What a way to end the decade.
2019 has been a banner year for smartphones. The year has truly shaped and paved the way for cutting-edge technologies that each brand has to offer. But it is not a battle of which one is the cream of the crop. From entry-levels that could pass off as premium ones, to innovative flagship releases, to worth-a-kidney high-ends — each shine their own way as they all have something to bring to the table, and deserve their very own spotlights.
It has been an eventful year with the comeback of one of the decade’s most iconic phone, the Motorola’s Razr, but this time it is elevated. Of course, how can we turn a blind eye on Samsung’s big bang with its transforming phone, the Galaxy Fold. Apple startled the world with its eccentric cameras. Huawei ceased to innovate when it awed the world with its P30 Pro’s 30x zoom feature. Newcomer TCL heads in the game to join in the giants OPPO, Vivo, Realme, of course, the lone Pinoy pride that is Cherry Mobile, and so on. With all these said, let us get into the details as we look back on 2019’s shining stars.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
The Galaxy Fold by Samsung is the epitome of out of the box. From all the other phones that launched this year, the Galaxy Fold has introduced the unique, and first-of-its’s-kind user interface and experience. People may have different opinions about the Fold but the “ipso facto” that it sold out like pancakes on the day of the pre-order speaks for itself.
While it may be difficult for some to decide on which device to get between a smartphone or a tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Fold marries the two to give users bigger screens without sacrificing space.
The device introduces the world’s first seamless foldable Infinity Flex display. On its tablet mode, the 12-inch screen give users Multi-Active Window feature that allows for as much as three simultaneous apps to run. This feature carries on with App Continuity to let users access opened apps even after switching it back and forth from smartphone to tablet.
Even when folded into the 7.3-inch AMOLED screen, the Galaxy Fold still has the biggest display on a smartphone available.
Aside from this, the Samsung Galaxy Fold did not sacrifice its cameras capabilities, as it is also equipped with pro-grade hexa-lens camera system, capable of HDR10+ with dynamic tone-mapping technology.
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
The camera. Enough said.
But before we get to that, Apple has welcomed their A13 Bionic Chipset on their iPhone 11 Pro. Paired with up to 32 hours of battery life and smarter iOS 13, Apple gives users value for their money with their latest device.
On to the headline act, the iPhone 11 Pro’s shooter consists of three 12-megapixel cameras: a telephoto, a wide, and an ultra-wide. The 11 Pro’s camera is upgraded to shoot better in the dark. Not just that, its improved video stabilization comes out on top of its game.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Scaring professional cameras out of their wits, Huawei ceases to stop bringing their A game by introducing the world-first dedicated 40-megapixel Cine Camera on the Mate 30 Pro. The Cine Camera supports 4K, HDR+, 60fps, ISO 51200, dual OIS and AIS. Huawei’s quad camera set up is encapsulated in a halo ring, which complements the phone’s sophisticated Space Silver and Black reflecting colors.
Along with its 40MP Cine Camera are the 40MP SuperSensing camera which allows for clear photos no matter which setting, 8MP Telephoto responsible for 3x Optical Zoom, 5x Hybrid Zoom, and up to 30x Digital Zoom, and its 3D Depth Sensing Camera which produces professional bokeh photos and videos.
The Mate 30 Pro’s Cine Camera also supports7680fps ultra slow-motion video shooting which perfectly captures the hummingbird’s flapping wings slowed down.
Other notable features of the Mate 30 Pro is its Flagship Kirin Chipset which gives overall improved performace, and the side-touch interactions on its ultra-curved screen. It completely got rid of physical buttons and allowed for controls to be accessed on the side of the screen. It also packs quite the juice on its 4500 mAh battery.
OPPO Reno 2
How can we ignore the elevated popup camera of OPPO Reno 2. Its 48MP shark fin shooter uses cutting-edge photography technology to produces one of the clearest images considering its price point.
The Reno 2’s quad-camera system is capable of up to 20x zoom, together with a 2-megapixel mono lens, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 13-megapixel telephoto lens. Its popup camera is also capable of capturing videos with bokeh effects, making it the first of its kind.
Reno 2 features Night Goggle, which uses artificial intelligence to produce high quality low-light photos with less noise. All these comes packed in a Snapdragon 730G chipset, with 8GB of RAM, and a storage of up to 256GB.
Vivo NEX 3
NEX 3 from Vivo takes one of, if not, the best night shots from any smartphone that I have seen. Aside from its AMOLED Waterfall FullView Display, the camera of the NEX 3 is definitely its strong suit.
It features a 16-megapixel Elevating Selfie Camera equipped with flash which enables it to stunningly capture in low-light situations. The elevating camera is tailored with motor and gearbox giving it stable, and smooth elevation.
The NEX 3 flexes a 64-megapixel main camera, 13MP wide-angle camera and a 13MP super macro camera. It is juiced with 4500 mAh of battery that comes with Vivo Super FlashCharge 44W and C-DRX power-saving technologies.
The NEX 3 sports a 99.6% screen-to-body; bezel-less, and notch-free. It rids the need for physical buttons with its unibody form factor. Powering up the NEX 3 is the Snapdragon 855 Plus octa-core chip clocked at 2.96GHz with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.
realme is first to have a 64MP quad-camera system with the XT. The phone’s four lenses consist of a 64MP primary lens, an ultra-wide-angle lens, a macro lens and a portrait lens.
Under its hood is the best processor there is on a mid-range device, the Snapdragon 712 AIE. And what use is a powerful processor if users can’t maximize it with the latest games. Fortunately, realme XT’s Hyper Boost 2.0 comes with Game Boost 2.0, featuring FrameBoost and Touch Boost which reduces game latency by as much as 73.7%.
Along with these, realme XT’s 4000mAh battery is supported with 20W VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 which fully charges the phone in 80 minutes.
Cherry Mobile Flare S8
We have to give it up to our very own Cherry Mobile and their Flare S8, which could easily pass off as one of the higher-end smartphones. Flare S8 is Cherry Mobile’s best budget phone yet.
Do not let the price tag fool you, aside from its sophisticated gradient design, the Flare S8 runs on MediaTek Helio P23 chipset paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.
Its main shooter is 13-megapixel with 2MP depth sensor. Flare S8 captures selfies at 13MP as well, and its 2800mAh battery supports fast charging via USB Type-C. The camera also features different modes such as Panorama, Watermark, GIF, Time-lapse, Beauty Video, Pro mode, and even QR Code. It records videos up to 1080p 30fps
The 6.2-inch HD+ panel screen of the Flare S8 sports a teardrop notch, and it runs on Android 9 Pie.
TCL jumps in on the smartphone scene with Plex. Introduced at Europe’s biggest tech show IFA 2019, TCL Plex sports a 90% screen-to-body ratio with its 6.53” display.
Plex, running on Android 9 Pie, introduces the ‘Dotch’ display on its upper left corner which houses its 24-megapixel selfie shooter. The smartphone flaunts holographic design in its Obsidian Black colorway.
The device is equipped with 48MP + 16MP + 2MP cameras lined up just above the square-shaped fingerprint scanner. Also, along with its design is the dedicated Google Assistant button placed on the left side of the screen.
Powering the TCL Plex is Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, with 6GB RAM and up to 256GB of storage. It has 3,820mAh battery and Quick Charge 3.0 feature.
Just as 2019 was about to flip close its books, Motorola comes in beating the buzzer by resurrecting its most iconic phone, the Razr.
Razr was a household name in the mid-2000s. Razr was an era.
Now as Motorola launched the reboot of the 2020 Razr last November, nostalgia filled the air. Only this time, it has upgraded. So erase the sentimentality, and brace yourself for the future of flip phones.
And if you miss the iconic keypad that the old Razr used to have, you can access it with Retro Mode in the Android’s Quick Settings menu.
The Motorola Razr has a foldable 6.2-inch screen. It is equipped with a 16MP main camera, and powered with Qualcomm Snapdragon 710.
Packed with it 6GB of RAM, and 128 internal storage. Razr stayed faithful to its iconic pocketable phone only this time with double the screen size. The full screen folds without a visible gap in-between. Talk about the future.