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The year 2020 is slowly coming to an end. Even though it’s been a difficult time, we won’t dwell on COVID-19 hardships. There’s life beyond the pandemic and there are phones beyond your usual
. That’s the object of our research today – many interesting phones have popped-up in the past 12 months and most of them have passed under the radar.
Today we’re going to talk about the “dark knights” of 2020 – the most underrated phones of the year. Of course, it’s December and the web is full of year-end lists and articles but we hope that this one will actually bring you some real-life value and maybe help you pick a Christmas present for you and your loved ones.
LG V60 ThinQ
LG went in a totally new direction with its latest phones, changing the naming scheme and the overall design philosophy. We also got the Wing – a strange T-shaped device that actually made it to mass-production, for better or worse. But we digress. The point is that the LG V60 ThinQ, the latest real flagship of the Korean company, is one hell of a phone. The LG V60 ThinQ sports a beautiful design with rounded edges and smooth lines. The build quality is impeccable and the specs are also top-notch. You’re getting a fast processor, great cameras, a vibrant screen, and amazing battery life with this phone. LG’s signature Hi-Fi DAC is on board as well, along with the 3.5 mm headphones jack, giving audiophiles two solid reasons to check this phone out.
The price of the LG V60 ThinQ is also quite attractive, given that the top offers from Samsung and Apple will set you back more than a grand. We shouldn’t forget the screen-case you can buy with this phone and get yourself a Surface Duo-like experience.
Sony Xperia 5 II and Xperia 10 II
We’ve always had a soft sport for Xperia phones. Sony once ruled the market of premium phones with its wonderful Xperia Z series but in the past few years, things have gone south for Sony Mobile. The good news is that with typical Japanese stubbornness and dedication, Sony just refuses to give up on the Xperia line and that’s a good thing.
The latest generation of Xperia phones has redeemed the Japanese manufacturer to some extent and despite sale figures still bringing lingering thoughts of seppuku to Sony Mobile high executives, the devices themselves are actually quite good. Let’s talk flagship territory first.
The Xperia 5 II is the latest “compact” flagship from Sony that shrinks the Xperia 1 experience to a smaller form-factor. It has a unique to the industry 21:9 OLED screen free from notches and obtrusions. The phone is fast and packed full of features – there’s nothing missing if you want to compare it to other flagships out there. What’s more, there are things unique to this phone and if you have aspirations in photography, you’ll just love the Photo Pro app.
Moving to the Xperia 10 II – one of the best affordable phones of 2020. The sad part is that you probably can’t buy it as it’s not officially available in the US. It’s a $400 phone that offers a flagship-grade design and display, ample camera system, and great battery life. Nevertheless, this model shows that Sony can do well in the midrange category as well.
Motorola Moto G8 Power
There’s one key feature that many of you underestimate when it comes to smartphones. Battery life. We know, modern smartphones are tailored more towards a full day of battery life and that seems to satisfy most users. Or maybe they’re just so used to it and don’t know better? The Motorola Moto G8 Power dares to challenge the status quo. It’s a mid-ranger, alright, but it offers up to 3 days on a single charge of its humongous 5,000 mAh battery.
And while the other specs of this device won’t rock your world, the ability to charge your phone three times less often on average is really liberating. You can say goodbye to battery-anxiety with this model and its price is a big plus too. You can get one for as low as $200 no strings attached. It’s a great backup phone if nothing else.
ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro
If you like big, sturdy, and heavy phones, you’ll love this behemoth. Of course, the weight and sheer size of the thing are just a byproduct of what this phone actually is. The Zenfone 7 Pro explores the edge-to-edge screen idea but on its own terms. Instead of notches or cutouts, The ZenFone 7 Pro sports a flip camera system that flips up to take up selfie duties when needed.
It’s an interesting solution, to say the least. On one hand, you have all the power of the main camera system (and the Zenfone 7 Pro has a lot going on in the camera department). On the other hand, it makes the phone heavy and bulky, and it’s a moving part – prone to mechanical failures no matter how strong it’s been made.
That being said, the Zenfone 7 Pro excels in other departments too. It’s very fast, looks premium, and sports a 6.67-inch AMOLED display, made by Samsung and tuned by PixelWorks. The battery life is amazing and if you can live with the extra weight, the ASUS Zenfone 7 Pro can be a great choice.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
Xiaomi continues to gain momentum and the Chinese manufacturer soared past Apple to become the third-largest smartphone vendor in Q3. Of course, this has everything to do with Huawei’s struggles of late, but nevertheless, Xiaomi is definitely one to keep an eye on. While Samsung boasts about 120Hz refresh rate displays in its S20 series, Xiaomi has gone all-out with the Mi 10T Pro model sporting a 144Hz screen.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro falls victim to the raging trade war between China and the US. If we put aside our political views on the situation, it’s a shame really. This device encapsulates the best in smartphone technology. It has an industry-leading screen, an ample chipset, and a great camera system on the back. Google Play Services are missing of course and this fact denies the smartphone market the healthy competition it needs.
We can lament the situation for hours but there’s no point. You probably won’t be able to buy the Mate 40 Pro and even if you somehow manage to do it, you’ll face a steep learning curve in order to get the most out of it. At the moment, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is nothing but a peculiarity and a missed opportunity.
Apple iPhone 12 mini
How can the latest and one of the hottest new phones from Apple be underrated? It’s quite simple, really. People don’t see this model for what it actually is. All they see is the uninspiring battery life and the conservative camera system. First of all, let’s compare it to the closest thing out there – the iPhone SE (2020).