My top 5 phones of 2022 – Ro
Well, 2022 is a wrap, and I can say that it was a pretty… off-topic year. Of course, we can’t always have exciting years, but the fact that I’ve returned to using last year’s phone, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, speaks for itself.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my favorites from this year’s crop, and here they go in no particular order.
Asus Zenfone 9
Like last year, I’d like to start this list with an Asus phone. Of course, this year it’s the Zenfone 9. I’ve always had a thing for compact flagships, and I think Asus nailed it once again. In fact, I think the new Zenfone 9 is the most beautiful phone of 2022. The design is so simple, yet super elegant and premium.
It also checks almost all the boxes for a 2022 flagship phone, except the telephoto camera. But with a diagonal of 5.9 inches, it’s hard to ask for one. But at least it provides an excellent camera experience with the ones it has.
Additionally, I’m a big fan of pure Android software, and Asus’s ZenUI is probably one of the best in this regard. It feels stock but still provides some advanced and geeky proprietary features. Battery life is surprisingly good, even beating some larger devices with much larger batteries.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
The pure Android is just one of the reasons I liked the Pixel 7 Pro. The camera, of course, is another – I just loved the processing of the still images. There’s something about them I can’t quite put my finger on, but the Pixel images have a certain vibe to them. And I like it very much.
I also like how smart this phone is. Google’s AI-powered features like call screening, speech to text and reverse conversions are great, as well as image and text extraction from photos. Pixel 7 Pro is the true definition of a smartphone. Or at least I think it’s the closest we got to one smarttelephone.
If it weren’t for its limited availability in the market, I’d probably be rocking a Pixel 7 Pro right now. Also, many of the smart features are not applicable in my home country. After all, speech recognition software has its limitations.
And while it’s quirky, I really like the design this year, even though it’s almost identical to the 6 Series. Last but not least, this year’s Pixel release isn’t plagued by numerous hardware and/or software issues as was the norm for Google phones.
The tiny Pixel 7 gets an honorable mention as it’s a compact flagship with a solid set of features and a surprisingly competitive price.
I’m not a Pixel fanboy, don’t get me wrong. Still, it’s hard to deny that the Pixels are pretty good phones this year. I really can’t think of a mid-ranger that stands out from the crowd this year aside from the Pixel 6a.
It’s affordable, runs on last year’s flagship SoC from Google, offers flagship-quality camera experience, gets all the benefits of being a Google phone in terms of software updates, and is generally a well-rounded phone. If it’s available in your country, you should definitely consider it.
Xiaomi 12S Ultra
I am currently using the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and I am completely disappointed that the 12S Ultra is unusable outside of China. I’m lucky enough to be able to hold the 12S Ultra in my hand and it’s a great phone.
It has all the bells and whistles and is arguably the best camera phone on the market. The performance of the telephoto camera is second to none in my opinion.
Also, I’m a big fan of the design. I find the faux leather and circular camera module quite unique, while the surface feels great to the touch. It provides excellent grip and perhaps better durability than your standard glass sandwich construction.
I’ve also recently become fond of Xiaomi’s MIUI. It’s feature-packed, polished, customizable and lightning fast.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Like most of my colleagues, I’m picking the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra as one of my favorite phones of 2022, and it’s not because we’re getting free Bugattis from the Korean tech giant, but mostly because the S22 Ultra is the closest thing we’ve got. to a zero-compromise flagship this year. It’s the phone to finally unite the Note and S lineups and deliver an overall unmatched product.
It’s so packed with features that it’s hard not to appeal to the masses. Hell, it even has two telephoto focal lengths, and that’s one of the best things about this phone.
The software is a big reason I like this year’s Ultra. One UI is more polished than ever, it has a ton of actually useful features, and it’s perhaps the best custom Android skin designed to be used with one hand. That was One UI’s original main selling point a few years back, and it’s stayed true to its roots.
One criticism I have of One UI 5.0 is that while it feels much smoother than its predecessor, it’s still a bit sluggish compared to its competition. I spent most of this year with the S22+ and I can say that most other Android iterations, if not all, feel faster and more responsive.
And yet I think most people won’t notice the difference and won’t be nearly as bothered by this as I am.
Hopefully 2023 will bring more innovative and captivating phones to talk about, but more importantly, a global release of my favorites.