Best Android phones 2022: top Android mobiles as tested and reviewed

The best Android phones you can buy now, from premium flagships to more affordable bargains

Best Smartphones 2022: Xiaomi Smartphone
(Image credit: krishnajithk33 Pixabay.com)

Dozens of Android phones have launched in 2022, each muscling into the market and pining for your attention - but which are the best of the best?

At T3 we review all the latest and greatest handsets running on Google's operating system, which we've compiled into a handy best-of 2022 guide, pulling together the greatest flagships, alongside affordable and cost-effective alternate options. 

Here are our top 3 Android phone picks, followed by the best of the rest:

The best premium Android phone experience goes to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. We called it "the ultimate flagship" in our review, because it quite simply betters any other Android handset out there right now.

On balance of cost to features, however, the best Android phone for most people
crown falls to the OnePlus 10 Pro. As stated in our review, this handset is "one step closer to the top" - yet it doesn't cost a fortune.

If you're looking to save cash but still get great features, then the best budget Android phone is the OnePlus Nord 2T. That's what this brand does best: delivers strong without a massive asking price - in our review we called it a "mid-range marvel".

The best Android phones you can buy 2022

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen stylusT3 Awards 2022 Highly Commended logo

The best premium Android phone is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium Android phone

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight: 77.9 x 163.3 x 8.9mm / 229g
Screen size: 6.8-inch, 1440 x 3200 pixels
Processor: Samsung Exynos 2200, 8GB/12GB RAM
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 5000mAh, 45W fast-charging
Rear cameras: Quad: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP

Reasons to buy

+
Seriously powerful hardware
+
Versatile camera with clever AI features
+
S Pen stylus comes in a handy slot 

Reasons to avoid

-
Undeniably expensive
-
No microSD card slot

The top dog Samsung flagship delivers everything you'd expect and more - including a built-in S Pen stylus (like the old Note used to have) which we've found really useful for interacting with the additional software features. 

Add great cameras - and we really love the exposed rear design of these four lenses - and battery life that starts off so-so but improved with learning, and you've got one killer flagship Android phone. It'll cost you a fair chunk, of course, but it's worth every penny in our view.

Take a read of our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review for the full breakdown on why it's such a top pick

OnePlus 10 Pro in greenT3 Award

The best Android phone for most people is the OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: Future)
The best premium Android phone

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight: 163 × 73.9 × 8.55mm / 201g
Screen size: 6.7-inch, 3216 x 1440 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8GB/12GB RAM
Storage: 128 / 256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh, 80W fast-charging
Rear camera: Triple: 48MP + 8MP + 50MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
6.7-inch QHD+, 120Hz display
+
Powerful efficient performance
+
Seriously fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Other phones have a better battery life
-
Camera can be a bit inconsistent

OnePlus has risen through the ranks over the years, always offering seriously big spec for a not-so-big price point. In this handset it's the stunning 6.7-inch screen that we found to be its main lure - especially thanks to its 120Hz fast refresh rate and high-res 10-bit colour depth quality.

Another headline grab that we really love about this phone is how fast you can charge it up - it only took us about 30 minutes to take it from empty to full. That’s game-changing - and it's a good job given the fact that the battery life is otherwise just okay. 

Check out our full OnePlus 10 Pro review to read why we think it's the best Android phone for most people

OnePlus Nord 2T from the back up against a wallT3 Award

The best budget Android phone is the OnePlus Nord 2T

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget Android phone

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight: 159.1 x 73.2 x 8.2mm, 190g
Screen size: 6.43-inch, 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 1300, 8GB/12GB RAM
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4500mAh, 80W fast-charging
Rear camera: Triple: 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent screen and build quality
+
Clean, powerful OxygenOS
+
Impressive performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Loads of strong alternatives
-
Not completely waterproof

OnePlus knows its stuff when it comes to making quality budget Android phones - and the Nord 2T is a prime example. An evolution of the Nord 2, the handset hasn't been completely revamped, but there have been some really useful improvements. Our favourite of which is the new 80W charging - it only took us half an hour to recharge the phone from flat to full. 

What was already a fantastic phone is now even better - indeed the best budget Android phone right now. So why is it so cheap? Well, everything about this phone is good rather than great. You can’t expect it to smash any of the records, but what you will get is a solid, reliable handset that is excellent value for money.

Read our full OnePlus Nord 2T review where we explain why it has everything you could need from an affordable phone

Top Android phones 2022: The best of the rest

Google Pixel 6 Pro reviewT3 Award

The Google Pixel 6 delivers the best pure Android phone experience

(Image credit: Future)
The best pure Android OS phone

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight: 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm / 210g
Screen size: 6.4-inch, 1080 x 2400 pixels
CPU: Google Tensor, 8GB RAM
Storage: 128 / 256GB
Battery: 4614mAh, 30W fast-charging
Rear camera: Dual: 50MP + 12MP
Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

+
Tensor chip is impressive
+
Great camera
+
Bold display
+
Purest version of Android

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto camera
-
Camera bump is large and awkward

As Google is the godfather of Android, it goes without question that it makes the best pure Android phone in the Google Pixel 6 Pro - as the software is always one step ahead of anything else on the market, bringing the latest and greatest features. 

Not only that, the Pixel 6 Pro's camera is astounding for point-and-shooting in all conditions - it's just a shame there's no zoom on board. There's Google's own processor, too, called Tensor that's super fast and crunches through images and tasks with such ease. 

Like the idea of a pure Android handset? Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review to learn more

Oppo Find X5 ProT3 Approved badge

The best alternative premium Android phone

(Image credit: Future)
The best alternative premium Android phone

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight:: 163.7 x 73.9 x 8.5mm / 218g
Screen size: 6.7-inch, 3216 x 1440 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 12GB RAM
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh, 80W fast-charging
Rear camera: Triple: 50MP + 50MP + 13MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
6.7-inch 120Hz QHD+ screen
+
Long-lasting battery and fast charging
+
Impressive camera system

Reasons to avoid

-
No microSD card slot or headphone jack
-
Expensive

Oppo's Find X5 Pro is an ideal alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S22 series, delivering a gorgeous design finished in ceramic and a really impressive camera system. And just like the OnePlus further up this page, there's ultra-fast charging too.

If you’re big on photography then the Find X5 Pro is a stunner, its dual 50MP main/wide cameras and 13MP telephoto camera are able to take super pictures - helped along by Oppo's own processing hardware that helps it stand apart from the crowd. 

Read our full Oppo Find X5 Pro review to get a better look at this stylish handset and what its cameras can do

Xiaomi 12 ProT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Future)
One of the most powerful Android phones you can buy

Specifications

Dimensions: 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm / 205g
Screen size: 6.73-inch, 3200 x 1440 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8GB/12GB RAM
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,600mAh, 120W fast-charging
Rear camera: Triple: 50MP, 50MP, 50MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Very powerful hardware and great experience
+
Stunning WQHD+ 6.73-inch display
+
120W HyperCharge is crazy fast

Reasons to avoid

-
Below-average battery life
-
Camera has its limits
-
Some software irks

If you're power hungry then the Xiaomi 12 Pro is ideal. It packs the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, just like a number of the 2022 flagships on this list - but in our tests it actually performed better than most of those! Smooth, fast and reliable: it's well suited to everything from gaming to photo editing. We've also been massively impressed by the screen, which offers heaps of resolution and brightness (including HDR10+ support). 

There are some downsides though: the battery life only scrapes through a day - but at least you can recharge it in only 20 minutes thanks to 120W charging - while the cameras have limits, as there's no jaw-dropping zoom like you'll find in, say, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.  

Read our full Xiaomi 12 Pro review to see if this power machine delivers all the right points to make it your perfect Android match-up

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra reviewT3 Award

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra boasts hyper-premium performance and features.

(Image credit: Samsung)
A premium Android phone with an excellent camera

Specifications

Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm / 229g
Screen size: 6.8-inch, 1440 x 3200 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100, 12GB/16GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB
Battery: 5000mAh, 25W charging
Rear cameras: Quad: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully smooth 120Hz display
+
Still very powerful hardware
+
Impressive camera system
+
S Pen stylus support

Reasons to avoid

-
Still expensive, despite a price drop
-
Doesn't come with S Pen stylus (but S22 Ultra does)

Although no longer the most up-to-date model in the series, you can buy the S21 Ultra for a touch less cash than the top dog S22 Ultra. This might clinch the deal for you - especially as the specification of both handsets is very similar, ignoring their differing designs. 

The S21 Ultra also doesn't come with an S Pen stylus (the S22 Ultra does), but you can buy one and use it. Even without, though, the overall user experience is so strong, the cameras are super, and the high-end spec still delivers with aplomb. 

Want to know more? Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review to get an idea as to why last-gen can sometimes be the best buy

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraT3 Award

A fantastic premium Android phone - for less cash

(Image credit: Future)
A fantastic premium Android phone - for less cash

Specifications

Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm / 197g
Screen size: 6.7-inch, 3216 x 1400 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 8GB/12GB RAM
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4500mAh, 65W fast-charging
Rear camera: Quad: 48MP + 8MP + 50MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great camera system
+
Stylish, premium design
+
Powerful hardware

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is good but not best in class
-
Latest OnePlus 10 Pro edges it

The predecessor to the best all-round Android phone for most people, the OnePlus 9 Pro was the product release where OnePlus really found its feet, collaborating with Hasselblad to create a stonkingly brilliant camera system - which we found really impressive.

Add a gorgeous screen, stacks of power (yes, it's last-gen, but it's still strong), fast-charging that's still quicker than Samsung's best, and you've got one seriously capable Android phone here. Plus it's cheaper than the newer OnePlus 10 Pro, which is twice the reason to consider buying.

Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review to see why this was the moment OnePlus really elevated itself as a cameras master

Realme GT 2 Pro review: phone on a wooden tableT3 Approved badge

The best Android phone for the eco-conscious

(Image credit: Future)
The best Android phone for the eco-conscious

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight: 163 x 75 x 8mm / 189g
Screen size: 6.7-inch, 3216 x 1440 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8GB/12GB RAM
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 5,000mAh, 65W fast-charging
Rear camera: Dual: 50MP + 50MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance for the price
+
Unique eco-conscious design
+
Speedy charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera could be improved
-
No headphone jack
-
Some might dislike the design

All about performance, the Realme GT 2 Pro is a mid-range smartphone in terms of price, delivering flagship-level specs and really fast charging (although not as speedy as the Xiaomi 12 Pro). Packing the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, it's super powerful and means it'll make most tasks a breeze - even if you're into the most demanding mobile games like Call of Duty Mobile or PUBG Mobile. 

Another unique feature of the Realme GT 2 Pro is its design: the back of this Android phone is designed to look and feel like paper. While it won't be for everyone, we think it's nice to see something a bit different to the norm - especially in the green finish of our review product, as pictured.

Check out our full Realme GT 2 Pro review to see if this affordable yet high-spec handset with an eco-conscious design is the Android phone for you

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE reviewT3 Award


(Image credit: Future)
The best smaller-scale flagship Samsung flagship

Specifications

Dimensions & Weight: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm / 177g
Screen size: 6.4-inch, 2340 x 1080 pixels
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 6GB/8GB RAM
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh, 25W charging
Rear camera: Triple: 12MP + 8MP + 12MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
6.4-inch FHD+ 120Hz display
+
Speedy performance 
+
Decent camera system 

Reasons to avoid

-
No charger in the box 
-
Still quite pricey 

Released just before Samsung's S22 series arrived, the 'Fan Edition' S21 Ultra's goal was to bring much of that flagship hype but in a more streamlined and affordable package - its 6.4-inch screen making it smaller than most flagships in this guide.

Job done in other departments, too, as we noted in our review: this lower-priced flagship is "a very capable piece of kit with a decent camera, powerful processing and a long-lasting battery". A good way to get many of Samsung's top-tier features, just for a bit less, then.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Fan Edition review to see if you should be a mega-fan too


Best Android phones: extra information

The best Android phone for you isn’t necessarily going to be the most expensive or advanced phone, although of course you’ll find lots of big-name flagship phones such as the best Samsung phones in our list. While flagships are great choices for many buyers we’ve also taken great care to include phones for every kind of Android user, and for every budget.

The Android market gets ever more competitive, and that’s brilliant news for buyers: Android is the OS for many of the best cheap phones you can buy, many of the best compact phones, and almost all of the best gaming phones too. 

Android phones also completely dominate the best foldable phones market: right now interesting new models from Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and more are currently competing for the folding phone crown, unchallenged by Apple. 

Let's face it. Many, perhaps even most, of the best phones overall in 2022 are Android ones that deliver hardware and features as good as or better than any iPhone. 

How to choose the best Android phone for you

When it comes to choosing the best Android phone, budget will probably be the single biggest factor that guides your hand. Will you go for the cutting-edge ultra-premium model? Or the second highest tier of still being premium, but without the most ridiculous features? Or are looking for a great bang-for-buck mid-range set? Or do you have a strict lower budget in mind? 

Then, two of the biggest factors are size and the cameras. Phones are still creeping up and up in screen size, and some people want the biggest they can get, while some want to find a more one-handed phone, or a middle ground. Regarding the cameras, we all want something that can take excellent shots, right? But do you need fancy zoom lenses, or are you happy with a simpler array as long as it takes great shots?

Who are the best Android phone makers?

There are so many Android phone makers today that recommending the best can be quite a task. Here at T3 we think Samsung has consistently produced quality smartphones over many years, making it a no-brainer for this list. Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Oppo also consistently produce phones with great hardware, too - but you might find the software can be a bit contentious at times.

So aside from a few exceptions - Huawei, for example, has no access to Google Play Store apps - all Android phones today offer a very similar and high-quality baseline experience. Maker choice really comes down to aesthetic preference and high level features and software - or you might get so used to one manufacturer's ways that you'll always want to stick in their stable.

How we test the best Android phones

T3 is one of the world's foremost experts in terms of reviewing and rating phones, and when it comes round to testing the best Android phones we've got a very detailed, multi-step process to sort the pretenders from the champs.

The first step we undertake is reviewing the phone from a design and build quality point of view. Here we want to discover exactly what the phone offers physically, aesthetically and in terms of connectivity. We're looking at general things like fit and finish here, too.

Next we're specifically looking at the Android phone's screen. We break the screen out as its own section as a phone's screen is absolutely critical to a device's usage experience. We want to know what its size, resolution, panel type, coating, brightness and features are.

We also evaluate what the Android mobile offers in term of core internal hardware. So we're talking about its CPU, GPU, RAM and storage specs. Crucially, though, as we understand that specs and benchmark scores on paper can only take you so far in any judgement, we actually use the phone thoroughly in a variety of applications and games to see just what the hardware is capable of in a day-to-day usage case.

Cameras get a lot of weight in T3's testing - as a person's Android handset is also their primary camera in most circumstances. We're looking at not just the quality and size of the phone's camera lenses, but also the types delivered (wide-angle, telephoto, macro, black and white, etc) as well as what advanced sensors are on board. Of course we're obviously judging a camera system's quality by the images it produces, with us looking out for key scoring areas such as accuracy of colour reproduction, detail, and so forth.

We then move on to testing the phone's battery life. T3 does this purely based on real-world testing, using a phone continuously for a series of days as our own and then reporting in on just how long it lasts.

We also compare the phone to other Android mobiles that offer the same sort of package or retail for the same sort of money to provide context. 

Only then do we bestow a star score out of 5 and, if it's high-scoring, we then consider it for inclusion in our best Android phones buying guide.

Tech Editor at T3, Mike handles all things tech – from phones, tablets and laptops, to gaming and computing. He's been working as a consumer technology journalist for the best part of 15 years, previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, and has provided freelance work to publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more over the years. In addition to his tech expertise, Mike is also a bit of a travel fiend, having travelled the globe extensively for both personal and work-related pursuits. You'll always find him setting up a new mobile phone, or critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next get-away. 

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