The best of the best smartphones certainly cost upwards of S$1,500 as seen in our Best Premium Smartphone category. However, there are loads of good options that run with top-end smartphone processors and offer a flagship-like experience at around the S$1,000 mark and that's how we decided to add another tier of comparison to assess what's the best in the market for those who don't quite need the over-the-top frills and features.
The Best High-end Smartphone category is even more hotly-contested than premium flagships, so much so that it can give the top-tier a good run for its money. For a phone to qualify for this award category, it would have to be released in 2020, offer flagship-level performance capabilities, priced around the S$1,000 mark and is a good all-rounder alternative to flagship/premium class smartphones.
Among its rivals from the same year, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE takes the cake. In our experiences, we found that the phone was a close match to a top-end Samsung Galaxy device, minus some of the superfluous niceties. It's truly difficult to beat out the Galaxy S20 FE when it already has all of Samsung's software optimisations, and the use of last year's best Qualcomm chipset (instead of their Exynos alternative) clinched the top spot in this category.
Its 6.5-inch Super AMOLED screen size is generous, paired with 2,400 x 1,080 pixels resolution, allowing it to make full use of its 120Hz refresh rate. It's less saturated on colour reproduction compared to its higher-end cousins, which makes it more palatable to a wider group of users. As a Galaxy device, it also has the same interface, and most software features already available in One UI 2. The triple rear cameras were impressive enough, not to mention the phone's top-tier processing performance and excellent battery life.
All that, at a price usually only seen on Chinese smartphone brands. That's not even mentioning how the S20 FE has several colourways available when most brands can do maybe three or four at launch, so the phone really has something for everyone.
True to its flagship status despite its recommended retail price, the Galaxy S20 FE has the little details that make it an easy switch both from mid-range or from premium devices. You're still getting 25W Super Fast Wired Charging and 15W Wireless Fast Charging, you're still getting NFC functionality, and the phone is sufficiently guarded against the weather with IP68 water resistance. It really has everything an everyday phone user needs. Did we mention that it is 5G-ready, too?
It's so good, we're hoping Samsung can pull off something similar to the Galaxy S20 FE in the coming years - we really don't see why they shouldn't, and that's to the benefit of phone users, too, if this category has hotter competition.
Apple iPhone 12 Mini
|Huawei P40||OnePlus 8T||
Oppo Reno4 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
|Vivo X50 Pro||Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro|
|Price||From S$1,149||S$1,048||S$899||S$899||From S$1,068||S$1,099||From S$749|
*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.