(Pocket-lint) - Samsung is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, and, as such, offers a huge number of devices to suit a range of budgets and lifestyles. Whether it's the ultra-premium Galaxy Z Fold 3 or the affordable Galaxy A55 5G, Samsung has an option for everyone.
Samsung's phones are split into three distinct categories. Here's a quick breakdown:
The Samsung Galaxy S range is the company's main flagship smartphone range. All of its models have a premium waterproof design, lots of power and the best cameras. Interestingly, the latest S22 Ultra has a built-in S Pen stylus, normally only found on Note devices. That's because the Note series has now been officially discontinued, though it does live on through the current Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy Z series represents the company's folding smartphones, sitting at the top of the portfolio in terms of price and featuring its latest design innovations. Currently, this consists of the Z Flip and Z Fold phones, which are currently in their third generation.
The Samsung Galaxy A is the sub-flagship range, sitting below the S range in terms of price but borrowing several of its design features, including full displays and under-screen fingerprint sensors.
With such a variety of devices on offer, it can be tricky to narrow down the best Samsung smartphone for you. With this in mind, we've put together a list of our favourites to help you decide.
What are the best Samsung phones?
- Samsung Galaxy S22+
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Best Samsung phone: Our top pick
Samsung Galaxy S22+
- Powerful hardware
- Superb cameras
- Lovely 120Hz AMOLED display
- No expandable storage
- Not compatible with the S pen
- Not hugely different from the S21+
Samsung has shaken things up with its 2022 lineup. Normally, we'd be placing the Ultra model at the top of our list, but, this time around, we think most people will be better suited to the S22+.
Slightly smaller than the S21+ that came before it, but with a more refined design, the S22+ is everything we want from an Android flagship.
The camera system is superb, with an improved portrait mode and loads of AI features like auto framing and automatic night mode, and the display is big and bright, with no curved edges. The beefy processor and clean UI, too, make for a snappy and responsive Android experience.
It's not necessarily one that will have you rushing to upgrade to if you have an S21, perhaps, and the lack of S Pen support may irk some people, but this probably represents the sweet spot for those looking for a new Samsung phone.
Samsung phones we also recommend
While the Samsung Galaxy S22+ is at the peak of our list, we know it won't be the right phone for everyone. That's why we also recommend checking out the four devices below, which suit a range of styles and budgets.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Big bright screen with adaptive refresh
- Impressive camera array
- Integrated S Pen stylus
- No MicroSD card support
The S22 Ultra is the first S-series device to feature an integrated S Pen stylus. Support for the stylus has been much improved, too, making it smoother than ever in operation. With the Note series suspiciously missing of late, the S22 Ultra is looking to be the one to get for Note fans.
There have been a number of advancements in the camera system, which was already impressive in the S21 Ultra, making it a very capable shooter. You can even capture 16-bit RAW images if you're serious about photography.
Pair this with a powerful processor and an impressive large display, Samsung is on to a winner with the S22 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Giant foldable screen
- Great software experience
- S Pen support
- Visible screen crease and reflections
- The under-panel camera isn't great
The Samsung Z Fold 3 is a phone with real wow-factor and it's certain to turn heads wherever it is used. Like its predecessor, the idea is that it's a phone when you need it to be, but folds out to a tablet when you need a larger screen.
Aside from its folding party trick, the phone packs top-notch hardware and decent battery life. The camera array is solid, but not groundbreaking, though we dare say that the picture quality is good enough for most people.
There's unavoidable niggles with folding screen tech at the moment, most prominently the visible crease and weird reflections caused by the coating - but if you can get past these, the Z Fold 3 is an exciting device and one of the best foldable phones money can buy.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
- AMOLED front touchscreen
- Well designed
- Powerful with solid software
- Usual foldable screen crease issues
- Compromises made to hit the price point
The Z Flip 3 is a more nostalgic take on the foldable-screen smartphone. Remember when all you had to do to lock your phone was snap it shut? Well, that's back thanks to folding screen flip devices like the Z Fold 3.
Instead of folding out to become a larger screen device, the Z Flip 3 is a traditionally sized smartphone that folds down into a more pocketable device.
This is our favourite folding-screen flip phone to date and has tonnes of great design choices as well as powerful specs under the hood. It comes at a more affordable price, too.
Unfortunately, that brings a few compromises along with it, such as less than stellar battery life and fairly rudimentary cameras.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
- Superb design and display
- MicroSD card slot
- IP67 rating
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
The Galaxy A53 5G may not be a device that takes a huge leap forward from the previous iteration, but it's still a fantastic mid-range smartphone.
The display is vibrant, and the design is clean and complete with waterproofing. With a bigger battery, too, plus very decent camera performance in our testing, the value here is without question.
At its price point, however, it is important to note the competition. There are great options to consider from the likes of Realme and OnePlus that achieve much of the same (if not more) than the A53 for a cheaper asking price.
With that said, this is the top choice for those who want a modern Samsung experience without the flagship price. And Samsung's approach to software updates is admirable, meaning this should remain a good pick for many years.
Other products we considered
When trying to decide what we believe are the best Samsung phones currently available, we spent hours testing and researching. We consider a number of factors when it comes to recommending smartphones, including display clarity, camera quality, battery life and gaming performance, applying the same basic tests when a new device is being considered for inclusion. It's not all judged on our testing, either, as we also try to factor in consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Samsung Galaxy S21+
- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
More about this story
Every Samsung phone in this list has been tested extensively in real-world scenarios, just as you would use one in everyday life.
As part of our dedicated phone reviews - and also for these buyer's guides - we weigh up exactly how the current crop of devices stack up against each other and have done so for more than a decade.
As we've hinted at already, there are myriad considerations when ranking different Samsung smartphones. Design, features, battery life, camera performance and value are all incredibly important, and things we rate in each individual device.
Ultimately, it's impossible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we use these 'measurements' and the opinions of the experts on the Pocket-lint team in order to determine a select crop of phones to recommend.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are in-depth spec comparisons and marketing jargon; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each phone is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity. Rest assured all the things on this list have been fully tested.