MKBHD’s Smartphone Awards picks the best phones of 2022

Every year, popular tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee (better known as MKBHD) hosts his own Smartphone Awards, in which he selects the best smartphones in various categories. While the iPhone was awarded in three different categories last year, Apple’s smartphone lost the limelight to its rivals at this year’s awards.

Like last year, MKBHD has set up multiple award categories for the smartphone. They:

  • Great big phone
  • Great little phone
  • Excellent camera system
  • Excellent battery
  • Design Award
  • Value Award
  • This year’s bust
  • MVP (Phone of the Year)

Surprisingly, there are plenty of Android smartphones vying for the awards, while Apple currently only sells eight different iPhone models — only five of which were released this year. Of course, while the awards are based on MKBHD’s own criteria, he considered the technical aspects and his personal experience with each device competing for the awards.

But how does the iPhone compare to all other Android smartphones?

Great big phone

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is definitely a big phone with a 6.7-inch screen. However, MKBHD chose Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra as the best big phone of 2022. According to the YouTuber, the S22 Ultra takes advantage of a 6.8-inch screen with a stylus, software optimized for the larger screen, and a 5,000 mAh battery. Four camera lenses on the back of the phone.

In the same category, MKBHD praised the ASUS ROG Phone 6, which is considered a gamer smartphone, with “incredible, massive stereo front-facing speakers” and a headphone jack. The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 also gets an honorable mention for being about the same thickness as a regular phone when folded.

Great little phone

Last year, Apple won the best small phone category with the iPhone 13 mini. After all, there aren’t many small phones left on the market, and the iPhone 13 Mini was essentially an iPhone 13 with premium hardware inside a body with a 5.4-inch screen. But this year, Apple killed off the iPhone mini and replaced it with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

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So the winner of the best small phone 2022 was the ASUS Zenfone 9. With a 5.9-inch screen, it’s certainly not as small as the iPhone 13 mini, but it’s still significantly smaller than most smartphones today. MKBHD says the ZenFone 9 is “the best phone of its size,” with top-of-the-line specs, an “amazingly good camera,” a headphone jack, and great battery life.

Oppo Find N2, a foldable phone, gets an honorable mention in this category for looking very compact when folded.

Excellent camera system

Choosing the best camera in a smartphone is very subjective, especially since photos and videos have different standards, and each person has their own preferences for color quality and sharpness. A few days ago, MKBHD shared the results of its blind smartphone camera test, in which Google’s Pixel 6a took the top spot, with the Pixel 7 Pro coming in second.

But what about MKBHD’s priorities? Although he praised the photos taken with the Pixel 7 and Vivo X90 Pro+, the iPhone 14 Pro Max won the best camera system of the year.

iPhone loses focus to rivals at MKBHD's Smartphone Awards 2022

The YouTuber says the iPhone has a more solid camera experience, including how fast it is to open the camera app and take a picture, consistency between all lenses, and how much better the device is at shooting video than all Android smartphones.

Excellent battery

The winner of the best battery of 2022 is the ASUS ROG Phone 6. Touted as a smartphone for gamers, ASUS has packed a 6,000 mAh battery inside the phone. At the same time, it supports fast charging up to 65W, which allows users to recharge the battery from 0% to 100% within an hour.

Last year, the iPhone 13 Pro Max won the Best Battery award, and many other reviews praised last year’s iPhone’s battery life despite the addition of a 120Hz display. However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max failed to deliver the same battery experience as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, as Apple kept the battery at the same size and added an always-on display.

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Notably, Marquez praised the battery life of the iPhone 14 Plus, which beats the iPhone 14 Pro Max due to its standard 60Hz display without the always-on feature. As a result, the iPhone 14 Plus uses less power than the Pro model.

Design Award

The design category is also quite subjective and even MKBHD agrees with this. The smartphone that won the Design Award in 2022 is the Nothing Phone. When viewed from the sides, the Nothing Phone is reminiscent of the latest iPhones. However, the Nothing phone lacks a transparent back filled with LEDs that can be used for multiple things like notifications and a flash light while you’re shooting.

“It definitely straddles the line between gimmick and feature. […] I find that really neat. I think it’s cool that you can see how much the battery is when you charge it. […] Little things like that. You don’t see many phones trying new things.

iPhone loses focus to rivals at MKBHD's Smartphone Awards 2022

The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 gets an honorable mention in the design category for being a foldable phone that feels more solid than other foldable phones.

Value Award

Last year, Google’s Pixel 6 won the Value Award, and this year the award goes to the Pixel 7. MKBHD argues that the Pixel 7 is the best in its $599 price range, and even outperforms some of the more expensive flagship models in its specs. “It’s very good that it’s made [Pixel] 7 Pro doesn’t seem like a good deal,” he added.

The ASUS Zenfone 9 got an honorable mention again, this time in the value award category for offering a “truly unique combo” that includes a 120Hz display for $699.

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This year’s bust

2021’s bust of the year was Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2, which launched with two separate screens and a $1,500 price tag. However, this year, MKBHD named the OnePlus 10T the Bust of the Year, saying there was “a much larger delta between expectations and potential than actual results”.

MVP (Phone of the Year)

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra was the 2021 Phone of the Year winner. But what about this year? The 2022 winner is Google’s Pixel 7. As previously mentioned, MKBHD says that the Pixel 7 is priced much lower than other premium smartphones, thanks to its good cameras, display, battery, and “flagship software experience.”

iPhone loses focus to rivals at MKBHD's Smartphone Awards 2022

With similar arguments, the ASUS Zenfone 9 also won the Phone of the Year honor. In third place, MKBHD picks the Galaxy S22 Ultra for this category, which he describes as “boring” and “expensive,” but at the same time one of the best phones one can get in 2022.

end up

From three categories in 2021, the iPhone has now been awarded in only one category in 2022. Still, MKBHD pointed out that he prefers the iPhone camera because of its better quality for shooting video.

In terms of photos, MKBHD has already said in his videos that the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera exaggerates post-processing effects such as HDR, which makes some photos look very unrealistic – I personally agree with that.

What are your thoughts on the results? Can you get a different list from MKBHD for the best phones of 2022? Let us know in the comments section below.

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