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2020 Smartphone Flagships You Should Know

Millions of people have moved off the traditional computer and now use their smartphone for most of their browsing and other tasks, with new devices coming out regularly to help them do so. Let’s take a few minutes to examine the latest devices available today.

This is the first part of a series we will be running over the next few weeks. While we’re focusing on the flagship devices this time, we’ll also be examining the innovative new devices on the market, as well as a few budget-friendly options over the next few weeks.

Today’s Flagships

Flagship smartphones are a smartphone manufacturer’s best product at the time, with every specification or component improved to the highest standard. They’re the devices that people most want in their pockets, and as such, they are the ones with the most demanding price tags. It isn’t uncommon for the latest smartphones to outpace the specifications available on many personal computers, as many people will first turn to their mobile device for their computing needs. Regardless of whether they’re creating or consuming content, “there’s an app for that” (trademarked by Apple) and the convenience of the smartphone form factor makes what the user wants a simple thing to access whenever they want it.

This is essentially why these flagship devices are produced. Here’s the latest batch coming out throughout this holiday season:

The OnePlus 8 Pro

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the first flagship device that a Chinese manufacturer has developed with an expanding Western market share. Coated in Gorilla Glass 5 and built around an aluminum frame, the ergonomically shaped OnePlus 8 Pro readily competes with the competition produced by Apple and Samsung.

Behind its 6.78-inch AMOLED display, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with Android 10 and the ability to upgrade to 11. Inside, the device runs off a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip and houses either 8 or 12 GB of RAM. It also has an impressive camera, with a primary wide-angle lens boasting 48 megapixels, an 8 megapixel 3x telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide-angle lens sporting 48 megapixels. Tacked on, so to speak, is a five-megapixel color filter lens.

OnePlus phones haven’t really qualified as flagship devices in the past, but the OnePlus 8 Pro breaks that pattern with wireless charging capabilities and an in-screen fingerprint reader to boost its security. Powered by a 4,510 mAh battery, the OnePlus 8 Pro is available through major carriers in the U.S. and U.K. in Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Onyx Black.

  • Body: Aluminum with Gorilla Glass 5 Front and Back
  • Display: 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED (~513 ppi)
  • OS: Android 10, upgrade available to Android 11
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • Memory: 8-to-12 GB RAM
  • Expandable Memory: No
  • Cameras: 48 MP (wide); 8 MP (telephoto) 3x; 48 MP (ultra wide) Front: 16 MP (wide)
  • Sounds: Stereo speakers, no headphone jack.
  • Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,510 mAh (103 hours)
  • Security: In-screen fingerprint reader
  • Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Compass, IP68 dust/water resistant
  • Other versions: OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8T

Samsung Galaxy s20 Ultra

Samsung has long been considered the developer of the best of the Android smartphones, thanks to their s-line of mobile devices. The latest additions to this brand are no exceptions, including the Galaxy s20, the Galaxy s20 Fan Edition, the Galaxy s20+, and at the peak, the Galaxy s20 Ultra. Each of these are available with 5G compatibility.

Focusing on the s20 Ultra, a covering of Gorilla Glass 6 houses an aluminum frame and a 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x display with 1,440 X 3,200 resolution. With either 12 or 16 GB of RAM under the metaphorical hood, the Galaxy s20 Ultra has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor. Helping to boost its security, this model also features an in-screen fingerprint reader for authentication purposes.

The s20 Ultra also has a very capable camera setup, with rear-facing cameras that include a 48-megapixel telephoto lens capable of a tenfold zoom, a 108-megapixel wide angle lens and a 12-megapixel ultra wide angle lens. Rounding all this out, a DepthVision Time of Flight camera gives the s20 Ultra 8k video recording capabilities. With Samsung’s One UI 2.5 skin applied to Android 10, the s20 Ultra houses a 5,000 mAh battery with plugged-in 45-watt fast charging capabilities and 15-watt Qi wireless charging potential.

The Samsung Galaxy s20 Ultra is available in Cosmic Grey, Cloud White, and Cosmic Black, and can be had from all major carriers.

  • Body: Aluminum with Gorilla Glass 6 Front and Back
  • Display: 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x (~511 ppi)
  • OS: Android 10
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • Memory: 12-to-16 GB RAM
  • Expandable Memory: Yes (microSDXC)
  • Cameras: Rear – 108 MP (wide), 48MP (periscope telephoto) 10x, 12 MP (ultra wide), .3 MP( Time of Flight). Front – 40 MP wide.
  • Sounds: Stereo Speakers, No Headphone Jack
  • Battery (endurance rating): 5,000 mAh (87 hours)
  • Security: In-screen fingerprint reader
  • Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Barometer, Compass, Bixby assistant, IP68 dust/water resistant
  • Other versions: Galaxy s20, Galaxy s20+, Galaxy s20 FE

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The second flagship available from Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, is arguably the best smartphone included on this list. With a stainless-steel construction and Victus Gorilla Glass covering, the Note 20 Ultra ranks high in durability. With Android 11 preinstalled, the Note 20 Ultra is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and features 12 GB of RAM. Most visibly, it presents the user with a 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display.

All of this is powered by an upgraded 4,500 mAh battery. As for cameras, the Note 20 Ultra has a 108-megapixel wide angle lens, a 12-megapixel 50x zoom-capable telephoto lens, and a 12-megapixel ultra wide angle lens. It also comes with the useful S-pen integrated, giving users more functionality.

Available from every major carrier, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be found in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, or Mystic White.

  • Body: Stainless Steel with Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Display: 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • OS: Android 10, One UI 2.5
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Expandable Memory: Yes
  • Cameras: 108 MP wide, 12 MP (periscope telephoto) 50x, 12 MP (ultra wide) Front: 10 MP wide
  • Sounds: Stereo Speakers, no headphone jack
  • Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,500 mAh (88 hours)
  • Security: In-display fingerprint reader
  • Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, IP68 dust/water resistant
  • Other versions: Samsung Galaxy Note 20

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Built with the same stainless-steel construction as its more recent models, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is shrouded in Gorilla Glass 6, with a 6.7-inch Super retina OLED display. With a 1284 x 2778 resolution, this display sports approximately 458 pixels-per-inch.

The specs are impressive enough on their own. Built around Apple’s proprietary A14 processor, the phone has the first 5-nanometer processor ever built into a smartphone. It features 6 GB of RAM and 512 GB of onboard storage. Powered by a modest 3687 mAh battery, the iPhone 12 Pro Max runs iOS 14.1, which has had its settings optimized for battery life. If the user runs out, they can power back up with 20-watt fast charging capabilities, or 15-watt wireless Qi charging.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a photography setup consisting of three 12-megapixel lenses, with a Time of Flight sensor for added photo depth. It is to be available in Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue.

  • Body: Stainless Steel with Gorilla Glass 6
  • Display: 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED (~458 ppi)
  • OS: iOS 14.1
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM, up to 512 GB onboard storage
  • Expandable Memory: No
  • Cameras: Rear: 12 MP (wide), 12 MP (ultra wide), 12 MP (telephoto) 2.5x Front: 12 MP (wide)
  • Sounds: Stereo Speakers, no headphone jack
  • Battery (battery endurance rating): 3,687 mAh (~100 hours)
  • Security: Face ID
  • Miscellaneous: Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity, compass, barometer, Siri assistant, IP68 dust/water resistant
  • Other versions: iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro

In fairness, these are not the only smartphone flagships at the moment, but these are the ones that rank as the best as the others each feature some fatal flaw or another that prevents them from being a truly viable option. Other devices include the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, the Sony Xperia 1ii, and the Google Pixel 5.

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