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Let’s Look at 2020s Best Smartphones

Let’s Look at 2020s Best Smartphones

The smartphone is the most important device for millions of people. In fact, if the numbers are to be believed, many people have moved completely away from using traditional computers. Today’s flagship smartphones need a combination of fast connectivity, reliability, and longevity so that users can justify the lofty price tags associated with these devices. Let’s take a look at four of the most noteworthy smartphones available right now.

In this market, there are three general types of smartphones. There is the flagship smartphone, which are the best devices manufacturers have to offer in terms of new phones; there are the innovators, which uses innovations in technology to promote better user experiences; and then there are the budget phones, which are the smartphones that are still useful, but may come at a much smaller price tag. In part one of three, let’s take a look at the absolute best smartphones available today.

Flagship smartphones

What does it mean to be a flagship phone? It means that the device is the absolute best device a manufacturer makes. Traditionally, flagship devices get improvements in nearly every component or specification of a device. They are the devices that consumers want and they are the most expensive. In fact, many of today’s best smartphones often out-spec many PCs. Why? People depend on mobile computing. Whether that comes in the form of content creation, app usage, or some other reason, people want a device that can handle everything they throw at it. Here are a few of the very best smartphones available right now.

Samsung Galaxy s20 Ultra

Samsung’s annual contribution to the smartphone market tends to be taken for granted. Year-in and year-out, Samsung’s s-line of smartphones are simply considered the top of the line Android phone. This year there are several phones on the s-line including the Galaxy s20 Fan Edition, the Galaxy s20, the Galaxy s20+, and the highest-end device in the lineup, the Galaxy s20 Ultra. Each option is also available in a 5G model as well. 

The Galaxy s20 Ultra model is made on an aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass 6 front and back and features a ridiculous 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x display with 1440 x 3200 resolution. The device itself runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 with 12 to 16 GB of RAM. So while it is one of the biggest phones you can get, it is also the most powerful. It features an in-screen fingerprint reader for security. 

The camera profile is also top-of-the-line. The rear-facing cameras include a 48 megapixel telephoto lens that zooms up to 10x, a 108 megapixel wide angle lens, a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle lens, and a DepthVision Time of Flight camera. The device can record 8K video. Running Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI 2.5 skin, the Galaxy s20 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery and 45 watt fast charging with the plug and 15 watt charging with a Qi wireless charger. 

It is available in Cosmic Grey, Cloud White, and Cosmic Black and is available on all major carriers.

Samsung Galaxy s20 Ultra
Body: Aluminum with Gorilla Glass 6 Front and Back
Display: 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x (~511 ppi)
OS: Android 10
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Memory: 12-to-16 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: Yes (microSDXC)
Cameras: Rear - 108 MP (wide), 48MP (periscope telephoto) 10x, 12 MP (ultra wide), .3 MP( Time of Flight). Front - 40 MP wide.
Sounds: Stereo Speakers, No Headphone Jack
Battery (endurance rating): 5,000 mAh (87 hours)
Security: In-screen fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Bixby assistant, IP68 dust/water resistant
Other versions: Galaxy s20, Galaxy s20+, Galaxy s20 FE

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple has been at the forefront of smartphone manufacturers since the beginning, everyone knows that. What a lot of people don’t know that the manufacturer has really stepped up its game over the past three years. This year’s top-notch version of the iPhone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max features the same stainless steel construction as recent iterations of the iPhone with Gorilla Glass 6 front and back. This one comes with a huge 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED display with a resolution of 1,284 x 2,778 or approximately 458 pixels per inch.

The specs continue to look good as well. The iPhone 12 Pro Max features Apple’s A14 processor, the first 5 nanometer processor in any smartphone, 6 GB of RAM, and up to 512 GB of onboard storage. There is no expandable memory. The iPhone 12 Pro Max features a 3,687 mAh battery that may seem small, but with the optimization settings found in iOS 14.1, the device stands to have solid battery efficiency. It comes with 20 watt fast charging plugged in and 15 watt wireless Qi charging.

The cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max are much the same as they were in the iPhone 11 Pro Max with three 12 MP lenses, but Apple has added a Time of Flight sensor for better depth in photos. Available in Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be released the second week of November 2020.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Body: Stainless Steel with Gorilla Glass 6
Display: 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED (~458 ppi)
OS: iOS 14.1
Chipset: A14 Bionic
Memory: 6 GB RAM, up to 512 GB onboard storage
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear: 12 MP (wide), 12 MP (ultra wide), 12 MP (telephoto) 2.5x Front: 12 MP (wide)
Sounds: Stereo Speakers, no headphone jack
Battery (battery endurance rating): 3,687 mAh (~100 hours)
Security: Face ID
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, compass, barometer, Siri assistant, IP68 dust/water resistant
Other versions: iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro

One Plus 8 Pro 

OnePlus 8 Pro is the first real flagship from a Chinese device manufacturer that has continued to grow its market share in the west. The OnePlus 8 Pro is built on an aluminum frame, with Gorilla Glass 5 front and back. The slightly more curved design helps it feel good in the hand and with its 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED display, it competes nicely with the Apple and Samsung flagships. 

The OnePlus 8 Pro runs Android 10 and is eligible for an upgrade to Android 11. It runs on an Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip and is available with either 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM, depending on the model. The camera set up is high-end too, with a 48 megapixel wide angle main lens, an 8 megapixel 3x telephoto lens and an amazing 48 megapixel ultra wide angle lens. It also comes with a 5 MP color filter lens to help get the colors just right. 

The OnePlus 8 Pro enters the flagship category by upgrading to some of the options that OnePlus phones have lacked in the past such as wireless charging. It has an in-screen fingerprint reader for security as well and with a 4510 mAh battery, the device stacks up well with many of the other high-end devices of 2020. It is available in Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Onyx Black and can be found on many major carriers in the U.S. and U.K.

OnePlus 8 Pro
Body: Aluminum with Gorilla Glass 5 Front and Back
Display: 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED (~513 ppi)
OS: Android 10, upgrade available to Android 11
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Memory: 8-to-12 GB RAM
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: 48 MP (wide); 8 MP (telephoto) 3x; 48 MP (ultra wide) Front: 16 MP (wide)
Sounds: Stereo speakers, no headphone jack.
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,510 mAh (103 hours)
Security: In-screen fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Compass, IP68 dust/water resistant
Other versions: OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8T

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 

The last phone that we will discuss here is from a repeat manufacturer. How can that be? If a flagship is supposed to be the best phone a company makes, how can there be two flagships? Samsung, who admittedly has an option for nearly every price point in the smartphone market, makes several high-end phones, but no phone is as good as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. 

Made from stainless steel with Corning’s best Gorilla Glass called Victus front and back, the  Note 20 Ultra is one of the most durable phones on the market. It runs Android 11 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 12 GB of RAM, but the real stand out on the new Note is the ridiculous 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display. 

Samsung has upgraded the battery to 4,500 mAh and has put a series of cameras that are massive updates to last year’s Note 10. Now the Note 20 Ultra has a 108 megapixel wide angle lens, a 12 megapixel telephoto lens that is capable of 50x zoom and a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle lens. 

Available in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is now available on every major carrier.   

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Body: Stainless Steel with Gorilla Glass Victus
Display: 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 
OS: Android 10, One UI 2.5
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Expandable Memory:  Yes
Cameras: 108 MP wide, 12 MP (periscope telephoto) 50x, 12 MP (ultra wide) Front: 10 MP wide 
Sounds: Stereo Speakers, no headphone jack
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,500 mAh (88 hours)
Security: In-display fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Compass, Barometer ,IP68 dust/water resistant 
Other versions: Samsung Galaxy Note 20

These four devices aren’t the only flagship devices, but most of the other great phones that you could call “flagship” devices have some type of problem that would keep them from being an option for most people in the west. The honorable mention includes: Huawei Mate 40 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, Sony Xperia 1ii, and even the Google Pixel 5. 

What type of phone do you use? Are you in the market for a flagship phone? Leave your thoughts below in the comments and stop back next week when we talk about how new smartphones don’t always have the same form factor.

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Thursday, December 03 2020

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