My top 5 phones of 2022 – Ivan

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The year 2022 is almost over and that means it’s time for us at Team GSMArena to nominate our favorite phones of the year. Should you worry about mine? Probably not, but if you insist – keep reading.

In reverse order (my absolute favorite is the last one)…

ZTE Axon 40 Ultra

The ZTE Axon 40 Ultra is the perfectly sized flagship. It’s not big, not small either, but it still has a large 6.8-inch screen, a durable 5,000 mAh battery, a great design that reminds me of the lovely Galaxy S21 Ultra, and a unique set of cameras.

The focal lengths of the main and zoom cameras are what make the Axon 40 Ultra one of my favorite phones this year – 35mm is a great all-purpose field of view that puts more emphasis on a subject but is still wide enough to be suitable for cityscapes and landscapes. And thanks to the relatively large sensor behind the bright lens, the Axon 40 Ultra’s main camera is a true photography badass. At the other end of the zoom range, at 91mm, the 3.5x camera gets you just a bit closer than the typical 3x telephoto on a Galaxy or iPhone will (they’re around 70mm-80mm).

Xiaomi 13 Pro

I haven’t seen this one in person yet, but I’ve used enough recent Xiaomi smartphones to be confident that the Xiaomi 13 Pro will be exquisitely made, fast and premium when they arrive. But it’s the cameras that interest me, especially the main and telephoto (find the pattern here?). The wide camera has a 1-inch type sensor with huge 1.6 µm pixels before binning, ballooning up to 3.2 µm when combined. We saw this imager on the Xiaomi 12S and found it brilliant.

My top 5 phones in 2022 - Ivan

The 75mm f/2.0 camera should provide lovely zoom and portrait shots. We have yet to learn the size of the sensor behind this camera, but I’m optimistic. And I can’t argue with the ceramic-clad wilderness green color.

Asus Zenfone 9

Asus is one of the very few manufacturers that does compact phones right! I spent some time with the Asus Zenfone 9 while we were doing its review, and it’s amazing. It has great phone performance and even great phone battery life in a very small package.

My top 5 phones in 2022 - Ivan

Asus went with a near-stock Android UI that was very slick and simple and should be easy to maintain with quick updates down the line. And the new polymer finish on the back panel makes the phone feel different and it sits comfortably in the hand.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

I almost bought the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 a few times this year. It could have something to do with seeing it both at its announcement event and later in the office while its review was being done, but I just love a big Samsung and they don’t get any bigger than this.

What struck me about the Galaxy Z Fold4 is how much faster it felt than my then Android 12 Galaxy S22 Ultra. The sheer size of the internal screen was also a big factor in my desire to own the Fold4.

Samsung made strides in the multitasking capabilities of its latest large foldable. It’s easier than ever to put multiple apps on the screen and it works seamlessly. The new permanent progress bar is pure genius.

My top 5 phones in 2022 - Ivan

The Galaxy Z Fold4 also got a much-needed camera upgrade. I especially appreciate the new 3x zoom camera. But despite all the upgrades, the Galaxy Z Fold4 is no match for…

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

My phone of the year – Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. And many others’ too, judging by the overwhelming numbers on our specs page, which shows more than 9 million hits.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the almighty flagship. There is no other phone with its combination of screen, camera array, battery life and software capabilities. The S Pen is also still unique.

My top 5 phones in 2022 - Ivan

There’s hardly anything you can say about the Galaxy S22 Ultra that you don’t already know, so I’ll just close it out by saying that I’ve been using it for most of 2022 and I love it. And it keeps getting better and better. The OneUI 5.0 update fixed the weird performance bug and made the phone as smooth as butter.

Until 2023!

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