2018 has been amazing for the smartphone industry. We’ve seen a whole lot of ups and downs throughout the year. Some new contenders and a few fails just like any year. But somehow, as we move forward, 2018 is no spectacle you may want to overlook. So let’s begin our list with the best launches of this year.
01 | Huawei Mate 20 Pro
This year was a major year for Huawei, especially towards the last quarter of 2018. As the year came to an end, the folks over at Huawei dropped their second bomb of the year, the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. However, it’s the latter of the two that is the real killer that left many of us stunned.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro defined Huawei’s passion to overtake Apple. After years of battling between Samsung and Apple, Huawei’s relic finally came to life with some impressive innovations under the hood.
Not only did Huawei show off their prowess by announcing their first smartphone powered by the new 7nm Kirin 980 SoC. On the inside, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro sports a Kirin 980 SoC, up to 6GB RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage and a large 6.39-inch 3120 x 1440 OLED display that’s capable of producing 660 nits of light.
However, what set this juggernaut apart from the competition had to be the fact that it came with reverse wireless charging and an under display fingerprint scanner, killer triple camera setup consisting of a 40MP (main), 20MP (ultra-wide) and an 8MP telephoto camera, and a freaking huge 4200mAh battery that would last you an eternity with the tweaks Huawei has implemented under the hood.
02 | Xiaomi Pocophone F1
The Poco F1 (review) has to be one of the best launches entering the budget market this year. The launch of the Poco F1 came in as a complete surprise, shocking everyone who came across it. For $299, Xiaomi was basically offering the “flagship-killer killer” at such a price range beating OnePlus and the Mi 8 at their own game for the first time in years. Sure, the Mi 8 and the OnePlus 6 come in a better overall package, but the Poco F1 is undeniably attractive for performance addicts who care about specs on a budget.
On the inside, we’re looking at a vapor-chamber-cooled Snapdragon 845 SoC, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage, a 4000 mAh battery… and a headphone jack – that hurts, doesn’t it?
Most reviews generally came to the conclusion that the Poco F1 is an absolute powerhouse and that the camera on the Poco F1 is mediocre at best. However, giving it a second look, it seems like something was definitely off given that the Poco F1’s main rear camera is the same sensor found on the Mi 8 and now the Pixel 3 lineup of devices, and that’s the IMX 363. We did a number of camera tests and found out the Xiaomi is indeed suppressing the camera performance on the Poco F1 once we installed the Pixel 3 Google Camera port on our Poco F1. To dive deeper into the subject, check out the shots taken with our Poco F1 coupled with the Google Camera port.
03 | Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2
The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 just came in last week. Being among the last of the bunch of releases, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 came in as a bang. Featuring a completely redesigned body along with some incredible hardware, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 stole the place on our list from the Realme 2 Pro.
On the inside, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 features a Snapdragon 660 AI-Edition SoC coupled with up to 6GB of RAM. In addition to that, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 comes with a 6.3-inch FHD+ display, Dual-4G sim slots, Gorilla Glass 6, 3.5mm headphone jack and a freaking 5000 mAh battery.
Dual cameras are also present on the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2. Regarding the camera setup, we’re looking at a 12MP + 5MP couple on the rear. While a 13MP sensor has been installed for folks who want the best out of their selfies.
Starting at just RM 849 (US $199), the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 gives and takes blows from the Realme 2 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi A2. Despite sharing similar spec sheet between its competition, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 managed to differentiate itself with an incredible shell upgrade along with a large 5000 mAh battery to sweep away the competition.
04 | Xiaomi Mi MiX 3
This is the second phone that we’re mentioning from Xiaomi, but without a doubt, the Mi MiX 3 deserves a place on this list.
Following the bland releases after the original Mi MiX, Xiaomi finally made the Mi MiX 3 stick. Just like any typical flagship and being one of Xiaomi’s signature device lineup, the Mi MiX 3 came with some beastly internals. With the Mi MiX 3, you’re looking at a Snapdragon 845 SoC, up to 10GB RAM, a 6.39-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, and a 3200mAh battery on the inside.
To make the device even more appealing, Xiaomi announced that the Mi MiX 3 would come with a fast wireless charger out of the box for some appealing moolah if that’s what you crave for.
Xiaomi had finally managed to get rid of the chin that haunted the Mi MiX, the Mi MiX 2 and the Mi MiX 2S thanks to its new sliding design. The new Mi MiX finally managed to reclaim its place with a display that was completely bezel-less thanks to its sliding design that was technically inherited by the likes of the Vivo Nex S and the Oppo Find X that came prior to it. In addition to that, unlike the motorized concerns the Vivo Nex S and Oppo Find X brought to the table for longevity reasons, the Mi MiX 3 opted for a manual slider which that’s a whole lot more calming than the motorized sliders found on the Oppo and Vivo devices mentioned earlier.
05 | Oppo Find X
Our list is ending with the Oppo Find X, and there are two major reasons why. As 2018 began in a bang following the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 with their infinity display designs, Oppo and Vivo decided to push the game even further by leading the industry by pushing the selfie camera into a slider.
As usual, being a flagship from Oppo, Oppo didn’t skimp on the specs, after all, their Find series made a comeback with the launch of the Oppo Find X. On the inside, the Oppo Find X packs a Snapdragon 845 SoC, 8GB of RAM up to 256GB of storage and comes in three variants aside from the storage options, that is, the Oppo Find X, the Oppo Find X Super Flash Edition, and the Oppo Find X Lamborghini Edition, with the of the two featuring what Oppo calls SuperVooc charging.
Aside from re-iterating on the Vivo Nex S’s pop-up slider by extending it from corner to corner, the Oppo Find X completely put everyone to shame with its SuperVooc fast-charging technology. Not only did it beat everyone in the industry for its crazy fast charging speeds, but it trumps them thanks to its 50W power delivery, an unheard of standard that no one has even come close to this far. With SuperVooc, the Oppo Find X Lamborghini Edition manages to recharge its battery from not to 100% in just 35 minutes, that’s less than a quarter of the amount it takes for other devices.