Day nine of the 12 Days of Christmas could be the one where you get your hands on a new smartphone, either for a loved one or yourself. You have options to consider, coming from the three most recognizable brands: Apple, Samsung and Google.

When you look at the premium smartphones they all make, you have more to consider. That’s good when you’re thinking of who might be the best for a phone like that. It’s always helpful to know what they’re already using, and whether they prefer to stick with the same brand. After all, when you know some of the basic details, you know where to start.

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Going with the iPhone

The iPhone continues to be one of the most popular phones available, and understandably so. With effective hardware and intuitive software in the form of iOS, the synergy between the two largely built the reputation Apple’s handsets are known for. With years of updates to keep them as current as possible, they can last a fairly long time.

“Premium” can apply to more than just the most current iPhone lineup. For instance, the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are Apple’s best, equipped with the company’s latest technology from the inside out. But you won’t go wrong with the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max, either. Those offer much of what the later models deliver, and would feel like big upgrades for anyone using a phone that’s three years old or more.

Apple always debuts new features in its premium devices. That’s why the cameras on the Pro models are different from the other standard iPhone models. Another example would be Dynamic Island, which makes the front camera cutout more actionable by showing notifications and quick controls for various apps. MagSafe is now a staple for these iPhones, opening up a slew of accessories that can connect to the back of the phones, including chargers and photography gadgets.

What Samsung has to offer

Samsung used to have two premium smartphone lines every year—the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note. That all changed in 2021 when the company did away with the Note, focusing more on the S line, as well as its foldable phones. This makes for a unique mix among the three brands listed here. On the one hand, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 are all standard Samsung, meaning they have the latest features above all others. The latest camera features, the best hardware components and vibrant displays.

The foldables are different in the most obvious way—they fold open and closed. Fold open the Galaxy Z Fold4 and the large 7.6-inch display makes it feel like a tablet. It’s one of the only phones in the world capable of running three apps simultaneously. That’s true multitasking. You still get a 6.2-inch display on the front when folding the phone closed on top of that. The Galaxy Z Flip4 takes a similar approach, only it’s like folding a regular smartphone in half. That smaller footprint makes the phone one of the easiest to hold and pocket. Plus, with the Cover Screen in front, there are ingenious ways to take selfies with better-quality rear cameras.

Samsung’s One UI works well overlayed on top of Android. It’s improved a great deal over the years, and a big reason why Samsung phones are among the best available. Oh, and if you were wondering about the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy S22 Ultra basically took over. It even has its own built-in holster for S Pen. You can use the S Pen with the Galaxy Z Fold4, but not with the other models.

Where Google fits into the smartphone market

Google Pixel phones established a lasting reputation for image quality in their cameras. It’s well-founded with results that speak for themselves. Google’s computation software is superb, producing excellent images in a variety of conditions. Whether it’s dark at night or bright in the sunlight, odds are very good you will capture something great. What helps is the cameras aren’t hard to learn or use, and include helpful slider controls for shadows, highlights and white balance.

Pixel phones also use a “purer” version of Android in that there are no overlays. Since Google owns Android, it simply adds its own features to the existing operating system. Some of those features prove very useful, particularly for phone calls. Call Screen, Hold for Me and Voice Typing stand out. The abilities extend to cool Google Photos features like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur.

The Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 7 are the best Google currently has to offer. They are the first Pixel phones to offer a face unlock feature and feature a slightly improved fingerprint sensor.

Staying put or moving on with a new smartphone

It doesn’t really matter if you or the loved one in your life wants to stick with the same brand and platform or try one of the others to go in a new direction. These are quality smartphones, and while largely a matter of personal preference, it’s hard to make a wrong choice in this group.

There are plenty of other good choices in our 12 Days of Christmas series, and a good phone from a trusted brand fits that bill. Check out the latest Apple iPhones available now, along with the best Samsung Galaxy handsets, and see what the newest Google Pixel models can do.

Take a look at our 12 days of Christmas posts


Editor Cellular/Mobile Technology
I’m a fortunate man in being able to do the fun job of following and reporting on one of the most exciting industries in the world today. In my time covering consumer tech, I’ve written for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Canada,, Canoe, Digital Trends, MobileSyrup, G4 Tech, PC World, Faze and AppStorm. I’ve also appeared on TV as a tech expert for Global, CTV and the Shopping Channel.


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