The high-end of Android smartphones, also called mobile or cellular phones, is renewed every quarter with different manufacturers launching new phones on the market. When it is not Samsung, it is LG, and when it is not Xiaomi or Google itself, embarked on its Pixel line. But that means that there is more and more to choose from to buy and to make you the easiest choice we bring you this article about the best high-end Android phones.
Due to the tendency to make the phones bigger and bigger, moving away from more manageable sizes, I have chosen to include here certain phones that until 2017 would have been considered as phablets or large mobiles. In this way, this article focuses more on mobiles that do not go much than 150 mm in height, and I leave for a different article than those that are rather high-end phablets as well as mid-high-end phones.
The best high-end Android mobile phones, taking into account partly the quality/price but above all its quality, are the following according to our criteria and tastes. Keep in mind that the phones exposed here have high durability, either by using Gorilla Glass screens, or generally being resistant to use and time. You will find cheaper phones, with features that will make them go smoothly, but they usually have more normal designs, more mediocre cameras or with a worse policy for updating the operating system.
Since the technical characteristics are very similar, I am going to focus on the added value that differentiates these mobile phones. In addition, since it is difficult for a high-end phone from six months ago to stop being so because your company launches a renewed version, we also include models that are really well priced right now and that do not have many differences with respect to the phones that offer them. They replace although they can be included in the upper-middle range and not in the upper range.
Things to keep in mind
When buying a high-end mobile phone, you are paying for the best affordable phablet. They are the most powerful processors, which will serve in many cases to play with great quality and fluidity – even if it is not the main use of a phone – although the graphic power they have is usually redirected towards data processing more quickly and efficient. Processors like the Kirin 970 have a coprocessor for it, and the Pixel 2 has a visual processing unit to improve the quality of the photos, among other uses. Usually the high end includes at least 4 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of storage, which will mean that it is not a problem for the average user.
It is also expected of a high-end phone, when you already get at prices of 500 or more euros, it is that they have a great camera. Although it is fashionable to have a double rear sensor —or front, for selfies—, they do not necessarily provide better photo quality. They provide enhancement of captured image information or telephoto characteristics, but ultimately the quality of the image taken depends on the post-processing performed by the phone, which depends on algorithms that vary greatly from company to company. Samsung has both its own high-quality sensors and patents and treatment software that enables great image quality on its high-end phones.
In these phones it is also common to have ultrafast storage of the UFS 2.0 type (universal flash storage), compared to the eMMC (embedded multimedia card) of phones of lower ranges. The main difference is the speed of opening applications or reopening them if they have not been used for a long time. In addition, those who have a micro-SD card reader should accompany them with micro-SD cards that have the rating of suitable for use with mobile phones, marked A1 or A2 on their box.
It is also expected, at this point, that high-end phones have consumption saving systems, batteries of 3000 mAh or more, and that above all they have fast charging. That will generally lead to recharging them with the wall adapter included with them so that they can be charged quickly, since USB 3.0 jacks, except for the special ones for it, cannot provide the necessary wattage, generally between 15 and 20 W for these fast charges. Wireless charging is an equally interesting extra for user comfort.
Finally, for the design of the phone, they usually opt for aluminum, or aluminum and glass, and many users will look for a model that is waterproof. In these cases, if the phone has them, it is necessary that the connector covers are in place. Keep in mind that this waterproof is especially for eventualities, but that they are not to immerse the phones indefinitely. Also, the screens are not adapted for underwater use, so using them in the aquatic environment can be practically impossible.
Likewise, there is a tendency to remove the 3.5mm audio jack to replace it with a digital audio output via a USB Type-C connector. It has the advantage that digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) is done directly on the headphones. with the advantages of sound quality, but they have to be special headphones that integrate a DAC for it. Manufacturers in these cases usually accompany the phones with a USB Type-C adapter to 3.5mm jack/connector that already includes a DAC.
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The Galaxy S20 is a top-of-the-line mobile phone that proves that Samsung is not resting on its high-end laurels. The base model is in addition to the smallest high-end there is, with 151.7 mm height and only 163 g weight, and includes a good design with almost no screen frames, although it has a bullet in its upper central part. This is 15.7 cm Dynamic AMOLED 2X with 3200 × 1440 pixels, 120 Hz refresh rate, about 1000 nits of maximum brightness although it usually stays at about 800 nits without reproducing HDR content, it is compatible with HDR10 +, and 240 Hz sampling I touched.
The processor, depending on the country, is a Snapdragon 865 or an Exynos 990, with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, with a micro-SD card reader. The battery is 4000 mAh, but combining the 120 Hz display and FHD only achieves a screen usage duration of 9-10 hours, or 10-11 hours if switched to 60 Hz and QHD. It is charged by a USB Type-C port with up to 25 W, which takes around an hour and a half to fully charge, and it has 15 W wireless charging.