Best Android phones you can buy in 2022 – CNET

Android phones come in all shapes, sizes and prices, with a dizzying array of options from a vast choice of manufacturers. And new models seem to arrive every other week, with big names like Samsung, Google, OnePlus and others packing their phones with the latest, greatest bits of mobile technology. Features like fast 5G connectivity, vivid Super AMOLED displays and 120Hz refresh rate screens are now commonplace, and those with deeper pockets can access futuristic, cutting-edge tech like foldable displays

A lot of the best Android phone choices are available at a variety of prices, ranging from budget Android phones to high-end flagship phones. We took a close look at them all and rounded up our favorites. These phones all have generally great cameras, screens, battery life or all of the above. We also considered features such as 5G and wireless charging. Read on to see our top picks for the best Android phones and check out our tips on how to buy a new phone, too. We’ll update this list periodically as we review new products.

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As Samsung’s elite flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a brilliant 6.8-inch AMOLED display with an ultrasmooth 120Hz refresh rate that also supports Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, an awesome rear camera with incredible zoom skills and 5G connectivity for super speedy data. This is the best in mobile technology that Samsung has to offer, and it’s the Android phone to go for if you’re keen to put cutting-edge tech in your pocket.

That said, Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy S22, is expected to launch in the coming weeks so if you’re looking for the best phone around then it might be worth holding off a while.

Read our Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review.

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Google stayed out of the flagship segment for a couple of years and spent the time making its own chip that specialized in machine learning and artificial intelligence. The Pixel 6 Pro packs all of it with a photography prowess that’s hard to beat. 

Google’s $899 higher-end phone still undercuts rivals on price while including so much value. It is a big phone that features a 6.7-inch display, which is pin-sharp thanks to its 3,120×1,440-pixel resolution. It has an adaptive refresh rate that can go up to 120Hz when you’re playing fast-paced games, but also slows down to only 10Hz when the phone is basically sitting idle. The 5,003-mAh battery should be good for a full day of mixed usage. 

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Google Pixel 6 is the smartphone to get if you want a big display, flagship performance, some of the best cameras on the market and a look that distinguishes it from the competition. Google extended its three years of OS and security updates to five. In the US, the Pixel 6 is available both through Google and all major carriers. 

The Pixel 6 has a 6.4-inch, 1080p screen. It can be set to automatically switch from 60Hz to 90Hz depending on the content onscreen. However, the fingerprint sensor is on the slower side. It comes with two rear cameras: the main camera with a wide-angle lens and a second camera with an ultrawide-angle lens. 

If you have $599 and are looking for a new phone, the Pixel 6 is our recommendation.

While the next-gen Pixel 6 is available now, if you want 5G on the cheap the Pixel 5A 5G is still a solid choice. This Pixel phone has good battery life and great rear cameras, and at $449 it’s one of the best, cheapest ways of getting 5G.

Read our Google Pixel 5A review.

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While OnePlus isn’t as well-known as Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro offer a premium experience at a relatively more affordable budget phone price than rivals. Both phones are 5G-enabled, support wireless charging, run the most powerful Qualcomm processor and have multilens cameras. The OnePlus 9 is our favorite of the two, with all of the features we love from the series but at the more affordable price and with better battery life. It’s a solid option if the lofty prices of the Galaxy S21 Ultra are out of your reach.

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Foldable phones haven’t really hit the mainstream, remaining instead only in the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest in mobile innovation. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the best folding phone around, offering top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its folding technology that make this Android smartphone more desirable than its predecessor.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review.

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The Motorola Edge Plus has pretty much everything you’d hope for in a premium 5G phone: A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, a giant battery, an OLED screen with a high refresh rate, and multiple rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. Motorola took features found on other top-of-the-line Android phones, put its own Moto spin on them and built them all into one of our favorite Android phones.

Read our Motorola Edge Plus review.

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