While Apple’s new iPhone 14 is set to be unveiled next month, most of the major Android launches for this year have already wrapped up. Which ones stand out? Here are five to consider, from budget midrangers to ultra-premium flagships.
Price: from €1,929
If you are looking for the absolute top Android phone then you need to consider Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Fold4.
It’s certainly not for everyone. And it’s not really the best in terms of individual metrics like camera, battery or performance.
But its large-format fold-out display – off [6.2 inches] to an almost square shape of 7.6 inches – making it the flagship of flagships.
I have a more detailed review of the Fold4 on Independent.ie, testing how useful (or not) that larger screen is for things you might want to do with a smartphone.
In my experience so far, it’s probably most appealing if you’re the type who likes to use a stylus with a tablet, or if you’re really useful when you have a few different apps open in front of you, especially for work.
In other words, it really is a supercharged productivity device. Samsung believes this is the 2020 version of its Note, which revolutionized smartphone design with its big screen a decade ago. Whether it sells itself as such or not, there’s no question that what was an experiment is now beginning to act and feel like a more solid, complete, and well-thought-out device.
2. Flagship – Oppo Find X5
Anyone looking for an alternative to the Samsung S22 in the “standard” flagship range will eventually end up with Oppo.
The Find X5 is by far one of the best Android phones under $1,000. The same company that makes OnePlus adds a bit more quality and refinement to its main flagship, which for my money is probably better value than the high-end Find X5 Pro.
For what you pay here, you get almost everything Samsung’s S22 has in a slightly slimmer package. This includes a really excellent 6.5-inch screen, a top-end engine and a very good battery life.
The cameras, while excellent, are perhaps a shade removed from Samsung’s cameras in some marginal situations in my tests. But there is an optical telephoto zoom (2x) on board.
Its design includes slightly curved glass around the edges, which is no longer common on flagship phones.
As always with Oppo, the included charger is a real bonus. It comes with an 80W charger and can support 30W wireless charging – a rarity.
3. Mid-Range – Pixel 6a
Google’s Pixel phones have always been decent values in a spec shootout, but they used to look a bit dull.
The recently launched Pixel 6a is much more distinctive visually, standing out from most black slabs out there.
A big benefit of the 6.1-inch Pixel 6A is that you get the same powerful “tensor” chip system as the larger, more expensive models.
This is a very good thing as it is very fast and allows for fairly advanced computed photography as well as helping to extend battery life.
The two rear cameras on the Pixel 6a (12MP Wide and Ultrawide) are also very, very good for a phone at this price point. They’re barely half a step away from flagship cameras. The only real downside is the lack of a zoom lens.
In short, this is an affordable Android with very respectable performance, good cameras, a good display, decent storage, and the overall feel of something that will last a while.
4. Mid-Range – Samsung Galaxy A53
The sub-€500 phone category is currently the most competitive in the smartphone market.
There are several really compelling devices out there with specs that cover almost every need for the majority of regular smartphone users. And I don’t mean your parents’ demands for some WhatsApp, Facebook, and surfing the web – I mean you.
Samsung’s Galaxy A53 is a great example of this. It comes with features and specs that people paid nearly £1,000 for two years ago and over £700 last year in the form of the S21 FE.
That includes a really nice, super-smooth 120Hz 6.5-inch display, great battery life, and guaranteed five years of Samsung security updates – meaning it’s likely to top your company’s list of subsidized phones.
The cameras (64-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultra-wide, macro and depth) are very decent, but there’s no optical telephoto zoom.
This is a really good sweet spot device for those who need a lot of functionality and great battery life on a budget.
5. Mid-Range – Nothing Telephone
In a way, the recently launched Nothing Phone 1 is the best and most interesting mid-range handset you can buy. Nothing is the new company founded by OnePlus founder Carl Pei.
It has an excellent 6.5 inch screen, great performance, lots of storage and good cameras. But it’s also definitely the most distinctive new smartphone of 2022, thanks to a system of 900 micro-LED “Glyph” lights built into the back of the phone.
These are mainly used as a visual aid for alerts and ringtones. The whole point of Nothing’s Phone 1 is personality and identifiability in a world of boring black records.
Laying face down on a table, an incoming call or text should tell the difference. It’s also designed more like an iPhone in shape, which some will like.
The 6.5-inch Oled screen is really nice, with an adaptive refresh rate of 60Hz up to 120 hours, 402ppi and 1,200 nits of peak brightness.
Its engine is among the most powerful you can get in this price range, with a Snapdragon 778+ chip supported by 8GB of RAM. That’s easily enough for most games and video processing.
It also has some high-end features, like reverse charging and wireless charging – none of which cut battery life too much.
This is an unconventional choice, but a very good one.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/reviews/top-of-the-class-what-are-the-five-best-android-phones-on-the-market-right-now-41919342.html Best in class: What are the top five Android phones out there right now?