It’s that time of the year. Most smartphone manufacturers save their best for the last four months of the calendar year. From the Apple iPhone to Samsung’s Galaxy Note to the Google Pixel flagship, this is when all the big bang launches make it to stores worldwide.
It’s also the best time for you to step up. And yet again, all these smartphones are riding heavily on their stellar cameras and gorgeous displays. While some of these have already kept their date, there’s more around the corner. Here’s your quick cheat sheet on the best flagship smartphones that you can snag right now.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max
Okay, so we were already prepped for a not so radical Apple iPhone upgrade this year — yes, all those pre-launch leaks nearly nailed it. But this one’s a much more significant leap than 2018, especially in the camera department. An iPhone triple cam was long overdue; it’s here and it fires on all cylinders. First, it’s the ultra-wide angle lens (with a 120-degree field of view), and then there’s Apple’s terrific Night mode. It snaps multiple images even as OIS (optical image stabilisation) steadies the lens. The camera software takes over and discards sections with excess blur and fuses sharper ones as it adjusts the contrast.
Slowfie might soon become a word, thanks to the new slow-mo mode on the selfie cam of the new iPhone. At its heart is Apple’s all-new A13 Bionic processor that delivers significant performance improvements. Battery life could be the other big game changer — the smaller The 11 Pro (Rs 99,900 onwards) claims an improvement of 4 hours over last year’s iPhone XS while the 11 Pro Max (Rs 109,900 onwards) promises a 5-hour enhancement over its 2018 predecessor. The larger screen is perfect for those Netflix Marathons thanks to its enhanced OLED display that crams 458 pixels per inch.
Black Shark 2
This flagship is specially crafted for gamers; it’s the first official Black Shark device to be available in India. The heavy-duty hardware spec sheet includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor with two hardware options — 6/128 GB and 12/256 GB. The device also features an in-display Fingerprint Scanner, Direct Touch Liquid Cooling System 3.0 and Dual-camera optics. The 4000 mAh battery gets a boost with the bundled 18w fast charger with Quick Charge 4.0.
OnePlus 7 Pro
Boasts of a gorgeous screen minus the bezels. The vibrant 6.67-inch display (1440 x 3120 pixels / 19.5:9 aspect ratio) packs an impressive 516 pixels per inch and stretches the screen: body ratio to 93 per cent. The triple rear cam blends a 48MP primary lens (f/1.6) with a 16MP ultra-wide lens and an 8MP telephoto lens. Lowlight photography gets a leg-up thanks to OnePlus’ proprietary Night Scape solution. OnePlus takes the pop-up route for its selfie cam that stretches the display. The 16MP front cam shoots sharp selfies.
Google Pixel 3XL
Google’s Pixel 4 flagship is almost here, but the Pixel 3XL still makes a great buy for its brilliant rear cam and it’s pure play Google UI. The 3XL made some subtle yet noticeable design changes over its predecessors including a glass back with a matte finish. But it is lowlight photography that is the Pixel 3XL’s calling card thanks to Google’s clever ‘Nightscape’ mode.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Samsung’s Galaxy Note devices have built a long legion of fans who love the large Super AMOLED display and the S-Pen, Samsung’s clever take on a stylus. This year Samsung unveiled two Note devices including the one most users would probably gravitate towards — the Note 10+. Samsung finds the perfect balance between a super large display and a phone that’s not too unwieldy. It’s marginally thinner and lighter than its predecessor (The Note 9). Samsung achieves this by pushing the screen: body ratio over the 90 per cent threshold.
Colours are brilliant on the 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display (1440 x 3040 pixels). The 10MP selfie camera is packed into a tiny cut-out that sits in the top centre of the large display. The device also features a triple cam set up that combines with a depth vision camera. The video camera with Samsung’s new improved stabilisation feature makes a big impact especially with moving subjects. The Note 10+ is powered by the new Samsung Exynos 9825 Processor that teams up with 12GB of RAM. There are two internal storage options — 256 GB / 512GB, that both offer external storage (up to 1TB). The 4300 mAh battery is quite robust while the new S-Pen comes with a whole new set of tricks, that Note loyalists will approve of.
Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei’s flagship P series smartphones have benefited from the brand’s strategic partnership with Leica. The P30 Pro boasts of a quad rear cam set up with incredible zoom capabilities that can deliver 10X lossless zoom or up to 50X digital zoom. Lowlight results are special too. You can opt to shoot in night mode where the cam combines multiple images for the perfect shot.