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Best Android phones 2022: which Google-powered phone should you buy in the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

The best Android phones including Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, OnePlus 9 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (left), Samsung Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9 Pro (Image credit: Samsung, OnePlus)

Picking out the best Android phones can be tricky, but our guide is here to help, as we've highlighted the best of the best available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the rest of the Middle East

We've ranked our selection in order of preference, and included an overview and specs list for each, plus an at-a-glance look at their best and worst aspects, so you can more easily make a buying decision.

Don't just grab the number one entry, as another phone here might be better for you - consider what you need from a smartphone, and how much you want to spend. As these are the best models they also tend to be expensive, but there are sometimes exceptions.

So have a read through and you’re sure to find something that will catch your eye, but if not, it’s worth also checking out our best smartphone and best iPhone. You might also want 5G on your phone in 2021, so we've compiled the best 5G phones too.

Best Android phones 2022: which is for you?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
A top tier smartphone, and it takes our best crown

Specifications

Release date: January 2021
Weight: 227g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP

Reasons to buy

+
The best camera zoom
+
Mesmerizing design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive at any level
-
No microSD card slot

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung’s top, premium flagship for 2021, and what a phone it is. For the first time Samsung has offered S Pen support on an S-range handset here, meaning that you can optionally get the Galaxy Note range’s best feature.

But even without that, this is a stunning handset, with a brilliant quad-lens camera capable of 10x optical zoom. In fact, in our review we called it the best camera zoom on any readily available Android phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also looks great, with a smooth Gorilla Glass back that has a matte finish that looks better than the reflective Galaxy S20 range, while around the front there’s a curved edge-to-edge 6.8-inch screen.

And speaking of that screen, for the first time on a Samsung phone you get both a QHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate at the same time. And being a high-end Samsung screen this is one of the best around.

There’s also oodles of power of course, and while obviously very expensive, this actually has a cheaper starting price than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra did at launch.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Huawei does it again

Specifications

Weight: 195g
Dimensions: 158.8 x 72.8 x 8.5 mm
OS: EMUI 12
Screen size: 6.6-inch
Resolution: 1228 x 2700
CPU: Snadgradon 888
RAM: 8GB/12GB
Storage: /256GB/512GB
Battery: 4,360mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 64MP + 13MP + 40MP
Front camera: 13MP

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent primary camera
+
Fast wired and wireless charging

Reasons to avoid

-
No 5G capabilities
-
No Google services

Huawei is no stranger to producing excellent camera phones and thus it's no surprise to see the Huawei P50 Pro land on top of our list of best camera phones.

There's plenty of tech here- four AI-powered Leica cameras. The primary wide camera has a 50MP sensor, and this is teamed with a 64MP periscope telephoto lens capable of 3.5x optical zoom, a 13MP ultra-wide lens, and a 40MP monochrome sensor.

Given this hardware, it comes as no surprise that the P50 Pro can take stunning images. We were rarely left disappointed with the cameras, especially during the day. Pictures came out sharp, detailed and with a wide dynamic range. 

When it comes to video capture, the P50 Pro can record up to 4K video at 60fps. Both the primary wide lens and the periscope telephoto lens have optical image stabilization.

Read our full Huawei P50 Pro review

OnePlus 9 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)
The best Android phone for ultra-wide shots

Specifications

Release date: March 2021
Weight: 197g
Dimensions: 163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
The best OnePlus camera phone
+
Great power

Reasons to avoid

-
High price - but worth it
-
No microSD support

There was a time when OnePlus phones cut a few corners to achieve a lower price than rivals, but that’s no longer the case with the OnePlus 9 Pro. While it’s still slightly cheaper than most comparable handsets, it’s a top phone in every way.

As well as having a big, sharp and all-round high-quality 120Hz screen, top-end power from its Snapdragon 888 chipset, a big battery with fast charging whether wired or wireless (at 65W and 50W respectively), and a premium metal and glass build – with water resistance, it’s also by far the best OnePlus camera phone.

This is notable as it’s an area the company has previously struggled to compete in, but the OnePlus 9 Pro is the first fruit of a new partnership with Hasselblad, and the camera brand’s expertise shows, leaving us impressed in our review.

All this high-end tech does mean the OnePlus 9 Pro is more expensive than the range used to be, and that’s the main point against it, but it’s hard to argue you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Read more: OnePlus 9 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy S21

(Image credit: Samsung)
Not the best of the S series, but nevertheless great

Specifications

Release date: January 2021
Weight: 169
Dimensions: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.2-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB / 256GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 64MP + 12MP
Front camera: 10MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic, versatile camera
+
Cheaper than the Galaxy S20

Reasons to avoid

-
No microSD support
-
Screen isn’t the best

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is the most basic and affordable of the Galaxy S21 range, but it has a lot going for it beyond its relatively low price.

The triple-lens camera is highly versatile, including the three core lenses that we’d expect from a premium smartphone – namely a main one, a telephoto, and an ultra-wide. They all perform well too.

There’s also high-end power, solid battery life, and an AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. At 6.2 inches it’s also a lot more compact than the rest of the S21 range, so it’s ideal if you don’t want a massive phone.

And beyond being the most affordable of the range, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is actually a step down in price from its predecessor, so it’s a bit of a bargain – though to achieve that the screen resolution has been dropped to Full HD+, and the back of the phone is ‘Glasstic’ rather than actual glass.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S21 review

Xiaomi Mi 11

(Image credit: Xiaomi)
Xiaomi's 2021 flagship

Specifications

Release date: March 2021
Weight: 196g
Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.6mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,600mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 13MP + 5MP
Front camera: 20MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great photography modes
+
Fast performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Temperamental fingerprint scanner
-
Weak battery life

The Xiaomi Mi 11 isn’t even the top of the Mi 11 range – that’s the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, but it’s still a top Android handset, benefitting from high-end power and a highly capable camera.

There’s a 108MP f/1.9 main lens and a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-wide, both of which perform well, but the camera highlight is actually its 5MP telemacro snapper, which is far better than the macro cameras on most phones, and functions from further away from the subject.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 also has a great 6.81-inch 1440 x 3200 AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a battery that charges fast both wired and wireless.

The actual battery life wasn’t amazing in our tests, and we’d have liked to see a telephoto camera included, but otherwise the Xiaomi Mi 11 is a great flagship.

Read more: Xiaomi Mi 11 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)
An Ultra-sized phone

Specifications

Release date: August 2020
Weight: 208g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.9-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3088
CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus / Exynos 990
RAM: 12GB
Storage: 128/256/512GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 108MP, 12MP, 12MP
Front camera: 10MP

Reasons to buy

+
Useful S Pen features
+
Great-looking screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow charging
-
Ultra-expensive

Samsung's super-premium Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was released last year but still holds up really well. With excellent specs, a great-looking screen, and special features for the S Pen stylus which comes included in the phone, the Note 20 Ultra gives you added versatile ways to use your device.

Sure it's expensive, and pretty huge, and doesn't actually have all the bells and whistles of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But those weaknesses are made up for with plenty of advantages.

This is a real top-end phone with top specs in every sector, so if your budget (and hand) can stretch for it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra may really be one worth considering.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

OnePlus 9

(Image credit: OnePlus)
The best Android phone for a flagship feel at a lower cost

Specifications

Release date: March 2021
Weight: 192g
Dimensions: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.55-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Great specs for the cost
+
Good camera

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto camera
-
Lack of flagship-material polish

The OnePlus 9 is a lesser phone than the OnePlus 9 Pro in a number of ways, but it’s also quite a bit cheaper, and arguably keeps the soul of its pricier sibling intact, so it remains one of the best Android phones.

For one thing it retains the Hasselblad branding (and the camera expertise that goes with that), as well as having the same camera hardware as the OnePlus 9 Pro – minus that phone’s telephoto snapper.

The OnePlus 9 also has just as much power as the 9 Pro (or for that matter as pretty much any other early 2021 flagship), and while its screen is a step down it’s still great – it’s a 6.55-inch FHD+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The battery charges quickly (at 65W), plus there’s an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and a glass back – which even the Galaxy S21 doesn’t have. The OnePlus 9 does settle for a plastic frame, which we were slightly disappointed by, but that’s arguably less noticeable than a plastic rear, and you’re unlikely to feel short-changed by the phone.

Read more: OnePlus 9 review

How we tested

Every phone in this list has been put through a rigorous review in which we tested every aspect of it. That allows us to say with confidence which Android phones are the best, and how they compare to each other.

What should I look for when choosing an Android phone?

Screen size and resolution, battery life, power, camera performance and price tend to be the main things to consider when buying an Android phone. The best ones will excel in most or all areas - but often at a high price. And when it comes to the screen, bigger isn't always better. If you have small hands or want to use your phone one-handed, then you may want to consider something more compact.

Which Android phone brand is the best?

No one Android phone brand is definitively the best, but Samsung's flagships tend to be among the very best Android phones. However, Xiaomi, Oppo and others often bring out great phones too.

Which phone has the best camera?

The best camera phone changes regularly, but our current top pick is the Huawei P50 Pro. That doesn't mean it will be the best choice for everyone though - consider what you actually need from your camera phone before choosing one.