Фотография Associated Press

Results of 2020: smartphones / Analytics

⇡ #Cancellations, transfers

Logically, the pandemic has canceled all offline exhibitions since the March MWC in Barcelona. Moreover, the mobile congress was canceled at the last moment – tickets have already been bought, hotels are booked, registration was successful … and everything ends abruptly. Someone even showed “from under the counter” some new items to the few journalists who had arrived, but for the most part the companies had to limit themselves to sending out press releases. However, no real disaster (except for the workers involved in the MWC itself) happened. Everything that should have been announced has been announced – just online.

Photo by Associated Press

Photo by Associated Press

Nevertheless, several awkward (and even partly tragic) situations related to the “running” calendar did happen. And if the shift in the release of Motorola Edge + relative to the announcement did not actually affect anything (well, it shifted and shifted, Sony does this every year), then the Nokia 8.3 5G situation is both ridiculous and sad at the same time. The manufacturer, HMD Global, invested heavily in the promotion of its 2020 flagship, organizing a very powerful product placement in the new James Bond series, but the film was first shifted to the fall – and Nokia moved after it, and then completely postponed to 2021. th. And there is nowhere to move the smartphone, which is rapidly ceasing to be relevant. C’est la vie.

⇡ #Huawei vs USA, part two

The popular 2019 series continued in a more hardcore form. However, for the user, nothing has fundamentally changed since the year before last – the key problem of smartphones under the Honor and Huawei brands is the lack of Google services. The AppGallery branded store and various tools to bypass the ban on the installation of any applications heavily tied to Google have evolved – in particular, the Wallet and Sber Pay applications made it possible to some extent return the ability to pay using smartphones on contactless terminals – but completely a problem. of course they don’t.

More serious problems may arise further – the United States imposed sanctions on the supply of TSMC chips for Huawei, and this threatens that there will soon be no hardware platforms for the company’s smartphones (Huawei has its own architecture, but it does not have its own production facilities for the production of semiconductors). There were also rumors about obtaining a license, but the situation is still difficult – they will have to work on the stocks of chips made before the fall. But at least with sensors for cameras, there should be no problems in the near future. Huawei, of course, is cheering up, but if everything goes on like this, the company’s smartphone business will gradually come to naught – however, there is now a new president in the United States, and who knows how events will develop further (but, apparently, about the same as before).

⇡ #Honor is no longer Huawei

This story is a continuation of the one described in the previous paragraph, but in an unusual perspective. It seems to be an expected move, but still surprising – Huawei has abandoned its Honor sub-brand, selling it to a consortium of 40 companies. And – officially – there is now no government involvement in Honor.

Honor 30 Pro +

This was done with a clear purpose – to get the company out of US sanctions, return Google services to Honor smartphones and again take positions at the top of the top sales. This operation looks like a game of thimbles, but what if it works? However, even if the move works, analysts do not paint bright prospects for the new Honor. Nevertheless, a very curious development of events.

⇡ #Incomplete set

A small step for one large company from California, but serious problems for all of humanity. Well, or not very serious, but now one way or another we are faced with a general refusal of chargers in the kit – after all, as Apple does, they do everything a little later.

iPhone 12

For a while, Korean and Chinese competitors will even use stories in their advertising campaigns about the fact that “we have a charger in the kit”, but then, obviously, they will also move on to reducing costs, or, officially, “reducing the ecological footprint ”, And we will go to stores for optional chargers.

⇡ #5G is already here

What everyone has been talking about almost continuously for the last five years seems to come into our lives. This year, all flagship smartphones (and some of the middle class devices) are equipped with 5G modems that work both in Sub6 networks and in mmWave. The coverage is still very small, most of the countries are just preparing to introduce new generation networks, but gadgets that can work with the Internet at new speeds are already saturating the market.

Photo by Reuters

Photo by Reuters

There is even one smartphone that can theoretically work with 5G in Russia. This is Motorola Edge +, which supports the n258 millimeter standard, officially approved for work in the Russian Federation – but so far only in test mode.

⇡ #Side Scanner

Technologically, 2020 turned out to be rather sluggish – no breakthroughs, only a gradual development of ideas laid down earlier. Hardware platforms almost did not add power (which is already redundant, if we talk about flagships), a fingerprint scanner that works anywhere on the screen has remained the prerogative of prototypes so far, the same applies to the front cameras under the glass of the front panel. The rear cameras haven’t made a major leap forward either. Unless the widespread introduction of screens with an increased refresh rate is worth highlighting separately.

Sony Xperia 5 II

But there is one trend that suddenly returned from the past, although it seemed deeply buried – a scanner built into the side key began to be massively installed on middle-class smartphones. The solution is still controversial (parasitic clicks and small coverage, which makes the failure rate higher than any other scanner options), but in the pursuit of a fashion that dictates a back panel without notches, all methods are good.

Best smartphones of the year – Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Usually, in the section of the best smartphones of the year, there are completely flagships, which, in principle, is logical – this is really best smartphones in the sense that all the highest technologies and fresh solutions are concentrated in them. But this year, in my opinion, it was in the flagship sector that there was some stagnation without a single major breakthrough. The locomotive in recent years has been Huawei, which has been very vigorously developing the cameras of its smartphones. But, alas, the sanctions have seriously cut the wings of the Chinese company.

Nevertheless, the best mobile camera in the aggregate of qualities this year was still released by Huawei – in the autumn flagship Mate 40 Pro. Yes, in our comparative test of cameras this smartphone was inferior to the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, but it is worth considering the nature of the tests: we chose universal scenarios, while the Mate 40 Pro simply has more options – for example, the tenfold hybrid zoom of the Mate 40 Pro performs much better, and in complete darkness, it still shoots incomparably (okay, we can only compare it with the vivo X50 Pro). In the spring flagship P40 Pro, some unpleasant features of the image processing software were noticed, but in the Mate40 Pro they disappeared. This is about the camera – serious but you already know the current Huawei smartphones.

The best smartphones of the yearMotorola Edge +/ASUS ROG Phone 3

In a year when flagship smartphones competed in a variety of but, I would like to note those that could pleasantly surprise.

ASUS ROG Phone 3, like any “gaming” smartphone, seems like a very specific and highly specialized gadget, but this is the case when the traditional approach to smartphone building really worked. In fact, the weak point of the ROG Phone 3 is only one (the lack of a mini-jack has to be included in parentheses) – the quality of shooting. It is the most powerful Android smartphone of the year with the fastest memory, fat battery and the screen with the highest refresh rate. Yes, it has a specific design, but the price drops pretty quickly – which is typical for ASUS. Now you can take it for 69,990 rubles, and this is an excellent offer.

And one more flagship, the name of which will not immediately come to mind. But here there is the same mini-jack, best-in-class stereo speakers, good autonomy, a wonderful curved screen and normal (worthy of the flagship level) cameras. Well, the aforementioned superpower is the greatest readiness for Russian 5G right now. Here I would also note the price is slightly lower than that of competitors, but at the moment Motorola Edge + is out of stock. Hope will come back.

Best smartphones of the year – realme 6 Pro

Now let’s move down from the flagships – and move on to the main troublemaker in the middle segment, realme 6 Pro. I wrote about the company realme as about the new Xiaomi back in the year before last, but it really started the offensive in the one that just ended. And its main weapon was just the “six pro”.

A huge screen with a higher refresh rate, the use of Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G earlier than competitors, an unusual design with “lightning”, dual front cameras, very fast charging. And this with a minimum number of minuses, and even for 20 thousand – Xiaomi would relax with the (temporary?) Absence of Honor, but, on the contrary, it is necessary to strain.

Best smartphones of the year – vivo Vtwenty

Another product of the BBK concern (and, we recall, it includes OPPO, vivo, realme and OnePlus), which just demonstrates not the rough approach of Xiaomi (faster, higher, cheaper), but a finer setting.

It is vivo V20 – the smartphone that I liked more than others, subjectively. A thin, lightweight and relatively compact body, noble design (albeit with a hateful “drop” on the front panel), a mini-jack that hasn’t gone anywhere, a perfectly tuned AMOLED screen, the best front camera in its segment and a very decent rear camera … Yes , in terms of a pure price-quality ratio, it is inferior to many, the lack of zoom and stabilization when shooting 4K video is sad, but it’s not even guilty pleasure, no, this is precisely the most human smartphone of this year, along with the Sony Xperia 5 II, which has everything the flaws are too glaring for him to be included in the main list, and not just be mentioned.

Well, there is no way without Xiaomi in this list. Moreover, several models earned a place in it at once. This is RedmiNote 9 Pro, and the state employee POCO M3 that shot at the very end of the year, and the killer of the flagships Mi10T Pro.

But, perhaps, according to the results, it is POCO X3 NFC that should be considered truly “popular”, which became a worthy answer to the troublemaker realme 6 Pro. This is a hefty and not very comfortable smartphone, and nevertheless it meets all the main aspirations of the modern public, except, perhaps, only a dedicated memory card slot, which is not here. It bypasses all competitors in terms of power by a margin, but at the same time it is not devoid of some unexpected things like NFC, and the camera is not very cut here. An ideal anti-crisis smartphone – for those who do not shy away from shovels.

Well, and without fail, mention should be made of the still outlandish format of a flexible transforming smartphone, which has not disappeared anywhere, but is slowly developing.

Both Huawei and Motorola have released their continuation of this idea, but it was the founders of the format from Samsung that showed the greatest progress – the smartphone began to resemble a prototype much less, this is a really excellent gadget. Just wildly expensive. But I still believe that smartphones with flexible screens have a great future.

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