BEST IPHONE TO BUY IN 2022
Out of the four iPhone 13 variants that Apple launched in 2021, the $829 iPhone 13 (unlocked) hits the sweet spot between price, pocketability, and features.
It has a new processor, a bigger battery, 128GB of internal storage, and uses the same large camera sensor as the acclaimed iPhone 12 Pro Max, but you wouldn’t know it from its compact size.
In fact, the 13 looks almost identical to the 12 but is just a bit thicker and heavier, with substantially bigger camera bumps and lenses that swapped places. (No, you won’t be able to reuse your iPhone 12 case for the 13.) Otherwise, it has the same overall design, a brighter 6.1-inch OLED display, the same 12-megapixel selfie camera, the same MagSafe wireless charging, the same water and dust resistance (IP68), and the same support for both sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G networks. On top of all that, it comes in five colors (including pink), one more than you can choose from in the Pro models.
What’s different with the iPhone 13’s new A15 Bionic chip is that it should still feel fast in years to come, but it’s difficult to measure significant speed improvements with iPhones. The new chip helps the iPhone 13 run more efficiently, which lasts well into the evening without needing a top up.
Using the same camera sensor that made the iPhone 12 Pro Max the best smartphone camera for photos and videos in 2020, the iPhone 13’s main wide-angle camera has
FOR MOST PEOPLE, THE IPHONE 13 IS AN EASY CHOICE
significantly improved. Photo details are sharp and accurate, colors are rich without being oversaturated, focusing is fast and reliable, portrait mode is good enough to use day to day, and low light and night sight are both exceptional. Its ultrawide camera, on the other hand, has only been minorly updated for better low-light performance.
Video quality is also great. The main camera has sensor stabilization, which helps when you’re walking around. It can do all the modes that matter in terms of 4K and slow-mo and handles them all super well. It even lets you record videos in Cinematic mode, which helps you smoothly switch focus between subjects by changing the depth of field.
The iPhone 13 starts with 128GB of storage. Because its storage is not expandable, and depending on how you’ll be using the phone, you might want to bite the bullet and upgrade to the next tier.
For most people, the iPhone 13 is an easy choice: it offers similar performance, design, camera features, and (sometimes) better battery life than other iPhone 13 models, for less money.
THE BEST ANDROID PHONE TO BUY IN 2022
Those of us in the US have plenty of phones to choose from in the budget end of the market, but high-end Android phones are looking scarce lately. Thankfully, the options we do have are very good, making this recommendation a close call with the Google Pixel 6. Still, we think that the Galaxy S22 Plus is the best device for most people.
The S22 Plus features a big, bright 6.6-inch screen with 120Hz refresh rate, 2022’s Android flagship chipset of choice, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and three high-quality rear cameras. You don’t get the 10x telephoto or the built-in S Pen of the Ultra, but you do get a more spacious screen compared to the 6.1-inch standard S22. It’s a comfortable middle ground that’s the right configuration of features and size for most people.
SAMSUNG’S POLICY OF PROVIDING UP TO FOUR GENERATIONS OF OS UPGRADES IS ONE OF THE BEST
While the screen and overall performance are excellent, the S22 Plus comes up a little short on battery life. The 4,500mAh cell will last lighter users a full day, but moderate and heavy users who stream a decent amount of video will likely find themselves running the battery down into the single digits by the end of the day. It’s a bit frustrating to have to keep an eye on your battery usage on a $999 phone. If great battery life is important to you, then look at the Google Pixel 6, which does much better in that department.
Samsung’s software is still our least favorite part of a Samsung phone, which is more cluttered and contains more duplicate apps than we’d prefer. If you’re looking for an alternative that’s a little sleeker, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a good option. Just know that it doesn’t work on AT&T’s 5G network (just LTE), and its cameras aren’t quite as good as Samsung’s. Otherwise, it’s a very nice device that feels a little more sophisticated.
Battery and software gripes aside, there’s a lot to like about the S22 Plus. The screen is a pleasure to use, the camera system is versatile and dependable, and Samsung’s policy of providing up to four generations of OS upgrades is one of the best among Android phones. Its minimalist, understated design has a little more mainstream appeal than the Pixel 6, which isn’t actually much bigger but looks and feels bulkier. It may be one of a few truly high-end Android phones offered in the US right now, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a winner only by default; it also happens to be a very good device.
BEST PHONE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO IN 2022
Both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max share the same top-of-the-line camera system this year, and they are our pick as the iPhone for photos and videos. This time around, you don’t have to buy the biggest and most expensive model to get the best camera system — you get the same experience with either of the Pro models.
The three rear cameras — standard wide, ultrawide, and telephoto — combine with Apple’s image processing to produce stunning images, particularly in low light. If photo and video quality is your most important factor when buying a phone, the 13 Pro is where you should be spending your money.
The 13 Pro has a physically larger camera sensor compared to prior models that allows its main 12-megapixel camera to gather more light and produce better-quality images, especially in dark or challenging lighting conditions. Its ultrawide camera is able to take stunning macro photos, thanks to its new close focus capability. In addition, the 3x optical
THIS TIME AROUND, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY THE BIGGEST AND MOST EXPENSIVE MODEL TO GET THE BEST CAMERA SYSTEM
zoom on the telephoto lens makes for great portrait photography. That larger sensor and the fact that it’s using sensor-based stabilization make for stable and beautiful videos, even in low light. You can even shoot and edit videos directly in ProRes on the iPhone 13 Pro (as long as you have a 256GB or higher storage model).
For those looking for the best Android camera system available, we recommend getting the $899 Google Pixel 6 Pro, especially if a telephoto lens is a must. We pitted the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro cameras in a comparison video, and the results are pretty evenly split. While the Pixel 6 Pro’s video capabilities are still behind the iPhone, it can more than hold its own on stills, and its telephoto camera is even better than the iPhone 13 Pro’s.