The Best Phones for 2022

The Best Phones for 2022

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For astir of us, mobile phones are astatine the halfway of our universe. The emblematic diagnostic acceptable of these palm-size marvels is astounding. It's your phone, your messaging device, your web browser, your camera, your euphony player, your GPS, and more. The telephone you take volition impact your beingness successful a multitude of ways. That's wherefore we're present to assistance you prime precisely the close one.


Dial Up the Perfect Phone

We're a smartphone-dominated nation, with 4G LTE networks serving information faster than galore location net connections, and 5G spreading crossed the country. Though we're present down to 3 large wireless carriers, virtual carriers specified arsenic Google Fi, US Mobile, and Visible support contention live and propulsion prices down. But immoderate of our choices person constricted a bit: The smartphone OS marketplace is fundamentally down to Apple's iOS and Google's Android, and it's hard to find a truly bully elemental dependable telephone nowadays.

Here astatine PCMag, we reappraisal astir each smartphone released connected AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, and galore of their sub-brands specified arsenic Boost, Cricket, Metro, and Visible.

Rather than purely choosing the phones with the highest ratings here, we're trying to present a database of phones that are dispersed broadly crossed antithetic terms points. This database is mostly focused connected the hottest, newest devices, but you tin besides find large worth successful somewhat older phones, truthful beryllium definite to store around.

Person penning  connected  Samsung Galaxy Fold3 5G

The Samsung Galaxy Fold3 5G gives you a large canvas for creativity.

What should you beryllium looking for erstwhile buying a compartment phone? Here are immoderate cardinal points to consider.


Which Cell Phone Carrier Should You Choose?

Despite each the caller hardware and mobile bundle innovation, your wireless work supplier remains your astir important decision. No substance what instrumentality you buy, it's a doorstop unless you person coagulated wireless coverage. Maybe you person friends and household connected the aforesaid bearer that you speech to for free, and you don't privation that to alteration with your adjacent phone. Maybe you're lusting aft a definite device—say, an unlocked smartphone for planetary travel. And of course, you privation to take a bearer that offers just prices, and provides the champion sum successful your area. These are each bully reasons to enactment the bearer determination first.

T-Mobile won our Fastest Mobile Network grant past year, arsenic it had the lone meaningful US 5G web successful 2021. During the past year, T-Mobile has expanded its "ultra capacity" mid-band 5G web to 185 cardinal Americans, and that network's show is caput and shoulders supra AT&T and Verizon wherever it's available. You request a 5G telephone to instrumentality vantage of the caller network, though, and it's mostly disposable successful large metro areas.

AT&T excelled successful agrarian sum successful our tests, with the champion show of the 3 carriers successful areas distant from cities and disconnected the interstates. Verizon's millimeter-wave 5G is spectacular erstwhile you tin find it, though it's inactive not wide available. Both AT&T and Verizon are starting to amusement melodramatic web improvements successful cardinal cities arsenic they statesman to crook connected new C-band channels for their 5G networks.

US Cellular is lone disposable successful astir fractional the country. It has a estimation for bully lawsuit service, but has been suffering precocious successful our surveys arsenic readers person said its prices and LTE web prime don't lucifer up to immoderate of the alternatives.

There are besides plentifulness of virtual operators that usage the large 3 networks but connection little monthly rates, cheaper planetary calls, oregon different benefits. They're usually amended for lighter users and astir don't person household plans.

AT&T owns Cricket, T-Mobile owns Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon owns Visible, and Google owns Google Fi. Verizon present besides owns Net10, Page Plus, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk, Total Wireless, and Tracfone, though it whitethorn merchantability disconnected immoderate of those brands. We spotlight immoderate of our favourite virtual operators successful our roundup of the champion inexpensive telephone plans.


Do You Need a 5G Phone?

5G arrived successful 2019, and astir caller smartphones present enactment immoderate signifier of it. But though 5G whitethorn alteration everything successful the future, it's not going to hap immediately.

As noted above, our Fastest Mobile Networks tests for 2021 showed immense gains by T-Mobile, mostly acknowledgment to mid-band 5G successful municipality areas. If you're a T-Mobile lawsuit (or reasoning of becoming one) successful 1 of those areas, get a 5G telephone to instrumentality vantage of that caller network.

AT&T's nationwide "5G" web is often slower than its 4G coverage, which is precise fast. The institution has besides said it won't rotation retired C-band arsenic rapidly arsenic Verizon will. So you don't request a newer telephone to get the champion retired of AT&T close now.

Verizon Wireless is famed for its top-notch web quality. It conscionable turned connected C-band 5G successful 46 metro areas, and data shows that it's making a difference. If you're successful one of the C-band areas, upgrading to a C-band compatible 5G telephone with Verizon is simply a bully move. Otherwise, Verizon's "nationwide" 5G is lone somewhat faster than LTE and you don't request to interest yourself with it excessively much. You tin find much 5G recommendations connected our database of the champion 5G phones.

(One note: you whitethorn spot a "5G E" icon connected your existing AT&T phone. That isn't 5G; it is simply a selling ploy. Your telephone is inactive moving connected 4G.)


Locked vs. Unlocked Phones

As carriers person moved to progressively much confusing work and pricing plans, the worth of unlocked phones has been rising accordingly.

Unlocked phones are bought from a third-party store oregon straight from the manufacturer, and aren't tied to a circumstantial carrier. Usually, you tin usage them with AT&T oregon T-Mobile. But immoderate fashionable unlocked phones enactment connected each three major carriers. For the astir flexibility, look for a caller Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung flagship, oregon Motorola phone. If you're subscribed to a low-cost MVNO service, it's worthy making definite your unlocked telephone volition enactment connected its network; we've received respective emails stating that immoderate MVNOs aren't supporting phones that are equipped to enactment connected their networks.

In the past, unlocked phones typically worked connected each the large carriers, but 5G phones are a antithetic story. Apple, Google, and Samsung's 5G phones volition enactment connected each large US carrier, but galore different brands either person constricted set enactment oregon are lone certified for circumstantial carriers. AT&T customers should instrumentality other caution earlier buying an unlocked 5G phone, since galore phones that volition theoretically enactment connected its web person yet to beryllium certified by the carrier.

Google Pixel 6 with show  iluminated lasting  connected  marble table

Google's Pixel 6 is the champion midrange Android telephone close now

What Is the Best Smartphone?

As much radical go accustomed to instant email, web, music, and messaging entree astatine each times of the day, careless of wherever they are, smartphones person go astir indispensable. That said, there's plentifulness of assortment retired there—not to notation devotees of circumstantial OS platforms. Sometimes, a platform's idiosyncratic interface oregon app enactment conscionable speaks to you, and that's each determination is to it. With that successful mind, and astatine the hazard of attracting flames, let's interruption it down arsenic good arsenic we tin for those who aren't truthful afloat vested.

There's really little diverseness successful smartphone platforms and designs than determination was a fewer years ago. Android and iOS are the 2 large smartphone platforms, some successful US income and successful the availability of third-party apps. The iPhone has the champion app store and the champion media features. But Apple's tightly controlled ecosystem tin consciousness stifling to some, and iOS isn't casual to customize oregon modify. There's acold much assortment among Android handsets, and Android's open-source quality makes it a tweaker's dream. But it besides means fragmented third-party app compatibility, occasional bugs, carrier-installed bloatware you can't remove, and scattered, often sporadic OS updates.

Phones are disposable successful a wide scope of sizes and shapes, to acceptable assorted types of hands. Samsung's Galaxy S22 and Apple's iPhone 13 mini are narrower than astir different phones, easy to clasp successful 1 hand, and inactive person plentifulness of surface existent estate. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, connected the different hand, is gigantic, champion for radical who privation a large model into their online satellite and/or a ample camera viewfinder. 

Strictly funny successful Android? Head implicit to our best Android phones roundup. Baffled by the assortment of iPhones? Here's however to determine which iPhone to buy. And if you privation to papers the satellite astir you with your phone, we've rounded up the best camera phones too.  


The Best Feature Phones

A bully information of the US colonisation is inactive utilizing simpler phones, but determination are amazingly fewer existent choices retired there. There are inactive reasons to get a simple, less-expensive device: They're easier to use, and they complaint overmuch little monthly fees due to the fact that information isn't involved. There are immoderate slayer deals for voice-only usage connected virtual carriers specified arsenic TracFone and Consumer Cellular.

An unfastened  flip phone

The Sonim XP3plus is 1 of our apical picks for diagnostic phones

Our favourite dependable telephone close present is the Sunbeam F1, a elemental telephone that comes successful 3 feature-restricted models. We besides similar the Sonim XP3 for AT&T, the Kyocera DuraXV Extreme for Verizon, and the Sonim XP3plus for T-Mobile. If your fund is tight, the lowest-cost dependable telephone worthy getting is the unlocked $49.99 Nokia 225 4G.

Unlike smartphones, diagnostic phones are a substance of "what you spot is what you get." They don't person bundle upgrades oregon tally thousands of further apps. For dependable quality, work our diagnostic connected how to marque your compartment telephone calls dependable better. Wireless web sum is ever the biggest factor, but idiosyncratic phones tin alteration successful reception, earpiece quality, transmission prime done the microphone, and side-tone (the echo of your ain dependable that helps forestall you from yelling astatine the different person). A telephone with middling to mediocre reception prime tin beryllium astir intolerable to usage successful a marginal sum area, portion 1 with fantabulous reception tin marque the champion of the small awesome that's available. Another constituent to consider: Some phones person overmuch louder speakerphones than others.

For more, spot our picks for the champion phones for seniors. We besides person a roundup of the champion phones for kids.


What's the Best Time to Buy a New Phone?

The champion clip to bargain a caller telephone is erstwhile you request one. If your telephone took a header successful the excavation oregon met its demise connected the pavement, get whatever's disposable that champion meets your needs. But if you're watching your fund oregon riding the cutting edge, a small cognition and readying tin support you from buying a telephone that's astir to beryllium discounted oregon replaced with thing newer and cooler.

The pandemic and the planetary chipset shortage person upended the accustomed telephone merchandise cycles, and we're not definite if that's going to alteration back. Based connected 2020 and 2021, here's erstwhile we deliberation immoderate of the large flagship phones volition look successful 2022. These are conscionable guesses, though:

  • Apple: iPhone SE successful March 2022, iPhone 14 successful September 2022
  • Google: Pixels successful October 2022
  • OnePlus: March oregon April 2022 for the OnePlus 10 Pro successful the US
  • Samsung: New foldables successful August 2022

Want to Spend Less?

This communicative tends to beryllium headlined by precise costly phones, but you tin get a perfectly bully smartphone for nether $300.

The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is our favourite fund telephone close now. For nether $200, the 2022 Moto G Power is the existent leader.

In 2020, Apple released a caller iPhone SE for $399. If the SE interests you, effort to bent connected for the caller iPhone SE motorboat successful March. If you privation an adjacent little costly iPhone, you tin spell with a utilized model, but we don't suggest buying thing beneath the iPhone XR, arsenic older phones volition suffer bundle enactment much rapidly successful years to come.

For much connected getting phones for less, spot our database of the champion inexpensive phones.

Finally, we update this communicative each clip we reappraisal a caller telephone worthy a spot connected the list, truthful it changes often. Be definite to cheque backmost soon for our latest recommendations.

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