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Super Smartphones: Best Mobiles of 2022 – 2023

With the next generation of smartphones on the horizon, we circle back to the best of the present, and decide who came out on top.

In the fast-paced realm of smartphones, innovation never sleeps. Every year, we’re introduced to devices that redefine our understanding of technology. Just as we’re marveling at the prowess of the current flagships, whispers of the iPhone 15’s announcement ripple through the tech community.

But before we leap into the future, let’s anchor ourselves in the present. Four titans stand tall in this era: the Samsung S23 Ultra, iPhone 14 Pro Max, Google Pixel 7 Pro, and the One Plus 11. As we embark on this comparative journey, we’ll uncover the essence of what makes each of these devices a marvel in its own right.

Round 1: Design and Build

The allure of a smartphone often begins with its design. The Samsung S23 Ultra, with its sleek dimensions and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection, exudes a blend of elegance and resilience. Its weight strikes a balance between heft and comfort, making it a joy to hold.

Price: From £845.00

The iPhone 14 Pro Max follows a legacy of meticulous design. Its dimensions, slightly more compact, are complemented by a fusion of glass and stainless steel, encapsulating Apple’s signature luxury.

Price: £750.00 

The Google Pixel 7 Pro offers a harmonious blend of form and function. Its dimensions mirror the industry’s standards, and the use of Gorilla Glass Victus ensures durability without compromising aesthetics.

Price: From £400.00 

The One Plus 11 stands out with its sleek design, weighing in at 205g and boasting a thickness of 8.53mm. Crafted meticulously, it embodies a design philosophy that seamlessly marries minimalism with functionality. Its build quality is top-notch, often rivaling, if not surpassing, its pricier competitors.

Price: £0.00 

Round 2: Display

A phone’s display is its window to the world.

The Samsung S23 Ultra dazzles with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen, ensuring visuals that are both vibrant and sharp. Its HDR10+ support and peak brightness levels promise a cinematic experience in the palm of your hand.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max offers a 6.7-inch LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED display. With its unique calibration and Dolby Vision support, every image feels lifelike, and every video becomes an immersive experience.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro steps into the ring with a 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED display, ensuring clarity and vibrancy in every pixel. Its HDR10+ capabilities further enhance the viewing experience.

The One Plus 11 showcases a 6.7-inch Super Fluid AMOLED display with LTPO technology. With a resolution of 3216*1440 (QHD+), it promises visuals that are both crisp and fluid. The dynamic refresh rate, ranging from 1-120 Hz, ensures smooth transitions and a vibrant display, making every interaction a delight.

Round 3: Performance

In the heart of a smartphone lies its engine, the driving force behind every tap, swipe, and click.

The Samsung S23 Ultra roars to life with Android 13, layered with Samsung’s One UI 5.1. At its core, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset ensures tasks are executed with finesse. With RAM options ranging from 8GB to a whopping 12GB and storage that can stretch up to 1TB, it’s clear that this device is built for both speed and space.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is a symphony of hardware and software. Running on iOS 16, it offers a seamless experience, thanks to Apple’s A16 Bionic chip. This powerhouse, paired with up to 6GB RAM and a maximum storage of 1TB, ensures that the device is always in harmony, no matter the task.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is Android in its purest form. Powered by Android 13 and the Google Tensor G2 chipset, it’s optimized for everything Google. With RAM that can go up to 12GB and storage options peaking at 512GB, it’s a testament to Google’s vision of performance.

The One Plus 11 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, ensuring top-tier performance. It offers configurations of up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM, paired with UFS 4.0 storage options of up to 256GB. Known for its OxygenOS, which offers a near-stock Android experience, it’s a device that often punches above its weight class.


Round 4 : Camera Capabilities

In an age of visual storytelling, a phone’s camera becomes its voice.

The Samsung S23 Ultra speaks volumes with its 200 MP primary sensor, flanked by telephoto and ultrawide lenses. Whether you’re capturing the grandeur of landscapes or the intricacies of a portrait, it’s equipped for brilliance. Its video capabilities, including 8K recording, ensure memories are preserved in the highest quality.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max offers a trio of lenses, each fine-tuned for perfection. With its primary, telephoto, and ultrawide sensors, it’s a canvas for creativity. The addition of Dolby Vision HDR in video recording adds a cinematic touch to every frame.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro shines with its 50 MP primary camera. Google’s computational photography ensures that every shot is a masterpiece. Its video capabilities, bolstered by gyro-EIS, promise smooth and clear footage.v

The OnePlus 11 boasts a primary camera equipped with a 50MP Sony IMX890 RGBW sensor with a 1/1.56″ size and a 24mm equivalent f/1.8 aperture lens, ensuring sharp and vibrant shots. This is complemented by Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) to reduce blurriness from hand movements.

For the selfie aficionados, each device offers a front camera that promises clarity, ensuring every selfie is profile-picture worthy.

Round 5: Battery Life

Battery life remains a key deciding factor when purchasing a smartphone.

The Samsung S23 Ultra is armed with a 5000 mAh battery, promising extended usage even for the power users. And when it’s time to recharge, its fast-charging capabilities ensure you’re back in action in no time.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max houses a 4323 mAh battery. Apple’s optimization ensures longevity, and with its fast-charging support, downtime is minimal.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro comes with a 5000 mAh battery, similar to its predecessor, the Pixel 6 Pro. However, despite the ample capacity, its battery life has been a point of contention. In real-world usage, with heavy use of messaging apps, social media, and navigation, the battery drops to 50% after just 4 hours. Our own tests revealed that the Pixel 7 Pro lasted only 9 hours and 21 minutes with adaptive refresh rate turned off at only 150 nits of brightness.

This is a significant drop from other competitors in the same range. One potential culprit could be its bright display, which consumes between 3.5 to 4 watts at 600 nits of brightness and up to a massive 6 watts at its max brightness of 1500 nits.

The One Plus 11 is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery, ensuring prolonged usage. Its 80W SUPERVOOC Charging capability ensures rapid battery top-ups, so you’re always powered up and ready to go.

In the world of smartphones, where every feature is power-hungry, having a reliable battery is crucial. While some of these phones excel in this department, others leave room for improvement. As always, real-world usage can vary, and it’s essential to consider individual usage patterns when evaluating battery life.

Round 6: Additional Features

Beyond the core specs, it’s the nuances that often elevate a phone from good to great.

When it comes to sound, the Samsung S23 Ultra offers stereo speakers that resonate with clarity, making every beat and dialogue stand out. Its connectivity suite is robust, featuring Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and NFC. And for those who seek a desktop experience on their phone, Samsung Dex is nothing short of revolutionary.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is no slouch in the audio department. Its stereo speakers are fine-tuned for an immersive experience. Connectivity-wise, it boasts Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, and NFC. But what truly sets it apart is Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition system that offers both security and convenience. Add to that the Ultra Wideband (UWB) support, and you have a device that’s future-ready.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro ensures crisp audio with its stereo speakers. It’s equipped with Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC, ensuring seamless connections. While it might not have a standout feature like Dex or Face ID, its pure Android experience is a unique selling point.

The One Plus 11 boasts Dual “Reality” Speakers with Dolby Atmos, ensuring impeccable sound quality. Its connectivity options are vast, often rivaling its pricier counterparts. Additionally, it offers unique features like the aforementioned 80W SUPERVOOC Charging, enhancing the user experience.

The Recap

As the curtains draw on our exploration of these tech titans, it’s evident that each phone carves its niche in the vast smartphone landscape.

The Samsung S23 Ultra is a powerhouse, boasting a new 200-megapixel main camera and a special version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 gen 2 chip. It’s perfect for those who want the latest and greatest in camera technology and performance.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max continues Apple’s legacy of seamless integration between hardware and software. With its new 48-megapixel main camera and Apple’s A16 Bionic chip, it’s the go-to choice for those deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem or those who prioritize a smooth and cohesive user experience.

The Google Pixel 7 Pro is for the Android purists. With its computational photography prowess and a pure Android experience, it’s ideal for those who want the best of what Android has to offer without any bloatware. However, its battery life has been a point of contention, which might be a consideration for power users.

The One Plus 11, often dubbed the flagship killer, continues to challenge the status quo. With its premium features, such as the 3rd Generation Hasselblad Camera and 80W SUPERVOOC Charging, it offers a genuinely top-tier experience at a competitive price point.

In conclusion, the best phone for you depends on your priorities:

  • For photography and performance: Samsung S23 Ultra
  • For a seamless ecosystem and user experience: iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • For pure Android and computational photography: Google Pixel 7 Pro
  • For value for money with top-tier specs: One Plus 11

Choose wisely, for the world of smartphones is vast, and the perfect device for your needs is out there, waiting to be discovered.

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