Update, 05/12/2022: We have reviewed our recommendations and determined that these are still the best Android phones you can buy. A note has been added in the section on the best battery life on the Moto G Power (2022).
How to buy an Android phone in 2022
There has probably never been a better time to buy an Android phone. There are great options for any price, as you will see below. But how do you know which one is right for you?
There are many things to consider when buying a phone. If you’re here, you’re already thinking about Android, so that’s one big decision. Android devices offer more flexibility than the iPhone (with Apple’s closed ecosystem), and there are many, many more phones to choose from.
We will throw you a lot of technical jargon on this list. Processors, RAM, megapixels, refresh rates and more are mentioned in this list. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to worry about all the technical specifications. There is not a single “specification” that makes or breaks a phone.
The whole package of smartphones is what matters, and that’s how we approached this list.
However, which Android phone is right for you? We’ve divided our guide into a few handy categories that should suit your budget and interests. There really is an Android phone for everyone, it just depends on what is most important to you.
- ✓ Sweet spot size
- ✓ Beautiful display
- ✓ Same performance as Ultra
- ✓ 4 years update
- ✗ There are not as many cameras as Ultra
Samsung releases a lot of phones in a year, but there is one that usually hits a sweet spot. The usual non-plus / no Ultra model fits this. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S22 in 2022. It has many of the same great features as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but it’s in a more comfortable package.
The Galaxy S22 has a beautiful 6.1-inch AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 8 GB of RAM, up to 256 GB of storage space and a 3700 mAh battery. If you take a peek at the best Premium phone, you will notice that this one has many of the same specifications as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
It doesn’t even save on cameras. You get a 50MP main camera, 3MP 3x telephoto and 12MP ultra wide on the back of the device. The front selfie camera is 10MP. The camera setup is very comparable to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Having a telephoto and ultra-wide lens opens up many possibilities for photography.
There are a few things you won’t get if you opt for this model compared to the Ultra, premium Android phone. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has another camera, a 10MP 10x telephoto camera. It also has a larger screen of 6.8 inches, up to 12 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage space.
Another advantage of Samsung phones is the software support. Samsung is offering 4 years of software updates for its One UI Android skin. This is actually better than what Google offers for its Pixel phones.
One of the best things about the Galaxy S22 is its price. The phone starts at $ 800, which is significantly cheaper than the S22 + ($ 1,000) and the S22 Ultra ($ 1,200) for many of the same features.
The best Android phone in general
Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung’s latest flagship phone strikes a good balance between price and function. You will get a beautiful screen, fantastic cameras and 4 years of support for Samsung.
- ✓ Large display
- ✓ 3GB of RAM is good for this price
- ✓ Clean software
- ✓ Only $ 150
The days of bad cheap Android phones are (mostly) behind us. Now there are many great options, many of which cost less than $ 200. The best of the cheap phones is definitely the Moto G Play (2021).
You won’t sacrifice screen size for a low price here, as the Moto G Play has a 6.5-inch 720p screen. It suffers little in direct sunlight, but at this price you generally have to accept such small reductions.
However, the area where you will feel the price the most is with the processor. Motorola has equipped the Moto G Play with Snapdragon 460 and 3GB of RAM. It’s a solid combination for typical daily tasks, but try to deal with serious games and Moto G Play won’t be able to keep up.
The Moto G Play has a basic camera setup of one 13 MP camera on the back and a small 2 MP camera on the front. You will get good photos in good lighting conditions, but low light will suffer.
Motorola uses a lightweight version of Android without much inflation, which is important for a cheap device. You can usually buy the Moto G Play (2021) for around $ 150, making it one of the cheapest phones.
The best budget
Moto G Play (2021)
A capable phone that can handle your daily tasks and costs less than $ 200.
- ✓ Great cameras
- ✓ Quick software update
- ✓ Solid RAM and processor for that price
- ✗ Average battery life
- ✗ It is not completely waterproof
Pixel 5a is on the verge of medium rank and budget. For less than $ 500, you get the same camera experience and many other specs as the more expensive Pixel 5.
That’s right, the Pixel 5a has the same main 12.2 MP and 16 MP wide angle rear cameras as the Pixel 5. And since this is a Pixel phone, you also get Google’s great portrait mode, night vision, astrophotography and one of the best camera apps out there.
The Pixel 5a reaches a lower price with a few small changes. First of all, the 6.34-inch Pixel 5a screen has a refresh rate of 60 Hz, while the Pixel 5 is at 90 Hz. That’s probably not a big deal for most people.
The 5a also has 6GB of RAM, compared to 8GB on the Pixel 5. One big win is that both have a Snapdragon 765G processor.
Google Pixel phones may not be the beasts of the Android world in terms of raw specifications and performance, but they make up for it with sophisticated software and fast updates. Android 12 is now also available for the Pixel 5a, so you’ll be able to use the latest operating system while other phone manufacturers are making up for it.
So you don’t get IP68 waterproof or wireless charging, but you get great cameras. It all sounds like a pretty sweet deal for $ 450.
- ✓ A total of five cameras
- ✓ 5,000 mAh battery
- ✓ Top performance
- ✓ Beautiful display
- ✓ Excellent software support
- ✗ Very expensive
- ✗ Very large
If there is a word that describes “premium” smartphones, then it is “ultra”. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most brutal Android phone you can buy. It has all the features you can imagine, including a pencil.
Let’s start with the cameras. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a total of five cameras – four on the back. The main camera is 108 MP and is surrounded by ultra-wide 12MP, 3x telephoto of 10MP and telephoto of 10MP 10x. The front selfie camera is 40MP. All these cameras put you in a good position to capture every situation. You have ultra-wide drag and telephoto zoom.
Does battery life matter to you? The Galaxy S22 Ultra has that covered as well. It has a powerful 5,000 mAh battery, but that large capacity also means a large footprint. The Ultra has a large 6.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz.
If you look below that big screen, you have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, wireless charging, fast charging and IP68 water resistance. When Samsung says Ultra, they means Ultra. This is the phone with the “kitchen sink” of the Android world.
Speaking of Android, Samsung has some of the best software support you can get. 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 won’t 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.
The best premium Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung’s top flagship model is the pinnacle of Android technology. Five cameras, a 5,000 mAh battery and more make this a phone that exists, although it comes at a price.
- ✓ Huge display with high refresh rate
- ✓ Powerful processor
- ✓ 12GB of RAM
- ✓ Huge battery
- ✗ It is a very large device
- ✗ Expensive
If you’re looking for a great gaming phone, the ASUS ROG series has hit all the right ratings. ROG Phone 5S is a continuation of the very beautiful ROG Phone 5, our previous choice.
The ROG Phone 5s has a massive 7.8-inch Full HD + AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, perfect for gaming. It is also powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus and 12 GB of RAM. That’s enough to handle even the games with the most demanding resources. Oh, and the 6,000 mAh battery will keep you in the game for hours.
For those game-free moments, you have triple cameras on the back. It is a 64 MP main camera, 13 MP ultra-wide and 5 MP front. The selfie camera is 24MP. It’s a pretty good array of cameras for a device focused on gaming performance. You will be able to take some great pictures between game sessions!
Still, all that gaming potential isn’t cheap – the ASUS ROG Phone 5s costs $ 999. If performance is important to you to play, the price pays off.
- ✓ Three great rear cameras
- ✓ Huge high resolution screen
- ✓ Excellent battery life
- ✓ Clean software
- ✗ 3 years of update is shorter than Samsung
- ✗ Expensive
Basically, every phone on this list will take good photos, but the Pixel 6 Pro stands above the crowd. Not only is it a great phone with a camera, but it is also a very good phone in general.
The Pixel 6 Pro has a massive 6.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. It’s certainly a great phone, but that great size comes with many added benefits.
For starters, you get a large 5,000 mAh battery that should be enough for you to spend the day with enough juice. It also has Google’s own Tensor processor and 12GB of storage. Additional amenities include wireless charging and waterproofing.
Let’s move on to the most important part, the cameras. The main camera is 50MP and is joined by an ultra-wide 12MP camera and a 48MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom. These cameras ensure that you are equipped for every situation you find yourself in. Whether it’s remote subjects, group shots or anything else, all is well on the Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 6 Pro costs $ 900 and comes with a 3 year update for Android. You’ll always get those updates first, and the software is the cleanest version of Android you can find.
- ✓ It can last up to 3 days of battery life
- ✓ Large 6.4 inch screen for that price
- ✓ It costs about $ 200
- ✗ The cameras are not great
- ✗ Low powered
When looking for a phone with excellent battery life, it is usually a good sign when it is called “Power”. The Moto G Power (2021) will do the job, and costs only about $ 200.
Moto G Power has a 5,000 mAh battery, but that in itself is not what ensures great battery life. The combination of Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor and 6.4-inch 1080p display is great for battery life as it doesn’t push all the pixels of the huge 4K screen.
The quality of the camera is not the selling point of this phone, but the Moto G Power has a respectable 48MP camera and a 2MP macro camera on the back. The selfie camera is 8MP. Just don’t expect amazing phones in low light.
Like our budget, Moto G Power runs a clean version of Android. It also helps in battery life. You can get the Moto G Power (2021) for around $ 200 and never worry about battery life on your next weekend trip.
Note: Although Motorola has released the 2022 Moto G Power model, we do not recommend it at the moment. Both professional and user reviews were less than stellar, stating that the low-power processor surpassed the 2021 version. While the battery life of the two models is roughly the same, the better performance of the 2021 model makes the older model the best choice.
Best battery life
Moto G Power (2021)
When the phone has Power in the name, you expect great battery life, and that’s what you get here.