Best Smartphones

2022 GadgetMatch Approved Smartphones

Smartphones that deserve the GadgetMatch Seal of Approval

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GadgetMatch Approved

Admittedly, we haven’t reviewed all of the greatest and latest smartphones this 2022. That said, fifteen (15) of those smartphones were able to make the cut — particularly those with GadgetMatch’s Seal of Approval.

Reviewed by different members of the team with varying preferences and personalities, smartphones in this list weren’t limited to the premium line as it also tackles the budget and midrange segment.

This list is in descending order from most recently published.

iQOO 11

iQOO 11 5G

“The iQOO 11 5G is one of those phones that’s easy to recommend to just about anyone. It’s a borderline flagship smartphone. It looks sleek, it performs like a champ, and it captures photos you can be proud of sharing. Personally, I’m ready to crown this as the upper midrange king, usurping the OnePlus 10T for that title.” — Rodneil

READ MORE: iQOO 11 5G review: Better where it matters

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

“The Galaxy Z Flip4 is a pure refinement of what was already a great piece of hardware. Being able to pack a lot of punch in such a compact and precisely-crafted piece of engineering marvel makes this phone stand out from the crowd.” — Vincenz

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Review: 3 months of love and commitment

HONOR Magic4 Pro

“No doubt, the HONOR Magic4 Pro is one among 2022’s best all-rounder smartphones around. It offers the quintessential triple set of rear cameras that other “flagships” fail to deliver.” — Vincenz

“The HONOR Magic4 Pro and its accompanying devices are just tiny steps forward in what is an early phase to complete independence. As they are now, these are devices worthy of your attention.” — Rodneil

READ MORE:

HONOR Magic4 Pro: My Best Concert Companion

GadgetSnaps: HONOR Magic4 Pro in Boracay

Bringing Back HONOR with Magic

realme 10

realme 10

“The realme 10 is solid. It’s certainly a 10 given the price to performance ratio. You’re getting a package that may not be stacked, but is undeniably solid. The realme 10 is a head turner, a good performer, and a decent moment capturer. It’ll take care of your needs with no problems whatsoever.”

READ MORE: realme 10 review: It’s a 10!

POCO M5

“For its price point, the new smartphone is a worthy purchase if you’re looking to game on a budget. And that’s without the additional frills you’re enjoying.” — Luigi

READ MORE: POCO M5 review: No need to break the bank

iQOO 9T

“The iQOO 9T provided more than what was expected in this price range: a flagship-grade mobile processor, fast and vibrant display, loud-enough stereo speakers, modest battery, fast AF charging, and even a decent set of cameras that other phone brands refuse to supply in their gaming smartphones.” — Vincenz

READ MORE: iQOO 9T review: The ultimate gaming phone killer?

POCO X4 GT

“MVP voting will continue to be contentious, especially in the world of mid-range smartphones. At the end of the day, you just need a candidate you won’t regret voting for. The POCO X4 GT is that kind of candidate, a smartphone you’d be very happy to be choose as your GadgetMatch from day one.” — Karlo

READ MORE: POCO X4 GT Review: Midrange MVP?!

OnePlus 10T

Starting at $649 it’s in a unique position because it offers top notch specs and backs it up with a well thought out design and great features. The OnePlus 10T is very competitive.” — Michael Josh

WATCH HERE: OnePlus 10T Review: Lots to love, nothing to hate

READ MORE: OnePlus 10T 5G: 5 Best Things

Google Pixel 6a

Just like the phones that came before it the Pixel 6a still remains one of the best devices for folks who want an affordable Android smartphone. And it’s especially true this time around thanks to its high-end Tensor Chip from Google and more premium-looking design. Apart from that you’re also getting Pixel exclusive Android features, 3 years of guaranteed Android updates and 5 years of security updates.” — Michael Josh

WATCH HERE: Google Pixel 6a Review: Best Android for Less?

vivo X80 Pro

“The updates on the X80 Pro aren’t flashy or gimmicky, but solid improvements across the board. And alongside the likes of Samsung and Google, I can confidently say that vivo is another major player in the Android space. And the X80 Pro deserves even more attention.” — Michael Josh

WATCH HERE: vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review: Totally Underrated

Samsung Galaxy S22+

“The Galaxy S22+ is a smooth amalgamation of many other standout phones. It has the breathtaking display of Samsung phones, an overall footprint that feels like an iPhone 12/13 Pro Max, cameras that rival those that partner with notable camera brands, and much, much more. All of that comes in this package that looks and feels well-built on a phone that is easily an all-rounder performer.” — Rodneil

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy S22+ review: Love at first touch

realme 9 Pro+

“The creative options brought by the Street Mode, the detail the Sony IMX766 sensor captures and stellar night shots it can produce, the realme 9 Pro+ proves that you don’t need fancy equipment to take good photos. For the most part, this phone is a decent daily driver. But when talking about photography, the realme 9 Pro+ can surely unleash the photographer in you.” — Andre

READ MORE: realme 9 Pro+: Your next street photography buddy

realme 9 Pro

realme 9 pro

“If it still isn’t obvious, the realme 9 Pro is a great catch. It brings some flagship-level features in the midranger segment.

It also has outstanding cameras along with photography modes that lets you create visual content that you can straight up use on your social media feed. You can’t go wrong with its ultra smooth display, highly competent processor with 5G connectivity and sufficient battery life. Even more-so if you’re into photography or content creation.” — Apple

READ MORE: realme 9 Pro: A midrange camera powerhouse  

Redmi Note 11

Redmi Note 11

“The Redmi Note 11 is a champ. At its price range, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better. It performs a tier higher than what it’s pricing suggests. It might just be the best under PhP 10,000 (around US$ 200) phone you can buy today.” — Rodneil

READ MORE: Redmi Note 11 review: Budget king at its best

Huawei P50 Pro

“If you’re that eager to own a smartphone with a superior set of cameras, astounding display and speakers, slim and lightweight design, flagship-grade performance with an efficient battery life, the P50 Pro is no doubt the best option for you. For now, the Huawei P50 Pro has one of (if not the) best cameras in a smartphone today.” — Vincenz

READ MORE: Huawei P50 Pro review: 5 topnotch cameras, 5 drawbacks


SEE ALSO: 2022 GadgetMatch Approved Devices

Best Smartphones

Best budget smartphones of 2022

Bare minimum at its finest

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Flagships may have ruled the smartphone chain this year but these budget smartphones stole the limelight one way or another. 

So we have this set of the best budget smartphones at GadgetMatch priced PhP 12,999 and below this year. We’ve raised the price range a bit higher due to inflation but we still guarantee that these are phones that won’t hurt your pocket and can still give you what you want and need. 

Here’s the new price guide:

  • Budget — around US$230/PhP 12,999 and lower
  • Lower Midrange — around US$450/PhP 24,999 and lower
  • Upper Midrange — around US$ 720/PhP 39,999 and lower
  • Premium — around US$ 750/PhP 40,000 and higher

Without further ado, sharing here the best budget smartphones in no particular order. 

Infinix Hot 20S

Known for offering great phones below PhP 10,000, Infinix does it again and this time with the Infinix Hot 20S (PhP 7,999/ US$ 139). This budget phone is a knockout for being one of the most affordable phones to offer a 120Hz display combined with powerful hardware that makes it a choice that’s solid for budget gaming. 

realme 10 

realme 10

The realme 10’s name is apt as it deserves a 10 given the price to performance ratio (PhP 12,999/ around US$ 235). Its design, especially the Clash White variant, is a definite head turner. You can even add that it’s a good performer sporting one of the top budget gaming chipsets and its 50MP camera captures great photos. This phone can really provide what you need and more. 

READ: realme 10 review: It’s a 10!

Redmi Note 11 

Redmi Note 11

It’s still surprising how much value for your money the Redmi Note 11 (PhP 9,999/ around US$ 180) has to offer. A very well rounded phone with a decent chipset, 90Hz AMOLED display, stereo speakers, 33W fast charging and even an ultrawide camera. It’s a budget phone which does more than just the basics.

READ: Redmi Note 11 review: Budget at its best

Wiko 10 

Wiko takes a spot with one of the biggest phones in this list with the Wiko 10 (PhP 7,399/ around US$ 135). This phone is set to take media consumption to greater heights with its big screen. There’s also plenty of room to store your downloaded series with its large storage capacity. Add its great battery performance to its strengths and this phone becomes a serious candidate for people on a budget or those looking for a secondary phone.

READ: WIKO 10 review: A competent new challenger

Narzo 50 5G 

Another competing phone at the top-end of this budget range is the Narzo 50 5G (PhP 12,999/ around US$ 235) . A phone that will make you think twice if you even need to spend more on a more expensive smartphone. This has everything you’re probably gonna need including and most especially, 5G connectivity. Enjoy movies with dual speakers, take decent photos or get your game on with a high refresh rate display, this phone will get you through it all.

vivo Y16 

vivo Y16

Just when you thought a budget smartphone couldn’t look premium, the vivo Y16 (PhP 8,999/ around US$ 163) came along. You’ll surely be dazzled by its Drizzling Gold variant that shines and changes its hues when hit by light perfectly. It also has a decent battery, hardware that can get the essentials done and large storage to store games and snapshots for the memories. 

READ: vivo Y16 review: The basics turned classy

Tecno Camon 19 

Most budget smartphones don’t really offer much when it comes to camera capabilities. The Tecno CAMON 19 (PhP 9,890/ around US$ 179) is one of the few camera focused phones in this price bracket. It’s not the most powerful in this segment, but admittedly, 64MP on a budget is pretty enticing. If getting the best snaps on a budget is your main concern, this might just be what you’re looking for.

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Best Smartphones

Best premium smartphones of 2022

A lot of familiar faces

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Another year has come and gone. As with every year, the smartphone world has birthed a wide palette of winners. Naturally, every brand put their best foot forward in the flagship department. While this year’s releases features a lot of familiar faces, all the updates make for an impressive lineup that kept teasing valuable money from our pockets all year round. Now, as the year finally comes to a screeching halt, let’s go through the best premium smartphones released in 2022.

Also, to reflect the less than favorable state of the economy today, we’ve adjusted the best smartphones list according to the pricing and performance of smartphones today:

  • Budget — around US$230/PhP 12,999 and lower
  • Lower Midrange — around US$450/PhP 24,999 and lower
  • Upper Midrange — around US$ 720/PhP 39,999 and lower
  • Premium — around US$ 750/PhP 40,000 and higher

Honorable Mention: Xiaomi MIX Fold 2

But first, let’s see who just missed making the list. 

While the foldable segment is slowly building up beyond the usual suspects, it is still a notch away from becoming completely competitive. Still, more alternatives is always a good thing. Outside of Samsung, Xiaomi created the worthiest competitor for the foldable market. 

Simply put, the Xiaomi MIX Fold 2 is a powerhouse packed with the best specs of the year, while sporting one of thinnest form factors for its category. Unfortunately, the difficulty of getting the device outside of China keeps the MIX Fold 2 from completely upending Samsung’s dominance in the arena.

Honorable Mention: Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Mate 50 Pro Singapore

As for the slab phone market, one brand to look out for is Huawei. Coming off a rough couple of years, the Chinese smartphone brand is on a redemption arc to build itself back to the top of the food chain. While the P50 Pro has already turned our heads from last year to this year, the Mate 50 Pro is even more impressive.

Right off the bat, the new flagship has the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, already a huge plus for Huawei users. Armed with Ultra Aperture XMAGE camera and a remarkable design, there’s a lot to love from this phone.

WATCH: Get Google Apps on your Huawei Mate 50 Pro

vivo X80 Pro

Though vivo’s flagship won’t exactly turn heads, the X80 is a well-rounded package that most users can sink their teeth into. Waving the banner for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, the smartphone features a capable quad rear camera setup and a sizable 4700mAh battery.

In terms of price, the vivo X80 Pro hovers around the starting echelons of the flagship range. It will set you back by PhP 59,999, but it’s a decent price for a flagship these days.

WATCH: vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review

Xiaomi 12 Pro

Xiaomi 12 Pro

Technically, the Xiaomi 12 Pro debuted in the final days of 2021. However, everyone got their hands on it at the beginning of this year. Plus, given its slate of hardware, Xiaomi’s new flagship is a truly 2022 smartphone. 

Besides the design, there isn’t a lot to differentiate the Xiaomi 12 Pro from the vivo X80 Pro. One difference, though, is trading a periscope lens for a triple 50-megapixel rear camera. The former also features Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, a must-have for today’s smartphones. 

Additionally, the Xiaomi 12 Pro carries a much cheaper price tag, selling for PhP 48,999. The price puts it closer to upper midrange and, more importantly, below the vivo X80 Pro.

READ: Xiaomi 12 Pro review: Flagship in almost every aspect

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Galaxy Note series is dead. After a storied history, Samsung finally put the nail on the coffin of the famous (or infamous) phablet lineup. However, it will continue to live on through the Galaxy S22 Ultra, armed especially with the S Pen.

Together with a boxy frame and a stylus, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a reincarnation. As its own device, the flagship is just packed. On display, it sports up to 240Hz sampling rate for games. On memory and storage, it goes up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage. Finally, its rear camera setup features a 108-megapixel shooter. It has everything.

WATCH: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Hands-on: Note reborn!

Google Pixel 7 Pro

Make no mistake: The Google Pixel 7 Pro is just an upgrade of last year’s acclaimed Pixel 6 series. It’s quite an upgrade, though. The flagship features the sequel to Google’s Tensor chipset, an in-house processor designed to give the Pixel series its oomph. 

Off the bat, the premium flagship features a more premium design. It’s both classy and unique. With the processor’s machine learning capabilities, the Pixel 7 Pro puts cameras to the forefront. It has a wave of AI-supported software features to create stunning photos. 

Starting off at US$ 899, the Pixel 7 Pro once again proves itself as the Android flagship. Even if you already have the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel 7 series is just as tempting.

WATCH: Google Pixel 7 Pro Unboxing and First 24 Hours

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

Besides Xiaomi’s honorable mention, Samsung is the only brand with two entries on the list. Given how the brand has two different ecosystems right now, the Galaxy Z Flip4 deserves it. Once again, the South Korean brand boasts its dominance in the foldable realm with an impressive outing.

Despite the thinner frame, the foldable phone still crams in the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, 8GB of RAM, and 512 GB of internal storage. While the Galaxy Z Fold4 might grant you more power, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is now an icon, thanks to its numerous appearances in pop culture. 

It starts at US$ 999.99.

READ: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Review: 3 months of love and commitment

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

We can’t say we’re surprised. Apple hit the ball out of the park with the iPhone 14 series. Finally shedding off the controversial camera notch design, the new flagship series introduced a new pill-shaped camera island, tucking away notifications in a dynamic style.

As for specs, the iPhone 14 Pro Max features the A16 Bionic chipset, an in-house processor that’s reportedly 40 percent faster than its competitors. Once again focusing on content creation, the premium flagship has a quad pixel camera capable of shooting brilliant photos and videos, overtaking its other siblings in the series. Plus, the entire series has a satellite-supported SOS feature, shooting off emergency messages even without coverage.

Of course, the iPhone 14 Pro Max costs quite a pretty penny, starting off at PhP 77,990. However, it’s the best flagship package you can get this year. 

WATCH: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs 13 Pro Max vs S22 Ultra: Camera Shootout

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Best Smartphones

Best lower midrange smartphones of 2022

Some price range changes included

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It’s been a while since we put together a best smartphones list. And during the gap, inflation has hit the world, big time. So, we decided to adjust the price range. Previously at the US$ 200/ PhP 10,000 to US$ 350/PhP 20,000 range, we’re now pegging the lower midrange category at the US$ 200-430/ PhP 12,999-24,999 range. 

Performance and specs-wise, the smartphones included here are firmly in the lower midrange category. It’s just that, unfortunately, the pricing has increased across the board. This is true for the rest of our best smartphones list of 2022. 

Here’s a quick guide: 

  • Budget – around US$ 230/ PhP 12,999 and lower
  • Lower Midrange – around US$ 450/ PhP24,999 and lower
  • Upper Midrange – around US$ 720/ PhP39,999 and lower
  • Premium – around US$ 750/ PhP 40,000 and higher

We believe this more accurately reflects the pricing and performance of smartphones today. 

Anyway, let’s get to the list! (In order of launch price). 

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

Whenever “Samsung Galaxy” is mentioned, often the first thing that comes to mind is the S series, the Note series (which has blended into the S line), and their premium foldables Z series. Rarely does one think about Samsung’s A series which are noteworthy in their own right. 

In fact, the Galaxy A series, specifically the Galaxy A50-line, is a best-seller in certain parts of the world. That’s because it offers what most Samsung Galaxy phones offer — balance. 

Samsung has mastered delivering all-rounder premium phones and they did the same with the Galaxy A53 5G (PhP 22, 490/ US$ 335). 

Think of it this way, if the Galaxy S23 series is the lion, then perhaps the A53 is the jaguar. Not exactly king of the hill, but still plenty capable.

READ: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

realme 9 Pro+

realme 9 Pro+

realme made such a big fuss over this phone sporting the Sony IMX766 camera sensor. It also shoots at a 50 megapixel resolution with optical and electronic image stabilization.

Combined with realme’s own software processing and their Street Mode shooting filter, the realme 9 Pro+ (PhP 23,990/ around US$ 400) offers one of the best mobile photography experiences and outputs on a midranger. At least, that’s true for the main camera. 

Performance-wise, this phone is also no slouch. While some games are capped at medium settings, it’ll handle most people’s daily needs without any issues. 

It’s a great shooter and a steady performer. And really, that’s already a solid combination.

READ: realme 9 Pro+: Your next street photography buddy

Xiaomi 12 Lite 

Xiaomi 12 Lite

The Xiaomi 12 Lite (PhP 20,999/ around US$ 430) is probably one of the best “Lite” phones that Xiaomi has released in recent years. Holding and using the phone will almost make you think that it’s pricier than it actually is. The overall build feels sturdy but not in the rugged kind of way. 

And then you get to the main camera and it just proceeds to wow you even more. The 108MP main shooter isn’t just empty numbers. Photos are clean, crisp, and can certainly go straight to your socials with little to no post processing. 

But like many midrangers, the accompanying lenses are pretty much afterthoughts. That said, this is easily one of the best shooting phones in this price segment. 

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 12 Lite Unboxing

POCO X4 GT (PhP 18,990)

Priced at just a little over the middle point of the midrange segment, the POCO X4 GT (PhP 18,990/ around US$ 350) perhaps best embodies a big chunk of midrangers. Often a space for smartphones that excel in one or two things and are average everywhere else, the phone focuses on performance and build. 

With its “classic” design, the POCO X4 GT won’t turn any heads. But it’s every bit as reliable as any midranger out there. It stays true to POCO’s aim of delivering stellar performance phones without having to dig too deep down your pockets. 

READ: POCO X4 GT review: Midrange MVP?!

narzo 50 Pro 5G 

Gaming phones don’t always have to have the absolute specs — just the right combination of them to play the mobile games you actually want to play. That’s what the narzo 50 Pro 5G (PhP 15,999/ around US$ 289) is for. 

The narzo 50 Pro 5G’s specs aren’t absolutely mind-bending, but it’s more than good enough to play the more popular gaming titles. 

OPPO A77s 

OPPO A77s

Vegan-leather feeling back on a phone that’s priced below US$ 300/ around PhP 15,000 (Price is PhP 13,999/ around US$ 250). An often underrated aspect of phones is the materials used on its back. After all, most people buy protective cases anyway. But Team No Case Necessary should appreciate what OPPO did with the OPPO A77s. It’s probably the phone with the best back panel at this price. 

Everywhere else, the OPPO A77s delivers as steady performance paired with the criminally underrated ColorOS.

Redmi Note 11s 5G 

The Redmi Note series has always delivered reliable smartphones and the 11s 5G (PhP 13,999/ around US$ 250) is no exception. While not exceptional by any stretch of the imagination, the Redmi Note 11s 5G is as solid and steady as any phone can be. Especially for those that want to push past “budget” a little bit for a phone that will surely not falter. 

READ: Redmi Note 11S review: Solid, accessible daily driver

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