Know someone looking for a new smart phone who prefers it be among the best available? You’ve got some good options to start with for whomever you have in mind.
To be clear, these are what each of these manufacturers would consider to be their best. More than just speeds and feeds, they represent features and functionality meant to be a cut above all others. Bigger and better screens. Fantastic photos and video. Great battery life. A smooth experience. All of those things come into play when you expect to use something elite.
These devices are here to guide you on what might be the best fit. All of them came to market in 2022, and represent some of the best handsets currently available. Check out the Phone Buying Guide to learn what smartphones have to offer.
Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are iterative upgrades over the previous Pixel 6 models, sporting a very similar look. They still retain the elegance of their predecessors, from the all-glass design and vibrant AMOLED screens. Google also placed a metallic panel to help protect the camera module sticking out from the back.
Both phones follow very similar paths, save for a few differences. You get 12GB of RAM in the Pixel 7 Pro (8GB for the Pixel 7), also starting at 128GB of internal storage. Google’s new Tensor G2 chipset powers all the features and functions, especially the ones you won’t see in other phones. Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur in Google Photos come to mind, but so do cool ones like Call Screen, Hold for Me and Voice Typing, among others.
The camera is the jewel of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, sticking to their predecessors’ formula. That means the same 50-megapixel image sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide and 48-megapixel telephoto lenses. A new front camera now comes with Face Unlock capabilities if you’d rather stay away from the fingerprint sensor. Photos continue to improve, not just when shooting in low-light with Night Sight, but also in hybrid zoom situations and new modes like Cinematic Blur for video. When it comes to mobile photography, these are two of the phones to beat.
Want to know more? Check out the full review here on the Best Buy Blog.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max
These are the best iPhones Apple currently has. They’re an iterative upgrade from the iPhone 13 Pro models, so it’s more worth it to upgrade from the iPhone 12 or earlier. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are the same, except for their relative size, as they otherwise offer the same features and functions, including camera output.
Apple features the camera features prominently in both devices in a bid to improve both photos and video. Night mode is better in low-light conditions, while you also get to control white balance and colour temperature. Photographic Styles also lets you determine what kind of colour you want in the shot. Plus, the photographer in your life can shoot at the full 48-megapixel resolution in Apple’s ProRAW format. Dynamic range isn’t as good as the Pixel 7 phones, but they have a decided edge on the video side.
Cinematic mode takes video to a different level by making it easier to change focus. It can look dramatic, though you are limited to doing it in 1080p, as 4K resolution may come later. When it comes to shooting great video, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are hard to beat.
The good news is both phones also start at 128GB of storage, which is vitally important for storing apps and images. The usual features also return, like Face ID, MagSafe, True Tone, and more. Apple also retained the Lightning charging port, in case you have accessories that still use it.
Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+, S22 Ultra
All three of these phones came out together, and the one you go with depends on need or want. The Galaxy S22 Ultra clearly has the best camera and largest AMOLED display, but the other two are equally capable of running smoothly. Apart from screen size and camera layout, the three share a lot of similarities. They all run on the same software, same processor and same storage options.
Only the Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with the S Pen, and this time, it comes with its own holster just like the Galaxy Note used to have. The other two don’t work with the pen, though hold other advantages, like easier one-handed use, as one example. They also get software updates the same way the Ultra does, so you’re never left behind.
On the camera side, the S22 Ultra also has features the others don’t. That includes two telephoto lenses (3x and 10x), plus the large 108-megapixel image sensor on the main wide lens. Not to mention a larger, higher-resolution screen. So, what can you do with the other S22 phones? Quite a bit, if you consider the solid performance, cameras and battery life you get with either one.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4
Flip phones are an old school design but not if you look at what they’re like now. One of the most prominent is the Galaxy Z Flip4. Flip it open and you see a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen. Clamp it shut and you get a 1.9-inch Cover Screen display to peek into notifications and features. That Cover Screen also comes in handy when it’s time to take a selfie with the rear camera, too.
Samsung also used better glass for the main screen, plus software that also makes better use of the phone’s unique build. Plus, there’s just something really satisfying about flipping a phone open or closed. The hinge is pretty sturdy, so prying it open won’t feel flimsy. You can keep it closed when using Samsung Pay or controlling compatible Samsung devices, like the Galaxy Buds2 or Buds2 Pro, for instance.
Bear in mind this phone doesn’t have the best camera Samsung offers because the specs and output are more in line with the Galaxy S22 and S22+. You do have unique ways to capture photos and video, like folding the phone at 90-degrees or various other angles and propping it up to shoot hands-free. You can also do video calls this way by having the front camera face you.
Despite its smaller size (when clamped shut), it supports wireless charging, and uses a split-battery configuration to keep the lights on for longer. There are few phones out there like this one, and certainly few that are as pocket-friendly as this one is.
Other phones to consider
Note that within this list are multiple choices. If you don’t want the Pro or Ultra of a particular model, you can always look at their siblings. In the case of the iPhone, Apple complements the Pro models with the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, both of which are highly capable. Indeed, they may actually be better fit for most. You lose out on the telephoto lens, but many of the other camera features still apply. There are good affordable phone options to consider too.
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