One of the most interesting aspects of Android phones is the number of models available. It can also be confusing, as it can be difficult to choose the right one. We are here to help you!
How to buy an Android phone in 2022
Arguably, there has never been a better time to buy an Android phone. There are good options in all price ranges, as you can 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 considering Android, so you can make an important decision. Android devices offer more flexibility than iPhones (with Apple’s closed ecosystem), and there are many, many more phones to choose from.
In this list we are going to use a lot of technical jargon. Processors, RAM, megapixels, refresh rates, etc. are mentioned in this list. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to worry about all the technical specifications. There is no single ‘spec’ that makes or breaks a phone.
It’s the entire smartphone that matters, and that’s how we approached this list.
But which Android phone is right for you? We have divided our guide into several practical categories to suit your budget and interests. There really is an Android phone for everyone, it just comes down to what matters most to you.
Best Android phone in the world: Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung releases a lot of phones in a year, but there’s one that usually hits a nerve. The regular non-plus/non-Ultra model does the trick. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S22 in 2022. It has the same specs as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but in a more appetizing package.
The Galaxy S22 has a beautiful 6.1-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 3,700mAh battery. If you take a look at the ‘Best high-end phone’ section, you’ll notice that this one has many of the same specs as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
He doesn’t skimp on the cameras either. You get a 50 MP main camera, a 10 MP 3x telephoto and a 12 MP ultra-wide on the back of the device. The front selfie camera is 10 MP. It’s a very comparable camera setup to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Having a telephoto lens and an ultra-wide lens opens up a lot of photo opportunities.
There are a few things you don’t get if you choose this model over the Ultra, the premium Android phone choice. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has another camera, a 10MP 10x telephoto lens. It also has a larger 6.8-inch screen, up to 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage.
Another advantage of Samsung phones is software support. Samsung offers 4 years of software updates for its Android One UI skin. It’s actually better than what Google offers for its own Pixel phones.
One of the best things about the Galaxy S22 is the price. The phone starts at $800, which is significantly cheaper than the S22+ ($1,000) and S22 Ultra ($1,200) for many of the same specs.
Best Budget Android Phone: Moto G Play (2021)
The days of cheap Android phones are (mostly) behind us. There are many great options available today, many of which cost less than $200. The best budget phone is clearly the Moto G Play (2021).
You won’t be sacrificing screen size for a low price, as the Moto G Play has a 6.5-inch 720p display. It suffers a bit in direct sunlight, but at this price point you usually have to accept small downgrades like this.
However, the area where you will feel the price the most is with the processor. Motorola equipped the Moto G Play with a Snapdragon 460 and 3 GB of RAM. It’s a solid combination for typical day-to-day tasks, but try serious gaming and the Moto G Play won’t be able to keep up.
The Moto G Play has a basic camera that consists of a 13MP camera on the back and a smaller 2MP camera on the front. You get good pictures in well-lit conditions, but low light will suffer.
Motorola uses a lite version of Android without too many frills, which is important for a budget device. You can usually get a Moto G Play (2021) for around $150, making it one of the cheapest phones out there.
Best mid-range Android phone: Google Pixel 6a
Pixel 6a is on the edge of mid-range and budget. For less than $500, you get pretty much the same camera experience and plenty of other specs as the more expensive Google Pixel 6.
The Pixel 6a has the same 12.2MP and 8MP selfie cameras as the standard model, plus a wide-angle camera. However, it lacks a 50MP primary camera, but it has to be cut somewhere to bring the price down. And since it’s a Pixel phone, you also get Google’s excellent portrait mode, Night Sight, Astrophotography, and one of the best default camera apps overall.
The Pixel 6a hits the lower price point with a few other changes. First, the Pixel 6a’s 6.1-inch display has a 60Hz refresh rate, while the Pixel 6’s is 90Hz. It’s not a big deal for most people.
The Pixel 6a also has 6GB of RAM, compared to 8GB on the Pixel 6. However, they both have the same processor, Google’s Tensor chip, so you get smooth performance, albeit a bit slower at times.
Google Pixel phones may not be the beast of the Android world when it comes to specs and raw performance, but they make up for it with polished software and fast updates. For example, Android 13 will be available on Pixel phones first, so you can use the latest operating system while other phone manufacturers catch up.
The things you miss with this mid-range phone are IP68 water resistance and wireless charging, but you get great cameras. All this for $450 is a bargain.
Best high-end Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
If there’s one word that describes ‘premium’ smartphones, it’s ‘ultra’. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the wildest Android phone you can buy. It has all the features you can imagine, including a stylus.
Let’s start with the cameras. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has five cameras in total – four on the back. The main 108MP camera is flanked by a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 10MP 3x telephoto camera and a 10MP 10x telephoto camera. The front selfie camera is 40 MP. All of these cameras put you in a good position to capture any situation. You have ultra-wide to take a step back, and telephoto to zoom.
Is battery life important to you? The Galaxy S22 Ultra does too. It has a solid 5,000 mAh battery, but the large capacity also translates into a significant bulk. The Ultra has a large 6.8-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Under the big screen is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12 GB of RAM, up to 1 TB of storage, wireless charging, fast charging and IP68 waterproofing. When Samsung talks about Ultra, it talks about Ultra. It’s the kitchen sink phone of the Android world.
Speaking of Android, Samsung offers some of the best software support out there. Ultra comes with four years of major Android updates. That’s better support than you get with Google’s Pixel phones.
Obviously, a premium phone like the Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t come 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 Android phone for gaming: ASUS ROG Phone 5S
If you’re looking for a great phone for gaming, the ASUS ROG series hits the mark. The ROG Phone 5S is the successor to the beautiful ROG Phone 5, our previous pick.
ROG Phone 5s has a massive 7.8-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, perfect for gaming. It is also powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus and 12GB of RAM. That’s enough to handle the most resource-intensive games. Oh, and the 6,000mAh battery will keep you playing for hours.
For those non-gaming moments, you have three cameras on the back. These are a 64 MP main camera, a 13 MP ultra-wide camera and a 5 MP front camera. The selfie camera is 24MP. This is a very good set of cameras for a device that focuses on gaming performance. You will be able to take amazing pictures between two gaming sessions!
But all that gaming potential doesn’t come cheap: ASUS ROG Phone 5s costs $999. If gaming performance is important to you, the price is worth it.
Best Android Camera Phone: ASUS ROG Phone 5S
For the most part, any phone on this list will take good photos, but the Pixel 6 Pro stands out from the crowd. Not only is it a great camera phone, but it’s also a great phone overall.
The Pixel 6 Pro has a massive 6.7-inch display with a resolution of 1440 x 3120 and 120 Hz refresh rate. It’s definitely a big phone, but with the big size comes a lot of extra benefits.
For starters, you get a large 5,000mAh battery that should be enough to get you through a day with juice to spare. It also has Google’s Tensor processor and 12GB of storage capacity. Wireless charging and water resistance are added bonuses.
Let’s get to the most important part, the cameras. The main camera is 50 MP, it is joined by a 12 MP ultra-wide camera and a 48 MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom. These cameras allow you to be equipped for any situation you encounter. Whether it’s distant subjects, group shots or something else, it’s all good on the Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 6 Pro costs $900 and comes with 3 years of Android updates. You will always get these updates first and the software is the cleanest version of Android you can find.
Best Battery Life: Moto G Power (2021)
When you’re looking for a phone with good battery life, “Power” in the name is usually a good sign. The Moto G Power (2021) will do the trick, and it’s only around $200.
Moto G Power has a 5,000 mAh battery, but it is not the only element that guarantees excellent autonomy. The combination of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor and 6.4-inch 1080p display is great for battery life, as it doesn’t push every pixel out of a giant 4K screen.
Camera quality isn’t this phone’s selling point, but the Moto G Power has a respectable 48MP camera and a 2MP macro camera on the back. The selfie camera is 8MP. But don’t expect great phones in low light.
Like our budget pick, the Moto G Power runs on a clean version of Android. This also helps with battery life. You can get the Moto G Power (2021) for around $200 and forget about battery life on your next weekend getaway.