10 coolest smartphones that (almost) nobody knows about in 2020
8848 M6 – A unique phone
For the sixth year now, we have been talking about ten smartphones that received good hardware or interesting chips, but did not thunder around the world for various reasons. This year, collecting the top ten was much more difficult than usual: many small manufacturers could not stand the competition, and the rest were nailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, scratching the bottom of the barrel, we collected ten rather interesting products. So who have we all missed in 2020?
Let’s start with the most expensive current Android smartphone. You heard right – this wonder of the world is really more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. No, there is, of course, a junior version with 8 + 256 GB with a calfskin case, but it’s all the same what iPhone SE to buy. The main series with lizard / crocodile skin, ruby buttons and 12 + 1024 GB.
There are two things that make the 8848 M6 very different from the many “boutique” smartphones like Gresso and Bellperre. Firstly, the device is entirely developed by 8848 itself, and is not based on a third-party device. Secondly, the device itself is not bad. Snapdragon 865, triple camera (64 Mp + 13 Mp telephoto + 2 Mp for bokeh), 6.01 “AMOLED screen 2160×1080 pixels, 4380 mAh battery, NFC, 27 W charging.
Well, a terabyte of memory in older versions is also not weak (it seems that the 8848 M6 became the only terabytophone in 2020). Well, the 8848 has its own trick: a round display on the rear panel that shows the time. The dials are based on the well-known models of members of the Academy of Independent Watchmakers, for example, there is a “Joker” Real Jokers are more expensive than the 8848 M6.
Fairphone 3+ is a unique smartphone. The fact is that it was not necessary to buy it to get it. And it’s not about any kind of jokes or trade-in. The fact is that Fairphone 3+ differs from its predecessor in the face of Fairphone 3 only with a 48 megapixel camera, and the modular design allows you to replace the camera at home. Therefore, Fairphone offered the owners of the “troika” to buy a new camera and make a Fairphone 3+ for themselves.
In general, modularity and the possibility of self-repair is literally the ideology of Fairphone. In this way, the company strives to maximize the life of its devices and, as a result, reduce the harm to nature caused by irresponsible consumption of smartphones. Fairphone 3+ has weak hardware: Snapdragon 632, 4 + 64 GB memory, 3040 mAh battery, 5.65 “Full HD + screen, NFC, USB Type-C, fingerprint and headphone port. At the same time, the price is far from budget 469 euros. But then you can replace your camera, screen or motherboard without buying a new smartphone.
Fujitsu Arrows NX9
The Japanese know how to quickly respond to new market needs. After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Sharp released a smartphone with a built-in dosimeter (radiation level sensor), and against the backdrop of the pandemic, Fujitsu did … no, not a smartphone with a built-in express test, but almost. A smartphone that can be sanitized. The company clarified that it is not worth using sanitizers based on sodium hypochlorite, from which the paint will peel off, and all the rest can be. And the smartphone will have nothing.
Hiby R8 LTE
Strictly speaking, this device is not a smartphone – you cannot make calls from it. But LTE is supported, in a form factor like a smartphone, so let it be in the collection. And this is a Hi-Fi player, and one of the best in its non-audio equipment.
The audio part is also very cool, judging by the reviews, but the author of the text is not particularly versed in the models of DACs, amplifiers and other details, so it is not taken to judge his audio path in detail. And in general, he can hardly judge anything, he is impressed by the presence of four audio connectors at once (line-out / headphone-out, each is 3.5 mm / balanced 4.4 mm).
Honor Play 4 Pro
Surprisingly, the fourth series of Honor Play went almost unnoticed. And for some reason it seems to me that in China too. The Play 4 Pro is one of the most interesting mid-range Huawei / Honor smartphones this year. Largely because he received several very strange technical characteristics at once. For example, the Kirin 990 chipset, as in the flagship Huawei Mate 30. (Not Kirin 990 5G, namely Kirin 990, although there is support for 5G – but implemented through a separate modem.)
LG V60 ThinQ
This year, LG has relied on pre-flagship smartphones with interesting features (Velvet and Wing) and gave free rein to the designers of budget models. But one device managed to come out according to old patterns: with an extremely standard design, almost without chips and with top-end hardware. The release, however, turned out to be very limited – the smartphone was not released even in the homeland of LG, in South Korea. But this is just an LG classic!
And this is the flagship of 2019 – with the corresponding hardware in the person of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+. Nubia Z20, unfortunately, did not receive a continuation: this year the company focused on the release of gaming devices of the Red Magic series, and it did not have a full-fledged flagship of the second half of the year.
Anyway, Nubia released only three smartphones in a year – it’s sad to see such a crisis in one of the most insane players in the smartphone market. You will only appreciate how they solved the problem with the front-facing camera in the Nubia Z20 (and its predecessor, the Nubia X): they made a second screen!
Royole flexpai 2
Royole FlexPai 2 announcement: flexible smartphone tablet at the right price
Royole was the first in the world to announce a smartphone with a flexible screen (at the end of 2018) and the first in the world to start selling FlexPai, but the release of the second generation was delayed and took place only in the fall of 2020.
The company was not in a hurry for nothing: of course, Royole did not manage to solve the problem of the reliability of flexible screens, but the progress is still impressive. FlexPai no longer looks like a prototype assembled on the knee, it’s a solid smartphone tablet that folds in half. And while it is not necessary as the aircraft Galaxy Z Fold2.
Sharp Aquos R5G
This smartphone has the coolest display on the market. I don’t know why Sharp doesn’t want to sell these panels on the side, they would earn much more than sluggishly selling flagships in 1-2 countries. Just listen to the specifications: Quad HD + resolution (3168×1440 pixels), 1000 nits brightness, 10-bit hardware level (a billion shades instead of 16 million) and a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
In addition, this is IGZO, not AMOLED, that is, there is no PenTile and PWM, and when displaying a static picture, the display goes into 1 Hz mode and consumes practically nothing. True, they did not learn how to insert finger scanners under IGZO, so the screen has … a cutout for a fingerprint scanner. Would rip something for designers.
Do you know what the evacuation plan on the wall of any institution and the top version of Smartisan R2 has in common? They know how to store light and then emit it when the lighting stops. In evacuation plans, this is necessary so that they can be seen in a smoky room.
And in Smartisan R2, you can shine a flashlight and see the manufacturer’s logo the size of the entire smartphone, which is absolutely invisible without the backlight. This is called the photochromic effect and I think it could become a design trend in the near future. Cool!
This year, the pandemic has greatly changed the world, in particular, delaying or even canceling the release of many interesting smartphones, and dozens of small manufacturers simply sunk into oblivion, unable to survive the quarantine and reduced demand. And this is not to mention the fact that the competition “ate up” many even without 2020.
Hopefully, the market can recover from these shocks and we will see a lot of new products in 2021. Including those that will be included in the next iteration of this annual collection. In the meantime, you can read what was interesting in past years: