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The Best Smartphones: The Top 3
Do we still need to be determined? The smartphone has undoubtedly become the high-tech product that we use the most on a daily basis. And with an average lifespan of 20 months and an average selling price of around 420 euros in France, it is a significant investment.
It is therefore important to choose the one that will best suit your needs throughout this period. Contrary to what some people may fear, choosing the best does not necessarily mean buying the most expensive phone available in the phone market. It all depends on your criteria.
To guide you as best as possible, we test more than a hundred smartphones a year. Below you will find a comparison of the best smartphones on the market, whether you are an Android or Apple fan. Everything is obviously classified by price because the best phone is above all the one that corresponds to your budget.
And because it's not just new in life, you can also read our selection of the best-refurbished iPhones and refurbished Samsung smartphones.
The most unique smartphones
Are you looking for the best phone of the moment, the one that will meet all your needs? Who has the best ingredients? A good processor, an excellent camera, and a powerful battery? Below, you will find terminals that make no compromises, with unsurprisingly prices that live up to their ambitions...
Be careful though if you are on the market for a high-end smartphone: most manufacturers will release their new flagships in the first quarter. It is therefore more interesting to wait a few weeks before cracking.
Apple iPhone 13 pro max
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a compendium of the best from Apple. It is the smartphone most packed with technologies offered by Apple in its 2021 range. If it uses the same design as last year, it gains a little in thickness to accommodate a larger capacity battery.
First major change: it finally adopts 120Hz! Apple is finally getting up to speed with high refresh rates and this fluidity brings a real plus in the comfort of use. If the power gain compared to last year is correct, we are however much more interested in improving the autonomy. Between the larger capacity battery and the adaptive refresh rate, two days on a charge are achieved without problems. It is by far the best iPhone ever designed on this point.
The last major evolution: is the photo module which is now much more talented in macro mode. The telephoto lens gains in power to reach 3x, an always practical point for capturing images from afar without sacrificing quality. The photosites of the sensors are also larger, which translates into an even better rendering in low light. For video enthusiasts, the cinematic mode brings interesting creative possibilities, even if it is not a daily revolution.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is therefore unsurprisingly the best iPhone of the moment, but also one of the most impressive smartphones on the market in general.
If you find it a little too big, don't hesitate to refer to the classic iPhone 13 Pro, it takes all the strength from it in a slightly more compact package.
Oppo find x5 pro
After a Find X3 Pro, which had surprised by its quality, Oppo persists and signs with an ambitious new flagship. If you're wondering where's gone
X4 Pro is normal: it doesn't exist! The number 4 being unlucky in China, the brand decided to go directly to 5.
Externally, it resembles its predecessor, with a prominent photo block that fits directly into the shell. We appreciate its good ergonomics as well as the IP68 certification.
For the screen, there is an OLED LTPO 2.0 panel, the latter ranks among the best we have tested, with high brightness (756 cd / m²), and wide color coverage complemented by good calibration. On the refresh rate side, we are unsurprisingly entitled to 120 Hz.
Oppo here opens the ball for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which will be found a lot in 2022. Quite logically, the chip is the most powerful on the market and the phone is also able to take the most demanding games without flinching.
Unfortunately, the autonomy is mediocre. We will barely last a day and it will be better to have your fast charger on hand if you want to leave in the evening. The latter is able to fill the battery in 40 minutes.
After a Find X3 Pro and its stunning microscope mode, the Find X5 Pro is much more classic with 3 excellent sensors. Without going into details, the phone lands at the top of the basket in terms of photo quality. Only a small complaint: we would have liked, even if would have liked a slightly more powerful zoom.
With the exception of weak autonomy, Oppo offers this Find X5 Pro an exceptional flagship. It will be available on March 24, with pre-orders opening on March 9.
Google Pixel 6 pro
With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google is back in force in a Uniquely cool appearance and image module that occupies the entire screen width. In addition to being pretty, the result offers excellent ergonomics, even if the phone will be handled with two hands.
On the screen side, there is a good quality 6.7-inch OLED. The device screen colors and brightness are identical and we can get used to screens that come with 120 Hz.
But it is above all the Tensor processor, which was expected at the turn. If the latter ensures perfect fluidity to the system, it is however a little less powerful than the Snapdragon 888, especially for the game. The chip, however, does well on the specialized calculations related to the photo.
Unsurprisingly, the three sensors coupled with the magic of Google's algorithms produce an exceptional result in the photo. It's simple, the Pixel 6 Pro excels in all situations. It takes approximately two days to ship.
With this Pixel 6 Pro, Google is making a real move upmarket, all at an ultra-aggressive price. A real show of force as we would like to see more often. However, some problems are to be noted in the range. Titouan has summarized all the malfunctions of the phone in this article.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
If we had no doubts that the 2021 version of the Galaxy S would be a good phone, we wondered how much of a game-changer it would be. First observation, Samsung has managed to give a little freshness to its design, with a very pleasing black to the eye and an imposing photo module that no longer tries to hide and adopts an aluminum casing.
As always, Samsung is setting new standards in terms of image quality, with a 120 Hz OLED panel that breaks image brightness records and offers high-quality colors. Here we hold the standard meter for the year. The Galaxy S21 Ultra now also supports styluses, but unlike the Note, the latter does not come with the phone and there is obviously no place to store it.
The Exynos is a step below the Snapdragon 888 but still a top-notch processor. But beyond its good performance, the phone surprises with its very solid autonomy. Do not plan to charge it as soon as you open the box, however, since Samsung is following Apple and no longer delivers a charger… It supports 25 W fast charging.
Given its size, the photo module had an interest in ensuring and we must admit that Samsung did not disappoint. The 108MP main sensor produces very high-quality images in most conditions. But it is above all the 10x zoom that seduces, with simply impeccable results. The 100x zoom is still present and improved, but it is still quite gimmicky.
More iterative than revolutionary, the Samsung Galaxy 21 Ultra remains without too much trouble one of the reference Android smartphones. If you have a fairly solid wallet, it's hard to find better. And although it turns out to be less advanced than its successor on certain points, we must admit that it is much more balanced and above all devoid of major defects.
Oppo Find X3 pro
With its Find X2 Pro, Oppo succeeded last year in positioning itself as Samsung's most credible rival in very high-end Android. And with the Find X3 Pro, the Chinese seem well on their way to renewing performance.
Original from a design point of view, the device has an impeccable finish. Nothing to say about the very good OLED screen either. It offers a very high brightness and 120Hz refresh rate with high quality. On the processor side, there is a Snapdragon 888, and therefore performance is among the highest on the market. The autonomy reaches two days, but it is above all the fast charge that impresses: we go from 5 to 95% of battery in 30 min!
The camera is of high quality and versatile, but it is above all the surprising microscope function that makes it stand out.
Oppo, therefore, offers here a very good smartphone (which is however at the end of its career, its replacement the Find X5 Pro arriving soon), whose few faults are frankly minor.
Best High-Quality (Small) Cheapest Smartphone
The following products cost a little less than the ultra-premium devices just mentioned. Either because they were released a few months before, or because they are slightly less well equipped than a flagship model launched at the same time. This often loses things like waterproofing or inductive charging. Whatever the reason this is where we will find those who have everything.
One Plus 9 Pro
OnePlus confirms its desire to be in the (very) big leagues with a resolutely ambitious OnePlus 9 Pro. An approach that can be found both in terms of the very neat design and the technique.
The screen is much improved, in particular better controlled curved edges and adaptive refresh from 1 to 120 Hz. For the rest, find the Snapdragon-888 which made the phone one of the most powerful phones available on the market. Regarding autonomy, OnePlus makes a preference for fast charging. The phone only lasts a day and a half, but can be fully charged in less than 30 minutes!
The photo module designed in partnership with Hasselblad does a very good job, but it is not yet quite at the level of the best. OnePlus gives us here a very good smartphone, sold a little cheaper than the other flagships.
If your budget is already limited, the OnePlus 9 is a good alternative for what it has. But it makes some compromises in terms of the screen and the picture part while maintaining the excellent performance of the Snapdragon 888 processor. Be careful though, the OnePlus 10 Pro is already available in China and should arrive soon.
Google Pixel 6
The little brother of the Pixel 6 Pro arrives with the same ambition as its big brother to establish itself as a reference in its price category. We, therefore, find a gigantic photo module that spans the entire width of the phone without unbalancing it. Something quite rare at this price level, the phone is IP68 certified.
The OLED screen is of good quality and offers a refresh of 90 Hz. The latter is however not adaptive, which impacts autonomy. We also find the house processor, the Tensor. The latter is not quite up to the best Snapdragon chips in terms of raw power but does well on consumption and photo functions.
The Pixel 6 thus provides two days of use. An excellent score was slightly tarnished by the not-so-fast charge (2 hours for a full tank). The icing on the cake is of course the photo. The three sensors coupled with Google's supernatural algorithms do an excellent job both day and night. It is by far the best camera in its class.
Very good in all areas, the Pixel 6 is a little bomb. It imposes itself without forcing as the best choice of the moment in this price range.
Apple iPhone 13 Mini
The iPhone 13 mini continues the momentum of last year's model: all the qualities of the classic iPhone 13 in a more compact format. And if like the rest of the range, it has gained a little thickness, it's for a good cause. The larger battery finally allows it to display correct autonomy. This saves nearly 90 minutes compared to the iPhone 12 mini. Enough to last a full day without having to go through the charging box.
If the screen gains a little in brightness and sees its notch become more compact, we are however not entitled to 120 Hz which remains the preserve of the Pro line. The A15 Bionic processor is still a performance model without exploding consumption.
But the last point on which the iPhone 13 mini progresses is on the side of the photo. It inherits the photosensor from last year's iPhone 12 Pro Max and the change is obvious, especially in terms of light sensitivity. The result is a significantly more versatile phone, especially in tough conditions.
The iPhone 13 mini is a real success and above all one of the very few high-end models that fit comfortably in a pocket!
The best smartphones for the price-quality ratio
If the very high end is always a dream, you can't always put more than 1000 euros into a phone. And that's where the best value for money category comes in, with the absolutely unleashed competition. Are you looking for the right plan for a lifetime? The best balance between acceptable performance and a not too high price? Here is our selection of the best value for money in the mid-range segment.
OnePlus Nord 2
After a OnePlus Nord which had brilliantly marked OnePlus' entry into the mid-range, the brand is back with a Nord 2 which is evolving smoothly. It is thus still based on a 6. It has a 43-inch OLED screen and also comes with a 90Hz refresh rate which is a good thing. The panel is of good quality, even if it is no longer as impressive as last year, with an increasing number of competitors switching to 120 Hz.
Performance is solid, the MediaTek processor provides good overall fluidity and has enough punch to play Fortnite at 45 FPS. And if the autonomy struggles to exceed the day and a half, OnePlus has put the dishes in the big ones for fast charging: we are entitled to the same Warp Charge 65 W, as on the top of the range, with a full tank that is done so in barely 30 minutes!
Only the photo is half-tone, with shots that are sometimes too saturated and compressed.
If it is less revolutionary than its predecessor, the Nord 2 shines with its balance and stands out as one of the best current choices in the mid-range.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Positioned just under the 300 euro mark, the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the sweet spot of the year for the Chinese giant. It is pretty, but its large size may cause some problems for small hands. Surprise on the side of the screen since Xiaomi has chosen a 120 Hz AMOLED panel.
The Snapdragon 732G is decent but poses concerns on games that are too greedy, especially Fortnite. Autonomy is however satisfactory, with nearly two days of typical use. The 33 W fast charger will need an hour to fill the 5020 mAh battery. As for the network, it will be necessary to be satisfied with 4G, and 5G not being on the menu.
As for the photo, the 108MP main sensor does a good job day and night. The Redmi Note 10 Pro clearly punches above its category and that's good. It easily stands out as one of the best deals of 2022.
Best smartphones at the first price
Smartphones at low prices, there are a plethora of them, with qualities that vary, to say the least. This sometimes makes the choice all the more difficult since, unlike the top of the range, certain models are really to be avoided. That's why in this affordable selection we guarantee you products that will not disappoint you.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10s
Xiaomi has struck a blow with its Redmi Note 10 and this 10S variant corrects some absences of the basic model. Sold below 200 euros, the Note 10S offers an excellent OLED screen. He also swaps the original Snapdragon for a MediaTek Helio G95. The latter ensures solid performance, but also adds the always practical NFC support.
The main light sensor reaches 64mp It is not a revolution, but we appreciate the gain in precision of the photos. Add to that good battery life, efficient fast charging, and a phone that ships with Android 11 and you have one of the best choices for those on a budget.
Some tips for choosing the best smartphone
Before buying a smartphone, many questions may cross your mind. We've listed some of them here with answers that we hope will shed some light on you.
How do you choose your smartphone?
Design, screen, autonomy, performance, and photo quality are all important elements, in addition to the price, to take into account when buying a new smartphone. The most important thing will be to determine what are the essential criteria for the use you are going to make of it. Keep in mind that no product is perfect on all points, but by combining the right criteria you will find the right one.
Which smartphone takes the best photos?
Many users pay particular attention to the camera of their smartphone, and for good reason: what could be more practical than a phone to immortalize their favorite vacation moments? To understand how a camera works on a mobile, you have to consider aperture, definition, sensor size, software processing, etc.
What is the right size for a smartphone?
Today, large screens are particularly popular, to the chagrin of some users. Fortunately, all tastes are still in nature, and thanks to the many design evolutions, the phones can contain larger screens in moderate formats. Smartphones from 5 to 6 inches may interest people with small hands, but they are becoming increasingly rare. Those who prefer large sizes, however, will be satisfied and can turn to the many large smartphones available on the market.
What kind of smartphone do you choose?
Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Google, Apple? The user experience varies enormously depending on the brand of smartphone in our hands. The interface may be different from one manufacturer to another, but the same goes for compatible applications, certain features, and the quality of customer service. It's nice to get attached to a brand and its ecosystem, but it's also tempting to take a look at the competitor to find out if the grass is greener elsewhere.
© 2022 Jaber Khater