Best business smartphones 2022: The top handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more
The best smartphones on the market today that are packed with business-focused features
Increasingly, the smartphone is a central part of your business life. With cloud software syncing everything from email to spreadsheets between devices, your smartphone is often your desk away from desk.
That means you need a handset with the power to handle anything you throw at it, a sharp screen and battery life that won’t let you down when you need it. And because phones are for pleasure as well as work, a quality camera is also something to look out for.
What to look for in a business smartphone
When shopping for a smartphone, it’s easy to be lured into thinking that you should simply go with whichever device boasts the highest specs - but this isn’t always the case, and in some instances, more technically advanced devices can actually offer a less satisfying experience.
For example, while a super-powerful processor may seem attractive, most flagship phones have far more CPU power than the average user needs, so unless you’re planning on using your phone to handle extremely demanding tasks like professional videography, you may find that a mid-range processor offers better value for money. It may also result in better battery life thanks to less power-hungry components, which applies equally to screen technology.
The higher a display’s resolution and refresh rate, the more charge will be needed to power it, which can quickly sap your battery. While most devices with a high refresh rate also include dynamic optimisations to mitigate this, it’s nonetheless worth bearing in mind. Generally, you should aim for a resolution of between 1080p and 1440p, and a refresh rate of at least 60Hz, which will ensure the best blend between battery life and user experience.
Regardless of how long the battery lasts, however, you should make sure to look for devices that include fast-charging support, as this will inevitably come in handy at some point. Wireless charging is also a nice feature to have, but unless you own a wireless charging pad, or your work has them dotted around the office, it's unlikely to be a feature you use very often.
You should, however, make sure that your chosen phone supports Wi-Fi 6 and 5G; these technologies may still be comparatively nascent, but skip this functionality and you may need to upgrade sooner than planned as it becomes more widespread.
Are iPhones or Android phones better for business use?
There’s a certain amount of animosity that can sometimes be observed when it comes to Android vs iPhone; Android fans contend that Apple devices are needlessly expensive, prone to failure and restrictive to use, while iPhone devotees insist that Android devices are cheaply-made, poor quality hardware brimming with malware.
All of these arguments have grains of truth behind them, but on balance, it’s iOS that comes up trumps for business. As the dominant platform, it tends to be prioritised by software developers, and although high-end manufacturers like Samsung and Google can offer experiences that compete with Apple’s smartphones, the wider Android ecosystem does contain more than its fair share of duds.
However, the simple fact is that in most cases, Android and iOS are equally capable for business users. The software required for business smartphones - enterprise collaboration apps, document management systems, device management tools, and so on - are all available across both platforms, and as long as organisations don’t try and cut too many corners on the price of the unit itself, device quality is unlikely to be an issue.
How often should I update my employees’ company smartphones?
Smartphone technology moves at a seemingly breakneck pace, and every year manufacturers are touting more and more impressive specs and features. This leaves businesses with a dilemma: do they invest more money in upgrading employees’ devices every year or so, or do they sweat them for a longer period and risk missing out on the latest capabilities?
The key thing to bear in mind is that many of the features these newer smartphones boast are geared towards personal use, as opposed to business. While an improved camera is nice for taking holiday snaps, it doesn’t make much difference for most workers’ day-to-day use. With this in mind, it’s better to invest in buying higher-end devices and sweating them for a longer period of three to five years, which will offer better long-term value.
Should I get a 5G business smartphone contract?
5G has been around for a number of years now, but its introduction somehow doesn’t seem as revolutionary as previous generations of mobile broadband. Many contracts will now include 5G connectivity as standard, but it’s still worth paying a bit extra to secure a business smartphone contract that supports the latest standard - assuming your corporate devices do as well.
When employees are on the road - or working flexibly from a third location - the added speed and stability that 5G can offer is an excellent way to ensure consistent productivity, and sharing a 5G connection via hotpot can even be used as a backup broadband connection for PCs and laptops in the event of a connection failure.
Best business smartphones 2022
Apple iPhone 13
|Super-fast A15 Bionic chip||Limited expandable storage options|
|Decent battery life||-|
For some, only iOS will do, and the iPhone 13 is a brilliant handset. Yes, it may lack some of the camera tricks and the 120Hz screen of the Pro model, but it shares the same Apple A15 Bionic chip that makes it faster than anything else out there and a display that few other handsets can match.
It may not be a huge upgrade from the iPhone 12, and we were certainly irritated by the lack of expandable storage, but those niggles aside, the iPhone 13 is a handset that you won’t be disappointed with, and we feel the boost to battery life will be worth the price of admission alone.
Apple A15 Bionic (5nm)
6.1in, 60Hz, 1170 x 2532 (OLED, 60Hz)
Price when reviewed: £779 exc. VAT
Read our full Apple iPhone 13 review for more information.
Oppo Find X3 Pro
|Sleek design||Disappointing battery life|
Oppo may not be a household name in Europe, but give it a few years and it certainly will be, especially if the company keeps pumping out handsets as good as the Find X3 Pro.
While we could heap praise on its sleek design, its fast performance and superb cameras, the real star of the show is how fast it charges. Thanks to 65W wired charging, the 4,500mAh battery can go from empty to full in under half an hour, which makes it an ideal handset for those who frequently find themselves topping up. That's essential for a device like this, as its actual battery life isn't the best.
6.7in, 3216 x 1440 (OLED, 120Hz)
Price when reviewed: £916 exc. VAT
Read our full Oppo Find X3 Pro review for more information.
OnePlus 9 Pro
|Appealing design||Expensive for a OnePlus device|
OnePlus handsets used to sell by undercutting its high-end competitors on price and not performance, but the OnePlus 9 Pro is stopping at nothing to be one of the best handsets around, and broadly speaking it achieves its aim even if it costs a bit more as a result.
The design is superb, the Snapdragon 888 processor means it goes toe to toe with any Android handset in this list, and the screen is simply fantastic. As it shares the same parent company as Oppo, it’s unsurprising that the 65W charger is included here, too, allowing the phone to hit 90% capacity in under half an hour.
We found that photos were a touch overexposed, and it’s no longer the cheap option, but the OnePlus 9 Pro remains a triumph that any buyer will be happy with.
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm)|
|Display||6.7in, 1440 x 3216 (AMOLED, 120Hz)|
Price when reviewed: £829 exc. VAT
Read our full OnePlus 9 Pro review for more information.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
|Highly versatile with S Pen support||-|
Ultra by name and ultra by nature, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is a phenomenal phone, but your wallet will certainly feel it, given it starts at £1,199 excluding VAT.
Does it justify that ungoldy price tag? We think it does. The 6.8in screen is bold and beautiful, performance is snappy, and it provides amazing photography, even if the 100x ‘Space Zoom’ is a touch gimmicky. It even adds S Pen support, making it a good alternative for those still mourning the loss of the Samsung Galaxy Note range. This is one incredibly versatile device.
Exynos 2100 (5nm)
6.8in, 1440 x 3200 (AMOLED, 120Hz)
Price when reviewed: £1,199 exc. VAT
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review for more information.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
|Intelligent processor||Obnoxious camera bar|
|Easy to use||-|
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is a bit of a revolution in smartphone terms. It may be strange to look at with its large camera bar, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and we feel the Google Pixel 6 Pro offers the most bang for your buck in this list.
Powered by the company’s brand new Tensor chip, it’s no slouch, and was able to cope with any app we could throw at it. Google phones have always offered superb camera processing, and with the Pixel 6 Pro, the 50MP camera finally does this justice, ensuring phenomenal shots even in the hands of amateurs.
Plus as a Google phone, you’re guaranteed to get Android updates first — as well as guaranteed security updates until 2026. All of this for £708 excluding VAT is an absolute steal.
Google Tensor (5nm)
6.5in, 3120 x 1440 (OLED, 120Hz)
Price when reviewed: £708 exc. VAT
Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review for more information.
Oppo X3 Lite
|Excellent value for money||No expandable storage|
|Long battery life||-|
A business smartphone doesn't always have to mean premium, and there are some cheaper devices out there that fit the bill just fine. The ‘Lite’ version of the Oppo Find X3 Pro, for instance, is about as good as budget buys can be.
To reach its price of £315 excluding VAT, the Oppo Find X3 Lite has to make a few understandable sacrifices. Here, the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G takes charge, but there’s still an impressive 8GB RAM and a 1080p AMOLED display capable of outputting at 90Hz. Best of all, the phenomenal fast charging is almost as impressive as its more expensive sibling, with the 4,300mAh battery capable of going from empty to full in under 40 minutes.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G (7nm)
6.4in, 2400 x 1080 (AMOLED, 90Hz)
Price when reviewed: £315 exc. VAT
Read our full Oppo Find X3 Lite review for more information.
Xiaomi Mi 11
|Stunning 120Hz display||Battery life isn't the best|
|Packed with features||-|
Following Huawei’s ongoing troubles with the United States, Xiaomi has risen up to fill the gap, and is now one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers on the planet. The Xiaomi Mi 11 is a great example of why the success is thoroughly deserved.
It offers superb performance thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor paired with 8GB RAM, and the 6.8in AMOLED screen is big and beautiful too, offering 2K resolution and 120Hz output. The battery life is a touch underwhelming, but it still lasted nearly 17 hours in our test, so only power users should be worried. Everybody else should marvel at how Xiaomi has made this wonder available for just £624 excluding VAT.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm)
6.8in, 3200 x 1440 (AMOLED, 120Hz)
Price when reviewed: £624 exc. VAT
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 11 review for more information.
Huawei P40 Pro Plus
|Sleek and stylish||Limited access to popular apps|
|Superb display||On the expensive side|
The Huawei P40 Pro Plus is a tough sell in 2022, but through no fault of the Chinese giant. Its continued problems with the United States means it can only use the open source version of Android, with no access to Google apps like Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, or even the Play Store.
That means that you’re stuck with Huawei’s own app store, but if you can live with that, then this is absolutely still worth a look thanks to its stylish design, great performance, amazing screen and “the best smartphone camera money can buy.” Even at £1,083 excluding VAT, it’s still worth a look if Google apps aren’t the be all and end all for you.
Kirin 990 5G (7nm)
6.58in, 1200 x 2640 (OLED, 90Hz)
Price when reviewed: £1,083 exc. VAT
Read our full Huawei P40 Pro Plus review for more information.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
|Incredibly versatile||Very expensive|
|Superb performance||Underwhelming battery life|
Why carry around a phone and a tablet when you can have both in a single device? The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 may be expensive, but it goes a long way to justifying its price by offering the form factor of both a smartphone and a tablet.
When closed, it offers the dimensions of a standard (if somewhat chunky) 6.7in smartphone. Unfold it, it’s transformed into a sizable 7.6in tablet, complete with S Pen support for note taking and doodling.
And the specs are top notch, too, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and a massive 12GB of RAM. There’s no microSD slot support, and battery life could be better, but if you’ve got the budget, this is a fabulous foldable.
Snapdragon 888 5G (5nm)
6.7in/7.6in, 832 x 2268/1768 x 2208 (AMOLED, 120Hz)
Price when reviewed: £1,699 exc. VAT
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review for more information.
How we test
We measure the effectiveness of a smartphone in a number of ways; to test the quality of the display, we’ll use a colour calibrator and the open source DisplayCal app to measure how much of the sRGB colour gamut it covers, as well as the Delta-E rating. This tells us how much of the colour spectrum it’s able to represent, and how accurate those colours are. We’ll also test the maximum brightness and contrast ratio.
Performance testing is carried out using the Geekbench 5 benchmark app, which gives separate results for single-core and multi-core operations. For phones that don’t support this app, we’ll use a different benchmarking app, then run that same app on a phone which does support Geekbench, and then use that as a basis for comparison.
To test the battery of a smartphone, we’ll charge it to 100%, use the calibrator to set the brightness to 170cd/m2 (or as near as possible) and then play a looped video in flight mode until the battery runs out. This gives us a figure that can be compared across models, but to assess real-world longevity, we track how long the battery lasts on average during our testing period.
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