While Apple’s new iPhone 14 is due to be unveiled in the next month, most of the big Android launches are now complete for this year. Which ones stand out? Here are five you’ll want to consider, spanning good value mid-rangers to ultra-premium flagships.
Price: from €1,929
If you’re seeking the out-and-out top Android phone, Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Fold4 is one you’ll have to consider.
It’s certainly not for everyone. And it’s not actually the best on any individual metric, such as camera, battery or power.
But its large-screen fold-out display — going from [6.2 inches] to a 7.6-inch near-square shape — makes it stand out as the flagship of flagships.
I have a more in-depth review on the Fold4 on Independent.ie, where I test 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 likely to be of most appeal if you’re the type who likes using a stylus with a tablet, or genuinely find utility in having a few different apps open in front of you, especially for work.
In other words, it’s really a supercharged productivity device. Samsung reckons it’s the 2020s version of its Note, which completely upended smartphone design with its large screen a decade ago. Whether or not it sells as such, there’s no question that what was something of an experiment is now starting to act and feel like a more solid, complete, thought-through device.
Those looking for an alternative to Samsung’s S22 in the ‘standard’ flagship phone range will, at some point, end up at Oppo’s door.
The Find X5 is easily one of best sub-€1,000 Android phones. The same company that makes OnePlus adds a little 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’re paying here, you’re getting almost everything Samsung’s S22 has in a slightly sleeker package. That includes a truly superb 6.5-inch screen, a top-end engine and very good battery life.
The cameras, while excellent, are perhaps a shade off Samsung’s in some edge-case situations, in my testing. There is however, an optical telephoto zoom (2x) on board.
Its design includes slightly curved glass at the edges, which is now not common on flagship phones.
As ever with Oppo, the accompanying charging apparatus is a real bonus. It comes with an 80-watt charger and can support 30-watt wireless charging – a rarity.
Google’s Pixel phones were always decent value on a specification shootout, but used to be a bit dull-looking.
The recently-launched Pixel 6a is much more visually distinctive, standing out from most of the black slabs out there.
One big advantage to the 6.1-inch Pixel 6A is that you get the same powerful ‘Tensor’ chip system as the bigger, more expensive models.
This is a very good thing as it’s very fast and allows for fairly advanced computation photography, as well as helping to save battery life.
The Pixel 6a’s two rear cameras (12-megapixel wide and ultrawide) are also very, very good for a phone at this price. They’re barely a half step back from flagship cameras. The only real drawback is the absence of a zoom lens.
In short, this is an affordable Android with very considerable power, good cameras, a good display, decent storage and the all-round feel of something that will last a while.
The sub-€500 phone category is, right now, the most competitive in the smartphone market.
There are several really compelling devices with specifications that will absolutely tick almost all boxes for the majority of regular smartphone users. And I don’t mean your parents’ requirement for a bit of WhatsApp, Facebook and web browsing – I mean you.
Samsung’s Galaxy A53 is a great example of why. It comes with features and specifications that people were paying almost €1,000 for two years ago, and over €700 last year in the shape of the S21 FE.
These include a really nice, super-smooth, 120hz, 6.5-inch display, excellent battery life and a guaranteed five years of Samsung security updates – which means it’s likely to be top of your enterprise organisation’s subsidised phones list.
The cameras (64-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 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 superb battery life on a budget.
In some ways, the recently-launched Nothing Phone 1 is the best, most interesting mid-range handset you can buy. Nothing is the new company launched by OnePlus founder Carl Pei.
It has a superb 6.5-inch screen, great power, high storage and good cameras. But it’s also very definitely the most distinctively designed new smartphone of 2022, thanks to a system of 900 micro-LED ‘glyph’ lights built in to the rear of the phone.
These serve mainly as a visual aide to alerts and ringtones. The whole point of Nothing’s Phone 1 is personality and identifiability in a world of bland black slabs.
Face down on a table, an incoming call or text should reveal its difference. It’s also designed rather like an iPhone in shape, which some will like.
The 6.5-inch Oled screen is really nice, with a 60hz to 120h adaptive refresh rate, 402ppi and 1,200 nits peak brightness.
Its engine is among the most powerful you can get in this price range, with a Snapdragon 778+ chip backed up by 8GB of Ram. This is easily good enough for most games and video processing.
It also has some high-end features, such as reverse charging and wireless charging — neither of these zap battery life too badly.
This is a maverick choice, but a very good one.