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Best phones on Telstra in 2022

Our expert team tested hundreds of phones to find the top 10 phones you can buy on the Telstra network.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

The best Telstra phones in Australia, ranked

  1. Google Pixel 6 Pro
  2. Apple iPhone 13 Pro
  3. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
  4. Google Pixel 6
  5. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
  6. Apple iPhone 13
  7. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
  8. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
  9. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
  10. Apple iPhone 13 Mini

How did we pick this list?

Finder's team of experts have tested and reviewed every single phone featured in this guide to come up with our list of the best smartphones. For each phone, we assess and test the design, cameras, performance, battery life and overall value for money.

Our editorial team selected the phones on this list based on their overall quality and value compared to other phones on the market.

Read more detail on our methodology below.


Google Pixel 6 Pro

Google's flagship phone is affordable and fast on the Telstra 5G network

Google Pixel 6 Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great cameras
  • 120Hz display
  • 5G mmWave ready

Cons

  • Slippery glass back and camera bar
  • Tensor isn't quite as powerful as Google's claims… yet
  • Huge in the hand with odd power/volume button arrangement

Why we chose it

Google's flagship Pixel phone for 2021 is a great match for the Telstra 5G network. It's the first phone in Australia to directly offer 5G mmWave compatibility, which means in coverage areas where Telstra has mmWave, you'll experience seriously fast network speeds. A plethora of powerful and smart camera features can turn you into a photo pro without trying hard. Add to that good battery life and a slick 120Hz capable display and you've got one of the best phones of the year, hands down.

Google's own "Tensor" processor runs the Pixel 6 Pro but doesn't quite live up to the hype. While the iPhone 13 family still offers faster processing power, you won't really notice this in daily usage. And, the lower asking price of the Pixel 6 Pro means that its monthly repayments are considerably lower than Apple's premium iPhone range.

Read our full Google Pixel 6 Pro review.


Apple iPhone 13 Pro

The best features on an iPhone in a more pocket-friendly size.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Powerful camera array
  • A15 Bionic is insanely fast
  • ProMotion screen is gorgeous

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No supplied charger
  • Not the best battery life on an iPhone

Why we chose it

If your tastes for a Telstra phone run more in the Apple direction, there's a clear winner to go for, and that's the Apple iPhone 13 Pro. It combines the power of the Apple A15 Bionic processor found in all the iPhone 13 models with a great 6.1 inch screen with 120Hz refresh rate and the exact same camera array as you'll find on the more expensive Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max.

That's a big step and a change for Apple, because it used to keep the very best camera features as an exclusive for its Pro Max lines only. Putting those cameras on a smaller iPhone means it makes less of a dent in your pocket and less of a dent in your bank account, while retaining the same camera quality, as we found in our iPhone 13 camera shootout.

There's arguably less of a case to be made to upgrade from the iPhone 12 Pro unless you need those better cameras. But, for anyone else upgrading an existing iPhone or coming fresh to the Apple side of the smartphone fence, this is the model to buy.

Read our full Apple iPhone 13 Pro review.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

Samsung's Ultra phone is ultra fast on Telstra 5G

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Superb 120Hz display
  • Great camera array
  • S-Pen Compatibility

Cons

  • S-Pen/Charger/Headphones aren't included
  • Galaxy S22 isn't that far away
  • Exynos version slower than US Snapdragon model

Why we chose it

Samsung was one of the first smartphone makers to release a flagship phone in 2021 with the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. It's a sign of just how great a phone it is that it's remained at or near the top of our best phone rankings for the entire year.

It's also effectively been Samsung's "Note" phone for 2021, because it was the first device sold by Samsung with S-Pen compatibility in mind. You don't get Samsung's smart stylus with the phone by default (it's sold separately) but combining its 6.8 inch 120Hz capable display with an S-Pen makes for a superb pocketable productivity device. It's likewise no slouch in the camera stakes, even though its much-hyped 100x "Space Zoom" doesn't really deliver great results. Ignore that, and focus on its 108MP primary sensor, great low light pickup and excellent wide angle sensor and you'll do just fine.

The downside of being an early 2021 flagship is that the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G's days as the S series flagship are seriously numbered, with most signs pointing to a February 2022 release for the Galaxy S22 series.

Read our comprehensive Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review.


Google Pixel 6

Affordable, fast and easily upgraded

Google Pixel 6
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great price
  • Good camera
  • Android OS upgrades

Cons

  • Pixel 6 Pro isn’t that much more expensive
  • Lacks telephoto lens
  • Slippery

Why we chose it

Telstra does still stock the cheaper Pixel 4a 5G if you want a low-cost Pixel phone, but that's a much older Pixel handset. Sadly, Google doesn't seem interested in releasing the Pixel 5a down under. That leaves the Pixel 6 as the better long term buy if you want an affordable Telstra Android phone with guaranteed updates on board.

It's not quite as fancy as the Pixel 6 Pro, but if you favour a smaller handset than the hefty 6 Pro, it could be a good match for you. You get a 90Hz capable 6.4 inch display in a range of appealing colours and only standard sub-6Ghz 5G rather than mmWave 5G, but for most even in 5G areas that's the more likely set of frequencies you'll hit anyway.

On the camera front the Pixel 6 benefits from Google's smart AI-assisted photography, with telephoto the notable omission from its bag of tricks.

Read our comprehensive Pixel 6 review here.


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

More productive, more resistant – but not inexpensive

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Flexible use cases
  • Water resistance
  • S Pen compatible

Cons

  • It costs a lot
  • Folding tech still has durability limitations
  • Samsung puts better cameras in the S21 Ultra 5G

Why we chose it

Samsung's really the leader in foldable phones right now, although we're expecting to see some real competition in 2022 on that score. The third generation of its Galaxy Z Fold 3 makes a lot of sense as a Telstra contract handset. Foldables are still pricey prospects, but that's something that's a lot easier to deal with when you break out those repayments into smaller monthly parcels rather than upfront.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has improved resistance, especially water resistance, which was a big problem for earlier foldable phone generations. Being a foldable, it expands out from a standard looking phone into a more expansive tablet style display, perfect for if you need to do actual work on your phone.

Or for that matter if you want to stream a little Netflix when nobody's looking.

That's especially true given the use of an in-display camera module, because there's no notch or hole punch or anything on the interior display. The resultant selfie camera isn't superb, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn't quite as good a camera phone as the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G.

Like the S21 Ultra 5G, you also get S-Pen support, although for a smaller range of S-Pens. Plus it's not included. Again, though, this is where the internal display screen really benefits, because it's simple to run multiple apps at once and share data between them with the stroke of an S-Pen.

Read our full Galaxy Z Fold 3 review here.


Apple iPhone 13

An upgrader's dream at the right price

Apple iPhone 13
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • A15 Bionic processor
  • Great battery life
  • Range of colour choices

Cons

  • Only a dual lens camera
  • Still stuck with the Lightning connector
  • Fixed storage

Why we chose it

The regular model iPhone for any given year is often the people's pick, because while Apple does still charge a premium for its iPhone lines, it's not as stratospheric as the pricing for the Pro models. If you don't need the Pro camera features, you can save a few bucks by opting for the iPhone 13 on a Telstra contract.

The iPhone 13 does share the same A15 Bionic processor as the bigger Pro models (or the smaller iPhone 13 Mini), so you're still getting best-in-class performance in a phone that should get iOS upgrades for years to come. It's 5G compatible (sub-6Ghz only) on the Telstra network and available in a wide range of colour choices too.

iPhones have long been the world's most popular camera phones, and this is where the iPhone 13 is a little limited for its price range, with just a dual camera array at the rear to shoot with. Performance is still good and there's a huge range of iOS camera apps to explore to make the most of what the Apple iPhone 13 can offer.

Read Finder's iPhone 13 review here.


Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

I'll take the iPhone with the lot, thanks

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • A15 Bionic smokes the competition
  • Big, beautiful ProMotion display

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No included charger
  • Large size won't suit everyone

Why we chose it

If you're after the biggest and boldest iPhone you can get on a Telstra contract, it's the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple doesn't call it the Pro Max for no reason. It has the largest display on any iPhone, and the most impressive battery life as well. You get the same Apple A15 Bionic processor as the rest of the iPhone range, but more RAM than on the non-Pro models, which gives it a performance edge for more intensive applications.

One of the big benefits for the iPhone range as a whole is ease of use, and Apple's controlled iOS environment is a joy to use on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, although that larger size won't suit everyone. If you just need the better cameras we'd suggest the slightly less expensive iPhone 13 Pro. But, if you want the one with everything and the Apple-approved kitchen sink, then the iPhone 13 Pro Max won't disappoint.

Read our in-depth iPhone 13 Pro Max review here.


Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung's older affordable phone is still an impressive Telstra option

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great cameras for the price
  • 5G version has a nice fast processor
  • Wide range of colour choices

Cons

  • 4G model isn't as nippy
  • Average battery life
  • Plastic body

Why we chose it

The Galaxy S20 FE is an older handset, but that means you can pick it up at a much reduced contract price through Telstra. Given it was initially pitched as a more "affordable" Galaxy phone anyway, that makes it an easy pick if you're after a Telstra contract phone that won't leave your wallet sobbing for mercy.

Affordable doesn't have to mean massively compromised either, with the Galaxy S20 FE shipping in a range of colours with a superb 120Hz capable display, quality cameras and a processor that still packs a decent performance punch. It's worth noting that the 4G model does ship with a slower Exynos processor. The 5G model is definitely the one to buy right now.

The compromises for price hit hardest in battery life, which is only average. Also in the fact that it's a plastic body handset, not quite as robust as Samsung's more expensive full premium fare. There's been rumours of an S21 FE for ages now, but Samsung doesn't seem keen to rush such a device to market.

Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.


Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung's pocket-friendly foldable

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • More durable than previous generations
  • Powerful processor
  • 5G

Cons

  • Camera quality could be better
  • Battery life

Why we chose it

Foldables don't have to be just about expanding out into tablet forms. You can also make foldables that fold down for easier placements in pockets and purses. Telstra offers 2 of these, with the Motorola RAZR and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G. We'd plump for the latter if an old-school flip phone excites you, thanks to the Galaxy Z Flip 3's water resistance and wide range of colour choices. A phone like this is as much a fashion statement as anything else, after all.

Folded out, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 really does resemble any other Galaxy phone, save for the fact that it's got a small crease in the middle. That allows it to flip down into a square with a tiny external display. You can't use it as a full phone, like you can with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but it will give you essential notifications, music control and even a tiny selfie screen if you don't want to unfold your Z Flip 3.

For its price, you do get somewhat lesser camera capabilities and notably ordinary battery life, however. Buying a battery pack with your Telstra points would be a smart move for Galaxy Z Flip 3 owners.

Read our full Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.


Apple iPhone 13 Mini

Go small but stay powerful with the iPhone 13 Mini

Apple iPhone 13 Mini
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • A15 Bionic processor
  • Range of colour choices
  • It's really small and easy to handle

Cons

  • Small screen limits display possibilities
  • Battery life suffers relative to other iPhone 13 models
  • Dual lens at this price isn't great

Why we chose it

For some phone users, the shift towards big "phablet" style phones has been very unwelcome. If you've got smaller hands, or you just hate the heft of a big screen phone, you're often left with very few choices when it comes to really exciting smaller smartphones.

Enter the iPhone 13 Mini. As the name suggests, it's a smaller iPhone 13, packing just a 5.4 inch display. That's enough for apps for sure, and it makes single handed use a breeze for anyone. You get the same dual lens camera as the iPhone 13 as well. Apple's iOS is very popular in Australia because it's just so easy to use and configure.

The iPhone 13 Mini is also 5G (sub 6GHz) compatible on the Telstra network, although that 5G can sap the battery pretty quickly. That's absolutely the iPhone 13 Mini's biggest issue, because its small frame limits the battery quantities it can pack in. As a result, if you're using it a lot in a day, you're probably going to run out of power before you head to bed. Pack a charger or battery pack though, and you'll be fine.

Read our full Apple iPhone 13 Mini review here.


Methodology

150+
Mobile phones reviewed
10,000+
Hours spent testing
10
Best Telstra phones ranked
  • We've spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing mobile phones.
  • Our editorial team has a combined 60+ years of experience writing about tech and reviewing the latest devices.
  • The phones on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not based on commercial relationships.

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