This year was more about ironing out the innovations of the past. Apart from the foldables, most smartphones have retained or slightly improved on the same design that we saw last year. But, that doesn’t make these smartphones any less exciting. As such, it was really hard to choose the best 5 yet, here they are.
5. Redmi K20 series
Xiaomi revolutionised the midrange smartphone segment in India. But, its flagship smartphones never took off. So, a brand called Pocofone was born and we all know that the F1 was one of the best smartphones of 2018. But, this year Xiaomi decided to ditch the Pocofone branding in favour of a new K lineup with Redmi K20 & K20 Pro as their first offerings.
The K20 pro is supposed to be the 2019 version of the Pocofone F1 while the K20 is it’s lite version. The K20 Pro has proven to be, every bit that a new iteration should be. Better design, better cameras, better display, and better build quality. What hasn’t changed though is the Operating System. It comes with MiUI and Xiaomi doesn’t always update the underlying Android system to the latest available version even on its flagship phones. So, it has everything you can ask for at this price, including that compromise in the software.
4. OnePlus 7T series
The OnePlus 7T & 7T pro are two of the best value for money smartphones of 2019. Its previous iteration, the OnePlus 7 Pro was the first mainstream smartphone to boast a display with 90Hz refresh rate. While it has a negative impact on the battery life, the smoothness it brings alongside is unmatched by even the flagship offerings of both Apple and Samsung. Add to that OnePlus’s great track record of Android updates and you’ve got yourself a smartphone that you can count on for at least the next 3 years.
3. Asus ROG phone 2
If you haven’t seen the latest OnePlus 7T phones or the iPad Pro in person its really hard to explain how much of a difference higher refresh rate can bring to user experience. Talking about which, this one absolutely blows away the competition! It has the fastest display of all smartphones. With a display refresh rate of 120 Hz and touch sampling rate of 240 Hz scrolling and transition effects are silky smooth. It’s top of the line Snapdragon 855+ chip and a massive 6000 mAH battery make it seem like this smartphone is straight out of a techie’s dream. But, that massive battery has an impact on the size and weight of the smartphone and thankfully Asus have included a headphone jack to compensate.
All those things aside, you’re not going to be blown away by the pictures this phone can take. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. This is a performance behemoth gaming phone and, the audience of this smartphone probably won’t care so much about the quality of its cameras. Although there is a room for improvement if you can manage to get a working GCam port, the improvement will still be subtle in daylight and medium in low light.
If you want the absolute best in terms of performance and battery and don’t mind a mediocre camera, the Asus ROG phone 2 won’t disappoint you.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series
Samsung’s Galaxy Note series has always been the best that android has to offer and this year’s Note 10 and Note 10 + are no different. Albeit it’s just an incremental update from the Note 9, it checks all the right boxes. It has a good camera, one of the best displays, flagship grade chip and great overall design.
One thing I’d like to point here is the choice of processor used for the Indian & European markets. Samsung ships this phone in India and Europe with an Exynos processor, compared to the Snapdragon in the USA & China. You may be wondering what’s the difference? Well, the Exynos this time has a better processor but the GPU in Snapdragon is still ahead in terms of performance.
Talking about regular day to day usage, you’re not going to notice a difference, but if you want a precise answer, then the performance of Exynos 9825 is somewhere between the Snapdragon 855 and 855 +.
1. iPhone 11 series
Finally, the best of the bunch. I agree that I am slightly biased towards Apple, particularly because I think that the first iPhone paved a path for the modern smartphone design. But, a lot has changed since 2007 and Apple is no longer the world leader in terms of innovation. But whatever they do, they do it with perfection and that’s why their phones just work.
Coming back to this years iPhones, the major changes include:
- Addition of wide angle camera even on the lowest model iPhone.
- Video capability in all lenses in all iPhone 11 series of smartphones.
- Night mode. Its just awesome!
- Better water resistance than any other smartphone. Yes. It’s still IP68, but the depth up to which its tested has doubled to 4 meters.
- Price Cut. This years iPhone 11 starts at $699, which is $50 cheaper than last years XR.
Whether you like to shoot photos or film videos, or play games, or do some of your work on your smartphone, you can’t go wrong with either of the latest iPhones. But, the best part about having an iPhone is its security and feature updates.
Apple is way ahead in terms of supporting their older phones compared to its Android rivals. Yes, Google is trying to catch up with treble and Android one, but it still has a long way to go even to match Apple’s level of software support.
All those things make the iPhone 11 a perfect smartphone for most people. But, if you aren’t satisfied with having a perfect smartphone you can always shell out some extra cash to get the best performance and the battery life of all mainstream smartphones, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Yeah, I know. The name sucks, but the phone doesn’t.