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Home / Technology / Forget iPhone XR, Ignore Samsung Galaxy And Pixel 3 XL, This is my smartphone of 2018

Forget iPhone XR, Ignore Samsung Galaxy And Pixel 3 XL, This is my smartphone of 2018




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As of 2019, I come back to my annual challenge, the curiosity that I call my" Smartphone of the Year "here at Forbes, with manufacturers wishing to deliver similar features and specifications for consumers, again I use personal assessment instead of benchmarking to choose a winner.

Smartphone meets the world, smartphone in the world. And I met many smartphones in 201

8 (Image: Getty) Getty

There is no empirical way to measure this, and that means the process is about looking at a list of this year's phones, and thinking about how I feel about the phones, the manufacturer, and their day-to-day use, and determining which handset is rising. The challenge, says something about the manufacturer behind it, and has made a lasting impact on the industry over the past twelve months.

But before I mention my personal winner, I will talk about some of the remarkable smart phones the ephones that did not come to the top spot.

Planet Computers Gemini PDA

The smartphone world is beginning to feel quite homogenized. As expected, Apple's 2017 Apple iPhone notch decision after the appearance of a number of Android phones legitimized the rush to "all-screen no-bezel" as a design principle. Few producers have managed to get to 100% screen and no bezel yet ( at least not without redefining what the word "edge" means ).

One who did was the London-based startup Planet Computers . After a successful round of public funding, it released Gemini PDA . Without the packaging you get an aluminum plate with two black end plates. Thanks to the "action" button on the edge, you can retrieve incoming calls and also initiate calls via voice commands, but you will also see a thin line between the front and rear cases. Crack this open and Gemini reveals a full-featured qwerty keyboard paired with a wide touch screen.

It's a smartphone (with 4G and Wifi connectivity); There is a small laptop running Android (flash capable of Debian Linux Sailfish OS Kali and more); it is a second-hand productivity tool; And yes, you can print articles and blog posts and newsletters on your keyboard without getting cramped.

Planet Computer's Gemini PDA (image: Ewan Spence) Planet Computer's Gemini PDA (image: Ewan Spence)

may not look curiously small on American eyes but to European and British eyes remembering Psions and days, the mighty Series 5 and Series 5MX PDAs of the turn of the century and the Gemini site become clear … it's a real Android PDA.

Yes, the PDA form factor has limited appeal, and it will never be a regular device. But it does deliver on a promise that is very close to the heart of the UK mobile technology industry. Gemini has some rough edges, the software is still not perfect for the clamshell device, but it works well, has a vision that stands out, and turns out to be a success.

I am a converter to Gemini and supported the project. With the other device ( is Cosmo ) heading for a launch in 2019, I can't wait to see what Planet Computers is doing next. The Gemini is a stand-out unit in 2018, and deserves a venerable mention.

Apple iPhone XR

Let's go from the small company with limited resources to the elephant in the calendar. Apple started the year with iPhone X not performed as hoped . Orders for parts suppliers were cut, and next-generation handsets failed to increase sales of iOS powered smartphones. With the indications that Apple expected an increase in the handset, the iPhone X, while a technological advance, has not increased Apple's sales.

In particular, iPhone X illustrated a decision to increase margins and revenue by raising the price of the smartphone . The value suggestion for the iPhone brand becomes more difficult to justify with Android headphones with comparable features, were cheaper, and Android phones of comparable price packed in more technology and features.

It was possibly that iPhone X took Apple down the wrong development and distribution path. So the natural thing in 2018 was to double down . The iPhone X design was placed in three handsets – the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were natural followers (who raised the price), but it was iPhone XR that felt that Tim Cook was going "on the tilt" with the decisions behind the iPhone X .

Starting the official sale of iPhone XR smartphones in a Moscow re: Large store, an Apple authorized reseller (Photo by Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images) Getty

iPhone XR had a higher price than the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus it was replaced. IPhone XR a similar feature set to XS and XS Max, but with a weaker screen and lower specced camera. But the evidence around the iPhone XR suggests that Apple has cut delivery orders, offering better network conditions, so that subsidies can be increased, and announces significant discounts (via trade).

iPhone XR may be the best-selling iPhone, but compared to the competition from Android, the iPhone family in 2018 may face a dangerous drop in sales … and if the new strategy is about recovering so much revenue from " software and additional services ", the last thing you want is a smaller user base.

iPhone XR sets Apple's year. It's very shiny, it appeals to the core audience, but the audience is starting to look elsewhere. Tim Cook's Apple is no longer perceived to be in the driver's seat.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Instead of pushing too many changes to the user base, Samsung offered more of the same to the user based on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. Effectively, it said "the same again, but with a slight improvement in each area."

Samsung made no bones about this . Yes, it was talking about where there was progress (especially in fast charging, the camera, the stereo speakers and the sensible repositioning of the fingerprint scanner). it still had important features like the curved edges of the infinity screen, the extra-long aspect ratio on the screen, and Samsung's continued push on the AI ​​powered Bixby personal assistant via the dedicated hardware button .

] A man walks past a screen for Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones at the company's showroom in Seoul July 31, 2018 (Photo: Jung Yeon-Je / AFP / Getty Images) Getty

What S9 or S9 Plus Hadn't been a little sprinkle of glitter. There was no wow. Everything was predictable, reliable, and did the job. A workhorse smartphone that again met expectations, but unless you needed a few percentage points of capacity, the Galaxy S8 was still a valid choice for many.

Galaxy S9 was South Korean table game – we are still in high-end smartphone games, but we do not show our hand in 2018. & nbsp; Galaxy S10 is expected to bring slightly less predictability and more visible changes to the Galaxy S family when it launches in early 2019.

Google Pixel 3 XL

Google third pixel iteration was a curious . It felt like Mountain View's focus was on improving the images and videos created by the handset and it achieved it. But as a phone, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handsets were found to be a bit lacking .

An employee shows Google Inc.'s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones during the sales launch at a SoftBank Corp. store on November 5, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images) Getty [19659002] The big shapes of Pixel 3 (in relation to the competition) destroyed any attempt to push fashion and design, while the notches on Pixel 3 XL were one of the more difficult versions of the chopping design in 2018. It also jumped on some of the core specifications – with only 4 GB of memory, the handset does not sound very future-oriented. The power it had in software will soon be available to all Android manufacturers.

If you want to be "first" with the Android operating system, or if photography is a key feature you need, the Pixel family is your best choice. But there are better options out there for the general consumer.

Nokia 7.1

HMD Global pushed the Nokia mark in 2018, bringing more phones to the market in a Finnish Finnish way.

There was nothing flashy, nothing over the top, nothing quite groundbreaking. But the company that is probably ready to mature away from the "startup" code took some interesting devices. The first generation of phones chose dup-iterative updates and a point boost, so we saw Nokia 3.1, Nokia 5.1 and Nokia 6.1 progress to maintain their place in the market.

Nokia 8 picked up my this year's smartphone for 2017 & # 39 ;, but HMD Global will not take home the band this year. We didn't see a Nokia 8.1 in 2018, but we did see the Nokia Sirocco debut on the MWC 2018 – a handset built on the Nokia 8 base, but with a greater focus on design and fashion.

HMD Global's Nokia 7.1 (Image: Ewan Spence). Ewan Spence

If any Nokia handset got my eyes this year, it was Nokia 7.1 . It managed to stand out in the crowded space market, providing a good balance between specifications against price, and while it will never be "first" in any area, it is self-confident in all areas.

And they sum up HMD Global in 2018. This year was about bringing sisu back to smartphones. 2019 is probably the year that limits are being pushed.

Fine margin by determining the winner

In a world where smartphones are becoming increasingly similar, where software is portable over a family of devices, where AndroidOne likes to create a similarity between manufacturers, it takes something especially to cut and stand out.

In 2018 there was no manufacturer that typed more than OnePlus . As of 2018, it started to run high on OnePlus 5T, but was still looking to record a small but loyal fan base – albeit a fan base that was bigger than most. In 2018, it jumped from being a niche player to the wider consumer market, striking network agreements around the world, securing a US launch partner, and planning to lead the charge toward 5G.

The pivot point was OnePlus 6 and the confirmation was OnePlus 6T . Smartphones with strong features, reliable software and the ability to be there when I needed … what I needed from my smartphone and where I was .

OnePlus 6 (Ewan Spence) ] Ewan Spence

The line between OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T is very good. Given that OnePlus has ported all the software features from OnePlus 6Tt back to OnePlus 6, the only real difference in hardware is that these differences are minimal. The cameras are the same, the notch of 6 is replaced by a small teardrop cutout of 6T, and they both sports SnapDragon 845.

But I'll call it. For me, OnePlus 6 is picking up "Smartphone of the Year" over OnePlus 6T. While the latter has the more gee-whiz technology of the on-screen fingerprint reader (as opposed to mounted on the back of the device), this is not a contract switch for me. In fact, with the face-locking feature of the software, the need for the fingerprint sensor is reduced.

So it comes down to two points. The first is that OnePlus 6 was the pivot, not the consolidation, so the smartphone is a better example of how to change the world. Secondly … just OnePlus 6 has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

As with any consumer product, there is sometimes the slightest consideration that makes a difference.

Final Thoughts

One thing is clear from looking back at 2018 phones (in addition to the many worthy phones not specifically mentioned, for example Huawei P20 Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro or BlackBerry Key2 ). Most phones will be able to complete the vast majority of tasks required of them.

This means that specialized handsets, such as Gemini PDA, or the physical keyboards equipped with BlackBerry Key2 phones do not have to stand out, but can be profitable in their niche if well controlled. It also means that those who are willing to sacrifice a little margin can achieve very competitive prices. What makes a great smartphone is measured in the last percentage or two, and that makes 2018 a year that is subjectively more difficult to call "best phone" than in previous years.

So continue, talk it out on social media, make it your own conversation on what the best glass plate is for you to call on. There is enough variety to satisfy everyone and enough common reason that everyone benefits from progress.

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As of 2019, I come back to my annual challenge, the curiosity that I call my" Smartphone of the Year "here at Forbes, with manufacturers wishing to deliver similar features and specifications to consumers, I use once a personal review instead of benchmarking to choose a winner.

Smartphone meets in the world, world meeting smartphone. And I met many smartphones in 2018 (Image: Getty) Getty

There is no empirical way to measure This means, and that means the process is about looking at a list of this year's phones, thinking about how I feel about the phones, the manufacturer, and their daily use, and deciding which handset is rising to the challenge, says something about the manufacturer behind it. , and has made a lasting impact on the industry over the past twelve months.

But before I mention the staff my nal wins, I want to talk about some of the notable smartphones that didn't m to the top spot.

Planet Computers Gemini PDA

The smartphone world is beginning to feel quite homogenized. As expected, Apple's 2017 Apple iPhone notch decision after the appearance of a number of Android phones legitimized the rush to "all-screen no-bezel" as a design principle. Few manufacturers have managed to get to 100% screen and no bezel yet (at least not without redefining what the word "edge" means).

One who did was the London-based startup Planet Computers. After a successful round of public funding, it released the Gemini PDA. Without the packaging you get an aluminum plate with two black end plates. Thanks to the "action" button on the edge, you can retrieve incoming calls and also initiate calls via voice commands, but you will also see a thin line between the front and rear cases. Spread this openly, and Gemini reveals a full-featured qwerty keyboard paired with a wide touch screen.

It's a smartphone (with 4G and Wifi connectivity); There is a small laptop running Android (flash capable of Debian Linux, Sailfish OS, Kali, and more); it is a second-hand productivity tool; And yes, you can print articles and blog posts and newsletters on your keyboard without getting cramped.

Planet Computer's Gemini PDA (image: Ewan Spence) Planet Computer's Gemini PDA (image: Ewan Spence)

may not look curiously small to American eyes, but to European and British Eyes Remembering Days in Psion and the Powerful Series 5 and Series 5MX PDAs of the turn of the century, and the place of Gemini becomes clear … it's a real Android PDA.

Yes, the PDA form factor has limited appeal, and it will never be a regular device. But it does deliver on a promise that is very close to the heart of the UK mobile technology industry. Gemini has some rough edges, the software is still not perfect for the clamshell device, but it works well, has a vision that stands out, and turns out to be a success.

I am a converter to Gemini and supported the project. With the other unit (Cosmo) on its way and set for launch in 2019, I can't wait to see what Planet Computers is doing next. The Gemini is a stand-out unit in 2018, and deserves a venerable mention.

Apple iPhone XR

Let's go from the small company with limited resources to the elephant in the calendar. Apple started the year with the iPhone X not having the hope. Orders for parts suppliers were cut, and next-generation handsets failed to increase sales of iOS powered smartphones. With the indications that Apple expected an increase in the handset, the iPhone X, while a technological advance, has not increased Apple's sales.

In particular, the iPhone X showed a decision to increase margins and revenue by increasing the price of the smartphone. The value suggestion for the iPhone brand becomes more difficult to justify with Android headphones with comparable features, were cheaper, and Android phones of comparable price packed in more technology and features.

It was possibly that iPhone X took Apple down the wrong development and distribution path. So the natural thing in 2018 was to double down. The iPhone X design was placed in three handsets – the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were natural successors (who raised the price), but it was the iPhone XR that felt that Tim Cook was going "on the tilt" with the decisions behind the iPhone X.

Starting the official sale of iPhone XR smartphones in a Moscow re: Large store, an Apple authorized reseller (Photo by Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images) Getty

iPhone XR had a higher price than the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus it was replaced. IPhone XR a similar feature set to XS and XS Max, but with a weaker screen and lower specced camera. But the evidence around the iPhone XR suggests that Apple has cut delivery orders, offering better network conditions, so that subsidies can be increased, and announces significant discounts (via trade).

iPhone XR may be the best-selling iPhone, but compared to the competition from Android, the iPhone family in 2018 may face a dangerous drop in sales … and if the new strategy is about recovering so much revenue from " software and additional services ", the last thing you want is a smaller user base.

iPhone XR sets Apple's year. It's very shiny, it appeals to the core audience, but the audience is starting to look elsewhere. Tim Cook's Apple is no longer perceived to be in the driver's seat. The iPhone XR certainly tells a story of 2018, but it's not this year's smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Instead of pushing too many changes to the user base, Samsung offered more of the same to the user based on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. Effectively, it said the same again but with a slight improvement in each area & # 39;.

Samsung didn't do any kink in this. Yes, it was talking about where there was progress (especially in fast charging, the camera, the stereo speakers and the sensible repositioning of the fingerprint scanner). It still had important features like the curved edges of the infinite screen, the extra-long aspect ratio on the screen, and Samsung's continued push on the AI-powered Bixby personal assistant via the dedicated hardware button.

A man walks past a screen for Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones at the company's showroom in Seoul July 31, 2018 (Photo: Jung Yeon-Je / AFP / Getty Images) Getty

What the S9 or S9 Plus doesn't had was a little sprinkle of glitter. There was no wow. Everything was predictable, reliable, and did the job. A workhorse smartphone that again met expectations, but unless you needed a few percentage points of capacity, the Galaxy S8 was still a valid choice for many.

Galaxy S9 was South Korean table game – we are still in high-end smartphone games, but we do not show our hand in 2018. Galaxy S10 is expected to bring some less predictability and more visible changes to the Galaxy S family when it starts at the beginning 2019.

Google Pixel 3 XL

Google's third Pixel iteration was a curious one. It felt like Mountain View's focus was on improving the images and videos created by the handset and it achieved it. But as a phone, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones were found to be a bit flawed.

An employee shows Google Inc.'s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones during their sales launch event at a SoftBank Corp. store on November 5, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images) Getty

The big shapes of Pixel 3 (in relation to the competition) destroyed any attempt to push fashion and design, while the notches on Pixel 3 XL were one of the most difficult versions of the chopping design during 2018. It has also played on some of the core specifications – with only 4 GB of memory, the handset has no future proof. The power it had in software will soon be available to all Android manufacturers.

If you want to be "first" with the Android operating system, or if photography is a key feature you need, the Pixel family is your best choice. But there are better options out there for the general consumer.

Nokia 7.1

HMD Global pushed the Nokia brand in 2018, bringing a number of phones to the market in a Finnish way.

There was nothing flashy, nothing over the top, nothing quite groundbreaking. But the company that is probably ready to mature away from the "startup" code took some interesting devices. The first generation of phones chose dup-iterative updates and a point boost, so we saw Nokia 3.1, Nokia 5.1 and Nokia 6.1 all ahead to maintain their place in the market.

Nokia 8 picked up my "Smartphone of the Year for 2017", but HMD Global will not take home the band this year. We didn't see a Nokia 8.1 in 2018, but we saw the Nokia Sirocco debut on the MWC 2018 – a handset built on the Nokia 8 base, but with a greater focus on design and fashion.

HMD Global's Nokia 7.1 (Image: Ewan Spence). Ewan Spence

If any Nokia handset saw this year, it was Nokia 7.1. It managed to stand out in the crowded space market, providing a good balance between specifications against price, and while it will never be "first" in any area, it is self-confident in all areas.

And they sums up HMD Global in 2018. This year everything was about bringing sisu back to smartphones. 2019 is probably the year that limits are being pushed.

Fine margin by determining the winner

In a world where smartphones are becoming increasingly similar, where software is portable over a family of devices where AndroidOne likes to create a similarity between manufacturers, it takes something special to cut and stand out.

In 2018 there was no manufacturer that typed more than OnePlus. As of 2018, it started to run high on OnePlus 5T, but was still looking to record a small but loyal fan base – albeit a fan base that was bigger than most. In 2018, it jumped from being a niche player to the wider consumer market, striking network agreements around the world, securing a US launch partner, and planning to lead the charge toward 5G.

The pivot point was OnePlus 6, and the confirmation was OnePlus 6T. Smartphones, with strong features, reliable software and the ability to be there when I needed … what I needed from my smartphone and where I was.

OnePlus 6 (Ewan Spence) Ewan Spence

The line between OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T is very good. Given that OnePlus has ported all the software features from OnePlus 6Tt back to OnePlus 6, the only real difference in hardware is that these differences are minimal. The cameras are the same, the notch of 6 is replaced by a small teardrop cutout of 6T, and they both sports SnapDragon 845.

But I'll call it. For me, OnePlus 6 is picking up "Smartphone of the Year" over OnePlus 6T. While the latter has the more gee-whiz technology of the on-screen fingerprint reader (as opposed to mounted on the back of the device), this is not a contract switch for me. In fact, with the face-locking feature of the software, the need for the fingerprint sensor is reduced.

So it comes down to two points. The first is that OnePlus 6 was the pivot, not the consolidation, so the smartphone is a better example of how to change the world. Secondly … just OnePlus 6 has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

As with any consumer product, there is sometimes the slightest consideration that makes a difference.

Final Thoughts

One thing is clear from looking back on 2018 phones (in addition to the many worthy phones not specifically mentioned, such as Huawei P20, Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro, or BlackBerry key2). Most phones will be able to complete the vast majority of tasks required of them.

This means that specialized handsets, such as Gemini PDA, or the physical keyboards equipped with BlackBerry Key2 phones do not have to stand out, but can be profitable in their niche if well controlled. It also means that those who are willing to sacrifice a little margin can achieve very competitive prices. What makes a great smartphone is measured in the last percentage or two, and that makes 2018 a year that is subjectively more difficult to call "best phone" than in previous years.

So continue, talk it out on social media, make it your own conversation on what the best glass plate is for you to call on. There is enough variety to satisfy everyone and enough common reason that everyone benefits from progress.


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