2018 is almost gone and the year has seen smartphone technology bring futuristic technology down to the hands of the consumers. However, these top-end flagship smartphones are not as cheap as used to be and most have passed the Rs 70K mark, reaching as high as Rs 1.5 Lakh. High-end smartphones are soon out going to be out of reach for the common man, forcing him to settle for mainstream devices and competitive flagships from the China town. Nevertheless, if you are to opt for the best in class performance with aesthetics and brand value, combined with resale value post its usage year, you have to shell out the moolah.
Here we bring you the list of top 10 performance flagship smartphones that demand your bank balance going dry. While some are high in technology ranging from unique displays to top-notch security, others may be plain jane performing chips to unique technology innovations that are put out to the public for testing. Check out this list of high-end smartphones that launched in 2018.
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Note 9
Samsung is known for their Galaxy series, which are high in performance on both processing and camera. Apart from the two which are common on a few other smartphones today, the Galaxy series is probably the only smartphones with a curved Super AMOLED 2K display that sports an edge on both sides, which adds to its elegant looks. Waterproof and dustproof as usual, the Galaxy series is split into many variants catering to customers with different budget requirements.
However, the differentiating factor between the Galaxy S series and Note series is something that is worth every penny spend. The Galaxy Note 9 speaks of a unique and new S Pen which wirelessly charges and gives you the functionality of a fine point active stylus that no smartphone brand has yet braved to adopt.
Apart from these, the Galaxy flagships are also high on security with Iris scanning as biometrics and a military-grade hardware security layer called Knox. If you are an executive, the Galaxy Note 9 is what you should consider. It is a bit taller and is best used by businessmen, marketing personnel, artists and developers around the world. If you want a blend of class and performance, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are great too. You could term them as the Note without a stylus.
Google Pixel 3/3XL, Huawei Mate20 Pro
If photography is something that you crave for and picture perfect shots are what you require, then you should check out the phones from Google and Huawei.
Presently termed as the best photography smartphones in the flagship class, the two have the highest ranks that no other smartphone brands are able to compete yet. While the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL is a very basic smartphone that caters to high performance and a pure stock Android experience, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a blend of style, performance and technology, along with the highest photography rating. With three cameras, the beast can perform unusual tricks that smartphones last year could probably only dream of.
However, Google still beats most smartphones out there by using software and AI sorcery to get the most awesome photos with just one single rear camera. If pure stock Android experience and class-leading photography are what you desire, then the Pixel is for you. But if you want to show off a chic phone that can do some party tricks such as super macro zoom, super slo mo videos, reverse wireless charging and an invisible (almost) speaker, then the Mate could be your best bet.
Apple iPhone XS/XS Max, XR
Apple is probably the most expensive smartphone brand out there. The prices can touch a soaring Rs 1.5 lakhs for their top end handset, but the cheapest ones also are no less than Rs 70,000. However, what works for Apple is the logo on their devices that which are favoured by most smartphone users out there. Probably, even if Apple put a logo on a cardboard box, people would pay the price Apple would demand. Such is a fan following for the brand. But don’t get Apple wrong — their products demand the price as each of them are completely unique from any other smartphone out there.
They use recycled materials to help make an eco-friendly business. Their iOS operating system is still a no-match for any other smartphone OS out there. Yet, no one has been able to crack their display technology on their smartphones. Lastly, no one has yet been able to match their FaceID biometrics yet. Though the smartphones from Apple get a rare design upgrade, they are still a fashion statement for everyone. Apple released the iPhone XS and XS Max that cater to the top end smartphone market, and also released the iPhone XR later to help budget seekers get a taste of performance. If you want top-notch performance and biometrics, then Apple is the name.
OnePlus is a 5-year old name in the market today. They crept up into the smartphone platform from nowhere and today they are rubbing shoulders with big brands from the last decade. Their offering? — pure performance, at an affordable price. OnePlus caters to a particular segment of smartphone users who crave for nothing but sheer performance.
Each year, they present the flagship Qualcomm chipset, tweak it with their own home-brewed Android operating system and make sure that their smartphones can outperform almost all smartphones out there. Their motto is - Never Settle – and they will definitely not settle with what they make themselves. Earlier in 2018, they launched the OnePlus 6 with an SD845 chipset and put a whopping 8GB of RAM into their 6T later. And towards the end of 2018, they offered a special Edition —the OnePlus 6T McLaren, which boasts of an enormous 10GB of RAM along with a 30W charger. Together with high-performance hardware and the fastest charging technology, it seems they are presently the leading brand for those who need high-end performance within an affordable price range.
Vivo NEX, OPPO Find X
While people may argue that the iPhones and the Samsung flagships of 2018 may be mere iterations of its 2017 products, there is no denying the work the brands have undertaken to add the best tech making them future proof for at least the next couple of years. However, when 2017 saw Chinese smartphone manufacturers ape the tech juggernauts from the US and South Korea, 2018 saw them infuse tech into their flagships in a way that was never seen before. In short, a tech lover's wet dream!
Vivo and OPPO flexed their tech biceps and showed a huge middle finger to Apple and said if you can introduce the notch to get an all-screen display, we can delete the notch altogether and show you what an all-screen display actually is.
In what was a first of its kind, Vivo introduced the NEX smartphone and this flagship device, was marginally costlier than OnePlus’s then flagship handset the One Plus 6 and yet it packed in so much tech, making the entire world stop and take notice. The handset, priced at Rs 44,990 came loaded with a nearly bezel-less fullscreen display that features a 91.4 per cent screen-to-body ratio and its 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display sporting an aspect ratio of 19:3:9. Under the hood, the Vivo NEX is powered by a Snapdragon 845 chipset aided by 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The handset runs on Android 8.1 Oreo layered by FunTouch OS 4.0 along with AI enhancements.
So the obvious question persists — where is the front-facing camera? Because this handset surely has one, right? Vivo hasn’t skimped on any of the features necessary and has instead used an innovative elevated selfie cam. This mechanical contraption works in a way when the front camera is required; it slides up from the top of the handset. And when not needed it slides back down. With this feature, there may raise a lot of doubts as is this handset waterproof? How many times does the slider work till it gets spoilt? Or even, can you manually push this camera back in? For most, the brand has put the handset through rigorous testing making sure that you can also press it down without it getting spoiled as well as testing the feature over and over before announcing the product to ensure its life cycle isn’t hampered. Regarding the handset being water-resistant? The obvious answer is a flat no.
Like with any device that sports such a feature, water will damage the product making not only the camera but the entire device useless. Other features of this handset include an in-display fingerprint scanner and an entire display acting as the earpiece for calls.
OPPO followed shortly after the Vivo NEX and introduced the Find X. Unlike the NEX, the Find X sports a motorised slider on top that pops open and closes automatically whenever the camera is needed. Whether you are clicking selfies or unlocking the phone, the camera slider comes up to scan your face. OPPO claims that the camera slider has been tested over 300,000 times for durability.
The OPPO Find X features a 6.42-inch full HD+ AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The device is claimed to have a screen-to-body ratio of 93.8 per cent. It runs on ColorOS 5.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The smartphone is backed by a 3730mAh battery with VOOC fast charging. Under the hood, the smartphone is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset, paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The Find X comes with a dual rear camera setup, comprising of a 16MP primary sensor with a LED flash, f/2.0 aperture and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), and a 20MP secondary sensor with f/2.2 aperture. There is a 25MP camera sensor with a f/2.0 aperture for a front shooter. There is also a 3D facial recognition system meant to unlock the smartphone as there is no fingerprint scanner present. The handset is priced at Rs 59,990 in India.
Asus ROG Phone
Gaming phones. So, in 2018, as hard as it may to believe, gaming phones are a thing and it appears that its just in its infancy. With games such as PUBG, Fortnite and Asphalt 9 demanding the very best features to output the game in its best form with the right amount of tessellation, anti-aliasing and ambient occlusion. Prior to this, these terms were only associated with PC gaming, but now, throw in a chipset and RAM that’s capable of handling the most graphic intensive games, developers are focusing their attention on developing high-end games for mobiles because nothing seems too out of bounds.
With game developers exploiting this market, it was just a matter of time till smartphone manufacturers started launching smartphones that were gaming beasts. And we have gone way past the years of the Nokia N-Gage or the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. These handsets come with displays with super high refresh rates, cooling of various forms as well as processors and RAM to take on any game a mobile game developer throws at them.
While the likes of the iPhone XS or Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may handle all the games that are currently available you won’t want to ignore the current crop of gaming phones that have snaked its way into the market.
Last year, in 2017, we saw the Razer Phone from well-known gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer and at the time, it was a monster that needed to be tamed! Now, in 2018, we find some of the Android smartphone giants launch their own versions of the gaming phone, one better than the next.
The Asus ROG Phone stands out from the competition as it is packed to the brim with features that make us swoon. The ROG Phone features a unique GameCool 3D vapour-chamber cooling system, ultrasonic AirTrigger touch sensors, exclusive gamer-centric design with side-mounted ports optimised for landscape-mode, a vivid AMOLED display with HDR visuals, a 90Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time for a true gaming experience. As the ROG Phone is a gaming smartphone, ASUS has added the world’s fastest 2.96GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC coupled with a Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU. The device comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of inbuilt storage. It runs on ROG Gaming UI based on Android Oreo.
On the imaging front, there is a dual rear camera setup with 12MP Sony sensor and f/1.7 aperture, and an 8MP camera with a 120-degree wide angle. Upfront, there is an 8MP selfie camera. There is also a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The handset is also IPX4 rated that confirms splash-resistant body. The ASUS ROG Phone retails at a price of Rs 69,999 and is available via Flipkart.