In terms of progress, the last few years haven’t been particularly productive. We’ve endured self-isolation, social distancing and our fair share of struggles. But, while we’ve been waiting for things to return to normal, the world of smartphone development has been coming on leaps and digital bounds.
More technical headway has been made this year than in the last five put together — with pioneering advancements in 5G, folding screen technology and AI all paving the way to a more cutting edge, ergonomic future. So, with the world finally getting back to normal, here are the best smartphones to help you feel connected as we enter into 2022…
For reliability and sense, the Google Pixel 6 Pro
Why’s it so special? Because Google, in a rarely seen display of Silicon Valley sense, continues to keep things pared back. The Pixel 6 has no pesky facial recognition, no ‘XL’ variant, and no folding screen or rainbow of colour options (choose from simple black, white or a pale yellow). It’s a grown-up move; a recalibration in the name of making the basics better.
What are some key specs? It runs on the Google Tensor Titan M2 security co-processor, the brand’s first in-house chip. The screen is a 6.7-inch QHD+, the camera has 50 megapixels and it can record in 4K. Impressive stuff.
Who should buy one? The man who relies on his phone. You don’t need gimmicks, you’re not looking for gadgets; you just want a reliable, good smartphone that will hold its charge (up to 48 hours with ‘Extreme Battery Saver’) and do its job.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
For content creators, the HONOR 50
Why’s it so special? Fusing superior aesthetics with innovative camera technology, this new smartphone from HONOR is the perfect piece of content-creating kit for influencers, vloggers, bloggers and anyone else who makes their money using a small screen — and tons of initiative.
What are some key specs? The main camera offers more than double the megapixels of the Pixel above; at 108MP. There’s also a 32MP front camera with a 90° viewing angle and a Full HD+ resolution of 2340×1080 that can produce 1.07 billion colours.
Who should buy one? The movers, shakers and innovators in the social media sphere. If you’ve got a voracious following who expect tip-top content at every turn, the HONOR 50 is equipped with the ‘Magic UI 4.2’ operating system, offering a creative suite of features which enables users to always stay connected.
For media men, the OPPO Find X3 Pro
Why’s it so special? Because, in the bold, bombastic words of OPPO itself, this smartphone is ‘inspired by spacecraft’. Available in gloss black or blue, the best feature is the gently raised camera module; an elegant, fluidly-curved element on the phone’s glass back.
What are some key specs? It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Mobile Platform, and has a billion colour display. There’s a 6.7-inch QHD+ screen, 50 megapixel wide-angle camera and dedicated cinematic mode for watching everything from Netflix to Instagram Reels.
Who should buy one? Burgeoning media moguls. If your job pivots around the creation and consumption of media, what better than a device that can do it all? From Zoom calls to video editing, the OPPO Find X3 Pro is exceedingly, exciting capable — and looks like the sort of phone a visionary would carry around…
OPPO Find X3 Pro
For designers and originators, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Why’s it so special? Unlike many of the streamlined smartphones on this list, the kitchen sink has been hurled at Samsung’s latest foldable device. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s visually striking, obviously, but there are also some ergonomic advantages to this folding phone.
What are some key specs? That 7.6-inch Infinity Flex Display is the real selling point here, but Samsung’s latest Galaxy also has some additional foldable features. Aircraft-grade ‘aluminium armour’ strength, IPX8 water resistance and Corning’s ultra-strong ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ ensure that you can fold it almost a quarter of a million times.
Who should buy one? Those of you who need a workspace. This is more than a phone; it’s practically a tablet. And, if you job is visual, virtual — or you could just do with a different screen size to get those creative juices flowing — Samsung is the sound choice.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
For brand loyalists, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Why’s it so special? This is a tricky one. iPhones, once the must-have smartphone, have fallen from favour in recent years. But the iPhone 13 Pro Max is undoubtedly an impressive piece of kit. A ‘Super Retina XDR’ display, cinematic mode and better battery life than ever make this a capable, if not covetable, option.
What are some key specs? An eye-catching 6.7-inch display. Industry‑leading water resistance. Sensors including Face ID, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, barometer and accelerometer. We could go on.
Who should buy one? Those people who have never had anything but an iPhone. They’re the ones who’ll really be wowed by the new developments — such as a super-hard and almost-indestructible ‘Ceramic Shield’. For the rest of us, over £1,000 for a phone may seem a little steep.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
For amateur — and professional — photographers, the Vivo X60 Pro 5G
Why’s it so special? You may not be aware of Vivo but, if you’re a photographer, you should be. This latest top-line offering — launched alongside the brand’s ‘Y’ series of midrange smartphones — is a shutter-happy snapper’s dream.
What are some key specs? Where do we start? Cutting-edge image stabilisation. Advanced night mode. Pioneering portrait photography technology. An industry-leading Gimbal Camera System. Motion-deblur algorithm, customised sensors, continuous focus tracking.
Who should buy one? Anyone who fancies themselves a photographer. With Extreme Night Vision 2.0, HDR Super Night Portrait, Long-Exposure Mode and Ultra-Pano, this is an enviable tool for creatives.
Vivo X60 Pro 5G
For tech-heads, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro
Why’s it so special? Frankly, because it’s still making lists like these. Huawei may have had a worse couple of years than our immune systems — especially with that whole ludicrous 5G hullabaloo — and yet here they are, still creating smartphones we not only admire, but actually want.
What are some key specs? And these are the reasons we want the P40 Pro: an Ultra Vision Leica camera system; in-screen fingerprint and 3D face unlock; 50 watt wireless Huawei SuperCharge; new AI gesture control; and an edge-to-edge 88° ‘Horizon’ display.
Who should buy one? People who don’t hold grudges. Huawei may have a chequered past; but, if this rate of development and design is maintained, the company also has a bright future.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
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