The best Telstra Blue Tick phones for poor reception in 2022

For when you’re way out Woop Woop.

Best Blue Tick phone overall
Galaxy S22 Green
Samsung Galaxy S22
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$1,249
Processor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Storage
Starts at 128GB
Battery
3700mAH
Best cheap Blue tick phone
Telstra Tough Max 3 product shot
Telstra Tough Max 3
5 out of 5 stars
5
Starts at
$498
Processor
Snapdragon 665
Storage
Starts at 64GB
Battery
3920mAh
Best big Blue Tick phone
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
5 out of 5 stars
5
Starts at
$1,849
Proccessor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Storage
Starts at 1286GB
Battery
5000mAh
Best mid-range Blue Tick phone
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung A52s 5G
5 out of 5 stars
5
Starts at
$648
Processor
Snapdragon 778G
Storage
Starts at 128GB
Battery
4500mAh
Next best Blue Tick Phone
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Product Image
Samsung Galaxy S22+
5 out of 5 stars
5
Starts at
$1,549
Processor
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Storage
128GB
Battery
4500mAh
Brodie Fogg
Editorial Lead
Read More
March 10, 2022
7 min read

If you’re bushwhacking out the back of Bourke, even some of the latest and greatest smartphones will let you down when it comes to getting mobile reception. Thankfully, Australia’s coverage king, Telstra Mobile, actively tests how the latest handsets hold up when you’re travelling the outback.

Here are the latest smartphones that currently hold the blue badge of honour.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Best overall Telstra Blue Tick phone

Samsung Galaxy S22+ Product Image
Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung's counterpart to the iPhone is the easiest Blue Tick phone to recommend to most people. It's got premium looks, 5G connectivity and the snappiest of Qualcomm processors backing it up.
4 out of 5 stars
4
Pro Bullet Premium design
Pro Bullet Great performance
Con Bullet Camera lags behind the competition
Con Bullet Smaller battery
Starts at
$1,249

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Samsung's 2022 flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S22 isn't a massive improvement on the S21 or even the S20. Rather, it’s a reliable evolution of everything that made the handset before it so great. It packs powerful performance and an adaptive refresh rate that balances display quality and battery life well. But as Samsung giveth, it also taketh away and the S22 is missing a few key features, like a packed-in USB-C charger, microSD expansion and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

If you can stomach those omissions, the Galaxy S22 is still one of the best choices for Android users. It makes the most of a sleek and shiny design while stacks the deck with flagship features and high-end specs.

Samsung's next big flagship pivots to video

The Galaxy S22 has officially been revealed by Samsung, and there's a lot to unpack about the processor, camera, battery and price of the new device.

Telstra Tough Max 3

Best cheap Telstra Blue Tick phone

Telstra Tough Max 3 product shot
Telstra Tough Max 3
If you need a smartphone that's a little more rough-and-tumble, but doesn't compromise on connectivity, the Telstra Tough Max 3 is your best bet.
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Pro Bullet Built to take a hit
Pro Bullet Compact form-factor
Con Bullet Only 64GB of memory
Con Bullet Dated dual-lens camera setup
Starts at
$498

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

If you need a phone that’s going to survive the next Deni Ute Muster, you’ll want to consider the Telstra Tough Max. This stubborn smartphone features all the luxuries of a primo smartphone, a generous 5.65-inch HD display, a dual rear camera (16MP + 5MP) and expandable memory up to 256GB (via microSD) in a protective shell that’s built like a brick… outhouse.

Its IP68 rating means it can cop a bit of dust, dirt, sand and can be dunked in water (up to 1.5-metres for 30 minutes). To top it off, it's got a bouncy rubber frame and comes packaged with a tempered glass screen protector.

The Telstra Tough Max 3 is Blue Tick certified out of the box but it also has an external antenna port if you need a little signal boost in patchier areas.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Best big Telstra Blue Tick phone

Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The spirit of the Galaxy Note series lives on in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It's got a sleek design, S-Pen stylus and one of the nicest smartphone screens money can buy.
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Pro Bullet S-Pen stylus
Pro Bullet High-end display tech
Con Bullet Form-factor isn't pocket-friendly
Con Bullet Expensive price
Starts at
$1,849

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Once upon a time, if you wanted to go big with Samsung, the Galaxy Note would have been your best option. Then, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has made the Samsung's phablet obsolete by pairing up a larger 6.8-inch display with S-Pen support. 

This year's Galaxy S22 Ultra leans even further in that direction and steals even more of the Note's thunder. Samsung's latest phablet earns its top-billing among Samsung's latest Galaxy lineup with a 6.8-inch QHD+ resolution screen and a powerful quad-lens rear camera.

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

Best mid-range Telstra Blue Tick phone

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
If you're looking to stick with the essentials and don't need the extra durability and bulk of the Telstra Tough Max 3, then the 5G-enabled Galaxy A52s should be the next on your list.
4 out of 5 stars
4
Pro Bullet 5G connectivity that doesn't break the bank
Pro Bullet 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display
Con Bullet Cheaper material design
Con Bullet Modest performance that can't match flagships
Starts at
$649

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Samsung's budget-to-mid-range family of Series A handsets have come a long way over the last few years. There's a case to be argued that they're the best Samsung phones available when you factor in the lower price tag and powerful features. The Galaxy A52s 5G is one such handset and better yet, it's got the Blue Tick seal of approval.

The Galaxy A52s 5G has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display, a quad-camera array (64MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP) and 128GB of internal storage and additional 512GB of expandable storage via microSD. It's even got a few features usually reserved for flagship devices, such as 5G connectivity, Dolby Atmos speakers and IP67 water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy S22+

Next best Telstra Blue Tick phone

Samsung Galaxy S22+ Product Image
Samsung Galaxy S22+
Samsung's Galaxy S22+ is a little less affordable than the standard, but it gives you just a little bit more when it comes key features like battery life.
4 out of 5 stars
4
Pro Bullet Slick design
Pro Bullet Flagship performance
Con Bullet Mediocre camera
Con Bullet Pricey
Starts at
$1,549

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

If you want to go bigger, you can always opt for the Blue Tick-certified Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. It boasts a larger 6.7-inch display and a bigger battery (to account for the larger display) but otherwise, it's technically the same handset as the S22.

Here's how much you can get it on a plan.

Telstra Blue Tick phones we also considered

Here are more Telstra Blue Tick phones that we considered that didn't make the cut.

While Samsung do make up the lion's share of devices bearing the Telstra Blue Tick in Australia, there are a few models that we chose not to recommend here.

The first of these is the Galaxy Z Flip3. While the Z Flip3 is currently the only Blue Tick phone with a flexible display, it is a bit more expensive and experimental than we'd like it to be. That said, if you're keen to be an early adopter when it comes to foldable smartphones, the Z Flip3 may still be worth a look.

Another device that didn't quite make the cut here was the Galaxy S21 FE. While this handset does have a unique value proposition as an outright purchase, it pales in comparison to either the Galaxy S21 or the new Galaxy S22. If you can afford to spend a little bit more then it's a no-brainier to go full flagship rather than settle for a half-measure, and if you can't then you're going to be better off with a mid-tier device like the Galaxy A52s 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G with box

Telstra Blue Tick phones buying guide

What to look for when comparing Telstra Blue Tick phones

Naturally, the most important criteria for the devices on our shortlist of the best Blue Tick phone was the presence of Telstra's Blue Tick. This is why the list is a little dominated by Samsung devices.

However, whether or not a device has a Blue Tick attached to it wasn't the only factor here. Price and recency also factored into things. The differences between the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Ultra might not sound huge on paper, but the difference in price between the two is significant and opting for the more recent model means that probably you won't have to think about your next upgrade anytime soon.

Telstra Blue Tick FAQs

Here are the most commonly asked questions about Telstra Blue Tick phones

Smartphones that pass Telstra’s rigorous lab and on-location testing are certified with the telco’s iconic seal of approval, the Telstra Blue Tick. The first thing you will notice is that Telstra's Blue Tick program seems to favour Samsung smartphones over all else. That's not to say that the latest iPhone or Google Pixel won't give you coverage in regional Australia but the handsets listed below are the only ones with the official Blue Tick seal of approval.

We’ve established that a blue tick equals good coverage but how does Telstra decide which smartphone models are given the seal of approval? Telstra tests the latest devices’ receiver sensitivity, first in a custom lab then on-location in various regional areas. Telstra is mostly testing for 4G call quality but this measure is also relevant to data transfer for browsing the Internet.

At the time of writing, there are currently thirteen Samsung-branded handsets that bear Telstra’s seal of approval.

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

Over the last few years, Telstra has pumped the breaks on testing Apple iPhones for the Blue Tick seal of approval. In fact, the most recent Apple device to receive certification is 2017's iPhone 8.

To be honest, there's no reason why a more recent device, like the iPhone 12, would struggle to get coverage in a regional area but if you want a bonafide Blue Tick Apple smartphone, the iPhone 8 is your only option. Telstra itself doesn't stock the iPhone 8, but you can get a refurbished model from Telstra MVNO numobile at a decent price.

If you’ve tried a Telstra Blue Tick phone and you’re still not having any luck with reception, there are a few extra steps you can take to help improve coverage inside and outside your rural home, such as ordering a signal booster from Telstra or Optus.

What is a mobile phone signal booster?

Even under the vast umbrella of Telstra, there are still parts of regional Australia that don’t get top-notch reception. If you’re struggling to get a clear connection on your property, boosting your signal with an extender could help.

There are a few different types of extenders. First, there are repeaters, which take an existing mobile tower’s signal and give it a little leg up. Repeaters can be stationary or mobile depending on the use case. For example, if it’s the signal in your home that needs a boost, a stationary repeater is probably best. But if you need additional coverage on the road, a mobile car-mounted repeater could do the trick.

Then there are antennas. You can purchase a smaller external antenna to plug into your Telstra Tough Max 3 (or another compatible handset or internet-connected device) or rig up a larger solution at home, such as a medium or high gain antenna.

You can buy all sorts of signal boosting gear online but we’d recommend going through your provider for professional installation and peace of mind. Here’s what’s offered by Telstra and Optus at the moment.

Telstra Signal Boosters

Telstra offers a variety of network extension products that can be ordered over the phone.

First up, it offers mobile and stationary Telstra Go Repeaters. The mobile Telstra Go repeater is car-mountable, offers 3G/4G coverage and will set you back $864 (not including installation). The stationary option does mostly the same job but it’s designed for the home and will only set you back $816 (again, not including installation). Lastly, there’s the Telstra Smart Antenna, which despite the name, is another repeater. This one looks more like a smart modem and comes in two parts: one box for catching signal close to a window or door  and a smaller box to place where there’s particularly poor coverage. It’s a little pricier at $1080 but it’s the more user-friendly option and doesn’t require professional installation.

Lastly, Telstra offers medium and high gain antennas. Medium gain smaller, omnidirectional and are most commonly mounted to cars, boats and houses. High gain antennas are larger and typically stationary in a high position (e.g. above a house or telephone pole).

Optus Signal Booster

Despite its superior network footprint, Telstra isn’t the only telco that can sort you out with a signal booster. Optus works with supplier Cel-Fi for its signal-boosting solutions. Cel-Fi offers a similar solution to Telstra Smart Antenna for Optus customers, but there’s a whole range of signal boosting products available through its online store.

Brodie Fogg
Written by
Brodie Fogg
Brodie Fogg is the Australian editorial lead at Reviews.org. He has covered consumer tech, telecommunications, video games, streaming and entertainment for over five years at websites like WhistleOut and Finder and can be found sharing streaming recommendations at 7NEWS every month.

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