My top 5 phones of 2022 – Ro

My top 5 phones of 2022 – Ro

Well, 2022 is coming to an end and I can say it’s been a pretty…stale year. We can’t always have exciting years, of course, but the fact that I’ve returned to using a phone from last year, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, speaks for itself.

That’s not to say I didn’t have my favorites from this year’s crop and here they are in no particular order.

Asus Zenfone 9

Just like last year, I would like to kick off this list with an Asus phone. Of course, this year it’s the Zenfone 9. I’ve always had a soft spot for compact flagships and I think Asus has nailed it yet again. In fact, I think the new Zenfone 9 is the most beautiful phone of 2022. The design is so simple, but super sleek and premium.

It also ticks almost all the boxes for a 2022 flagship phone except for telephoto. But at a diagonal of 5.9 inches, it’s hard to ask for one. But at least it offers a great photo experience with those it has.

Plus, I’m a big fan of clean Android software, and Asus’ ZenUI is probably one of the best for that. It looks stock, but still provides advanced and geeky proprietary features. Battery life is surprisingly good and even beats some larger devices with much larger batteries.

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Clean Android is just one of the reasons I liked the Pixel 7 Pro. The camera, of course, is another – I loved the processing of stills. There’s something about those that I can’t put my finger on, but the Pixel Photos have a distinct vibe. And I like it very much.

I also love how smart this phone is. Google’s AI-powered features like call screening, speech-to-text conversions and vice versa are excellent, as well as extracting images and text from photos. The Pixel 7 Pro is the true definition of a smartphone. Or at least I think it’s the closest thing to a smartphone.

If it weren’t for its limited market availability, I’d probably be rocking a Pixel 7 Pro right now. Also, many smart features are not applicable in my home country. After all, speech recognition software has its limits.

And while quirky, I really like this year’s design, although it’s almost identical to the Series 6. Last but not least, this year’s Pixel version isn’t plagued with a lot of hardware issues and /or software as was standard for Google phones.

The tiny Pixel 7 gets an honorable mention because it’s a compact flagship with a solid set of features and a surprisingly competitive price.

Pixel 6a

I’m not a Pixel fanboy, don’t get me wrong. Still, it’s hard to deny that the Pixels are very good phones this year. I really can’t think of a midranger that stands out from the crowd this year except for the Pixel 6a.

It’s affordable, runs on last year’s flagship Google SoC, offers a flagship-grade camera experience, has all the benefits of being a Google phone in terms of software updates and it’s a well-balanced phone in general. If it is available in your country, you should definitely consider it.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

I’m currently using the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and I’m completely disappointed that the 12S Ultra is unusable outside of China. I’m lucky enough to be able to hold the 12S Ultra in my hand and it’s a great phone.

It has all the bells and whistles and is arguably the best camera phone on the market. Telephoto performance is unmatched in my opinion.

Also, I’m a big fan of the design. I find the faux leather and the circular camera module quite unique, while the surface feels nice to the touch. It offers excellent grip and possibly better durability than your standard glass sandwich construction.

I also recently loved Xiaomi’s MIUI. It’s feature-rich, polished, customizable, and lightning-fast.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Like most of my colleagues, I pick the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra as one of my favorite phones of 2022 and it’s not because we get Bugattis from the Korean tech giant for free, but mostly because the S22 Ultra is the closest thing we’ve got to a no-compromise flagship this year. It’s the phone that finally unites the Note and S ranges and offers an unbeatable overall product.

It’s so feature-rich that it’s hard not to appeal to the masses. Hell, it even has two telephoto focal lengths and that’s one of the best things about this phone.

The software is one of the main reasons I like this year’s Ultra. One UI is more polished than ever, it has a ton of genuinely useful features, and it’s possibly the best custom Android skin designed for one-handed use. It was the original main selling point of One UI a few years ago and it has stayed true to its roots.

One criticism I have about One UI 5.0 is that while it looks a lot smoother than its predecessor, it’s still a bit sluggish compared to its competitors. I’ve spent most of this year with the S22+ and can say that most if not all of the other Android iterations feel faster and more responsive.

And yet, I believe most people wouldn’t notice the difference and wouldn’t be as bothered by it as I am.

Hopefully 2023 will bring more innovative and exciting phones but, more importantly, a worldwide release of my favorites.

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