If you want to buy a new phone, but find it difficult to choose, we have selected the best smartphones of 2022 for you, focusing on their value for money.
The guide to the best smartphones of 2022 in summary:
- iPhone 14 Pro: this year’s benchmark at Apple, hard to go wrong.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: the top under Android, without paying a minimum wage.
- Oppo Find X5 Pro: the ultra high-end is not reserved for Apple and Samsung.
- Google Pixel 7 pro: photo and software in the spotlight.
- Google Pixel 6a: the most complete mid-range phone
- iPhone 13 mini: Apple’s smallest smartphone, perfect for little hands.
- Redmi Note 11: around 200 €, you will not find better.
The smartphone is the Swiss army knife of modern times. Almost indispensable in our society, it has succeeded in replacing cameras, televisions, GPS, game consoles, notepads, paper journals, cookbooks and, of course, is an unparalleled communication tool. For many users, it is the most used technological device every day.
You want a new mobile, but can’t make a choice? It’s normal, the smartphone market is so big that hundreds of new products come out every year. Numerama journalists have selected their favorite devices for you. This buying guide will be regularly updated to offer you the best devices.
Which smartphone to choose in 2022?
In October 2022, Apple released its latest high-end smartphone: the iPhone 14 Pro. This year, the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max are the only models to benefit from the new features of the Californian firm. Among those changes is the Dynamic Island feature which allows its front camera to fit into the screen without an unsightly notch at the top of the phone.
In addition to this dynamic notch, we can note in the significant changes, the arrival of the A16 Bionic chip, more powerful than the previous A15 chip which equips the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14. In addition to this new processor, the main sensor of the camera goes from 12 megapixels to 48 megapixels. The iPhone 14 Pro can also boast of having Always on Display technology. The screen is constantly on standby and you can access the time and notifications without having to activate the screen, like on smartwatches.
If you want to acquire a smartphone from the apple brand without investing so much, it is better to favor the iPhone 13. We do not recommend investing in the iPhone 14, because the price difference of a hundred euros is not justified.
If they are, on paper, inferior to the Galaxy S22, the Galaxy S21 FE remain excellent high-end smartphones in 2022. Truth be told, their Snapdragon 888 processor is better than the Exynos 2200 found in Samsung’s latest products. In addition to improving battery management, the Snapdragon chip heats up less. The Galaxy S22 test that we were able to do makes us want to recommend the S21 FE, which is cheaper and less subject to stock shortages.
As a reminder, the Galaxy S21 FE launched in early 2022 has a sumptuous 6.4-inch OLED screen, a very versatile triple camera module and a really successful design. At 699 euros and sometimes less when it’s on sale, the S21 FE offers excellent value for money for a high-end smartphone.
If, however, you want the best from Samsung, then we recommend looking at the Galaxy S22 Plus. You can also read our Galaxy S22 Ultra review.
Less known than Samsung and Apple, Oppo is a manufacturer you should watch. The Find X5 Pro is an incredible smartphone on so many levels, starting with its design. Its ceramic back and its camera module which protrudes very little give it a unique, truly prestigious style. In addition to all that, it is one of the most complete mobiles on the market. Featuring an incredible OLED display with adaptive refresh rate (1-120Hz), powered by Qualcomm’s most powerful processor and capable of recharging in around 30 minutes, this is a racing beast. Too bad it’s so expensive.
If the volume of the device, with its 6.7-inch screen, challenged us during our test of the Pixel 7 Pro, the Google phone remains a good reference for high-end smartphones. The camera, equipped with 3 sensors, a 48-megapixel lens and an ultra-wide-angle lens, honors the reputation of Pixels, recognized for image quality. We find the asserted design of the brand with the strip on the back of the device at the level of the photo sensors. On the processor side, the Pixel 7 Pro is equipped with a Tensor G2 coupled with 12 GB of RAM.
We recommend the Pixel 7 Pro more than the Pixel 7 (our test). Although the phone remains nice, its characteristics and performance remain in line with the Pixel 6a, sold for less (see below).
The best compact smartphones in 2022
The Google Pixel 6a is an attractive smartphone. Equipped with the same high-end chip as the normal Pixel 6 (the Google Tensor chip), it stands out above all for its smaller screen (6.1 inches) and its less modern, albeit incredible, camera. Thanks to software algorithms developed by Google, the Pixel 6a takes sublime photos day and night, which is quite impressive considering its price. The iPhone SE’s direct rival does better in every aspect, provided you like Android. Google obliges, several years of updates are promised.
Who is the Pixel 6a for? To all those with a budget of around 500 euros. At this price, there is no better on the smartphone market.
If we have long thought that the iPhone SE was Apple’s best small smartphone, today we think that its outdated design and short battery life do not make it the best choice on the smartphone market.
For other people looking for a compact smartphone, there is the iPhone 13 mini (our test) or the iPhone 12 mini. Very small (5.4 inches), they simply have no equivalent on the smartphone market. The main point of distinction of the iPhone 13 mini is its better autonomy, while the iPhone 12 mini often benefits from great promotions. We regret that Apple does not renew its range of iPhone mini on the iPhone 14. We recommend both.
What are the best value for money smartphones?
Always unbeatable in the segment of low-cost phones, Xiaomi has achieved a tour de force with the Redmi Note 11. The phone offers you excellent autonomy and a more than respectable technical sheet for its price of around 200-250 euros). The phone isn’t the most photo-savvy (few phones at this price point are), but it has an OLED display, can run a game like Fortnite well, and sports a great design for a price . contents.
What criteria should be taken into account to choose the right smartphone?
iOS or Android: choose the operating system
The mobile world today is divided into two camps: iOS and Android. Operating systems from Apple and Google have swept the competition to establish themselves as the only valid platforms in 2022 (even if some persist in doing without them). The choice of one OS or another will depend more on your personal preferences, as both solutions are now technically and graphically mature.
Apple’s ecosystem takes credit for taking privacy and software tracking very seriously. iPhones generally receive updates for at least 5-6 years and include features such as ad tracking blocking. Android mobiles are based on a code open to all, allowing users to personalize and model the system as they wish, both technically and aesthetically.
Evaluate the photo capabilities of the smartphone
The trend in mobile photography is currently towards the proliferation of sensors. Many smartphones multiply the number of devices present on the back to offer greater versatility in the photo exercise. If the presence of an ultra wide-angle or zoom module undeniably allows you to vary the pleasures, this does not guarantee that your photos will be impeccable. Sometimes it’s better to have a single, great camera than a slew of average sensors. The number of megapixels is also misleading, 108 Mpix is not necessarily better than 12 Mpix.
Should you take a 5G smartphone?
The latest generation of mobile broadband has been slow to arrive, but it has finally settled in France since the end of 2020. For the moment, the territory is not yet very well covered and 5G speeds are often random. These issues should resolve over time. So should we fall for a 5G phone? It depends.
If you want to keep your mobile for many years, we recommend that you buy a 5G device. It is an investment in the future. If you are looking for a device at a low price and you do not plan to keep it for long, then 4G may be enough.
Are folding smartphones interesting?
Obviously impressive on a technical level, folding smartphones today are more of a technologicaldemonstration than a real revolution. Whether it’s the Huawei Mate Xs, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or the Motorola Razr, all of them are still very expensive and still have some youthful flaws. It must be recognized, however, that they gradually improve and can be worth buying them if you can afford it. The Oppo Find N is proof of that.
What is the repairability index?
Since the beginning of 2020, all phones sold in France must be accompanied by their repairability index. This detail lets you know if you can repair your smartphone yourself, or have it repaired by a third party. The easier a smartphone is to repair, the longer you can keep it. All resellers are required to indicate this index on their product sheet. So don’t hesitate to take a look.
A universal charger?
Today, USB-C charging has established itself everywhere in the mobile industry. Most Android phones have opted for this convenient, reversible port. Only Apple persists and signs with its Lightning port still present on the iPhone. But the EU has tightened the screws on the issue, so we will have to see what happens in the coming years. In the meantime, if you buy an Android phone, chances are it will come with a USB-C port, which has become the new standard.