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Best Flagship Smartphones Right Now

Best Flagship Smartphones Right Now

For millions of people their phone is their most important device. In fact, many people do their computing exclusively on their smartphones. Today, the best devices give people the option to do anything they need to do from the palm of their hand. Let’s take a look at some of the best smartphones available to consumers today.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at the smartphone market from the flagships, to innovative new devices, to the budget smartphones that can present consumers a lot of value. 

The Flagships

Flagship smartphones are the cream of the crop—by designating a particular device as their flagship, a manufacturer is stating it’s the best-period-option-period-available-period. Every spec or component is improved as much as possible. They are the devices in demand, and as such, they’re the ones with the largest price tags. It isn’t uncommon for many of today’s flagships to out-spec many PCs. This is simply because mobile computing is the new default for many. Whether they’re creating content, using an app, or whatever, people are going to want a device that can do what they need it to do, when they want to do it.

This is why flagship devices are produced. Here are the ones coming out from now until the holidays:

iPhone 12 Pro Max

As the first official smartphone manufacturer on the market, Apple has always proven itself a contender. This has only been reinforced over the past three years. This year’s model of their trendsetting device, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, bears the same stainless steel construction as other recent models with Gorilla Glass 6 on its front and back. The 12 Pro Max features a massive 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED display with a 1,284 x 2,778 resolution, equalling about 458 pixels per inch.

The specs look just as good as the device does. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with Apple’s proprietary A14 processor, the first-ever 5 nanometer processor seen in a smartphone. While there is no expandable memory, it comes with 6 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of onboard storage. While the 3,687 mAh battery may seem a little small, the optimization settings built into iOS 14.1 gives it enough efficiency to power through. Plugged in, the device has 20 watt fast charging and 15 watt wireless Qi charging.

As for cameras, the iPhone 12 Pro Max features a similar set as its 11 counterpart with three 12 megapixel lenses, but with the added photo depth benefits of an added Time of Flight sensor. 

Coming the second week of November 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available in Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
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

OnePlus 8 Pro 

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the first real flagship model built by a Chinese device manufacturer with a growing market share in the west. Coated front and back in Gorilla GLass 5 and built on an aluminum frame, the OnePlus 8 Pro is built with ergonomically-friendly curves. WIth a 6.78-inch AMOLED display, it can hold its own comfortably with the flagships from Apple and Samsung.

Running Android 10, the OnePlus 8 Pro can be upgraded to Android 11. Inside, you’d find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip and either 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM. The camera is nothing to scoff at, either, with a 48 megapixel wide angle primary lens, an 8 megapixel 3x telephoto lens, and a 48 megapixel ultra wide angle lens to round it all out. To help get the colors just right, it also sports a 5 megapixel color filter lens.

While OnePlus phones have lacked some of the options to really qualify as “flagships” in the past, the OnePlus 8 Pro has them, with wireless charging and an in-screen fingerprint reader to secure it. It can hold its own with the other devices, thanks to its 4510 mAh battery. Coming in Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Onyx Black, many major carriers in the U.S. and U.K. will feature the OnePlus 8 Pro.

OnePlus 8 Pro
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 the distinction of being assumed to be the developer of the creme de la creme of Android smartphones with their s-line of devices. This year offers various new models under this brand, including the Galaxy s20 Fan Edition, the Galaxy s20, the Galaxy s20+, and at its peak, the Galaxy s20 Ultra. Each of these phones is also available as a 5G-compatible model.

Looking specifically at the Galaxy s20 Ultra, it’s aluminum frame holds a Gorilla GLass 6 front and back with a comically large 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x display with a 1440 x 3200 resolution. It is available with 12 to 16 GB of RAM, running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 for power to match its size. For security, an in-screen fingerprint reader provides biometric authentication.

The camera profile matches the high standards of the rest of the device. With rear-facing cameras that include a 48-megapixel telephoto lens with 10x zoom, a 108-megapixel wide angle lens and 12-megapixel ultra wide angle lens, and a DepthVision Time of Flight camera, s20 Ultra is capable of recording 8K video. Running Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI 2.5 skin, the Galaxy s20 Ultra is powered by a 5,000 mAh battery with 45 watt fast charging via a plug (15w with a Qi wireless charger).

The s20 Ultra can come in Cosmic Grey, CLoud White, and Cosmic Black, and is available on all major carriers.

Samsung Galaxy s20 Ultra
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 

Yes, you’re reading this right—Samsung has not one, but two separate flagship devices, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is arguably the best available right now.

Constructed out of stainless steel, with Corning’s finest Victus Gorilla Glass on its front and back, the Note 20 Ultra is among the most durable devices available. Running Android 11, it features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 12 GB of RAM… but the most notable feature is the absurd 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display.

Powered by an upgraded 4,500 mAh battery, the Note 20 Ultra features a series of cameras that put the ones on the Note 10 to shame. Set into the device are a 108 megapixel wide angle lens, a 12 megapixel telephoto lens with 50x zoom capabilities, and a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle lens.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White from every major carrier.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
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

Admittedly, these four devices aren’t the only flagships, but the other admittedly great devices each have some fatal flaw that prevents them from really being a viable option for people in the west. These honorable mention devices include the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, the Sony Xperia 1ii, and the Google Pixel 5.

What phone have you committed to? Are you due for an upgrade? Share your thoughts in the comments and make sure you check back next week for our discussion on new smartphones with unusual form factors.

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