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Best smartphone 2022: The finest Android and Apple phones you can buy today

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This year is already stuffed with smartphone launches, so we've rounded up the best Android and Apple smartphones you can buy today

We all covet those little rectangles in our pockets. Smartphones play a massive part in our day-to-day lives, but buying the perfect smartphone can be an arduous task. However, don't fret – we're here to help you buy the best smartphone for you.

READ NEXT: Best phone camera

We've painstakingly put every smartphone to the test, with the best coverage in the UK, so we can help you make a buying decision. Our best smartphone 2022 roundup is always kept up to date, so be sure to check back often.


Best smartphone: At a glance


How to buy the best smartphone for you

Finding the right smartphone for your budget can be tricky, especially when there are so many expensive contracts to sift through. To make things easier, we've rounded up everything you need to know about buying your perfect smartphone, as well as what you need to know about picking out a contract.

Should I buy a smartphone on contract or SIM-free?

Generally speaking, buying a phone unlocked and SIM-free is the best option, as you can use any SIM you like and sell the phone when you want to upgrade, but you do have to have the money upfront. If you can't stomach the upfront cost, go with a contract, but work out the total cost of it over the period to make sure you aren't getting ripped off: if you can afford a bit more upfront, you'll most likely save over the contract's length.

Which smartphone operating system do I need?

There are two smartphone operating systems to decide from in 2022: iOS and Android.

You'll only find iOS on Apple's own smartphones. Typically, iOS gets apps first and is a wonderfully slick OS. It isn't as customisable as Android, but there's no doubt that it's incredibly easy to use.

Android has a much wider reach than its Apple counterpart and is found on the majority of smartphones on the market. There are many different versions of Google's operating system available, though. Generally speaking, you'll want a phone running Android 11 or higher, as older versions will now be outdated. Manufacturers often customise their own versions of Android, which means that the experience can differ between handsets.

READ NEXT: Best Android smartphone

What should I look for in a smartphone display?

As most smartphones are controlled entirely with their touchscreens, the size and quality of a handset's display are very important. A larger screen will make everything easier to read and is particularly useful for web browsing, but a big display makes for a big phone that you may find harder to carry around.

A screen's pixel density, measured in pixels per inch (ppi), will give you an idea of how clear and sharp text will appear on a screen – a smaller number of pixels stretched across a huge screen, for example, will lead to jagged edges. Screen technology can also be very important, with AMOLED screens and IPS being the two main technologies, each with their own pros and cons.

What about performance and battery life?

Most smartphones are powered by octa-core processors these days. As a general rule, the clock speed of a processor (measured in GHz) shows how fast the phone is and will give you a rough indication of how fluid the operating system feels, as well as how the phone copes with running apps and games.

READ NEXT: Best phone battery life

Alternatively, lengthy battery life is one of the biggest things you need to look for when picking up a new phone. Our battery tests help you make the right decision about the handset that's right for you, but generally speaking the bigger the phone's battery capacity (measured in mAh), the longer it will last on a single charge.

How much smartphone storage do I need?

Generally speaking, a minimum of 64GB of onboard storage is fine if there's a microSD slot, but you'll soon find the internal storage filling up quickly. With more of an emphasis on smartphone cameras in recent years, it's likely that your Instagram snaps will be the main culprit in using up your storage so we recommend at least 64GB to get you started.

How does Expert Reviews test smartphones?

When a handset arrives for review, we test it using a number of benchmarking methods. We typically start with CPU and GPU processing, where we use the Geekbench 5 and GFXBench applications found in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store – these provide us with a set of scores which we use to compare against similarly priced rivals. A phone's screen is tested using DisplayCAL software and a display colorimeter. This gives us an accurate reading of how good the display is at reproducing colours, as well as maximum brightness and contrast.

Next up is battery life. This is where we use our in-house video rundown test, which displays a looped video with flight mode enabled and the screen set to 170cd/m2 brightness. We simply play the video and record the timestamp when we first boot up the phone after it runs dry. A phone's cameras are put to the test in a variety of shooting scenarios, including scenic shots, low-light and indoor photography as well as rapid video panning in a range of modes. 

READ NEXT: The best budget smartphones

The best smartphones to buy in 2022

1. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: The best smartphone of 2022

Price: From £1,149 l Buy now from Amazon

Latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra contract deals

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is a flagship smartphone of rare distinction. The most complete high0end handset the company has produced to date, itmight cost you a bit more than other handsets on this list, but the S22 Ultra is the very best Android smartphone currently on the market.

Samsung's latest big-screened beauty has received a bit of a facelift this year, with a new Burgundy colour and a fancy new camera array. Internal upgrades to Samsung's own Exynos 2200 processor makes this one of the most powerful smartphones we've ever tested, too. Likewise, the Galaxy S22 Ultra's cameras continue to impress, with improved zoom images.

But perhaps the biggest new addition this year is the inclusion of Samsung's S Pen stylus. Borrowed from the Note line, this dinky doodler is a great tool, and its something worth spending extra for.

If you're after the very best that Android can muster, then make no mistake, it doesn't get much better than the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.8GHz Samsung Exynos 2200; Screen: 6.8in, 3,088 x 1,440; Camera: 108MP, 10MP (10x zoom), 10MP (3x zoom)128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; Operating system: Android 12

EE: Save a MASSIVE £240 on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

For a limited time, EE, which is the fastest UK network, has slashed the monthly prices of its Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra plans. That means you can get the 128GB version of the handset with 100GB of data for £67/mth on a two-year contract, rather than the usual £77/mth. That's a stunning saving of £240. An upfront fee of £50 applies.
EE
Save £240

2. Xiaomi Redmi Note 11: The best budget buy

Price: £199 | Buy now from Amazon

Smartphone flagships are getting better and better, but with these top-notch innovations comes an increased cost. Paying almost four figures for the latest top-end smartphone simply isn't doable for most consumers, but thankfully Xiaomi's Redmi Note 11 provides a flagship experience at a vastly reduced cost. 

Xiaomi's cheapo handset has seriously reset the benchmark of what to expect from a smartphone in 2022. Equipped with a surprisingly speedy Snapdragon 680 processor, the Redmi Note 11 outperforms phones that cost twice the price, and then some. Its quadruple-camera array is also excellent for the price, as is the large 6.43in FHD+ screen with 90Hz refresh rate.

In fact, the Redmi Note 11 doesn't really fail in any area, especially when you consider how little it costs. If you're in the market for a new phone in 2022 and don't have a huge amount to spend, then the Redmi Note 11 is absolutely where your wallet should be headed.

Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 680; Screen: 6.43in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 8MP (wide), 2MP (macro) and 2MP (depth); Storage: 128GB, 2556GB; Operating system: Android 11

iD Mobile: These Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 bargains are BRILLIANT

Why not match our favourite budget smartphone with a similarly money-saving contract deal? iD Mobile is here to help: for instance, you can get the 128GB version of the handset with 25GB of data for just £18/mth on a two-year plan, 50GB for £19/mth or unlimited data for an eye-boggling £21/mth. Even better, there's nothing to pay upfront with any of the deals.
iD Mobile

3. Google Pixel 6: Pixel perfect

Price: £599 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest Google Pixel 6 contract deals


Substantially cheaper than the rest of the flagship-class handsets on this list, Google's Pixel 6 is yet again a true Android tour de force. Not only does it vastly undercut rivals in terms of price, but it matches them in terms of performance as well, thanks to Google's new Tensor chipset. A significant speed boost over last year's model  a 75% increase in our tests – the Pixel 6's dual cameras are also practically flawless, beating out the more expensive Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12 Pro in terms of clarity, detail and colour reproduction.

It's also the perfect flag bearer for Android 12. There's no better showcase of Google's latest version of its mobile operating system, ushering in a radically updated look and feel, courtesy of the new “Material You” design language. If you're a keen photographer, or you're simply after the very best that Android can get, then the Pixel 6 certainly won't disappoint. 

Read our full Google Pixel 6 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.8GHz Google Tensor; Screen: 6.4in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 50MP, 12MP wide; Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

iD Mobile: Get the Google Pixel 6 with unlimited data for JUST £33/mth

iD Mobile has a reputation for delivering delicious big-data deals and this is no exception: the 128GB version of the handset with bottomless data for a mere £33/mth on a two-year plan, with absolutely nothing to pay upfront.
iD Mobile

4. OnePlus 10 Pro: The best-value smartphone

Price: £799 l Buy now from Amazon

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, as impressive as it may be, is still a phone reserved for the plumpest of wallets. Thankfully, as far as getting the best value for money is concerned, OnePlus has stepped in with the 10 Pro – a formidable flagship that's overflowing with features at a reduced cost.

There's a lot to like here, too. Performance is top-notch courtesy of the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and battery life is rather impressive as well. The new design is also a bit of an eye-catcher and we were impressed with the OnePlus 10 Pro's cameras in testing – particularly when it came to 10-bit colour and RAW+ capture. The only slight downside is the lack of an IP68 protection rating, but that's about the only compromise. if you can look past this slight negative, then there's no doubt that you're getting an awful lot for your money.

Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1; Screen: 6.7in, 3,216 x 1,440; Camera: 48MP, 8MP (zoom) 50MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 12

Affordable Mobiles: Grab the OnePlus 10 Pro with 100GB of data for a BARGAIN £45/mth

This stonking deal comes courtesy of third-party retailer Affordable Mobiles: pick up the 128GB version of our favourite phone for value with 100GB of Three 5G data for £45/mth, with no upfront fees. What's not to like?
Affordable Mobiles

5. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G: The best folding phone

Price: £949 | Buy now from Amazon

Folding phones might still be getting off the ground, but the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is the first non-conventional flagship worth buying. The first of its kind to (finally) offer IPX8-rated waterproofing, as well as a more durable inner screen and hard-wearing "Armor Aluminium" frame, the Flip3 5G not only looks the part, but it's also the first clumsy-proof folding phone as well. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 powers things, providing a huge processing boost over last year's model, and the main display's refresh rate has doubled to 120Hz as well.

Best of all, however, is that the Flip3 5G not only costs a heck of a lot more than its predecessor at launch, but it's also the first folding phone to drop below four figures. Priced the same as the iPhone 13 Pro, the Flip3 5G is a much more tantalising proposition, and now's the time to jump aboard the folding bandwagon.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.84GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 888; Screen: 6.in, 2,640 x 1,080 (cover: 1.9in, 512 x 260); Camera: 12MP, 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 11

Three: This Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 bundle is BARNSTORMING

Three is offering a golden opportunity to pick up our favourite folding phone with unlimited 5G data for £55/mth on a two-year contract, with £29 to pay upfront. If that wasn't enough, you'll get a pair of the active noise cancellation-toting Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earbuds worth £139.
Three

6. Nokia 1.4: The best smartphone under £100

Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

The Nokia 1.4 is a perfect example of not judging a phone based solely on how much (or in this case, how little) it costs. For less than £100, the Nokia 1.4 does everything any other smartphone is capable of doing, and you can buy almost ten of these for the price of just one Samsung Galaxy S21. Naturally, there are a handful of drawbacks; performance is rather slow and it only charges via Micro-USB but for the most part, the Nokia 1.4 is a solid budget pick for those that don't fancy spending triple figures.

You might be able to find better low-priced handsets if you're willing to spend just a little bit more, but if your budget is limited, you can't do much better than the Nokia 1.4 when it comes down to sheer affordability.

Read our full Nokia 1.4 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 215; Screen: 6.52in, 1,600 x 720; Camera: 8MP, 2MP (macro); Storage: 32GB; Operating system: Android 10 Go

Fonehouse: Get the Nokia 1.4 with 25GB of data for JUST £16/mth

If you're after cheap data to go with your cheap phone, this is the deal for you: Fonehouse is serving up the 16GB version of the Nokia 1.4 with 25GB of Vodafone data for £16/mth on a two-year deal. There's nothing to pay upfront and the saving comes courtesy of £200 cashback.
Fonehouse

7. Apple iPhone 13 Pro: Excessive excellence

Price: £949 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest iPhone 13 Pro contract deals


What's so special about Apple's latest flagship? Well, aside from its wallet-scaring configuration options, the iPhone 13 Pro represents a handful of subtle tweaks on top of last year's iPhone 12 Pro.

Yet again, Apple's A15 Bionic chipset is the fastest around, even surpassing the mighty performance of Snapdragon 888-equipped flagships. It's also the first iPhone with a 120Hz display, while the main camera has inherited the sensor-shift stabilisation tech from last year's iPhone 12 Pro Max, with a slightly larger sensor and bigger pixels to boot. It's not the most groundbreaking of updates, but if you're an Apple devotee that happens to be nearing the end of a 24-month contract, then it doesn't get much better than this.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 3.22GHz Apple A15 Bionic; Screen: 6.1in, 2,532 x 1,170; Camera: 12MP, 12MP (3x zoom), 12MP (wide); Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; Operating system: Apple iOS 15

Three: Get the iPhone 13 Pro with 100GB of data HALF PRICE for six months

Here's a terrific Three deal: the 128GB version of the iPhone 13 Pro with unlimited data for £35.50/mth for the first six months of a two-year contract. The price will then rise to £71/mth for the remaining 18 months, but you're still saving a gigantic £213 overall. That's a staggering saving.
Three
Get six months half price

8. OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G: Simply superb value

Price: £299 | Buy now from Amazon

Despite OnePlus continuing to move away from its flagship-killing roots in recent releases, the Taiwanese phone firm still releases cut-priced handsets, this time in the form of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G. It's not as feature-rich as the OnePlus 10 Pro, but for less than half the price, the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is astonishing value for money.

In most areas, the OnePlus Nord CE 25G is just as good, if not better in some cases. It has 5G support (which at this price is still a bit of a marvel), has a lovely 90Hz AMOLED display, and its 24-hour battery life is frankly rather exceptional as well. There are a few downsides, of course, such as the lack of any official water and dust protection, but the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is a capable value phone, with decent performance and a set of cameras that deliver crisp, well-exposed photos in most circumstances.

It does everything so spectacularly, in fact, that little else comes close at this price. If you can't stretch your bank balance, then the OnePlus Nord CE is a very good value alternative.

Read our full OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.4GHz MediaTek Dimensity 900; Screen: 6.43in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 64MP, 8MP (wide) and 2MP (depth); Storage: 128GB; Operating system: Android 11

Buy now from Amazon


9. Xiaomi 11T Pro: A flagship-killing powerhouse

Price: £649 | Buy now from Amazon

If the price of the latest and greatest flagships have you quaking in your boots, then the Xiaomi 11T Pro is the perfect alternative for the cost-savvy. Fitted with all the usual bells and whistles we tend to see in handsets that cost a heck of a lot more, the Xiaomi 11T Pro is stupendously good value, so long as you don't mind looking away from the usual big-name flagships.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 uses the newest top-end Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 888 and it also uses the same 108MP camera as the four-figured Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Its large Full HD AMOLED display is pretty much unmatched when it comes to colour accuracy, and it's also the first phone with 120W charging (going from zero to full in just under 20 minutes).

Do your wallet a favour and save a chunk of cash by picking up the Xiaomi 11 T Pro instead, you won't be disappointed.

Read our full Xiaomi 11T Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.84GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 888; Screen: 6.67in, 2,400 x 1,080; Camera: 108MP, 8MP (wide), 5MP (macro) Storage: 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: Android 11

Affordable Mobiles: Xiaomi 11T Pro with unlimited data for a FANTASTIC £30/mth

Here's another superb saving from Affordable Mobiles: the Xiaomi 11T Pro with bottomless Three data for an attention-grabbing £30/mth on a two-year contract. Even better, there's nothing to pay upfront.
Affordable Mobiles

10. iPhone SE 3 (2022): The best-value iPhone

Price: £419 | Buy now from Amazon

Latest iPhone SE 3 contract deals

With the iPhone SE 3 (2022), you're getting a heck of a lot of smartphone for not a lot of much money. It might look like a bit of a relic – it shares the same design as the 2017 iPhone 8 – but the iPhone SE 3 is Apple's best-value handset yet. Why? Well, it's all about what's inside: the iPhone SE 3 (2022) uses the A15 Bionic chipset, which is the same processor shared by the pricier iPhone 13.

That means you get the same levels of performance achieved by those high-priced flagships, at just a fraction of the cost. Likewise, the single 12MP camera might seem unassuming at first but actually manages to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone 13 in terms of sheer detail capture, especially when it comes to low-light photography.

The only fly in the ointment is that the iPhone SE 3's battery life is quite poor by modern standards. However, if you have this amount to spend and you'd rather not use a big-screened handset, then the iPhone SE 3 (2022) remains a worthy choice. It may be the cheapest iPhone, but it's still mightily impressive.

Read our full iPhone SE 3 (2022) review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 3.23GHz Apple A13 Bionic; Screen: 4.7in, 1,334 x 750; Camera: 12MP; Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB; Operating system: iOS 15

Affordable Mobiles: Get the iPhone SE 3 (2022) with 100GB of data for a STUNNING £30/mth

This is our favourite iPhone SE 3 (2022) offer at the moment: the 128GB version of the handset with 100GB of Three data for an incredible £30/mth on a two-year contract, with absolutely nothing to pay upfront. Snap it up quickly to avoid disappointment.
Affordable Mobiles
100GB of data for £30/mth