In the spring, we already published a selection of the best smartphones presented in 2022. After 4 months we publish a new rating. It includes 7 models that appeared on the market this summer. They are distinguished by high-quality displays, good cameras and high performance. But each smartphone has its own characteristics. Read on to find out which phones are worth buying.
We have added brief explanations to the main characteristics of smartphones. If you are familiar with these options, you can skip this section.
Smartphones are equipped with IPS or OLED panels. Each type has its pros and cons. For example, IPS is cheaper and more durable, their color reproduction is more accurate, and the image clarity is higher (with a low pixel density). OLEDs are thinner, drain the battery slower, respond faster to pressure, have deep blacks and high contrast.
LTPO2 AMOLED, Dynamic AMOLED, Fluid AMOLED, Super AMOLED are just marketing names for OLED panels without significant changes in quality.
A high screen refresh rate (90, 120, or 144Hz) is important when gaming because it provides a smoother picture. When watching a video, it does not play any role.
Tempered glass is used to protect the displays from scratches and damage. Corning Gorilla Glass coatings are among the best on the market.
For example, smartphones equipped with one of the latest Gorilla Glass Victus glasses are able to survive repeated drops from a height of two meters. The minimum protection among the phones in question is Gorilla Glass 3. This glass is resistant to deep scratches and damage from sharp objects.
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Four out of seven smartphones are built on this mobile processor. It is characterized by high performance (3rd place in terms of power among chipsets of all manufacturers) and is suitable for the most demanding tasks (games, photo editing, multitasking).
Random Access Memory (RAM)
This setting affects performance. 4 GB is more than enough for everyday tasks, 6 GB for games, 8 GB for the heaviest applications and gives you a head start for the future. You don’t need to buy more than 8 GB: it drains the battery, it’s more expensive, and there is no additional benefit from this RAM.
Internal / permanent / built-in memory
A comfortable minimum is 128 GB, with a margin for several years — 256 GB. If you are a blogger, it is better to choose devices with 512 GB or 1 TB.
The quality of photos is affected not only by the number of megapixels, but also by the size of the matrix and pixels, aperture (aperture, aperture), stabilization, autofocus and a number of other parameters.
The larger the matrix (indicated in 1/1.8″, while 1/1.9″ is greater than 1/2.2″) and the pixels located on it (micrometers, microns), the better the quality of the images, especially in low light conditions . The largest sensor is installed in the main camera of Xiaomi 12S Ultra (1″).
The smaller the aperture, the higher the quality of the photo. This setting is expressed as f/number (for example, f/1.8).
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) compensates for shaky hands when shooting video, which means the picture will be smoother.
The highest quality autofocus system is considered phase (PDAF, Dual-Pixel PDAF). It works faster and better especially when shooting on the move.
Allows you to use your smartphone as a power bank for charging other devices (headphones, fitness trackers, smart watches, etc.).
You can read more in our article “Smartphone Specifications: A Buyer’s Guide”.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra is a flagship with an excellent camera
Xiaomi 12S Ultra was introduced in July 2022. At the time of the ranking, its availability outside of China is limited.
The smartphone received a bold design: the back panel has a textured surface with eco-leather trim. It is soft to the touch and does not smudge. The round module with cameras in the upper part is edged with a gold-colored aluminum insert. Visually, the back side of the smartphone is similar to the design of cameras of the late 20th century, and the island with cameras resembles a lens.
It is IP68 water and dust resistant. This means that Xiaomi 12S Ultra is not afraid of not only rain, but also diving under water (to a depth of no more than 1.5 meters and no longer than 30 minutes).
The main feature of the smartphone is the camera. They were developed in collaboration with Leica, a German manufacturer of professional lenses and cameras. Experts from the independent DXOMARK test, which evaluates smartphones, lenses and cameras, gave the sensors of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra a high score (higher than that of the Apple iPhone 13 Pro).
On the back of the phone are:
- 50 MP (1‑inch matrix, f / 1.9 aperture, phase and laser autofocus, optical image stabilization OIS);
- 48 MP (PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom);
- 48 MP (Dual-Pixel PDAF, 128˚ FOV for group photos);
- Auxiliary TOF 3D sensor for portraits.
A 32-megapixel camera is installed in the cutout on the front panel. It takes good photos with lots of detail, wide dynamic range and natural colors.
The 4860 mAh battery provides almost 14 hours and 45 minutes of web surfing. Charging from 0 to 100% takes 50 minutes (up to 73% in half an hour). There is support for wireless and reverse charging.
With one of the best displays in an Android smartphone (6.73″, LTPO2 AMOLED, a billion colors, over 1000 nits brightness) and Qualcomm’s flagship processor (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1), the smartphone is great for gaming. The performance is also facilitated by a large amount of built-in (256 and 512 GB) and RAM (8 and 12 GB) memory.
For high-quality audio, stereo speakers from the American audio equipment manufacturer Harman Kardon are installed.
There is an NFC module for contactless payments.
The cost of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra smartphone is about 950 euros (more than 57,000 rubles at the exchange rate at the time of the rating). Available in black and dark green.
Pros of Xiaomi 12S Ultra:
- Clear and bright AMOLED screen with a frequency of 120 Hz, protection against scratches and damage Gorilla Glass Victus;
- quality cameras;
- holds a charge well, wireless and reverse charging;
- not afraid to drop into the water, thanks to the IP68 protection class.
Cons of Xiaomi 12S Ultra:
- at the time of writing the rating is officially available only in China (which means there is no global MIUI shell);
- in terms of detail and sharpness, the video quality is inferior to 11 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the best clamshell smartphone
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hit the market in August 2022. It has two displays:
- main — Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 6.7 ″, frequency 120 Hz, resolution 1080 x 2640 pixels;
- external — Super AMOLED, 1.9″, 260 x 512 pixels.
The external screen displays the date, time and charge level. It allows you to check messages and notifications without opening your phone, control music playback, accept/reject calls, and check the appearance when taking a selfie. Both displays are protected from scratches and chips Gorilla Glass Victus+.
The hardware basis is the top Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 from Qualcomm. Memory configurations include 8GB RAM and 128/256/512GB ROM. RAM is enough to perform resource-intensive tasks (demanding games, multitasking, etc.). If you plan to use your smartphone for several years, then it is better to choose an option with at least 256 GB of internal storage (so that there is a margin, since memory cards are not supported).
On the back side there are 2 cameras, both with a resolution of 12 megapixels. The main sensor is complemented by phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. The second sensor is with an ultra wide-angle lens (123˚).
Photos from the main camera, taken during the day, are of excellent quality: a lot of detail, low noise, wide dynamic range, good contrast. The colors are Samsung-like, bright, but not excessive. In general, the pictures look balanced and natural. The design of the smartphone allows you to use the main camera for taking selfies — objects are clear, dynamic range is excellent, contrast and colors are excellent. Thanks to the f/1.8 aperture, there’s no need to fake blur as you’ll get natural bokeh in these shots.
There is a 10-megapixel camera on the front. It takes good photos with excellent detail for such a camera, correct exposure, low noise and contrast. But for taking selfies, we recommend using the main camera, it wins in terms of quality.
The battery capacity is 3,700 mAh, it lasts for 13 hours and 45 minutes of web surfing. The phone supports 25W wired, 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse charging. A full cable charge takes 75 minutes. The power supply is not included.
When folded, the dimensions of the smartphone are only 84.9 x 71.9 x 15.9–17.1 mm, unfolded — 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm, weight — 187 g. The phone is waterproof — IPX8 ( must withstand immersion under water to a depth of 1.5 m for up to half an hour).
The cost is from 720 US dollars (which at the exchange rate at the time of this writing is almost 43,500 rubles). Available colors are lavender, dark grey, gold and blue.
Pros of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4:
- bright folding screen with accurate color reproduction;
- good cameras;
- protective glass Victus +, stereo speakers from the Austrian manufacturer of Hi-Fi audio equipment AKG, NFC for contactless payments, waterproof;
Cons of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4:
- under heavy loads, the smartphone noticeably heats up, due to which its performance decreases;
- comes without charger;
- long charge.
OnePlus 10T is the best smartphone with fast charging
OnePlus 10T hit the market in August this year. It has a bright and high-quality Fluid AMOLED display with a diagonal of 6.7″ and a frequency of 120Hz. It is protected from scratches and damage by Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
The smartphone runs on the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip and is equipped with 8 / 12 / 16 GB of RAM and 128 / 256 GB of internal memory. Processor performance and RAM is enough to run the most demanding applications. microSD cards are not supported, in the future it is better to choose the 256 GB option.
At the back is a 50-megapixel main camera with phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. It is complemented by an 8‑megapixel sensor with an ultra wide-angle lens (120˚) and a 2‑megapixel camera for capturing close-ups of objects. Images taken during the day with the main sensor are detailed, saturated, with excellent contrast.
There is a 16MP camera on the front. It also takes decent photos with natural colors and plenty of detail.
The 4,800 mAh battery provides just over 14 hours and 40 minutes of web browsing. It charges from 0 to 100% in just 19 minutes.
The OnePlus 10T starts at Rs 45,000 and comes in black and green.
Pros of OnePlus 10T:
- bright screen with high refresh rate;
- good main camera for both photos and videos;
- very fast charging (one of the best at the moment), long battery life;
- high and stable performance;
- stereo speakers, NFC module.
OnePlus 10T cons:
- no wireless charging;
- without moisture protection;
- most games are limited to 60Hz.
You can read the full review of the OnePlus 10T smartphone here.
Asus Zenfone 9 is the best compact flagship
Asus Zenfone 9 was presented in July. By modern standards, he received a compact display — only 5.9″. It is a Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and a maximum refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It is protected from scratches by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
This smartphone, like the previous models from the rating, is built on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It has 128/256 GB of internal memory and 8/16 GB of RAM.
There are two cameras on the back:
- 50 MP (PDAF, three-axis gimbal stabilization system);
- 12 MP (autofocus, 113°).
The quality of photos taken during the daytime is high: bright colors, lots of details.
On the front panel is a 12 megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus. She knows how to take great selfies: good dynamic range, rich colors, excellent detail.
A 4,300 mAh battery can last a little less than 15 hours and 10 minutes of web surfing. It charges from 0 to 100% in 75 minutes. The smartphone can be used to charge other devices.
The phone has dimensions of 146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1 mm and weighs only 169 g. There is an IP68 waterproof rating (you can dive up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes).
The price of Asus Zenfone 9 in Russia starts at 41,510 rubles. The smartphone is available in black, blue, red and silver colors.
Pros of Asus Zenfone 9:
- holds a charge well, there is a reverse charge;
- stable and powerful performance;
- autofocus on all cameras, excellent video stabilization;
- stereo speakers, IP68 rating, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack.
Cons of Asus Zenfone 9:
- the automatic night mode of the camera slows down a little (it doesn’t always work, you have to turn it on forcibly);
- takes a long time to charge.
Xiaomi Poco X4 GT is the best sub-flagship
The Poco X4 GT was announced at the end of July. It is built on MediaTek Dimensity 8100 (10th in terms of power). Applications and games run quickly and smoothly, but the phone gets noticeably warm under prolonged high loads. The smartphone is available with 8 GB of RAM and 128 / 256 GB of ROM. The amount of internal storage cannot be increased.
The smartphone uses a 6.6‑inch IPS LCD panel with support for a high frequency of 144 Hz and Dolby Vision.
The main camera unit includes:
- 64 MP main sensor with phase detection autofocus;
- 8 MP (ultra wide-angle, 120˚);
- 2 MP (macro).
The main camera takes nice daylight shots with excellent contrast, vibrant colors and plenty of detail.
The front camera has a resolution of 16 megapixels. Selfie quality is a little disappointing even for a phone in this price range. Regardless of the lighting conditions, they look too soft, the dynamic range is quite narrow, and the colors are dull.
The battery capacity is 5,080 mAh, which is enough for almost 20 hours of web surfing. It takes 57 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%. Wireless and reverse charging are not supported.
Poco X4 GT costs about 33,000 rubles and comes in black, blue and silver.
Pros of the Poco X4 GT:
- high-quality display;
- works for a long time on a single charge;
- decent photos when shooting during the day;
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection, great-sounding stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, NFC, latest Bluetooth 5.3.
Poco X4 GT cons:
- lack of moisture protection;
- mediocre selfie quality.
Check out our Poco F4, Poco X4 GT, and Poco X4 Pro comparison review here.
Google Pixel 6a is the best inexpensive camera phone
The Google Pixel 6a was introduced in May but hit the market in mid-July.
It is equipped with a 6.1″ OLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is used to protect the screen from scratches.
The smartphone is based on the Google Tensor chipset (11th place), its performance is enough to run heavy games (for example, Call Of Duty Mobile) at maximum graphics settings. However, under load, the phone noticeably heats up, it is uncomfortable to hold it. The Pixel 6a comes in only one variant — with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory. There is no microSD slot provided.
There are two cameras on the back of the Google Pixel 6a:
- 12.2 MP with dual pixel phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization;
- 12 MP with 114˚ viewing angle.
The photo quality is high: natural colors, sufficient sharpness and excellent contrast.
They are complemented by a dual LED flash. There is an 8‑megapixel camera on the front that takes beautiful selfies. Colors and contrast are consistent with the main camera, there is a face retouching option, but it is disabled by default.
The smartphone is powered by a 4410 mAh battery. It allows you to browse the web for almost 15 hours and 25 minutes. Charging from 0 to 100% is long — 1 hour 51 minutes.
The price of Google Pixel 6ao is from 36,224 rubles. It is available in silver, black and light green.
Pros of Google Pixel 6a:
- compact (152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm);
- bright and clear AMOLED panel;
- sustainable performance;
- excellent camera;
- moisture protection IP67 (will withstand not only rain, but also immersion by 1 meter for up to half an hour), Gorilla Glass 3, stereo speakers, NFC.
Cons of Google Pixel 6a:
- fingerprint scanner does not always work;
- no high screen refresh rate (only 60Hz);
- adapter not included.
You can read about the comparison of Google Pixel 6a, 6 and 5a camera phones here.
Nothing Phone (1) — a smartphone with a unique design
Nothing Phone (1) is the first smartphone from the startup created by one of the founders of OnePlus. It came out in July 2022.
Nothing Phone (1) has an unusual back design that makes the smartphone stand out from the rest. The panel itself is transparent, you can see part of the “stuffing” (for example, the wireless charging coil). But what really makes the phone unique is the backlight of 900 LEDs. It can be used, for example, when shooting, displaying notifications, charging.
The smartphone is equipped with a 6.55-inch OLED display capable of displaying a billion colors. It has a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and a frequency of 120 Hz.
In terms of performance, this is the “weakest” smartphone in our selection of Snapdragon 778G Plus — 31st place. Nevertheless, the power of Nothing Phone (1) is enough to play all modern games at maximum graphics settings. With everyday tasks (messengers, social networks, web surfing), he easily copes.
Available memory configurations: 8 + 128 GB, 8 + 256 GB and 12 + 256 GB. No memory card slot.
At the back there are two cameras with a resolution of 50 megapixels. The main one supports phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. The second is an ultra wide-angle lens with a 114˚ field of view and autofocus. The quality of pictures on the main camera is good: a lot of details, realistic (albeit a little oversaturated) colors, low noise level, homogeneous areas (leaves, grass) are well developed.
There is a 16-megapixel camera on the front. Selfies are of good quality, but they lack sharpness. There are enough details, colors, contrast, dynamic range, noise reduction are excellent.
The battery capacity is 4500 mAh. It is enough for 15 hours 41 minutes of web surfing. The smartphone supports 33W fast charging, but comes without an adapter. The entire charging process takes 1 hour 31 minutes (we used a 65W power supply). The phone also supports wireless (15W) and reverse (5W) charging.
Nothing Phone (1) starts at Rs 36,480 and is available in black and white.
Pros of Nothing Phone (1):
- unique glass design (Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides);
- smooth OLED screen with accurate color reproduction;
- long battery life;
- high and stable performance;
- excellent photo and video quality;
- waterproof IP53 (can be used in the rain), stereo speakers, NFC.
Cons of Nothing Phone (1):
- quiet top speaker;
- no charger included.