• Smartphones

    Best flagship phones 2020 - buyer�s guide

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    If you are after the very best on the smartphone market, you've come to the right section of this buyer's guide.

    The highest of high-end phones are in this category. The latest Galaxy and iPhone are the default choices at this level, with OnePlus climbing to almost be accepted at that tier. All of these have high-quality OLED displays, battery life to spare, and no less than three cameras on their backs that deliver excellent output. What sets them apart?It may be missing the fancy periscope telephoto and the huge 108MP Nonacell main cam, but the S20+ setup is plenty capable in its own right and can deliver great results with remarkable reliability in all conditions. The display is equally capable and only a smidge smaller than the arguably too bulky Ultra, and it helps add up to the significant 36g of weight savings, which come at no measurable expense in battery endurance. That remains only decent, but in these HRR times 'decent' is, apparently, the best we can hope for. We do appreciate the microSD slot on S20+ - an increasingly rare feature.Some things can still be better, of course. We find Samsung's continued insistence on using ultra sonic fingerprint readers suboptimal, as they're nowhere as fast as competing optical solutions. The non-telephoto 64MP zoom camera is a bit tough to market and we can't say Samsung's done a great job of it, but we do like the results we're getting, even if it can't quite match the Ultra's actual long lens. One more gripe we have with this year's Galaxies, particularly in the Exynos trim that we get, is their tendency to overheat and throttle - hardly ideal, but not really a dealbreaker.Read full reviewAll that aside, it's inevitably a refinement over the previous generation, offering an extra camera, improved dust and water resistance (still IP68, but deeper and for longer), and unmatched performance. If you're at all an iPhone type of person, the 11 Pro (Max or otherwise) is a no-brainer.Read full reviewIts quad camera system relies on a 108MP sensor to do the heavy lifting, an autofocusing ultra wide that moonlights as a close-up shooter (with the occasional hiccup), and not one but two teles going all the way to sort of 5x zoom. The selfies aren't as spectacular, but you have to pay the price for the tiny punch hole.The 6.67-inch display ranks towards the top of the charts for brightness, and it supports a high-ish refresh rate - Xiaomi's stopped at 90Hz for this one, and that's helped the battery life which is also among the better ones in the class. The bundled 65W USB PowerDelivery adapter will also work for your laptop, while the phone will charge at a mere 50 watts.Read full reviewThe top-tier Snapdragon chipset is a given, but Oppo's implementation has turned out particularly successful in terms of thermals and continued load. And while battery life is so-so, no competitor will charge as quickly as the Find X2 Pro. Wireless charging is missing on this one, however. So is the option for storage expansion, but with a 256GB base model we're wondering if that's such a big deal.Read full reviewThe OnePlus 8 Pro's display is the same one you'd find on the Find X2 Pro, so that gets you 120Hz at 1440p and all the brightness you'd ever need. The big-sensor modules for the main and ultra wide angle cameras are also shared with the Oppo, and we're really liking the stuff we get out of them. As for the telephoto, well, the OP8P takes a more cautious path and is missing out on any periscope action, instead sticking with the sort-of 3x zoom of the predecessor.Read full reviewQuite the shame really, as the latest Huawei flagship comes with a really compelling camera system, which can trade blows with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The 90Hz FullHD display is a nice middle ground and it helps make the P40 Pro one of the longest-lasting top-tier handsets of the day. It's among the quicker to charge when it does run out of juice too.The lack of stereo speakers does make it stand out in a bad way in this group, while the support for the NM type of card for memory expansion is another neither-here-nor-there feature.Read full review

    Editors' choiceSome things can still be better, of course. We find Samsung's continued insistence on using ultra sonic fingerprint readers suboptimal, as they're nowhere as fast as competing optical solutions. The non-telephoto 64MP zoom camera is a bit tough to market and we can't say Samsung's done a great job of it, but we do like the results we're getting, even if it can't quite match the Ultra's actual long lens. One more gripe we have with this year's Galaxies, particularly in the Exynos trim that we get, is their tendency to overheat and throttle - hardly ideal, but not really a dealbreaker.Read full reviewRead full reviewThe 6.67-inch display ranks towards the top of the charts for brightness, and it supports a high-ish refresh rate - Xiaomi's stopped at 90Hz for this one, and that's helped the battery life which is also among the better ones in the class. The bundled 65W USB PowerDelivery adapter will also work for your laptop, while the phone will charge at a mere 50 watts.Read full reviewRead full reviewRead full reviewThe lack of stereo speakers does make it stand out in a bad way in this group, while the support for the NM type of card for memory expansion is another neither-here-nor-there feature.Read full review

    The lack of stereo speakers does make it stand out in a bad way in this group, while the support for the NM type of card for memory expansion is another neither-here-nor-there feature.

     


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