The Google Pixel 7 Pro is Android Authority's Pick for Best Phone of 2022

Hats off to the brands that actually listened in 2022

EoY 2022 Top Phone Contenders

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

One of the most frustrating things in the review business is repeating the same complaints year after year. We certainly don’t like repeating the same lines, but it’s even more disappointing when persistent issues prevent us from offering an otherwise solid recommendation to otherwise excellent phones.

With that in mind, we take the time to take our hats off to the brands that have taken feedback and improved their products for the better in 2022.

Improving the long-term update game

oneplus 10 pro update

Ryan Haines/Android Authority

We’ve spent the past two years yelling at every brand, big and small, to catch up with consumer buying habits and update their phones for longer. Finally, this message gets through.

Samsung kicked off the bandwagon with an industry-leading upgrade commitment (four operating systems and five years of security) in early 2022. That even surpasses Google, which only offers three years of upgrades. operating system upgrades for its Pixel phones, as well as five years of security patches. But Samsung has really put the industry to shame by applying the same policy to its new mid-range Galaxy A phones.

Some brands are now delivering strong long-term updates, but others continue to lag behind.

Later in the year, sister brands Oppo and Oneplus also promised four major operating system updates and five years of security patches. Wonderful stuff. The only catch, those promises only apply to select flagship handsets launching in 2023. Current owners will be stuck with more in-between arrangements, as will more budget-conscious customers next year.

Even though Android brands still lag behind Apple, 2022 was a setup in the right direction. We’ll just have to keep pounding on the holdouts and push for similar long-term policies to be applied to more affordable handsets as well.

Read more: Update policies of all major Android brands

A refined Google Pixel

Google pixel 6 pro vs picel 7 pro back

Ryan Haines/Android Authority

After the success of the Pixel 6, the best Google can do for the Pixel lineup is to stay consistent. That’s what we thought before the launch of the Pixel 7 series, and Google was certainly on the same page, for once.

A break for refinement is exactly what the Pixel series needed.

Fix Galaxy Z Flip 4 battery issues

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 purple against blue

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Even the best gear is no good if it can’t last all day. While we want to see all-day battery life by default, the ability to quickly recharge the phone with a powerful charge is a sought-after safeguard. Luckily, Samsung heard us and fixed both of these issues with the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

The battery inside the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a bit larger than the Galaxy Z Flip 3 – 3,700mAh vs. 3,300mAh, respectively. Samsung has also increased the phone’s charging power from a paltry 15W to a more reasonable 25W. Provided you use a USB PD PPS charger, which complicates things a bit.

At 75 minutes, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 won’t win an award for fastest-charging phone, but it’s something. Thanks for listening, Samsung. But we’d still like more than four to five hours of screen time next year.

Compact phones we want to buy

Sony Xperia 5 IV with headphones

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Sony’s Xperia 5 series has always distilled most, but not all, of the mighty Xperia 1 range down to a more compact form and mainstream price. A job that was particularly important for 2022’s Xperia 5 IV, given the larger flagship’s $1,600 retail price.

That’s exactly what Sony has done, for the most part, finally introducing wireless charging to the smaller model, after years of asking. The 5 IV offers identical content creation apps to its big brother, and even fixed the brand’s selfie portrait mode before the 1 IV. With the same 4K 120fps HDR video recording, IP65/67 rating and Wi-Fi 6E hardware features found in the Xperia 1 IV, it’s one of, if not the only, powerful compact flagship on the market.

Compact flagships appeared in 2022, mostly.

The performance of the handset wasn’t perfect though; you’ll miss out on some of Sony’s camera innovations by opting for the Xperia 5 IV. One to put on the 2023 wishlist, then, with an LTPO display and long-term software support.

We should also tip our hats to Asus for building another compelling compact flagship in 2022. The Zenfone 9 isn’t a media powerhouse like the Xperia, and it lacks features like wireless charging. Still, it’s a spunky little $700 handset that’s worth a look if you’re a compact fan.

Oppo and OnePlus make a U-turn on the unified operating system

Review of the OnePlus 10 Pro revisited in hand

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

One of the biggest smartphone controversies of 2021 was that Oppo pretty much ditched OnePlus for parts. It secured the Hasselblad partnership, wanted the high-end market for itself, and was even close to stripping OnePlus of its remaining identity by replacing the beloved Oxygen OS with a Unified OS platform.

After a major outcry, at least in internet terms, the brands backtracked on their unified operating system ambitions in early 2022. Oppo’s Color OS and OnePlus’ Oxygen OS will maintain two separate identities for the foreseeable future. There’s nothing like internet outrage to wake the ears of corporate boards.

Still, Unified OS isn’t really dead as a concept. Oppo and OnePlus share more resources than ever these days, including software development. As such, Color OS and Oxygen OS add their own unique flavors on top of a shared codebase. Whether that will be enough to appease loyal fans remains to be seen. We haven’t been fully convinced so far; we’ll have to see what 2023 holds for the two brands.

These are our main strengths where brands have listened to our feedback and that of consumers in 2022. We would also like to commend the companies that have also kept their prices roughly in line with the last generation. Virtually everyone wants phones to remain affordable, and that will be all the more important as the economy continues to bite throughout 2023.

Is there anything else on your list? Let us know in the comments below.

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