We have seen some excellent smartphone releases over the past couple of years. If you’re a Verizon customer, you have no shortage of options to choose from in the States.
Whether you need a smartphone on a budget or you want some of the most bleeding-edge hardware available out there, you can take advantage of Verizon’s offers and discounts by choosing from their current catalog of budget and flagship smartphones. This list will include both iOS and Android devices in all kinds of price ranges, and will also include full support for Verizon’s network, including their 5G network.
Navigate this guide:
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is currently the most premium smartphone in Samsung’s current lineup, and it’s quite a flex of technical prowess. Essentially, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the best screen, the most versatile camera system, the most smartphone software features, the most powerful SoC in Android, plus a stylus!
That huge 6.8-inch 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED screen in particular has to be seen to be believed. It gets brighter than any smartphone screen on the market, it is razor sharp and pumps out vibrant, gorgeous colors. It’s a great canvas for the S-Pen to shine too, allowing you to sketch, take notes, or make precision photo crops in photo editing apps. The Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t just the best screen in mobile, it’s probably better than any display you encounter in your daily life too. It’ll almost certainly make your work office monitor or car dashboard screen look weak by comparison.
Let’s move to the cameras: the Galaxy S22 Ultra has objectively the most versatile camera system right now, with four lenses that can capture sweeping ultra-wide shots all the way to 10X optical zoom. You can even digital zoom up to 100X, although photo quality drops off here. But if you stick to 30X or below, you get jaw-droppingly clean zoom shots that no other phone can pull off.
The main camera uses a 108MP sensor with a large image sensor, so it takes in a lot of light. Photo quality is generally awesome, though some argument can be made that the Google Pixel 6 or Vivo X80 Pro’s main cameras are a bit better. Still, this is at worst a top three best cameras in smartphones right now. Video recording prowess is also top-notch: the Galaxy S22 Ultra can shoot 8K videos, but at 4K/30fps is where the magic shines, you’ll get a crisp and sharp video with some of the best stabilization around.
On the software front, the Galaxy S22 Ultra runs Android 12 with Samsung’s OneUI, and it’s the most feature packed software, with ability to run open apps in floating windows, or output a desktop UI to an external monitor, or use the S-Pen stylus as a remote control for the phone. These are all things a plain ol’ Android phone can’t do.
Yes, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a pricey phone, but it’s objectively the “most” phone. You get more here for your dollar than any other flagship right now.
Runner-Up: Apple iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro brings quite a few changes this year. First, the notch is gone! In its place is a pill-shaped cutout that Apple has dubbed “Dynamic Island.” Yeah, the name is a bit silly, but it is a refined version of pop-up notification bubbles and mini widgets that blend into the cutout. Instead of trying to hide the cutout, Apple has embraced it with whimsical animations. It’s not going to fundamentally change how you use the iPhone, but it adds a nice visual flair and a shortcut to seeing more information.
The iPhone 14 Pro also gained a new SoC and camera system. On the silicon side, it’s now powered by the A16 Bionic, which is by far the most powerful silicon on the market. The main camera gained a larger sensor and a faster aperture, plus a higher resolution (48MP) sensor that uses a process called pixel binning to produce a 12MP photo. We haven’t had time to test the cameras yet, but Apple says the camera is significantly better in low light.
While the 3X telephoto zoom lens isn’t the longest zoom around, the photo quality is great. It’s also an ideal focal length for portraits. The ultra-wide camera is about one of the best ones on the market, with a sweeping wide field-of-view and consistent color science.
Where the iPhone 14 Pro remains king is video capabilities. Android smartphones have improved by leaps and bounds in video this year, but the iPhone 14 Pro’s videos are still the most stable, thanks to a new “Action Mode” that is essentially a souped-up EIS. iPhone 14 Pro’s videos will also adjust for changing dynamic range better than many Android phones. The iPhone 14 Pro can also switch lenses seamlessly mid-filming without the jerkiness that usually accompanies Android camera systems.
The rest of the iPhone package outside of the new cutout should be quite familiar to most readers. It’s still a boxy design with flat sides that feel very premium — particularly the stainless steel chassis — but may not be the most comfortable phone to hold. The 120Hz display looks great, and the animations are buttery smooth. The software has always been a strong point, and iOS 16 brought plenty of powerful new features like the ability to cut a subject/object from a photo (in other words, removing the background) with just a tap of your thumb. If you already own an iPad or Mac, the iPhone has excellent synergy with those devices — AirDrop, Continuity, etc– for a level of connectivity that Android devices still don’t offer.
Battery life is really good too, despite the modest battery size. This is thanks to Apple’s unrivaled synergy between hardware and software that allows everything in the iPhone to operate more efficiently. We at XDA still think the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a more capable phone, but the iPhone 14 Pro could easily make more sense for more people — it’s the most polished smartphone around.
Best Point-and-Shoot Camera: Google Pixel 6 Pro
The Google Pixel 6 Pro is the biggest upgrade Google has given to the Pixel cameras since, well, ever. Finally upgrading its main camera sensor after years, the 50MP, a 1/1.31-inch shooter can pull in lots of light while producing natural bokeh. Paired with Google’s own custom SoC the Tensor, the Pixel 6 series can essentially turn any scene, no matter lighting condition, into a good-looking shot that you can post to Instagram immediately.
While the Pixel 6 uses this same main camera sensor, the Pixel 6 Pro is a more complete system, featuring a Periscope zoom lens that’s missing in the standard model. At 4x optical zoom, the 6 Pro’s Periscope lens can also produce respectable zoom shots up to 15x before shots start to look a bit soft. This is a huge jump from previous Pixel phones.
There’s also a 12MP ultra-wide camera here that, while not as wide as most other smartphones’ ultra-wide, still can grab sweeping landscape shots without distortion. But ultimately, the main camera is where this system shines and this year, the Pixel 6 Pro can beat just about everyone, at least if we’re speaking for phones that sell in the U.S.
But it’s not just about cameras. The Google Pixel 6 series features a unique design that grabs attention, with a giant camera visor and unique two-tone colorway options. The Pixel 6 series also runs on a custom SoC designed by Google, named the Tensor. While not as technically capable as Qualcomm’s best chips, Tensor is designed to prioritize Google’s machine learning, and it is crazy smart. For example, the Pixel 6 Pro has the best voice dictation of any mobile device, by far. I can speak entire paragraphs and the Pixel 6 Pro can pick up what I said at an accuracy rate north of 95%. Any other smartphone, from an iPhone 13 Pro or a Galaxy S22 Ultra, would have picked up maybe 75% of what I said. Battery life is also good, with a large 5,003 mAh battery sufficiently powering the phone all day.
The awesome machine learning is also what makes the camera system so fun to play too, with creative shooting modes such as adding motion blur to a barely moving subject or digitally erasing unwanted elements from the background of photos.
There are some glaring weaknesses to the Pixel 6 Pro, including a display that doesn’t get as bright as other flagships, and an in-display fingerprint reader that’s quite slow. But ultimately, the Google Pixel 6 Pro has the best main camera of any phone selling in the U.S. and it has arguably the smartest, most personal user experience too.
Best Value: Google Pixel 6a
At $499 or just $25 a month with Verizon’s installment plan, the Google Pixel 6a is arguably the best value smartphone right now, because it brings much of what made the Pixel 6 Pro so awesome, at this more affordable price point. This phone runs on the same Google Tensor SoC, which has been proven to be a highly capable and intelligent chip for handling Google’s image processing. Tensor is so capable that despite the 6a using a camera system that’s older than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the 6a can still churn out beautiful images with on-point colors every time due to Google’s computational photography smarts.
Also, despite the OLED panel being a 60Hz screen, it’s still a vibrant panel wrapped by thin borders, with accurate colors and decent maximum brightness.
Of course, you still get the Google software experience here, including the awesome machine learning that allows the Pixel 6 to do a lot of smart tasks like translate text in real-time or digitally remove things and people from photos via “Magic Eraser.”
The unique design featuring a large visor-like camera strip and the two-tone colorway is here as well, plus the smaller, flatter 6.1-inch screen is much easier to hold for most people. At just 178g, the Pixel 6a is one of the more comfortable-feeling phones in the hand. You also still get IP68 water and dust resistance and stereo speakers, which some phones at this price may not offer.
The 4,410 mAh battery here isn’t as large as the Pixel 6 Pro’s, but it’s still large enough to power the phone all day even with moderate use. If you are a heavy user, you will have to top up the phone mid-afternoon or evening.
The software experience is identical to the Pixel 6 series, so you’re getting a lively, whimsical Pixel UI that’s full of customization options, as well as the fact this phone will always be the first to get the latest Android updates. But ultimately, the best feature of this phone is still the best-in-class main camera. The 50MP shooter has a large sensor and combined with Google’s best in the industry image processing, shots from this phone constantly look superb, with tremendous dynamic range and aesthetically pleasing color science.
Yes, there are cheaper phones on Verizon, but those devices have significantly inferior cameras and SoCs compared to what the Pixel 6a offers. For most American consumers, it’s hard to beat the Pixel 6a for the best value.
Runner up: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
The Galaxy A53 is Samsung’s 2022 mid-range offering and in the U.S., you can’t ask for more out of a phone at $499. It offers a 6.5-inch 120Hz Samsung Super AMOLED panel, a 5G ready Exynos chip that can handle daily tasks fine, and a large 5,000 mAh battery that can power the phone all day.
There are some compromises that had to be made at this price point, so you get a plasticky body instead of Gorilla Glass or aluminum, but Samsung applied this unique coating to give the back a grippy texture that doesn’t feel like cheap plastic. We are also a fan of the colorful back design.
The Exynos 1280 chip here is a 5nm SoC so it is relatively powerful whether it’s gaming or NetFlix watching. The large screen is flat, which some users like, and only interrupted by a small hole punch cutout housing a 32MP selfie camera.
The main camera here consists of a 64MP main camera that captures pixel binned 16MP images. Pixel binning is a software trick combining four pixels’ worth of data into one so the 16MP image packs more image information than a typical 16MP shot. The results captured by this camera can be quite good in ideal lighting conditions. The ultra-wide sensor gets the job done for the most part, but you’ll have to avoid low light situations as it really struggles there.
The phone runs on Samsung’s OneUI over Android 12, and it’s an intuitive and easy-to-use software. It’s worth noting, however, that Samsung DeX is not available here. Overall, the Galaxy A53 is a solid mid-range option if you want to save some money. But if you can pay a bit more, the Google Pixel 6 is a better phone.
Best Compact: Apple iPhone 13 Mini
The iPhone Mini series may be dead — Apple did not introduce a new Mini model with the iPhone 14 series. So if you’re someone who really needs or wants a compact phone that you can use with one hand easily, you may want to snap up the iPhone 13 Mini now while Verizon still has it in stock. There aren’t really comparable small and powerful Android phones available on Verizon, so the iPhone 13 Mini really is the only game in town. Despite being a year old, the 13 Mini is still plenty powerful, as the A15 Bionic SoC has aged very well.
You get a small but vibrant 5.4-inch OLED screen — though it is just a 60Hz panel — excellent stereo speakers, and a capable dual-lens main camera system. The 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide grab brilliant, bright, and sharp images. The main camera may not have as large an image sensor as the sensor used in the iPhone 13 or 14 Pro, but it’s still larger than the iPhone 12 Mini, this means you can shoot low-light photos without resorting to night mode as often. You can also switch seamlessly between the two lenses in ways you can’t with an Android phone.
The only downside to the iPhone 13 Mini is battery life, from our testing the phone can only last about seven to eight hours on a single charge. If you are heading out for the day, you may want to consider bringing your charger with you (but Apple doesn’t include one with the box) or a portable battery pack.
Best Foldable: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, even if it doesn’t bring major improvements over the Fold 3, is still the most impressive and ambitious piece of mobile hardware in smartphones sold in the US. It’s essentially a mini tablet that folds in half to become a smartphone — and Samsung has refined the software and hardware to the point that the transition is so seamless.
The Fold 4 brings back all the great about the Fold 3 — a gorgeous and vibrant 7.6-inch large folding display that closes like a book. Once folded, the outside 6.2-inch screen is large enough to use as a full-fledged smartphone. IPX8 water resistance return, as well as the sturdy aluminum frame. Gorilla Glass covers the front and back, and the hinge is sturdy and doesn’t feel flimsy. Samsung also shed some more weight off the Fold 4, so it tips the scales at 263g now, just barely heavier than a big Android phone with a case.
In years past, this 6.2-inch panel was a bit cramped, but Samsung improved matters a bit in the Fold 4 by widening the display slightly. It’s hard to notice right away, but it makes a difference. Samsung also shaved a few millimeters off the bulky hinge from years past — it no longer protrudes from the side as much as before.
The Fold 4 also got major upgrade in the optics. The main camera system now consists of a 50MP, f/1.9, a 1/1.55-inch image sensor that can grab sharp and vibrant images, day or night. The 12MP ultra-wide captures sweeping landscape shots and the 3X telephoto zoom lens is much improved over the Fold 3’s 2X zoom lens. This is a camera system that’s among the best in foldable phones, and can almost hold its own against the Galaxy S22 Ultra — though the latter still has a much better zoom lens.
The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor is a big upgrade over previous foldable phone processors, and the Fold 4’s software is very well optimized, without most of the app scaling issues that plague other foldables. Samsung introduced a “task bar” this year that allows you to quickly jump between apps. Multi-tasking on a foldable has never been easier.
The 4,400 mAh battery can also power the phone all day thanks to the superior Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1’s energy efficiency. While the price is still a bit high, but Verizon has plans that may lighten the load. If you are ultimately okay with the price — you won’t regret getting the Fold 4.
Best Battery Life: iPhone 14 Pro Max
If you don’t want to suffer from battery anxiety even on Saturdays when you’re out all day and night, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is probably the best bet — for now. We say for now because Apple actually said the iPhone 14 Plus has “the best battery life in an iPhone ever.” We assume that means the iPhone 14 Plus can outlast the 14 Pro Max. However, the 14 Plus is not on sale until October, so if you can’t wait, the 14 Pro Max is probably the current battery champion. Truth be told, the iPhone 14 Pro Max should offer long enough battery life for everyone — the Plus is almost like the cherry on the endurance sundae.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max brings all the awesomeness of the iPhone 14 Pro listed earlier, but in a bigger package (bigger screen, bigger battery). The new Dynamic Island will look even livelier on this 6.7-inch OLED display, and the Apple A16 Bionic will power the iPhone 14 Pro Max to excel at every task.
Apple has also made major improvements to the camera system: the main camera is now a 48MP, f/1.5 shooter with a larger image sensor, which means this camera should perform superbly at night. The other cameras also will improve in low light scenes thanks to a combination of a larger sensor and the Photonic Engine, which is Apple’s new computational photography algorithm for handling night photos.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is built like a tank, with stainless steel railings, Apple’s Ceramic Shield protecting the front and back glass, and its rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. Factor in iOS 16 and a host of new features including crash detection, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is one of the most complete package you’ll find in any smartphone. This phone is an absolute unit in every way that matters.
Best Budget Phone: Samsung Galaxy A13
If your budget is very tight, you can consider the Galaxy A13, which you can get via Verizon for $5 a month for 36 months (or pay $189 outright). You still get a good-sized 6.5-inch display that refreshes at 90Hz (I actually think this is the perfect size for Android screens, as the 6.7-inch used by flagships can be slightly unwieldy), a large 5,000 mAh battery that will certainly power this thing all day, and the Dimensity 700 silicon that offers enough power for many modern smartphone tasks.
There are a lot of compromises here going by 2022 smartphone standards: the display is just an LCD panel, the resolution is not the sharpest at 720 x 1600, and despite the triple-lens camera array, this phone lacks an ultra-wide or zoom lens. With only 2GB of RAM starting out, this isn’t the fastest phone around either.
But for five bucks a month with a $0 down payment, it’s hard to ask for more. This is still a functional phone that allows you to make calls, access the internet, run Android apps, and text friends and family without issues. The main camera, a 13MP f/2.2 lens, is also solid during the day. If you’re wondering what those two other lenses are — they’re 2MP sensors for macro and depth, and the less said about them the better.
You also get a functional 5MP selfie camera for video calls and selfies, and the phone supports external storage so you can bump up storage on your own terms. You also get dual SIM capability, a solid mono speaker system, and a headphone jack too, so you can watch videos with headphones or without.
Look, we’re not going to sugarcoat things. If you can afford to pay more, you should get something priced a bit higher, but if you are absolutely on a budget, this phone will serve your needs for now.
There are a lot of options here, whether you’re looking for a premium flagship in the Galaxy S212 Ultra, an iOS device in the iPhone 14 Pro, or a more affordable option i. Depending on whatever you want to do with your device, there are some options that are better than others.
For a good mix of price to performance, I would personally go for the Galaxy S22 Ultra or the iPhone 14 Pro for the versatility. If I want to splurge, then maybe the iPhone 14 Pro Max or Galaxy Z Fold 4. What do you think about our picks? Let us know down below in the comments section.