“Here’s a look back at the key smartphones we reviewed in November”
The Great Indian smartphone bazaar never ceases to amaze. As we went into November, we expected things to be a little laid back and relatively unexciting, but as it turned out, we were wrong. This month, we got to play with a device that could actually pave the way for smartphones of the future. Not just that, the month of November also brought us some very compelling, value-for-money smartphones, and an affordable flagship that could spell trouble for the likes of Xiaomi and OnePlus. If you missed the action, here’s a quick summary.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Technically, this isn’t a proper review, given that we only got to play with the Galaxy Fold for a brief period. That said, the three days we used it for were enough for it to prove its mettle. The Fold, which is a smartphone that unfolds and converts into a tablet, is highly flaunt-worthy device for sure. That said, it’s also a highly usable device. The narrow form factor of the device (when folded) and the compact secondary screen up top make it ideal for one-handed usage, but the real magic happens when you open it up to reveal the 7.3-inch foldable display. The phone/tablet is loaded up to the brim with flagship-grade specs and camera capabilities – it sports no less than six cameras in fact. Sure, it doesn’t come cheap, but that’s the price you need to pay to stay on the cutting edge of tech.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Fold overview for more
With the Nokia 7.2, the HMD Global-backed brand is offering its signature features – solid build, undiluted Android experience, and promise of timely updates. The phone scores high on many aspects, including an elegant-looking design and good battery life. The phone also boasts a high-res 48MP camera sensor, which is part of a triple camera array at the rear. However, the phone turned out to be a mix bag, given that it leaved a bit to be desired in terms of other parameters like performance and real-life camera image quality. The fact that the device is priced a tad higher than some of its more accomplished rivals turns the tide against it.
More in our Nokia 7.2 review
Moto G8 Plus
Motorola’s G8 Plus attempts to revive the glory of the brand’s G series, which used to be a bestseller back in the day. One of its mainstays is the action camera which it borrows from its sibling, the One Action (review), giving you the option to shoot regular, landscape videos whilst holding the phone vertically, and single-handedly. The phone delivers on the photography aspect, and real-world performance too. The fact that it boots a stock build of Android spiced up with Moto’s signature software tweaks also works in its favour. At the end of the day, the Moto G8 Plus falls a tad short just because the competition out there is cutthroat, and one can buy more capable phones for the same price.
Get the details in our Moto G8 Plus review
Xiaomi Redmi 8A and Redmi 8
One look at the new Redmi 8A and the Redmi 8, and you’d know how Xiaomi has upped its game in the budget segment. These new Redmis are priced south of Rs 10k, but the stylish designs, solid build and inclusion of features like Type-C ports and 18W fast charging support defy the budget positioning completely. Sure, aspects like performance and camera quality isn’t top notch, but these phones simply cannot be ignored for that they bring to the table in the sub-Rs 10,000 price segment.
Here’s the detailed Redmi 8A and Redmi 8 review
Vivo U10 and U20
While Vivo has been a strong player in the Indian smartphone market for a while now, its recent offerings have proven to be even more compelling than usual. Case in point, the Vivo U10, which landed sometime back as the most affordable smartphone to come powered by the Snapdragon 665 SoC. As Nitansh notes in his review, the device is a reliable performer, and with its 5,000mAh battery, score high on that aspect too. However, it loses a few points due to its sub-par cameras and not-so-great software experience. The new Vivo U20 on the other hand, fares better. While the camera image quality still leaves a little something to be desired, it puts in a strong performance both in terms of pure number crunching as well as battery life.
Realme X2 Pro
The fact that Realme’s growth has been nothing less than spectacular is well known by now. Buoyed its success, the brand has just stepped into the affordable flagship category with the X2 Pro, a smartphone that not only boasts top-notch spect, but attempts to beat OnePlus at its own game. This is a bold move given that even the venerable Xiaomi, and others like ASUS and OPPO haven’t been extremely successful here. Snapdragon 855+ SoC, a quad-camera setup featuring a 64MP primary sensor, up to 12 gigs of RAM, a 90Hz AMOLED display, 50W fast charging that can juice up the phone in about half an hour – all available at an very enticing starting price of Rs 30k. This is a killer deal for the price, and the phone is able to deliver on many fronts too.
Here’s the detailed Realme X2 Pro review
Launched alongside the X2 Pro, the Realme 5S is an affordable contender that picks up the core ingredients from its older sibling, the Realme 5 (review), and adds a 48MP camera to the mix. The sub-Rs 10k pricing makes it an attractive proposition, given its respectable specs, quad camera setup and 5,000mAh battery. However, the image quality from the camera needs a bit of work. More importantly, the existence of the Redmi 8 in the same price bracket does pose a problem. All said and done, the Reame 5S is still worth a second look.
Read more in the Realme 5S review
Samsung Galaxy M10s
The M series has been Samsung’s primary weapon against the likes of Xiaomi and Realme this year, and the marriage of good specs and attractive pricing, combined with the brand name’s might seems to have worked in the Chaebol’s favour. The Galaxy M10s, which is the latest budget offering in the range, is an iterative upgrade over the Galaxy M10, boasts a larger screen featuring AMOLED tech, a USB Type-C port and fast charging too. At Rs 7,999, the Galaxy M10s appears as a very strong contender, given that it’s able to deliver on most fronts.
Go take a look at our Samsung Galaxy M10s review
LG G8s ThinQ
LG’s late to the party with its flagship smartphone, since the G8s ThinQ reached Indian shores a few months after its global debut. The phone itself has a lot going for it, and while it’s not really a conventional flagship, it makes its point by offering a gorgeous display, a powerful audio performance, smooth performance and good battery life. On the flip side, the wide notch and the fact that the camera quality isn’t so great makes it less compelling than others. Speaking of rivals, the strong competition does make things a tad difficult for the Korean giant.
Here’s our LG G8s ThinQ review if you want more deets
As we move into December, our eyes our set on the year 2020 and the barrage of new and exciting smartphones it’s sure to bring. Before that however, let’s see what December has in store for us.