Not that long ago if you wanted to buy the best smartphone on the market, you had to part with the guts of €1,000. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
Many different brands have worked to develop new devices at place a competitive price tag on them. This had made things interesting for consumers, who have more choice than ever before.
I’ve tested more than 20 phones this year, at all different price points. In pulling together my top three phones of the year, rather than just picking the ones with the best spec on paper, I have chosen the three that I enjoyed using the most, that offer the most seamless user experience and value for money.
Google Pixel 4A – €382.67
I have proudly and loudly declared my love for this phone over the last few months. It ticks so many of the boxes I want ticked when it comes to a smartphone. The 5.8-inch body sits very nicely in the hand. It has a plastic, matte back, which I quite like. It doesn’t feel as fragile as some of the phones with a glass back but doesn’t feel cheap either. The fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone is perfectly placed and the entire user experience is a joy.
Internally there’s 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, alongside a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor. What all that means is: it’s very speedy when it comes to multi-tasking. I moved to this phone from a Galaxy S20 and didn’t notice a dip in performance.
The other big selling point is the brilliant camera. It has 12.2MP dual-pixel camera on the back and 8MP front camera. The images that it can produce are fabulous. Particularly in portrait mode!
All-in-all, I cannot recommend this phone highly enough. Of all the phones I used this year, this one impressed me the most.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE - €669
Samsung launched a number of impressive devices this year. They have many ranges; from the budget A range right up to the phablet Note category, they really do strive to have something for everyone.
The high-end S range had a number of new additions in 2020. We saw the S20, S20 Pro and S20 Ultra. The camera on the Ultra blew me away when I had it for review, but the phone that has made it onto my top three is the S20 FE.
This is the Fan Edition of the S20. I scrunched my nose a little bit when I first heard about this device. Would it be any good? Would anyone want it?
The answers to those questions are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’.
When you take it out of the box, you’d really struggle to find the difference between the S20FE and the main S20. It has a 6.5-inch infinity display and they have crammed in so much impressive tech in a beautiful device. There’s 128GB storage built in, which is expandable up to 1TB.
When it comes to value for money and a great user experience, you really can’t go wrong with the S20FE.
iPhone 12 - €914
I know some people may be surprised to see an iPhone on my list of top phones of the year. I have had a bizarre love-hate thing with Apple products over the years. I reviewed the iPhone 12 earlier this year and was surprised by just how much I liked it.
First things first, they have cut down massively on the amount of packaging used when someone buys a new phone. Other manufacturers should absolutely follow suit.
Out of the box, the standard iPhone 12 is stunning to look at. Apple has gone back to the iPhone 4-esque design, which makes the phone sit that bit better in the hand. Moving from an Android phone to the iPhone 12 was utterly pain free. The new phone dragged all of my content (bar my WhatsApp messages) across.
The camera, battery and operating system all impressed me. iOS 14 bridges the gap slightly more between Android and iOS. It was nice to be able to customise the home screen more than had been possible on previous versions.
The 6.1-nch display on the iPhone 12 makes everything look good. I was taken aback by how good the speakers are when watching Netflix or YouTube.
The detail picked up by the ultra-wide and wide lens cameras is slightly mind-blowing. There’s an A14 bionic chip inside, which is the fastest smartphone chip ever.
The one thing I would say against the iPhone is that it doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner. While the Face ID technology is amazing, it’s not ideal at the moment with facemasks and so on. That’s quite literally my only complaint.
I really enjoyed using the iPhone 12 and would almost consider moving from Android full-time. Almost, but not quite!