The MKBHD Smartphone Awards pick the best phones of 2022

The MKBHD Smartphone Awards pick the best phones of 2022

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

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

  • The ultimate big phone
  • The ultimate small phone
  • Best camera system
  • The best battery
  • The Design Award
  • Value Award
  • Bust of the year
  • MVP (Phone of the Year)

Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of Android smartphones vying for the awards, while Apple currently sells just eight different iPhone models — and only five of those were released this year. Of course, although the awards are based on MKBHD’s own criteria, he took into account both 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?

The ultimate big phone

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

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

The ultimate small 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 in a 5.4-inch screen body. 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 2022 category was ASUS Zenfone 9. It’s certainly not as small as the iPhone 13 mini, as it has a 5.9-inch screen, but it’s still significantly smaller than most smartphones today. With flagship specs, a “surprisingly great camera”, a headphone jack and good battery life, MKBHD says the Zenfone 9 is “easily the best phone at this size”.

The Oppo Find N2, which is a foldable phone, received an honorable mention in this category for looking extremely compact when folded.

Best camera system

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

But what about MKBHD’s preferences? While praising the photos taken with the Pixel 7 and Vivo X90 Pro+, iPhone 14 Pro Max won this year for best camera system.

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

The best battery

The winner of the Best Battery 2022 category is ASUS ROG Phone 6. Since it is considered to be a smartphone for gamers, ASUS has placed a 6000 mAh battery inside the phone. At the same time, it supports fast charging up to 65W, which allows users to charge the battery from 0% to 100% in less than an hour.

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

Interestingly, Marquez praised the battery life of the iPhone 14 Plus, which beats the iPhone 14 Pro Max because it has a regular 60Hz display without the Always-on feature. As a result, the 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 that. And the smartphone that won The Design Award in 2022 is Nothing Phone. Viewed from the side, the Nothing Phone resembles one of the latest iPhones. However, the Nothing Phone has a transparent back full of LEDs that can be used for multiple things like notifications and a flash while you’re shooting.

“Definitely skirts the line between gimmick and feature. […] I find it very good. I think it’s cool that you can see the battery level while charging. […] Little things like that. You don’t see a lot of phones trying new things.”

The iPhone loses the spotlight to its rivals in the 2022 MKBHD Smartphone Awards.

The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 received an honorable mention in the design category as 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 went to the Pixel 7. MKBHD claims the Pixel 7 is the best in its $599 price range and even beats some more expensive flagships with its specs. “It’s so good that you did [Pixel] 7 Pro seems like not such a good deal,” he added.

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

Bust of the year

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

MVP (Phone of the Year)

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

The iPhone loses the spotlight to its rivals in the 2022 MKBHD Smartphone Awards.

With similar arguments, the ASUS Zenfone 9 also won an honorable mention as Phone of the Year. In third place they chose MKBHD 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.

Wrap it up

Out of three categories in 2021, the iPhone has already been awarded in only one of the categories in 2022. Still, MKBHD indicated that it prefers the iPhone’s camera because of its exceptional video capture quality.

When it comes to pictures, MKBHD already said in their videos that the iPhone 14 Pro camera exaggerates post-processing effects like HDR, making some photos look very unrealistic – and I personally agree with that.

What do you think of 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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