The smartphone market is constantly changing. There is a new phone launch almost every week. Before you decide to buy one, there are two more alternatives in the market. Yet few smartphones really amaze customers, especially at the flagship level. Most of the flagship Android phones come with incremental upgrades. This is a trend that you should also expect to continue in 2022.
There are a number of flagship Android smartphones that will be introduced in the first two months of this year. In fact, the Xiaomi 12 series has already started the ball rolling. Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro launched in China in the last week of 2021 itself. OnePlus is expected to introduce the OnePlus 10 Pro on January 11 while the Samsung Galaxy S22 series is next in line.
All of these smartphones look solid on paper. They will be equipped with the latest flagship processor – Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, have high-resolution cameras, and likely support fast charging technology. But, you can get all of this in previous generation flagship phones as well.
I mean Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is more powerful, but Snapdragon 888 and 888+ aren’t slow either. In fact, a two-year-old phone with Snapdragon 865 would perform just fine even now. We had the first 108-megapixel camera phone about two years ago, and it’s hard to push the sensors beyond that.
Even if they do, an iPhone 13 Pro with a 12-megapixel sensor handily beats any flagship Android phone. The big buzzword at the start of 2021 was “collaborations”. OnePlus has partnered with Hasselblad, Vivo has partnered with Zeiss to improve camera performance on their phones. They have led to mixed results.
Two phones that managed to get things excited were Xiaomi’s Mi 11 Ultra and Vivo’s X70 Pro + – for different reasons. Mi 11 Ultra was a brave attempt by Xiaomi. It was a bold flagship smartphone that tried to do some things differently. It had a one-of-a-kind secondary display on the back and even came with a larger sensor. In fact, more smartphone makers should be looking to use larger sensors instead of increasing megapixels.
Unfortunately, the first two smartphones in the Xiaomi 12 series have already ditched the secondary display. We’re still waiting for a Xiaomi 12 Ultra, but reports suggest even it won’t come with a secondary display.
Vivo X70 Pro + has proven to be the best Android phone for photography to date. I won’t say it was better than iPhones, but came very close in most conditions.
Then there were Samsung’s foldable smartphones, which have their own appeal but are still far from mainstreaming. This year’s Galaxy Fold 3 and Flip 3 closed the gap with other flagship phones, but still made some compromises in a few departments.
Is there any reason to be excited about the 2022 flagship phones?
It looks like we’ll be getting similar devices over the next 12 months, more or less. Still, there is little to look forward to. The first is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy S22 series. It should be watched closely because this is the first time that Samsung has integrated the Galaxy S series into the Note range.
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also had support for the S Pen, but required users to purchase it separately. The Galaxy S22 Ultra will have an S Pen slot in the device, just like Note smartphones.
OnePlus 10 Pro will give us a first clear idea of the OnePlus-Oppo integration we are talking about so much. It will be interesting to see if the smartphone maker is helped by this merger or ends up losing its uniqueness, as many have predicted.
Finally, Xiaomi’s flagship phones will give us a clear idea of the company’s ambitions. The smartphone maker has definitely shifted its focus from affordable smartphones to more premium offerings. But how far can he go?
And, in the midst of it all, Vivo and Realme may actually be the black horses. Realme have tried working on different designs while the next X series phone is expected to take smartphone photography to the next level.
However, we shouldn’t expect anything revolutionary from Android smartphones in 2022. Most of the time, it will be the same usual boring affair.