Best Smartphones - Mid 2022 Update

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
Recommending an $800 phone as the best choice for most people seems far from ideal...

No I say it's more than just that: is flat out delusional, out of touch and quite tone deaf to suggest that most people can spend 800 on a phone when record numbers can't even pay rent or medical bills right now. Honestly if the writer put in that line because he got push back for putting 800 USD devices as the top for 'Most people' he should perhaps listen to criticism next time instead of writing a terrible "Just stop being poor!" type line.
 

mrvco

Posts: 175   +172
No I say it's more than just that: is flat out delusional, out of touch and quite tone deaf to suggest that most people can spend 800 on a phone when record numbers can't even pay rent or medical bills right now. Honestly if the writer put in that line because he got push back for putting 800 USD devices as the top for 'Most people' he should perhaps listen to criticism next time instead of writing a terrible "Just stop being poor!" type line.

In reality most people are not paying $800 (or more) on a phone, they're kicking the debt can forward by 'financing' their disposable consumer electronics, 'magical' upgrade cycle after 'magical' upgrade cycle by paying ~$33 / month (or more to be oh so 'Pro' or omg 'Ultra') over 24 months minus trade-in credits and promotions... in perpetuity of course.

Once anything is paid off, I highly recommend taking a year (or more) off from making payments and use what you have until it fails or becomes too expensive to maintain, whether it be a phone or a car or whatever, it can be (and should be) addictive having actual discretionary income rather than making monthly payments sucking your checking account dry month after month. Paying for things free-and-clear with no strings attached maybe be considered 'retro', but it is highly underrated.
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
In reality most people are not paying $800 (or more) on a phone, they're kicking the debt can forward by 'financing' their disposable consumer electronics, 'magical' upgrade cycle after 'magical' upgrade cycle by paying ~$33 / month (or more to be oh so 'Pro' or omg 'Ultra') over 24 months minus trade-in credits and promotions... in perpetuity of course.

Once anything is paid off, I highly recommend taking a year (or more) off from making payments and use what you have until it fails or becomes too expensive to maintain, whether it be a phone or a car or whatever, it can be (and should be) addictive having actual discretionary income rather than making monthly payments sucking your checking account dry month after month. Paying for things free-and-clear with no strings attached maybe be considered 'retro', but it is highly underrated.
No disagreements, just some extra comments from me.

1) Financing it's still a burden no matter how small: In fact I argue that it's even more of a burden because while most people are either intentionally barred from something like a very important loan like a house loan, credit cards and all these smaller ''micro" financing options kinda bury the lead a lot more and once all of them are combined by a single institution are very profitable.

2) Due to the first point, I am more likely to recommend that people don't buy any phone they have to finance at all. Either a model that might be a couple years older or a mid tier device for 300-400 will get you 90% of the way there on most of the things most people actually need out of a smart phone and that means you won't continue to contribute to micro debts on 1) that end up really putting a strain on your personal finances which ends up going towards just dealing with several 'small' loans taking up most of your income meaning you're less and less likely to ever get out of debt or build up to debt that is really more advantageous to your personal finances like a reasonable mortgage from something that traditionally increases in value over time instead of a bunch of electronics and luxury items that decrease in value almost immediately after you buy them.
 

AnilD

Posts: 82   +108
No I say it's more than just that: is flat out delusional, out of touch and quite tone deaf to suggest that most people can spend 800 on a phone when record numbers can't even pay rent or medical bills right now.

Your comment seems a bit butt hurt, there's always people who won't be able to afford something or in need, but this is a tech guide for buying phones, the "best phones" with 5+ other affordable options also suggested in the guide. If the best mainstream phone option is too expensive, you can simply pick from the others that are good choices and less expensive.

I don't necessarily agree with all the choices presented but to refer specifically about the iPhone 13 (or Samsung Galaxy model) chosen for the "best for most," you could argue: 1) is the most sold phone model out there (a lot of people like it/want it for a reason), 2) as presented it may be preventing many from choosing the Pro models because they are not necessary for most, 3) many people updating their 2+ year old phones may be in for a new phone that they will keep for 2-3+ years, and 4) a year or two later, that iPhone 13 will retain some of its value as opposed to budget phones.

For many people buying a great phone to use daily is more important than buying a premium laptop or monitor. But that is the kind of tech we like to follow and discuss here every day, in many cases not out of need but because it's the hobby we chose for our disposable income.

PS: Agree, don't buy a phone you need to finance.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
1) is the most sold phone model out there (a lot of people like it/want it for a reason), 2) as presented it may be preventing many from choosing the Pro models because they are not necessary for most, 3) many people updating their 2+ year old phones may be in for a new phone that they will keep for 2-3+ years, and 4) a year or two later, that iPhone 13 will retain some of its value as opposed to budget phones.
1) Plenty of things that are the most sold are objectively not the best for most. Sorry but I am going to present the argument that the reason companies spend so much money on marketing it's because it actually works and people buy things they don't need or far beyond spec for their actual needs.

3) Again this isn't an argument on it's own: You (And in fairness, most of the tech industry so consider this more along the lines of "you all") seem to be applying the logic that would make sense for a computer or a gaming console which is to say, both software and use cases, alongside hardware; seem to be married to each other and increase accordingly.

Smart phones on the other hand, are quite different: the software and use cases are just not getting any harder to run at all for the most part. Almost all of the most popular apps are just websites implemented as stand alone javascript frameworks of any number of flavors. Most of the popular and most profitable mobile games are filled with just gacha mechanics like loot boxes, timers, etc. Designed to offer a 'free' experience compelling enough to try but annoying enough to pressure players into paying actual money for microtransactions. But gameplay is very basic puzzles or 2D stuff we mastered 20 years ago in terms of the hardware it needs to run.

Now there's a little bit to be said about taking pictures and all of the automatic image processing the top-of-the-line devices like the iphone use to make sure amateur point-and-clickers get as close to professional results as possible, but honestly most users rely heavily on the worst possible camera anyway, the selfie camera for both images and short vertical videos and I've never seen someone actually complain about how bad a selfie looks in terms of quality for at least 7 or 8 years at this point.

So assuming phones still came with user replaceable batteries and assuming companies didn't actually made things worst for older phones for no good reason like Apple has been caught doing, for most people quote/unquote, day to day there's not really any really big difference from a mid range phone from 4 or 5 years ago vs a brand new flagship.

Sure they can repeat company talking points about how good the new photos look and then proceed to just use the selfie camera 90% of the time anyway. Instagram looks and feels the same, so does tiktok, twitter, etc. And games might load faster and look a little bit noticeable better but you're still out of energy, or crystals, or whatever and need to either pay them actual money or try some other game anyway.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,203   +2,731
Meet the new boss...same as the old boss
Year after year...the "best" phone is always which every phone Apple or Samsung releases.
 

NumberSix

Posts: 147   +200
Surprised not to see the Pixel 6 (now £499) or Pixel 6 Pro (now £699) in the mix given they offer much better "value", equally good build quality and definitely equal if not superior camera performance than all of the high end phones chosen here.
 

Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
Why do so many "MID TIER" $800 or less phones only have a stupid USB Type C 2.0 port. If you're going to use a USB Type C port the least you can do is use at a minimum is USB 3.0 as the controller so that I don't have to lug the wall wart everywhere I go to get decent charging if I need to ie: good luck getting it half charged in 20 mins if plugged into a PC's USB Type C 3.x port as all your going to get is 5V\500mA) also not to mention decent file transfer speeds to or from the phone
 

Humza

Posts: 1,019   +171
Staff member
Surprised not to see the Pixel 6 (now £499) or Pixel 6 Pro (now £699) in the mix given they offer much better "value", equally good build quality and definitely equal if not superior camera performance than all of the high end phones chosen here.
That's a good point. In fact, we did have the Pixel 6 previously under our 'Best for Most People' category, alongside the iPhone and Galaxy flagships. It provided the best value in that tier.

However, it's not here this time around because the list of bugs got too big to ignore (troubled haptics, missed notifications, connectivity and fingerprint issues etc.) Google has patched some, if not all, of these issues, but this could still make the experience uncomfortable for 'most people.' As an alternative (and not a main pick), the Pixel 6 is a solid choice for the reasons you've said.

Also, the Pixel 6a is just around the corner, which is unlikely to have the standard 6's launch/post-launch issues and could appear under our 'value' picks in the future.
 

comnut

Posts: 64   +29
Why do so many "MID TIER" $800 or less phones only have a stupid USB Type C 2.0 port. If you're going to use a USB Type C port the least you can do is use at a minimum is USB 3.0 as the controller so that I don't have to lug the wall wart everywhere I go to get decent charging if I need to ie: good luck getting it half charged in 20 mins if plugged into a PC's USB Type C 3.x port as all your going to get is 5V\500mA) also not to mention decent file transfer speeds to or from the phone
USB C is **small** that is why it is used.. enough idiocy about, that user of a 'USB power charging' cable have to be reminded that it CANNOT do high speed or video - it is made so it does not MELT while charging!!!
The PC port is for speed, not charging!
 

Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
USB C is **small** that is why it is used.. enough idiocy about, that user of a 'USB power charging' cable have to be reminded that it CANNOT do high speed or video - it is made so it does not MELT while charging!!!
The PC port is for speed, not charging!
WTF are you on about
1: most mid tier phones can do 18W charging without getting hot as hell
2: usb 3.x gen x is not just for speed it's also to provide more available power to charge devices
3: my point was that using a USB 2.0 controller instead USB3.x gen x controllers in mid tier phones does not allow for fast charging or fast file transfers
 

comnut

Posts: 64   +29
WTF are you on about
1: most mid tier phones can do 18W charging without getting hot as hell
2: usb 3.x gen x is not just for speed it's also to provide more available power to charge devices
3: my point was that using a USB 2.0 controller instead USB3.x gen x controllers in mid tier phones does not allow for fast charging or fast file transfers
1. many new phones now do 25W charging.. do you want melted USB leads or ruined usb port??

2. if you don't want melting, cable has to be *thick* - this does not help with speed..

3. USB 2.0 controller ??? dont panic, they mean *speeds* due to thick non-melting cables restricting speed to USB2.. Charging only!!

AFAIK it is not the phone that does it, but various equipment... DO NOT plug in to your PC, as they have limited power, AND the software will behave in odd ways when trying to identify!!
(don't be lazy, its like using your sports car to shop, when it is only a few yards away!)

you have a car for good comfort, but limited speed due to traffic jams... and of course you have a bike to dodge traffic and get good speed..

So, keep your hispeed cable and charging cables separate, and use your phones power supply to get good results..
 

Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
Anyone find this???? :D
My point exactly most if not all the phones using a USB Type C 2.0 port will not charge at more than 500mA if plugged into a USB 3.0 port or USB Type C port on a PC (Desktop/Laptop)/mac anything/USB Hub unless you buy a specialty USB Type C 2.0 charging cable or a top tier phone that includes a USB 3.x gen x controller in it
 

comnut

Posts: 64   +29
My point exactly most if not all the phones using a USB Type C 2.0 port will not charge at more than 500mA if plugged into a USB 3.0 port or USB Type C port on a PC (Desktop/Laptop)/mac anything/USB Hub unless you buy a specialty USB Type C 2.0 charging cable or a top tier phone that includes a USB 3.x gen x controller in it
I think they are talking a 'normal' usb port, where the speed is optimized over charging ability...
you need one of these.. BUT use the *charge* cable, NOT the speed one... :)
Quick charge 3.0 wall charger support multi fast charging (33W > 3.6V-6.5V=3A )


check your phone specs! many DO usb3.2 at 25W..
 
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Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
I think they are talking a 'normal' usb port, where the speed is optimized over charging ability...
you need one of these.. BUT use the *charge* cable, NOT the speed one... :)
Quick charge 3.0 wall charger support multi fast charging (33W > 3.6V-6.5V=3A )


check your phone specs! many DO usb3.2 at 25W..
I have a wall wart for my phone and yes that does allow for fast charging it but that's not the point I was getting at here
USB Type C 2.0 is a USB Type C port backed by a USB2.0 controller chip which is what every mid tier phone has and connecting that to a Type A USB3.x gen x port will not get you fast charging but only slow old USB2.0 5V/500mA
USB Type C 3.x gen x is a USB Type C port connected to a USB 3.x gen x Controller and is only found on high end models and connecting that to a PC's Type A USB 3.x gen x port will get you fast charging upto the USB ports max allowed

My Oppo A72 has a USB Type C2.0 port/controller so I know what I'm talking about with the wall wart I get 5V/3.6A 18W charging but via a USB Type C or A 3.2 gen 2 x 1 port all I can get is 5V/500mA
 

jamesphones

Posts: 12   +2
Tbh lately I feel like every phone does the same thing to me.
As long as it doesn't lack or have operational issues it shoud be fine. Don't really care for a $1000 phone because the $400 phone does the same to me.
 

comnut

Posts: 64   +29
I have a wall wart for my phone and yes that does allow for fast charging it but that's not the point I was getting at here
USB Type C 2.0 is a USB Type C port backed by a USB2.0 controller chip which is what every mid tier phone has and connecting that to a Type A USB3.x gen x port will not get you fast charging but only slow old USB2.0 5V/500mA
USB Type C 3.x gen x is a USB Type C port connected to a USB 3.x gen x Controller and is only found on high end models and connecting that to a PC's Type A USB 3.x gen x port will get you fast charging upto the USB ports max allowed

My Oppo A72 has a USB Type C2.0 port/controller so I know what I'm talking about with the wall wart I get 5V/3.6A 18W charging but via a USB Type C or A 3.2 gen 2 x 1 port all I can get is 5V/500mA
well I just searched that phone... not good... :O
As I keep saying, stuff is made 'to a price' so spend decent money and check reviews!!
 

Athlonite

Posts: 338   +126
well I just searched that phone... not good... :O
As I keep saying, stuff is made 'to a price' so spend decent money and check reviews!!
Yeah I'm currently in the process of replacing it with a Samsung Galaxy s21 FE which come with a proper USB Type C 3.1 port