging brick in the box? It’s a true rarity these days.
While the battery is the star of the show, the rest of the OnePlus 10 Pro is pretty good, too. The 48MP and 50MP rear lenses can cover most scenarios, while the 8MP telephoto adds 3.3x optical zoom to the mix. It also offers a speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset to keep you moving and up to 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage.
- Excellent display
- Good primary camera
- Blistering charging
- T-Mobile exclusive IP rating
- Inconsistent software
- Imbalanced software
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: The best Android camera phone
Samsung introduced the Ultra moniker with the Galaxy S20 series before giving it a serious boost on recent versions. One of the most significant changes to arrive on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the improved camera array, which remains among the best we’ve ever tested. Now, it’s back and even better on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The powerful camera setup kicks off with a 108MP primary lens flanked by a 10MP telephoto, a 10MP periscope telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide lens. On the front, you’ll also find a sharp 40MP selfie shooter, so you should be able to capture just about anything. While Samsung doesn’t have the same image processing prowess as Google, the photos speak for themselves. You can check out our review for even more sample images.
Of course, the Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t just the best camera phone on the market — it’s one of the best devices overall. It packs a flagship-grade Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a massive 5,000mAh battery, and a huge 6.8-inch WQHD+ display.
- Premium build quality
- S Pen functionality
- Unbeatable software support
- Average battery life
- Less base RAM
Honorable mentions: Google Pixel 6 series
Sony Xperia 1 IV: Best for content creators
Sony is targeting content creators with its latest flagship device. The Xperia 1 IV features a new variable focal length periscope zoom camera and live streaming support for gaming and video. It also comes with Sony’s exclusive Camera Pro, Video Pro, and new Music Pro apps that content creators will find useful.
The Xperia 1 IV has a headphone jack and a microSD card slot, both of which are missing on most high-end phones these days. The speakers are best in class and there’s plenty of power for just about any task out there thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. You also get a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 30W charging, and a 6.5-inch 4K display.
While the Sony Xperia 1 IV is the best Android phone for content creators, it’s hard to recommend it to anyone else. The biggest problem is the price. The handset is among the most expensive ones out there with its price tag of $1,600. It’s not that great for gaming and doesn’t even have a variable refresh rate.
- Unique content creator apps
- Superb camera autofocus
- Stellar video capture
- Best-in-class speakers
- Very expensive
- Finicky charging
- No variable refresh rate
- Sub-par update promise
iOS vs Android — which OS is right for you?
You’ve just finished reading about the best Android phones, so we have an idea of where you stand in the iOS vs Android debate. However, nothing is ever set in stone. If you have an iPad or maybe a MacBook, you might decide that it’s best to stick with Apple’s ecosystem. On the other hand, you might be ready to break free and tap into more customization options. You’ll face different app selections on both platforms, but it’s all about your comfort level.
Check out more on the long-standing iOS vs Android debate right here.
Picking the best phone apps and accessories
Now that you have an idea of the best Android phones to spend your money on, it’s time to round out your setup. That means adding the best apps and accessories to the equation. Here are a few of our current favorites:
Other frequently asked questions
You’re in luck because we have a handy guide to help here too. There are some specific options for seniors with simplified menus, or we recommend a Samsung device for its Easy Mode feature. You can also load up a launcher like Big Launcher or Simple Launcher to make menus and dialers more approachable.
We talk an awful lot about RAM every time we mention a smartphone, but how much is enough? Luckily, we have yet another in-depth guide to help you out. If you’re only covering the bare basics, you might be able to get away with 4GB, but 8GB is more appropriate if you have eyes on multitasking. Some heavy-duty gamers might even want 12GB or 16GB just to keep up with anything and everything.
Yes! Well, some of them. Most recent flagships are worth buying, even up to a year or two after release. You can usually save a good amount of money at this point and still get good performance. At this point, we don’t recommend buying a 4G flagship, but most 5G flagships are still good to go.
This is a tricky one. If you’re eyeing a flagship device, you’ve probably seen the likes of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Dimensity 9000, and Exynos 2200 thrown around. Each comes on its own list of devices, but we’ve put them through the wringer for you. You can check out our comparison results and know that we put every phone through a series of tests to measure its performance under stress.