Update, 2/15/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations, and have replaced our best phone and best premium phone recommendations with the newly released Galaxy S22 line.
How to Shop For an Android Phone in 2022
There’s arguably never been a better time to buy an Android phone. There are great options at every price point, as you’ll see below. But how do you know which is right for you?
There are a lot of things to consider when buying a phone. If you’re here, you’re already considering Android, so that’s one big decision out of the way. Android devices offer more flexibility than iPhones (with Apple’s closed ecosystem), and there are many, many more phones to choose from.
We’ll be throwing a lot of technical jargon at you in this list. Processors, RAM, megapixels, refresh rates, and more are mentioned in this list. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to worry about all the tech specifications. There’s not one single “spec” that makes or breaks a phone.
The whole smartphone package is what matters, and that’s how we’ve approached this list.
Which Android phone is for you, though? We’ve broken down our guide into several handy categories that should fit your budget and interests. There’s truly an Android phone out there for everyone, it just depends on what matters most to you.
- ✓ Sweet spot size
- ✓ Beautiful display
- ✓ Same performance as the Ultra
- ✓ 4 years of updates
- ✗ Not as many cameras as the Ultra
Samsung releases a lot of phones in a year, but there’s one that usually hits the sweet spot. The regular non-plus/non-Ultra model fits the bill. That’s the Samsung Galaxy S22 in 2022. It’s got many of the same great features as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it’s in a more palatable package.
The Galaxy S22 has a nice 6.1-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 3,700mAh battery. If you peek down at the Best Premium Phone, you’ll notice this one has many of the same specs as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
It doesn’t skimp on the cameras either. You’re getting a 50MP main camera, 10MP 3x telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide on the back of the device. The front selfie camera is 10MP. It’s a very comparable camera setup to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Having a telephoto and ultrawide lens opens up a lot of photo possibilities.
There are a couple of things you don’t get if you opt for this model over the Ultra, the premium Android phone pick. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has one more camera, a 10MP 10x telephoto camera. It also has a bigger 6.8-inch display, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage.
Another benefit of Samsung phones is software support. Samsung offers 4 years of software updates for its One UI Android skin. That’s actually better than what Google offers for its own Pixel phones.
One of the best things about the Galaxy S22 is its price. The phone starts at $800, which is considerably cheaper than the S22+ ($1,000) and the S22 Ultra ($1,200) for many of the same features.
Best Android Phone Overall
Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung’s latest flagship phone strikes a nice balance between price and function. You’ll get a beautiful display, fantastic cameras, and 4 years of Samsung support.
- ✓ Big display
- ✓ 3GB of RAM is good at this price
- ✓ Clean software
- ✓ Only $150
The days of crappy cheap Android phones are (mostly) behind us. There are a lot of great options out there now, many of which go for under $200. The best of the budget phones is certainly the Moto G Play (2021).
You won’t be sacrificing screen size for a low price here, as the Moto G Play has a 6.5-inch 720p display. It does suffer a little in direct sunlight, but at this price point, you generally have to accept little downgrades like this.
The area where you’ll feel the price the most, however, is with the processor. Motorola has equipped the Moto G Play with the Snapdragon 460 and 3GB of RAM. That’s a solid combo for typical daily tasks, but try to do any serious gaming and the Moto G Play won’t be able to keep up.
The Moto G Play has a basic camera setup of one 13MP camera on the back and a small 2MP camera on the front. You’ll get fine photos in well-lit conditions, but low-light will suffer.
Motorola uses a light version of Android without much bloat, which is important for a budget device. You can usually grab a Moto G Play (2021) for around $150, which makes it one of the cheapest phones around.
Moto G Play (2021)
A capable phone that can handle your daily tasks while costing less than $200.
$169.99 Save 12%
- ✓ Excellent cameras
- ✓ Fast software updates
- ✓ Solid RAM and processor for the price
- ✗ Average battery life
- ✗ Not fully water resistant
The Pixel 5a hits a sweet spot on the edge of mid-range and budget. For under $500 you get the same camera experience and many other specs as the more expensive Pixel 5.
That’s right, Pixel 5a has the same main 12.2MP and 16MP wide-angle rear cameras as the Pixel 5. And since this is a Pixel phone, you also get Google’s great portrait mode, Night Sight, Astrophotography, and one of the best camera apps out there.
The Pixel 5a hits the lower price tag with a few small changes. First of all, the Pixel 5a’s 6.34-inch display has a refresh rate of 60Hz, whereas the Pixel 5’s is at 90Hz. That’s probably not a big deal to most people.
The 5a also has 6GB of RAM, compared to the 8GB on the Pixel 5. One big win is they both have the Snapdragon 765G processor.
Google Pixel phones may not be the beasts of the Android world in terms of raw specs and performance, but they make up for it with refined software and fast updates. Android 12 is now available for the Pixel 5a, too, so you’ll be able to use the latest operating system while other phone manufacturers are playing catch-up.
So you’re not getting IP68 water resistance or wireless charging, but you are getting great cameras. All of that for $450 sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
- ✓ Five total cameras
- ✓ 5,000mAh battery
- ✓ High-end performance
- ✓ Beautiful display
- ✓ Great software support
- ✗ Very expensive
- ✗ Very large
If there’s a word that describes “premium” smartphones, it’s “ultra.” The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most beastly Android phone you can buy. It’s got every feature you could imagine, including a stylus.
Let’s start with the cameras. The Galaxy S22 Ultra features five total cameras—four on the rear. The main camera is 108MP and it’s flanked by a 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, and 10MP 10x telephoto. The front selfie camera is 40MP. All of these cameras put you in a good position to capture any situation. You have ultrawide for stepping back, and telephoto for zooming in.
Is battery life important to you? The Galaxy S22 Ultra has that covered too. It has a beefy 5,000mAh battery, but that large capacity also means a large footprint. The Ultra has a big 6.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Looking underneath that big display, you’ve got the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, wireless charging, fast charging, and IP68 waterproofing. When Samsung says Ultra, they mean Ultra. This is the “kitchen sink” phone of the Android world.
Speaking of Android, Samsung has some of the best software support you can get. The Ultra comes with four years of major Android updates. That’s better support than you’ll get with Google’s own Pixel phones.
Obviously, a premium phone like the Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t going to be cheap. The base model costs $1,200. If you want the best of the best, this is what it looks like. You pay for what you get.
Best Premium Android Phone
Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung’s high-end flagship is the bleeding edge of Android tech. Five cameras, a 5,000mAh battery, and more make this the phone there is, though it comes at a price.
$1399.99 Save 7%
- ✓ Huge, high refresh rate display
- ✓ Powerful processor
- ✓ 12GB of RAM
- ✓ Massive battery
- ✗ It’s a very large device
- ✗ Expensive
If you’re looking for a great gaming phone, ASUS’s ROG series hit all the right marks. The ROG Phone 5S is the follow-up to the very nice ROG Phone 5, our previous pick.
The ROG Phone 5s has a massive 7.8-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, perfect for gaming. It’s also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus and 12GB of RAM. That’s enough to handle even the most resource-intensive games. Oh, and the 6,000mAh battery will keep you playing for hours.
For those non-gaming moments, you’ve got triple cameras on the rear. That’s a 64MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide, and 5MP front camera. The selfie camera is 24MP. That’s a pretty good array of cameras for a device focused on gaming performance. You’ll be able to take some great pictures in between gaming sessions!
All that gaming potential doesn’t come cheap, though—the ASUS ROG Phone 5s costs $999. If performance for gaming is important to you, the price is worth it.
- ✓ Three great cameras on the back
- ✓ Giant high-res display
- ✓ Excellent battery life
- ✓ Clean software
- ✗ 3 years of updates is shorter than Samsung
- ✗ Expensive
For the most part, any phone in this list is going to take good photos, but the Pixel 6 Pro stands above the crowd. Not only is it a great camera phone, but it’s also a very good phone overall, too.
The Pixel 6 Pro has a massive 6.7-inch display with 1440 x 3120 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It’s certainly a large phone, but that big size comes with a lot of extra benefits.
For starters, you get a big 5,000mAh battery that should be plenty to get you through a day with juice to spare. It also has Google’s own Tensor processor and 12GB of storage. Extra goodies include wireless charging and water resistance.
Let’s get to the most important part, the cameras. The main camera is 50MP, it’s joined by a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 48MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom. These cameras make sure you are equipped for any situation you should come across. Whether it’s far-away subjects, group shots, or anything else, it’s all good on the Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 6 Pro costs $900 and it comes with 3 years of Android updates. You’re always going to get those updates first, and the software is the cleanest version of Android you can find.
- ✓ Can get up to 3 days of battery life
- ✓ Big 6.4-inch display for the price
- ✓ Costs around $200
- ✗ Cameras aren’t great
- ✗ Low powered
When you’re looking for a phone with great battery life, it’s usually a good sign when “Power” is in the name. The Moto G Power (2021) will do the job, and it only costs around $200.
The Moto G Power has a 5,000mAh battery, but that alone isn’t what makes for great battery life. The combination of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor and 6.4-inch 1080p display is great for battery life since it’s not pushing all the pixels of a giant 4K screen.
Camera quality is not the selling point of this phone, but the Moto G Power does have a respectable 48MP camera and a 2MP macro camera on the back. The selfie camera is 8MP. Just don’t expect any amazing phones in low-light.
Like our budget pick, the Moto G Power runs a clean version of Android. That also helps with the battery life! You can snag the Moto G Power (2021) for around $200 and never worry about battery life on your next weekend excursion.
Best Battery Life
Moto G Power (2021)
When a phone has Power in the name, you expect great battery life, and that’s what you get here.
Article From: HowToGeek