Flagships have gotten very, very expensive – they smashed through mental price barriers and didn’t even slow down. So, you really have to ask yourself if the final few bells and whistles are worth it or if the vanilla version of the flagship is all you need.
Whether it’s called Redmi K20 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro or Pocophone F2 Pro where you live, this is one of the best phones that money can buy – and not a lot of money, either (this is the most affordable S855-powered phone ever). You still get the uninterrupted Super AMOLED display and triple cam experience, plus a large battery with fast charging to boot.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 has fallen in price since launch and other than being smaller than the S10, there isn’t much it’s lacking. You just can’t find many phones these days (flagship or otherwise) that offer both a headphone jack and a microSD card.
The OnePlus 7 is the true successor to the 6T, not the Pro. And it shows in the price. The latest Snapdragon 855, an upgraded camera module and stereo speakers are not huge upgrades, but this is still a great pick if you don’t have the budget for the Pro.
The Asus Zenfone 6 has a large 5,000mAh battery and it shows – it scored an 112h Endurance rating. The motorized flip up camera allows you to shoot selfies with the large 48MP sensor instead of using a puny selfie cam. The Zenfone runs a close-to-stock Android like the OnePlus, but offers a 3.5mm jack and microSD slot like the Galaxy.
We debated whether the Galaxy S10e deserves to be on the list alongside the other S10, but it does. The 5.8″ screen makes the phone reasonably small and other than a telephoto camera on the back, you’re not missing much.
The Huawei P30 skips the periscope lens in favor of a traditional tele lens. Still, at 3x it offers better magnification than most. Compared to the Pro you lose the advanced charging (22.5W wired instead of 40W, no wireless) and the IP68 water resistance (it’s just splash proof), but you do get a 3.5mm jack and a nice discount on the price.
We steered clear of gaming phones as they are a niche product, but the nubia Red Magic 3 is a compelling device in its own right. Its 6.65″ OLED does 90Hz, which few others can match (especially at this price point). Also, the 48MP camera boasts 8K video recording, even if at 15fps. As for high frame rates, it claims up to 1,920fpfs. All of this takes a lot of energy, of course, so it’s a good thing that the battery has 5,000mAh capacity.
The Honor 20 is almost the same phone as the Honor 20 Pro, but it hits a lower price point by dropping the telephoto lens (but keeping the dedicated macro cam) and reducing the memory capacity. The battery also takes a small hit.
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Haslinda has worked with some of the largest telcos in North America and Asia. She loves tech and doesn’t like iPhone