MKBHD’s Smartphone Awards picks the best phones of 2022


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

Just like last year, MKBHD has set multiple award categories for smartphone. They are:

  • Best Big Phone
  • Best Small Phone
  • Best Camera System
  • Best Battery
  • The Design Award
  • Value Award
  • Bust of the Year
  • MVP (Phone of the Year)

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of Android smartphones competing for the awards, while Apple currently sells only eight different iPhone models – and just five of them were released this year. Of course, although the awards are based on MKBHD’s own criteria, he considered both technical aspects and his personal experience with each device competing for the awards.

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

Best Big Phone

iPhone 14 Pro Max is certainly a big phone with its 6.7 inch screen. However, MKBHD chose Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra as Best Big Phone of 2022. According to the YouTuber, the S22 Ultra takes advantage of the massive 6.8-inch screen with the stylus combined with software optimized for the large screen, the 5,000 mAh battery, and four camera lenses on the back of the phone.

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

Best Small Phone

Last year, Apple won the Best Small Phone category with iPhone 13 mini. After all, there aren’t many small phones left on the market, and 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 the iPhone mini and replaced it with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

So the winner of the Best Small Phone of 2022 was the ASUS Zenfone 9. It’s certainly not as small as the iPhone 13 mini since it has a 5.9 inch screen, but it’s still considerably smaller than most smartphones today. With flagship specs, “surprisingly great camera,” a headphone jack, and good battery life, MKBHD says the Zenfone 9 is “easily the best phone in this size.”

Oppo Find N2, which is a foldable phone, got an honorable mention in this category for looking extremely compact when it’s folded.

Best Camera System

Choosing the best camera on a smartphone can be extremely subjective, especially since there are different criteria for photos and videos, and each person has their own preferences when it comes to color level and sharpness. A few days ago, MKBHD shared the results of its blind smartphone camera test, in which Google’s Pixel 6A took first place, while the Pixel 7 Pro came in second.

But what about MKBHD’s preferences? Although he praised the photos taken with the Pixel 7 and Vivo X90 Pro+, iPhone 14 Pro Max won Best Camera System this year.

The YouTuber says that the iPhone has a more solid camera experience, which includes how fast it is to open the Camera app and take a picture, the consistency between all lenses, and how good the device is at shooting video compared to all Android smartphones.

Best Battery

The winner of Best Battery of 2022 is the ASUS ROG Phone 6. Since it’s considered a smartphone for gamers, ASUS put a 6,000 mAh battery inside the phone. At the same time, it supports fast charging up to 65W, which lets users recharges the battery from 0% to 100% in less than an hour.

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

Interestingly, Marques praised the battery life of the iPhone 14 Plus, which beats the iPhone 14 Pro Max since it has a regular 60Hz display without the Always-on feature. As a result, iPhone 14 Plus consumes less power than the Pro model.

The Design Award

The design category is also quite subjective, and even MKBHD agrees with this. And the smartphone that won The Design Award in 2022 is the Nothing Phone. Looking from the sides, the Nothing Phone reminds one of the latest iPhones. However, Nothing Phone has a transparent back full of LEDs that can be used for multiple things like notifications and flash light while you’re filming.

“It definitely skirts the line right between gimmick and feature. […] I find it really neat. I think it’s cool that you can see how much battery is as you’re charging. […] Little things like that. You don’t see a lot of phones trying new stuff.”

iPhone loses the spotlight to its competitors in MKBHD's Smartphone Awards 2022

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

Value Award

Last year, Google’s Pixel 6 won the Value Award, and this year the award was given to the Pixel 7. MKBHD argues that the Pixel 7 is the best in its $599 price range, and it even beats some more expensive flagships with its specs. “It’s so good that it made the [Pixel] 7 Pro kind of feel like not that good of a deal,” he added.

ASUS Zenfone 9 once again received an honorable mention, this time in the Value Award category for offering a “really unique combo” that includes a 120Hz display for $699.

Bust of the Year

The 2021 Bust of the Year was Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2, which has two separate screens and was launched at a $1,500 price tag. This year, however, MKBHD chose the OnePlus 10T as Bust of the Year for having a “pretty big delta between expectations and possibilities versus actual results.”

MVP (Phone of the Year)

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra was the 2021 winner of Phone of the Year. But what about this year? The winner for 2022 is Google’s Pixel 7. Just as mentioned before, MKBHD says the Pixel 7 has great value with its good cameras, display and battery, plus “flagship software experience” while it costs much less than other premium smartphones.

iPhone loses the spotlight to its competitors in MKBHD's Smartphone Awards 2022

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

Wrap up

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

When it comes to photos, MKBHD has already said in his videos that the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera exaggerates post-processing effects like HDR, which makes some photos look very unrealistic – and personally I agree with that.

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

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Author: Subham

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