Best 5 Smartphones Of 2022 (First Half)June 9, 2022
Half of the year has already gone, and it’s time to check which five phones are the best at slightly different price points, going from $899 to $1199. We use many criteria, including the industrial design, speed, camera prowess, and user experience, among other things.
We evaluated the camera potential using our proprietary Ubergizmo CAMERA HW score.
You can learn more by going to the benchmark page.
Editor’s note: prices in Euros are from the official web stores in France, as of May 27, 2022.
5 – Xiaomi 12 Pro ($999, €1099.99)
The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a very agreeable and good-looking smartphone with a fingerprint and scratch-resistant back cover that keeps it looking clean. The phone is powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 platform that ensures it can compete at the highest levels among Android phones. This phone did really well in the synthetic CPU and GPU benchmarks, and this might be your handset of choice for sustained performance.
Its camera has three 50MP sensors (Primary, Ultrawide, Zoom), giving it a strong camera hardware configuration. However, some sensors have tiny pixels (0.7 microns or less), which could limit the amount of captured light under challenging conditions. We computed a CAMERA HW score of 177 for the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
The zoom lens is optimized for portrait photography (48mm), not for long zoom (200mm+) performance. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’ve noticed that most people find long-zoom shots very useful.
Unfortunately, this handset is not certified as waterproof, and tests show that its battery life is slightly more limited than other high-end smartphones. Xiaomi makes up for the battery life with an uber-fast 120W charging, one of the fastest.
4 – OnePlus 10 Pro ($899, €919.00)
The OnePlus 10 Pro is an exciting Android phone because it has excellent performance and top-notch battery life, thanks to its 5000 mAh battery and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Additionally, if you ever find yourself in a battery emergency, it can quickly charge at 65W, which is very fast (but not the fastest) in the industry.
Our data shows this phone packs the highest battery density (mAh per cubic inch) on the list, partially explaining its endurance.
The impressive-looking camera module hides a triple-camera system in the rear, with a 48MP primary, a 50MP ultrawide, and an 8MP zoom camera. OnePlus works with Hasselblad in the development and tuning of the camera. This cooperation leads to particular color profiles that could sway Hasselblad fans.
On a more objective note, our CAMERA HW score of 164 indicates that the
OnePlus 10 Pro’s primary camera could benefit from having better hardware. Its zoom and ultrawide camera modules are also not as impressive as its competitors in this list.
3 – Apple iPhone 13 Pro ($999, €1159)
The iPhone 13 Pro represents the best Apple can muster for now, and it boasts impressive performance and battery life. Most benchmarks show an unquestionable lead in CPU performance and longevity, so kudos to Apple. The scores were a bit low in some graphics benchmarks, but actual games should run fast enough.
On the camera front, Apple has done a great job updating its camera system with a potent primary camera that seriously competes against Samsung and Google. If you care about iOS and photo quality, we recommend getting the 13 Pro instead of the non-Pro models. It’s worth it, trust us.
This camera snatches a CAMERA HW score of 191, clearly in the top percentile, even at this price range. Unfortunately, it’s not the absolute best overall camera on the market, and you would need to switch over to Android for that.
On another topic, the lack of fingerprint unlock might be frustrating for some users. If you need a larger display and battery, you can pick the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It has the same performance and camera experience as the smaller iPhone 13 Pro.
2 – Google Pixel 6 Pro ($899, €899.99)
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the most potent Pixel phone currently available. People love it for its “pure” Android OS experience, but we think that the photo editing and camera style are also among the most popular reasons to own a Pixel phone.
We find the industrial design neat and easy to distinguish from the competition, thanks to the iconic camera bar in the back, which is also a convenient way to integrate a large camera module into the phone.
Powered by the Google Tensor processor, the Pixel 6 Pro comes with beefier AI capabilities for its generation, contributing to more advanced image processing effects. Performance is comparable to Snapdragon 888, and while it’s not the fastest today, it is very respectable and sufficient, even for advanced users.
For classic 3D graphics as measured by the GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 test, the results are not very different from the S22 Ultra. However, in more modern graphics tests, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 can render up to 50% faster, according to our tests. If you play the most modern 3D games, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 might be preferable.
We like Google’s investment in the camera, as it scores a superb 197 in our CAMERA HW benchmark, which is much higher than the Pixel 5’s 121 score. Experts would agree that the photo quality is proportionally better, so kudos to Google for recognizing that it’s not “all about camera software” and that physics matters (a lot) in photography.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s battery life could be better, and it slightly loses out to some high-end Android phones in various battery tests, but most people should get through the Day.
1 – Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ($1,199 €1,259.00)
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is currently the best Android phone for power users and the most expensive in this selection.
Like others, it is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, but on top of that, it delivers world-class industrial design and display technologies. It also features the best e-pen support in the smartphone market, and the pen user experience is unchallenged. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is an absolute multimedia and productivity beast.
That’s not all. Its camera hardware is also one of the best in the world and slightly outpaces its S21 Ultra predecessor. Reviewers are raving about the camera’s prowess, and we’re not surprised.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has the highest CAMERA HW score on this list, at 203. The overall photo quality is high, especially the mighty zoom lens that packs a serious punch. Unlike many others, this camera is very balanced and shows excellent performance in wide, ultrawide, and zoom shots.
The battery life is slightly shorter than last year’s S-series, but it has the largest
display compared to other phones on this list. Fortunately, Samsung has increased the charging power to 45W, so you can replenish quickly and be on your way. Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase that fast-charger as none is provided in the box.
All these handsets are high performers, but synthetic CPU and graphics tests clearly show some differences (see the charts below), mostly in favor of the iPhone 13 Pro and at the expense of the Google Pixel 6 Pro. Only gamers will really feel the speed difference between these phones, and they are all plenty fast for the rest of us.
Apart from their respective design and sizes, the camera quality might be one of the most critical differentiators, with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro leading the charge. The Google Pixel 6 Pro’s camera is slightly behind but significantly less pricey.
The Xiaomi 12 Pro and the OnePlus 10 Pro are worthy camera contenders, but they are objectively slightly behind. On the other hand, both have exciting battery characteristics: the OnePlus 10 Pro has an excellent battery life while the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a crazy-fast battery charging, leaving other phones in the dust.
Each phone has its pros and cons, but you can’t go wrong with any of them as they are all high-quality products. There has never been a better time to upgrade your phone.
Best 5 Smartphones Of 2022 (First Half)