With CES 2022 wrapping up, it's time to look back on the show's highlights, specifically the top phones that were shown off on the expo's real and virtual show floors.
Smartphones aren't typically a big deal at CES, but we've seen quite a few interesting ones this year. Most of these have been on the cheaper side, such as new models from TCL and Nokia. But these phones still offer some premium features despite their low price, plus the increasingly important 5G compatibility.
Some more premium models have also emerged during the past week. The OnePlus 10 Pro, while not seeing its full reveal until January 11, has had official teasers released in order to keep our attention; given it's got incredibly fast charging, a beautiful-sound screen and several camera advancements to show off, isn't too hard to do. Meanwhile, Vivo's V23 has caught our eye with its color-changing body, but focussing only on that does a disservice to its other competent mid-range specs.
We've also had the chance to actually try out the latest Samsung handset, the Galaxy S21 FE, which is also the first major phone to be launched in 2022. Its specs are starting to show their age a bit, given this is a phone based on another from last year. But it's still a well put-together phone that could appeal to users who can't quite stomach the cost of a fully-fledged flagship.
Read on for more details on the phones of CES 2022.
OnePlus 10 Pro
We haven't quite seen all of this phone yet, but the OnePlus 10 Pro is probably the biggest phone being talked about this CES.
While its launch date outside of China is unknown, we're still able to appreciate this phone's fantastic-looking specs. As officially teased by OnePlus, we'll be getting 80W wired charging, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, a 120Hz LTPO 2.0 display and a triple rear camera system tuned by Hasselblad. These are all details that should ensure the 10 Pro reaches the top echelons of 2022 smartphones, and stays there throughout the year even as more phones arrive.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
We've actually been able to go hands-on with this phone in our early Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review. And while it's certainly good, it does feel like it's missed its moment to shine.
The concept of a cheaper entry-level Galaxy S handset, as represented last year with the fantastic Galaxy S20 FE, is a good one. And indeed we really like how the S21 FE uses the same Snapdragon 888 chipset and 120Hz refresh rate as the base Galaxy S21, while also improving low-light photography and featuring Android 12-powered software upgrades. But with the Samsung Galaxy S22 believed to be arriving next month, it feels too late for Samsung to be launching a phone based on last year's flagship instead.
TCL 30XE 5G and 30V 5G
5G is (slowly) becoming available across the U.S., and the TCL 30XE 5G and 30V 5G are here to make sure you're ready for it at an affordable price.
We're a little confused by some of these phones' specs. For example, the 30XE has a smaller 6.4-inch display than the 6.7-inch 30V, but only the XE has a 90Hz refresh rate. However, the important thing is that both use 5G-ready chipsets and are likely to retail for around $300.
One of four new smartphones being launched by Nokia specifically for the U.S. market, the Nokia G400 is another budget 5G phone, but one that offers some small premium touches too.
First off, you get a large 6.6-inch handset with an FHD display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a feature that on paper matches up with some of the best phones on sale right now. It also sports three rear cameras, and a 5,000 mAh battery that should make for a nice long battery life.
We've saved the most unusual for last. The Vivo V23 series is an appealing mid-range phone with strong specs like a 108MP main camera on the Pro model, a 90Hz refresh rate and dual selfie cameras. But did we mention it can also change color?
If you choose the Sunshine Gold colorway, and then take the phone outside into the sunlight, the phone's back shifts from green to gold. It's a clever trick that's bound to get people's attention, so it's a shame that for the time being, it doesn't look like this phone's coming to the U.S. or U.K. market.
And that's it. While CES wasn't flush with phones, its had a surprising amount of noteworthy handsets, and that has us excited for what's to come in the-world of phones in 2022; looking at you iPhone 14 and (potentially) Google Pixel Fold.