It’s that time of the year again – and we have to talk about the phones that we’ve come across in the year 2022. Just like last year, we’re only going to be considering the phones that we’ve reviewed, and there are 39 phones in total. I want to jump right into it – so let’s begin.
You can also watch our video version of this article.
This is a rather interesting year. During the first 6 months of the year, we reviewed 25 phones in total. That was also during the time when people started to slow down on smartphone purchases as the pandemic started to wind down, and that affected the number of phones launched in the second half of the year. That is why between July to this day, we only reviewed 14 phones. With that said, we still reviewed a total of 39 phones this year – and that is 3 more phones compared to 2021.
I have compiled all the phones that we reviewed this year into a humongous table that you can see here.
Here’s a pie chart showing Out of those 39 phones reviewed, a majority of them are Samsung phones, and second comes Xiaomi if we include Redmi together. If you look at all the Redmi phones though, they’re all within the Redmi Note 11 series and they were all launched in very close proximity to each other. No idea why they decided to split the Redmi series into so many subvariants and they were very similar to each other. Surprisingly, there are lots of OPPO devices too.
We also have the usual gaming phones which are interesting this year since it has the separation between ROG Phone 6 and 6D series which we will get into later.
Notable highlights of the year
Out of all 39 phones, there are a few of them that stood out to me so I want to quickly highlight them.
Starting off – the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s Samsung’s first year without a dedicated Galaxy Note because it is now integrated into the S-Ultra variant. Looks like a Note and comes with an S Pen – and a lot of people loved this phone – me included. I used it for about 7 months, actually.
Then the OPPO Reno7. I actually love this phone but the price is too high for what it has to offer.
After that, the Galaxy S22. It’s one of those rare compact flagship smartphones and I just want to give a shoutout.
Skip forward to the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G. This is actually the highest-end Redmi smartphone of this year and it does offer a fantastic smartphone experience. However, at the launch price of RM1,499, it’s too expensive.
Then, the Galaxy A33 came by. This is what I call a “hidden gem”. At that price of RM1,499, you get the same 4 years of Android upgrades and 5 years of security patches like the flagship counterparts, yet you also get OIS. The chipset might be a point of contention but I think the Exynos 1280 is fine for everyday usage.
Immediately after that, we have the OPPO Find X5 Pro. As a flagship, it ticks all the right boxes – including the price. ColorOS is okay but the amount of bloatware is just too much.
Then comes the Infinix Note 12 G96. They rarely send out phones to review but their devices offer fantastic value for our money. I still use this phone as our teleprompter phone – but I also realized that Infinix never pushed any software updates to this phone at all.
Then comes the gaming phone season. The Black Shark 5 is literally the Black Shark 4 but with some updates and also inclusive of the pressure-sensitive screen, making it a fantastic gaming phone actually. The Black Shark 5 Pro I think was also a great phone, just that the price was too high – even higher than the ROG Phone 6’s starting price.
Then came the ROG Phone 6 Pro. It was the first phone with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and it performed fantastically. The gaming experience was great and it never overheats, and works with a bunch of optional accessories – but ultimately, there was no reason to buy the Pro variant as the only benefit you get is this screen.
After that, we need to take a look at the Samsung Galaxy A23. This is the cheapest phone with OIS and I think it sets a precedent on what a proper mid-range smartphone camera should have.
ZTE Blade V40 Vita comes next and I do like this phone because of its price. As an entry-level smartphone, you can’t go wrong with this.
OnePlus Nord 2T 5G comes next – and it is the second OnePlus phone that I’ve used. The first one being the OnePlus One. I actually like this phone a lot. OnePlus got many things right.
Then comes the OPPO Reno8 Pro – as a summary, it’s a good phone but the price is just too high.
We also have another OnePlus here – the OnePlus 10T. It ticks all the right boxes and it’s a fantastic phone but it just feels very generic – especially the removal of the alert slider.
Then both the foldable phones – Galaxy Z Flip4 and Galaxy Z Fold4. They’re both pretty much last year’s Z Flip3 and Z Fold4 but with a lot of fine-tuning and software optimization to provide a better user experience. With that extra year of warranty that we’re getting, Samsung managed to sweeten up the deal for everyone in Malaysia.
Then comes the OPPO A77s. I actually like this phone despite its 720p screen. It offers good value for money.
Then finally – the ROG Phone 6D. This phone came late to the market and you can watch our full review at the top right corner there. In short, this phone lets us directly compare the differences between a flagship Snapdragon and a flagship MediaTek chipset with no other variables. Both chipsets are made by TSMC and it is clear as day that TSMC is not magical. The MediaTek chipset performs hotter and poorer even with the AeroActive Cooler 6 attached – and that just proves that your chipset’s architecture plays a big role in creating a good chipset.
Best entry-level smartphone
For the best entry-level smartphone, I have to give it to the ZTE Blade V40 Vita. It’s a fantastic phone for its price and you can actually get it at lower than the recommended price of RM629 right now.
The honorable mention goes to the Infinix Note 12 G96 as it is also another fantastic phone but at a higher price, obviously.
Best smartphone under RM1,000
Best smartphone under RM1,500
For the next category of phones under RM1,500, we have a few contenders. I think I’ll choose the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G for its excellent performance and hardware – but like usual with any Xiaomi/Redmi/POCO phones, the software is always divisive. It depends on whether or not you can tolerate MIUI or not.
Best smartphone under RM2,000
Then for phones under RM2,000, there isn’t much in this category. I’ll give it to the Xiaomi 12T. The phone has a proper set of hardware – especially OIS and the Dimensity 8100 chipset – and those are the things that make this phone stand out.
Best foldable smartphone
We’ll quickly give both the Galaxy Z Fold4 and the Galaxy Z Flip4 as the best foldable devices because 1. there is literally no competition and 2. other foldables are not available locally. Don’t @ me with Huawei foldables because there is no GMS on those devices and yet many apps and users rely on them.
Best gaming smartphone
As for the best gaming phone of the year, I’ll have to give it to the ROG Phone 6. Even though we’re showing the Pro variant, I never recommend anyone to buy it. The base version is good enough as you’ll get the same hardware, same motherboard design, same cooling system, same battery capacity, same fast charging, and also the same screen. The Pro version is for bragging rights as you’ll get this fancy screen with 16GB or 18GB RAM (I forgot) that you probably won’t even use more than 50%.
However, in our ROG Phone 6D review, we also proven the point that even though both the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipsets were both chipsets by TSMC’s 4nm process, the chipset architecture optimization is crucial. Watch our video for our in-depth comparison.
Best overall smartphone
As for the best phone of the year, I’ll have to give it to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. I mean, it’s a fantastic phone. The screen is color-accurate, vivid, and the brightness can go up to 700 nits maximum. The overall design is marvelous and it comes with an S Pen now since it is literally supposed to be a Galaxy Note. The software updates on this phone were pushed out quickly and it is also one of the first devices to get Android 13.
Best smartphone software
How about software then? Well, I’ll give it to Samsung’s One UI – specifically the version in the Galaxy Z Fold series. Yes, I said “series” because all the Galaxy Z Fold phones – including the original Galaxy Fold – got the new One UI update with the taskbar too. This improved the usability of foldable devices by multiple magnitudes.
Personal award – which phone has my SIM card?
One more personal award that I want to give out – which phone has my SIM card inside? That phone is the Galaxy Z Fold4. I have always liked being able to unfold into a larger screen. The Android 12L and subsequently Android 13 updates with the taskbar made multitasking much better and I enjoyed using this phone so much. Even the battery life is a lot better thanks to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset.
However, this phone is not perfect since there are some third-party software compatibility issues – like YouTube not giving me the option to post shorts and Lazada not scaling properly if I unfold the device.
It’s sad to see such issues since the Fold series had been around for so many years and these issues were highlighted many times before, but they are still not fixed.
Recap for the year 2022
So, as a recap for the year 2022. I think everything has risen in price and the smartphone launches have also slowed down, especially in the second half of the year. The argument of buying 4G instead of 5G version of a phone is kinda invalid now since all phones have moved to 5G-only, even though 5G is still inaccessible to many people.
What we wish for 2023
So, looking forward to 2023, what would I like to see? First of all, no more 2MP macro cameras. They should not exist anymore. At least give us an autofocusing macro lens.
Then, the question regarding how much RAM a phone has. Seriously, if you have 8GB RAM then you’re good to go. Don’t worry. You can watch our video explaining why too much RAM is wasteful.
And that’s the end of 2022. This was a fantastic year but we learned a lot and we also hope that we were able to provide you with the information you need before purchasing a product. Thanks for your support for subscribing, liking, commenting, and sharing our videos. That means a lot to us – and I hope to grow our community even more in the near future.
Seriously, for you to click on our affiliate links really helps a lot.