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The best phones in the UK 2022

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

If you want one of the best phones in the UK, then we present to you our list below. It's got iPhones and Android a-plenty, so whichever device type is your preference, you can see what's good right now just by scrolling down the page.

While the phones at the top of the list do things the best, they are accordingly the most expensive. But don't worry if you're on a tighter budget, because we have several cheaper phones on the list too that still provide leading performance and features for less.

If you’ve looked at our choices for the best phones overall, you'll see that some of the phones are familiar. However the UK also has more choices from companies that have entered the European market but not the U.S., making for an exciting number of possible phones to choose from.

We've just finished our full reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra, which has caused a small shift in our listing. However Samsung's still not been able to topple the almighty iPhone 13 series, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max still sitting atop the pile.

The biggest new attraction is the OnePlus 10 Pro, which matches up to the Galaxy S22 Ultra in a lot of ways while costing a lot less. We've also got the Xiaomi 12 Pro and other 12 series phones to check out, which is one of the best phones available in the U.K. thanks to features like its unbelievably fast 120W charging.

There are other interesting devices on the market for you to check out too. That includes this colour-changing Vivo phone, the Huawei P50 Pro and P50 Pocket with their strange cameras or the Redmi Note 11 series, the follow-up to one of our current favourite phones.

Whatever kind of phone you might be looking for, be it the best Android phones or best iPhones, we've got your best options right here.

What are the best phones in the UK?

The best phone in the U.K. that we've tested is the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The whole iPhone 13 line is excellent (two more models can be found on this list), but the Pro Max model stands out with its larger display, enhanced cameras and the longest battery life in the lineup.

If you're after the best of Android, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra instead. The OnePlus 10 Pro, Realme GT 2 Pro and the Pixel 6 are also excellent choices, but the S22 Ultra goes the extra mile when it comes to overall camera performance and software support, plus it's got an S Pen built right in.

For budget options, your best choices are the OnePlus Nord 2, the iPhone SE (2022) or the Redmi Note 10 Pro, depending on exactly how much money you want to spend. All of these offer some premium features despite their price, so they'll still feel special to use.

The best phones in the UK you can buy today

iPhone 13 Pro Max, in front of a background of water

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best phone you can buy right now

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch OLED (2778 x 1284)
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/1.8), 12MP telephoto (ƒ/2.8)
Front camera: Front camera: 12MP (ƒ/2.2)
Weight: 238 grams
Battery: 4,352 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading cameras
+
Beautiful 120Hz display
+
Powerful chipset

Reasons to avoid

-
No included charger
-
ProRes video not available on 128GB version

Apple once again leads the phone world with its top-tier iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Building on last year's Pro Max, this model features improved cameras (making it again top of our best camera phones list too), a larger battery and a long-awaited 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate. Apple still equips it with a mighty chipset too, and the latest version of iOS so you can enjoy all of the App Store's many apps to their fullest.

We're a little annoyed that one of the phone's new signature features — ProRes high-quality video — only works if you buy the iPhone 13 Pro Max with 256GB storage or more. The other only issue to mention is charging, as once again Apple isn't including a charger in the box, and the phone maxes out at a disappointingly slow 20W wired and 15W wireless over MagSafe.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen

(Image credit: Future)
The best Android phone you can buy

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch OLED (3200x1400; 10-120Hz)
CPU: Exynos 2200
RAM: 8GB, 12GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear camera: Rear camera: 108MP wide (f/2.2), 12MP ultra wide (ƒ/2.2), 10MP telephoto (3x zoom, f/2.4), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom, f/2.4),
Front camera: 40MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 228 grams
Battery: 5,000 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Bright 120Hz display
+
Improved photography system
+
Included S Pen

Reasons to avoid

-
No included charger
-
Heavy
-
Less RAM by default

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most refined and most well-rounded of all the Android phones on this list. It features class-leading tech like a 120Hz LTPO 2.0 display and quad rear cameras, while also adding a stylus into the mix for even more versatility.

Our only complaints are that there's still no charger in the box, which is made extra annoying this time around since the S21 Ultra now supports faster 45W charging. Also, Samsung's lowered the amount of RAM available for the phone, with the default model offering less memory for the price than the S21 Ultra did. Even with those caveats though, the S22 Ultra remains top of the Android stack.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review.

iphone 13 pro back in sunlight with assorted junk in background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A less expensive but still excellent iPhone

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/1.8), 12MP telephoto (ƒ/2.8)
Front camera: 12MP (ƒ/2.2)
Weight: 203 grams
Battery: 3,095 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Super-powerful chipset
+
Excellent photography
+
Much better battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No charger in box
-
Video feature limitations

Due to the size difference in the display and battery capacity, the iPhone 13 Pro doesn't quite reach the same heights as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Don't be fooled though, this iPhone still crushes most of the Android competitors beneath its heel, thanks to the combination of power and ease of use that Apple works hard to perfect.

The 6.1-inch 13 Pro still offers an excellent display, fantastic cameras and an identical A15 Bionic chipset to the one inside the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That latter feature helps the iPhone 13 Pro beat any Android phone on benchmarks or real life tests. 

Just watch out for the lack of charging brick in the box though, since you may need a new charger depending on your last phone. Plus Apple's new ProRes video mode only works if you buy an iPhone 13 Pro with 256GB storage or above, which seems pretty unfair to those who otherwise don't need the extra room.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro review.

a photo of the OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: Future)
The best Android features for less

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3216 x 1440)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8GB, 12GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No
Rear cameras: 48MP (f/1.8) main, 50MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 8MP (f/2.4) 3.3x telephoto
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 7 ounces
Battery: 5,000 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life and charging
+
Beautiful display
+
Best OnePlus cameras to date
+
Lower price than last year

Reasons to avoid

-
 Telephoto is just 8MP

OnePlus has made several strong upgrades with the 10 Pro, but the best decision it's made is lowering the price from last year. Now you get a big, capable smartphone for the same price as an entry-level Samsung or iPhone.

Other highlights include the new design with a matte-finished back and curved camera block, a refined 120Hz QHD display and vastly improved photography, achieved with the help of Hasselblad. The battery life is excellent too, thanks to an efficient LTPO 2.0 display and a large 5,000 mAh battery that you can charge at up to 80W.

About the only issue we found in our review is the limited resolution of the telephoto camera. At 8MP, it's quite a bit smaller than rival phones' zoom cameras, and you can tell when comparing images. This aside, the OnePlus 10 Pro is our pick for the best premium phone value.

Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review. 

Google Pixel 6 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best cheaper premium Android you can get

Specifications

Display: 6.4-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Google Tensor
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Rear camera: 50MP main (f/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2)
Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Weight: 207 grams
Battery: 4,614 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
New AI-focussed chip
+
Amazing on-board photo editing
+
Surprisingly cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life
-
No telephoto camera
-
90Hz refresh rate

Google's made a huge stride forward with the Pixel 6 series, bringing the company's phones up to the standard of its most successful rivals. While we love the Pixel 6 Pro for its better display and additional camera, the £600 starting price of the Pixel 6 makes it a far better value purchase.

Even with that surprisingly small price tag, you still get access to Google Tensor, the company's new in-house chip which enables fancy new features like custom image processing, on-device text and audio translation and enhanced device security.

Two of the Pixel 6's limitations, the 90Hz display (rather than the smoother 120Hz) and the lack of a telephoto camera, is a little frustrating, but you can get these instead on the Pixel 6 Pro. The lacking battery life however is more of a problem, so you may want to keep a charger handy when taking the Pixel 6 out for a long day's activities.

Read our full Pixel 6 review

The Realme GT 2 Pro from the back, focussed on the cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best Android phone for your money

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3216 x 1440, 120Hz)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB
Rear camera: 50MP main (f/1.8), 50MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 3MP microscope (f/3.3)
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.45)
Weight: 199g
Battery: 5,000 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Below average price for specs
+
Good performance
+
65W charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Photo quality can be unreliable

Realme is still a fresh face in the smartphone business, but with the GT 2 Pro it's shown it can assemble a flagship phone that's as worthy of your consideration as more established companies.

For an attractively low price, you get the display and chipset you'd expect from a much more expensive phone, plus excellent 65W charging that outpaces most other Android phones. It also comes in a rather attractive bio-polymer body that gives the phone a very unique look, and offers the rather nifty 360-degree NFC contactless functions.

The limitation you'll have to accept with the GT 2 Pro are its cameras. Its photo processing isn't up to the standard of the bigger players, as fun as its 150-degree ultrawide and microscope cameras can be. If you're not a big snapper though, you need to consider this Realme phone if you're looking for a new premium Android.

Read our Realme GT 2 Pro review.

Samsung Galaxy S22 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best Android flagship for most people

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2340x1080; 48-120Hz)
CPU: Exynos 2200
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Rear camera: 12MP (ƒ/1.8) wide; 12MP (ƒ/2.2) ultrawide; 10MP (ƒ/2.4) telephoto with 3x optical zoom
Front camera: 10MP (ƒ/2.2)
Weight: 167 grams
Battery: 3,700 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Compact for a flagship phone
+
Attractive and smooth display
+
Big improvements to telephoto and night photography

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor battery life
-
No 45W charging

Samsung's made some good decisions when updating the S21 to the Galaxy S22 as it's now basically as premium as its Plus and Ultra siblings without costing nearly as much.

Although the S22 stands at a surprisingly small 6.1 inches, you still get triple rear cameras (including much-improved telephoto and night modes), an Exynos 2200 chipset and one of the best quality displays in smartphones. It's the best value way to get in on the Samsung flagship action for sure.

There are some limitations though. The small size means a small battery, and that in turn means disappointing battery life. It's also the only one of the S22 handsets to not support speedy 45W charging, which is a shame. But as sacrifices go for getting a top-tier Samsung phone go, it's not that bad, and the rest of the experience far outweighs these problems

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 review.

A blue iPhone 13 held in front of green foliage

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best iPhone for most people

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2532x1170)
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4)
Front camera: 12MP (ƒ/2.2)
Weight: 173 grams
Battery: 3,240 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing performance
+
Much better battery life
+
Improved display brightness

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two rear cameras
-
No 120Hz display

Apple's basic iPhone 13 offers many of the features that make the iPhone 13 Pro Max our top pick, but for £300 less. That includes the mighty A15 Bionic chipset with its 5G capabilities and a bright OLED display, while a small battery size increase has done wonders for the phone's battery life. 

Unfortunately what the iPhone 13 doesn't receive is a 120Hz refresh rate like its Pro siblings, making it one of the only phones of 2021 without a refresh rate above 60Hz. Apple's also been stingy with the cameras again, only giving users main and ultrawide rear sensors. Fortunately they still take great shots.

Also missing is the in-box charger, part of Apple's eco-friendly initiative, which is a little inconvenient for users. This is still the right iPhone for the majority of people though, thanks to an ideal combination of size, power and price.

Read our full iPhone 13 review.

The back of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, showing the camera block

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The fastest charging phone around

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3200 x 1440, 120Hz)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Rear camera: 50MP main (f/1.9), 50MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 50MP 2x telephoto (f/1.9)
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.45)
Weight: 205g
Battery: 4,500 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest charging we've tested
+
Top quality display
+
Competitive price

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than Mi 11
-
Poor speakers

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is the ideal phone for anyone who wants to charge up as fast as possible. How does a 0 - 100% fill-up in 22 minutes sound?

Where things fall down is that it's still more costly than last year's Xiaomi Mi 11, which makes it a harder sell. Also if you're hoping to enjoy the in-built speakers, we don't particularly rate their quality. 

The rest of the phone is still more than up to scratch though. Its 6.7-inch, QHD 120Hz display looks amazing, and its cameras are pretty good too. Plus even though the price has gone up, it still undercuts the competition from Samsung.

Read our full Xiaomi 12 Pro review.

Samsung Galaxy A53 camera

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

10. Samsung Galaxy A53

Samsung quality without the flagship price

Specifications

Display: 6.5-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080, 120Hz)
CPU: Exynos 1280
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB (MicroSD expandable)
Rear camera: 64MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 5MP macro (f/2.4), 5MP depth (f/2.4)
Front camera: 32MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 189 grams
Battery: 5,000 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Well built for a mid-price phone
+
Lengthy update schedule
+
Expandable storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak performance
-
Mixed camera performance

Samsung's Galaxy A53 gives you a more affordable entry point to the biggest ecosystem in the Android world, and with relatively few sacrifices. We don't like the macro or depth cameras' results on the back, and the chipset is a little underpowered, but with a 120Hz AMOLED display, decent ultrawide and low-light photography and the rare ability of expandable storage, you get enough options to cover your everyday needs.

We also really like how this phone shares the Galaxy S22's lengthy four-year update promise, meaning you can get a lot of value out of this phone even when it's no longer the latest handset. It's an easy phone to choose if you're limited on funds, but one you'll still find fun to use long into the future.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A53 review

The Xiaomi mi 11 ultra, propped up against a tree

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best phone in the U.K. for unique features

Specifications

Display: 6.81-inch QHD AMOLED (3200 x 1440; 30Hz/60Hz/90Hz/120Hz); Rear - 1.1-inch AMOLED (126 x 294)
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 256GB
Rear camera: 50MP main (f/1.95), 48MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 48MP telephoto (5x optical zoom, 120x max zoom, f/4.1)
Front camera: 20MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 245 grams
Battery: 5,000mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Secondary display
+
Powerful triple cameras
+
Rapid wired/wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Poor battery life
-
Heavy and unergonomic

Xiaomi's outdone everyone with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra in terms of the amount of stuff packed into the phone. Chief among these is the Mi 11 Ultra’s 1.1-inch rear display, which you can use to check the time and notifications or as a mini-viewfinder for taking photos with one of three 48MP cameras. With the same wonderful display as the basic Mi 11 and even faster 67W wired and wireless charging speeds, the Mi 11 Ultra is a specs monster.

The Mi 11 Ultra’s price is as high as you'd expect for this much hardware, and the battery life suffers since it's an average-sized cell that has a lot more stuff to power than the usual phone. Plus, it's not an easy phone to wield, given its large size and lack of balance because of that enormous rear camera/display bump. Despite this, you can't beat the look on someone's face when you show off the Mi 11 Ultra's features.

Read our full Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review.

The oneplus nord 2, held in front of pink roses and green leaves

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best mid-range phone for U.K buyers

Specifications

Display: 6.43-inch AMOLED (FHD, 60Hz/90Hz)
CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Rear camera: 50MP main (f/1.88), 8MP ultrawide (f/2.25), 2MP mono (f/2.5)
Front camera: 32MP selfie (f/2.45)
Weight: 189 grams
Battery: 4,500 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Top cameras
+
Strong performance for price
+
Rapid charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed refresh rates

The latest Nord handset is a mid-range champion, offering all the basics plus several premium features on top for a very reasonable price. The option of 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, along with the surprisingly powerful Dimensity 1200-AI chipset means you get performance that's close to flagship quality. 

While the Nord 2 offers a 90Hz maximum refresh rate, it needs to be manually set, which essentially means a choice between extra smoothness or extra battery life, unlike more expensive phones that let you have the best of both.

The cameras on the OnePlus Nord 2 easily match up to other camera phones in its class though. However the best part is the Nord 2’s 65W wired charging, which outpaces almost every other phone on sale today.

Read our full OnePlus Nord 2 review.

The redmi note 10 pro, laid face up on a tree trunk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A budget phone with minimal compromise

Specifications

Display: 6.67-inch AMOLED FHD (2400 x 1080; 60/120Hz)
CPU: Snapdragon 732G
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Rear camera: 108MP main (f/1.9), 8MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 5MP telemacro (f/2.4), 2MP depth (f/2.4)
Front camera: 16MP (f/2.45)
Weight: 193 grams
Battery: 5,020 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive display
+
Speedy charging
+
Effective cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak performance
-
Low default storage

With this budget handset from Redmi, you won't find yourself wanting for much. The Redmi Note 10 Pro uses a large AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, just like phones four times as expensive. It even beats some of those more expensive phones on charging speed with an included 33W charger. 

The basic price of the phone only gets you 64GB of storage however, which isn't too much these days. The more long-term problem is the lack of power in the Snapdragon 732G chipset, which feels slow to use. As long as you don't use too many high-intensity apps, you'll be fine though.

The Note 10 Pro also uses the same telemacro camera found on the Xiaomi Mi 11, and it's just as good despite this being a far cheaper phone. The other cameras do a surprisingly good job too.

Read our full Redmi Note 10 Pro review.

iPhone SE 2022 back of phone

(Image credit: Future)
The best iPhone for the money

Specifications

Display: 4.7-inch LCD (750 x 1334)
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Rear camera: 12MP main (f/1.8)
Front camera: 7MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 144g
Battery: 2,018 mAh

Reasons to buy

+
Small body with physical home button
+
Best performance in category
+
Good photo processing

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited camera versatility
-
Outdated display

Apple's latest iPhone SE looks a lot older than it appears. If you don't mind, or even prefer, a phone with thick bezels and a physical home button, then you can save a lot of money by going for this cheaper iPhone.

Using the same chip as the iPhone 13, you get incredible performance compared to similarly priced Android phones. It can also use that performance to take some great photos, although there's only a single camera on the back which can limit the kind of shots you can take.

Probably the worst part of the experience is the display, which has a very poor resolution since the iPhone SE's body is based on the 2017 iPhone 8. You won't be enjoying movies or games to their fullest extent on the iPhone SE 2022, but you may well appreciate how well it covers the bases of the iPhone experiences for half of a new iPhone 13.

Read our full iPhone SE (2022) review.

How to choose the best U.K. phone for you

Your first question when picking which phones to shortlist should be: Apple or Android? iPhones are excellent, but deciding against any kind of Android phone means limiting your choice significantly. Generally, if you want the latest and greatest hardware, you're better off with a recent Android phone, whereas iPhones prioritise well-optimised features that work seamlessly with user-friendly software.

It's also important to keep the size of the phones you're looking at in mind. Many phones are above 6 inches in size these days, which suits most people but if you want something more compact, you'll need to search more thoroughly for the best small phones.

As for key features, the two you'll want to focus on are cameras and battery. With phones having all but replaced the compact digital camera, it's important to have a versatile array of cameras. High megapixel (MP) counts aren't everything though, so take a look through our comparison photo sliders in our reviews to see how all the cameras on a phone perform against a rival phone.

The importance of battery and charging should be obvious: you want your phone to last as long as possible, and ideally power up again quickly. As a general rule, the more milliamp hours (mAh) in a phone's battery, the better. However it's not always accurate — iPhones have some of the smallest batteries of any modern phone, but some still place highly on our best battery life phones list. Again, it's a good idea to check our reviews where we detail how long these phones last doing everyday tasks.

How we test smartphones

In order for a smartphone to make our best phone list, it needs to excel on several tests that we run on every handset. We perform some of these tests in our labs and some in the real world.

When it comes to performance, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and GFXBench to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result.

To measure the quality of a phone's display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and a score of 0 is perfect.

One of the most important tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery test. We run a web surfing test over 5G or 4G at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11 hours makes our list of the best phone battery life.

Last but not least, we take the best phones out in the field to take photos outdoors, indoors and at night in low light to see how they perform versus their closest competitors. We take shots of landscapes, food, portraits and more, and also allow you to be the judge with side-by-side comparisons in our reviews.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.