These are the Best Smartphones to buy in 2022!

These are the Best Smartphones to buy in 2022!

This has been a great year for smartphones so far — conventional slab phones are all extremely polished, and foldables are coming into their own. So if you’re looking to upgrade your phone, now is as good a time as any. We here at XDA test almost every smartphone on earth, so here’s our expert guide on the best smartphones — covering both the best Android and best iPhone — depending on your budget or need!

Navigate this article:

XDA VIDEO OF THE DAY

Best Overall Smartphone: Apple iPhone 13 Pro

iPhone 13 in Sierra Blue

Apple’s new iPhone 13 Pro takes this top spot because it offers much improved low light cameras over previous iPhones; a game-changing Cinematic mode that lends an air of authenticity to amateur videos; the most powerful mobile processor; and a price that seems reasonable by 2021 flagship standards. It’s not well into the four-digit pricing like some of the 2020 and 2021 premium flagships.

The iPhone 13 Pro has arguably the best chipset on any phone right now. The A15 Bionic from Apple is a beast when it comes to performance so if you’re going to be doing intensive tasks on your phone like gaming or editing and rendering videos, the iPhone 13 Pro would be a perfect choice. Apart from raw performance, Apple’s hardware and software integration is unmatched. What this means is the OS is perfectly optimized to run with the hardware onboard, and this applies even for third-party apps. A lot of apps run better natively on iOS than on Android.

It’s not just about the performance though. The A15 Bionic provides a great boost in terms of battery life too. The iPhone 13 Pro can easily last you an entire day — and even more if used judiciously. Even if you’re a heavy user, you won’t find it hard to get to the end of the day without plugging the phone into a socket. And yes, this is with the new 120Hz ProMotion display. The 120Hz OLED display is a huge improvement over the older 60Hz panel on the iPhone 12 Pro and was something enthusiasts were asking for for years. Apart from the faster refresh rate, the notch up top has also shrunk by 20%.

Unlike last year where the Pro Max had a hardware advantage over the standard Pro in the camera department, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are exactly the same this year except in terms of the physical size and battery life. The cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro are excellent and reliable, and they’re the best in the business when it comes to video recording. Apple has also introduced new features like Cinematic Mode that improve the overall experience of using the camera on the iPhone 13 Pro.

All of these parameters come together to make the iPhone 13 Pro an ideal candidate for the best phone you can buy. Of course, if you’re an Android fan, we’d recommend you take a look at our best Android smartphone list, but if you’re a general consumer looking for a phone that will work well, last you for years, keep its resale value, and have a strong hardware and software ecosystem around it, then look no further than the iPhone 13 Pro.

    The iPhone 13 Pro is probably the best well-rounded smartphone right now.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Affordable Premium Smartphone: OnePlus 9 Pro

The OnePlus 9 Pro

This category is different from the above “best overall” category in that this is no longer looking at it from an average consumer perspective. This category is for people who follow the smartphone scene closely and want a phone that offers the best combination of specs, features, and value.

There were a lot of worthy contenders but the OnePlus 9 Pro is our choice in this spot. It’s got a brilliant 120Hz OLED display that’s almost as good as the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s (it falls short in peak brightness by a hair), premium build quality, excellent haptics, and a really strong main and ultra-wide camera. In fact, the only area in which the Galaxy S21 Ultra clearly beats the OnePlus 9 Pro is in zooming prowess. But then the OnePlus 9 Pro charges much faster and costs $250 less. So ask yourself, do you want sharp 10x photos or save $250?

As a standalone device, without comparing it to other phones, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers a great package. OnePlus has built its reputation over the years as a brand that focuses on being “fast” and that theme continues with the 9 Pro. The Snapdragon 888 is one of the best smartphone SoCs on the Android side of things so performance is top-notch. While we would have loved the clean and minimalistic look of OxygenOS to stay, the software on OnePlus phones going forward is going to be heavily influenced by ColorOS. It may not entirely be in OnePlus’ favor, but ColorOS isn’t half bad either.

Apart from performance, another thing that’s really fast on the OnePlus 9 Pro is charging the battery. The 65W charger can juice up the phone in just about half an hour which is very impressive and helpful when you’re in a hurry. The battery life, while not being excellent, is decent, and the ultra-fast charging with fast wireless charging too makes up for it. The display as we already mentioned is excellent and refreshes at 120Hz. OnePlus partnered with Hasselblad this year to improve its camera processing and while it doesn’t necessarily beat the competition, it holds its own and performs well in most scenarios.

There will be readers who will push back at the idea of a $900-ish phone being called “affordable”, but four-digit pricing for top-tier flagships has been a reality in the smartphone space for several years now. It’s worth remembering these are now cutting-edge personal computers. The OnePlus 9 Pro offers almost everything those four-digit phones do without crossing that mark.

    The OnePlus 9 Pro is one of the best Android phones of the year and the overall best value for phone fans.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Large Foldable Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

If you were interested in foldable phones before but had some concerns, the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 may change your mind. It took the already exceptional Z Fold 2 and added official water resistance, more durable materials covering the hinge and screen, and support for the S-Pen. It’s the best mobile device for multi-tasking, and Samsung somehow managed to lower the price a little bit this time too.

Foldables are a really interesting category. They’re refreshing and futuristic, and can also improve your productivity and change the way you use your smartphone. In fact, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does exactly that. Unlike clamshell phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a phone that folds out to become a tablet, or a tablet that folds into a phone. No matter how you refer to it, it’s essentially a pocket PC that you can carry around with you to get some serious work done or enjoy consuming media like no other phone can.

The large internal display on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is what enables you to do all of this. Samsung has also optimized its One UI software in a way that makes using the foldable a treat. Right from split-screen view to launching multiple instances of the same app side-by-side for multitasking, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 almost replicates a tiny laptop that fits into your palm. There’s even a floating dock now that stays persistent across the UI, and which can launch your favorite apps directly within another app.

All of this is handled by the Snapdragon 888 SoC which means everything you do on the phone is fast and snappy, no matter how many apps you run. The cherry on the cake this time is the support for the S Pen. A lot of Samsung users would miss the S Pen from the Note series since Samsung didn’t launch a Note series phone this year. However, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 gets support for the S Pen so you can use it to take notes, sketch, doodle, or do just about anything on the internal display.

The internal display is a 120Hz OLED panel with an under-display front camera (UDC), giving the screen an immersive look. If you game a lot on your phone or even read a lot of e-books, you can’t find a better phone than this thanks to that huge display. This year, Samsung also upgraded the outer cover display to a 120Hz panel to make things more uniform. The phone is also now IPX8 water-resistant making it one of the most durable foldables out there. The cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 aren’t as good as some other phones including Samsung’s own Galaxy S21 Ultra which may be slightly disappointing to some.

With a Snapdragon 888, excellent speakers, and that large 7.6-inch screen, the Z Fold 3 is excellent for gaming or movie watching. While the cameras aren’t the best around, they’re still quite good and enough for most.

    The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the best foldable phone money can buy right now.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Small Foldable Phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

the Z Flip 3 in flex mode

Do you think current slab smartphones have become too big to fit comfortably in your pocket? If so, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is for you. A clamshell foldable that, when folded up, can fit into the breast pocket of a jacket or a small women’s purse, the Z Flip 3 is a compact yet powerful device. It’s also one of the most affordable foldable phones that’s actually worth buying.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 takes a different approach to foldables when compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Instead of being a large tablet-sized device that folds into a smartphone, it’s a conventional phone when unfolded, with a tall display that folds in half vertically to become half the size. It’s reminiscent of flip phones that we had in the past, except this one has a foldable display that goes from edge to edge and has flagship internals.

The Snapdragon 888 is what we have inside the Galaxy Z Flip 3 which means it’s no slouch when it comes to performance. You can run all sorts of apps and games on this phone, including the most demanding titles and you won’t have any issues. This isn’t really a phone meant for gaming though. It’s more of a fashion accessory or a phone that you would want to flaunt, given it’s so unique compared to traditional candy bar phones.

The internal display on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is an OLED display that’s as big as any other recent normal phone. It’s a 120Hz panel so you’re not really missing out on anything that you would get on other phones in this price range. There’s a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. Speaking of cameras, there’s a dual-camera setup on the Flip 3 which you can also use to take selfies by using the small cover display on the outside as a viewfinder. The cover display is mainly used to check the time and any pending notifications.

The one inevitable problem that plagues the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is battery life. Given the unique form factor, it’s difficult to fit in a large battery, which means most people will have to charge the phone sometime by evening if you want it to get through to the end of the day. The charging speed isn’t very fast either so that’s something to keep in mind. Other than that, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the foldable phone for the masses and Samsung is surely headed in the right direction.

The Z Flip 3 features a 6.7 inch 120Hz OLED display on the inside and a 1.9-inch cover display that’s ideal for quick interactions with the phone when it’s closed. And because the phone can stay open mid-fold, it’s a great hands-free video watching or video call taking device too. With IPX8 water resistance and a durable hinge, the Z Flip 3 should ease fragility concerns.

    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a stylish clamshell foldable that brings back the compact form factor.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Smartphone Camera: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra held out in hand with a swimming pool in the background

Now that Samsung has confirmed there’s no new Galaxy Note phone this year, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will remain Samsung’s absolute apex slab top dog and best camera offering until possibly 2022. That’s okay because the Galaxy S21 Ultra is that good a phone. Other than objective opinions like “it’s too big” or nitpicky things like a split-second shutter lag, this is a phone that doesn’t have a weakness. It’s the apex slab smartphone.

It has the most versatile camera system around — four strong cameras that cover focal lengths from 13mm to 240mm (not even factoring in digital zoom). The main 108MP sensor captures razor-sharp photos during the day, and at night can make do without night mode trickery due to its large sensor size. The ultra-wide is not the best ultra-wide around, but it’s still very good in terms of maintaining the sharpness and keeping consistent color science. The two zoom lenses are the best the industry has to offer right now, especially the Periscope lens that can capture 10x optical zoom photos. In fact, even up to 20x digital zoom photos remain very usable for social media. The Vivo X70 Pro+ is on track to unseat Samsung from this spot, but it’s not available as widely as the Galaxy S21 Ultra is.

The rest of the phone is top-notch too. There’s a Snapdragon 888 SoC or an Exynos 2100 based on which region you’re in, a gorgeous 120Hz display that’s probably the best on any smartphone, and a large battery that can get you through the entire day. The Exynos 2100 chipset might put some people off, given it’s not the best in terms of performance. If you play a lot of high-end games on your phone like Genshin Impact, then you may want to look elsewhere or try to get your hands on the Snapdragon variant of the device.

Apart from that, you won’t have a lot to complain about with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. It’s even got support for the S Pen so if you miss the Note series of phones from Samsung and don’t want to splurge on the new Galaxy Z Fold 3, you can still pick up the Galaxy S21 Ultra and you can doodle around or take notes during a meeting. It’s got the smaller things covered too like wireless charging, IP68 rating, Samsung DeX support, etc. It’s a complete flagship phone in all departments and is certainly one of the most versatile camera phones out there.

    If you care about smartphone photography, the S21 Ultra is for you.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Samsung makes a lot of different phones aimed at different markets. If you want to take a look at a narrower list, here are all the best Samsung Galaxy phones.

Best Big Phone: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro Max

Last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max was already a very big phone, and this year’s iPhone 13 Pro Max one-ups it by adding a bit more thickness and weight. In return, you get a 120Hz screen and improved battery life over last year — two things that usually don’t go together. It also improves on last year’s phone with a larger image sensor and faster ultra-wide lens, so expect superior low light photography compared to previous iPhones.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max has arguably the best chipset on any phone right now. The A15 Bionic from Apple is a beast when it comes to performance so if you’re going to be doing intensive tasks on your phone like gaming, or editing and rendering videos, the iPhone 13 Pro Max would be the perfect choice. Apart from raw performance, Apple’s hardware and software integration is unmatched. What this means is the OS is perfectly optimized to run with the hardware onboard and this applies even for third-party apps. A lot of apps run better natively on iOS than on Android.

It’s not just about the performance though. The A15 Bionic provides a great boost in terms of battery life too. The iPhone 13 Pro Max can easily last you an entire day and even more for power users who are on their phones all day. It’s easily the smartphone with the best battery life and by a big margin. And yes, this is with the new 120Hz ProMotion display. The 120Hz OLED display is a huge improvement over the older 60Hz panel on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and was something enthusiasts were asking for for years. Apart from the faster refresh rate, the notch up top has also shrunk by 20%.

Unlike last year where the Pro Max had a hardware advantage over the standard Pro in the camera department, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are exactly the same this year except in terms of physical size and battery life. The cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro Max are excellent and reliable, and they’re the best in the business when it comes to video recording. Apple has also introduced new features like Cinematic Mode that improve the overall experience of using the camera on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

All of these parameters come together to make the iPhone 13 Pro Max an ideal candidate for the best big phone you can buy. If you want the biggest and best that Apple has to offer, this is it.

    The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the phone to get if you want an unapologetically big smartphone.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Small Phone: Apple iPhone 13 Mini

The iPhone 13 Mini

The iPhone 13 Mini isn’t just small — it’s tiny. It’s a phone that most people will be able to use with one hand with ease. Despite its small size, it’s still among one of the most powerful phones around, thanks to that Apple A15 Bionic chip and well-optimized iOS. Apple’s even improved on the below-par battery life of the iPhone 12 Mini for this year’s update.

The iPhone 12 Mini was a dream come true for small phone enthusiasts. Apple finally made a flagship phone with powerful, top-of-the-line internals fit into a compact form factor that could easily fit into your denim pockets. Small phones were a thing of the past until apple resurrected the category with the iPhone 12 Mini last year. However, the small form factor brought along with it a big drawback — average battery life.

There’s a limit to the size of a battery you can put inside a small phone like the 12 Mini and that limit meant that the phone had sub-par battery life. The iPhone 13 Mini fixes this very problem and finally presents a strong case for a small phone to be used like any other phone in 2021. Battery life is the single biggest upgrade that the iPhone 13 Mini brings and that alone is a big win according to us. We now have a compact phone that doesn’t need to be around a charge by afternoon.

While the capacity of the battery has increased, what’s responsible for the increment in battery life is mainly the A15 Bionic chip from Apple. It’s more power-efficient than last year’s A14 Bionic while being one of the most powerful chipsets around. The iPhone 13 Mini is also a performance beast and can play the most graphic-intensive games with ease. You can also shoot and edit 4K 60fps videos directly from the phone along with the option to record videos in the new Cinematic Mode. The display, while still being stuck at 60Hz, now has a smaller notch and is slightly brighter than its predecessor.

To summarize, you get a pair of 12MP rear-facing cameras that, while not the most versatile system around, can capture awesome still photos and best-in-class videos. Starting at $799, this is also one of the cheaper iPhones around. If you love small phones, this one’s a no-brainer.

    The iPhone 13 Mini is a very small phone with a lot of power.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Second-Best Small Smartphone: ASUS Zenfone 8

Obsidian Black ASUS ZenFone 8 on transparent background

With dimensions of 148mm x 68.5mm x 8.9mm and a weight of 169g, the ASUS Zenfone 8 isn’t quite as petite as the iPhone 13 Mini, but in the Android space, it’s still a breath of fresh air. Most adults should be able to use the phone one-handed with relative ease, as the 5.9 inch OLED screen doesn’t stretch too high up.

If you’re not a fan of the closed nature of iOS and want to feel at home with a compact Android device, you don’t really have a lot of options. The Asus Zenfone 8 is your best pick if you’re looking for a relatively small Android phone that doesn’t compromise on the internals. The Pixel 4a is another compact phone but it only has mid-range specs and is quite old at this point. The Zenfone 8 packs in probably everything you need on a modern-day smartphone.

It’s got the Snapdragon 888, which you’ve probably realized by now is the most powerful SoC on the Android side of things. What this means is you don’t have to be worried about performance on this phone. Despite being small, it’s going to perform as well as any other flagship phone and run all your favorite apps and games with ease. Asus’ software is also relatively clean and is closer to stock Android, so you don’t get a lot of bloatware or unnecessary features to keep it light.

The cameras on the device are also competitive and while they’re not as good as the iPhone 13 Mini, they should be sufficient for most people. The battery life is also quite surprisingly good, thanks to a 4,000mAh battery onboard that can last you an entire day. There’s an OLED display which means the experience while consuming content on this phone is also going to be good, although you may not want to watch long shows or movies on a small display like this.

Despite the small size, the phone packs Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 888 SoC with a 4,000 mAh cell and copious amount of RAM. You also have a 64MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a headphone jack. If you are tired of big Android phones, this is the one to get.

    The ASUS Zenfone 8 is the rare Android flagship with a screen under 6-inches and weight under 180g.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Affordable Flagship Smartphone: Google Pixel 6

Pixel 6 Coral

The Pixel 6 slots in right below the Pixel 6 Pro and is an excellent value offering which is why a lot of people may even opt for the Pixel 6 over the Pixel 6 Pro. It’s got the new Tensor chip custom-designed by Google with all the new AI and ML capabilities. The display on the Pixel 6 has been toned down slightly compared to the Pro. It’s still a good display though with a 90Hz FHD+ OLED panel. The rear houses the same two cameras as the Pro — a 50MP primary sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide but misses out on the telephoto lens.

The camera on the front isn’t as wide as the one on the Pro and also drops the resolution to 8MP. Other than that, there’s not a lot you’re missing out on with the standard Pixel 6. The Pixel 6 is also slightly smaller than the Pixel 6 Pro which a few people may prefer. You get the same sort of software support on the Pixel 6 too. The battery is slightly smaller at 4600mAh but the smaller screen and lower refresh rate mean that the battery life is going to be as good as the Pro if not better. For $300 lesser than the Pro, the Pixel 6 is a great value offering and should be the phone most people should get if you want the best value flagship.

Compared to the Pixel 5 from last year, the Pixel 6 improves considerably, especially in the SoC department. The Pixel 5 was more of a mid-range phone with performance not being its strongest suit. However, the Tensor chipset on the Pixel 6 makes it a flagship phone even in terms of performance. It’s going to be right up there with smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 888 in terms of performance. While gaming wouldn’t be as smooth, day-to-day performance is going to be a breeze.

The software on the Pixel 6 is also one of its biggest highlights. The phone comes with Android 12 out of the box and given that it’s a Pixel, you can truly enjoy Android 12 the way it’s meant to be. This means you get the new Material You theming along with the amazing AI features that Google introduced including Live Translate, Magic Eraser, Face Unblur, etc. Google also promises 3 years of Android version upgrades and 5 years of security patches for the Pixel 6. This makes the phone future-proof and you can use it for an extended period.

If you’re looking for a phone that excels especially in the camera department, and one that has clean and up-to-date software, you cannot go wrong with the Pixel 6.

    The Pixel 6 comes with Google's new Tensor chip, a modern design, and flagship cameras.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Gaming Phone: ASUS ROG Phone 5 Ultimate

ASUS ROG Phone 5 Ultimate review

If you do lots of mobile gaming and want a device that can keep up, then look no further than the ASUS ROG Phone 5. Between the blazingly fast and buttery smooth 144hz display, large 6,000 mAh battery, dual front-facing stereo speakers, up to 18GB of RAM, and touch-sensitive shoulder buttons, there isn’t a smartphone out there more equipped to handle mobile gaming.

Asus literally went all-in with the ROG Phone 5 this time. It’s packed with specifications that make it a powerhouse. If you’re looking for the ultimate smartphone that’s got everything you need on paper and even in practical usage, look no further. Starting off with the Snapdragon 888, the ROG Phone 5 offers solid performance with constant frame rates while gaming. Even if you’re playing the most intensive titles at the highest graphics settings and frame rates, the ROG Phone 5 doesn’t break a sweat.

Asus has managed to cool the Snapdragon 888 well for consistent performance. It’s also the phone with the highest amount of RAM right now in the market. 18GB of RAM is no joke and the ROG Phone 5 goes all-in in this department as well to ensure your games enjoy maximum resources at all times. Asus even put a small display on the back of this phone that you can customize via the Armory Crate app.

Long gaming sessions need extended battery life and you’re covered in that department too with the ROG Phone 5. There’s a large 6000mAh battery that lets you play continuously for hours. There’s support for fast charging too when you want to take a small break and get back to play. The large display on the front has a refresh rate of 144Hz making it one of the best for gaming. The display is flanked by thin bezels on either side which makes it easier to grip the phone while playing.

Then there are other small details like stereo speakers, a headphone jack, and the support for additional accessories like a cooling fan, dock, etc. The cameras on the ROG Phone 5 aren’t great but that’s not what you’re buying this phone for in the first place.

    ASUS ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is, as the name implies, the ultimate gaming phone with up to 18GB of RAM.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Best Budget Smartphone: OnePlus Nord N10

oneplus nord n10 5g product image

Retailing for $299, it’s hard to find a phone at this price point (in the US) that’s more capable than the OnePlus Nord N10. For a quarter of the price of an iPhone 12 Pro Max or Galaxy S21 Ultra, you’re getting a 5G-ready handset with a 90Hz LCD display and a multi-camera system that offers a solid wide and ultra-wide camera.

OnePlus has built a solid reputation throughout the world thanks to the good price-to-performance ratio its phones offer. While phones from OnePlus have now started to climb up the price ladder, they’ve traditionally been much more affordable than flagships from mainstream brands like Samsung and Apple. Since the prices of OnePlus flagships kept getting higher, the brand decided to launch a more affordable series of phones to capture the mid-range and budget segment. That led to the inception of the Nord series.

The OnePlus Nord N10 is a budget-oriented smartphone that’s meant for people who don’t want to splurge on the latest and greatest top-end phone. Instead, it aims to provide decent specifications at an affordable price point. The Snapdragon 690 handles CPU duties and while it’s no powerhouse, day-to-day tasks on this phone should be smooth. The 90Hz LCD display would also contribute to the smooth experience of using the device. The phone runs on OxygenOS which has traditionally been clean and smooth.

One of the major selling points of the Nord N10 is support for 5G networks. 5G is being adapted throughout the US and while it’s still not as popular as LTE, getting a 5G phone now would mean you’re ready to switch to 5G whenever it becomes widely available. There’s a quad-camera setup on the rear with a 64MP primary camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and two 2MP sensors for depth and macro. The display is a 6.49-inch 1080p panel which should be good enough for media consumption.

There’s a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner for security, and the phone is available in a single storage variant — 128GB with 6GB of RAM. You can however expand the storage via a microSD card slot. Finally, there’s a 4,300mAh battery with 30W fast charging making this a good offering for the asking price. If you’re looking for an affordable 5G phone, the OnePlus Nord N10 is a good option to consider.

    The OnePlus Nord N10 is the most affordable 5G-ready, high-refresh screen phone available in the US.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

One thing to note, even the very definition of “budget” differs from person to person, and a singular choice may not be able to properly appreciate the nuances of all individuals. If you’re looking for more options, here are some other great cheap Android phones for you to consider.

Best Smartphone not sold in the US: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra's camera module

Featuring a Snapdragon 888, 120Hz OLED display, a 50MP with the largest image sensor in the smartphone space, and a capable ultra-wide and Periscope zoom lens to boot, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra may be the one slab phone that can challenge the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra for slab phone supremacy. If you’re into selfies, there’s also a second display located on the camera island module so you can take selfies with the main camera system (there’s still a selfie camera on the front side of the device if you prefer to shoot the traditional way).

The Mi 11 Ultra is among the most complete smartphones of the year. What we mean to say is it scores high in all departments and is one of the most well-rounded phones that can compete against the big guns. The display is absolutely gorgeous and has a 120Hz refresh rate. There’s even a secondary display on the rear which can be used to check notifications or be used as a viewfinder.

The reason you would want to use it as a viewfinder is that the cameras on the Mi 11 Ultra are right up there among some of the best smartphone cameras. The primary camera takes some crisp images with lots of details and the ultra-wide camera is also among the best out there. There’s even a periscope camera so you’re covered in terms of zoom. The Snapdragon 888 is what handles performance which means you’re getting flagship-grade performance. The phone runs on MIUI which might deter a few people because of its bad reputation due to ads and bloatware.

The big battery coupled with fast charging and fast wireless charging completes the package and makes the Mi 11 Ultra a superb option for those looking for a flagship phone, provided it’s available in your region. It gets most things right and you’ll certainly not be disappointed by what the Mi 11 Ultra offers. It does almost everything the Galaxy S21 Ultra does, while being considerably cheaper.

The Mi 11 Ultra isn’t selling in North America, but it’s available in China, most of Europe, Southeast Asia, and India. So importing one shouldn’t be difficult — if you’re ready to pay the Samsung/Apple-level four-digit price.

    The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a culmination of the company's best hardware in a smartphone yet, featuring a great display, a great camera setup, great performance, and more.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Second-Best Smartphone not sold in the US: OPPO Find X3 Pro

OPPO Find X3 Pro camera system

In our review, we called the OPPO Find X3 Pro the phone with the best ultra-wide camera around, and that title still stands. That’s because OPPO uses the exact same Sony IMX 766 sensor for both the main and ultra-wide cameras. This also means there’s more consistency between photos captured by the main and ultra-wide camera.

Elsewhere, the Find X3 Pro has a brilliant 120Hz, WQHD+ 10-bit display panel that can display over a billion colors, and is powered by all the latest components like Snapdragon 888 and UFS 3.1. There is also a never-before-seen microscope camera that allows the phone to capture eerily close-up shots, like the ability to capture individual strands of fabric in your shirt. It does lose out to the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra in zooming capabilities, hence this runner-up spot.

The Find X3 Pro also scores high in terms of performance and cameras and runs on ColorOS which has a slightly cleaner UI than some other Android skins. As we mentioned, the microscope camera on the Find X3 Pro is one of its biggest highlights. You can look at things from a perspective you would never have looked at before. It’s a really cool addition that unfortunately hasn’t made its way to any other phone. Hopefully, OPPO continues to include it even in future iterations of the Find X series.

The display on the Find X3 Pro is also excellent and is right up there with other flagship phones. It’s a curved AMOLED panel with a QHD+ resolution and can refresh at 120Hz. The phone is pretty large but feels light to hold. The glass back is premium and the phone feels good to hold in the hand. This is arguably one of the best phones made by OPPO to date and is a great option if it’s available in your region. As mentioned earlier, it misses out in terms of a periscope camera so you won’t be able to zoom into far away objects.

There’s a relatively big 4,500mAh battery to handle everything and it does a fairly good job. If you use your phone heavily, you can expect the phone to die by evening thanks to the large 120Hz display. The 65W charger that comes in the box is a saving grace here since it can charge the phone insanely quickly to 100% in about half an hour. There’s fast wireless charging as well at 30W completing the entire package.

    OPPO's latest is a highly polished smartphone with a true 10-bit display that allows it to display over one billion colors.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:


There are a lot of good phones to choose from right now, and we hope this guide helped. We will update this guide every month as we test more phones, so be sure to check back often. Let us know which phone you’re using now and which one you’d consider as your next phone!

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.

We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.