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The best new smartphones for 2022 – and which one to buy if you’re stuck

We can only show you the door, you’re the one that has to walk through it (Credits: Getty)

You may think that choosing a new phone is a pretty straightforward decision.

Been using iPhones for the last decade? Simple: get the next iPhone. Want to save cash and have a decent camera? Ok: grab Google’s latest Pixel.

Unfortuantely, it’s not as easy as all that anymore, due to a few different factors. For starters, even if you did just want the new iPhone, Apple now gives you four different models to choose from.

And while those who didn’t want to frolic inside Apple’s walled garden would traditionally opt for a Samsung device, there are a number of decent contenders vying for your pocket space this year.

Finally, buying a smartphone isn’t just about the phone these days. Manufacturers are augmenting their devices with watches, tablets, headphones and other accessories that form an important part of the buying decision.

Of course, we should all try to hold onto our phones for as long as possible before upgrading, and industry trends seem to show that we’re doing just that.

But if the time has come to replace an old handset that’s taken just a few too many knocks, here are some of the best phones you can buy in 2022.

The best all-rounder: iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 is a great option for the vast majority of people (Credits: PA)

There’s no getting around the fact the best phone for the most amount of people is an iPhone.

Apple’s latest middle-of-the-road device doesn’t have the flash features of the ‘Pro’ versions, but it also doesn’t have the matching price tag. Opting for an iPhone means you’ll get access to apps, software updates and accessories unmatched by the Android crowd.

There’s also the option – should you wish – of diving into Apple’s ecosystem and pairing this phone with AirPods or an Apple Watch.

The base level iPhone 13 comes with 128GB of storage for £779 SIM-free, which should suit most people out there.

This time around, Apple has improved the battery life and added some tricks to the camera system. You get a lovely-looking 6.1-inch screen (just ignore the notch) and Apple’s powerful A14 Bionic processor.

Buy the Apple iPhone 13 5G 128GB (sim free) for £729 at Argos.

The best Android: OnePlus 10 Pro

The OnePlus 10 Pro comes in a choice of Volcanic Black or Forest Green (Credits: OnePlus)

When it comes to the best Android phone, it’s a close-run thing between the OnePlus and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

At the end of the day, though, the OnePlus 10 comes in £150 cheaper for the base model that still packs much of the same specs as Samsung’s offering. You’ll get 8GB of RAM and 120GB of storage, a 120Hz refresh rate on the 6.7-inch screen and a Hasselblad-endorsed triple camera system on the back.

OnePlus keeps its Android tinkering to a minimum, which is nice, but also adds a few genuinely useful features. There’s a physical slider on the side for muting the phone and it also comes with an 80W charging brick in the box.

If you want to know even more about the OnePlus 10 Pro, you can check out our full review of it right here.

Buy the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G from £799 direct from OnePlus.

The best folding phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3

The Galaxy ZFold 3 is a phone and tablet in one package. Ain’t cheap, though. (Credit: Samsung)

If you’re exasperated that all phones nowadays have just become boring rectangular slabs of glass, it may be time to look at a foldable alternative.

The pros are that you get a phone and a tablet in one, the cons are that they’re bulky and rather expensive. The best of the best remains the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3.

Unveiled in August 2021, the device combines a 6.2-inch front display that opens like a paperback into a 7.6-inch tablet. Both screens use AMOLED technology and feature a 120Hz refresh rate.

What’s impressive is that Samsung has fitted an under-display camera to the 7.6-inch screen. So if you’ve got the phone open as a tablet, you can have an uninterrupted screen but still utilise a camera for video calls or facial recognition on apps.

On the back of the phone is a triple camera setup consisting of ultra wide, wide-angle and telephoto lenses.

The Z Fold3 5G packs an octa-core processor alongside 12GB of RAM with a choice of either 256GB or 512GB of storage. You can also use Samsung’s S Pen stylus accessory with it and it comes in a choice of either black, green or silver.

Get the Galaxy ZFold 3 from £1,599 at Samsung.

The best small phone: iPhone 13 mini

The iPhone 13 mini comes in a range of colours. (Apple)

Not everyone wants a gigantic phone taking up space in their pocket or bag. Sometimes, we just need to use a phone one-handed.

Android manufacturers have all but abandoned the small form factor which means that your best bet for pocketability is the iPhone 13 mini with its dinky 5.3-inch screen.

The great news is that Apple has packed a lot of tech into this tiny little beast. It’s got the new A15 Bionic CPU, an increased base storage of 128GB (256 and 512 are also available) and camera upgrades with noticeably larger lenses than the iPhone 12 mini.

Of course, battery life can’t compare to the iPhone 13 mini’s larger bretheren, but the trade-off is worth it to have something so good in such a small package.

Want to know more? Check out our full review of the iPhone 13 mini right here.

Buy the iPhone 13 Mini 5G 128GB (sim-free) from £629 at Argos.

The best gaming phone: Asus ROG Phone 5

It’s like the Darth Vader of the smartphone world (Credit: Asus)

Pulling the Asus ROG Phone 5 out of your pocket for a quick mobile gaming session will certainly draw some eyes. It’s got a massive screen, programmable RGB lighting and a second display on the back panel.

There are dual front-facing speakers (a 3.5mm headphone jack is also provided), a 6,000mAh battery and a massively powerful Snapdragon 888 chip with the top spec boasting 16GB of RAM. There are even a pair of extra shoulder buttons that can be mapped to supporting games.

The ROG Phone 5 isn’t an all-round great phone as the cameras aren’t as good as the other devices on this list. But for players, it offers an unrivaled smartphone gaming experience.

Buy the Asus ROG Phone 5 for £919.98 at Amazon.

The best camera phone: Google Pixel 6 Pro

That black bar across the back of the phone is where all the camera gubbins is. (Google)

Google’s Pixel phones have long been praised for their photography chops and the latest is no exception.

Relying more on Google’s software smarts than just cramming a bunch of hardware into a phone, the Pixel 6 Pro regularly captures some of the best shots we’ve seen from a phone.

The big black bar on the back of the device contains a 50-megapixel main sensor behind a f/1.85 aperture lens with optical image stabilisation. Right next to it is a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera with a f/2.2 lens and a 114-degree field of view. And finally, a 4x telephoto lens for getting those zoom shots.

Because of the new grunt from Google’s in-house Tensor chip, the computational photography and photo editing tools are top notch. The new ‘Magic Eraser’ mode lets you casually remove things from your photos – like strangers in the background or unwanted objects. While a new ‘Motion Mode’ mimics the long exposure settings on traditional cameras that turn rivers into wispy pathways of water and car headlights into unbroken streams of light on a dark road.

If all you care about with your phone is taking photos, then Google’s Pixel 6 Pro (or the slightly cheaper Pixel 6) should be your weapon of choice. If you’re interested, this is also the handset that all the islanders are using on this year’s season of Love Island.

Want to know more? Read our full review of the Google Pixel 6 right here.

Buy the Google Pixel 6 Pro 256 GB for £949 at Currys.

The best budget phone: OnePlus Nord CE 2

Another excellent mid-tier smartphone from OnePlus (Credits: OnePlus)

Budget phones are not what they once were. Over the last few years, premium features have trickled down to make mid-range handsets a great proposition for anyone that doesn’t want to spend megabucks on their new phone.

And while OnePlus used to only offer one or two handsets a year, the Chinese manufactuer has started to flood the market with some really affordable phones.

The ‘CE’ in the name stands for ‘Core Edition’ and the idea is this phone packs in only the core essentials with none of the bells and whistles.

This means you get a decent screen, solid performance, a good battery and servicable camera for a respectable £299.

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 has the necessary vital statistics your average phone user would care for: A 6.43-inch 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 4,500mAh battery with a 65W fast charger in the box and support for 5G.

It’s also got a proper, 3.5mm headphone jack right there on the bottom next to the USB-C charging port. Noice.

Want to know more? Read our full review of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 right here.

Buy the OnePlus Nord CE 2 for £299 direct from OnePlus.

The best QWERTY phone: Astro Slide 5G

Writers rejoice! The Astro Slide 5G is a phone with a proper QWERTY keyboard (Credit: Planet Computers)

For some gadget fans, a little part of their soul died when manufacturers stopped incorporating proper keyboards on phones.

Thankfully, one company has seen sense and understands that trying to do a lot of proper typing on a touchscreen is a godawful way to live. British brand Planet Computers is offering the £711 Astro Slide 5G Android phone with a proper, slide-out, mechanical keyboard.

Built like a PDA from a bygone age, the Astro Slide 5G has two USB-C slots (one at each end) and a proper 3.5mm headphone jack. It can become an entire mobile workstation if you want it to be.

Although it arrives running Android 11, you can put Linux OS on it if you want to and treat it like a little computer.

Day-to-day running of the phone is handled by a MediaTek Dimensity 800 Octa-Core SoC backed by 8GB of RAM. The MediaTek chip is a bit of a mid-range option, especially heading into 2022.

It’s not going to compete on raw power with the Snapdragon-toting flagships from the others on this list, but if you want to do some proper work, it doesn’t hurt to have a QWERTY in your back pocket.

Want to know more? Read our full review of the Astro Slide 5G right here.

Buy the Astro Slide 5G for £729 from Planetcom.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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