These are the Best AT&T phones you can buy in 2022: Samsung, Apple, and more!

These are the Best AT&T phones you can buy in 2022: Samsung, Apple, and more!

The US phone scene is often dominated by carriers, which can be either good or bad depending on the carrier you choose. Fortunately, AT&T is one of the biggest ones with superb nationwide coverage and a plethora of phone options from which to choose. So whether you’re looking for the latest bleeding-edge flagship, a good value mid-tier device, or a budget phone, AT&T has something for you. To ensure carrier compatibility, every phone listed here is directly available through AT&T.

If you are on Verizon — or if you’re an AT&T customer looking for other options — you can check out our list of best Verizon phones.

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Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in Phantom White color held in hand against a foliage of green leaves in a garden

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is, simply put, the best a slab smartphone can get right now in the US market or anywhere else for that matter. It has the best screen, the most versatile camera system with the best zoom lenses, and one of the largest batteries around. While there are other phones better at some things, no phone delivers the whole package like the Galaxy S22 Ultra does.

Let’s start with the screen. This is simply the best display in any smartphone right now, a 6.8-inch, 120Hz Samsung AMOLED panel that can vary its refresh rate between 1Hz to 120Hz. It packs 1440 x 3088 pixels, meaning it’s well above 2K resolution, and gets the brightest of any portable screen in the world at a maximum of 1,700 nits. It’s not an exaggeration to say the Galaxy S22 Ultra screen is a technically superior display panel than 99% of the screens you encounter in your daily life, whether it be your work monitor or car dashboard screen or perhaps even home television.

Next up we have optics, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the most versatile camera system around, with five lenses covering the focal range from ultra-wide all the way to 3X and 10X optical zoom. You can actually zoom all the way to 100X digital zoom, but at this level images look very soft, so we’d advise you keep it below 30x, where images remain sharp. The fact that you can get a clean 20X zoom with a smartphone is wild. The other cameras are excellent too, particularly the main camera, a 108MP shooter with large image sensor. Coupled with nano-binning technology, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra can take in a lot of light and thus produce good images even in low light scenes.

Powering everything is either the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip from Qualcomm or Samsung’s own Exynos 2200. Both are flagship chips, but Qualcomm’s SoC is a superior performer if we were to nitpick. Still, the Exynos chip will serve most people well.

There’s also the S-Pen stylus, now included as part of the phone free of charge, and is housed in a silo slot inside the phone. This means you can sketch or anecdote documents easier than with any other phone. Throw in all-day battery life thanks to the 5,000 mAh cell, 5G support, wireless charging, and the ability to output a computer-like UI to an external display (Samsung DeX) and you have a phone that can just do more than any other smartphone on the market. There is nothing another phone can do that this phone can’t do — other than fold in half.

    The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a do-it-all phone with a large, beautiful screen, the most versatile cameras, and a flagship processor.

Runner-Up: Apple iPhone 13 Pro

iPhone 13 in Sierra Blue

If you’re an iPhone person and want the best Apple has to offer right now, then the iPhone 13 Pro (or the larger Pro Max) is it. Apple didn’t just give the iPhone 13 Pro a new SoC and a 120Hz refresh display, it also used all new sensors across its entire triple-lens system, including much larger sensors for the main camera. This means the main camera now can pull in more light before, reducing its reliance on night mode.

The zoom lens too got an upgrade. It’s now a 3x telephoto zoom lens with a maximum digital zoom of 15x. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 10x optical zoom is still superior, but at least the gap is closer this time around.

    The iPhone 13 Pro is Apple's best phone and one of the best overall options around.

Best for Most People: Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6 back

This category caters to the average consumer mold who may not be the most demanding phone enthusiasts, but at the same time still want a phone that performs well at a good price. And right now, it’s hard to beat the standard Google Pixel 6. At $699, it is several hundred dollars cheaper than the recent iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S21 phones, but the Pixel 6 has arguably a better camera and smarter software than both Apple and Samsung’s best. That’s because the Pixel 6, despite being the lower tier of the Pixel 6 series, kept the two most important/best parts of the Pixel 6 Pro: the 50MP main camera with a large image sensor and the new Tensor SoC designed by Google to handle machine learning. These two combine for a camera that’s perhaps the single best point-and-shoot camera on the market right now. No matter lighting condition, just point the Pixel 6, tap the shutter button, and you’ll likely get a shot with better colors and dynamic range than most other smartphones in the world.

The only thing missing here on the Pixel 6 that other more expensive smartphones offer is an ultra-high refresh rate display (it’s just 90Hz here on the Pixel 6) and a dedicated zoom camera. Neither are going to be big deals for most people, as the 90Hz OLED screen here is still gorgeous and fluid, and a digital 2x zoom with the Pixel 6 is still solid.

    The Google Pixel 6 brings Google's best ever camera hardware and software into a device that costs several hundred dollars cheaper than the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

Best Compact: Apple iPhone 13 Mini

iPhone 13 Mini

While Android flagship keep getting bigger and bigger, Apple went and made a petite flagship phone. The iPhone 13 Mini is a phone that most adults should be able to palm with one hand and reach all over the screen with ease. Despite its small size, the phone still packs plenty of power, with the world-beating Apple A15 Bionic and a capable dual-camera system.

    The iPhone 13 Mini is a tiny phone that packs plenty of power. If you dislike big phones, then this is for you.

Best Large Foldable: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 with S Pen

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 takes the already excellent Z Fold 2 and adds a layer of polish and a bunch of new practical improvements. It’s lighter, thinner, water-resistant, and best of all, cheaper than previous generations. It also supports the S-Pen, making it even more appealing as a productivity machine.

Fold the device up, the Z Fold 3 is a compact one-hand friendly smartphone, unfold it and it’s a mini-tablet with blazing fast performance and a hi-res screen. With a Snapdragon 888, it has more than enough power to handle anything you throw at it. Those of us at XDA who have used the Z Fold 2 were hooked from day one, and the Z Fold 3 is promising to do just that.

    The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a multi-tasking powerhouse. A tablet that fits into your pocket. With improved durability and official water resistance rating plus a lower price, it's perhaps the phone that will have foldable skeptics change their minds.

Best Small Foldable: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is arguably the most stylish foldable phone ever and inarguably the most affordable foldable phone ever. Samsung somehow managed to take the Z Flip 5G, improve durability all around, added water resistance, bumped up the processor to a Snapdragon 888, doubled the main screen refresh rate to 120Hz and increased the outside cover display’s size four times, and still shave 50% off the retail price, making it the first foldable to be sold at under the four-digit US dollar mark. Our chief content officer Nirave is absolutely in love with the Z Flip 3, and we think you will too.

    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a clamshell foldable with style, processing power, and a relatively affordable price.

Best Mid-Range: Samsung Galaxy A52

Galaxy A52s White

The Galaxy A51 5G was one of the best mid-range smartphones Samsung put out throughout the year, and the Galaxy A52 5G follows in its footsteps by improving on pretty much everything that made its predecessor great. The Galaxy A52 5G comes with the Snapdragon 750G SoC, a decently-performing mid-range processor that beats out the Exynos 980 in the A51 5G, and comes in with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, so it should be able to shred most tasks you throw at it. It also features a 64MP camera and a 120Hz display, the latter being notable for being one of the first high refresh rate panels for a non-flagship Samsung phone.

    The Galaxy A52 5G is Samsung's current middle-of-the-road offering for 2021, featuring an Snapdragon 750 SoC, up to 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 64MP camera, as well as, of course, 5G support.

Best Budget: Samsung Galaxy A32

Front of Galaxy A32

Samsung makes amazing phones both in the high end and the low end of the market, and the Galaxy A32 is a testament to what they can do in the low end. The Galaxy A32 follows the trail that last year’s Galaxy A31 left, and it features a MediaTek Dimensity 720 CPU that, while it might not be the most performing CPU out of the bunch, it’s definitely one of the best in its price category. It makes up for it by providing the same Samsung experience and One UI software that comes with the high-end devices and brings it to the low end of the spectrum. The result is a device with understated looks but a decent feature set, including a 48MP quad rear camera and a ginormous 5,000 mAh battery. Oh, it also comes with 5G support.

If you’re looking for something that will do the job on a tight budget, this is one of the best AT&T phones you should be considering.

    The Galaxy A32 isn't a high-end phone, but it sure manages to put a fight to the biggest, baddest phones out there. If you need a phone that does the job and you're on a really tight budget, then the Galaxy A32 should fit your bill pretty well.

This sums up our list of the best AT&T phones currently available. At the top of the line, we have options from Samsung and Apple that are worth considering if you’re looking into phones that look and feel premium and high-end. Then we have options trickling down to everything from compact phones all the way to ruthlessly cheap devices. All of these phones can be acquired directly through AT&T and can be paid for in monthly installments, trade-ins, and more. Check out the respective listings for more specific terms and conditions.

If I had to recommend, I’d say that most users are going to be very happy with the Google Pixel 6, or if they want to splurge, get the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.

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