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PhoneArena Awards 2022: The Best Phones of the Year!

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As the year comes to a close, it’s time to announce the winners of the PhoneArena 2022 Phone of the Year awards. We have expanded our scope this year and included some exciting new categories. Our goal is to highlight the best devices across eleven different categories and celebrate the exciting aspects of the smartphone market. The results you see below come from the collective decision of the PhoneArena team after careful deliberation and an internal poll. While we name one winner per category, there were some heated battles, and we also want to acknowledge the other devices that came close to winning.

Best Innovation: Dynamic Island by Apple

Dynamic Island
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

We start with one of the most fiercely contested categories: Best Innovation. This category recognizes a particular innovative feature and the company behind it. This year, the PhoneArena team has decided to award Dynamic Island, the new feature introduced by Apple with the iPhone 14 Pro series in September. Dynamic Island took us by surprise as it was not mentioned in any leaks or expectations. It cleverly utilizes the space around the Face ID system, animating it in playful and fun ways that enhance the smartphone experience. Dynamic Island truly deserves this win.

Other notable contenders in this category included insanely fast smartphone charging by companies like OnePlus and Xiaomi, Sony’s moving camera lens element for lossless zoom, and the use of larger 1-inch camera sensors on flagship phones.

Best Design: Nothing Phone (1)

Nothing Phone
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

Design is subjective, and this category saw intense competition. However, the winner that emerged from all the opinions was the Nothing Phone (1). Nothing is a new player in the smartphone business and faced a challenging market dominated by established brands. The Nothing Phone (1) impressed us with its courage to go against the norm and its unique design language. The transparent back and LED lights added excitement to the phone, making it stand out in the crowded market.

We also want to mention the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, which pushed the design envelope with its faux-leather finish and retro camera look.

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Best Aging Phone: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro Max
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

In a market where innovation is slowing down, many phones from the previous year remain relevant. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, with its exceptional 2-day battery life, continued to be a favorite among our team. Apple pushed the boundaries with this device, and it remains a top choice for many. We also want to mention the iPhone 13 mini, which unfortunately got discontinued but was a close runner-up in this category.

Best Gaming Phone: Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

Gamers demand specialized hardware, and the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro delivers just that. This phone excels in all the areas gamers need: performance, refresh rate, cooling, and battery life. The design of the ROG Phone 6 Pro is also very appealing. It checks all the boxes for a great gaming phone.

Best Budget Phone: Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

The budget phone market is highly competitive, but Google dominated this year with its incredible Pixel 6a. It offers a flagship chip, powerful camera system, solid battery life, and a clean Android experience. The Pixel 6a is a winner through and through, and we’re excited for Google’s plans to release an even better budget phone in 2023.

Best Small Phone: Asus Zenfone 9

Asus Zenfone 9
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

In a market dominated by larger phones, the Asus Zenfone 9 stood out as an exceptional small phone. It combines flagship performance, a gorgeous screen, and outstanding battery life, without compromising on anything. Asus did an excellent job creating a compact phone that meets all the needs of users who prefer a smaller form factor.

Best “Affordable Flagship”: Google Pixel 7

Google Pixel 7
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

When it comes to creating an affordable flagship, Google nailed it with the Pixel 7. This phone offers flagship-level performance, camera quality, and a clean software experience at a competitive price. Google proves that you don’t need to compromise to get a high-quality smartphone.

Best Foldable Phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

Foldable phones have become more accessible, and Samsung continues to lead in this category. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the clear winner, offering improvements in every aspect. Its multitasking capabilities, S Pen support, and overall refinement make it the best foldable phone for most people. We also want to mention the Oppo Find N, which almost eliminated the crease in the middle, and the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, which impressed with its thin and innovative design.

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Best Camera Phone: iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 14 Pro
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

When it comes to camera phones, ease of use and a combination of great photo and video quality are key factors. While many phones capture slightly better photos than the iPhone, the iPhone 14 Pro stands out due to its user-friendly camera system, fast speed, reliability, and excellent video quality. It strikes the perfect balance in all areas, making it the winner in this category.

Most Improved Phone: Pixel 7 Pro

Pixel 7 Pro
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

Google’s Pixel series has come a long way, and the Pixel 7 Pro is a testament to that improvement. Google has refined the Pixel line, addressing previous software issues and hardware limitations. The Pixel 7 Pro offers a complete package, combining top-tier performance, camera quality, and a clean software experience. It is the most improved phone of the year.

Best Smartphone: iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image Credit – PhoneArena)

Finally, we have the Best Smartphone category. After intense competition, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max emerged as the winners. Apple continues to be a dominant force in the industry, offering a top-tier performance, user-friendly camera system, reliable battery life, and a choice between a large and small size. While it may lack some exciting new features found in other phones, the iPhone 14 Pro series excels in overall polish and refinement.

Honorable mention goes to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which impressed with its versatility, multitasking capabilities, S Pen support, and overall design.

These phones truly stood out in their respective categories and contributed to a fantastic year in the smartphone market. Congratulations to all the winners!

Note: All images in this article are credited to PhoneArena.

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