In the market for an Android upgrade? Competition has never been stiffer, with all manner of makers vying for your prestigious pocket space. Which makes selecting the best Android phone a tricky task.
Spoilt for choice? We’re here to help. We’ve tested all of the latest Android handsets and rated our favorites in the list below. That includes premium flagships from the likes of Google, Samsung and Sony, plus a handful of more affordable Android alternatives. If you prefer a smartphone that can fold, check out our dedicated round-up of the best foldables.
Whether you’re ready to shell out on a top-end telephone or shopping for maximum value from a mid-range mobile, the list below will help you find your ideal Android phone in 2022.
Our pick of the best Android phones in 2022
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Pick a superlative and it probably applies to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: this is the best Android phone right now, bar none. Spiritual successor to the Note, it’s an undeniably large yet supremely solid smartphone. Like the Note, it ships with an S Pen – and the stylus is more responsive than ever. Bright and sharp and brilliant, the AMOLED display is simply sublime, whether you’re scribbling or scrolling. Silicon is cutting-edge as well: Exynos or Snapdragon, the Ultra blasts fast but cool through almost any app or game. And the list goes on. Maximised by a new neural processing unit, the versatile camera setup yields too many highlights to cover here, including a 10x telephoto. Even the front camera is exceptional. There’s no denying the serious outlay required to own one, but if you’re an Android fan willing to pay for the best, this is the smartphone to get.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
Avoiding the compromises which kept previous Pixel phones from competing with full-blown flagships, the Pixel 6 Pro has the hardware to mix it with the big guns. No plastic here: the Pro is all metal and glass, with a distinctive camera shelf setting it apart. Algorithm-assisted shooting modes help its three lenses deliver detailed images in all conditions, raising the high photographic bar set by its predecessors. With separate cores for machine learning, security and imaging, the Pro’s Tensor silicon can comfortably compete with Qualcomm’s top chips. Multitasking is a breeze, while Android 12 is sublimely slick in action. With a 5000mAh cell, battery life is no longer a footnote, while the palm-spanning 6.7in OLED display delivers impeccable contrast, vibrant colors and dynamic refresh rates.
OnePlus 10 Pro
It took its sweet time to arrive, but the latest OnePlus flagship does plenty to justify its Pro moniker. Its all-screen frontage is very much in the modern mobile mould, but the 10 Pro is distinguished by two features: the classic OnePlus alert slider and a sizeable ceramic camera bump. The latter is home to three lenses, plus Hasselblad branding which hints at enhanced shooting modes. Fast, sharp and bright in daylight, the combo can’t quite compete after dark. Still, its 6.7in display looks simply brilliant, with consistent brightness and color complemented by dynamic refresh rates of up to 120Hz. Performance is unsurprisingly ace, while battery life proves impressively frugal. If you can handle its heft, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a truly top-drawer device.
Oppo Find X5 Pro
By almost every metric that matters, Oppo’s Find X5 Pro has the chops to challenge for the Android title. Clad in an eye-catching ceramic shell, it comes fronted by a superb 6.7in screen. Sharp, bright, quick and slick, its powerful Snapdragon innards deliver performance in spades, matched by stupidly fast charging rates. You’ll get 50W wirelessly, or 80W when wired in with the included adapter. Camera performance is extremely impressive, in all ways but one. Night and day, the main and ultra-wide sensors capture bright, detailed and balanced stills you’ll be proud to share. The only major limitation? The paltry 2x optical zoom offered by the telephoto lens. If that’s not a dealbreaker in your book, the Find X5 Pro is a five-star Android flagship.
Realme GT 2 Pro
Provided you don’t need wireless charging or a dedicated telephoto lens, the Realme GT 2 Pro is a lot of Android flagship at a remarkably reasonable price. Its matte back panel might look like plastic, but it’s actually a biopolymer: an eco material derived from renewable sources. And while it feels less premium than glass, it’s significantly more durable. With a 2K resolution, 1400 nits peak brightness and 1-120Hz refresh rates, the 6.7in screen is top-spec peeper-pleaser. So is the camera array: accompanied by a party-trick macro camera and novel 150º ultra-wide, the 50MP main sensor is strong across all lighting conditions. Under the hood is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, which is troubled by very little, while the 5000mAh battery easily lasts a day.
Google Pixel 6a
A streamlined vision of vanilla Android excellence, the Pixel 6a is yet more proof that Google makes the best Google phones. With a design distilled from its premium Pixel siblings, the 6a goes easier on your wallet without cutting corners. Its composite construction does a convincing impression of glass, while the shelf styling ties it into the Pixel family. A Tensor CPU inside stomps on almost everything in the same price bracket, running undiluted Android 12 without a stutter. It also continues Google’s track-record of camera excellence, using powerful algorithms to extract impressively detailed stills from the 12MP main sensor. 60Hz refresh rates mean rivals have it licked in the display stakes, but you’ll struggle to get a better all-round Android phone experience for less.
OnePlus Nord 2T
Staying true to OnePlus’ classic value formula, the Nord 2T isn’t a massive upgrade over its predecessor. Instead, it tweaks the recipe to cement its rep as a formidable mid-range mobile. With a glass back impersonating more expensive handsets, the 2T benefits from a tidy design – apart from the inelegant camera rings on the rear. Unchanged from the Nord 2 is its colorful OLED panel. Not the brightest nor the fastest around, its 90Hz refresh rates are smooth enough for everyday use. Results from the 50MP main Sony sensor remain reliably decent, while the 32MP selfie camera is a significant improvement. There’s no wireless charging, but 80W refuelling is a speedy selling point. And with MediaTek Dimensity 1300 silicon powering proceedings, software flies along too.
Samsung Galaxy S22+
Pricier than the standard S22 but smaller than the Ultra, Samsung’s Galaxy S22+ doesn’t deserve to suffer from middle child syndrome: it’s every bit a compelling flagship in its own right – especially if you don’t need a stylus. Its dimensions make it easier to hold than Samsung’s range-topper, while its feature set is nothing short of stellar. With a 50MP main sensor, 12MP ultra-wide and 3x optical telephoto, the triple-cam setup is a strong one, while the 6.6in AMOLED panel is one of the best we’ve seen on a recent Android smartphone. Performance from the Exynos 2200 chip is plentiful, too, running One UI slick and quick. Its glass-and-metal styling might err towards understated, but the Galaxy S22+ is an Android phone worthy of attention.
Xiaomi 12 Pro
Steering clear of gimmicks, the Xiaomi 12 Pro takes an uncompromising approach to hardware in its attempt to tempt Samsung fans. With a frosted glass back and aluminum frame, the 12 Pro feels undeniably premium. Its display is similarly impeccable: second-gen LTPO tech unlocks reactive refresh rates, ranging from a rapid 120Hz down to a super-efficient 1Hz. The 6.73in panel is detailed, bright and vibrant, too. With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor running the show, there’s no denying the 12 Pro’s flagship credentials. But while it doesn’t want for multi-tasking muscle, it’s impossible to ignore how toasty the handset gets during heavy use – and frame rates throttle after extended play time. Still, all-day battery and fantastic main-camera snaps make it a capable Android alternative.
Sony Xperia 1 IV
Sony’s top-spec smartphones aren’t for everyone. But if you’re happy to pay for the privilege, the Xperia 1 IV is a phenomenally capable Android handset. A flagship in all respects, it delivers exceptional performance, a cinematic 4K display and day-long battery life, all wrapped up in distinctively slick packaging. Android puritans will be pleased by its light-touch interface, but photographers are the true target market: rapid burst shooting, expansive manual options and stellar image quality make it a win for serious snappers. It’s also the first mainstream mobile to ship with a continuous optical zoom lens, getting you closer to subjects without the need for digital trickery. Rival devices might do more to hold your hand, but photography fans with deep pockets won’t be disappointed.
What’s the best foldable Android phone?
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung’s latest foldable is its greatest yet. Despite its relative heft, the Z Fold 3 is easy to handle, whether you’re swiping on the 6.2in cover screen or the unfolded 7.6in display. Aluminum sides and a Gorilla Glass Victus shield leave no doubts as to the build quality, and while the central screen crease remains, you soon learn to look past it. 5G connectivity, stereo speakers and an under-screen selfie camera pad out a comprehensive feature count that’s only let down by the cameras. The lenses are fine, but not Samsung’s best – and you can get more for your money from a flagship that doesn’t fold. But if you’re shopping for a foldable, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 should be top of your list.