I used all Android flagships of 2022 — this is the phone you should buy

OnePlus 10 Pro vs. Google Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

I get to use a lot of phones. As we head into Q4 and what will be a busy holiday season, I've already gone through over 40 phones. Although a majority of phones I use tend to be aimed at the mid-range category, I tried out all flagships released over the last 12 months. 

That includes the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4, Galaxy S22 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro Max, Pixel 6 Pro, Find X5 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, Xiaomi 12 Pro, 12S Ultra, ASUS Zenfone 9, and the Realme GT 2 Pro. Of all the devices I used this year, one stands out in particular: the Pixel 6 Pro.

Because of the frenetic launch cycle at the start of the year, I could only use the Pixel 6 Pro for any extended amount of time three months ago. I've always liked Pixel devices for their software and camera prowess, so I couldn't wait to get started with the Pixel 6 Pro. 

What was immediately evident after I switched to the Pixel 6 Pro as my daily driver was the fluidity. All Pixels I've used up to this point felt somehow lacking on the hardware front; they never really measured up to their rivals. But that wasn't the case with the Pixel 6 Pro.

Thanks to the custom Tensor platform and software optimization, the Pixel 6 Pro held its own against the best Android phones, and that's true to this day. After nearly three months of use — and most of it on the Android 13 beta — I have zero issues with the device.

There are two areas where the Pixel 6 Pro has a big lead over all other phones: software and cameras. Google's software efforts with Material You makes Android that much more fun to use, and I like the bright colors and redesigned widgets. Pixel-first features like Now Playing and Recorder are small additions, but they make a big difference in day-to-day use. There's also something to be said for the fact that the Pixel 6 Pro has no bloatware — I can't say the same for most flagships. 

The best part? It's an insane value. The Pixel 6 Pro launched for $899, but it's now available for just $649, making it one of the best bargains of the year. In fact, the price is lower than during Amazon's summer deals event, which is when I initially wrote this post. 

Google Pixel 6 Pro: (opens in new tab)

Google Pixel 6 Pro: $899 $649 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The Pixel 6 Pro has a vibrant 120Hz AMOLED screen combined with powerful hardware, amazing cameras, stellar battery life, and all the extras you need. If you want clean software and a phenomenal camera, this is the phone to buy. 

Then there are the cameras. The Pixel 6 Pro combines Google's software wizardry with custom hardware and great new lenses that make the phone stand out a lot more. 

The result is that the Pixel 6 Pro continues to take outstanding photos. What it does better than any other phone is portrait shots of inanimate objects — I took these photos of the Nothing phone (1) from the Pixel 6 Pro, and they're on par with what I would get from my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. 

All flagships take great photos in any situation. The Pixel 6 Pro does it on the first try itself, and that's something I don't get with any other phone. 

With the Pixel 6 Pro now selling for $649 (opens in new tab) — $250 off its usual retail price — it is a terrific value that's hard to pass up. I like the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Samsung's latest foldables, and as good as Samsung's phones have been this year, they just don't have the same value as the Pixel 6 Pro. For under $700, there isn't a better deal around. 

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.