These are the Best Samsung Galaxy phones to buy in 2022

These are the Best Samsung Galaxy phones to buy in 2022

Samsung is the number one phone brand in the world for good reason. The South Korean tech giant makes not just the most premium slab flagships and cutting-edge foldables, it also manufactures very capable mid-tier and budget handsets. So no matter your budget, Samsung has something for you.

Galaxy S22 series

The Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra.

Of course, if you’re open to using more than just Samsung, we have a guide to the best Android phones, and even the best iPhones too.

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Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

S22 Ultra

Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S22 Ultra is the successor to not just last year’s excellent Galaxy S21 Ultra, but also the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. And on both fronts, the phone knocks it out of the park. The Galaxy S22 Ultra improves on the already awesome and versatile camera system of the Galaxy S21 Ultra by adding subtle refinements to hardware while giving its computational photography engine a major revamp. The result is a 10x zoom lens that can produce even sharper and better-lit zoom shots than before; a main camera with better dynamic range and low light capabilities; and smoother video stabilization all around.

Then there’s the S-Pen. Last year’s S21 Ultra supported Samsung’s stylus too, but it was a separate purchase and the phone had no slot to house the thing. This year? The S-Pen comes with the phone, and just like previous Note devices, there’s a silo into which the S-Pen rests. But that’s not all, Samsung also improved the S-Pen performance, with lower latency to 2.8ms for even more realistic sketching and jotting experience.

The S22 Ultra with an S-Pen

Elsewhere, the Galaxy S22 Ultra runs on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, a 4nm SoC that is the cream of the crop in Android right now. Some regions do get the new Exynos 2200 SoC, but now many major markets get the Snapdragon chip, and Samsung has also improved GPU performance which was a sore point on previous Exynos. And while the 5,000 mAh battery size is the same as before, the Galaxy S22 Ultra should gain better battery life due to the phone’s screen being a second-generation LTPO panel, which is smarter at finding the right refresh rate for better power efficiency.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra will also get four guaranteed years of software updates, five years of security patches, and a refined software experience that offers the best of Android 12 plus a bunch of Samsung-specific features like DeX. Other than the fact that this phone doesn’t fold, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the pinnacle of Samsung’s mobile craftsmanship right now.

    The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the ultimate Samsung phone -- combining the best of the S and Note series for a powerful beast of a machine that excels for work and play.

Second Best Phone Overall: Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Galaxy S22 Plus

If you don’t care much about the S-Pen and would rather save a bit of money, the Galaxy S22 Plus is an excellent alternative. You’re still getting a gorgeous AMOLED screen, a very good camera system, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, and Samsung’s polished and versatile software that can arguably do more things than just stock Android. You also get the same software promises made for the Ultra on the Plus (and even the regular), so no compromises are made on that end. The only difference in software is with the S Pen functionality, which we’ve already established is something that people considering the Galaxy S22 Plus over the Galaxy S22 Ultra can live without.

In fact, many people will probably find the 6.6-inch, 1080 x 2340 flat screen easier to handle than the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 6.8-inch curved screen, especially since this phone has a mid-frame with rounded corners too. Yes, you lose out on the awesome 10x Periscope zoom lens seen in the Ultra, but you still get a capable 3x telephoto zoom lens here that’s ideal for portraits. The 50MP main camera is a big improvement from last year’s mediocre 12MP shooter in the Galaxy S22 Plus.

You get most of the other bells and whistles that the Galaxy S22 Ultra gets, such as wireless charging, IP68 water resistance, Samsung DeX, and Galaxy S22 series exclusives like Live Sharing with Google Duo. This is every bit a flagship phone, just not the complete do-it-all overkill of its bigger brother. But most people don’t really need an overkill flagship, so this becomes an excellent option.

    Even if it sits a tier below the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy S22 Plus is still every bit a flagship phone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and a stunning display.

Best Value: Samsung Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22

If the $1,199 Galaxy S22 Ultra is too expensive, then consider the smaller Galaxy S22, which starts at $799. Yes, the Galaxy S22 lacks the world-class zoom camera of the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the S-Pen, but if you don’t take zoom photography or use a stylus often, then these losses may not matter much. You’re still getting an excellent triple camera system consisting of a 50MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 10MP telephoto. The latter is basically the same 3x telephoto zoom lens used in the Galaxy S22 Ultra so you’re getting a focal length that’s ideal for portraits. Many of us are also fans of the 6.1-inch screen size which is small enough for easy one-hand use.

The Galaxy S22 also fixes a lot of what was wrong with last year’s Galaxy S21. Last year’s device had a plastic back and a weak 12MP main camera, this year’s Galaxy S22 uses Gorilla Glass Victus back with a much improved 50MP main camera. Of course, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the more capable phone, but the Galaxy S22 keeps close enough that it doesn’t feel like an afterthought.

    If you find that you don't need the S-Pen or a crazy zoom camera, or if you find the S22 Ultra too big, this standard Galaxy S22 is $400 cheaper and much more easier to operate with one hand.

Second Best Value: Galaxy S21 FE

S21 FE

First things first, do not buy this phone at its launch retail price of $699, not when the Galaxy S22 is just $100 more and has a newer chip and much better camera system. We are instead listing the Galaxy S21 FE in this spot because there are likely discounts that further shave another $100 off. Currently, Amazon, which we’ve listed below, has it available for $599. At this price, then the Galaxy S21 FE is worth considering if you want to further save some money. For the launch retail price, we’d recommend looking for offers like an included Galaxy Buds Live that will help sweeten the deal.

With this device, you’re getting a Snapdragon 888, a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED 120Hz display, and a colorful back design. You also get a relatively large battery of 4,500 mAh. While we just said the camera system here isn’t as good as the Galaxy S22 series’ it’s still capable: a triple-lens system consisting of a 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide, and an 8MP telephoto zoom. The main and ultra-wide cameras will get the job done for most people, but the 8MP telephoto lens is mediocre. Still, at $599, this is still a really good value considering you still get Samsung’s polished software and build quality.

    The Galaxy S21 FE is worth a look if you want to further shave some cost off and still get a relatively modern and powerful smartphone.

Best that money can buy: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 with S Pen

Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the absolute top dog in Samsung’s pecking order of phones. Not only is it the first foldable in the world to have an official IP rating for water resistance and has stylus support, but it also has the first under-screen camera seen in a mainstream, globally available device. Everything we loved about the Galaxy Z Fold 2 returns here — you have a large, gorgeous 7.6-inch inside screen that’s supposedly even more sturdier than before, along with a 6.2-inch outside cover display that on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 now supports a 120Hz refresh rate. With IPX8 water resistance and stronger materials covering the hinge and screen, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the new king of foldables. What’s more amazing is Samsung managed to lower the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s price compared to previous Folds.

    The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is Samsung's newest top dog phone. It's the most polished foldable phone ever.

Also Great: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 may have been replaced by the newly announced Galaxy Z Fold 3, but it’s still a very capable foldable and one of the best foldable phones right now. A lot of the things that makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 awesome — that gorgeous large inside screen, the unique form factor, the strong hinge — can all be found in the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Even the camera performance between the 2 and 3 are quite similar.

Sure the Z Fold 2 doesn’t have S-Pen support or water resistance rating, but if you don’t use a stylus and aren’t around water much, perhaps these improvements don’t matter to you? If you want a really good foldable at a discount, the Z Fold 2 should be priced reasonably well now the Z Fold 3 is out.

    Although no longer the top dog folding phone in Samsung's family, the Z Fold 2 is still a very very good option

Best Compact and Style: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Purple color

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is one of the most stylish-looking smartphones to come out in recent years. We adore the two-tone finish and the petite size when folded up. But don’t mistake small size for lack of power — this thing is, along with the Fold 3, the most durable foldable phone ever, with IPX8 water resistance and Samsung’s new “Armor Aluminum” build material. The screen is also 80% more durable than before. Whether you want a stylish phone or a device that will fit into almost any pocket, this is the one to get. Best of all? Samsung managed to lower the price of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, so it’s also the cheapest foldable phone ever.

    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is an awesome small foldable with great looks and durability. It's also the most affordable foldable phone ever.

Best Samsung for those who want 5G on a budget: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G in white, black, blue and purple held out in hand

The Galaxy A52 5G is a solid mid-ranger from Samsung that cuts the right corners to reach its lower price. There’s a plastic build instead of glass, and you don’t get much of a zoom camera, but these are features people on a budget would gladly sacrifice to save several hundred dollars. Instead, the Samsung Galaxy A52 still brings a 120Hz AMOLED display, the capable Snapdragon 750G, and a solid 64MP main camera, and 16MP ultra-wide. There are two more cameras for depth and portrait, but those don’t matter much.

This is a phone that hits the three pillars of what most people need in a phone — a great screen, a solid camera that just works, and enough processing power. Oh, and it supports 5G too, marking it as the King of 5G budget smartphones in the USA in our Galaxy A52 5G review.

    The Galaxy A52 5G is Samsung's latest phone and it offers 5G connectivity at a lower price. This is the phone that makes a lot of sense for people who don't want to overspend but still want to get a reliable set of features.

Best for battery life: Samsung Galaxy M32

Samsung Galaxy M32

Do you suffer from battery anxiety? If so, the Galaxy M32 should put you at ease. It has a large 6,000 mAh battery that will surely go a full day and then some. You’ll want to have all that juice to power the 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. With a resolution of 1080 x 2400, it is a sharp and vivid panel ideal for gaming or watching movies. With the MediaTek Helio G80 powering things you will be able to run all your favorite apps without issues. While the plastic body and back look a bit dull, the Galaxy M32 is more about substance than style.

    A 6,000 mAh battery is the star of the show here, along with a serviceable camera and a good screen.

It’s difficult for us to give a blanket recommendation on which Samsung phone to get. Obviously, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best overall phone right now, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most versatile. But if you want to save some money, the standard Galaxy S22 is still very good. Of course, Samsung’s budget offerings punch above their price range too.

What’s your favorite Samsung Galaxy phone from this list, and are there any others you think we should add? Let us know in the comments below.

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.

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