Editor’s Selection — the winner is…

What a yr 2020 has been. One welcome mild within the darkness of those previous 12 months was the launch of tons of fantastic telephones. But, just one can take dwelling the title of BestAppsIneed’s greatest smartphone of the yr.

Even with out the compelled changes as a result of ongoing world pandemic, 2020 was a yr of main change for the cellular business. We noticed contemporary type components emerge with the rebirth of clamshells, spinning telephones with two screens, and a tease of what rollables may seem like. A handful of foldables that lastly felt ok (and durable sufficient) to genuinely take into account shopping for made an look too.

We additionally noticed 5G take heart stage with its continued rollout. There have been even new worth tiers of smartphones with $1,000+ ultra-premium telephones, tremendous mid-rangers, and even a really price range iPhone! Cats and canine. Mass hysteria.

2020 was a torrid yr for a lot of, however we at the least had some superb smartphones.

2020 was additionally a yr of change for us right here at BestAppsIneed. Should you’re a daily, you’ve little question seen us regularly broaden our scope past cellular because the years have passed by. We’ve usually introduced you all the most recent information and evaluation within the audio, good dwelling, and computing classes, however we’ve expanded even additional this yr to have a look at gaming, streaming, and far, way more.

Subsequent yr we’ll be reflecting on that change after we come to awards season. Transferring ahead, we wish to present like to the easiest the buyer tech world has to supply. In fact, we received’t ever cease bringing you the most effective protection of the cellular platform everyone knows and love — Android!

With that mentioned, it’s time to crown our Editor’s Selection smartphone of the yr. As ever, we’re operating two awards — one determined by us (Editor’s Selection) and the opposite decided by you, our great readers (Reader’s Selection).

Right here, we’re counting down the highest 5 telephones chosen by members of our critiques and options groups at BestAppsIneed. Head additional right down to see which cellphone you selected for the Reader’s Selection award!

How we determined and why

Credit score: Robert Triggs / BestAppsIneed

As with our mid-year award, this yr we mixed uncooked information gleaned from BestAppsIneed‘s goal testing suite with real-world issues to find out an total winner.

Due to our testing group, we have been capable of decide by way of essential information on show accuracy, digital camera high quality, audio readability, in addition to sustained efficiency and battery life. This was achieved by way of a customized model of Velocity Check G designed by our very personal Gary Sims of Gary Explains.

Every cellphone represented right here reached or surpassed a threshold in our testing, proving their superiority versus dozens of rival handsets throughout numerous worth tiers. Nonetheless, we additionally wished to issue within the intangible components that separate good telephones from nice ones. These embrace software program assist, construct high quality, worth, availability, and extra.

To find out our winner, we balanced our goal testing with seasoned, subjective evaluation.

That’s the place our seasoned editorial group stepped in — a group with sufficient expertise to look past a specs sheet full of massive, horny numbers or enticingly low worth tags (or certainly each). We solid judgments with an eye fixed on the larger image of the ever-changing smartphone panorama.

The voting was extraordinarily shut this yr. There have been some surprises alongside the way in which, however we lastly arrived at 5 telephones that each one deserve the very highest reward. One undisputed champion rose above the remainder.

With out additional ado and counting right down to the general winner of our Editor’s Selection 2020 award, these are BestAppsIneed’s smartphones of the yr.

Fifth place: Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony Xperia 5 II rear panel

Credit score: Eric Zeman / BestAppsIneed

In our evaluate, we put it on the market that the Xperia 5 II might be the most effective cellphone Sony has ever made. Contemplating the Japanese OEM’s ailing fortunes lately, that will sound like faint reward. Nonetheless, its presence right here reveals that’s completely not the case. In reality, it narrowly beat out the OnePlus 8 Professional and Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus by only a single vote. That’s some severe competitors.

The Xperia 5 II distilled all that was nice concerning the Xperia 1 II — itself a notable improve over earlier Xperia telephones — lowered it to a extra compact type issue. It dropped the worth to a much more engaging sub-$1,000 tag besides.

The whole lot it’s essential know: Sony Xperia 5 II purchaser’s information

As a {hardware} package deal, the Xperia 5 II is solely incredible. The 120Hz show could also be Full HD+, however the elongated OLED panel delivers an virtually Samsung-level expertise with stable peak brightness, coloration accuracy, and really low gamma error. The final efficiency and triple digital camera are equally nice, as is the colossal battery life. It pushed virtually 5 hours even in our most excessive stress check — very almost matching common utilization for a typical flagship smartphone. There’s even a headphone jack.

Sony’s slimline cellphone might’ve ranked even greater, however legacy software program points — significantly the complicated digital camera app state of affairs — prevented it from difficult for high honors. If Sony can repair these, then the sky’s the restrict.

Fourth place: Oppo Discover X2 Professional

Oppo Find X2 Pro camera module macro

That is one for the books. The Oppo Discover X2 Professional not solely blew our expectations out of the water in 2020, but it surely additionally ended up besting the OnePlus 8 Professional within the battle of the BBK-affiliated manufacturers.

OnePlus’ flagship (our mid-2020 winner, no much less) continues to be a incredible cellphone, however our love affair sadly pale over time. In the meantime, our affection for the Discover X2 Professional grew, capturing a particular place in our hearts.

It’s not exhausting to see why both. In contrast to its sister model, Oppo’s tuning of the BBK-exclusive Sony IMX689 sensor proved to be chic. The cellphone constantly ranked close to the highest of our digital camera testing. The Discover X2 Professional matched and in some instances bested the general chief, the Huawei Mate 40 Professional. That’s fairly an accomplishment.

Our verdict: Oppo Discover X2 Professional evaluate

Throw in spectacular efficiency stats, speedy charging (just below 45 minutes from zero to 100%), and a cool, color-accurate QHD+ AMOLED show, and also you’ve bought your self a high flagship. It could not have the innovation issue of its slider-toting predecessor, but it surely’s nonetheless a looker, particularly the good-looking vegan leather-based mannequin.

If Oppo is ready to proceed delivering aggressive flagships like this, we will’t wait to see what’s in retailer in 2021 with the Discover X3 collection.

Third place: Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a screen in hand 3

Credit score: David Imel / BestAppsIneed

The follow-up to 2019’s Editor’s Selection award winner, the Pixel 4a took the blueprint of the beloved Pixel 3a and in some way made it much more engaging.

In comparison with the powerhouse gadgets of 2020, its Snapdragon 730 chipset was by no means going to set the world on fireplace. But, elsewhere the Pixel 4a punches properly above its weight. That is significantly true of its stellar show, with very excessive peak brightness (720 nits), wonderful coloration accuracy, and low gamma error.

The whole lot it’s essential know: Google Pixel 4a purchaser’s information

Regardless of gradual charging, battery life can also be respectable and, once more, it’s good to see a headphone jack on any cellphone in 2020. Then there’s the 12MP digital camera that after once more brings Google’s applauded computational images to the price range phase.

Talking of price range, the Pixel 4a hit the market with an MSRP of simply $349. It will not be probably the most flashy cellphone of the yr, however its unimaginable worth blows out different comparable telephones just like the OnePlus Nord with an plain pairing of wonderful {hardware} with wonderful software program.

Second place: Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G standard back image

Credit score: David Imel / BestAppsIneed

Coming in only one vote forward of its 5G-less sibling, the Google Pixel 4a 5G provided a lot greater than its awkwardly affixed moniker would counsel.

Very similar to the Pixel 4a, the show is astonishingly good, however the battery life is even higher. Even our intense stress check couldn’t cease the cellphone hitting just below six hours of display screen on time. The digital camera additionally enjoys a welcome improve with a secondary ultra-wide shooter. Whereas the Pixel 5’s images suite faltered just a little this yr as others caught up, that very same digital camera module shines right here. The digital camera expertise is leaps and bounds above the rest within the sub-$500 area, together with Apple’s iPhone SE.

The whole lot it’s essential know: Google Pixel 4a 5G purchaser’s information

That was the case throughout the board too. Whereas there have been some nice mid-range telephones in 2020 just like the Poco F2 Professional and Realme X50 Professional — toting flagship processors besides — they couldn’t match the imaginative and prescient of Google’s completely balanced center little one. The truth that our group resoundingly shunned Google’s 2020 flagship for the sweet-spot-hitting Pixel 4a 5G speaks volumes.

Silly title be damned, the Pixel 4a 5G was Google’s greatest cellphone of 2020. Arguably its greatest ever… but it surely nonetheless couldn’t topple the last word winner of our 2020 Editor’s Selection award.

BestAppsIneed‘s Editor’s Selection 2020 winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in hand 2

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Credit score: David Imel / BestAppsIneed

Samsung launched an insane quantity of telephones in 2020, but it surely was its final large launch of the yr that stole the present.

Launched in an understated trend only a month after the headline-grabbing Be aware 20 collection and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (the most effective foldable of the yr, no query), the Galaxy S20 Fan Version 5G (to offer it it’s full title) was the right reply to a yr the place the commoditization of smartphones reached fever pitch.

On one hand, you had the Ultras, the Professional Pluses, and the Professional Maxes — eye-wateringly costly luxurious flagships bursting with energy and bloated with extra extras. This, mixed with growing worth tags throughout the business, pushed a variety of consumers in the direction of the steadily enhancing mid-range.

That wasn’t the one choice although. 2020 noticed the rise of a brand new class of tremendous mid-rangers — such because the Pixel 5 and LG Velvet. They eschewed flagship energy however nonetheless delivered premium design and options.

The Galaxy S20 FE does not essentially excel in anybody space, but it surely completely smashes expectations in all of them.

At a look, the Galaxy S20 FE seems to fit properly into this class with its $699 price ticket. However, no, it is a good quaint flagship killer with bleeding-edge silicon — one which beat out its personal Galaxy S20 relations in our collective voting.

With the S20 FE, you don’t must closely compromise in a specific space to avoid wasting just a few {dollars}. Its triple digital camera can’t fairly cling with the easiest of the yr, but it surely’s a punchy and splendidly versatile setup. The “glasstic” construct isn’t as premium as glass, but it surely’s much more sturdy. Samsung’s professional craftsmanship nonetheless shines by way of.

The Galaxy S20 FE is blazing quick, too. The Snapdragon 765G might have risen to prominence in 2020, however the Snapdragon 865 continues to be the place it’s at if you need true top-tier efficiency. As for these much less lucky that don’t get the Snapdragon mannequin, the 4G-only Exynos variant nonetheless fortunately retained a variety of the FE 5G’s greatest qualities, although it’s an inferior model total.

Samsung’s show pedigree is on present with its impeccable 120Hz panel. It drops the decision to FHD+, however delivers on brightness and accuracy. That is topped off with aggressive battery life, wi-fi and reverse wi-fi charging, 5G mmWave assist, UFS 3.0 storage, a microSD slot, an IP68 score, and Samsung’s One UI pores and skin that continues to mature over time.

The few trade-offs that the Galaxy S20 FE makes are exquisitely balanced towards its approachable retail worth. Whereas it doesn’t actually excel past the elite gadgets of 2020 in anybody space, it meets and surpasses expectations in all of them.

In a yr the place many telephones appeared laser-targeted on a selected viewers — be it frugal consumers, early adopters, or energy customers — the Galaxy S20 FE was the cellphone for everybody. You possibly can in all probability even purchase it in your favourite coloration, because the cellphone broke the monochrome monotony with its brilliant colorways.

Samsung known as its reasonably priced S20 the Fan Version — and you’ll depend us amongst them. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the deserved winner of BestAppsIneed’s Editor’s Selection award.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE All the most effective options of the Galaxy S20 collection at a cheaper price

Should you do not thoughts reducing just a few corners, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for “Fan Version”) could be the cellphone you might be on the lookout for. It provides many of the flagship specs and options of the Galaxy S20 household however trims issues right down to maintain the worth low.

What concerning the Reader’s Selection award?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is our decide for the most effective smartphone of 2020. Did you agree with us? Discover out by trying out our Reader’s Selection award under!

What was your favourite smartphone of 2020? Discover out the Reader’s Selection 2020 winner proper right here

Additionally, be sure you take a look at our 2020 retrospective articles under for extra on a number of the greatest telephones of the yr:

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