The best smartphone category is always tightly contested, and this year is no different with great phones from the world's major smartphone brands. Make no mistake though, as in this premium category, we’re judging design, build, benchmark performance, battery life, imaging competence, display quality, audio quality, handling, as well as any other extra features like advanced biometric security, AI capabilities, stylus and much more that go towards improving the phone's usage experience.
To make the cut, the phone has to be released in 2020 and has to be the brand's flagship offering that best embodies everything it has to offer - beyond just top phone specs.
This year, the best overall smartphone goes to the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. It's no secret that the iPhone 12 series had stellar general performance, but it also clocked the longest battery uptime we've ever tested in an iPhone handset. When it comes to power, it delivers both ways.
That's not to say that the other phones that made the cut aren't up to par. It was so competitive, so Apple's attention to detail was the tie-breaker for many of these equally competent phones.
While the imaging capabilities aren't visibly better than its other variants, photo-taking for the Pro Max has been easier in many meaningful ways with the Apple phone. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a sensor-shift stabiliser, a 47% larger main camera sensor, and many minor imaging changes befitting of a top-end, premium flagship device. That's a huge quality-of-life upgrade for the average person who just wants a good photo in minimal tries.
And, if you're from the professional side, the addition of 10-bit HDR and Dolby Vision recording, along with Apple Pro RAW, makes it so much better than before for purists.
Couple all that with its premium build quality (made from stainless steel and finished with an electromagnetic coating process), it's excellent display (OLED at 2,778 x 1,284 pixels resolution), and checking all the boxes for a premium phone (water resistance, wireless charging, 5G readiness), it's really hard to say no to the latest top-end iPhone. Just ask the iOS camp - or us.
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
ASUS ROG Phone 3
|Huawei P40 Pro+||
OnePlus 8 Pro
Oppo Find X2 Pro
|Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra|
*Note: Prices and ratings listed are accurate at the time of individual product evaluation.
For more information on how the nominees fared in detail and thus helping us pick our winner, check out the full reviews and articles listed in the References below.