As the year winds down it’s a great time to reflect on the top stories of the past 12 months. This is the first of four installments where we look at the stories that shaped this year.
Welcome to our yearly recap of the top stories of 2020, broken into quarters. Below we’ve listed the top stories of Q1, from January 1 through to March 31.
This was the exciting time of the first flagships of the year. High-refresh rate screens were a big trend, each phone had a 5G added to its name (and a modem added to its innards), the Snapdragon 865 was the hot new thing everyone wanted to have. But it was also the time when the ongoing pandemic that shaped 2020 grasped the entire world and almost put a halt to the mobile industry.
Q1 was defined by a few key announcements. Xiaomi gave us the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro – the latter being the first device to use Samsung’s new mammoth 108MP sensor and the pair premiering the Snapdragon 865 chipset.
Samsung followed a few months later with the Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra with 120Hz screens, Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 chipsets and new cameras. The Galaxy S20 Ultra was Samsung’s first device with a periscope camera and the first to use its in-house 108MP sensor, which shot 12MP stills with 9-in-1 binning. The Galaxy S20 Ultra was also huge – the biggest Galaxy S smartphone to date with a massive 6.9-inch Super AMOLED display.
Sony launched the Xperia 1 II in March, but it wasn’t until May and June that the device made its way to people’s hands. It brought refinement to the Xperia 1 platform with bigger camera sensors, faster lenses, the first eye autofocus in a phone, a bigger battery, while retaining what made the Xperia 1 so appealing – a unique industrial design and 4K OLED display.
Huawei delivered the P40 and P40 Pro at the end of March. The P40 Pro was a true photography tool with the largest camera sensor in a phone (a claim that lasted throughout 2020) – Huawei’s potent 50MP Quad-Bayer, a 5x periscope camera and a 40MP ultrawide with a huge sensor and autofocus.
The Oppo Find X2 arrived in early March with an AMOLED display that could both run at 1440p and 120Hz, a 5x periscope camera, Snapdragon 865 chipset, and a Vegan Leather finish that we enjoy to this day.
Just three days into the year Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note10 Lite as affordable options to their higher-end namesakes. They were interesting devices to say the least – the Galaxy S10 Lite had a faster Snapdragon 855 chipset and better battery life, while the Galaxy Note10 Lite had better cameras and an S Pen.
There were a few other announcements – the Realme 6 and 6 Pro, the Nokia 8.3 5G, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. And then we began looking at Q2 for the upcoming announcements of the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Apple iPhone SE (2020), among others. The months of April through June are coming next!
We found both US and Korean models, but the ones bound for Europe – the ones expected to use Exynos – are yet to reach the Geekbench database.
The next-gen Redmi Note series will come with a new four-camera setup, premium design and overhauled performance.
We take Huawei AppGallery for a spin to see how well it can replace the Google Play Store on the latest Huawei/Honor phones.
The P40 Pro also has the largest camera sensor in modern smartphones – 1/1.28″. The front camera and sensor situation is much improved as well.
This device will play the affordability card hard, hoping that will get you to ignore the vintage looks.