Updated 12 October 2022
Are you looking for the best mobile for sale that you can get hold of today? Or perhaps the best value for money with a budget smartphone? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We have tested all the latest mobile phones to bring you our expert in-depth reviews. The best in our unbiased test was the Oneplus 7T, which combines lightning speed with lots of useful functions at a relatively cheap price.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carried out all of our smartphone tests ourselves and tested all products in real everyday situations. We used the mobiles for everyday tasks just like the consumers themselves would use them. And as we use them, we note both major and minor issues that could be important to anyone buying a mobile phone. Some of the most important factors we took into account were:
Performance: How fast is the mobile phone’s interface? Can it handle demanding game apps? How does it react when running lots of apps at the same time?
Ease of use: Is the interface easy to learn? Are there smart solutions for shortcuts to the most common functions? Can the interface, functions etc. be personalised for each unique user?
Camera: How well does the camera perform under normal light conditions? How does it perform in poorer light conditions? How good is the colour reproduction? Is there "noise" on the images? How does the camera handle contrast? How sharp are the images? Is it easy to find the focus?
Operating time: How long does the battery last before the mobile must be charged again under normal conditions? How does this change when we work the smartphone hard? How quickly does the battery charge again?
Other factors we included in our analysis are material choice, build quality, whether the manufacturer has discarded important functions/hardware, and how much value for money the mobile offers. These judgements were made in terms of what you get for your money and how it compares to competitors. For example, we had lower camera expectations for phones under £250 than we did for mobiles under £600. The final score then reflected each smartphone’s value for money.
Minor updates to a complete phone.
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.7 inch OLED – 1170 x 2532 pixels, 60hz Processor: Apple A15 Bionic (6 core) Camera: 12+12 megapixel (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 3240 mAh Dimensions: 146.7x71.5x7.7 mm Weight: 174 g Operating system: iOS 15 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition, waterproof, stereo speaker
The iPhone 13 feels like the most boring of this year’s iPhone models. In many ways it’s identical to the iPhone 13 Mini, but at least the small model still has an air of novelty about it.
The updates in the iPhone 13 are absolutely fine and mean that you won’t be interested in its predecessor. But at the same time they are relatively minor.
The iPhone 13 has a larger camera group on the back, the “chin” at the top of the screen is a touch smaller, and the phone is now 0.2 mm thicker. And the latter is quite telling when it comes to the entire update. At the same time the expanded size means that the telephone has a much bigger battery than before. It’s quite noticeable after a long day or if you’ve pushed the phone hard.
The square iPhone design now has an aluminium frame around, which reduces the weight. This makes the phone much more comfortable to hold for longer periods than the almost identically designed Pro model with its steel frame. But the design is otherwise exactly the same as last year’s models.
On the inside you find the Apple A15 chip. The model in the Pro phones is a bit sharper, but ultimately it’s a very small performance improvement this year. Despite that, the iPhone 13 comes in at the top when we run performance tests, so there’s plenty of power here. The screen is also identical to last year. A really good OLED one, in other words. At the same time it doesn’t have the faster refresh rates that this year’s Pro models are endowed with.
Other than the fact that the Pro models now have support for LiDAR and a third lens, the camera bit is very similar on all four phones this year. This is good news for the iPhone 13. For example, it has the new image stabilisation system, where the entire sensor sits in a kind of shock absorber. Last year this was only available on the Pro Max phone. The advantage of this is that it gives really good image stabilisation, particularly for video.
When it comes to taking photographs in daylight, however, it’s hard to see any quality difference between this year’s photos and last year’s. Both are really good. But in dark environments, the iPhone 13 is a step up. Both lenses are now much more light-sensitive, so in dark environments more details are captured and you get better colours. On the whole, the iPhone 13 has a really good camera that delivers reliable results in all possible environments.
And if you want to play about with the results, you can also try out the new cinematic mode for video, together with many more settings for taking still photos. These aren’t quite at the level of the iPhone 13 Pro, but much better than before. If you have an iPhone 12, there’s no point updating to an iPhone 13 as they’re far too similar. But if you have an older iPhone, it may be worth replacing it. The Magsafe wireless magnetic charging system is very convenient and the new cameras together with the slightly larger battery make the iPhone 13 a useful piece of kit that offers most things you’ll need.
Screen: 6.8 inch LCD – 1440x30880 pixels 120 hz Processor: Exynos 2200 Camera: 108+10+10+12 Megapixel (wide, periscope tele, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 40 megapixel Battery: 5,000 mAh Dimensions: 163.3x77.9x8.9 mm Weight: 228 g Operating system: Android 12 Other: On-screen fingerprint sensor, integrated S Pen, IP68
There was a time when we could expect that Samsung’s Note model of the year would give us everything that Samsung was able to offer in a phone. Then came the spring’s Ultra models of the S series, and Note was divided into several models before dying completely. With Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, we dare say that Samsung has finally found its way back, and is offering a phone that is both unique and incredibly confident as a flagship model.
Unlike last year’s S21 Ultra, not only is Samsung’s S Pen supported, but there is also a storage compartment for it. This means that, in practise, the S22 Ultra picks up where Galaxy Note left off, while at the same time making the phone relatively unique in terms of its features. The S Pen, and its areas of application, quite honestly remain at about the same level as last time, but at the same time there are so many features by now that we would still not have room to list them here. The S22 Ultra also stands out in terms of design, as it both borrows the design language from the previous Note series, but also stands out on its own. Primarily the camera package stands out here, as it skips the raised camera island of the other S22 models, and places all the lenses directly on the back of the phone. The cameras are exactly what we expected from both an Ultra model and a Note: class leaders. Samsung’s top models have always been among the best mobile cameras in the industry at the time of their release, and of course the same applies to the S22 Ultra throughout.
Besides the pen and camera, Samsung mainly delivers what we would expect from these types of phones. At the same time, it’s actually a bit rough around the edges when we really examine the details. We get an amazing display with Samsung's typical top-class performance. While an update rate of 120 hertz is sufficient, it still feels a bit dull, especially now that cheaper phones can also offer 144 hertz. Not that this is really noticed in practise, but still. The same applies to the charging capabilities. With wired and wireless charging, Samsung provides 45 and 15 watts respectively, which is currently quite slow overall. As a “know it all, do it all” phone, the IR port should also have made a comeback, and perhaps even the headphone port.
That said, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is still a fantastic phone with a class-leading camera and a unique position with the pen. If you don't need a pen, the phone may feel a bit expensive. But overall. this is a very competent machine.
Hard to beat in its price class
Screen: 6.55 inch Amoled – 1080x2400 pixels 90hz Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Camera: 64 + 8 + 5 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, tele/macro), 20 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 4250 mAh Dimensions: 160.5x75.7x6.8 mm Weight: 158 g Operating system: Android 11 Other: Fingerprint reader in the power button, water resistant (IP53), IR remote control
Xiaomi has been running in circles a bit in the last few years. They became known as a manufacturer with a lot of “bang for the buck”, but in the last two years there has been some debate on which of the company's budget series products are actually all that impressive. With Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE, they want to establish that they don't only use complicated names, but also that this is the range for budget buyers to look out for.
As Xiaomi is releasing more headphones than we count, including the previous 11 Lite, “NE” should be seen as a New Edition. Slightly crazy, but sure, why not.
And the result is a rather thin phone with enough performance on all fronts to feel like really good value for money.
What we really noticed was the camera. Three are located on the back, where the main camera is the most interesting (the other two are sort of “meh”). Xiaomi has a lot of finishing touches when it comes to sharpness, but for the price class we actually got more clarity than we normally would expect here. If we take a picture of a dog in some daylight, it is possible to see individual hairs, while more expensive cameras only produce some pixel porridge. For its price range, the camera is clearly far more than we expected. The same applies to the selfie camera, which also maintains its sharpness.
The rest of the phone is just right and fully sufficient. You get a rather large screen that can both tick off being Amoled and an update rate of 90 hertz. It feels really luxurious in the class below SEK 3,000.
Inside, you’ll find one of Qualcomm’s more modern mid-range chips, which will undoubtedly last for all kinds of everyday tasks. It also goes a long way for many types of games, so it doesn't lack power.
In addition to this, there's a built-in IR remote control, so that the phone can act as a multi-remote if you wish. Rapid charging is not the fastest by far, but enough to fill up the battery somewhat quickly. The mentioned battery also maintains enough charge without disappointing us. But unusually, we also get dust and water protection in the form of IP53, which is not common in this class (albeit slightly low). Wireless charging and a fingerprint reader in the display are all that are missing from more luxurious features. The reader is instead located on the power button on the side.
For a long time, we were happy to keep Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series as the most fantastic budget choice, but it is clear that Xiaomi has now shifted its budget focus to the more main 11 series. Because it is difficult to dislike Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE from any point of view for this price.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite NE 5G + 4G LTE Volte Global Unlocked GSM 64MP Triple Camera Worldwide GSM with Fast Car Charger (Truffle Black, 256GB + 8GB)
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE 8 GB + 256 GB peach pink unlocked mobile phone, Pink.
Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE - Smartphone 256GB, 8GB RAM, Dual Sim, Snowflake White
Extra everything and a bit more besides in Samsung's top model for 2021
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.8 ins dynamic AMOLED 120 Hz QHD+ Processor: Exynos 2100 (5 nm) Camera: 108 + 10 + 10 +12 megapixels, selfie camera 40 megapixels Battery: 5000 mAh Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm. Weight: 227 g Android version: 11 with One UI 3.1 Miscellaneous: Support for S Pen, up to 16 GB RAM, 5G
The smartphone segment is no longer quite what it was, so expensive phone models with "extra everything" no longer get the same level of attention they used to. But if you’re still looking for a really superior phone, you’ll find it difficult to find beat the new Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, at least during the first half of 2021.
For the smartphone segment, this is what an extra large pizza is for your diet. Maybe not quite what you need, but so good. Everything – and by that we really mean everything – is maximised. Let's start with the screen, which is a full 6.8 inches and thus can be classified as almost tablet sized. And what a screen! We’re talking AMOLED with Quad HD resolution, with colours and brightness that no other phone on the market can match. In addition to that, the phone also has an image refresh rate of 120 Hz, which makes it almost feel like you’re dealing with interactive paper rather than a phone screen. Impressive. And Samsung have cleverly made that refresh frequency adaptive as well, which means the phone tunes down to the refresh frequency you actually need. This saves on battery, while still giving you a silky smooth effect when you need it.
On the camera side too, the Galaxy S21 Ultra impresses. The main sensor is a full 108 megapixels and the phone has double telephoto lenses, which allows for 100x zoom. That extreme zoom is really something of a gimmick, but there’s no doubt that the phone has a truly superior zoom in general. The dynamic range of the cameras is also quite magnificent and the night mode leaves very little to be desired (only the iPhone 12 Pro Max can compete in this respect).
In terms of performance, this phone is also a real monster. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has Samsung's own Exynos 2100 chip, which basically means that nothing is ever going to be a problem due to poor performance. If you choose the variant with 512 GB of storage space, you also get 16 GB of RAM, while the 128 and 256 GB alternatives have to settle for 12 GB of RAM. In other words, plenty. One detail Samsung have left out – probably in order to keep the price down a bit – is a Micro SD card slot. In other words, you should take into account what storage needs you may have in the long run.
The battery is rated at 5000 mAh and provides a full day of use without any problems, even if you use it quite intensively. However, you may find yourself charging at night, if you aren't the type who barely touches your phone during the day. Because Samsung have chosen to follow in Apple's footsteps and no longer include a mains adapter, so if you want one of those you need to buy it separately or use an older one. When it comes to fast charging, there’s currently only support for 25-watt chargers. According to Samsung, these should be so optimised that they're basically no different to 45 watts, but we haven't tested this.
Another thing we haven't tested is support for the pen, which is sold separately. With the S Pen accessory, the S21 Ultra can perform most of the extra functions that would otherwise be exclusive to Samsung's Note series.
In summary, whilst this is a very expensive phone, it also really delivers. If you want the latest cool thing in a smartphone, this is the one you should be looking at. You get a fantastic screen, incredibly good cameras and performance that’s out of this world. And you also get a fair sized hole in your bank account.
Mid-range on everything
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.44 ins AMOLED, 90 Hz – 1080x2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 (1x2.4 GHz,1x2.2 GHz, 6x1.8 GHz) Camera: 48+8+5+2 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, depth, macro), selfie camera 32+8 megapixel Battery: 4115 mAh Dimensions: 158.3x73.3x8.2 mm Weight: 184 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen
Oneplus have almost always been about providing flagship performance at reasonable prices. That's why the Oneplus Nord is an interesting product, as it offers good performance and runs rings around its more expensive predecessor, the Oneplus 8, in some respects.
If you don’t already know where Oneplus has cut corners with Nord, it’s difficult to tell straight off. The choice of materials is a little simpler, the system chip a bit leaner and storage a bit slower than in the Oneplus 8. But at the same time, you get luxury in the form of an AMOLED screen with really nice colours and a 90 Hz refresh rate, which helps a lot in terms of flow. Again on the downside, you lose the stereo speakers, 60 fps filming in 4K and Wi-Fi 6, all available on the more expensive model, but you do get the same camera package in terms of hardware.
In many ways this a Oneplus 8 with slightly slower hardware and a slightly smaller battery. 5G is also included in the package, but that’s not really relevant yet. So it kind of depends what your priorities are. All of this makes the Nord a really interesting mobile which, thanks to its price, really stands out in an otherwise tough price group.
The slightly slower chip and storage aren't noticeable in practice, as everything we throw at it works as it should. It’s only by doing a direct comparison with faster phones that the speed difference becomes clear.
When it comes to the cameras, the primary camera does a really good job, especially for the price range. The wide-angle and macro lenses work OK, but here you do notice a clear loss of quality compared to the main camera and what slightly more expensive models offer. Dual lenses on the front are really just a fun gimmick and nothing worth writing home about.
The Oneplus Nord is an exciting alternative in the cheaper part of the medium segment. Above all, the screen feels really luxurious, and despite the faster screen speed, the battery maintains its usual operating time. Other competitors, especially from China, do handle the camera part better, but even there, the Nord is by no means deficient. One major theoretical advantage is that Oneplus usually send out updates for a long time and are early with new Android versions. Now we just hope they're just as good at this on their cheaper model.
Small but noticeable upgrades.
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.1 ins OLED – 1170x2532 pixels, 120 Hz Processor: Apple A15 Bionic (6 core) Camera: 12 + 12 + 12 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, tele), LiDAR for depth, selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 3125 mAh Dimensions: 146.7x71.5x7.7 mm Weight: 204 g Operating system: iOS 15 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition, waterproof, stereo speaker
The iPhone 13 Pro is both a normal upgrade and a completely new experience. On paper, it’s a very modest upgrade that you’ll barely notice. But once you’ve started using it, it’s very difficult to go back to something older.
The outside is almost the same as before. The dimensions of both the phone and the camera have altered and grown a few millimetres in each direction – enough so that your old iPhone 12 Pro shell won’t fit (and the same applies to the screen protector). It’s the same square but unexpectedly comfortable design as last year, but with a distinctly higher weight this time. And the cameras haven’t merely grown wider, but also taller, which means they stick out of a normal-thickness shell.
The screen has two new features, but is otherwise identical with the predecessor’s really good screen, with insanely impact-resistant glass on top. For example, the “chin”, with the selfie camera and the technology for FaceID facial recognition, is a little smaller. It’s still there, however, so the fact that it’s shrunk a bit doesn’t make much difference. But the other new feature is the refresh rate. This is adjusted automatically depending on what you’re doing, from a low 10 Hz up to an amazing 120 Hz. This gives a completely different feel in the screen, both when you touch it and, for example, when you scroll through a website. It isn’t exactly an essential function, but once you use a telephone with a higher refresh rate than the normal 60 Hz, it feels like everything else is lagging. At the same time, the iPhone finally has this function, which has been present on other top models for several years.
Naturally, Magsafe, which was introduced last year, is concealed on the back of the iPhone 13 Pro. Wireless charging that fits together using magnets and can also be used as a magnetic bracket for the phone is still really clever. We’d have preferred the Lightning port to have bowed out in favour of USB-C this time, at least in the Pro editions. But we didn’t get that. At the same time, we’d have liked to see slightly quicker support for charging – both wireless and wired. But you do get a really substantial update to the battery, which actually does let you squeeze a lot more out of the phone for everyday use than last year’s model. And in both Pro models, we find the faster variant of the A15 chip – an extra graphic core compared to the normal iPhone 13, but still. Performance is almost exactly the same as last year’s iPhones. But it still faster than most Android flagships and more power than you need for most things. Perhaps the biggest new thing is the cameras. Other than the fact that they’re physically larger, the entire package has been updated. Image stabilisation via sensor shift, which last year was only available on the Pro Max, is also here and works extremely well. At the same time, the image sensors have become much larger, which gives much better photos in darker conditions. Overall, the image quality has been significantly updated in all modes and produces a very even result, just like iPhones have done previously. The automatic image processing is set to ensure that it looks as natural as possible. But if you still want to fiddle with the settings to make the more to your own personal taste, there are plenty of settings that allow you to do so. Later in the autumn, ProRaw mode, which is only available for the Pro models, will be joined by the ProRes video mode. This will only be available for the Pro models with at least 265 GB of RAM. If you have the knowledge to exploit this, it’s something that adds a whole load more “Pro” to the iPhone 13 Pro. Right from the start it includes the new Cinematic mode, which shifts the focus between objects in the image. This is nice, when it works. In darker environments it disappears completely and it often feels both sluggish and choppy. But when it works it’s really good. The iPhone 13 Pro makes last year’s Pro model uninteresting as a purchase, unless you can find it in a bargain bin. The iPhone 12 Pro was an extremely competent phone and the iPhone 13 Pro has grown even more into its Pro suit, so to speak. The updates aren’t revolutionary, but when you use them everything that came before feels old-fashioned.
Cheap top model with all the basics
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.55 ins AMOLED, 120 Hz – 1080x2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (1x2.84 GHz & 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 48+50+2 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, depth), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 160x74.2x8.7 mm Weight: 192 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging,
Ever since Oneplus divided their phones into “normal” and “Pro”, the normal model has often seemed the most interesting, simply because it's exciting to see how much of the flagship model they can squeeze into a cheaper model. Surprise, surprise! The Oneplus 9 is no exception.
Compared to the Oneplus 9 Pro, the screen and the camera are the really big, obvious differences. While the more expensive model has slightly curved edges and slightly higher specifications, the screen in the Oneplus 9 is still pretty good. It’s a really nice AMOLED screen with 120 Hertz refresh rate that makes everything flow fantastically, while at the same time delivering very good colours. In truth, we actually prefer the completely flat screen of the Oneplus 9.
The inside of the phone runs on the same Snapdragon 888 chip as its big brother, which means the performance is top notch for Android mobiles in 2021, with 5G built-in. The Oneplus 9 also has support for wireless charging, although not at the same turbo speed as the Pro model (wired fast charging is available, however).
And if we hadn’t read up on it, we wouldn’t have noticed any difference in the build quality. This is a well-built phone throughout, but with a plastic frame all around instead of aluminium. The camera unit on the back protrudes a bit as per usual, but at the same time it does give the phone a fairly characteristic look.
One interesting aspect is the lack of water resistance. The Oneplus 9 has no official water resistance classification – except when sold through a specific US operator. Without promising anything, we reckon the Oneplus 9 has the equivalent of IP68 classification for dust and water, just like the Oneplus 9 Pro, but that the licence fee hasn’t been paid for use of the classification.
The camera package consists of two parts, two large lenses and one smaller one. In the Pro version, there’s also an additional smaller lens and laser autofocus. That’s a small, but important detail. The new collaboration with Hasselblad only applies to the two large lenses, which are identical on the two phones. Here, the camera legends have tinkered with and altered the settings to provide a better image and colour reproduction.
At the same time, the Oneplus 9 suffers from the same uneven quality as the Pro model. At its best, the image quality is phenomenal, but only a moment or so later, the colours can become strange or the whole image tinted blue. Like the Oneplus 9 Pro, the Oneplus 9 was bombarded with almost daily system updates during our test period. These have gradually fixed some of the problems, but many still remain. It feels a bit like the phone was released prematurely.
The Oneplus 9 costs around £200 less than the Pro variant. Does this mean you lose a lot by going for the cheaper option? No. The Oneplus 9 is enough of a top model for most people, and at a really good price. But if you’re super fussy about photos or must have super-fast wireless charging, the more expensive model is probably better for you. For most people, the Oneplus 9 is a great buy that’s really lacking nothing.
A great glimpse of the future
Price range: Medium Screen: 6.7 in IPS LCD, 90 Hz – 1080x2520 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G (1x3.2 GHz, 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 64+16+2 megapixels (wide, telephoto, ultrawide, macro, depth), 16+8 megapixels selfie camera Battery: 5000 mAh Dimensions: 168.4x74x9.7 mm Weight: 207 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, Water-repellent design
The Motorola Moto G100 is an affordable phone from the upper segment of mid-range phones. It also has two “special” functions, and if these are interesting for you, it’s a really good buy.
The first “special” function concerns the camera. The four cameras on the back, on the whole, are fine for this price class, without ever really shining.
One of the cameras is equipped with a macro lens for better close-ups. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the results very satisfying. On the other hand, this camera is quite unique in that the entire lens is surrounded by a light ring. So if you want to illuminate things while shooting in macro, you have dedicated lighting for it. In practice this lighting can be a bit harsh but it’s still a fun and useful touch.
The rest of the phone offers decent performance for the price. The screen is reasonable, has a 90 Hz refresh rate and gives good colour reproduction.
On the inside, performance is very good for the price class thanks to the Snapdragon 870 chip. This chip isn’t quite as fast as the top models in the 800 series, but it’s not far off. That extra performance is needed too, for the handset's second “special” function.
The Moto G100 is the first to support Motorola “Ready For”. Aside from being a terrible name, Ready For is very similar to Samsung’s Dex, although it actually works better.
Accessories for the Moto G100 include a USB-C to HDMI cable (with extra port for charging) and a table stand. Depending on which package you buy, you get both, just the cable or neither, so make sure you check before you buy.
The cable allows you to quickly and easily connect your phone to a monitor. Connect your keyboard and mouse too, via Bluetooth, and you’re up and running with a PC-like desktop experience via your phone. Although Motorola kind of mess things up with four different profiles, all of which actually lead to the same desktop anyway, we’re amazed by how well and smoothly the whole thing actually works. Of course with mobile apps in separate windows on the screen and a few loading problems in some of them, but overall “PC mode” works very well. To us, this actually feels like something which should be standard in Android.
The desk stand makes it easier to use the camera for video conferencing (unfortunately only the front camera) while holding the phone steady. Unfortunately, the stand is also equipped with an incredibly annoying and constantly whirring fan, so we’d recommend another solution for your video calls.
With “Ready For”, the Motorola Moto G100 really does offer a glimpse into the future. The function doesn’t always work trouble-free, but it still works so well that we miss it in other phones. The rest of the phone offers decent performance for the price, even if the camera isn’t very exciting.
Price range: Medium Screen: 6.43 in AMOLED, 90 Hz – 1080x2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 5G (2x2.2 GHz &, 6x1.8 GHz) Camera: 64+8+2 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, depth), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 159.2x73.5x7.9 mm Weight: 170 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen
The Oneplus Nord CE 5G is part of a confusing series of models from Oneplus. Whether the confusion is because the owner company Oppo want to be more visible or for other reasons remains to be seen. Nord CE, (Core Edition), is supposed to function as a kind of stripped-down variant of the already cheap (and confusing) Nord series. Just a month after its release, Oneplus also released the Nord 2, with basically the same specifications, except for the system chip and a few design details. So yes, the series is quite confusing. But the CE, or Core Edition, isn’t a bad phone.
Oneplus’ recent top models promised a lot and struggled to deliver, but it’s the opposite with the CE. Many other manufacturers have mid-range phones in or around this price class. And with most of them it’s a question of choosing between features such as an OLED screen, a 90 Hz refresh rate and a slightly better performance, because in this price class those things are rarely all offered together.
For that reason, the Nord CE actually feels quite exceptional. The 90 Hz screen flows really well and offers the quality colours you'd expect from an OLED screen. The inside doesn’t have Qualcomm's top system chip, but it does have the very next one down.
Of course, 5G is also included, and Oneplus promises two major Android updates and three years of security updates before the phone is abandoned. This phone isn’t the best of the best, but it’s still a very good buy in this price class.
Of course, not everything is almost top range with the Nord CE. The back is plastic rather than glass. Plastic is tougher, but it doesn’t have the same premium feel. Nor is there a slider for switching between different sound modes which comes as standard on the more expensive Oneplus models. The screen could also have been a little brighter in dark environments.
And as regards those dark environments, this is where the camera falls down a little. Daylight pictures are full of detail, although the colours are a bit dull. As soon as it gets dark, however, you soon see where Oneplus cut some costs.
To be fair, the camera is one area where your expectations would be lower as the price tag drops. But the Oneplus Nord CE 5G still manages well for its price class, and even feels quite top of the range in some respects.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G - 256GB - Blue Void
OnePlus Nord CE 5G (UK) 12GB RAM 256GB SIM-Free Smartphone with Triple Camera and Dual SIM - 2 Year Warranty - Silver Ray
OnePlus Nord CE 5G (UK) 12GB RAM 256GB SIM-Free Smartphone with Triple Camera and Dual SIM - 2 Year Warranty - Blue Void
Finally everything’s right
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.9 inch AMOLED – 1440x3088 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (1x3 GHz, 3x2.42, 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 108+12+12 megapixel (wide, telephoto/periscope, ultrawide), selfie camera 10 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 164.8x77.2x8.1 mm Weight: 208 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging (+reverse), water resistant, pen
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is something of a double comeback for Samsung. Firstly, they’ve learned from the relatively unsuccessful S20 Ultra. And secondly it makes the Note series interesting again, which it hasn’t been for a few years. In other words, it’s a worthy winner of the Best Premium Choice title.
The Note series have always been enormous phones, which has made them rather tricky to handle. With the Note 20 Ultra, Samsung have succeeded in making even an enormous telephone feel well balanced and relatively ergonomic. It’s light years from the equally large S20 Ultra, which just wasn’t at all comfortable to use.
The new colours – bronze in our case – are also really gorgeous, which contributes to the premium feel. As usual with a Note, the pen's the star here. As well as providing more functions than you’d ever remember to use, there’s one major update here. The delay between moving the pen on the screen and something happening has been almost entirely eliminated. Not that it bothered us particularly on previous versions, but it does make you realise that this is how it ought to have been the whole time. All of your notes, sketches and so on can be done with a much better feel than before.
On the inside, there’s a lot that’s familiar from the S20 telephones, which by 2020 standards definitely isn’t a bad thing. Although it’s not exactly top of the class when it comes to speed.
One new feature is that the screen now has a dynamic refresh rate. This means the screen can reach 120 Hz when it’s necessary, but automatically reduces the refresh rate, for example if you’re reading static text. This saves on the battery, which is actually really good, but unfortunately you still can’t run full resolution combined with a high refresh rate.
On paper, the camera may look like a step down from the S20 Ultra, as it “only” offers 50 times hybrid zoom. But in fact it’s enough and more besides, and we can now actually see what the zoomed-in photos depict.
Samsung have also included laser auto focus in the camera package, which eliminates all the focus issues that previous Ultra models had. Even though it’s not an enormous jump between models, the Note 20 Ultra is still a touch better than its predecessor when it comes to image quality. As is always true for the Note series, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra isn’t the right phone for everyone. You have to see the point of the pen and all of its functions for it to be worth the price. But at the same time, the Note 20 Ultra has the same price tag as the S20 Ultra, and if you're choosing between the two models it’s definitely the Note 20 Ultra you should be going for. If you want ultra luxury and are happy to pay for extra functions, there’s actually nothing to beat it just now, which makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra our Best Premium Choice.
All the new ideas are concentrated around the camera
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.81 ins AMOLED, 120hz – 1440x3200 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (1x2.84 GHz & 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 50+48+48 megapixel (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 5000 mAh Dimensions: 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.4 mm Weight: 234 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging, IP68
Xiaomi have adopted Samsung's strategy when it comes to phones. The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is no less than the fourth variant of the top model Mi 11.
The Mi 11 Ultra is the model in the series that differs most from the others.
These differences begin with the case, which is made of a ceramic material. Chinese manufacturers like to use ceramics to emphasise the luxury aspect of a phone, and it does give the whole phone a really nice premium feel. At the same time, the phone has a bit of a problem in terms of balance, as the large camera housing makes it feel a bit heavy. This is a shame, because it’s otherwise a really well-built phone, with a nice, fast screen and – despite its size – quite good ergonomics.
At the same time, Xiaomi do seem to have problems with cooling. Both in the Mi 11 Ultra and other phones in the series, we unexpectedly, and quite quickly, encounter warning messages about overheating when we start pushing the phone. The Snapdragon 888 chip that powers the phone is prone to getting hot, but other phones tested with the same chip haven’t been as quick to complain.
Most of all the Mi 11 Ultra is exclusively about the rear camera. The camera housing is without a doubt the largest we've seen on a phone, which also has the unexpected advantage that the phone lies flat against a table without wobbling when you touch the screen.
The entire surface isn’t a camera, however, as part of it is taken up by a small extra OLED screen. While you can use this to quickly see simpler notifications and the like, the main purpose of it is that you can use it as a viewfinder if you want to take selfies with the rear camera (and you will want to, because it’s much better).
There are three really good cameras next to the small screen. Regardless of whether you leave the AI enhancement of images on or not, the images can feel a bit cold. At the same time, you get an insane dynamic range and amazingly good details in both daylight and darker environments. What’s particularly nice is that all three lenses have received about the same amount of love, which means that, for example, there’s no competition for evening 5x zoom on this phone.
The dark mode isn’t as good as Huawei’s, but on the whole this is a mobile camera that’s undoubtedly involved in the running for top position. Videos come out really well too, though they aren’t quite as impressive.
The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a model phone that’s almost consistently at the same level as other "ultra-phones". Xiaomi doesn’t really have the whole ecosystem quite there, but otherwise they’re clearly on the same level as the other big players in the mobile market.
Amazingly good value for money
Price class: Budget Screen: 6.53 inch IPS, 1080x2340 pixels Processor: Mediatek Helio G90T, 2x2.05 GHz+6x2 GHz Camera: 64+8+2+2 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide, macro, depth), selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 161.4x76.4x8.8 mm Weight: 200 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader
Xiaomi seem to work to Samsung’s plan of releasing so many mobile phones that it’s hard to distinguish between them. This includes having two “Note” series. While the Mi Note is a slightly more high-quality product, the Redmi Note has always offered almost ridiculous levels of bang for the buck. And the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is definitely not an exception to this rule.
It’s difficult to find a Xiaomi phone that gives a poor impression in terms of build quality, except perhaps their very cheapest models. And the Note 8 Pro doesn’t disappoint, with the exception of the enormous protruding camera housing.
This is a fast mobile phone given its price. Even though the processor in the phone doesn’t come from Qualcomm like the majority of top models, it’s still one of budget rival Mediatek’s faster chips and this makes a big difference to the performance. Consequently this is a mobile phone with medium class performance for a budget price. For everyday use it’s not likely to appear slow.
And the same applies to other parts of the innards. 64 GB of storage is generous for the price class and can always be expanded with an extra memory card if you sacrifice the second SIM card slot. The battery also lasts really well – a whole day, or even more depending on how much you use the phone.
The only thing that’s a slight negative is the LCD screen, where competing phones in roughly the same price class from Samsung have AMOLED screens, with correspondingly better colours. But at the same time it’s not a bad screen in any way.
What really stands out for this price class is the camera. There are four sensors on the back, one of which is 64 megapixels. The number of megapixels doesn’t actually tell you much, but you do get really good detail in images taken with the Redmi Note 8 Pro. In fact, the camera performs better than expected in most conditions.
One thing that’s got a lot better over the years is Xiaomi’s own MIUI interface. This sits on top of the normal Android interface and provides a whole load of extra settings and tools that don’t come as standard. It includes a number of extra settings for the screen when you’re using it at night or for reading, and these are better than Android's normal ones.
The telephone also keeps up with Android 10 updates.
For the price tag, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro is a really good buy. It performs far above what you’d expect in this segment and even beats many medium class mobiles.
Triple cheeseburger with extra everything
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.65 ins AMOLED, 144 Hz – 1080x2340 pixels **Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ (1x3.09 GHz, 3x2.42 GHz, 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 64+16 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 5000 mAh Dimensions: 169.2x78.5x9.9 mm Weight: 239 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, dual charging ports, motorised selfie camera, shoulder buttons
The Lenovo Legion Duel is an unapologetic smartphone that performs fantastically well. This is a phone for gamers – and it comes with all the tweaks you can think of. Which means this isn’t a phone for everyone – but no one can accuse Lenovo of not doing their best with the Legion Duel.
As soon as you open the box, you’re met by a built-in sound effect, which kind of sets the scene for this phone. Once the phone is out of the box, it turns out to be a monster in every way.
The Duel is mostly intended for use in landscape mode, as the heavier mobile games only run like that. Along the upper long side, there are two touch buttons that can act as shoulder buttons during play if supported (which, unfortunately, isn't very widespread). Between those buttons is the power button which is mounted on top of the selfie camera… or the streaming camera in this case, because that’s the main idea, to stream with the camera.
On the other long side of the phone, and also on the short side, you have USB-C ports for charging. These are on both sides so you can easily choose a charging port for more comfortable gaming, or so you can plug in a cable at both points and turbo charge the phone. The power adapter that comes with the phone also has two sockets for this.
The back of the phone has cameras placed in the centre along with the Lenovo Legion logo that glows in angry neon colours. These can be set to your own preference. The camera is fine, but nothing special. But the idea with this camera isn't that it should be great at taking pictures. Other things have been prioritised instead.
Once up and running, you’re greeted by Lenovo's own Legion interface and a question as to whether you want to connect up a mouse and keyboard for gaming. This is followed by an introductory video which, if nothing else, clearly demonstrates the solid stereo sound. You get a sound level and a sense of space more akin to a smaller laptop than a phone.
On the inside, you’ve got today's fastest chip for Android phones – the Snapdragon 865+. This, in combination with dual cooling systems, gives you the highest performance figures we’ve yet seen from an Android phone. And nor have we run into maxing out the graphics in the games that offer different graphics levels. At the same time, the cooling systems and the chip make the whole phone feel warmer than many competitors.
The substantial screen also suffers a bit from a slightly lower resolution than other manufacturers' top models. But on the plus side, you do get good colours with the AMOLED technology and, since this a gaming phone we’re talking about, a 144 Hz refresh rate.
The software is heavily adapted for gaming as well. If you drag down from the top of the screen while playing, you get a special menu for things like streaming/selfie camera. Unfortunately, that particular camera isn’t much to write home about in terms of quality. The software in general also has a bit of a problem deciding whether to speak English, Chinese or another language. Chinese only seems to appear in an update log, but all the same...
It’s also clear that both performance and the fast updating of the screen takes their toll on battery life. Despite having a monster battery, we didn’t get more than standard length use out of it. And if you play with maxed settings, the battery percentage goes down quite quickly, for obvious reasons.
The Lenovo Legion Duel is a great gaming phone. Neither the size nor the design will appeal to everyone and there are a few flaws. But for gaming, especially using a dual charger, nothing really beats it. If we’d had an award for the best gaming phone, the Lenovo would have won it hands down.
Phone that’s everything you need, whether you like it or not
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.6 inch AMOLED 720 x 1600 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G Camera: 48+8+5+5 megapixels, selfie camera 20 megapixels Battery: 5000 mAh Weight: 193 g Dimensions: 164.4 x 75.9 x 8.6 mm. Android version: 10 Release year: 2020
It’s time to admit it. Most of us have phones whose performance and specifications far exceed what we actually need. For some, it’s true, their phone is a status symbol. And in such cases, a phone needs to have everything and a bit more besides. But really, for most of us, it’s actually the middle segment that’s the sensible choice, because phones in this sort of price class have become so powerful they can often compete with the flagships when it comes to everyday use.
Samsung's Galaxy A42 5G is an excellent example of exactly that. Unless you're planning to make a movie using your camera, this is a phone that basically leaves nothing to be desired.
The Galaxy A42 5G is equipped with a 6.6 inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 720 x 1600 pixels. It also has a really nice camera module with four sensors (a 48 megapixel main camera, an ultra-wide-angle lens of 8 megapixels, a macro lens of 5 megapixels and a depth sensor of 5 megapixels). On the front, a 20-megapixel selfie camera is housed in a teardrop-shaped sensor panel. The video part supports both slow motion and hyperlapse. And, as the icing on the cake, the phone is even equipped with 5G support. The phone also comes with up to 8 GB of RAM , 128 GB of storage space and it has a screen-based fingerprint reader.
So what's its Achilles heel? Why isn’t this a flagship phone? In truth, apart from slightly lower screen resolution and the camera, the difference is mainly just the system chip. Under the bonnet there’s a Snapdragon 750G chip, which simply can’t compete with either the Exynos or Snapdragon chips the top range phones all have but which, nevertheless, and thanks to its eight processor cores, can still be classified as really powerful. In recent years, the mid-segment chip from Qualcomm has approached flagship performance, and users who can actually perceive any significant difference between the top chip and the 7-series are undoubtedly very few.
Another detail that distinguishes this phone from the absolute top phones is the feeling of quality. The Galaxy A42 5G simply doesn’t feel like a premium phone when you hold it and instead feels a bit plasticky and very light. This is due to two things: That it’s made of plastic – and that it’s very light. The latter is actually an advantage in many ways, but also contributes to the feeling that you aren't dealing with a flagship. However, the phone feels very comfortable in your hand, and you get a firm and good grip without any problems. The design of the back in four shades, on the other hand, is unlikely to win any design awards. But one big plus is that the camera module barely protrudes at all.
The screen, on the other hand, is both razor sharp and extremely compliant and responsive, something that feels unusual in this segment. And it feels as if both the pixel density and the refresh rate are significantly higher than what’s stated. This phone simply has a very screen. To test the phone we switched between this model and an iPhone 11 Pro, and although Apple's phone certainly felt a tad sharper, there wasn't any major difference.
5G is without a doubt the future, but buying a phone with only 5G at the moment is probably a bit daft. We tested this phone in Stockholm, in places where there’s supposed to be very good 5G coverage. But the best we get was about 77 Mbit/second, and that was only in one very limited location. If other places, with a clear view in all directions, we only got 44 Mbit/second, when we finally did manage to capture the elusive 5G signal. So clearly we all need to wait for the frequency auctions to start and for the networks to be ready before 5G becomes a powerful buying argument.
But all in all, this is a very good phone at a very good price. And it’s easy to see why the medium segment is growing so strongly.
Extra everything, as usual with a Note
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.5 inch Amoled - 1440 x 3040 pixels Processor: Samsung Exynos 9825 (2x2.73 GHz + 2x2.4 + 4x1.9 GHz) Camera: 12+12+12 megapixel (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 10 megapixel Battery: 4300 mAh Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm Weight: 196 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, ANT+, wireless and reverse wireless charging
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ represents this year’s model with “extra everything” in Samsung's Note series. And in this year, it has company in the form of a slightly smaller model, but the Note 10+ is the true flagship.
This year’s model still has the same square corners as previous models, but it’s a little more rounded along the edges. This makes it more comfortable to hold, which is important for a mobile that’s intended for you to use as a notebook.
The colour shifts in the back of the mobile feel like they’ve been taken directly from Huawei's P series, but emphasised still further, making it rather reminiscent of the read face of a CD. Whether or not this is attractive is down to personal preference.
At the same time, it’s an well-built smartphone with a luxurious feel. The same applies to the large screen that, true to form, is top class in all modes. The fingerprint reader under the screen glass has improved since the S10 series in the spring, but it can still be rather frustrating to use as an unlocking method for privacy.
Even the inside, with Samsung’s latest chip, leaves very little to desire in the form of speed. Disappointingly, we have to wait for an upgrade to Android 10 as Samsung tend to be rather slow on this front.
And we can continue across the board. Everything in this phone is a little bit better than the already really good S10 series. The camera is one of the best you can find in a mobile today and now you can also film with bokeh around objects if you want.
You can focus the sound during videos, which works really well. Sound during playback through the mobile’s speaker is also very good, even though it doesn’t quite equal our experience with the iPhone 11 Pro, for example.
And the battery life is also decent. If you use lots of the functions it does drain constantly, but despite quite hard use and the large bright screen, it lasts an entire day. It’s also really useful to be able to charge your headphones wirelessly directly from the smartphone if you need to.
The pen is the flagship quality of this smartphone. If you’re not interested in this function, the Note series is unnecessarily expensive. The myriad of functions that were linked to the pen are still here. There are special new ‘Air Actions’ to control changing tracks, the camera and many other things. These are fun, but mostly a gimmick.
A more useful function is the translation between handwriting and digital letters. This isn’t new and it’s still far from perfect, but Samsung have made huge progress with this feature.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is premium in every way you can think of, and stuffed full of functions. If it’s in your price range and you enjoy drawing or taking notes, it's a really good option. At the same time, it’s really large (still larger with a shell) and tied to the pen and its functions. Without the pen, the Note feels too expensive, despite all its other positive points. But if you consider the pen useful to you, it's hard to find a better mobile phone today.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Plus 4G Dual-SIM SM-N975F/DS 256GB SIM-Free Factory Unlocked 4G/LTE Smartphone - AURA Black
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus SIM Unlocked (Brand New), Aura Black / 256GB
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus SIM Unlocked (Brand New), Aura White / 256GB
Invests everything in the camera...and pulls it off
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.47 inch - 1080 x 2340 pixels Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 980 (octa core, 2.6 GHz Camera: 40+20+8 megapixel, selfie camera 32 megapixel Battery: 4,200 mAh Dimensions: 158x73.4x8.4 mm Weight: 192 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, IP68 classified, wireless charging in two directions
The Huawei P30 Pro is the best mobile phone just now, even if it's partly a copy of a smartphone that already exists, and partly a completely new step for mobile phones. This may seem paradoxical, but it's what Huawei is aiming at with this year’s selection of P mobiles.
So let’s start at the end, with the “negative” things. If you compare the P30 Pro with the company's top model from last autumn, the Mate 20 Pro, you're looking at two almost identical smartphones. Even if the P series primarily focuses on the camera, there are normally some new functions in addition to that. But they're pretty well absent here.
Which isn’t to say this is a bad phone. The enormous screen is stunningly beautiful, and this time Huawei seem to have improved the curved long edges. The battery is enormous, and together with Huawei's competent optimisations, we actually managed without charging the phone for two days and didn’t have to limit our use too much.
As for its limitations, the majority of Huawei smartphones now have a limited mode that alerts you and removes the colours from the screen after a certain time, which is an easy but effective way of mitigating your hours online.
The Kirin 980 chip gives you all the power you could possibly need. We feel that it's a bit better in terms of reception than its competitors, and you have plenty of storage space and room for double SIM cards. It also has wireless charging and reverse wireless charging (to charge other phones or accessories wirelessly). This is together with IR ports to act as a remote control, and a fingerprint reader in the screen – which is a bit slow but still the best in its class.
All of this comes in a package that feels neat despite the boisterous large screen. But, we wrote pretty much the same thing about the Mate 20 Pro when it came out.
So it's a phenomenal mobile in all respects, but it's the camera we came for. Particularly after last year's P20 Pro, which was a real smartphone evolution. And this is also where all the new features are.
The selfie camera – which is in a drop-shaped insert at the upper edge of the screen – has a respectable resolution and works well, but it isn’t exactly dazzling.
But the main cameras on the back can only be described as stunning. It includes a separate depth sensor, double optical image stabilisation and a periscope on the third camera. Yes, the third camera is actually fitted lengthways inside the phone, with an angled lens at the top to get it to look in the right direction.
In addition to slightly better image quality than its predecessor, this means you can benefit from 10 x hybrid zoom without losing image quality. You’ll ideally need to keep the camera steady on a table or tripod to benefit from this, but even when handheld, we could achieve a sharp image of extremely small text from several metres away.
Taking relatively close up photos of birds from a reassuring distance is also possible – something we’ve never seen in a mobile phone before.
Add to this a new night mode, which after a few seconds delivers an image lighter than what the human eye perceives, and we find it difficult to see how any competitor could deliver the same quality and comprehensive package in a mobile camera.
The Huawei P30 Pro invests everything in the camera...and pulls it off. It’s primarily a top-class smartphone, but it's the new camera that makes it stand out and wins it our best mobile phone of 2020 accolade.
Stable top model for a reasonable price
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.41 inch - 2340 x 1080 pixels Processor: Snapdragon 845 2.8 GHz Camera: 16 + 20 megapixel, selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 3,700 mAh Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm Weight: 185 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, facial recognition
Right from the start, Oneplus have made smartphones with top specifications for a reasonable price. The 6T is the latest model in the family, and even though the price has gone up quite a bit between versions, it's still pretty good compared to the very latest phones. Smartphone that are six or more months old have come down to similar prices.
But the Oneplus 6T is still "cheap" compared to its competitors. It has quite generous basic functions. Up to 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB for storage is still relatively uncommon even in top models (and even the slightly cheaper entry model is sounding generous with its 6GB and 128 GB for RAM and storage respectively. This is the only thing that distinguishes the two models.
This much RAM means that several apps can be kept in memory without it becoming full or sluggish. And the speed is increased still further by the latest Snapdragon chip, which won't disappoint anyone in terms of performance.
Via its overlying Oxygen OS interface, the Oneplus 6T has a number of extra functions to help apps remain in memory and to give a little extra boost to games. To be honest, we couldn't really tell the difference with the functions on or off, because the phone is quick either way.
Together with the latest version of Android, you get both the latest functions from Google and a number of extra options from Oneplus, creating a good overall experience.
The screen too is one of the better quality AMOLED types, with much sharper blacks. It doesn't quite reach Samsung's stellar levels, but there's nothing to complain about. The same applies to the resolution, which perhaps isn't the very best but perfectly sufficient.
The screen also conceals the biggest innovation in the phone – a fingerprint reader directly on the screen. This works really well for identifying yourself in apps, but for some reason when it comes to unlocking the phone it lags slightly behind competitors, such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro with similar technology.
As a backup, you can turn on facial recognition to unlock the phone - and the two complement each other well.
The cameras are high quality. In daylight, the rear double camera can hold its own with the best, and in slightly poorer lighting it's still pretty good. However, in darker images you can see the class difference from something like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which produces much sharper images. The Oneplus 6T has a special night mode, but for this to work well the subject has to be completely still (for example if you're photographing a building at night). The camera is meant to detect the difference between different subjects and adapt the image accordingly. This isn't something that's obvious in the app and we get the impression that it's not as good as other camera AI solutions.
So what's the catch? Actually there isn't much wrong with the Oneplus 6T, but it feels more like a really good basic model than many other manufacturers' top models. For example, the camera should be able to recognise document scanning automatically, and we'd have liked to have seen different alternatives for screen resolution to save on the battery (not that the battery life is particularly bad; you can easily get it to last a day with normal use). There aren't any fun or useful extra functions such as wireless charging or an IR port (to work as a remote control).
In many cases, these are things you can live without, but other than the fingerprint reader this phone is a bit short on bells and whistles.
The Oneplus 6T has lots of memory and is a really quick alternative to the often more expensive top models, without feeling like you're missing out on any essential functions.
A top mobile in the top league
The P20 Pro has a lot of what you want from a phone, and it's a good buy for anyone looking for a top level mobile phone.
Screen: 6.1 inch - 2240 x 1080 pixels Processor: Huawei Kirin 970, 4 x 2.36 Ghz 4 x 1.8 Ghz Camera: 40 + 20 + 8 megapixel, selfie camera 24 megapixel RAM: 6 GB Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: Dimensions Weight: Weight Android version: Android version Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous
The Huawei P20 Pro is a slim and stylish mobile phone with a really good camera.
The main camera - or rather the three main cameras - on the back even beat the Samsung S9 Plus’s cameras. The colours, details and handling of different light conditions are all excellent. The optical zoom magnifies objects up to five times, and the resolution of a full 40 megapixels is nothing to be overlooked either. It has an interesting ultra-fast mode. With this activated, you can film at 960 frames a second, which creates really great effects when you're trying to capture something. However, it can be difficult to capture the moment when the timeframe for the effect is only a quarter of a second. Theis function also requires good light conditions so it's not often useful. The camera app itself has a user-friendly design. One nice detail is that the function wheel looks like a focus ring on a digital camera. There are lots of options for both experienced and less regular mobile photographers. The mobile phone's selfie camera provides a full 24 megapixels of resolution - and does an excellent job might we add. One interesting detail of the P20 Pro is that the mobile phone exploits the whole of the upper part of the screen - what's known as the sensor panel. But you can choose to keep this area black if you prefer a more traditional appearance.
The Huawei P20 Pro is impressive when it comes to battery life, even during demanding use.
We didn't need to charge it once during the daytime. Simply charging it overnight was sufficient. The operating system runs well, apps open quickly and there's no lag. What's most impressive is the swift and faultless facial recognition that unlocks the phone. You have to be really picky to find anything to complain about with the Huawei P20 Pro, but we’re just that and there is actually room for improvement. The screen, which is excellent when it comes to colour reproduction and brightness, doesn't really have the same resolution and DPI (pixels per inch) as some of its top competitors. However, this is only noticeable if you really strain to see. The phone is always missing a proper "Always on" display function so that you can get information even when the lock button's on. It's there, hidden at the bottom of the settings menu, but it only shows basic functions such as the clock or which track you have playing. Unfortunately, there's no preview of messages and you can't control the music when the screen is off. You might feel the lack of a 3.5 mm jack or the possibility of wireless charging is a let-down too. But the fact that the mobile doesn't have a memory card slot is less important as there's a full 128Gb of internal storage. With the Huawei P20 Pro, the Chinese mobile manufacturer has easily established itself in the upper segment of the premium class.
HUAWEI P20 Pro 128 GB 6.1-Inch FHD+ FullView Android 8.1 SIM-Free Smartphone, Single SIM, Black - UK Version
Huawei P20 Pro 128 GB/6 GB Dual SIM Smartphone - Twilight (International Version)
HUAWEI P20 Pro 128 GB/6 GB Single SIM Smartphone - Twilight (United Kingdom Version)
Small phone with lots of power
Price class: Medium Screen: 5.8 inch - 1080 x 2280 pixels Processor: Exynos 9820, 2.73 GHz Camera: 12+16 megapixel, selfie camera 10 megapixel Battery: 3,100 mAh Dimensions: 142.2x69.9x7.9 mm Weight: 150 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, IP68 classified, wireless charging in two directions
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is one of the best mobile phones of 2020 because it succeeds in combining a good-value price with the specifications for a 2019 top model and a really neat format. The Galaxy S10e is the smallest model in this year’s flagship trio from Samsung. Both the price and size have fallen slightly, while much of the important stuff remains.
Calling the S10e a small mobile phone is actually inaccurate. The 5.8-inch screen is larger than those on the first three mobiles in the company's Note series. At the same time, the edges around the screen are more or less non-existent, something which makes the phone really neat compared to the majority of other phones today. In a world where the top models are increasingly approaching 7-inch screens, the S10e feels really small.
The screen lacks its big sister’s curved edges, but it is still boasts a phenomenal screen in general. Blacks, sharpness and colours are unbeatable, and the smaller screen size means the lower resolution isn’t noticeable.
Nor is the fingerprint reader in the screen – instead it has been moved to the power button. The actual fingerprint reader works lightyears better than the screen-based solution in the S10 and S10+. It’s a great inclusion for privacy. But the power button is at the top on the right-hand side, which is an irritating position even on a small phone.
Another noteworthy change is that the number of rear cameras has been reduced to two from three. In purely practical terms, it’s the zoom camera that’s had to go, while the wide-angle and normal cameras remain. It actually produces pretty much the same great images as the S10, because these are the same cameras, and the only difference is that you’re missing a bit of the zoom functionality.
On the front, the selfie camera is in a hole cut out of the screen, just like on the sister models. It does the job really well, even in poor light conditions.
Otherwise there really isn’t much that you're missing with the S10e compared to the other members of the family. The Exynos chip is the same, with enough power for anything you could possibly want to do. It even has wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. The phone also still has a headphone jack and pretty much all the software is the same (minus a few camera settings).
The smaller screen size helps out with reducing battery consumption. It isn’t outstanding, but lasts a full day without any problems. At the same time, the S10e has the same reception abilities as its siblings – in other words slightly worse in tougher environments.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is actually the most impressive smartphone in the S10 family. Almost all of the functions are included and we can live without the ones that have been done away with. Simultaneously, this is a neat phone for a competitive price and, depending on your taste, a offers a range of snazzy shell colours to choose between. A combination that’s hard to beat?
The real top model
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.78 inch AMOLED - 1440x3168 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (1x2.84 GHz, 3x2.42, 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 48+8+48+5 megapixel (wide, telephoto, ultrawide, colour filter), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4510 mAh Dimensions: 165.3x74.4x8.5 mm Weight: 199 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging, water resistant
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus may be the middle option in Samsung’s flagship trio for spring 2020. But it’s not at all misplaced between its siblings, unlike last year’s S10. If you want a top model Samsung phone in 2020, it’s this one you should go for, no question about it.
It’s bigger brother, the S20 Ultra, had as its selling points a larger screen and more functions linked to the camera... And it failed on both of them. Here the S20 Plus has a slightly smaller screen, the same great resolution, the same fantastic colour reproduction and contrast, but also a format that sits much better in your hand. Both are large telephones, but the S20 Plus fits perfectly while the Ultra was just bulky.
But we are seeing the same trend from Samsung as other players this year, which is that the horrible lumpy camera on the back has grown in both length and width. Fortunately, Samsung have started to include shells with their phones, which reduces the bulge on the back somewhat – but it’s not exactly a 100% solution.
When it comes to hardware, Samsung’s top trio are more or less identical, which means you get all the power and functions you could want for this price range. At the same time, Samsung aren’t exactly best in this area, which is currently being led by Motorola or Oneplus when it comes to sheer speed.
The camera may look worse on paper in comparison with the S20 Ultra, primarily as it only has 30 times hybrid zoom instead of 100. But the S20 Ultra’s problem with getting sharp enough photos to pick out anything despite its 100 times zoom is well documented.
The S20 Plus has no problems with either autofocus or zoom, which means the camera is much less problematic. Along with Huawei's top models (which have their own specific issues), Samsung continues to be at the top of the mobile camera market.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is quite simply the top model you should go for if you're considering a new Samsung phone. The price tag is a bit high for us to give it an award, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the functionality.
Extra everything, great camera and battery life
The gap between the autumn Mate telephones and the spring P models has shrunk a bit, but the Mate 20 Pro is phenomenally impressive for anyone looking for a cutting-edge mobile phone.
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.39” - 3120x1440 p Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 980 Octa core 2.26 GHz Camera: 1x40 MP + 1x20 MP + 1x8 MP, selfie camera: 24 MP Battery: 4200 mAh Dimensions: 157.8x72.3x8.6 mm Weight: 189 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), fingerprint reader in screen, iris scanner, wireless charging (two-way)
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is without doubt one of the year's most well-built phones, which despite its size, is really comfortable in your hand. The body is made of glass with an aluminium frame, and the front has a slightly curved screen, although this doesn't impair writing as is sometimes the case with other manufacturers.
The screen is sharp and colourful. Unfortunately some examples, including ours, suffer from a production fault that gives a greenish shimmer along the edges of the screen. This is something that can be remedied through the guarantee, but it's still unfortunate.
The Mate 20 Pro has wireless charging as an addition to the very quick charging via cable. It also includes reverse wireless charging so that you can wirelessly charge other gadgets. This is most useful if your earphones or watch support wireless charging, but we also got it to work with other mobile phones with varying results.
In addition to the facial recognition, it has a fingerprint reader beneath the glass of the screen. Both work well and complement each other, so it's always easy to unlock the phone.
The battery life isn't on the same exceptional level as last year's Mate 10 Pro, but it's still impressive for two days of lighter usage. The same applies to reception, which is better than many other smartphones in problem areas, but not quite as good as its predecessor.
Since the P20 Pro, Huawei are seen as one of the best manufacturers of camera mobiles, and the Mate 20 Pro is no exception. The lenses work together, above all to create lossless zoom of up to x5, but also to create better pictures overall.
The camera contains the majority of AI functions you'd expect from a Huawei phone. It adapts the picture to the subject better than previously, and also has Hivision. This is a mode where you can translate text in real time using the camera (although not all languages!), identify products and also calculate the calories in your food, which is really cool, even if there's currently a limited food database. The AI functions are all thanks to Huawei's own Kirin 980 chip, which stands up well against the competition.
You also get the very latest version of Android with Huawei's own EMUI interface over the top. This includes a number of practical extra functions and settings, but unfortunately quite a lot of annoying advertising apps too. The Mate series grew up with last year's model, and the Mate 20 Pro has now taken the lead in many areas.
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro 128 GB 6.39-Inch 2K FullView Android 9.0 SIM-Free Smartphone with New Leica Triple AI Camera, Single SIM, UK Version - Black
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro 128 GB 6.39-Inch 2K FullView Android 9.0 SIM-Free Smartphone with New Leica Triple AI Camera, Single SIM, UK Version - Twilight
Huawei 51093atq Mate 20 Pro 16.2 Cm (6.39) Single Sim Android 9.0 4g Usb Type-c 6 Gb 128 4200 Mah Black
Still a completely unique phone.
Price class: Medium Screen: 5.4 inch OLED – 1080 x 2340 pixels, 60 Hz Processor: Apple A15 Bionic (6 core) Camera: 12+12 megapixel (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 2438 mAh Dimensions: 131.5x64.2x7.7 mm Weight: 141 g Operating system: iOS 15 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition, waterproof, stereo speaker
The iPhone 13 Mini is still an entirely unique phone... unfortunately. When Apple launched its first mini model last year, many journalists predicted that we’d soon see similar mobiles from other manufacturers. But sadly nothing came of it.
The iPhone 12 Mini, and now its successor, the iPhone 13 Mini, are unique phones. They offer a combination of top performance and a very small format.
Calling the iPhone 13 Mini an upgrade is almost a lie. On paper, the differences are about the same as the two tenths of a millimetre that separates this phone and its predecessor in terms of thickness. And that extra thickness is used for a larger battery, slightly jazzier cameras... And that’s it.
But that’s on paper. In practice, we’d say that these were two updates that make this phone absolutely worth buying compared to its predecessor.
A smaller phone means a smaller battery and therefore a smaller battery life – it’s quite simple. While the iPhone 12 Mini worked in this area, there was always an underlying stress, compared to its larger siblings. We aren’t claiming that the iPhone 13 Mini is a marathon runner when it comes to battery life, but it’s markedly better thanks to the bigger battery. So checking the battery level is a bit less stressful this time. The cameras are the same as in this phone’s big brother, the iPhone 13. There are two of them and they can take in a lot more light than the previous cameras. You also get image stabilisation, where the entire camera sensor sits in a kind of shock absorber, and which was only available on the iPhone 12 Pro last year. This isn’t a dramatic improvement over the previous optical image stabilisation, but it’s still better. Image quality is very even and good regardless of whether you’re taking still or video images – as always on an iPhone. In most modes there is no obvious difference to the predecessor, but in dark environments the new lenses really deliver.
At the same time, as we mentioned above, many things remain the same. The A15 chip is faster than any Android mobile, but at the same time only a tiny bit faster than last year’s chip. In the iPhone 13 Mini, however, it’s clear that cooling is insufficient during longer stress tests – although this isn’t something you’re likely to run into in real life. The screen is also like the one from last year, and unfortunately without the 120 Hz function that the Pro models get this year. The chin, where the selfie camera and technology for FaceID facial recognition are located, is smaller on all models this year. But it is still there, so if you found it irritating before you probably still will. The dimensions and weight are almost exactly the same as last year, the Magsafe magnetic charger remains and so does the ageing Lightning port and its relatively slow charging technology. But as usual the telephone has impeccable build quality, and just like last year the ceramic coating on the screen is incredibly impact-resistant. If you want a small mobile in 2021 there’s only one logical alternative, and that’s the iPhone 13 Mini. And if you want an iPhone of any type in 2021, but want to pay as little as possible, again the iPhone 13 Mini is the only logical alternative, as the iPhone SE is beginning to feel quite old. It’s quite surprising that Apple have been the only manufacturer to address the “small and neat smartphone” segment, but even with the launch of their second Mini model they’re still alone in this area.
New attempt to create a flagship smartphone
Screen: 6.7" OLED – 1080 x 2400 pixels 144hz Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 5G Camera: 50 + 50 + 2 megapixels (wide, ultrawide, deep), Selfie camera 60 megapixels Battery: 4,800 mAh Dimensions: 163.1 x 76 x 8.8 mm Weight: 195 g Operating system: Android 12 Other: fingerprint reader on power button, 68W charging (15W wireless)
Lenovo-owned Motorola doesn't seem to have a clue about what to do with its Edge series. The first model was an honest attempt at flagship performance as well as a unique design. The next time round, they gave up on all of that and released a more luxurious mid-range phone. But the Motorola Moto Edge 30 Pro seems to be some kind of hybrid between Generations one and two.
It’s pretty much business as usual on the exterior: two sheets of glass bound by a plastic frame and a design that while it feels typical Motorola is also very similar to both previous Edge phones and the more expensive phones in the G series. The luxury feel, the curved screen that gave the original its name, and things like that are missing. At the same time, this helps to keep the price well below other flagships. The price tag also means that the fingerprint reader has had to move to the power button on the side.
But once it’s up and running, things look better. Thanks to OLED technology, the large screen provides really nice colours. On top of that, we also get a really fast refresh rate of 144 hertz and a good general impression from the screen – probably the most important part of any smartphone.
On the inside, we find Motorola’s now classic “clean” Android with no bells and whistles, and promises of a reasonably long update time. The whole package is powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is almost as fast as you can get right now. At the same time, we also get a fairly substantial quick charge of 68 watts and wireless charging on top of that. There’s also support for Ready For, which is Motorola’s computer-like Android version where you can connect to a screen, mouse and keyboard to get a computer-like experience powered by your smartphone.
There’s a 60 MP camera on the front, which performs well without quite reaching best-in-class heights. On the back, we find 50 megapixel dual lenses, backed up by a support camera for depth perception. Unfortunately, we don't get a periscope camera for proper zoom this time. That said, this is undoubtedly Motorola’s best-quality camera to date. But it’s a long way from other manufacturers’ flagships, and overall it doesn’t measure up to its rivals in the same price range. Nevertheless, it’s a vast improvement from, say, the G200, which was virtually unusable.
Moto Edge 30 Pro dwells in the borderland between more expensive mid-range mobiles and cheaper flagships, and clearly you’ll need to compare and contrast the various features they offer. Performance and display are top of the range here, and while there’s no major defect in either camera or build quality, there are other models in this price range that do both better.
Stalled technological development at a higher price
Price range: Premium Display: 6.1" OLED – 1170 x 2532 pixels Processor: Apple A15 Bionic (6 cores) Camera: 12 + 12 + 12 megapixels (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixels Battery: 3,279 mAh Dimensions: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8 mm Weight: 172 g Operating system: IOS 15 Other: Facial recognition, water resistant, stereo speaker
Iphone 14 is 0.1 millimetres thicker than its predecessor, but actually two grammes lighter. Does it sound silly to start a review with something so super detailed? Maybe, but in the name of honesty, that's roughly the level of what's new this year. Did we mention that the battery is 49 milliamperes, too? You get it.
Maybe we’re being unfair, because there are some new things to list as well. Now, it has the same amount of working memory, six gigabytes, as the Pro model. Always nice, although perhaps not something you clearly notice. There are also two new colours: some sort of greyish blue and a light purple.
One of the phone’s two rear camera lenses has a slightly larger sensor, which primarily improves photos in low-light environments. If you’re a fan of selfies, you will certainly enjoy the fact that the front camera now has autofocus.
Two new features we could not test were "crash detection" and emergency via satellite. The first one is borrowed from Apple’s watches, but adapted for car crashes. If you are involved in a crash, your phone should understand this and notify your emergency contacts (if you do not reject this within a certain period of time). However, a collision with a car is the only option, even though the fall detection function (that the Apple Watch has) would have been nice on the phone.
There is also an emergency via satellite, but this only available in the USA and Canada at the moment. At least, the idea is that your position and simpler emergency messages can be sent over satellite if, for example, you are out in the mountains and fall. The function is meant to be free for the first two years, but there is no information about when it will arrive in Sweden or what it will cost after the initial period.
The rest is largely IOS 16 and the updates that this version brings. This means that even older models receive most of the new features. Apple tends to be cautious about the amount of updates they add to their phones, and every second year it has become less. But here we get the same screen with a really slow 60 hertz update rate, the same processor as last year (first time Apple has done this), the same design, no USB-C for charging, no improved quick charging, very similar camera system, and so on. In addition, all of these non-news items come at a significantly higher price.
Sure, if you are upgrading from an iPhone 11 or older, the iPhone 14 will provide a lot of updates, but they are so few that you can just as easily buy an iPhone 13 for less money. Or wait until Iphone 15 is released next year, which, according to rumours, will have considerably more new features.
Refinement with software enhancements
Price range: Premium Display: 6.1" OLED – 1179 x 2556 pixels, 120 Hz Processor: Apple A16 Bionic (6 cores) Camera: 48 + 12 + 12 megapixels (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixels Battery: 3,200 mAh Dimensions: 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.9 mm Weight: 206 g Operating system: IOS 16 Other: Facial recognition, water resistant, stereo speaker
iPhone 14 Pro almost follows in the tracks of its little brother the iPhone 14. But while the simpler version of Apple’s phones for 2022 is in principle identical to last year’s model, although more expensive, the iPhone 14 Pro still offers the same battery with some subtle changes that we have come to expect from Apple. Because on the outside, not much is different from the previous model.
The most striking thing is that the screen is now always on. This means that a simplified type of lock screen with a clock and simple notifications can be seen virtually all the time. Always on Display, as the technology is called, isn't new. If we remember correctly, the first Android phone with this technology appeared about eight years ago. At the same time, Apple’s solution looks better than most Android's devices. Instead of a simple white clock on a black screen, Apple’s version provides a lot of colour and so far feels like a very polished concept.
Another new feature is the Dynamic Island, as Apple calls it. The selfie camera and all sensors that drive Face ID are now located in a cut-out part of the screen, rather than a bit down from the top of the screen. Through some software, Apple has built the notification system around the camera island that arises. The result is very vibrant and much more interactive than before. Above all, it looks great. At the same time, it requires apps to be developed around the system, which contains both notifications and controls for e.g. music.
The selfie camera now has autofocus, which provides much better pictures. Otherwise, the big news is at the back. The main camera is now 48 megapixels, while the other two remain at 12. However, don't expect any larger images, as Apple uses the same technology to take a high-resolution picture and then combine pixels for a smaller, but also better, result. In practice, this means that 48 megapixels come out as 12 at the other end of the image processing. It also means a further pinhole for picture quality in more or less all situations, but mostly in low light. With more megapixels, Apple has also added an intermediate step for the zoom.
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro is not a bad phone. On the other hand, it feels very much like something big happened for the iPhone 12 Pro, and that the iPhone 13 Pro was more of an iPhone 12S Pro... and this is more of an iPhone 12S... S Pro? There are small updates across the board, but nothing that in any way makes it worth upgrading from last year’s model... or from the previous year. The significantly higher price tag and rumours of a significantly updated iPhone 15 Pro next year do not put this phone in a better light either. At the same time, if you are upgrading from a phone that is at least three years old or older, you will receive a lot of new and much better features here, even if they do cost a lot.
Barely makes the grade
Screen: 6.6" LCD – 1080 x 2340 pixels 120hz Processor: Exynos 2200 Camera: 50 + 10 + 12 megapixels (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 10 megapixels Battery: 4,500 mAh Dimensions: 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6 mm Weight: 195 g Operating system: Android 12 Other: fingerprint reader on screen, IP68
There are just two reasons for you to buy the Samsung Galaxy S22+ instead of the standard S22: the brighter screen and support for slightly faster charging. Oh, yes, and the half-inch larger screen, which is what will count here. Whereas the leap to big brother S22 Ultra is much greater in terms of features.
If we just consider the S22+ on its own merits, it’s a really good and mostly well-designed smartphone. Just like little brother S22, one corner of the camera island on the back is unnecessarily sharp and unexpectedly easy to injure yourself on, but in all other respects it feels like the top model it is.
The Exyno 2200 chip is the same class as we’d expect from a flagship, and even though Samsung has an unnecessarily large amount of clutter installed from the start, their interface is now reasonably clean and user-friendly.
The same cons we noted about the S22 Ultra are evident here too. Because while the screen is fantastic and it offers fast charging, there are points on which far-cheaper competitors offer more fun specifications. While the screen is hard to beat in terms of colour and blackness, it also has a refresh rate of “just” 120 hertz, when much cheaper rivals are starting to see 144 hertz as standard.
As we’ve already mentioned, the difference between the S22 and S22+ is a half-inch larger screen. This means a larger body and a larger battery. Meanwhile, we can’t say that this battery makes any significant difference when we’ve run the two phones side by side – the larger battery seems to be eaten up by the larger, more power-hungry screen.
Just like last year, the Samsung plus model feels quite underwhelming. The S22 is interesting as a revival of smaller mobiles and the Ultra simply because it’s Ultra. The Samsung Galaxy S22+ is a decent phone, but unfortunately it feels like it mostly exists to make the step between the S22 and the S22 Ultra feel smaller, not because it actually adds something to the mobile market.
New name on a competent phone
Screen: 6.67 inch Amoled – 1080x2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Camera: 108 + 8 + 5 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, tele), 16 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 5,000 mAh Dimensions: 164.1x76.0x8.8 mm Weight: 204 g Operating system: Android 11 Other: fingerprint reader on the power button, water resistant (IP54)
Out with the old, in with the new... sort of. When Xiaomi started to sell outside of China a few years ago, the name was considered a bit too complicated for non-Chinese people to pronounce (zao-mi, roughly). That’s why they started using “Mi” as a simplification, which then continued with many of their gadgets over the years. Now Xiaomi is big enough to make language barriers a thing of the past, and Mi is removed from the names of the gadgets. First among the phones is Xiaomi Mi 11... sorry: Xiaomi 11T Pro.
The Xiaomi T-series has always worked in tandem with their main flagship models, which this year was the Mi 11 series. The 11T Pro is similar to its counterpart in this series, but has been trimmed slightly in the corners to get a slightly more attractive price tag. Mi 11 Pro was never released here in Sweden, but you get it.
The main focus is on water resistance that goes from swim-proof to spill-proof, the fingerprint reader being on the power button instead of on the screen, and a couple of changes to the camera that lead to a really interesting price tag.
At the same time, charging has been revved up to a little crazy 120 watts, with an included charger that supports it. In practical terms, this means that you can go from a leached to a fully charged battery in just 20 minutes – without the phone even getting too hot. Crazy! The charger itself is quite large, but can also be used for other devices that need a lot of power. At the same time, the large battery lasts for a very long time if you set the phone up for it. It’s worth noting that this model does not support wireless charging.
There is enough power left over in the 11T Pro, but unfortunately you have to rein it in a little. The Snapdragon 888 chip is very fast, but suffers from it being cut off when it gets too hot, and that it can draw some current when it goes full out. This can be seen both in unpleasant heat development when we press on it, and by the measurement programs complaining of overheating. At the same time, you never really need as much power, but can choose the balanced mode (or power-saving mode) in the settings to get a phone that is both fast and long lasting.
The screen is, as expected, really nice and flows very well with support for a 120 hertz update rate. At the same time, it offers plenty of light to work well even on sunny days. The resolution is a slight bit lower, but nothing that will really bother you.
When it comes to the camera, we would say that this is where the price tag starts to make sense. There are no major errors in the specifications, and in everyday circumstances we get a really good result with surprisingly sharp details. There are plenty of modes and settings to cover all situations, and overall there is nothing to complain about.
However, there is no optical image stabilisation on any of the lenses, which became very clear when we tried to zoom in on objects and at the same time achieve a sharp result. This is also noticeable in poor light conditions and at night. If we placed the 11T Pro on a tripod, it looked really good and detailed for stationary subjects and long exposure. Without it, unfortunately, it gets rather blurred. Night mode is not enough in the dark either. Where other cameras pick up a surprising number of details in a darkened room, the 11T Pro just shows pitch black.
Xiaomi 11T Pro is a phone in the tricky category of “cheap flagship model”. It charges quickly, feels luxurious in your hand, and overall performs fantastically well at a really interesting price. Things like screen resolution and water resistance feel like logical things to lose in this price class. At the same time, the camera also shows where money has been saved, which you as the speculator should of course be aware of.
A good attempt at a mini mobile
Screen: 6.1inch LCD – 1080 x 2340 pixels 120 hz Processor: Exynos 2200 Camera: 50 + 10 + 12 megapixels (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 10 megapixels Battery: 3,700 mAh Dimensions: 146 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm Weight: 195 g Operating system: Android 12 Other: fingerprint reader on screen, IP68
We don't want to keep harping on about how Samsung is copying Apple, but at least we say that Samsung galaxy S22 is hitting a niche that Apple has led relatively unchallenged in recent years. Because while the S22 is a top-of-the-range model, it’s also a way of attracting those who want a slightly smaller phone, which is something Samsung hasn't done since the Galaxy S10e.
Ten years ago, mobile phones with “mini” in the name were common on the market. Anyone who was around at the time would probably snort if a telephone with a 6.1 inch screen was called a mini. But they would probably have done the same if they knew that 5.4 inches makes up the iPhone 13 Mini.
The thing is that the frames around these screens have become so small and thin that the screen sizes are not really comparable. 6.1 inches is still not small, but at the same time it should be considered in light of the overall appearance of the mobile market. We are pushing towards almost seven inches in screen size, and so each tenth of an inch down is one step towards being able to handle the phone flawlessly with one hand. That’s exactly what the S22 is all about, and besides Apple’s smaller headphones, it’s the most one-handed and pocket-friendly phone that we have seen for many years. Just that feat is worth some applause.
When it comes to the actual qualities of the phone, there are two things that bothered us. Firstly, one of the corners of the camera housing is very sharp and actually just uncomfortable to handle, and secondly, fast charging via a 25 watt cable is a joke in the Android world. Luckily, from that point of view, the battery is quite small. The size of the battery, on the other hand, does not affect the operating time during normal use for one day.
Alongside a slightly lower maximum brightness, the screen is the same as the mid-range S22+. The camera package is also the same. We consistently got excellent images, which were among the best that a mobile can offer in 2022. At the same time, of course, you get more possibilities and better picture quality with the Ultra model in the same series. The inside houses an Exyno’s 2200 chip, which keeps an even pace with the Qualcomm chips that competitors are using in their flagship models.
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S22 is by far the most enjoyable acquaintance we've made among Samsung’s flagships this year. Sure, the S22 Ultra can do a lot more, but that’s why it costs so much. The regular S22 is small and flexible, but still offers enough power to make sure you don't lack anything, despite its size.
Great hardware but the software needs to be developed
Screen: 6.7 inch Oled – 1080x2400 pixels 144 hz Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 5G Camera: 50+50+2 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide, deep), Selfie camera 60 megapixel Battery: 4,800 mAh Dimensions: 163.1x76x8.8 mm Weight: 195 g Operating system: Android 12 Other: Fingerprint reader on power button, 68W charging (15W wireless)
Xiaomi 12 Pro actually has three extra parts that the regular Xiaomi 12 does not have. In line with more or less every Pro or plus model of every phone ever, there is, of course, a bigger screen, 6.73 vs 6.28 inches. 12 Pro can also boast a slightly more advanced display that better manages up and down shifting of the display’s refresh rate.
Secondly, also in keeping with every Pro model ever, this has a better camera. Last but not least, the charger is included with an impressive 120 watt, with the usual model peaking at 67 watt. This means that your phone charges incredibly quickly, but also that you can use the charger to charge your computer without any problems.
Crazy fast charging is good, as the battery is relatively small, actually barely larger than that of the standard Xiaomi 12. Unfortunately, this is very noticeable. Getting through a day is usually not a problem, but getting home to the charger quickly becomes stressful if you use your phone more during the day.
In terms of software, the environment is familiar to someone who has used a Xiaomi phone before. Built on top of Android, the MIUI cover provides a lot of extra settings and features, but at the same time it doesn't feel completely in sync with what the phone has to offer. Above all, the game mode seems does not seem able to keep track of the dynamic screen update, which results in even simple games appearing to lag. This is quite paradoxical, as this is one of the fastest Android phones on the market. A little manual intervention solves the software problem, but by 2022 a manual intervention should not be needed.
Besides the software hassles, this is one of the fastest Android phones available. This, plus the fact that Xiaomi has finally started telling us how long they intend to update their flagship phones, means that it feels like there is enough power to last over time.
The second big part here is of course the camera package, which comes as a trio of 50 megapixel cameras. The Xiaomi 12 Pro was released just before the company announced its new collaboration with Leica, but it is good enough to not bother you. Xiaomi has long been good at providing detail to images, even among cheaper cameras. But its taken a step up when it comes to smooth, lifelike colour reproduction and more even night images. However, twice the zoom is not really enough in this context.
Xiaomi 12 Pro is a large, strong and fast phone with a quality feel that matches the price tag. The software hassles can be corrected with updates, but the battery is and will continue to be a worry.
Handy Galaxy S22 challenger
Type: Smartphone in the mid-range segment System chip: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (8 cores) GPU: Adreno 730 Working memory: 8 GB (up to 12) Screen: 6.28" AMOLED (1080x2400 pixels), 120Hz Rear cameras: Main lens 50MP + Ultra Wide 13MP + Telephoto/Macro 5MP Selfie Camera: 32 MP Battery: 4500 mAh, fast charging 67 watt, wireless charging 50 watt
Xiaomi 12 is a fairly small phone by today’s standards. That was the first thing we thought when un-packing it from the box. The screen measures only 6.28 inches, and it’s also a very slim phone, weighing just 179 grams. At the same time, it feels extremely well-built and stylish, and has an impressive premium feel considering the price. In other words, this is a clear challenger to Samsung’s Galaxy S22 (we mean S22 and not S22+ or Ultra).
The specifications need not be ashamed either. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in combination with up to 12 GB of work memory is of course more than enough to handle the most advanced tasks. The fact that the screen is OLED, and has been updated with 120 Hz, further contributed to the feeling that we were hold-ing a flagship in our hand, rather than a simpler version.
Its predecessor, the Mi 11, was equipped with a rather impressive 108 megapixel main camera. But now this has been taken away in favour of a 50 megapixel main camera. And we'll have to agree here with those who claim that megapixels don't count for much, as we felt that the pictures from this phone were just as good. It should be pointed out that Xiaomi has increased the size of the sensors, which of course contributes to this. In addition to the main camera, there is an ultra-wide angle of 13 megapixels and a telemacro lens of 5 megapixels.
In terms of performance, we never encountered any issues, except when we exposed the phone to long-term gaming with demanding game titles. It then got hot but, on the other hand, many other flagships also get hot when you push them in this way. Generally speaking, however, this phone has enough power for 99 percent of all users.
The battery is generous (4,500 mAh), and we also got fast charging with 67 watts when we used a cable, and a whole 50 watts wirelessly. A full charge should take 39 minutes, and that proved to be correct when tested. Reaching 100% capacity in just 53 minutes with wireless charging is also a real bonus.
So what is it actually wrong with this phone? Well, that would have to be the price. Yes, it’s about SEK 1,200 cheaper than a Galaxy S22, but it’s still a pretty expensive phone from a brand that doesn't have any gravitas in our part of the world yet. To be able to compete in earnest, the price needs to come down a notch. If you add another 3,000 SEK, you can get the Pro version of this phone, which above all has better cameras and a more high-resolution screen.
Almost a flagship, but in sensible plastic suit
Type: Smartphone in the mid-range segment System chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ 5G Screen: 6.5" AMOLED (2400 x 1800 pixels) with 144 Hz refresh rate Dimensions: 159 x 72 x 6.8 millimetres Rear cameras: Head lens 50 megapixels, wide-angle lens 50 megapixels, depth sensor 2 megapixels. Selfie camera: 32 megapixel 5G support: Yes Battery capacity: 4020 mAh Fast charging: 33 watts Other: IP52 rating (water resistant), no headphone jack.
It’s very rare these days for us to be surprised by a new smartphone. But here we have a good exception to this rule. Motorola Edge 30 is the simpler mid-range sibling to Edge 30 Pro, but in fact it’s very nearly as good. And in some ways even a bit better.
We no sooner open the box and grab the phone than we’re astonished by how light and thin it is. Weighing in at an incredible 155 grams, this phone is as light as a feather compared to the average smartphone. Removing the plastic shell (which is already on in the box) naturally makes it even thinner. OMG!
The phone is very comfortable to hold, even though it has a 6.5 inch screen, due to its lightness and straight edges (in the style of iPhone 12 and 13).
A phone with this low weight naturally has a plastic back cover, but thanks to a nice reflective finish it still doesn't look cheap. In addition, it has an AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 144 Hz, meaning it exudes a premium feel. The resolution is 2400 x 1080 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 405 ppi.
If that weren't enough, Edge 30 is equipped with the same set of cameras as the Pro model. A 50-megapixel main camera is joined by a 50-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. But even though it has the same hardware as the flagship, the camera isn’t that brilliant. For example, there’s no zoom lens (and therefore no optical zoom at all), and the colour rendering and exposure are a brutal reminder that this is a mid-range phone and nothing else.
Another Achilles heel is the battery, which at just over 4,000 mAh is not enough to compete with other phones in the same price segment. We only squeeze out one day’s battery life with normal to moderate use. Fortunately, maintenance charging is fast, as the supplied charger has a capacity of 33 watts.
In terms of performance, this phone is really good, which can largely be explained by the fact that the mid-segment chips have been closing in on the flagship chips on all fronts in recent years. A Snapdragon 778G+ 5G chip is amply sufficient for everything, even more demanding games.
So are there better options in the mid-range? Well, that all depends on your priorities. If you think that the camera and battery life are most important (and many people would agree), then we advise you to keep looking; but if you want a phone that exudes a premium feel, is light and convenient and has a great screen, then this will be a wise investment. And paradoxically, this makes Edge 30 a really serious challenger to big brother Edge 30 Pro.
Budget phone with a powerful battery
Product type: Smartphone in budget segment Screen: 6.5" IPS (720p) with 90 Hz refresh rate Camera: 50+2 megapixels+rear depth sensor, 8 megapixels front Chip: Unisoc T606 (2 x Cortez A-75 1.6G Hz + 6 Cortex A55 1.6 GHz Graphic processor: Mali-G57 MP1 Working memory: 4 GB Storage: 64 GB, memory card slot Battery: 5050 mAh Weight: 190 g Dimensions: 164.6 x 76 x 8.5 mm Other: 3.5 mm headphone jack, dual SIM card slots
With a price tag of £149.99, you may be forgiven for not expecting great things from the Nokia G21. Especially since its G20 predecessor proved to be something of a disappointment. But this smartphone actually holds its own in its class. If you want a very simple smartphone, this may be one of the better choices, and many of the flaws in the G20 have been fixed.
Anyone who’s heard the buzz about this smartphone will know that the battery has been the main talking point. A smartphone with such modest specifications, with the notable exception of its 5050 mAh battery, can’t help but offer an outstanding battery life. HMD Global – the owner of the Nokia brand of smartphones – claims that this phone can get three days out of one charge, with moderate usage. And we can confirm that this is indeed the case. If you use the phone a little more intensively, the battery life will certainly be reduced quickly, but we still get two days out of one charge. This is as good a compelling reason to buy as any other.
The Achilles heel of the G20 – performance – has now been convincingly improved. This phone has a rather offbeat system chip in the Unisoc T606. While this chip is definitely not the fastest in the world, it’s a significant improvement on the Helio G35 chip in the G20. However, you can't expect to play more advanced games on this phone, but if that’s on your wish list, you’re not the right target group either.
The IPS display measures 6.5 inches. This is perfectly fine for a phone in the budget segment, and the 720 x 1600 pixel resolution is good enough. The tone is slightly greyish and tight viewing angles give rise to an annoying “patch”, but all things considered this screen can be classified as acceptable. On the plus side, you can activate a 90 Hz refresh rate to get slightly softer scrolling. The downside is that this feature consumes more battery without significantly improving the overall experience.
The camera offers a main lens of 50 megapixels, a macro lens of 2 megapixels and a depth sensor. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel resolution. We would argue that the resulting pictures are better than average for this class. Most importantly, it delivers a good level of detail, provided the ambient light is not too dim. Colour reproduction is also slightly above average. The image quality when zooming is disappointing, but that’s true of all smartphones in this segment.
To sum up: this is a very simple smartphone suitable if you only want to be able to make calls, surf and use standard apps. It is also possible to take reasonably good pictures with the rear camera in bright conditions. But the unique selling point for this smartphone is undoubtedly its powerful battery. And that can mean a great deal in this segment.
Nokia G21 6.5” HD+ Smartphone with Android 11, 90 Hz Refresh Rate, 18W Quick Charging Compatible, 4GB RAM and 64GB Storage, 5050 mAh, 50 MP Triple Camera - Dusk (Renewed)
Nokia G21 Dusk 6.5 64GB 4G Unlocked & SIM Free Smartphone
Nokia G21 6.5” HD+ Smartphone with Android 11, 90 Hz Refresh Rate, 18W Quick Charging Compatible, 4GB RAM and 64GB Storage, 5050 mAh, 50 MP Triple Camera - Dusk
The world’s largest iPhone exchanges ergonomics for screen surface
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.7 inch OLED – 1284 x 2778 pixels Processor: Apple A14 Bionic (6 core) Camera: 12+12+12 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, tele), LiDAR for depth, selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 3687 mAh Dimensions: 160.8x78.1x7.4 mm Weight: 228 g Operating system: iOS 14 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition, waterproof, stereo speaker
Biggest best and most beautiful – that's the message from the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. But that goes both ways. Apple phones have never had a larger screen, higher resolution or a bigger battery than this. All of that’s great, but it comes at the expense of weight and ergonomics.
From most points of view, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro are identical, with only size separating them. The larger size brings the above advantages, of course, including the best battery life in the iPhone 12 range. After a month of continuous use, we’d say it’s about on a par with last year’s Max model. How that will be affected with the expansion of the 5G network, which will consume more battery, it’s too early to say.
The angular design is also identical to the smaller models. A much more attractive design than before. But while it looks great, we never really get used to the size and weight. It simply feels a bit too big and heavy, which is something you’ll have to be prepared for.
There are other new features here too. Magsafe for slightly easier wireless charging via the back, but also the ageing Lightning port for charging with a cable. The screen is really nice as a whole, but a higher refresh rate would have been useful. And that’s something that really should have been included in the Max model.
What is new, however, is the camera. Most of the lenses have been a little refined compared to the normal Pro model. At the same time, they have been joined by a substantial upgrade to image stabilisation that works really well. This means in particular that photos taken in dark conditions are a good deal better, but the image stabilisation also plays its part in terms of video. The LiDAR sensor also helps out with autofocus, amongst other things.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a really good phone with a couple of aces up its sleeve compared to its smaller siblings. At the same time, it also has the same weaknesses as those other models, and these become more apparent in this flagship model.
More of a Pro-upgrade
Price class: Premium Screen: 6,1 in. Oled - 1170 x 2532 pixels Processor: Apple A14 Bionic (6 cores) Camera: 12+12+12 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide, tele), Lidar for depth, selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 2 815 mAh Measurements: 146,7x71,5x7,4 mm Weight: 189 gr Operating System: IOS 14 Misc.: Facial recognition, water resistant, stereo speaker.
Iphone 12 Pro feels a bit caught between the big updates of the regular iPhone 12 and the new features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Not to say that there is a lack of new features in this year’s regular Pro-model, but you do to some extent need to know what you’re looking for in order to find what makes the Pro-model, Pro.
All 2020 iPhones have received a new, more rectangular design which reminds us of the iPhone 4 and 5. The Pro-models frame is made of stainless steel instead of aluminum, which increases the weight ever so slightly but also gives a feeling of higher quality. The edgier design is at the same time surprisingly comfortable to hold for a longer period of time. The measurements are more or less the same as last year, with a somewhat larger screen. 6,1 in. vs last years 5,8 in. all thanks to a thinner frame around the screen. In general it is the same screen that is on the regular iPhone 12. A really nice Oled screen, but unfortunately without a 90 or 120 hertz update frequency. We would have liked to seen it included to set it apart a bit more from the regular iPhone. The camera has just about the same setup as last year, but with some fine tunings. The main difference with the iPhone 12 is the third lens, that will give you a 2x zoom. The main difference from last year’s model is the Lidar-sensor. In terms of the camera, it helps it to auto focus in all lighting conditions, even portrait mode. The latter also works in poor lighting conditions and even more close up than before. Lidar is also used for AR (Augmented Reality/ Enhanced Reality), where it offers a more exact positioning via the camera. Overall the pictures are great in all lighting conditions, which is probably mostly due to the extra power in the new A14-chip. Less obvious is that you are always filming in Dolby Vision HDR. On screens that support HDR it creates extra depth in the darker sections, but on screens that don’t support it a non-HDR version is created simultaneously. Something which you will quickly notice if you know to look for it. The camera also films in 10-bit colour depth, but the screen unfortunately only shows 8. Again, something that would have made the iPhone Pro-model stand out even more from the regular model.
The reason why we haven’t received the latest within screen technology is the battery. It is smaller than in the iPhone 11 Pro and not as impressive. You will get a solid day’s use out of it. Just as with the iPhone 12 we would have liked to have seen a deeper phone with a larger battery. The new 5G feature is undeniably faster, but it comes at a cost, it requires a lot more power. iPhone will however only tap into the new technology when it needs to, but so far it seems that a larger battery would have been appropriate in this case as well. The new accessory Magsafe is supposed to be somewhat of a redeeming factor, and the fact that it makes charging easier. Plainly speaking it’s a regular wireless charger, but with a magnetic ring to ensure that the wireless charger always connects to the right spot. Regular wireless charging still works, likewise does charging other phones wirelessly on a Magsafe-pad (of course without the magnet-magic in that case). It can be seen as the first step towards ditching Apples classic Lightning-plug in benefit of USB-C for the next generation, or going completely wireless, while still maintaining their own technology. Just as with the iPhone 12 on the inside we find the A14 Bionic, a chip that runs circles around its competitors on all levels. Its main functions however are within its various AI-functions, that among others makes for better image processing. The significant upgrades we got with the iPhone 12 should suffice for most. The zoom lens and the high-quality feel are the main features of the iPhone 12 Pro. More advanced photographers and filmers that have previously used iPhones would most definitely benefit from the iPhone Pro.
A giant upgrade
Price Class: Premium Screen: 6,1 in. Oled - 1170 x 2532 pixels Processor: Apple A14 Bionic (6 cores) Camera: 12+12 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 2 815 mAh Measurements: 146,7x71,5x7,4 mm Weight: 164 g Operating System: IOS 14 Misc.: Facial recognition, water resistant, stereo speakers
There is a lot of news in this year’s iPhone-lineup and if we disregard the Mini-model it is undoubtedly the iPhone 12 that has had the biggest upgrade since last year. In fact, all the downsides with the iPhone 11 have been addressed in what is a really sharp upgrade. But at the same time new problems have surfaced.
Naturally the new design is what we first notice. Gone are the rounded edges instead you have sharp (but surprisingly comfortable) edges, much like what we saw with iPhone 4 and 5 many years ago. The screen size is the same as last year, albeit on a smaller phone but with a thinner frame it makes for a more pleasant design. At the same time we would have loved to have kept that extra millimetre in depth, which last years model sported, if it meant having a more powerful battery. iPhone 12 has, if you use 4G or WIFI, a somewhat shorter battery life than last year. You can make it through the day with out much difficulty, but you’ll feel the anxiety creeping in slightly over the battery life. What will affect the battery life is 5G. It comes with all the phones and is available today with certain operators in the UK. With every new generation the early versions are more power-hungry and that seems to be true so far for this model. The phone automatically jumps down to 4G when the extra speed isn’t needed, but it undoubtedly takes full advantage of the 5G function. This is where a little bit more battery would’ve been nice.
Speaking of the screen, which nowadays is exactly like the iPhone 12 Pro one. Meaning it has significantly higher resolution, Oled with incredible colours and some smart adaptations to adjust colour temperature. That in itself makes it a worthy upgrade, even if you do have last year’s model. On the back we find more exciting news, Magsafe. It is a regular wireless QI-charger, like all the others, but with a magnet around it to help it attach to the wireless charger. If you buy a Magsafe-charger you will have the easiest solution for wireless charging the industry has to offer. At the same time it’s a clever way for Apple to keep a sort of proprietary charging solution whilst transitioning to USB-C in iPhones next year (iPhone 12 still uses Apples Lightning- Plug.) And while we’re on the subject. AC Power Adapter’s and headphones are both missing from the box. Partially for environmental reasons, as Apple wants to make very clear, partially of course to aid additional sales. A charging cable with Lightning on one end and USB-C on the other, is included. On the inside we find our next news, A14 Bionic. Apples new system chip is twice as fast as today’s top models with Android and will most likely go strong for many years to come. The big advantage however lies in the background and AI-functions. The chip makes facial recognition through FaceID notably faster and also helps a great deal when analyzing and sprucing up pictures. As always we get very nice and consistent image quality from the camera. The sensors have been updated, but we’re guessing that the majority of the elevated image quality comes from the new chip’s image improvement. Regardless if you use the front or rear camera, in a light or dark setting you will get really great pictures and videos from the iPhone 12. The only thing really missing is the zoom, which the Pro-model has. iPhone 12 is basically the upgrade of the “regular” iPhone that we’ve been waiting for since iPhone X was launched a few years ago.
Finally a small iPhone that sacrifices neither function nor battery life
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.4 inch OLED – 1080 x 2340 pixels Processor: Apple A14 Bionic (6 core) Camera: 12+12 megapixel (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 2227 mAh Dimensions: 131.5x64.2x7.4 mm Weight: 135 g Operating system: iOS 14 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition, waterproof, stereo speaker
On paper the Apple iPhone 12 Mini is the most risky and exciting model among Apple’s iPhone 12 range. Exciting because many of us have been calling for smaller phone models for several years, while most of us also wanted a cheaper iPhone. Risky because now that we’ve finally got what we wanted, many of us are worried that the smaller size, with the advent of 5G, will reduce the battery life enormously.
During the month that we tested the iPhone 12 Mini, we hardly ever found ourselves in places where 5G was installed, so we can’t really say how much that will affect battery life in practice. But as a normal 4G phone, we have to say that we were fully satisfied with the battery life of this smaller model. That said, although it can handle a day's use without major problems, it’s still by far the worst of this year's models.
At the same time, other than the size, it’s in the battery and charging that the biggest differences are. The size limitation has meant that the new Magsafe charger you can buy as an accessory charges a little slower than with other iPhones using the same technology.
Those points aside, on almost all other fronts this is just like a normal iPhone 12, only smaller. The same nice, angular design. The same camera with double lenses and the same screen (albeit with a few pixels less in terms of resolution). Because the edges around the screen have been reduced compared to last year’s models, the iPhone 12 Mini is much smaller than last year’s smallest iPhone 11 Pro (which had a screen of 5.8 inches and felt small and neat).
The camera does a really good job in most situations and the image enhancement technology in Apple's A14 chip helps a lot too. This is the same chip as in the other three 12 models and it will definitely give you enough power for several years to come. The fact that this is also Apple's cheapest iPhone model this season is another plus point.
The iPhone 12 Mini is ideal for anyone who’s been looking for a slightly smaller phone without sacrificing performance or camera. Yes, the battery life is a bit shorter than on the larger iPhone 12 models, but not as much as we had feared before testing. This is great choice if you want a smaller phone, because nothing else is really even close at the moment.
Cheaper top model with some nice ideas and a new camera
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.7 ins AMOLED, 120 Hz – 1440x3216 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (1x2.84 GHz & 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 48+8+50+2 megapixel (wide, telephoto, ultrawide, depth), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 163.2x73.6x8.7 mm Weight: 197 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging, IP68
If you put the Oneplus 9 Pro next to the other models in the series, they all appear pretty similar. Instead, Oneplus have embraced the expression “The devil is in the details”, because even though they look very similar at first glance, it’s the details that make the Oneplus 9 Pro so interesting.
The screen is one such example. The Oneplus 9 Pro has a 6.7 inch screen with a really generous resolution as well as a very good built-in fingerprint reader. The performance is also slightly upgraded, but that’s not the cool thing here. The screen can work at 120 hertz, but it’s completely dynamic between 1 and 120 hertz, which means the screen constantly adjusts the refresh rate based on what you do to save battery. And this actually works really well.
Despite a slightly larger screen, the dimensions aren’t overly exaggerated and the build quality with an aluminium frame all around feels really good. Oneplus also throw in IP68 moisture and dust protection.
The details are also the big thing when it comes to charging. Wired charging is based on the same 65 watt technology as this phone’s little brother, but wireless charging can manage as much as 50 watts compared to 15 with the standard model. Of course only with Oneplus’ own wireless chargers (with a fan that makes a terrible noise), but still.
There’s no shortage of performance, RAM or storage, and the chipset is the brand new Snapdragon 888. In terms of performance, however, this phone demonstrates only a very modest improvement over previous models.
But of course we’re really here for the camera. Oneplus have worked with Hasselblad in the same way that Huawei have with Leica or Nokia with Carl Zeiss. The two main cameras have been optimised by this classic camera brand and should in theory produce fantastic images and video. Unlike the normal Oneplus phones, you also get laser autofocus and an ultra-wide angle for more choices.
Sometimes this works really well. Sometimes colour and detail reproduction are in the same class as the more expensive top models. Night mode in particular, provided it’s at least dusk, is really good. The same goes for video, especially with really good stabilisation.
But only sometimes. For every phenomenal photo you get, you also get an icy blue photo, or one where the colour reproduction is poor. For every great video we get one where the autofocus imitates a yo-yo…
You simply can’t trust the camera to deliver consistent quality, even during a single photo session. However, this does seem to be a problem Oneplus is aware of, because we received almost daily system updates to improve camera quality. If this continues, the camera should be really good, but you can’t necessarily rely on updates.
On paper, and in many practical aspects, the Oneplus 9 Pro is a really good phone that brings flagship performance a little way down the price classes. But even though they may be able to fix the camera quality so that it’s fantastic the whole time, as things stand it feels like something they’ve rushed to launch.
Finally, sustainability doesn’t mean poor quality
Price class: Intermediate Screen: 6.3 ins IPS – 1080x2340 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G Camera: 48+48 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide) and ToF, selfie camera 25 megapixel Battery: 3905 mAh Dimensions: 162x75.5x10.5 mm Weight: 174 g Operating system: Android 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, water resistant (IP54)
Fairphone is a fairly unique manufacturer in the mobile industry and the Fairphone 4 is their latest creation. This is more about how the phone is made rather than what type of phone it is. For a long time, buying a sustainable phone meant a fairly large reduction in terms of what you could expect it to do, but with this fourth edition, a pretty good balance has finally been achieved.
The whole thing about the Fairphone is that the materials used in the phone should be recycled as much as possible and not use what are known as conflict minerals. And then, on top of that, to try and create a mobile that’s as ethically produced as possible. Details about the different parts of the phone can be read on the company's website and they definitely go much further than most others in this respect.
At the same time, the idea is also that you should keep your phone for as long as possible – partly because you can change the battery yourself when it starts to wear out, and partly because you can relatively easily carry out basic repairs yourself. Fairphone sell almost all the spare parts you’d need via their site and all you basically need is a small enough screwdriver to be able to replace, for example, the camera module or the screen itself if they wear out or break.
This approach is also reflected in the guarantees and Android itself. The guarantee for the phone itself is three years for damage and five years for manufacturing defects, which is significantly longer than most phones. Fairphone also guarantee major upgrades of Android for at least three years. Unofficially, however, they are hoping for five years in terms of those upgrades as well as security updates by 2027. This is really something all other manufacturers in the industry should be jealous of and, nowadays, should be trying to emulate.
The downside to many of the company’s previous phones was that they always felt a bit slow and cheap, with a low grade camera. The Fairphone 4 takes a real step up, in that respect.
Since it’s intended to be easier to repair the phone, it’s a little bigger and bulkier than the average, but not so much that it’ll bother you. Performance is fine given the price class for 2021, but what it’ll look like in a few years is hard to say.
The screen behaves fine too, for the most part, but does feel a bit flat in terms of colour at a time where most others run OLED screens. The camera also does a decent job in daylight and bright environments, though it also feels a bit slow. In twilight and dark environments, on the other hand, the camera quickly loses quality.
Overall, the Fairphone 4 feels like you’re really not having to sacrifice much to actually buy a phone that lasts a long time and is ethically manufactured. And in terms of longevity via software updates, only the iPhone offers a similar lifetime. But there, however, you lose the simplicity of repairing the phone yourself.
Best so far – but not perfect
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.7 ins AMOLED, 120 Hz – 1080x2640 pixels + 1.9 ins Super AMOLED, 260 x 512 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (1x2.84 GHz, 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 12+12 megapixels (wide, utrawide), 10 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3300 mAh Dimensions: 166x72.2x6.9 mm (unfolded), 86.4x72.2x15.9-17.1 mm (folded) Weight: 183 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in power button, IPx8, foldable screen
The ** Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 ** is actually a Z Flip 2, but to align with the company’s other series of folding handsets, it had to be a three instead (the Z Fold is in its third generation). In any case, the Flip 3 is a phone with a folding screen like the old school foldable phones (although back then the keypad was on the lower part and the screen on the upper). At the same time, this the cheapest folding mobile phone that has been released so far and it is ridiculously attractive.
The Z Flip 3 is quite simply gorgeous. Both the build quality and the gloss of the shell give it a really exclusive impression, and tends to make you think of some kind of jewellery.
At the same time, the hinge is really stable and it is mostly no problem to open or close the phone with one hand. Other than the characteristic bulge in the middle of the screen, which comes from the fold, the entire construction is really attractive and good quality. New in this version is also water resistance, which is the first time that’s been the case for a folding phone (together with the Z Fold 3) On one side is the power button, where the fingerprint reader is hidden. The power button also starts the camera in the folded position. Together with the external screen, this means you can then easily take selfies or record a video without opening the phone. The outer screen also shows notifications and a bunch of widgets that you might want to access quickly.
Once it’s folded, you are greeted by a really beautiful screen of 6.7 inches and with a 120 Hertz refresh rate. Here, Samsung have also put a higher focus on running two apps at the same time, as the foldable screen can easily be set in the half-folded position. The idea here is that you can easily have your mobile phone sitting on a table and watch a video, or browse the internet while you have a chat going on.
The Galaxy Z Flip is incredibly attractive and arouses a must-have feel that’s quite unusual for mobiles nowadays. But is it as good as it’s good-looking?
Well, it’s not a bad phone in any way. But it’s precisely the foldability you’re really paying for, even though it’s the cheapest folding phone so far. For quite a lot less money, you can get Samsung’s normal S21, which quite honestly thrashes this phone on all technical points, other than not being foldable. In practical terms, there is a lot in the Z Flip 3 that is "really good, but not for that price".
The battery life is the most obvious, because it’s a rather small battery that actually has problems getting it through a day. The performance is really good, but Samsung must have throttled the Snapdragon 888 chip down, because in performance tests this phone is a good bit slower than any other handset with that chip.
The camera is perfectly OK, but two lenses are quite limited. The camera solution in even the cheaper S20 models from last year is actually better. Add to that the fact that you can’t set the format of the pictures you take with the lid closed, that the screen resolution is a bit odd and sometimes causes bugs and that you can run two apps on the screen with any other Android phone... There are simply a great many “buts” here that you should be aware of and be able to ignore if you want to pay for the foldability.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is a really good phone, and undoubtedly the best of all foldable phones released so far. But rarely has it been so clear that you’re paying a lot extra for the design.
A decent mid-range phone with an unclear future
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.7 ins AMOLED Full HD+ 120 Hz Processor: Exynos 2100 (5 nm) Camera: 64+12+12 megapixels Battery: 4800 mAh Dimensions: 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm Weight: 200 g Android version: 11 with One UI 3.1 Miscellaneous: 5G
Being the middle child in a family usually means getting a bit less attention. And that also applies here, to the Plus version of Samsung's new Galaxy S21. All the focus so far has been on either the more basic version or the Ultra. Which might leave you asking what’s the point of this version. And that’s actually a good question.
On the one hand, it’s essentially just the basic model with a larger screen (and a larger battery, which, however, only compensates for the larger screen's higher battery needs). You don’t get any of the Ultra's advantages with this version. However, you do have to pay a slightly higher price. Overall, if you think the regular S21 is too small, this model may be a good alternative if you can't run to the price of the Ultra.
However, judging this phone only in comparison to other devices in the same series is a bit pointless, so let's look at the phone on its own merits instead. In itself, this phone stands up pretty well compared to other flagship phones.
For a start, it's a very attractive phone that feels as premium as a smartphone can be as soon as you open the box. Particularly our test unit, in the colour Phantom Violet, with a camera island in gold finish, really does feel like something the jet set might use up in the first class seats on a transatlantic flight. In a good way, too. But it's not embarrassingly flashy... just flashy.
This year's S21 units (with the exception of the Ultra) have a slightly lower screen resolution than last year’s models. They are FHD+ instead of QHD+. However, the difference is negligible on a phone screen, and the AMOLED screen still impresses with its clear colours, excellent brightness and adaptive image refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. This screen actually feels better than the Galaxy S20+ screen.
The phone has the same chip as the other devices in the series, namely Samsung's own Exynos 2100. This is an extremely powerful 5-nanometre chip that has everything you need, no matter what you intend to do with it. The performance definitely isn't a problem. However, the storage capacity is. Because you can't get the S21+ with more than 256 GB of storage space, and the Micro SD card slot in this year's Galaxy flagship has also been eliminated, so you can't add more memory afterwards.
The camera on the back consists of two wide-angle lenses of 12 megapixels each and a telephoto lens of 64 megapixels (with 3x optical zoom). This is practically the same camera as on last year's Galaxy S20+. What has changed is the software, which has actually made the camera a little bit better. All the same, there are still better cameras on the market in other phones. If you want a really great camera experience, it turns out to be the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The battery is very good, as it lasts for a full day of use. But just like with the other phones in the S21 series, Samsung has “done an Apple” and stopped including a mains adapter. If you want fast charging, you need to buy an adapter separately. With Samsung's own 25-watt charger, you should be able to charge an S21+ to 100% in an hour and ten minutes. Which isn’t bad. But still far from the best for Android phones.
So who is this phoned aimed at, then? That’s another good question. And we’ll pass it on to Samsung on your behalf. Because we honestly don’t know the answer. Sure, anyone who likes the basic S21 but finds the screen too small might be interested. But wouldn’t that target group rather buy an Ultra, even if the price is higher? We think the S21+ will invariably be compared to its big brother rather than its little brother.
All the new ideas are concentrated in the camera
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.81 ins AMOLED, 120hz – 1440x3200 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (1x2.84 GHz & 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 108+13+5 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, depth), selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 4600 mAh Dimensions: 164.3x74.6x8.1 mm Weight: 196 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging,
The standard edition of the Xiaomi Mi 11 was joined fairly quickly by at least five siblings. Even though there’s a lot of similarity between the different models, we still find the "original" to be a really interesting phone.
The standard model of Mi 11 feels surprisingly thin and comfortable to hold despite its relatively large screen.
On the back, we find what has become a bit of a trend for 2021, with a camera housing where two of the lenses look almost oversized and the remaining parts are significantly smaller. Here, the two large lenses consist of a 108 megapixel wide angle and an ultra-wide angle of 13 megapixels. This set of lenses is similar to the predecessor’s and it’s clear that most effort has gone into the most high-resolution sensor. Your pictures will be really good for this price class, regardless of whether it’s day or night time. However, the same can’t be said of the other two lenses. The ultra-wide angle doesn’t have the same raw power and the macro lens honestly feels quite limited and is more or less hidden in the camera menu.
On the whole, however, you do get good pictures and an even result. But none of that is a huge step up from last year's Mi model.
Something we noticed with most Mi 11 models is that they’re not great at heat dissipation. Inside each phone is the 2021 superchip Snapdragon 888, and it doesn’t require much digital weightlifting for the back to get really warm. And the phone soon complains of overheating. This isn’t something you’ll experience in everyday use, but it’s something to bear in mind if you play games on your phone, for example.
If you don’t push the processor, however, you get a really fast phone with good battery life and a really good screen with a fast refresh rate. As usual, the phone is built around Xiaomi's own MIUI interface. All the Android and Google features you’d expect are there, but along with a lot of Xiaomi’s customisations, both graphically and in terms of the settings you have to play with. One added bonus is that, as with many other Xiaomi phones, you also get an IR port that can act as a remote control for your TV, built into the top of the phone.
Xiaomi Mi 11 may be the “standard" edition of the company's top models this year, but in terms of its price tag, it certainly feels really packed with features.
Decent medium-class phone with good battery
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.3 inch LCD - 1080 x 2280 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 (2x2 GHz + 2x1.8 GHz) Camera: 48+16+5 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide, depth), selfie camera 25 megapixel Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: 158.4x75.8x9.1 mm Weight: 188 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, stereo speaker
The Moto G was a perfect example of how a fully functional smartphone doesn’t need to cost the Earth. Roughly 300 models later in the series, we have reached the Moto G8 Plus, and an entirely different mobile market. Fortunately, at least Swedish manufacturer Motorola has understood that nobody could keep track of all the different versions of the G mobiles. This time around, the Moto G8 Plus is the "premium" version of the G series, while other versions are more budget oriented and with particular specifications.
The price tag, around £300, is where you find the really tough competition nowadays, and is in the upper bracket of what we'd call budget. But in this smartphone you still get a stable mobile package with a great deal to offer given the price.
The best feature is arguably the stereo speakers, which add a great deal when you're watching videos. Even if the sound isn't hi-fi class, it's still a great improvement over the single speaker that even many of the more expensive phones can only boast today.
The actual construction is stable without being brilliant, but it does the job. The mobile is splash-proof and is stated to be able to cope if you spilt a glass of water over it. But it can't handle tougher challenges such as underwater photography.
And on the subject of photography, this phone provides a pleasant surprise. The camera part is pretty much the only bit that Motorola have made themselves in an otherwise pure Android phone; and the app together with the lenses produces a noteworthy result in most conditions. Of course, it doesn't compare with the top models’ photos and video capabilities, but in daylight the difference isn't that enormous either.
On the back (which is still the optimum position) is a quick fingerprint reader.
This phone is similar to its little brother, the Motorola One Macro, but it's clear where the extra money has been spent. Everything seems to have gone into creating a quicker system chip. While you don't exactly get lightning speeds, the G8 Plus is very stable for pretty much everything but graphics-heavy games.
At the same time, the content of this phone is rather energy-efficient, which in combination with a larger-than-average battery leads to a longer battery life. If you're a minimal user you’ll easily get two days from it, but even if you use it more frequently it’ll manage an entire day without running out of juice.
The Moto G8 Plus may be in the upper end of this price category, but at the same time it's really competitive and has everything a normal user would need from a mobile phone. And for this reason, we name it as our best budget choice.
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.55 ins AMOLED, 90 Hz – 1080x2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (1x2.84 GHz + 3x2.42 + 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 48+8+5+2 megapixel (wide, ultrawide, depth, macro), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4300 mAh Dimensions: 160.2x72.9x8 mm Weight: 180 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen
2020 saw a bit of a shift in the mobile segment. The real top models, the Pro+ and Ultra (which seem to be popular names for them), have jumped in terms of price to levels only Apple had previously ventured into. At the same time, the "ordinary top model" category has stuck at about the highest price levels of the medium class.
This means that in terms of price, the medium class has almost been divided into two camps depending on the price point. And the real mobile battle is now being decided here.
The Oneplus 8 is a strong competitor in this field, but it could actually have skipped a generation in terms of what you actually get. Its predecessor, the Oneplus 7T, was a really good upgrade which picked up many of the best bits from the previous generation of Oneplus Pro models. The differences between the Oneplus 7T and 8, by contrast, are negligible.
In the new model, naturally you get 5G for when that becomes relevant, you also get slightly faster storage, a slightly faster system chip, a few better details on the camera, a bit less weight… So it's essentially only the camera housing shape that has changed, while most others things remain more or less the same.
This isn't to say the Oneplus 8 is a bad phone, just to point out that any changes are minimal and to note that the legacy of the Pro models has clearly come to a stop in this edition.
Like its big brother the 8 Pro, this is one of the fastest Android phones you can buy today, partly thanks to Oneplus' own optimisations and partly thanks to it having slightly faster storage.
At the same time, it lacks water resistance and wireless charging. The 120 Hz screen from the Pro model is also missing, though the screen has been updated to a stable 90 Hz and does provide a nice flow.
The screen is also probably the best thing about the phone, with good sharpness and really great colours.
The camera also does a good job in most situations as long as you use the main lens. If you start tinkering with the other lenses, the quality is lost a bit, especially in slightly more challenging lighting situations.
The Oneplus 8 is a really good phone and there’s no doubt about that. But the limited changes compared to the previous model make us wonder if there was any need to update it at all? Instead, Oneplus could simply have stuck with their usual top model and focused only on the Pro edition this time, to give the technology a chance to catch up.
Top model but not outstanding
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.78 inch AMOLED - 1440x3168 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (1x2.84 GHz, 3x2.42, 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 48+8+48+5 megapixel (wide, telephoto, ultrawide, colour filter), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4510 mAh Dimensions: 165.3x74.4x8.5 mm Weight: 199 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging, water resistant
Oneplus started out producing telephones with top model performance for a price tag you'd expect in the mid-price segment, and have consequently also built up a loyal group of fans. With previous phones, the performance was there, but you had to do without the frills. When Oneplus divided their models into a normal and a Pro version last year, it marked the beginning of the end of this tactic, which has now completely fallen by the wayside.
If you only look at the specifications, the Oneplus 8 Pro is still “cheap” compared to its competitors’ top models, which are up to several hundred pounds more expensive. At the same time, this is the first time you’ve had to pay so much for a model, relatively speaking.
Then again, the old no frills approach has also gone. In fact, there's really nothing missing from this phone. Entirely new features for Oneplus are water resistance and support for wireless charging. The latter is available via separate accessories through a turbo variant, in line with the company's wired Warp chargers.
Other than that you get Qualcomm's latest system chip, plenty of RAM and very fast storage. Just like the previous generation, and the one before that, the Oneplus 8 Pro is the fastest Android phone you can buy, despite other manufacturers using more or less the same hardware.
You also get a substantial OLED screen with a maximum 120 Hz refresh rate. Unfortunately it can only switch between 60 and 120 Hz, not the 90 Hz mode that its predecessor had, which worked well as an intermediate solution. If it's resolution you're after, you’ll do away with the faster refresh rate to save your battery. A battery which otherwise lasts a full day and more besides.
The speed largely comes from Oxygen OS, the Oneplus shell that overlies Android. The rule here is still that graphic frills are trimmed down in favour of speed, but at the same time you have a large number of settings that feel meaningful, and extra functions to play with. Oneplus are also known for updating their telephones for a long time, and for being amongst the first to release new Android versions.
The pop-up camera from last year's 7 Pro is gone – instead the selfie camera sits in a hole cut out of the screen (which was also the case with the 7T Pro). This is obviously a more sustainable option than moving parts.
The camera on the back consists of four lenses (telephoto, wide, ultrawide and colour filter) and is quite clearly a step up from Oneplus’ previous mobile cameras. While earlier cameras were good, they were never excellent, and often produced a kind of yellow tinge. The Oneplus 8 Pro moves significantly closer to the top models, at least when it comes to details in daylight. But now we often see a slightly blueish tone instead of yellow. It manages fine with evening and night photography, even if the results aren't amongst the very best.
The Oneplus 8 Pro is a phenomenal telephone in many ways, and finally has the things previous models have been lacking while the speed is still excellent. On the other hand, the price has increased quite a lot in just one year. If you can live without the wireless charging and don't mind a slightly less flashy camera, the normal Oneplus 8 is still really good value for money.
Neat challenger to the Galaxy S20
Price class: Intermediate Screen: 6.1-inch OLED (1 080 x 2 340 pixels), 60 Hz Processor: Kirin 990 5G (Octa Core 2.86 GHz) Camera: 50 + 16 + 8 megapixels, selfie camera 23 megapixels Battery: 3800 mAh Operating system: Android Open Source Miscellaneous: IP53 rated, fingerprint reader, stereo speakers
You probably already know about the elephant in the room – i.e. that the Huawei P40 and the company's other new phones don’t come with Google's framework and services. That is, undoubtedly, a problem. And so whoever buys a new Huawei phone needs to be at least moderately interested in the jigsaw puzzle involved in putting together a fairly normal Android experience on the Chinese manufacturer's devices nowadays. It's possible, but it's time consuming and even then some apps and services simply can’t be replaced, such as Google Maps.
We can’t ignore any of that in our assessment, but nor should we let it have too much of an impact, because there are actually lots of users who do really well without the Google Mobile Services package. And for them, this is a great alternative to many mid-range phones on the market.
The specs are impressive for the class. You get the same powerful system chip that the P40 Pro comes with, – an eight-core Kirin 990 5G chip. And you also get a fairly high-resolution OLED screen, albeit at 6.1 inches, which is a bit smaller than what a flagship phone normally boasts these days. Though, on the other hand, that also makes the phone a little easier to handle. The premium feel of the P40 Pro also comes from the body, with a glass-covered front and back and a metal frame.
On the camera side, this phone – as always when it comes to Huawei's smartphones – is really impressive. You get a triple camera with a main sensor of 50 megapixels, an ultra-wide angle lens of 16 megapixels and a telephoto lens of 8 megapixels. Images are clearly better than those taken with both the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus, with an impressive dynamic range. The videos in 4K are also of exemplary quality.
22.5-watt fast charging ensures that you can charge a 3800 mAh battery relatively quickly. Charging wirelessly, however, is not an option with this phone, which is part of the reason the price is so wallet-friendly. But Huawei compensates for this by offering a truly impressive battery life. You’ll usually get a full day of use without having to charge it.
Another area where ambitions have been lowered is IP classification. The P40 Pro is IP68-rated, while the regular P40 has to settle for IP53. This roughly means the phone isn’t 100% dust tight, but is still dustproof, and that it can withstand a hefty shower, but you shouldn’t drop it in the bath.
So who is this phone for? If you're completely attached to Google services, you should probably look elsewhere. But if that doesn’t feel so important, and you’re fine without, then this phone is a really good alternative to the Galaxy S20 or new iPhone 11. Particularly if photos are important to you, because this is a phone with a very good camera. The price is in the region of £700.
HUAWEI P40, 128 GB, 6.1 Inch Smartphone, Kirin 990 5G, 50 MP Ultra Vision Leica Triple Camera, 8 GB RAM, 22.5W SuperCharge, SIM-Free Android Mobile Phone, Dual SIM- Black
HUAWEI P40 128 GB 6.1 Inch Smartphone Bundle with PU Case, Kirin 990 5G, 50 MP Ultra Vision Leica Triple Camera, 8 GB RAM, 22.5W SuperCharge, SIM-Free Android Mobile Phone, Dual SIM, Black
Huawei P40 15.5 cm (6.1") Dual SIM Android 10.0 5G USB Type-C 8 GB 128 GB 3800 mAh Black
The best phone you probably won’t buy
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.58 inch 19.8:9 OLED (1200 x 2640 pixels), 90 Hz. Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G (Octa Core 2.86 GHz). Camera: 50.3 + 40 + 12 + 5 megapixels. 32 megapixel selfie camera with depth sensor. Battery: 4200 mAh. Dimensions: 15.8x7.2x0.9 cm. Weight: 209 g. Operating system: Android Open Source. Miscellaneous: IP68 classified, wireless charging in two directions, fingerprint reader in screen
There’s no doubting that the Huawei P40 Pro is one of the best phones of the year if you’re talking the hardware side of things. But there’s a very large elephant in the room, and that’s Google's framework and services, which due to the American blacklisting of Huawei aren’t supported by this phone. Android is still being used as the operating system, but everything else is based on open source versions of the software, although users can still enjoy Huawei's own app store, App Gallery.
Not having Google isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a real shortcoming and a deal breaker for most. In practice, life without Google services isn’t actually as tough as you might think. Many services work fine as web shortcuts and lots of popular apps can be downloaded and used via APK Mirror (Editor’s note: a site where you can legally download the program files from the Google Play Store as individual files), Amazon's app store or directly from the developers' sites. The only service that feels really difficult to replace is Google Maps, which is an increasingly integral part of the Android experience as a whole. But if you’re willing to give up that particular service, most other things can actually be fixed, provided you think the phone is worth all that effort.
We’d love to say the P40 Pro is definitely worth the effort, but, in fact, we can’t. It is a fantastic phone, with a lovely design and really good specifications, but there are a number of competitors who have released extremely powerful and affordable alternatives, not least Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Oneplus 8 Pro.
The P40 Pro is more attractive than both of those phones, there's no denying it. The glass screen curves around all four sides, giving the phone an extremely futuristic look. The camera island in the upper left corner doesn’t get in the way and the shiny finish on the back has a premium feel, which combined with the metallic frame gives the phone a kind of stylishly restrained luxury profile.
The same camera island is undeniably quite large and protrudes a fair bit, but it does the same on all new flagship phones with a camera solution worth mentioning. And the P40 Pro's camera definitely warrants a closer look. Better zoom (up to 50x), larger sensors, higher light sensitivity and adjusted optics means that you’re at the absolute top of the field when it comes to photography. 50.3 + 40 + 12 + 5 megapixels and a 3D depth sensor on the back are combined with a selfie camera of 32 megapixels and a 3D sensor on the front. This is definitely not a toy, and your pictures will be excellent regardless of lighting conditions. Here, once again, Huawei is really leading the way.
The screen is of the OLED type, with an aspect ratio of 19.8:9 and a resolution of 1200 x 2640 pixels. Unlike many of the competition, Huawei are content with a screen refresh rate of 90 Hertz, which honestly doesn’t really make much of a difference compared to 120 Hz. But in combination with the screen feeling a little dim compared to its competitors, the overall impression is somewhat tarnished.
This is an incredibly fast phone, thanks to the system chip Kirin 990 5G, which despite working at a furious pace doesn’t seem to drain the 4200 mAh battery, meaning the most you’ll need to charge is once a day. That’s incredibly good. Huawei's fast charging also holds its own well, and now the phone also has wireless fast charging of up to 27 watts.
Anyone who really likes Huawei won’t be disappointed. Anyone choosing between a P40 Pro, a Galaxy S20 Ultra or a Oneplus 8 Pro definitely needs to ask themselves how important the Android framework is, and whether they’re willing to spend a bit of time creating a comfortable user environment without it (it’s possible, but requires a lot of fiddling and a hefty dose of interest in doing exactly that). If your answer to that question is yes, then this is a great buy. Without a doubt, this is one of the best phones on the planet right now in terms of hardware. But that lack of support for Google's services means that we can’t give it as high a score as as we’d like to.
Huawei P40 Pro - Smartphone 256GB, 8GB RAM, Dual Sim, Black, New
Huawei P40 Pro - Smartphone 256GB, 8GB RAM, Dual Sim, Black
HUAWEI P40 Pro 256 GB 6.58 Inch Smartphone Bundle with PU Case, Kirin 990 5G, 50 MP Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera, 8 GB RAM, 40W SuperCharge, IP68, SIM-Free Android Mobile Phone, Dual SIM, Silver
Super fast medium class phone
Price class: Medium Screen: 4.7 inch IPS – 1334x750 pixels Processor: Apple A13 Bionic, Hexa-core (2x2.65 GHz + 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 12 megapixel, 7 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 1815 mAh Dimensions: 138.4x67.3x7.3 mm Weight: 148 g iOS version: 13 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, wireless charging,
The first iPhone SE was a big success, both for Apple and for customers who wanted a modern phone just that little bit smaller than usual. And by all accounts, the iPhone SE 2020 edition will be exactly what many of us have been waiting for.
Outwardly, the new edition of the iPhone SE is an exact copy of the iPhone 8. The size, screen, resolution, battery and most other features are identical.
Unlike the iPhone 8, the iPhone SE no longer supports Force Touch, the app where you used a different pressure for different functions… and that no one used. But you do get the same system chip as in the company's top model iPhone 11, the A13 Bionic. This chip means the iPhone SE runs rings around all its competitors in the same price range and even around some of the more expensive Android phones, just as the iPhone 11 still does in most cases.
The A13 chip also makes a big difference to image processing of photos taken with the camera, which are otherwise largely the same as with the iPhone 8. In daylight, the image quality is clearly better, even if you get brighter colours and more options with the iPhone 11.
It’s not so good at dusk, where it’s more like the old camera. While the iPhone SE runs rings around its competitors in terms of performance, the opposite is pretty much true of the camera, even among other medium class phones. Night images lose a lot of detail and become grainy.
The battery in the iPhone SE is much the same size as the one in the iPhone 8. Even though Apple have streamlined power management with the much more powerful A13 chip, it still ends up with about the same battery life as its predecessor. In other words, one day if you don’t use it too much. That’s noticeably worse than the average today and worse than the same-sized iPhone 11.
Because size is the big thing with this phone – or rather the lack of it is. Today's big screens on mobile phones mean that Apple are almost playing in a league of their own when it comes to smaller phones. The edges and home button mean the iPhone SE isn’t an extremely small phone, but it’s much easier to use with one hand than pretty much all other phones currently on the market. The iPhone 11 is about the same size, but the larger screen makes single-handed use a little more difficult... and it's twice the price.
At the same time there’s one thing the iPhone SE is unique for in the medium price class, and is almost guaranteed to be better at than the majority of flagship Android phones. And that’s updates, because Apple are famous for updating their phones for a long time. The first generation iPhone SE still gets updates, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that today’s iPhone SE will get the same for 4-5 years. This is compared to Android, where two years (for major updates) and perhaps three years (for security updates) is more usual.
The battery may need to be replaced after a while, but the current iPhone SE will keep up for a long time.
The 2020 version of the iPhone SE is familiar in every respect, while simultaneously being incredibly fast and likely to last for a long time. The screen was a bit outdated when the iPhone 8 was released, and it's hardly a prize winner now. Nor are the battery or camera on the same level as other medium class phones, although they’re not terrible either. The Apple iPhone SE is incredibly good value for money for an Apple phone, but at the same time it’s not exactly a wonderful mobile.
The thermal camera and ruggedness are the key points
Price class: Medium Screen: 5.7 ins LCD (1080 x 2160 pixels) Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 (8-core) Camera: Main camera 12 megapixels, thermal camera FLIR Lepton 3.5 Selfie camera 8 megapixels Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: 159x77x12 mm Weight: 248 g Miscellaneous: MIL 810STD rated, IP68+IP69 rated
CAT (Caterpillar) is a brand that most of us associate with heavy work vehicles. But the brand also occurs in many other contexts. And that makes sense too. CAT want to show that they produce robust and rugged products that do the job, in rain, sunshine, gale force winds or driving ice. And it’s against the background of such an ambition that British Bullitt Group's CAT phones should be judged. You can say what you like about this type of licensing, but the fact that Caterpillar are quite happy to have their logo on the CAT S62 Pro, should tell you that the phone delivers exactly what the brand stands for.
With all that said, it’s probably no surprise that this is a very large phone. But in all the right ways. The weight means it feels good in your hand, and a really substantial rubber surface on the back means it doesn’t slip out of your grip very easily. It’s almost twice as thick as an iPhone 11 Pro but, on the other hand, it’s also the case that many flagship phones are almost this big if you squeeze them into a shell. And that isn't necessary with the CAT S62 Pro. This phone is classified according to the American military standard MIL STD810, which means it must be able to withstand a fall of 1.8 metres onto solid steel without breaking. It’s also IP68 and IP69 rated, which means it’s both waterproof and dustproof. You might think a phone of this kind would be quite ugly, but it’s actually rather attractive. The steel frame has exposed screws, the controls are knurled and the on/off button protrudes with a wonderful orange metallic finish. This phone literally screams heavy industry or construction site. And if you're looking for a "rugged" phone, then this is probably one of the best the market has to offer.
The most obvious shortcoming is the screen. The phone has a 5.7-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. That’s not very bright and the sharpness leaves a lot to be desired. This is unlikely to be decisive for anyone considering buying a CAT phone, but if you’re used to a crisp AMOLED screen with high pixel density, you might find this takes some getting used to. The camera is also fairly average and delivers images that are more akin to those from the budget segment. The fact that the camera has a resolution of 12 megapixels doesn’t help much when the rest of the optics aren’t up to that standard. Taking photos in the dark is more or less pointless. But neither is this likely to be a deciding factor for anyone considering buying this phone. For potential buyers, the FLIR camera is more likely to be much more important.
If you aren't familiar with the concept, this is a thermal camera by industry leader FLIR. Previous CAT phones had FLIR cameras, but they weren’t anything like as sharp as the Lepton 3.5 camera this phone is equipped with. The camera is activated via a separate app that provides lots of options. For example, you can limit the temperature range you want to be able to see, and you can also change the colour coding. This works really well and is, without a doubt, one of the biggest selling points for the CAT S62 Pro.
The battery is a decent 4000 mAh, and that’s actually more than enough considering the specifications in general. The screen isn’t very demanding, for example. You get as much battery life as with a more standard smartphone, i.e. just over a day of normal use.
Overall, this is a product that does exactly what it claims. If you’re looking for a rugged phone with a thermal camera, that can last a whole day without needing to be charged, this is the perfect purchase. But if you want a flashy gimmick-packed device with flagship performance, there are many better options around.
Excellent budget challenger without Google services
Price class: Budget Chip: Kirin 810 (2 x Cortex A76 and 6 x Cortex-A55) Graphics: Mali-G52 MP6 RAM: 6 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM (support for NM card) Screen: IPS 6.4 inch (1080x2310 pixels) Camera: 48+8+ 2 and rear depth sensor, 16 MB selfie camera. Battery: 4200 mAh Weight: 183 grams
Of course you can’t ignore the fact that Google’s services are no longer available on Huawei's telephones, including on the Huawei P40 Lite. And yes, we do have to mention it every time we review what’s often an otherwise excellent Huawei product – because it really is a big deal. You can do a lot with Huawei's own App Gallery, and many of Google’s services work as web versions. But if you're firmly bound to Google’s services and apps (and you can be without even realising it), this is undoubtedly a problem. You have to forget Google Maps, for example.
With that said, this is a fantastic phone given what it delivers in terms of the price. It’s all but impossible to get as impressive a “light” variant of a flagship phone for anything like this low a price. It may be a budget version of the P40, and it feels a bit more plasticky, but it still looks premium.
The Kirin 810 chip delivers a performance that’s more reminiscent of the medium segment than budget telephones, and with 6 GB of RAM to work with, it copes with pretty much whatever you throw at it. It’s primarily the screen resolution, contrast and backlighting that tells you you’re holding a slightly less expensive phone. It doesn’t give a real AMOLED impression when it comes to image quality.
Huawei are famous for their generous batteries, which mean their phones need to be charged less often than almost all of their competitors’ products. This is a luxury you quickly get used to as a Huawei user, and one that can make it tough to change to another brand. The P40 Lite also has a really big battery, of 4200 mAh, and you’d be forgiven for thinking this should offer an amazing operating time. But that isn’t the case. Instead, it’s on a par with normal medium segment phones, and quite why is hard to say.
The rear camera is much better than the ones on other phones in this price segment, however. It houses four sensors in the reasonably discreet camera module (a 48 megapixel main sensor, a wide-angle lens of 8 megapixels, a 2 megapixel macro lens and a depth sensor). Images don’t achieve flagship quality, but aren’t far off. It’s primarily the dynamics and performance in dark conditions that leave something to be desired.
If you’re looking for maximum performance for your money, this is without doubt one of the top candidates, but of course that assumes you can cope with the Google elephant in the room. And only you know whether that’s true.
Best in the world...but there’s a problem
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.58 inch AMOLED – 1200x2640 pixels Processor: Hisilicon Kirin 990 (2x2.86 GHz, 2x2.36, 4x1.95 GHz) Camera: 50+8+8+40 megapixel (Wide, telephoto, ultrawide, depth) + TOF, selfie camera 32 megapixel Battery: 4200 mAh Dimensions: 158.2x72.6x9 mm Weight: 226 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging +reverse wireless, waterproof, IR port
Good things come in threes, according to many mobile phone manufacturers. A top model, a plus model above that and then a really amazing one on top of that just because they can. The Huawei P40 Pro+ belongs to the latter category. Happily, the phone isn’t any bigger just because it’s had a plus sign added to its name, unlike the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
On the outside, the Pro+ is actually identical to the normal P40 Pro, with the same dimensions and the same screen. It’s still not exactly a small phone, but it’s definitely manageable. The more expensive model differs in three ways: the camera, charging and the back.
The back and edges are made from ceramic material instead of glass; a rather uncommon choice that tends to turn up on those very special models. It reinforces the impression of the phone as an expensive item of jewellery even more than the P40 Pro, and it’s certainly nothing you’d complain about.
Charging is done wirelessly. With the right wireless charger, you can fast charge the phone with 40 W either wirelessly or wired. The charger is sold separately, but when we tried it out it does indeed do a very quick job. It’s difficult to position the phone so the charger can react, however, and once it does it also triggers a powerful fan that you'd really rather not have running if the charger is on your desk.
So what about the camera? Well, there’s an additional lens (telephoto) that brings the total up to five. This gives you 10 times optical zoom instead of 5, and 100 times zoom in hybrid mode.
It’s also the camera that’s the whole point of this phone. It produces sharp, lively (occasionally a bit too lively) and consistently fantastic photos, particularly at night or in poor light. No other manufacturer today comes anywhere near Huawei when it comes to photos in dark conditions, and the camera is unquestionably the best one you can get in a mobile today.
Otherwise, we get one of the fastest Android phones, built-in IR remote control (still the world's best function), good battery life and more than enough storage. The only minus point is that the telephone gets very warm around the camera for short periods, for no obvious reason and regardless of what we do. But that’s a minor concern.
A major one is the lack of Google services. Huawei's own App Gallery provides many alternative apps, but there’s still a lot missing. Huawei have many ways of counteracting this, and after a couple of weeks of using the phone we have no less than seven ways of looking for apps that Huawei recommend. This makes things easier, but it’s still a major security risk... And a bit of a headache. Give them a year and Huawei will undoubtedly have sorted this out, but as things stand you have to be prepared for a lot of fiddling before you can get everything to work.
We primarily notice the lack of a built-in map service. Without it, the pulse meter’s map uses a Chinese equivalent where other countries’ borders are barely included, let alone greater detail.
In terms of the hardware, the Huawei P40 Pro+ is the best Android telephone right now, bar none. But it'll take a while before the software stops feeling wrong.
A really good camera phone
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.5 inch - 1920x1080 pixels Processor: A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, embedded M11 movement processor Camera: Double 12 MP with wide angle and telephoto lens, selfie camera 7 MP Width: 78.1 mm Height: 158.4 mm RAM: 78.1 mm Weight: 202 Capacity: 64/256 GB Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (resists water, splashes and dust), biometric login, lightning contact, support for wireless charging
The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is a large and relatively heavy mobile phone that's simultaneously thin and stylish. The size combined with the fantastic screen makes it great for looking at videos and images. The screen is knife sharp and has a very wide viewing angle. But the best thing about the iPhone 8 Plus is the camera. The images don't look processed as they tend to on the majority of smartphones. The camera has a portrait mode where the background and foreground around the subject are blurred while the subject remains sharp. This type of function can be found in the majority of premium mobile telephones today, but Apple only offers it on its two latest Plus models. Unfortunately portrait mode often causes problems when there are lots of details in the image. For example, we tried photographing a dog against a field, and the camera found it difficult to determine which areas around the dog should be sharp or blurred respectively. It can have the same problem when a subject has bushy hair. But in 8 out of 10 cases it performs well and it's almost as if you'd taken the photos with a top-of-the-range camera. The colours are realistic, it can cope well with major light differences and produces good photographs even in dark environments. Unfortunately, the camera is a bit sluggish when you use it in portrait mode. It takes half a second from you pressing the button until it takes the photo, so you have to bear this in mind if you don't want to say cheese at the wrong time. We don't encounter this problem when taking photos in normal photo mode.
The iPhone 8 Plus has an acceptable battery life given its size, but you should expect to recharge it at least once a day. If you use it intensively, you'll need to charge it once more during the day. The iPhone 8 Plus has support for wireless charging and for quick charging, but Apple only supply it with a normal charger, which seems unnecessarily stingy. When it comes to performance, we don't see any great difference from either the iPhone 7 Plus or a premium mobile from one of the Android manufacturers. It's possible that the performance improvements that have already been made will become more noticeable under specific conditions, such as in VR apps. If you're already a dedicated iPhone user and you're looking for a large mobile phone with a really good camera, the iPhone 8 Plus is a good purchase. But the iPhone 8 Plus isn't revolutionary compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 7 Plus, particularly given the price difference. The only thing that separates them in terms of performance is the support for wireless charging. Otherwise they have around the same battery life, functions and appearance. That's not to say that the iPhone 8 Plus is a poor choice. After all, the iPhone 7 Plus is one of the very best mobiles on the market today, so a successor with even a slightly improved performance is, of course, also a good buy.
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.7 inch AMOLED – 1080x2340 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (1x3 GHz, 3x2.42, 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 108+8+16 megapixel (wide, telephoto, ultrawide) +TOF camera, selfie camera 25 megapixel Battery: 5000 mAh Dimensions: 161.1x71.4x9.6 mm Weight: 203 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, wireless charging (+reverse)
The fastest phone in the world. That was Lenovo’s boast when its subsidiary Motorola entered the flagship battle with the Moto Edge+ after a few years’ absence. And at the time of writing it is indeed the fastest Android phone – with the Oneplus 8 Pro. But that probably doesn’t sound as good in the marketing materials.
Alongside its Razr concept telephone, Motorola has also produced budget and medium class phones for a couple of years now. So it's fun to see what they’ve created for the premium market.
The most obvious thing is, of course, the screen, which has much more curved sides than its competitors. It looks really nice, and the AMOLED screen is beautiful. Unfortunately the curved screen often means you can’t hit the right key at the edges of the keyboard. You get used to it, but it takes a while.
The mobile phone is a bit thicker than average. That may sound like a disadvantage, but it actually makes the ergonomics really good. Despite the thickness of the phone, however, the camera still sticks out on the back quite a long way. But it does mean there’s space for a proper headphone jack, which makes Motorola and Sony the only manufacturers to have one on their current top models. At the same time there’s no memory card slot, which seems really odd.
So what about the speed? Well, thanks to a relatively low resolution screen and what’s pretty much pure Android (something of a trademark for Motorola), it’s actually level pegging between the Edge+ and the monster Oneplus 8 Pro when we push them hard. At the same time the phone has both 5G support and a huge battery that’ll easily get you through a full day’s frequent use.
Unfortunately the camera is a bit of a “meh” experience. In daylight it works just as well as other top models. But the colour rapidly becomes yellowish in darker conditions, and the photos aren’t at all sharp.
Confusingly, it only supports 6K resolution video, when the standard for 2020 is 8K. But it does provide exemplary movement compensation for video.
It’s great to see Motorola attacking the top segment again, just because they want to and can – and because they have ideas that are both interesting and fun. The Moto Edge+ is a good top model, but the company still needs to get its act together a bit more before it will really hit all the high notes.
Apple’s best iPhone yet
Price class: Premium Screen: Oled 5.8 inch - 1125 x 2436 pixels Processor: Apple A13 Bionic, Hexa-core (2x2.65 GHz + 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 3x12 megapixel, selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 3046 mAh Dimensions: 144x71.4x8.1 mm Weight: 188 g iOS version: 13 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition (Face ID), wireless charging
The Apple iPhone 11 Pro is Apple’s best iPhone yet and one of the best 64GB devices. If you're an iPhone fan looking for a new phone, this is absolutely worth considering, despite its relatively high price.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s major advantages are its size and battery life. If you’re looking for a small, neat smartphone you don’t have many choices today. But the iPhone 11 Pro is actually one of the smaller models on the market, yet still bragging top class performance. However, the Samsung Galaxy S10e is a competitor among smaller mobiles with top performance and significantly lower price tags.
And Apple have also succeeded in squeezing more out of the battery. Previously, frequent users have needed to recharge the phone up to twice a day, while normal users have just about managed to last a day on one charge. But now a whole day isn’t a problem. It still has a good way to go to match the best Android models, but it’s standing up to the competition.
The build quality is good too. The back is attractively frosted, and you don’t need to worry about getting visible fingerprints on it.
The best new feature in both the iPhone 11 Pro and its big brother, the Pro Max, are the cameras – of which there are now three. The way they’re arranged makes the mobile phone remind us of an electric razor. But apart from that they give the camera extra range, from telephoto to ultra-wide angles.
The images are definitely top class, with vibrant colours in all modes, which other manufacturers are still struggling with. The new night mode – more of an evening mode really – produces impressive results. But it still has problems finding the right focus in the image when you’re trying to take portraits with tricky edges that blur into the background, such as frizzy hair or animals in a meadow.
For videos, there are both slow motion and time lapse filming for the cameras on the front and back, and the rear cameras can film in up to 4K resolution with 60 images per second. Here too the results are premium class, if just a hair’s breadth from the very best mobile cameras around.
We also get the latest Wi-Fi 6 built into the smartphone. At the same time, it’s mobile internet use that throws a spanner in the works. All other phones begin loading websites and so on slowly when the network is busy (like at rush hour). Our iPhone ignores this and instead refuses point blank to load the page at all. This is probably just one of those things that can be fixed through software updates, but it's still unusual and annoying. Not clear what makes it Pro
Unfortunately the iPhone 11 Pro comes neither with USB-C (despite the fact that the quick charger partially does) or reverse wireless charging. The technology for the latter should be built in, but for some reason isn’t switched on. Which we find surprising.
Overall, this feels more like an iPhone XS-2 than a completely new Pro model. If you're an Android user, you won’t be casting envious glances at the iPhone 11 Pro. The same thing applies if you already have a reasonably new iPhone and are wondering if it’s worth upgrading (nope!).
But despite this, the iPhone 11 Pro is still Apple’s best smartphone yet. The improved battery life is more than welcome, and the phone has a long lifetime thanks to ongoing software updates for a long time to come. You get first-class performance in a small neat package. Of course, the price isn’t very appealing, but if you like iPhones you’re not likely to let that put you off. If you’re looking to buy a phone and want the current best iPhone model, this is the one you should look at. There’s no debate to be had.
A reasonable smartphone with a niche market
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.3 inch - Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 19:9 (2280 x 1080) Processor: Octa-core (up to 2.7 GHz) Camera: 12+12+16 megapixel, selfie camera 10 megapixel Battery: 3500 mAh Dimensions: 151 mm x 72 mm x 7.9 mm Weight: 168 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, facial recognition, wireless powershare, DeX, Bluetooth S-Pen, IP68 classified, Samsung Knox
The Samsung Note 10 is one of the best mobile phones on the market right now. Yes, the Galaxy S10 is still a touch tougher, but with its unique pen the Note 10 has a market all to itself.
For example, you can write with the pen and your handwriting style will then be converted into computer text. This works incredibly well, and the result is almost always right even if you have doctor’s handwriting. Another cool function is that you can use the pen to control things by making movements with it in the air above the screen. You can also push out the pen and note directly on the screen without unlocking it first.
And on the subject of unlocking, the fingerprint reader can be a little sluggish, but the facial recognition is lightning fast.
The screen is a curved model with crystal-clear sharpness. And it’s top quality when it comes to both colour richness and blacks. In addition, it rarely reacts incorrectly when we’re holding the phone. Some other models with curved screens start up a load of unwelcome processes, but not the Note 10.
In terms of size, this Note feels quite small. But given that it was launched at about the same time as the company’s tablet, the size has been carefully chosen. They make a good kit together, but the smartphone is a slightly neater alternative to both the tablet and last year’s Note.
The camera is good but no test winner. We particularly liked Live Mode as the software feels well-designed and intelligent. It rarely fails to insert bokeh in the right places even in complex environments. But at the same time, the camera is a little weak on images in contrasting environments, finding it difficult to capture details in both dark and light parts. For example, if you’re walking in the forest and the sun’s rays are streaming down through the tops of the trees.
The Bixby voice assistant also tends to suddenly appear when we switch between portrait and landscape mode, which meant that we missed out on capturing a few good photos.
The battery life is good but perhaps not as good as we've come to expect in Android mobiles. We can use it normally for about 1.5 days before we have to charge it. But if you normally charge your telephone in the evening, this means you have to charge it once a day if you don’t want to have to charge it during your lunch break.
The smartphone has good sound with a lot of clarity, but of course not much in the way of bass.
The call quality is excellent as long as you have good coverage, but our experience is that this phone performs slightly worse than its competitors in difficult reception areas.
The Samsung Note 10 is a mobile phone that seems to be in a class of its own. If you’re looking for a mobile phone with a pen, this is the most no-brainer choice you will ever make.
Samsung Galaxy Note10 SM-N970F 16 cm (6.3″) 8 GB 256 GB Dual SIM 4G USB Type-C Multicolor Android 9.0 3500 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 SIM Unlocked (Brand New), Aura Black / 256GB
Samsung Galaxy Note10 Mobile Phone; Sim Free Smartphone - Aura Black, (UK Version)
Stingy for a top model
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.1 inch LCD - 828 x 1792 pixels Processor: Apple A13 Bionic (2x2.65 GHz + 4x2.24 + 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 12+12 Megapixel (wide, ultrawide), selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 3110 mAh **Dimensions: 150.9x75.7x8.3 mm Weight: 194 g Operating system: iOS 13 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition, water proof, stereo speaker
The Apple iPhone 11 is the obvious bestseller in Apple’s current trio of telephones. At the same time, it’s rather confusing, extremely stingy... and paradoxically a really good deal.
Confusingly – because it’s the “cheap” iPhone model – it’s the middle of the three models in terms of size. In other words, you have to pay more for a smaller telephone (the iPhone 11 Pro). That’s really stingy, not primarily because of the smartphone (although we’ll come to that), but instead because of the charger. A mobile costing this much should come with a quick charger, and anything else is indefensible.
Yet, it’s a really good deal because you actually don’t lose anything. The Pro models have an extra camera and a nicer screen. But the iPhone 11 has the same processor and, other than being short one camera lens, the same camera. If you want the latest iPhone model, it really does feel like you’re not losing anything here. Apple’s A13 chip is still the quickest you can get in a mobile telephone today.
The iPhone 11 is about the same size as many other current mobile telephones. The difference lies in the weight; it’s a bit heavier than average. This can be attributed to the build quality, which of course is Apple class and won’t disappoint.
To distinguish it from the Pro models of iPhone, this one has an LED screen instead of an Oled one. In addition, the resolution is significantly lower. While it’s a really good screen overall, with decent sharpness and fantastic vivid colours, it still feels stingy that smartphones for a fifth of the price of this one have higher resolution – and mobiles at half the price can boast an Oled screen.
But then again, this (and the slow charger) are the smartphone’s only two major negative points. Pricing for iPhones is always something of a discussion point, but if you want an Apple phone, the standard iPhone 11 model is perhaps the best choice.
As we mentioned above, the mobile as a whole is very fast. The new A13 chip is less power hungry, which means the iPhone 11 has a battery life that lasts the entire day. The increase isn’t as dramatic as with the Pro models, but much better than any iPhone before this one.
The camera has the same great quality as its bigger siblings. You don’t have a wide-angle lens, but otherwise it’s the same camera setup and the same software. It gives an incredibly even result and the image quality is amongst the best you can find on the market – if not the best.
An iPhone is an iPhone is an iPhone, so if that’s what you want and you’re looking for the latest one, the iPhone 11 is perhaps the best choice. In the Apple world it’s very good value for money and it feels a bit pointless to pay more for a slightly smaller model (11 Pro) or much more for a slightly larger one (11 Pro Max).
The iPhone 11 is quite simply best in test among iOS smartphones right now.
Wins on battery life!
Price class: Premium Screen: Oled 6.5 inch - 1242 x 2688 pixels Processor: Apple A13 Bionic, Hexa-core (2x2.65 GHz + 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 3x12 megapixel, selfie camera 12 megapixel Battery: 3969 mAh Dimensions: 158x77.8x8.1 mm Weight: 226 g iOS version: 13 Miscellaneous: Facial recognition (Face ID), wireless charging
The Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max has one major advantage over all of its predecessors. It runs rings around them when it comes to battery life. But this is only a modest upgrade from the previous generation.
Just like its little brother, the iPhone 11 Pro, we encounter luxurious build quality when we unpack this year’s top Apple model. It’s much heavier than the competitors in the same size class, which is particularly obvious when you’re using it for a while.
The weight comes partly from the battery, which provides very nearly 4000mAh, not an uncommon figure in the mobile world these days, but the largest yet for an iPhone.
Together with the energy efficient nature of the A13 chip inside it, this battery means that we’re constantly amazed by the smartphone’s longevity. A day’s heavy use poses no problems, and for the first time ever we can use an iPhone for two days with normal use without having to charge it.
The battery is also what makes it stand out from the smaller Pro model, even though that doesn’t actually have a bad battery life either. The other differences are the larger screen and slightly higher resolution. The sharpness and image quality are the same as in Apple's smaller Pro model.
The same applies to the camera, which looks rather like a set of three induction hobs on the back of the phone. During the autumn, iOS 13 was updated with what Apple call Deep Fusion. This means the camera takes a whole load of images and combines them for even better results. This is a small step up since we tested the iPhone 11 Pro when it was released, and it produces good results overall.
When it comes to performance and functions, everything else is identical to the iPhone 11 Pro. In other words, a modest update from last year, but still really fast and well implemented.
At the same time, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is one of the most expensive phones you can buy today. In recent years, Apple have put themselves in their very own eye-wateringly expensive price class. If you're just looking for a larger screen, there are significantly cheaper options than the iPhone 11.
On the other hand, if you're looking for three cameras, the price difference between the 11 Pro and the Max isn’t enormous. But both are a lot more expensive than the corresponding flagship Android phone.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is a really good phone with a great battery life. But Apple sell two cheaper variants of the iPhone 11, which feel like a more logical choice. This puts the iPhone 11 Pro Max in something of a class of its own – attractive to the most devoted Apple fans but a bit too expensive for everyone else.
A colossus that combines new and old
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.39 inch - 1080 x 2340 pixels Processor: Name Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 4x2.8 GHz Camera: 12+12 megapixel, selfie camera 24+2 megapixel Battery: 3200 mAh Dimensions: 157.9x74.7x8.5 mm Weight: 218 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is the latest release in the company’s luxury series. It’s not luxurious in terms of price, which as usual is very low. Instead, the Mix smartphones have always presented slightly different ideas and solutions with luxury format build quality and performance.
This primarily involves the screen, which has been a significant part of the front since long before it became standard across the industry. In the prevailing “competition” between manufacturers for screen to body ratio, the Mix 3 continues the tradition of being a long way ahead.
The screen itself is an Amoled variant, but it doesn’t have the highest resolution. Overall, it’s a really good screen in all respects but some way below Sony or Samsung’s top models.
The enormous screen covers pretty much the entire front, and at first glance it looks like the telephone doesn’t have any front cameras. But this conceals the “trick” with the Mix 3, because you can slide the whole screen down a few centimetres to access the front cameras. It’s been a long time since we saw a good sliding design, even though they do turn up here and there.
Here the design feels really stable (and with fun sound effects too), if a little bit stiff in some cases. The sliding function is probably the reason why the smartphones isn’t water or dust tight in any way.
The enormous screen combined with the moving parts also contributes to its size. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is a colossus, not only in terms of the screen but also when it comes to thickness and weight. But despite this, the battery is relatively small. We get a day’s use out of it without problems. But given the size, we would have expected a longer operating time.
On the inside, we find everything we could wish for. Last year’s fastest Snapdragon chip runs the entire unit, together with generous amounts of RAM and storage. The latest Android lies beneath Xiaomi’s own interface, which adds a number of extra functions and settings. However, the majority of manufacturers do the same thing now – so to a large extent this just involves different designs rather than different functions.
The cameras work well most of the time, particularly the front camera which produces really good images. The rear cameras do very well in normal light conditions and leave very little to be desired. But as soon as it gets a bit darker, they can’t manage the same results in terms of sharpness and noise reduction, although they still get our nod of approval.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is a top model for a relatively modest price, while simultaneously being unlike anything else on the market. If you’re happy with a really big smartphone, it’s as interesting an alternative as anything else.
High-performance and plenty of functions, but not entirely faultless
Screen: 6.2 inch - 2960x1440 pixels Processor: Samsung Exynos 9 Octa 2.3 Mhz Camera: 12 megapixel, 8 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3500 mAh Talk time (3G): 24 h Dimensions: 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm Weight: 173 g Android version: 7.0 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ is bursting with technology and has an attractive design and impressive specifications. It might just be one of the best 64GB devices on the market now. Let’s start with the login options. You can choose between a pin code, a pattern, face recognition, iris recognition or fingerprint recognition. It has everything.
Unfortunately, we discovered that it’s primarily the pin code or pattern alternatives that perform best, as the others don’t always work satisfactorily. For example, the fingerprint solution is quick but the positioning is badly chosen. Once you have access to the S8+ for your first exploration, there's a continuing array of different functions and options. Fortunately, you get used to these over time, but for a new user it can feel overwhelming. You can switch off the majority of the alternatives, but one function that you can’t stop is Bixby, which is Samsung’s extremely inferior version of Google Now. But regardless of what you think about the surplus of functions, you can’t complain about the Galaxy S8’s hardware or performance. The handset is, after all, hardware – and everything works extremely quickly. Apps open at lightning speed and we couldn’t find any game that made the mobile pause for breath. The 6.2-inch screen (with the slightly odd 18.5:9 format) is among the best we’ve ever encountered, particularly in direct sunlight.
One hardware function that’s missing is the physical “home” button. This has been replaced by a pressure sensitive digital variant, which is part of the screen. It takes a while to get used to pressing it, but with time it feels natural. You can also set how sensitive it should be.
The mobile phone’s camera is excellent, particularly when taking photographs in poor light conditions. Colour reproduction is very good and there’s no shortage of settings to change if you want more manual control. The battery time is good without being noteworthy. In general, we had about 30% left when it came to hitting the hay. In terms of audio, we appreciated Samsung including a 3.5mm contact on the mobile. However, we thought it was a bit of a shame that the handset only has one external speaker. Overall, Galaxy S8+ users won’t lack much when it comes to performance and functions. But the flagship mobile isn’t entirely faultless, as illustrated above, so it doesn’t get a perfect score.
Reasonable phone with good camera and screen
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.8 inch - 2240 x 1080 pixels Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 970 2.4 GHz Camera: 2x12 megapixel, 24 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3400 mAh Dimensions: 149.1x70.8x7.7 mm Weight: 165 g Android version: 8.1 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP53 classified (water and dust resistant), biometric log-in
The Huawei P20 is a premium telephone with a good camera and great battery life. Despite the fact that we used the phone intensely, the battery lasts a whole day, and with normal use 1.5-2 days is no issue. The P20's screen is good but not top quality. The colour reproduction and contrast are fine, but the colour reproduction isn't really up to the level of an OLED screen. The phone has good resolution and it does a lot for the overall image quality. The fingerprint reader is fast, as is the facial recognition system. The mobile’s watertight properties are below average, and can only cope with things like sweat, spilled drinks and moderate rain. Inside, it has the latest version of Android with Huawei's own EMUI software skin over the top. This is a little different from normal Android, primarily through the absence of the app drawer. You can turn this on together with a load of extra settings such as night mode for the screen. It's actually a really nice skin, but you have to count on uninstalling a load of free apps that are pre-installed on the system. The entire model is run by the same fast Kirin 970 chip - Huawei's own – as is its big brother, the P20 Pro, and we never felt that it was running slow.
The cameras in the P20 perform well, but don't achieve the same phenomenal level as the P20 Pro. The P20 sits in a slightly awkward position between the company's cheaper models and the P20 Pro, which has a full three cameras on the back. But that doesn't mean the P20 is a bad phone. Photos taken in dark conditions - Huawei's long-running Achilles' heel - are actually pretty good with the P20, and photos in other environments are slightly better than with the Mate 10 Pro, the previous top model. This is also where the dedicated chip for artificial intelligence is most visible; it automatically adapts the image to the subject. In many cases, as in "Blue Sky" mode, or for automatic identification of documents for scanning, it works really well. Vegetation tends to have a slightly exaggerated colour but you can turn the effect off. One fun detail is that the phone identifies every dog you photograph as a cat! If you want a phone with the best battery life that's a bit cheaper than the P20 Pro, or one that is a lot cheaper than many other top models and has easy-to-use format, the Huawei P20 isn't going to disappoint.
Huawei P20 128 GB 5.8-Inch FHD+ FullView Android 8.1 SIM-Free Smartphone with Veho Headphones, Single SIM, UK Version - Black
Huawei P20 128 GB 5.8-Inch FHD+ FullView Android 8.1 SIM-Free Smartphone, Single SIM, Black - UK Version
Huawei P20 14.7 cm (5.8") Android 8.1 4G USB Type-C 4 GB 128 GB 3400 mAh Black
Fun camera and phenomenal screen
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.67 inch - 1440 x 3120 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 2.84 GHz Camera: 48+8+16 megapixel, selfie camera 16 megapixel (popup) Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: 162.6x75.9x8.8 mm Weight: 206 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, IP68 classified
The Oneplus 7 Pro is a major departure from the company's usual smartphones. For the first time they're releasing a ‘normal’ and a Pro version of their spring mobile, with the latter not being aimed at the cheaper market that the company usually targets. That’s not to say that the Oneplus 7 Pro is expensive, however. In fact it's cheap compared to other flagships, but it’s not in the same ballpark as the Oneplus 7.
What you get for your money is a smartphone with a large screen, namely 6.67 inches. Despite this, it feels really neat because of its almost non-existent edges and slightly curved screen along the longer sides. Oneplus call the screen ‘Fluid Amoled’, which doesn’t really mean anything. But it’s a good screen with vivid colours, blacks and excellent brightness. The screen is also updated at 90 hertz, in other words, 90 cycles per second. This gives it an extra boost of speed, particularly when you scroll through websites and so on.
Built into the bottom part of the screen is the fingerprint reader. It works much better than the one in the Oneplus 6T, and better than Samsung's equivalents. At the same time, it’s got some way to go to match Huawei's version - and we often got a message that the fingerprint hadn’t been recognised.
It’s worth mentioning the stereo speakers, which are labelled Dolby Atmos. We experienced really good sound when we watched videos using the smartphone’s speakers.
What this phone doesn’t have, however, is the option of unlocking it with facial recognition. This is because there's simply no camera in a ‘drop’ or hole in the screen. Instead, the front camera slides up out of a hole in the upper part of the phone when you activate it. This is a relatively unique approach (here in the West, anyway) that gives the smartphone a lot of character.
One cool function is that the camera automatically retracts again if you close the camera app or happen to drop the telephone. This is to protect the entire construction. At the same time, the selfies it takes are nothing to scoff at.
The three rear cameras – wide angle, normal and x3 zoom – work really well. Colours and sharpness in daylight are clearly top class. Oneplus’s own system for image improvement gives unobtrusive and ‘normal’ colours compared to its competitors, which creates good pictures, but perhaps not eye-catching ones. Even though the special night mode has improved, it’s still a bit of a weakness (regardless of whether or not you use night mode). The images are quite dark and even a small amount of movement leads to blurring. As well as being able to boast this year's top chip from Qualcomm, there’s another nice aspect, which is faster ROM. This isn’t obvious during everyday use (the phone is quick enough as it is) but should mean that it doesn't feel slower over time. In our performance tests, it was exactly this speed that stood out. It's almost twice that of this year's other flagship models.
There's a great deal to like about the Oneplus 7 Pro. We'd have liked to see watertightness, wireless charging and a headphone jack, but if you want a large, fast mobile, this feels like a real bargain compared with competing manufacturers’ top models.
Fast with a really big screen
Price class: Premium Screen: 5.8 inch - 2436x1125 pixels Processor: A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, embedded M11 movement processor Camera: Double 12 MP with wide angle and telephoto lens, selfie camera 7 MP with true depth Width: 70.9 mm Height: 143.6 mm Depth: 7.7 mm Weight: 174 g Capacity: 64/256 GB Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (resists water, splashes and dust), facial recognition, lightning contact, support for wireless charging
The Apple iPhone X is a mobile phone with a good camera and a really great screen. It's also the first Apple mobile phone that exploits the entire telephone surface for the screen rather than limiting it at the top and bottom edges. The larger screen area, together with the very bright, responsive and colourful OLED screen, affords an exceptional visual experience, both in a maximised reading area when you're online and when you're watching films or playing games. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't provide split-screen technology. We'd have liked it to be possible to run two apps side by side in horizontal mode. But the interface is fast and we don't experience any lag. In the iPhone X, the fingerprint reader has completely disappeared. The phone is only equipped with facial recognition. This is fast and works well, but we'd have liked the fingerprint reader too because you always have to lift the phone up to your face to unlock it. Moreover, the facial recognition doesn’t work as well in the dark.
The Apple iPhone X has a normal battery life, lasting about one day. We think that given the price, Apple could have supplied a fast charger with the phone, but you have to buy that separately. And Apple boasts that it supports wireless charging, but there's no charger for that either. A standard charger takes a full 2.5 hours to completely charge the battery. If Apple had chosen a USB-C port, it would have been significantly faster, but unfortunately the iPhone X uses the company's own lightning port. Overall, this feels unnecessarily stingy given the phone's lofty price tag. The camera in the iPhone X is really good. The colours are natural and quite bright, and the contrast is nice. But the camera struggles when there's a lot of contrast in its surroundings. Parts of the photo turn out slightly over or underexposed. The iPhone X has a portrait mode that makes the subject sharp and the background blurred. This gives excellent pictures when it works, which it does 8 out of 10 times. When it doesn't work, the blurred or sharp areas end up in the wrong places. For example, the phone tends to have problems with frizzy hair, large fields etc. But overall this is a premium smartphone with a great camera and high performance. However, it's expensive compared to the few competing models at the top of the market, and so it isn't such good value for money. If you're a loyal Apple fan, you'll probably be very satisfied with the iPhone X.
Well-built and responsive medium class mobile with an inviting screen
Screen: 5.2 inch - 1920x1080 Super IPS+ screen with 600 cd/m2 brightness Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Camera: 16 megapixel, 8 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3000 mAh Dimensions: 147 x 74 x 8 mm Weight: 144 g Android version: 7.0 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: Double SIM card (or alternatively 1 SIM card and 1 Micro-SD card), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C
The Asus Zenfone 3 mobile has a crystal-clear screen with very good contrast and colour reproduction regardless of whether you're indoors or outdoors in strong sunlight. In this price category, it's the best screen we’ve seen. The screen is also extremely quick to respond. In fact, the entire phone feels responsive when we move through the interface and apps, even if it doesn’t have the best processor on the market. However, the camera is no more than just okay. The images are acceptable in good light conditions, but it has problems as soon as there’s more contrast in the environment, such as if the camera is in direct sunlight but aimed at an area of shade. In poorer light, the images can very easily be blurry, and the camera finds it difficult to focus. The images also feel overprocessed. Video clips tend to be extremely dark with the consequence that many details disappear if you don’t have good uniform lighting. Given the price class the camera is just acceptable, but don’t expect wonders.
But there are other things that are good about this smartphone. It’s well constructed without any play in the buttons. A small LED on the front indicates if you’ve received new messages without hearing them. The material is rather slippery, so it’s a good idea to buy a protective shell so it doesn’t get damaged if it falls out of your pocket. This is also the reason that we would have liked the fingerprint reader to be on the front instead of high up on the back. It would be a better position from a purely ergonomic viewpoint. The battery life is good despite a relatively small battery. The phone does a solid job of keeping energy consumption down and never gets particularly hot even if we play games and push the hardware to its limits. It obtained very high scores in the performance tests we put it through. All in all, this is a good choice in the medium price class, even if Asus could still improve several things prior to the next version of the Zenfone 3.
High quality throughout but the screen size isn’t optimised
Screen: 5.5 inch - 3840 x 2160 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 4x 2.45 Mhz - 4 x 1.9 Mhz Camera: 19 megapixel, 13 megapixel selfie camera Price class: Premium Battery: 3230 mAh Dimensions: 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm Weight: 195 g Android version: 7.0 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: IP65/IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is a mobile telephone that literally breathes quality, with its glass back and metal frame around – an impression that is reinforced by top-class hardware on the inside. If we were to criticise one thing it would be that it has obvious screen edges, which many other manufacturers have abandoned. This may be perceived by many people as old-fashioned, and simultaneously creates dead space that could have been used to give the phone more screen. According to Sony, it's the 4K HDR screen and the possibility to take ultra-rapid video at a full 960 frames per second which are the features of the phone. These are pretty cool features, it’s true, but both currently suffer limitations. For the screen, there are only a few apps that support 4K at the moment, so you rarely experience the benefit. However, in the future things will be different. The ultra-rapid function isn’t so good. You can only take a short video clip at top speed and both the light conditions and subject must be ideal to get a good end result. With a bit of practice and a spot of luck, you can produce good results, but it’s a bit too fiddly for us to really sing and dance about.
Otherwise, the camera is very good and particularly the colour reproduction. It takes high-quality images in poor light conditions, but there are premium priced class mobiles that perform better in this regard. The functional interface contributes to making this camera a straightforward experience. This is largely because the system is the quickest and most lag-free that we have experienced on an Android mobile. The fingerprint reader, which is set into the on/off button on the side of the mobile, is also responsive and functions faultlessly. The Xperia XZ Premium has stereo speakers, which is awesome. And of course, it’s water and dustproof, which has been one of Sony’s showpieces for a long time now. There are a number of clever AI functions built into the system, such as the mobile reminding you when you should charge it based on your general charging habits. Over time, the AI will learn a number of your user habits and give you recommendations based on them. We think this could be useful, but it’s difficult to say whether that perception would change depending on how insistent the XZ Premium becomes over time. Sony has achieved considerable success with the Xperia XZ. If you like the design and think that the price is reasonable for a top mobile phone which doesn’t have an “edgeless” screen, you probably won’t regret your purchase.
Flagship mobile that falls between two stools
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.1 inch - 1440 x 3040 pixels Processor: Exynos 9820, 2.73 GHz Camera: 12+12+16 megapixel, selfie camera 10 megapixel Battery: 3400 mAh Dimensions: 149.9x70.4x7.8 mm Weight: 157 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, IP68 classified, wireless charging in two directions
The Samsung Galaxy S10 is a high-performance mobile phone with a great camera and well-thought-out design. It’s clear that Samsung have taken onboard the criticism they’ve received for earlier models, as the Galaxy S10 feels like it’s a lot more on the ball.
The entire smartphone is built around a metal frame with the front and back consisting of glass sheets with curved edges. Samsung aren’t alone in this type of design, but the entire phone really exudes a premium feel and high build quality.
The front is where most of the new features can be found. The screen now takes up almost the entire front. Samsung have succeeded in this by simply making a hole in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The camera sits in the hole, and the screen goes around it – a different alternative to the “notch” that many mobiles have today.
With only space for the camera, the iris scanner from earlier models has disappeared (the phone has simpler facial recognition for unlocking). Instead, the focus is on the front’s other major new feature, the fingerprint reader under the screen glass. We’ve seen this on a couple of earlier models, but unfortunately we have to say that Samsung’s version is one of the less impressive ones. As long as you press sufficiently hard, it identifies the fingerprint more quickly than the Oneplus 6T, but it’s really slow to unlock the smartphone.
Samsung makes some of the industry’s best screens, and the Galaxy S10 is exactly what we’ve come to expect. It’s worth noting that the smartphone is essentially the same size as last year’s Galaxy S9, but has almost as big a screen as the Galaxy S9+.
Together with this, we get the company's latest Exynos chip, which runs the entire phone and provides more than enough power for everything we threw at it.
The chip, the screen and Samsung’s own optimisations work well together with the battery, which now lasts for an entire day even with slightly heavier use. Not as long as some other marathon smartphones with the same battery strength, but a clear improvement over the previous years’ models.
On the back, we find more new features in the form of three camera lenses. These correspond to telephoto, wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses that give optical zoom and a number of exciting image options.
Just like their screens, Samsung make really good cameras for mobile phones and the Galaxy S10 is no exception. The image quality is better than previous years, but only slightly. Instead, it’s the three lenses that make a new photographic experience out of the whole thing.
The Galaxy S10 is a worthy flagship model with improvements on every level. At the same time, you can’t avoid noticing that it’s slightly pinched between the small and cheaper S10e and the larger S10+, which has more battery power. The hardware is almost identical and it’s largely the battery size, screen size and number of cameras that distinguish them. From this point of view, the standard Galaxy S10 occupies an awkward position between the “real” top model and the mini model.
Rounded shape with very good sound
Screen: 5.7 inch - 2160 x 1080 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.8 Ghz **Camera:**19 megapixel, 5 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3180 mAh Dimensions: 153x72x11.1 mm Weight: 198 g Android version: 8.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP65/IP68 classified (waterproof), biometric log-in, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Sony Xperia XZ2 has an inviting and useful design for calling, snapping photos, browsing the web and for music. The square-like design from the previous Xperia series is finally gone. Instead the Xperia XZ2 boasts curvy shapes and an 18:9 screen that reaches right out to the edges. The rounded corners mean that the mobile sits nicely in the hand. It’s not so definite that it suffers from other rounded screens' tendency to refuse to detect the user's fingers at the outer edges. However, there is one disadvantage, which is that it's very reluctant to lie still on flat surfaces. For example, if you're charging the mobile wirelessly and the underlying surface slopes in the slightest it's likely to slide off towards potential oblivion – or are we overreacting? Of course, you can fix this with a suitable shell. The Xperia XZ2's performance is top class, and the operating system is really quick. This is most obvious when we have lots of apps running and change between them, but also in more demanding applications. It runs smoothly regardless. The camera is good, but there's a question mark here. It’s not going to be awarded the phone with best camera anytime soon. Given that the competitors have two or even three primary cameras, it's a little surprising that Sony insist on only one. This means that you have neither optical depth effects or zoom, and thus it can't measure up to the top models in dark environments. However, the camera does an excellent job when the light conditions are advantageous, and it can film in 4K HDR, which is useful if you have a TV that supports the format.
The Xperia XZ2 has a fingerprint reader in the standard position, on the back below the camera lens. The reader is fast and takes you directly into the system. The problem with the size and positioning of this is that users with longer fingers can easily mistake the camera lens for the reader before they get the hang of it. The unique 3D scanning function from the previous model is still present, but it has been updated and is even better. The results are more reliable. When it comes to sound, the XZ2 is one of the best mobile smartphones on the market. Sony's digital sound improvement works very well, and the same applies to the stereo speakers. However, the dynamic vibration function, making the mobile vibrate with the bass tones in films, apps and music, is only interesting in theory. It only works when the screen is on, which means that it's only active when you're holding the mobile. And the function is pretty thirsty in terms of battery power. The battery lasts for about a day if used frugally. We'd have liked to see a 3.5 mm outlet on the phone. But overall, this is an interesting choice if you're looking for a mobile phone with good sound and excellent performance.
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.4 inch - 3040 x 1440 pixels AMOLED Processor: Exynos 9820, 2.73 GHz Camera: 12+16+12 megapixel, selfie camera 10+8 megapixel Battery: 4100 mAh Dimensions: 157.6x74.1x7.8 mm Weight: 175 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, facial recognition, headphone socket
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the extra-large version of the manufacturer’s flagship model S10. Given how big mobile phones are today, it doesn’t feel too big for a plus-sized phone. The format is perfect if you spend a lot of time watching films or working on your phone.
The curved screen senses contact right out to the edge. For many manufacturers’ phones, teething problems make this type of phone more difficult to use, but Samsung have judged it well. It rarely registers unnecessary contacts, and you quickly learn to handle it.
The screen is crystal clear and incredibly sharp, with a wide colour range. Not the very best we’ve seen, but close to it. The phone is also one of the fastest on the market.
The S10+ has a good battery life, particularly in standby mode. If you use the phone sparingly, the battery will last for several days. With normal use, we got it to last for around two days. However, this has an effect on the charging time. To fully charge it takes almost 2 hours.
You unlock the phone via facial recognition or the fingerprint reader built into the screen. The fingerprint reader is rather slow to react. But the facial recognition is extremely quick.
The camera does a good job. The colours are natural and attractive. In good light conditions, the photos turn out extremely well. But it's when we subject the camera to darker conditions that we began to notice a few minor problems.
Just like many other manufacturers’ models, the digital depth of field sometimes struggles with details. What does this mean? It means that things like hair, messy backgrounds and so on tend to be unevenly sharp or blurred. You need to bear this in mind when you're using portrait mode.
The camera does a decent job of compensating for back light, but seems to struggle with big contrasts. Dark areas tend to lose details when there’s a lot of contrast in what you’re photographing – for example a bright summer’s day with areas of deep shadow. It generally copes with contrast well under more normal conditions, and the majority of the images turn out looking great.
AKG headphones are included with the phone (which has a standard headphone jack, something many people will still appreciate). The headphones are of relatively good quality. The noise is a little distorted at high volume, but generally have a nice full sound and good balance.
The price for the S10+ is what you'd normally expect to pay for a plus model. Just like with other manufacturers, we think prices have suffered from inflation, but given what you get for the money we still think it’s an acceptable smartphone purchase.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is ideal for anyone seeking a slightly larger mobile phone with the latest technology. Particularly if you want to read and watch films on a larger screen. The big screen has a small impact on the battery life, and there are good built-in energy-saving functions. Overall? The S10+ is a very good buy.
Top model for a lower price
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.4 inch - 1080 x 2310 pixels Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 980 2x2.6 GHz Camera: 48 megapixel, 25 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 4,000 mAh Dimensions: 156.9x75.4x8.1 mm Weight: 180 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, IR port
The Honor View 20 sticks to Honor's usual template for smartphones, but also adds its own ideas. As a sister company of Huawei, many of Honor's top mobiles are easily recognisable. The View 20 is their version of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but there are bigger differences this time than there usually are with the cheaper Honor models.
The View part of the name comes from the selfie camera, which sits in a hole cut out of the screen. This means that you don't have the “notch” that many smartphones use today to gain screen space. This isn’t a design choice that suits everyone and can be perceived as irritating.
Another difference is that the fingerprint reader is positioned on the back of the phone instead of integrated into the screen. Even if Huawei's solution for fingerprint reading in the screen is undoubtedly the best on the market just now, the solution on the back is still much quicker and more accurate.
The screen is almost identical in size with the Mate 20 Pro and is a really good Amoled variant. The resolution is a tad lower, but nothing you’ll notice in everyday use.
Something that is missing is any form of wireless charging. Both to charge the phone and even the reverse version that the Mate Pro 20 has where you can charge other units wirelessly from the unit. But the battery is still just as substantial and lasts for a day without any problems – even two if you're careful.
The biggest similarity with the Mate 20 Pro is on the inside, with the same system chip, support for double SIM cards and plenty of RAM and storage space. This gives ample power for everything you want to do, and you don’t have to worry about lag or slowness. There’s no support for a memory card, but regardless of the model you choose you're not likely to run out of storage space in a hurry.
The similarity with Huawei phones is also present in terms of reception, and our subjective assessment is that Huawei phones in general (and particularly the top models) are slightly better at maintaining a connection for both calls and on the internet, even in more challenging regions.
The camera part has a slightly unusual configuration. The front camera with the hole in the screen stands out in visual terms and is perfectly fine for selfies. Instead of the two or three cameras that are standard today, there's only one rear camera (without the Leica brand that Huawei's smartphones have), plus a dedicated depth sensor. This doesn’t actually do much for the end result, however, but you can still get bokeh effects in portraits. The camera works really quite well overall. It’s a bit less accomplished than the top models, particularly in details and sharpness in dark conditions, but still does a really good job.
In many ways, the Honor View 20 is a cheap way of getting top model performance, even if it does come without many of the fun extra functions that higher priced phones usually include.
Honor 10 Dual SIM - 128 GB storage - UK Official Device - Phantom Green - 24 MP Dual Camera and 5.84 Inch Full View Display
Honor 10 Dual SIM, 128 GB storage, 24 MP Dual Camera and 5.84 Inch Full View Display, UK Official Device - Glacier Grey
Honor 10 Dual SIM - 128 GB storage - UK Official Device - Phantom Green - 24 MP Dual Camera and 5.84 Inch Full View Display (Certified Refurbished)
Still unique of its kind
Screen: 4.6 inch - 1280x720 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 2.45 GHz Camera: 19 MP, selfie camera 8 MP Price class: Premium Battery: 2700 mAh Dimensions: 65 x 129 x 9.3 mm Weight: 143 g Android version: 8.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), fingerprint reader
For many years, the Sony Xperia XZ Compact has been unique simply because of its size. While the majority of other high-performance mobiles are increasing in size, the Compact series has remained a neat format with a screen size less than five inches. And the same is true in this version, despite it sharing many of the characteristics boasted by its full-sized sibling model, the XZ. The screen size is good if you're looking for something a bit more compact than the current standard. But it must be said that Sony hasn't exactly been imaginative with the design. It's hard to see any difference between this and its predecessors. Another disadvantage is the sharp edges, which makes it less comfortable to hold.
The Xperia XZ Compact's camera delivers good results. Details tend to appear digitally compressed, but overall the smartphone produces really good images even in darker environments. One cool additional function is an app that makes the camera a 3D scanner. In terms of performance, the XZ Compact is a positive experience. Everything works quickly and even a bit faster than many of its competitors. One advantage is that the small screen has significantly fewer pixels to handle, partly because it's small and partly because the resolution is lower. But you don't actually notice the latter because of the screen size. The lower resolution also means that the battery lasts longer, and you'll get a full day's use from it without any problems. If you're looking for a relatively compact mobile phone, the XZ is an obvious choice, partly because you won't be losing anything in terms of speed, but also because it's the only phone available in this size class.
Simultaneously a real monster and a rather pale update
Screen: 5.8 inch - 2436 × 1125 pixels OLED Processor: A12 Bionic Camera: 12 + 12 + 7 MP with wide angle ƒ/1.8, tele ƒ/2.4, true depth-camera ƒ/2.2 Width: 70.9 mm Height: 143.6 mm Depth: 7.7 mm Weight: 177 g OS: iOS 12 Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (waterproof), facial recognition, 3D Touch, dynamically set depth of field, double SIM cards (1 nano, 1 e-sim)
The Apple iPhone XS is a mobile phone with a really good screen and a number of exciting functions. One of the things we like best is the possibility of setting the depth of field retrospectively when you've taken portraits. This means that you can touch up the background if the effect is too strong, or make the bokeh stronger if you want more. Unfortunately, you can't fix incorrect depth of field, which is what we'd been hoping for from the outset. Because just like earlier models, the iPhone XS tends to have problems working out where to put the bokeh in the image (see our test pictures for examples). This is particularly clear on images with lots of details, such as frizzy hair or flowering fields. And retrospectively changing the depth of field sadly can't save this. But it's useful when you've taken a picture where you've got the depth of field right, but it's just a bit exaggerated in one direction or another. The camera has been improved in other ways. It clearly performs better in dark conditions, both with more detailed images and with more brightness. But there are other mobiles on the market that are slightly better in terms of depth of field and for photos taken in difficult light conditions. However, the new intelligent HDR mode produces really good quality photos. The iPhone XS has a battery life that lasts for about a day, in other words no great difference from its predecessor. But the phone doesn't include a fast charger. Yet on the other hand, it charges quickly anyway. It also lacks USB-C, which is even standard on Macs these days. Instead you have to carry on working with the lightning contact, which means that you're pretty well locked into Apple-specific accessories. Although of course you can use Bluetooth accessories of any brand if you wanted to.
The Apple iPhone is fast in terms of interface, has relatively quick facial recognition and gets high marks in the benchmark test. But if you already have one of last year's models the difference won't be noticeable in practical terms. You have to be switching from an iPhone that's several years old before you'll really notice the difference. However, the performance is really good, even compared to its top competitors. Particularly on the graphics front, where it has lots of muscle that promises top-class gaming experiences. The smartphone gets quite warm even when carrying out less-demanding tasks, but that's true for the majority of flagship phones these days. The iPhone XS is undoubtedly a mobile phone with top-level performance. On one point after another, it scores well or very well. But there are still a few competitors that perform a little better on a couple of crucial aspects, particularly the camera and its cost. In other words, the XS isn't significantly better than its predecessor, but it's more of a minor upgrade. At the same time, the price is still expensive, and Apple aren't ashamed of charging a lot despite being really stingy with the accessories. So despite the iPhone XS being among the top bracket of the mobile market, the score isn't as good as it could be. But that probably won't stop iPhone loyalists changing. And if you have a slightly older model you'll really notice the difference. If you already have an iPhone X or an iPhone 8 Plus with the latest iOS, an XS will be far from revolutionary, but you probably won't be disappointed either. The Apple iPhone XS is most suitable if you want an easy-to-use mobile phone with really good performance, with good camera functions and an excellent screen - and if you're ready to pay a steep price tag for it.
Xiaomi competing with themselves
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.47 inch AMOLED, 1080x2340 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, 2x2 GHz+6x1.8 GHz Camera: 108+12+20+5+2 megapixels (wide, tele, ultrawide, tele, macro), selfie camera 32 megapixels Battery: 5260 mAh Dimensions: 157.8x74.2x9.7 mm Weight: 208 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 boasts of having high megapixel cameras. 108 megapixels in one sensor, to be exact. But does that actually make any difference, and does Xiaomi's strategy of having lots of mobiles mean they’re competing against themselves? (In other words, exactly like Samsung.)
The main feature of the Mi Note 10 is on the back, in the form of the almost provocatively protruding camera package. The manufacturer has squeezed in five cameras: a 2 megapixel macro camera, a 5 megapixel 5x zoom telephoto lens, an additional 12 megapixel telephoto lens, a 20 megapixel ultrawide angle and the main 108 megapixel camera. Different cameras for every occasion, in fact, making it very versatile.
The 108 megapixel camera isn’t generally used at full resolution, but primarily for zoom functions without quality loss and for downscaling. You can switch on a mode where all of the megapixels are used for an image. This generates images of roughly 50-60 Mb a piece, and a lot of area to play with.
But is it a good camera? Lots of megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean good pictures. But overall, the answer is ‘Yes, absolutely’. Regardless of mode. In fact, we’d say that in this price class you won’t find a phone that will take better photos in both dark and light conditions, with really good detail. The Mi Note 10 doesn’t quite beat the Huawei P30 Pro when it comes to sharpness in zoomed images, but almost.
The video function also works really well, and the optical image stabilisation is very useful. On the front of the phone there’s an equally over-dimensioned 32 megapixel selfie camera which also does its job well.
The rest of the phone is at least as stable. The Snapdragon 730 processor is obviously not as fast as the top mobiles’ chipsets, but it’s good enough for most tasks.
The build quality is as good as it usually is, with clear influences from Huawei in the colour choice.
But you can get Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 8 Pro phone for half the price of this one. This also has a high quality camera which is nearly as good, together with performance that’s only very slightly less convincing, and half the storage (although with a memory card slot, which the Note 10 lacks). The Mi Note 10 has a slightly brighter screen with significantly better colours (the 8 Pro has an LCD screen instead of AMOLED), but otherwise the two telephones are extremely similar – but with completely different price tags.
This puts the Mi Note 10 in a difficult position, where it doesn’t reach Oneplus levels in the medium class (which is more expensive) but has its half price sister model nipping at its heels.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is a really good phone with an excellent camera, but at the same time faces tough competition from every direction.
Affordable but prone to overheating
Screen: 6.7" OLED LTPO2 – 1080 x 2400 pixels 120 hz Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 5G Camera: 50 + 16 + 2 megapixels (wide, ultrawide, deep¯o), Selfie camera 32 megapixels Battery: 4,800 mAh Dimensions: 163.1 x 76 x 8.8 mm Weight: 195 g Operating system: Android 12 Other: In-screen fingerprint sensor, 150W charging
The OnePlus 10T follows the established OnePlus strategy for its top models. But this time it’s not “predecessor plus some new features”, but more “one step forward, two steps back” for this T model. To be honest, it should have been called the OnePlus Nord 10 as a nod towards the company’s mid-price range.
Let’s start with the three good things we have to say about this phone. As expected, this phone boasts Qualcomm’s latest and fastest Snapdragon chip. If you pay for the more expensive model, you’ll also get 16 gigabytes of working memory, which in combination with a little software magic should be enough to keep up to 30 apps “live” in the background, should you so wish.
Most impressive of all is the 150 watt charging. According to OnePlus, the battery charges from zero to 100% in nineteen minutes. It took 20 minutes in our test, but that’s close enough for us. It’s most useful when you’re on the go and just have time to charge your phone for ten minutes or so. Sadly, the SUPERVOOC charging technology is exclusive to the phone, and although the charger is capable of producing 150 watts, it can only charge other devices with a maximum of 45 watts. That said, the battery life is reasonably long.
The third advantage is the price tag, which is still significantly lower than the OnePlus 10 Pro. But it’s not hard to see why.
Besides a newer chip and turbo-charging, most features feel like a downgrade. More demanding games cause the Snapdragon chip to overheat extremely easily, which makes for an uncomfortably hot phone. Fast charging is only possible via cable – there’s no wireless charging at all. The screen runs refresh rates in fixed steps of 60, 90 and 120 hertz, not dynamically 1 – 120 hertz like the 10 Pro. The camera is acceptable, but not as good as even the OnePlus 9 Pro. The Hasselblad label from both the 9 Pro and 10 Pro is missing and the end result makes it clear that this is not merely a sticker on the back. Meanwhile, apart from the glass on the back and front, the shell is made of plastic. This lowers the quality impression somewhat.
Most annoying and what makes the phone feel more like part of the Nord series is the missing slider on the side. Unique to OnePlus since its inception, it allows you to quickly switch between sound, vibration and silent mode. OnePlus has a long list of excuses for why it’s gone – mainly because the unit would have had to have been made thicker. Considering that the camera island on the back sticks out a few millimetres, this excuse rings hollow.
The OnePlus 10T upgrades two features while reducing the price. But one upgrade can hardly be used before the phone overheats, and the list of removed and neutered features is too long. This actually makes last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro a smarter purchase if you don’t want to spend the extra money on the 10 Pro. The OnePlus 10T seems stuck between a rock and hard place, even though it’s not a bad phone all things considered.
Expensive mobile for the pro
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.5 ins AMOLED, 120 Hz – 1644x3840 pixels (1096x2560 in practice) Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (1x2.84 GHz, 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 12+12+12 megapixel (wide, telephoto, ultrawide, depth), selfie camera 8 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 165x71x8.2 mm Weight: 186 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in power button, IP65/68
Sony have always gone their own way when it comes to their top mobiles and the Sony Xperia 1 III is no exception. The result is a bit like what you get from pure gaming phones, but for photos rather than games. The question is really whether there is enough of a market for it.
The Xperia 1 III would very much like to be the professional photographer and filmmaker's best friend. That becomes even clearer in the Pro version of the phone, which is largely tailored to work as a field camera at football matches and the like. The “normal” Xperia 1 III isn't quite as specific in that sense.
So for a start, you get a 4K screen in 21:9 format. It’s a nice OLED screen with a 120 Hz refresh rate, calibrated in the same way as the company's top range TVs. In practice, however, the resolution is significantly lower than that to save battery life. However, the same battery saving doesn’t come into play in the refresh rate, which instead of being dynamic is locked.
In addition, you have a trio of cameras at 12 megapixels each and different lenses on top of them. There are also "professional apps" for both video and photography. These apps take virtually the entire interface from Sony's system cameras and apply it to mobile cameras. That means you get a huge range of manual options for both photo and video – more than any other manufacturer. At the same time, you also need the desire and the interest to use all of these on a regular basis in order for it to be worthwhile. Automatic modes feel tricky to find if you don’t know camera terms and they give a rather boring result no matter what lens you use.
That stuff about the camera is important to remember. Because together with the physical headphone jack and the 4K screen, that’s what will or won’t justify the price of this phone being a good bit more than many other top mobiles with similar hardware and performance.
Let's go back to the screen. Yes, 4K OLED is impressive no matter how you look at it, but the pixels are so insanely bunched on a 6.5 inch screen that the resolution will in no way correct that, not even with the excellent stereo speakers that sit on either side of screen.
Add to that the fact that Sony doesn’t offer as long an update time for its phones as many others do. You need to be aware of that, unless you really want the feel of Sony’s system cameras in a mobile phone, along with a great screen with performance that’s mostly theoretical. If you fall into that narrow target group, the Sony Xperia 1 III is the perfect phone, but if you don’t, then it’s hard to justify the price tag when you compare this phone to the competition.
Sony Xqbc52v.ukcx Xperia 1 Iii 16.5 Cm (6.5) Hybrid Dual Sim Android 11 5g Usb Type-c 12 Gb 256 4500 Mah Purple
Sony Xperia 1 III - 6.5 Inch 21:9 CinemaWide 4K HDR OLED Display - 120Hz Refresh Rate - Four Lens Options - Android 11 - SIM Free - 12GB RAM - 256GB Storage - Dual SIM hybrid - Black (Renewed)
Sony Xqbc52b.ukcx Xperia 1 Iii 16.5 Cm (6.5) Hybrid Dual Sim Android 11 5g Usb Type-c 12 Gb 256 4500 Mah Black
A major smartphone upgrade is here!
Price class: Medium Screen: 6.5 inch Oled 90Hz - 1080 x 2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ (1x2.96 + 3x2.42 + 4x1.78 GHz) Camera: 48+12+16 megapixel (wide, tele ultrawide), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 3800 mAh Dimensions: 160.9x74.4x8.1 mm Weight: 190 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, stereo speaker
The T series, which is released at the end of every year by Oneplus, is normally a “same but better” version of the letter-less models released in the spring. But given that this spring’s releases produced a Oneplus 7 and a 7 Pro, this pattern seems to have changed a bit. Because the Oneplus 7T feels like a real bargain – like getting all the positive things from the Oneplus 7 Pro for a much lower price tag.
The Oneplus 7T gives us a large but still manageable 6.55 inch screen – manageable because of the thin frame.
The screen is completely flat, unlike the curved edges of the Pro model, which we actually think is an advantage. At the top of the screen is a selfie camera in a tear-shaped notch. There’s no pop-up camera like the Pro model, but it can be used for simple unlocking of the phone through facial recognition.
From this spring’s Pro model, we also benefit from a 90Hz refresh rate screen, which gives a noticeable difference in how soft all the movements appear. We also get UFS 3.0 storage. That may sound like technical mumbo-jumbo, but one of the reasons why Oneplus’s phones are the fastest Android mobiles on the market is this hugely fast RAM.
The Oneplus 7T continues the tradition of racing past all of its competitors except for Apple, as this fast RAM has been paired with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855+ chip, which gives more than enough power for anything you’re likely to want to do.
Oneplus’s own shell over Android also gives a number of meaningful extra settings, and even a promise of durability, as the smartphone will get Android updates for two years and safety updates for three.
The camera occupies a circular bump on the back of the camera. Technically it’s comparable to the camera in the 7T Pro, which in turn is a slight improvement over the 7 Pro from the spring. Above all, you have more opportunities to use the different lenses for both photo and video. You also get a very slightly better image quality than the already very good images the Oneplus 7 Pro produced when we tested it. They aren’t the best photos in the industry, but there’s certainly nothing to scoff at.
The battery lasts well for a day’s play, even with many apps running and quite heavy use. As is now traditional, the phone includes Oneplus’s Warp charger, which gets a tired battery to respectable levels pretty quickly.
While this spring’s Oneplus 7 was rather boring compared to its bigger sibling Pro, the opposite is true here. The Oneplus 7T has everything you need packed in an incredibly quick package for a reasonable price. So it’s no surprise that we name it our best in test.
Good, but Huawei have done better in the past
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.76 ins AMOLED, 90hz – 1344x2772 pixels Processor: Hisilicon Kirin 9000 (1x3.13 GHz, 3x2.54 GHz, 4x2.05 GHz) Camera: 50+12+20 megapixel (wide, periscope/tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 13 megapixel Battery: 4400 mAh Dimensions: 162.9x75.5x9.1 mm Weight: 212 g Android version: 10 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, reverse wireless charging
By now we all know the problem. Huawei make great phones, but they all come with the disadvantage of lacking Google services. That affects everything from “normal" apps like Google Maps and Gmail, to you getting a completely different app store with a different range of products. Many of the apps that use Google's services just aren’t available at all. At the same time, the Huawei Mate series is always something to look forward to, so that makes the Huawei Mate 40 Pro exciting.
Huawei usually introduce their latest system chip on the Mate, and that’s usually the fastest chip in the Android world. Despite impressive specifications, however, this time their Kirin 9000 will be overtaken by most Qualcomm chips in that respect. You still get more power than you need, but when speed is one of the phone’s main selling points, it feels a bit of a let-down.
With the Mate 40 series, Huawei's phones have also been without Google for a little more than a year now. So the app store, Appgallery, now has more content, but it’s still a slow process. To illustrate (one part of) the problem, you have no less than seven different app stores to pick from, plus a wish list. That doesn’t feel like the best solution. In addition, our wish list didn’t once tell us an app we wanted had become available, but gave us countless tip offs about completely unrelated apps (no, Pokemon Go and an app for wallpapers aren’t the same thing…). So, overall, not a great experience.
In terms of hardware, however, there’s very little to complain about. The battery lasts a long time, but not as long as the Mate series usually manages. Though that's really the only negative here.
But what does overshadow the Mate 40 Pro is the P40 Pro Plus, which was released in 2020. Similar specifications, but a better battery in a ceramic shell make the phone feel significantly more exclusive.
But the camera on the Mate 40 Pro has improved a bit since last year. Huawei are still without doubt at the top when it comes to mobile cameras. The excellent periscope solution for the zoom lens works really well and better than Samsung, who also use it. The best new thing is the image quality for wide angle, where the lenses in combination with the power of the Kirin chip remove all distortion along the edges. You also get slightly improved image stabilisation for videos, compared to before.
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro is impressive, especially when it comes to the camera. At the same time, Huawei phones come with that big "but" in terms of software. Finally, after seeing the super-luxury edition of the P40, the Mate 40 Pro doesn’t feel quite as impressive as it could have been.
Offers a lot for the money
Price class: Budget Screen: 6.21 inch - 1080 x 2340 pixels Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 710 4x2.2 GHz Camera: 13+2 megapixel, selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 3400 mAh Dimensions: 155.2x73.4x8 mm Weight: 160 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader
The Huawei P Smart brings back memories of the manufacturer’s entry onto the market a few years ago. Then they made extremely cheap smartphones that offered a great deal despite the low price. And the same is true of the P Smart, which on paper has a lot of specifications strikingly close to those of top models.
The mobile itself shows no signs of being as cheap as it is, even if the design is slightly anonymous. The build quality is good. The screen has a little drop shaped notch, and on the back we find the fingerprint reader and double camera.
The screen is a reasonable size with relatively small edges. Neither the screen resolution nor the performance in general stand out, but it does the job.
The fingerprint reader works well, but can take a few moments longer to react than those of top models.
The cameras give amazingly good results in daylight, given the price. The software is very similar to that in Huawei's more expensive models, so you aren’t missing out on much when it comes to photography. However, it doesn’t have to get very cloudy or dark before the quality of the results declines substantially.
There’s plenty of storage space for this price class, together with generous amounts of RAM. The Kirin 710 chip that runs the entire phone usually works fine and copes with managing everyday tasks without serious problems. However, we noticed that bigger games slow the phone down significantly, while the memory management is so aggressive that we can scarcely change between apps without them having to reload.
The smartphone seems to work best if it’s restarted several times a day or at least once a day; it gets a bit sluggish if it’s running for too long. You’re probably conscious of this type of limitation when you buy a Huawei P Smart. But for the money, you still get an incredibly solid phone. This makes the Huawei P Smart a really great choice amongst budget smartphone buyers, and a good alternative in its class or as a first mobile.
Huawei P Smart 2019 64 GB 6.21-Inch 2K FullView Dewdrop SIM-Free Smartphone with Dual AI Camera, Android 9.0, Single SIM, UK Version - Black
Huawei P Smart 2019 64 GB 6.21-Inch 2K FullView Dewdrop SIM-Free Smartphone with Dual AI Camera, Android 9.0, Single SIM, UK Version, Aurora Blue
Huawei P smart 2019 15.8 cm (6.21") Android 9.0 4G Micro-USB 3 GB 64 GB 3400 mAh Black
With battery in focus
Type: Budget segment Chip: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 RAM: 4 GB Storage: 128 GB Screen: 6.8” LCD screen (HD+ 720x1640 pixels) Camera: Triple camera back (64+2+2 megapixels), Selfie camera 16 megapixels Battery capacity: 6000 mAh Weight: 221 g External dimensions: 172.1x76.8x9.2 mm Miscellaneous: Water resistant, HDR support, fast charging
In general Motorola is an overlooked smartphone brand these days. The last time they really had a big share of the market was when GSM was still something relatively new and a bit unusual. So we’re talking when phones had just started to become so conveniently sized that with a lot of effort you could fit them in your jeans pocket. This is a bit of a shame, because Motorola actually release lots of really good – and also good-looking – smartphones. Motorola have made it their thing to focus different phone models on different strengths, something that’s also reflected in this product’s name.
The Moto G9 Power has been equipped with exceptional battery capacity. The G9 Power has a battery offering as much as 6000 milliampere hours, which will deliver up to 60 hours of operating time per charge with normal use. And those figures actually bear up in real life. Despite the fact that the phone has a massive 6.8 inch screen, we actually manage to get 60 hours from one charge during our tests. This isn't to say the phone has the best battery capacity on the market. There are other phones with the same size batteries, and Samsung's Galaxy M51 sports a battery of 7000 mAh. But there’s no doubt that this is a phone for anyone who doesn't want to have to keep theirs almost constantly plugged into the charger.
It should be pointed out that the 6.8-inch screen doesn’t offer amazing image quality, as it only has HD+ resolution, and is of LCD type. The image is quite sharp and clear, but falls short in terms of brightness. If the sun’s shining on your screen, it can be tricky to see.
The overall specifications are typical of the budget segment. A Snapdragon 662 chip, together with 4 GB of RAM, provides decent basic performance when it comes to everyday use, but obviously this is far below the level of flagship phones. So don’t expect to play advanced games on this device.
As is so often the case when it comes to Motorola, this is a very handsome phone with fairly thin screen edges and a camera hole in the upper left corner instead of a sensor panel. The phone also has a waterproof design. This means it can probably handle a shower of rain (we tested that) or a spilled glass of water (we haven’t tested that), but that it shouldn’t be immersed in water. You also get pretty fast charging with support for up to 20 watts.
There's a triple camera on the back with a main sensor of 64 megapixels, a macro lens of 2 megapixels and a depth sensor of 2 megapixels. However, the phone takes pictures with 16 megapixel resolution as default, so you need to activate a mode called Ultra Resolution Mode to get 64 megapixel images. The camera also offers HDR, portrait and panoramic modes and a night mode. The pictures are really good in daylight, but they do leave a bit to be desired in dark conditions.
In terms of video, the camera reaches 1080p at 60 frames per second. It also has slow motion and time lapse functionality.
One nice advantage of the Moto G9 Power is that it comes with a pure Android experience and there’s no bloatware or pre-installed junk.
On the whole, this is a fairly stable phone within its segment. The camera and battery are slightly better than average, but the screen doesn’t really measure up. But if you're looking for a very affordable basic phone with a good battery and a decent camera, this is a good purchase.
Large mobile that’s easy to operate
Price class: Medium Screen: 16.69 cm OLED – 2400 x 1080 pixels Processor: 8-core QUALCOMM 2.4 GHz Snapdragon 765G Camera: 48 megapixels (wide, telephoto, ultrawide), selfie camera 16 megapixel Battery: 4160 mAh Dimensions: 163.71 x 74.77 x 7.88 mm Weight: 192 g Android version: 9 Launch year: 2020 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, stereo speaker
Xiaomi launched their Mi 10 Lite 5G in 2020, and it’s a phone that offers both surprises and questions. The Mi 10 Lite 5G isn’t a small phone. But for a large phone it still sits nicely in your hand. And the large screen gives a pleasant viewing experience when you're watching films or streamed video.
The selfie camera takes reasonable photos. But if you’re shooting something other than selfies, you should stick to the rear camera, which performs better. The Mi 10’s rear camera is based on four lenses that have different purposes, and range from 16 to 48 megapixels
When you use the nicely sharp 48 megapixel camera, you get crisp images, and it’s incredibly good at picking out edges and so on. The only negative comment is that on close-ups you get a little white line at the transition between sharp edges and blurred areas, although you can only see this if you look very carefully. It’s probably there to enhance the transition from blurred to sharp.
However, using the zoom on the Mi 10 isn’t an uplifting experience. The images quickly turn out blurred and grainy.
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G’s menu system is impeccable. The menus are easy to bring up and everything feels very logical. There’s a clear flow in the menus that makes it both easy and enjoyable to use them.
The battery easily lasts an entire day without having to be recharged. Even if you’re streaming videos the battery indicator goes down relatively slowly – you simply get a lot of battery for your money.
During our test, we discover that it can be difficult to find a good position for your ear if you’re talking on the phone. It feels like the phone speaker is struggling to spread out the sound, which is frustrating and means you're constantly having to adjust your ear position. Once you've got it right, the sound is fine.
This is a mobile for anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much on their phone and who wants a larger screen so they don’t need a computer or TV to stream films or watch videos.
The perfect mobile for watching films? It’s here!
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.5 inch oled - 1644 x 3840 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (1x2.84 GHz + 3x2.24 + 4x1.78 GHz) Camera: 12+12+12 Megapixel (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 8 megapixel Battery: 3330 mAh Dimensions: 167x72x8.2 mm Weight: 178 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader.
The Sony Xperia 1 is a new approach for Sony’s mobile division in more than one way. For one thing, they’ve moved away from the unnecessarily fiddly product names. For another, they've chosen to fiddle with the screen instead.
Because it's the screen that’s the big talking point about the Xperia 1, film fans have long been familiar with the 21:9 format, but it’s not often been used for mobile screens. At the same time, this is following the trend of the last year of making the screen larger by making it longer.
The choice of 21:9 is great for anyone who wants to watch films on their phone, as it’s the aspect ratio that many films are made in. Which means you don’t end up with black edges on lots of films, for example when using Netflix or other streaming services.
At the same time, we think that the sound from the built-in speakers could be improved if the phone is intended for film watching. It’s good, but hardly exceptional.
We’ll come back to the format in a moment, but in the meantime we have to acknowledge that the screen itself is really good. The unusual shape means that the resolution is classified as 4K and it supports both HDR and Sony’s own image enhancements, taken from their film division. It looks fantastic overall, with natural colours and solid blacks.
According to Sony, the elongated screen format means that you see more of your social media flows, or more of the text on a website. And this is true, but the difference between this and a “normal” mobile is minute in reality.
However, it does make the phone narrower, and it's really comfortable to hold. At the same time the build quality is just as substantial as we’ve come to expect from Sony. Unfortunately it’s just as slippery as we’ve also come to expect. The tiniest slope on a surface and the smartphone just slides off.
The buttons on the right-hand side aren’t very impressive either. Previously, Sony has had the fingerprint reader built into the power button, but now it’s separate. So if we count that as a button, we now have volume, fingerprint reader, power and the camera button in a long row, and let’s be honest, that’s just a pain.
The camera button is useful. But we’d have liked to see more power in the camera. It has no problem with daylight environments, and if you're filming video there’s a really good pro mode to play with. But details and sharpness disappear quickly in poorer light conditions, and this phone is far behind its competitors on this front.
The smartphone itself isn’t a disappointment, but other than the screen it doesn’t really stand out much. The performance is top quality - as we’d expect. The battery lasts for a day without major problems, but isn’t exceptional. The most distinguishing feature is what Sony call “side sense” – a quick menu that you can reach by pressing the side of the screen. This is a handy thing if you have the need for it, but often it’s hardly any quicker than searching for apps.
The Sony Xperia 1 is pretty unique with its 21:9 4K screen, and for film it's a good choice. But it is only the screen that stands out here in what’s a good but also relatively average mobile.
A budget choice with surprising functions
Price class: Budget Screen: 6.2 inch LCD - 720 x 1520 pixels Processor: Mediatek MT6771 Helio P70 (1x2 GHz + 4x2 GHz) Camera: 13+2+2 Megapixel (wide + macro + depth), selfie camera 8 megapixel Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: 157.6x75.4x9 mm Weight: 186 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader.
With budget smartphones, you either get what you’re given or you’re positively surprised by how much you get for the price. The Motorola One Macro wants to take the latter one step even further, with an amazingly complete device that still does its own thing.
A smartphone in this price bracket can’t measure up to the top models. But for the price you do pay, the camera performs well at both close-ups and in bright environments. Dark environments are the camera’ Achilles heel, but overall we’re happy with the camera’s performance.
The macro function is interesting. On more expensive mobiles, you normally never think about how close-ups work. They simply do and we’re happy. Perhaps the camera does some thinking for itself and displays the little flower symbol that’s the photography world’s icon for macro images.
But picking up details close by is something that not all mobiles can do perfectly – particularly when you move down the price classes. Here you get a special macro mode in the camera app for both video and photo mode, and that’s a surprise within this price class.
The smartphone feels like it has a lot of functions for its price too. The screen is large and performs well in showing vivid colours and striking blacks. The resolution isn’t the best, but providing you don’t do a direct comparison with a more high-resolution mobile, you won’t really notice it.
The battery provides a generous 4000 mAh, which in combination with relatively frugal hardware gives a solid battery life. At the same time, it has a good 64 Gb of storage, which should be enough for most people.
But the device is noticeably slow. Right from the start it’s hardly running at lightspeed, and with a couple of dozen apps on board some things take a while to start or load. It never gets worse during our first weeks with the phone, but mobiles tend to get slower over six months and when this phone gives a sluggish impression from the outset - that’s a warning signal. But for lighter use it probably won’t be a problem down the line.
The Motorola One Macro is simply an interesting alternative in the budget section of the mobile world. The macro lens means that it stands out from the crowd, even if we’d rather have seen money being put into quicker hardware.
Motorola One Macro (6,2 Inch HD Plus Display, Macro Vision Camera, 64 GB/ 4 GB, Android 9.0, Dual SIM Smartphone), Space Blue
Motorola One Macro (6,2 Inch HD Plus Display, Macro Vision Camera, 64 GB/ 4 GB, Android 9.0, Dual SIM Smartphone), Space Blue (Renewed)
Motorola Moto One Macro D.Sim Space Blue 8MOPAGS0002GB
Film screen in a neat format!
Price class: Premium Screen: 6.1 inch oled - 1080 x 2520 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (1x2.84 GHz + 3x2.24 + 4x1.78 GHz) Camera: 12+12+12 Megapixel (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 8 megapixel Battery: 3140 mAh Dimensions: 158x68x8.2 mm Weight: 164 g Android version: 9 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader.
The Sony Xperia 5 feels a bit like a continuation of Sony’s previous Compact models. While the Xperia 1 is the large luxury phone, the Xperia 5 has a slightly smaller screen and otherwise almost identical specifications. At the same time, the smaller screen makes this format neater.
With a screen of 6.1 inches, this can’t be called “Compact” any more, particularly as those compact phones were at most five inches and thus significantly smaller.
But the format does make it easier to type with one hand, even though it also means that the buttons that are higher up on the screen are a more difficult to reach.
But at a time when most smartphone screens are getting bigger, and screens over 6 inches are pretty much standard, the Xperia 5 still tricks us into thinking it is a compact mobile. Just like its big brother, it has a 21:9 screen format, which makes it very elongated and therefore easy to hold.
Simultaneously, it shares the same advantages and disadvantages as the Xperia 1. Very well built, extremely slippery surface and therefore very prone to sliding off surfaces. It also has a messy button layout, together with the fingerprint reader on the right-hand side of the phone.
But then again, it's the screen that’s the big talking point on this phone. It doesn’t have 4K resolution like its big brother - the Xperia 1 - but it's still perfectly sufficient for all purposes. At the same time, the screen is based on specifications from Sony's film division, which means that it looks really good and boasts natural colours.
A smaller screen with a lower resolution is also the only difference between the Xperia 5 and the earlier Xperia 1. The Android version, processor, camera and so on are the same.
For the camera, this means that we get a cool pro mode for filming and a camera that takes decent pictures in lighter environments, even when the sun’s shining awkwardly. However, as soon as it gets dark, it becomes clear that Sony is some way behind the competition when it comes to details and sharpness.
But if you want a smartphone that fits the label “compact top model”, you really only have three choices today: the Xperia 5, Samsung Galaxy S10e and the iPhone 11 Pro. They're all a bit smaller than standard, but not exactly small phones as such. If you're looking for an Android, we’d probably nominate the S10e as the best of the smaller devices. There’s nothing wrong with the Xperia 5 as such, but other than the screen it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. The neat format is the primary strength of the Xperia 5.
Great screen that’s perfect for film lovers
Price class: Premium Screen: 6 inch - 2880x1440 pixlar Processor: Snapdragon 845 2,8 GHz Camera: 19 MP, selfie camera 13 MP Battery: 3330 mAh Dimensions: 158x73xX9.9 mm Weight: 193 g Android version: 9 (Pie) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader (back), IP65 classified
The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a premium smartphone with an elegant curved P-Oled screen that gives top image quality. The sharpness is excellent, and the colours are very rich with accurate colour reproduction. The app icons are so clear on the screen that we could almost be fooled into thinking they’re stuck onto the screen surface.
The curved edges on the screen give the entire phone an elegant appearance. It sits nicely in the hand, and the build quality feels solid. In other words, in terms of appearance, Sony have succeeded here.
But all that glistens is not gold. Even if we prefer the curved screen from a design perspective, it also leads to a slight disadvantage. It’s very sensitive on the sides, which means it’s easy to access functions by mistake by simply holding it. So, for example, if you’re holding the phone to watch a film, play a game or read an article, it’s easy to press a shortcut menu or start another function.
Otherwise, the shortcut menu is a really great addition. By quickly tapping on the side of the phone, you get your most used apps so that you can easily access them.
You can see the fingerprint reader located on the back of the phone as a matter of taste, but this smartphone also has a camera sensor immediately above the fingerprint reader, so it’s easy to put your finger in the wrong place and get your lens messy instead.
The Xperia XZ3 is a very quick mobile phone with an interface that you’ll recognise but which has also had an injection of exciting new functions and apps.
One such app is AR Effect, which is a mixture of a gaming app and Snapchat. This lets you both play with a range of AR worlds on the screen and also take pictures of yourself in fun outfits. Another app is Bokeh, which enables you to set the depth of field of photos retrospectively. Both of these can be accessed directly from the camera app or through the app menu. We would have preferred Bokeh to be a built-in function in the camera app instead though.
The camera is pretty good. It’s not really up to the premium phones on the market in terms of colours, sharpness and image processing, but for anyone who doesn’t make the camera as a top priority when buying a mobile phone will be happy.
The biggest problem is that there’s a bit of a delay between pressing the shutter and when it takes the picture. So this risks making images blurry. You have to get used to waiting for the right moment.
One better aspect of this mobile is the battery. The battery life is very good, both when it’s being used and when it isn’t. If you're a light user, it will last 3-4 days. If you use it a great deal, the battery lasts about a day. In other words, about as long as many other smartphones perform under normal use.
This mobile phone isn’t ideal for anyone looking for a top camera phone. Instead it's best if you're looking for a mobile phone with good battery life and a quality screen so you can watch films, play games and read articles. That’s when it’s at its best.
Extra everything, but some compromises
Screen: 6.3 inch - 2560x1440 pixels Processor: Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa 4x2.3 Ghz Camera: 2x12 MP, selfie camera 8 MP Price class: Premium Battery: 3,300 mAh Dimensions: 162.5x74.8x8.6 mm Weight: 195 g Android version: 7.1.1 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: IP68 classified (water and dust resistant), fingerprint reader, pen, iris scanner
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a mobile phone that comes with a great camera and a giant of a screen. The format is quite rectangular, though, so it's never difficult to hold. However, it is very long which means it's not always easy to fit into your pocket. The screen has curved sides as a design feature and performs well in terms of image quality, regardless of whether you're just browsing the internet or watching a high resolution film. The same applies to its performance as a whole, which is definitely top class. A new feature for the Note series that arrives with the launch of the Note 8 is the double camera. This gives a kind of simulated zoom without quality loss and the ability to achieve short depth of field. The image results are among the best you can get from a mobile phone today, with good contrast, image processing and a decent colour spectrum. Alongside the camera is the fingerprint reader, which is unfortunately not very well located because you keep poking the camera lens when you're trying to find it with your finger. Also, with a shell on the phone it becomes difficult to reach the reader. The biometric login process could have been rescued by the iris scanner or facial recognition. However, the former doesn't work if you're wearing spectacles and the latter is incredibly slow. This means that the Galaxy Note 8 currently underperforms on every front when it comes to biometrics.
The Galaxy Note 8 comes with a pen and its own storage slot in the phone. This is incredibly accurate compared to a finger. The pen is perfect for handwritten notes, sketches and working with spreadsheets. If you often need to do these type of tasks with your phone, the pen is an invaluable aid. The only thing about it that we don't like is that writing on the screen feels a bit slippery. But there are loads of extra functions for smart screen capture, gif animations, translation and other things directly linked to the pen, which gives it more added value. Disappointingly for a unit that's meant to offer extra everything, six months after release, the phone still hasn't been upgraded to the latest version of Android. And the battery is equally unencouraging, barely managing a full day's use despite its power saving modes. The fingerprint reader, Android version and the battery life leave an unpleasant aftertaste for a mobile phone that shouldn't have these type of shortcomings. But the pen is great and if you need it, this smartphone really does offer almost extra everything. If you want a phone with a large, inviting screen, pen functionality and a great camera, this is a good buy. And it's the only premium mobile to include a pen.
Refined but not revolutionary
Screen: 5.2 inch - 1920 x 1080 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 4x 2.35 Mhz - 4 x 1.9 Mhz Camera: 19 megapixel, 13 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 2700 mAh Dimensions: 148 x 73 x 7.4 mm Weight: 156 g Android version: 8.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: IP65/IP68 classified (waterproof), biometric log-in, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB-C, Micro SD card slot
The Sony Xperia XZ1 is an energy-efficient mobile phone with an exciting 3D scanning function and an interesting positioning of the fingerprint reader. Sony's genius idea to build the fingerprint reader into the power button on the mobile's long side makes the phone extra energy efficient. Some people may find it irritating that you have to first press the power button before the fingerprint reading works, but it saves on battery life. The Xperia XZ1 also has advantages in terms of its AI learning and other built-in power saving functions. It's fortunate that Sony have been so innovative with energy saving. The battery is really not great. The energy saving functions mean that despite this, the battery lasts for a whole day in most cases. But it may not if you use many power-hungry apps and functions or use the mobile a lot during the day.
The Sony Xperia XZ1 has a camera that performs well in daylight. There are competitors with sharper cameras, particularly in more difficult light conditions, but the XZ1's is definitely among the best. The fun 3D scanning function and the opportunity to film in what Sony calls super slow motion (although only for 6 seconds) is entertaining and unique. It isn't easy to find suitable occasions on which to use them, but when you do, the end result was well above our expectations. We also award plus points for the mobile's sound, particularly the alternative that makes high-resolution sound possible. In terms of appearance, there's not a lot to distinguish the XZ1 from previous Sony mobiles. The slightly sharper corners make it easy to hold the mobile comfortably in your hand. Details that give the feeling that the Xperia XZ1 is behind its competitors include the fact that the screen doesn't go right out to the edges with metal above and below the screen. But if we look inside, this "old fashioned" style has its advantages. For example, you get a pair of stereo speakers that sound much better than the single one in competitors’ phones. The Xperia ZX1 is good in many ways. It has a nice screen, intelligent software functions, delivers great sound, includes a competent camera, a dedicated camera button and the mobile looks perfectly fine, even if it lacks that touch of luxury. It's best for those who don't use their mobile phone too often during the day and who therefore don't need a more powerful battery.
Low price and good battery life
Price class: Budget Screen: 6.5 ins IPS 90 Hz (720 x 1600 pixels) Processor: Snapdragon 662 (8-core) Camera: 64+8+2+2 megapixels (wide angle, ultra wide angle, macro, depth sensor) Battery: 5000 mAh Dimensions: 165.2 x 75.7 x 9.1 mm Weight: 200 g Operating system: Android 11 Launch year: 2021
The budget segment doesn’t always have a wealth of options to choose from, and most people tend to be fine with that. So, given that the competition isn’t all that great in the budget class, the Moto G30 has a decent chance of winning. This phone is only marginally more expensive that others in the class, but offers significantly better specifications.
There’s a Snapdragon 662 system circuit under the shell of this rather plasticky phone, so you shouldn’t expect it to be particularly fast. The benchmark tests produce dismal results, but on the other hand this isn’t reflected in everyday use. The phone handles everything from video streaming and image editing to fairly demanding games without any problems. Proving that ‘minimum level’ is actually quite high nowadays. If you expose it to tougher games or heavier graphics settings, however, you will run into problems. To be fair, anyone interested in the G30 probably isn’t a hardcore gamer. This is more likely to be “granddad’s phone”.
The phone has two interesting features that most other smartphones in this price segment lack: A screen with an image refresh rate of 90 Hz, and 128 GB internal storage. The 90 Hz, 6.5 inch screen provides a very smooth experience, and there’s twice as much storage as you’d usually find on a budget phone.
Unfortunately, the screen is a bit too low resolution at 720 x1600 pixels, which makes it feel a bit blurry. But of course you can’t get everything for this sort of price tag.
The battery is relatively large, though not the largest in its class. 5000 mAh is a decent size, and given the otherwise modest specifications, it leads to a really good battery life. We managed to keep the phone alive for almost three days with sparing use, and two days use without any problems. If you use the phone intensively for a day, you’ll still have about 50% of the battery left when you put it on charge at 10 pm.
The cameras are pretty good. Above all, the 64-megapixel main camera delivers very good images in daylight. The ultra-wide angle is also decent. The macro lens, on the other hand, isn’t very good, as it forces us far too close to the objects we want to immortalise. The selfie camera isn’t great either, but it’s guaranteed to make you look more attractive than you are, as the blurred image smooths out wrinkles and blemishes in a way that makes the pictures feel a little unnatural. Pictures in dark conditions also leave a lot to be desired.
This is a phone for people who mainly want to make calls, send messages, browse the internet and maybe watch a Netflix series from time to time. If you value good battery life and a lot of storage space, this is a good candidate in the budget segment.
Motorola moto g30 16.5 cm (6.5") Hybrid Dual SIM Android 11 4G USB Type-C 4 GB 128 GB 5000 mAh Pink
Motorola Paml0006gb Moto G30 16.5 Cm (6.5) Hybrid Dual Sim Android 11 4g Usb Type-c 4 Gb 128 5000 Mah Black
Motorola moto g30 128 GB Smartphone - 16.5 cm (6.5inch ) LCD HD+ 720 x
Flawless mid-range class with no surprises
Screen: 6.43 inch LCD – 1080x2400 pixels 90hz Processor: MediaTek MT6877 Dimensity 900 5G Camera: 64+8+2 megapixels (wide, ultrawide, macro), 16 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 4,500 mAh Dimensions: 160.6x73.2x7.8 mm Weight: 173 g Operating system: Android 11 Other: fingerprint reader on screen
Oneplus Nord CE 2 5G is a continuation of Oneplus’ second series of mid-range phones. We must admit that it is somewhat confusing, as they sell both a Nord 2 and a Nord CE 2 for essentially the same amount of money. CE also stands for “core edition” this time, which aims to relay that Oneplus has stripped all the extra benefits from the phone. This primarily includes wireless charging and IP rating.
In a world where even cheaper phones usually boast more than a 6.5 inch screen size, Nord CE 2 still feels relatively flexible with its 6.43 inches. Above all, their choice of materials are a little cheaper, making the phone feel very light, even though we're really only talking about approx. 10 grams here.
The exterior has been given a slightly updated design, including a new frame for the camera, which looks really nice. The aforementioned screen is on the front, and it looks great thanks to Amoled technology, and also flows smoothly with a refresh rate of 90 hertz. The camera works well in daylight, but less well in evening and night light. At the same time, it has tough competition here from Xiaomi which, in the same price class, often takes better pictures regardless of light.
The inside is powered by a slightly weaker Mediatek chip than what can be found in North 2, but it is still fully sufficient for all needs. At the same time, the somewhat weaker chip means that we could often get two days of battery life out of the phone after lighter use.
The major concern of the Nord CE 2 is that there is such a terribly small difference to the usual Nord 2, which is, after all, the better phone. The design is slightly different, but in many ways it is the same phone. The big difference is that Nord 2 is a little bit faster, while at the same time it has become cheaper as it has been out on the market for longer.
Competition is fierce in the price class of around SEK 4000. Releasing two almost identical phones at the same price, without either of them really standing out, feels like the most confusing thing – just as confused as choosing Oneplus Nord CE 2 over its better and cheaper sister model.
Great progress made towards an unknown goal
Price class: Premium Screen: Foldable 7.6 in AMOLED, 120 Hz – 1768x2208 pixels + 6.2 in Super AMOLED, 832x2268 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G (1x2.84 GHz, 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.80 GHz) Camera: 12+12 megapixels (wide, utrawide), 10 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3300 mAh Dimensions: 166x72.2x6.9 mm (unfolded), 86.4x72.2x15.9-17.1 mm (folded) Weight: 183 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in power button, IPx8, foldable screen
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 continues with the incomprehensible naming traditions that are almost Sony levels of confusing. It’s also the first mobile in the Fold series that actually feels finished, although there’s still a lot to do in terms of software.
The Fold3 has the same design as the previous phones in this series. A screen on the outside, now in a fairly normal mobile format and with a 120 Hertz refresh rate. If you unfold the phone, the idea is that your phone will turn into a tablet. The tablet in this case is almost square, but at 7.6 inches it’s quite small to be a tablet. Also new is support for Samsung’s S pen and the inner screen having an update speed of 120 Hertz.
The selfie camera is now also "hidden" behind the screen. Hidden, as in the screen has less resolution just there and mostly looks like it’s broken, but it isn't a black dot as before in any case.
In the folded position, Samsung have almost tried to tie themselves in knots for the software to work with all conceivable variants of how you could use a folding screen. Fully unfolded, with split screen or half folded in a kind of laptop mode. And then there are all the S pen functions on top. It’s almost as overwhelming as the number of functions Samsung used to squeeze into its Note series each year and a lot of it feels like most there because it can be, rather than being really useful. Samsung could actually have included their already well-developed Dex mode that they have on their tablets and it would have worked just as well.
What we’d really have liked is for Samsung’s software to keep track of how big the screen really is in all directions, because worryingly often text and graphic elements slip off the screen at the sides. At the same time, you can’t really use the screen area when watching films, because videos aren't square anymore.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 is a bit cheaper than its predecessor, but at the same time the most expensive phone in Samsung's current range. A folding screen is the obvious reason for that price, but if you can live without that screen, you get a much better phone and phone camera via the company’s own S21 Ultra. Or you can afford to buy a good tablet instead. For example, one with Samsung's Dex mode built-in.
Because it’s in the area of use that the Fold3 fails. While its little brother, the Z Flip3 wins for its great form factor, the Fold mainly feels expensive and clumsy. If the pseudo-tablet that appears when you unfold it had felt good and well thought out, it would have been something else. But as things stand, it feels like Samsung have chosen a rather bad idea and are stubbornly trying to make it work with as many extra functions as possible.
If the resolution had worked with the apps and we’d had the same camera as with the S21 Ultra, it would have felt like a slightly better value package. But even though the construction has been upgraded, made water-resistant and more functional, it’s still a fairly expensive phone that can be folded out into what’s honestly a rather poor tablet. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 exists simply because it’s possible.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G 256GB - Black
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G 19.3 cm (7.6") Dual SIM Android 11 USB Type-C 12 GB 256 GB 4400 mAh Silver Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, 19.3 cm (7.6"), 12 GB, 256 GB, 12 MP, Android 11, Silver (Renewed)
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G Mobile Phone SIM Free Android Folding Smartphone 256GB Phantom Black (UK Version) (Renewed) (Renewed)
User-friendly mobile phone with great camera but rather short on battery life
Price class: Premium Screen: 4.7 inch, 1334x750 pixels Processor: A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, embedded M10 movement processor Camera: 12 megapixel, 7 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 3500 mAh Width: 138 mm Height: 67 mm Depth: 7 mm Weight: 138 g Miscellaneous: IP67 classified (resists water, splashes and dust), biometric login, lightning contact
The Apple iPhone 7 is an easy-to-use mobile phone with a slim design and a really good camera. Apple’s iOS operating system has an interface that even the most unfamiliar users will quickly get to grips with. This is a major advantage.
The operating system has a phenomenal range of apps and is really fast. For example, the camera is open and ready to take photos pretty much immediately we’ve tapped the camera icon.
The camera performs really well in both good and poor light conditions. Even when the light really starts to fade, the mobile camera succeeds in taking very reasonable photographs. In better light conditions, the depth of colour is great, the contrast is excellent and the sharpness sublime.
As mentioned above, the actual phone is rather slim, and the size feels just right both for making calls and watching videos. It’s waterproof, which is another positive point. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 7 has no headphone socket. In other words, you need wireless headphones if you want to listen to music or use a headset during phone calls – or alternatively wired headphones with a Lightning contact or adapter. This is a disadvantage if you already have a pair of good headphones that won't be applicable with this device.
Another disadvantage is that Apple is still using their own special port for charging – what they call a Lightning contact – instead of micro USB which is now standard across the rest of the industry. This restricts users somewhat. On the other hand, there’s a wide range of accessories available today. The phone also gets a negative mark for lacking a micro-SD card slot; you can never expand the mobile’s storage in line with your needs.
The iPhone 7 has an excellent screen. The colour reproduction is great, as are the viewing angle and contrast. There’s a small depression on the screen that acts as a virtual home button, combined with a fingerprint reader. It’s easy to reach and reacted immediately when we touched it. The battery life is relatively short and lasts for about a day with minimal use, but it runs out after just a couple of hours when you use a single app continuously. Charging is very quick, however, and the battery goes from flat to half charged in just half an hour or so.
There’s no doubt that the iPhone 7 is a good mobile phone, particularly if you appreciate nice cameras and a user-friendly interface. With a longer battery life, in a less Apple-specific version and a slightly lower price, it would have received a much higher score from our tech testers.
The price is an even greater disadvantage given that new iPhone models have come out since we originally tested the iPhone 7. The competitors it was compared to then have better specifications and in many cases better performance.
But this is still a mobile that we have no problems recommending. It’s fast, attractive, user-friendly and performs really well in the most important categories.
Very budget phone!
Price class: Budget Screen: 5.99 inch - 1080 x 2160 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 8x1.8 Ghz Camera: 12+5 megapixel, selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 4000 mAh Dimensions: 158.6x75.4x8.05 mm Weight: 181 g Android version: 8 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, IR transmitter
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is one of the oldest telephone series from Xiaomi, a company that's long been known for lower prices and a surprising amount of smartphone for the money you pay. However, the Note part has nothing to do with advanced stylus of the Samsung Note phones.
Instead it's the name that phones with slightly larger than average screens were given a few years back. But at not quite 6 inches, the Redmi Note 5 is hardly a giant; these days it's just standard.
The screen doesn't let itself down in terms of quality, despite the low price of the phone. But of course, the colour reproduction and so on are usually better in more expensive smartphones.
The mobile's metal shell provides the stable impression that was once reserved for more expensive phones. On the back there's a reasonable, though not very fast, fingerprint reader. And on the upper short side there's an IR eye so you can use the phone as a remote control, which is an unexpected nice touch.
On the back near the fingerprint reader, are double cameras. The portrait mode that they give needs really simple subjects to be any good, which also applies to photos taken in the dark. In daylight the camera gives reasonable photos, surprisingly good for the price but nothing revolutionary.
It's inside the phone that we find the majority of the savings where they have kept the price down. The hardware works reasonably well in the majority of situations, but struggles a bit when there's a lot going on at the same time.
Over Android, the phone also has Xiaomi's own MIUI interface, which gives a number of extra functions, primarily extra settings and the company's own apps. None of these are phenomenal, and many parts of the graphics in the interface feel a bit dated, but overall it works quite well.
The Redmi Note 5's main advantage is its cheap price, even if it's clear where the savings have been made. But at the same time, you don't need to spend a lot more, particularly among Xiaomi's own smartphones, for the savings to feel a lot less obvious. Despite that, this model is really good value for money.
Straightforward mid-range phone
Price range: Medium Screen: 6 ins OLED – 1080x2520 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 (2x2 GHz & 6x1.7 GHz) Camera: 12+8+8 megapixel (wide, tele, ultrawide), selfie camera 8 megapixel Battery: 4500 mAh Dimensions: 154x68x8.3 mm Weight: 169 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in power button, IP65/IP68,
The Sony Xperia 10 III (which should be read as “10 Mark 3”) is a decent phone for this price class. There’s nothing wrong with it, and most people who buy it will most likely be happy with what they get. The only problem is that it has no particularly distinctive features, and you’ve forgotten about it more or less as soon as you put it away.
Like most Sony phones from recent years, there are a few stand out features. Adaptive charge will make the battery last longer and you also get double certifications regarding water resistance (according to Sony because the tests are performed in different ways). Those things are nice, but nothing that sells the phone in itself.
You’ll also find a memory card slot and a headphone jack on the phone, which are becoming increasingly unusual in the industry.
But there are no must-have functions, such as a 90 Hz screen or a really brilliant camera, which you might otherwise expect to find in mid-range phones. And given that Sony's cameras are in most of the world's phones and the company has been synonymous with video games for a quarter of a century, we feel there should really be more in that respect to make the phone stand out, even in this price class.
You do get a perfectly decent performance, and enough power for what you want to use the phone for. 5G is included in the package as well, so the phone is also future-proofed to an extent. Though the screen could have been a little brighter, it still fulfills its function.
The main camera also performs well enough, at least in daylight. Though the quality drops rapidly as the ambient light fades. The two cameras next to it mostly feel like they’re only there for the sake of it, and they’re no use at all in poor light conditions.
Basically, if you want a larger, brighter or faster screen in this price class, you can get it elsewhere, and the same applies to the camera. The Sony Xperia 10 III could easily have been a little cheaper given that it’s so anonymous. There are some good details, and there’s nothing wrong with the phone, but on the whole this is a phone you’ll quickly forget.
Sony Xperia 10 III Smartphone, Android, 6GB RAM, 6”, 5G, SIM Free, 128GB
Sony Xperia 10 III - 6.0 Inch 21:9 Wide™ FHD+ HDR OLED display - Triple lens camera - 3.5 mm audio jack - Android 11 - SIM free - 6GB RAM - 128GB Storage - IP65/68 rating - Dual SIM hybrid* - Black
Sony Xqbt52l.ukcx Xperia 10 Iii 15.2 Cm (6) Hybrid Dual Sim Android 11 5g Usb Type-c 6 Gb 128 4500 Mah Blue
When things get a little too extreme
Price range: Premium Screen: 6.92 in OLED, 144 Hz – 1080x2460 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (1x2.84 GHz, 3x2.42 GHz & 4x1.8 GHz) Camera: 64+16 megapixels (wide, utrawide), 44 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 5500 mAh Dimensions: 176x78.5 x 9.9 mm Weight: 259 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in screen, cooling fan, shoulder buttons,
The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 appeared in real life a very short time after the first model saw the light of day. But where the first gaming phone from the Lenovo Legion series was a surprisingly wonderful study in crazy excess, it actually feels like it has gone overboard this time.
On the whole, we’d probably have called this the Legion Phone Duel 1.2 rather than 2. It’s still a really solid and chunky phone in every way, with dual charging ports, an enormously fast and bright screen, shoulder buttons and a motorised selfie camera for recording streams.
All of the existing parts have been polished a bit from last time, and it’s above all Lenovo’s interface on top of Android that feels more finished this time.
The dual charging ports are a really clever solution. Either you use the one that’s least in the way for what you’re doing (there’s one on the short side, and another on one long side), or you use both for turbocharging.
The sound is also big, solid and substantial (though not brilliant at higher volumes), which further enhances the exaggerated nature of this phone.
The bigger news in the Duel 2 is, of course, an updated system chip in the form of the Snapdragon 888 and also a completely new cooling system. The new chip gives a boost to performance, and thanks to the substantial cooling system, the Duel 2 takes over first place from its predecessor when it comes to being the fastest Android phone.
The cooling system is the first one we can remember with active cooling, i.e. a fan. And you need it, because the Snapdragon 888 gets enormously hot to the point that other phones would have given up. This doesn’t happen here.
What does happen is that we can clearly hear the whiny little fan, even with gameplay at higher volumes. The whole middle of the back of the phone also gets insanely hot. If we play a tough game while charging the phone, after about a quarter of an hour it gets so hot that we burn ourselves.
When this is due to doing what the phone is designed for, this doesn’t feel very good.
Much of what worked in the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel also works in its successor. The screen is fantastic, the selfie camera for streaming is quite fun and the shoulder buttons are surprisingly useful. But when the main function is hindered by how hot it gets, it feels as if this already extreme phone has gone too far.
Rugged but attractive phone
Price range: Medium Screen: 6.67 in IPS, 60 Hz – 1080x2400 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G (2x2 GHz & 6x1.8 GHz) Camera: 48+13 megapixels (wide, utrawide), 8 megapixel selfie camera Battery: 4630 mAh Dimensions: 171.6x81.5x10.6 mm Weight: 248 g Android version: 11 Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader in power button, Mil-STD-810H
The Nokia XR20 looks almost exactly like its £100 cheaper cousin, the Nokia X20. You lose two, rather poor, cameras and you gain a brighter screen.
But otherwise, they are largely identical. The difference is that the R in the product name means it’s a more rugged handset.
The Nokia XR20 is certified according to the standards IP68 for water and dust resistance and MIL-STD-810H for shock resistance. The latter includes a whole bunch of endurance tests, but the main one is that it is tested to survive a fall into a concrete floor of 1.5 metres.
Despite being fairly robust, this still doesn’t look like a phone from the likes of Caterpillar. The Nokia XR20 is exactly the same size as the X20 when it’s in a shell. The frames around the screen are a bit thicker and the back has a really attractive and comfortable ribbed surface. This is simply a really durable phone that doesn’t at all look like one.
On the top of the phone, you’ll find a red button. A long press on this activates the emergency function – but in practice the software allows you to use this button as a shortcut to most things. On one side there’s a button that leads to the Google Assistant, which unfortunately can’t be reprogrammed.
As with most smartphones, the screen is the weak point. The XR20 has been updated with Gorilla Glass Victus, which is one of the most modern screen glasses, to help it withstand scratches and knocks. Our testers deliberately dropped the phone down a flight of stairs, “accidentally” threw it out of a window on the second floor and even took it along in the pocket of their swimming trunks when they went for a dip. Although there are, of course, tougher things you can do, these were a lot harsher than the tests we normally do in our test lab – and apart from the XR20’s shell getting dirty it still looked like new.
Being rugged but not looking like an armoured car is what this phone is all about. Otherwise, this is basically the same phone as the X20. Which makes it a fairly expensive phone given its specifications.
The XR20 is by no means slow, and it should be fine for everyday use for the three years it receives Android updates (four years for security updates). 5G is also included, so the phone will cope with that when it becomes relevant.
The Nokia XR20 isn’t bad value for money, depending on how much importance you place on having a rugged phone that doesn’t look like one. That aside, just like the X20, it feels a bit expensive in terms of its hardware. But if a rugged phone is what you’re looking for, this is an extremely interesting choice.
Nokia XR20 6.67 Inch Android UK SIM Free Smartphone with 5G Connectivity - 4 GB RAM and 64 GB Storage (Dual SIM) - Ultra Blue
Nokia XR20 6.67 Inch Android UK SIM Free Smartphone with 5G Connectivity - 4 GB RAM and 64 GB Storage (Dual SIM) - Ultra Blue
Nokia Xr20 5G 64Gb - Blue
Good hardware, but an impersonal mobile
Screen: 5.3 inch - 2560 x 1440 pixels Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (4 x 2.5 GHz + 4 x 1.8 GHz) Camera: 2 x 13 megapixel, selfie camera 13 megapixel Battery: 3090 mAh Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm Weight: 160 g Android version: 7.1.1 (Nougat) Miscellaneous: Biometric login, 3.5 mm audio contact, USB type C, splash proof (IP54)
The Nokia 8 is an interesting mobile phone, at least on paper. It has a modern, fast processor, despite the slightly cheaper price, double rear cameras with a respectable Zeiss label and a bright screen that's nice and sharp. But other than the highly capable sound recording solution, the Nokia 8 doesn't make the most of its hardware. The manufacturer, HMD, has pretty much left Google's operating system intact. There's hardly anything that says that you're holding a Nokia 8. This makes the mobile phone anonymous and far from as function-rich as we're used to when it comes to premium smartphones. We would like to have seen an individual interface overlaying Google's basic Android. The only unique touch is in the camera app. Using this you can take pictures and record video with the selfie camera and the main camera at the same time. The screen is divided into two halves, with each camera's field of view displayed. In marketing terms this is called a "bothie" instead of a "selfie". If you're taking a video, "bothie" material can be direct streamed to YouTube or Facebook. Unfortunately, the two main cameras - one colour and one black and white - can't be used to create or manipulate depth of field. Instead, the system is intended to help create more detail in images in poor light conditions. But it doesn't really succeed with this. The Nokia 8 also sometimes has problems with autofocus which can't choose the focal point quickly enough. In ideal conditions, the images are perfectly fine, but given how much emphasis the Nokia 8 places on its cameras, we'd have expected more.
In terms of appearance, however, it's hard to complain about the Nokia 8. It's stylish, and the mobile is generally relatively thin. The screen is sharp and bright, and the mobile has an SD card slot to boot. It’s no problem going a whole day without having to charge the mobile. What is perhaps the Nokia 8's best feature is the relatively competitive price. The question is whether this is enough. Several competitors have more unique solutions, more or less equivalent hardware and some of them are even more affordable. In comparison, the Nokia 8 is a mobile phone with few faults but still doesn't feel completely right. Nor is the mobile watertight like its competitors in the same price bracket; it's only water resistant. It's a shame that the manufacturer hasn't made more use of the hardware, because the Nokia 8 is interesting both in terms of its price and exciting heritage.
Pure Android for a great price
Price class: Budget Screen: 5.99 inch - 1080 x 2160 pixels Processor: Name Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 4x2.2 GHz Camera: 20+12 megapixel, selfie camera 20 megapixel Battery: 3000 mAh Dimensions: 158.70 x 75.40 x 7.30 mm Weight: 168 g Android version: 8.1.0 (Oreo) Miscellaneous: Fingerprint reader, IR port
The Xiaomi Mi A2 is good value for money with no frills. Xiaomi have largely made themselves known for their value mobiles with flagship performance. Yet, they do have a strategy of making phones in all the other price classes too, and the Mi A2 is a good example of that.
Unlike the majority of the other phones from Xiaomi – or any other manufacturer for that matter – there's no manufacturer-specific interface on the phone. Instead it has Android One, which is Google's attempt to provide a pure Android experience for slightly cheaper models.
Even if many manufacturers' additions provide beneficial functions and extra settings, Android One means that you avoid unnecessary extras and get updates even more quickly. During our test period, the phone has Android 8, but an update was on the way.
Xiaomi have only added a couple of their own apps, including to control the IR transmitter on the top of the phone (so you can use it as a remote control for your TV, for example), which means that it's kept nice and clean right from the start. It also makes the phone really quick to use, at least compared to what we'd normally expect for this price.
The phone feels unexpectedly well-built, with a nice if somewhat slippery metal shell. A plastic shell is included in the packaging, and this is recommended both to counteract the slipperiness and also to reduce the impression of the huge lumpy camera on the back.
Even though the battery life lasts a full day, we'd have liked to see a thicker phone, both for a bigger battery and for a smaller camera on the back. Camera with both advantages and disadvantages
The camera has two lenses, including one for taking portraits with background blur. The portrait part requires good light on the subject and not too many details in the edges of the shot to give a nice result.
As a standard camera, it gives reasonable images in daylight, although with slightly peculiar colour reproduction in certain modes. In darker environments, photos soon get noisy, which is an Achilles' heel for many mobile phone cameras.
At the same time, you have to take the price tag into account, and the Mi A2 really does give you a lot for your money, regardless of whether you're looking at the phone, overall performance or build quality. If you have a limited budget, this is quite clearly a good choice without too many major compromises.