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IFA 2020: The most interesting new smartphones
It’s tough going for the electronics industry. Broken supply lines, dwindling sales, and dizzying shifts in consumer behavior are the name of the game in 2020. Against this backdrop, the fact that Europe’s biggest tech show somehow managed to avoid cancelation is a minor miracle.
IFA 2020 is hardly business-as-usual. There’ve been far fewer launches than usual, and the buzz around the show is downright muted. Even so, the Berlin show is the quasi-official start of the crucial fall season, and many companies have used the occasion to launch new devices.
We’ve rounded up the most significant smartphones announced in the past couple of weeks, both on the ground at IFA and through virtual events from around the world.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Samsung’s foldable is back with a vengeance. In comparison to the daring, but flawed original Fold, the new Galaxy Z Fold 2 looks like a true generational leap. In fact, looking at them, it seems implausible that only a year is separating the two foldables.
We’re still waiting for the reviews to come out, but the Z Fold 2 seems to fix some of the biggest problems the first model had, while greatly improving styling. The external screen is bigger and better, and new ultra-thin glass is protecting the internal one. On top of being a futuristic real-life transformer, the Z Fold 2 embodies all of Samsung’s smartphone expertise. In short, the Z Fold 2 is a lot of phone (or tablet), albeit for a lot of money.
Asus ZenFone 7 Pro
The things phone makers will do for a flawless screen… Where ZTE buried the selfie camera below the pixels, Asus flipped the script with an ingenious swiveling camera. Now in its second incarnation, the swiveling camera is what sets the Asus ZenFone 7 Pro apart from every other phone out there. Not only it makes a cutout-free display possible, but it also gives users the best selfie cameras on any phone right now.
The ZenFone 7 Pro is not (just) a flippin’ fun phone. It’s a serious flagship, offering loads of power and an assortment of features that will satisfy most users. It’s not without fault though, as we detailed in our review – Asus had to sacrifice water resistance and weight to accommodate the flip cam.
Realme X7 Pro
Realme had quite a few announcements to make at IFA, and in fact it was one of the few major smartphone makers to hold a real press event at the show. The up-and-coming Chinese brand announced a major expansion into Europe, as well as the international release of the Realme X7 and X7 Pro, along the new Realme 7 series, and several accessories.
The Realme X7 Pro is powered by MediaTek’s flagship chip Dimensity 1000+, and features an 120Hz AMOLED display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 4,500mAh battery, and a quad-camera setup with a main 64MP sensor. It’s no slouch, and knowing Realme, it will be priced extremely well.
ZTE Axon 20 5G
People remember the best, but they also remember the first. ZTE won the race to announce the first phone with an under-screen selfie camera, with the Axon 20 5G. It’s a major achievement that required multiple technologies coming together. The invisible camera is a triumph of minimalism that instantly makes punch holes and mechanical solutions look dated.
Despite being a world-first, the Axon 20 5G is not, in fact, a top-of-the-line phone. ZTE jumped on the Snapdragon 765G bandwagon, choosing affordability and efficiency over the raw brawns of the Snapdragon 865. A generous battery, fast charging, and a versatile set of cameras complete the picture.
Read on: Snapdragon 765G vs Snapdragon 865
Moto One 5G
Other than the Edge, Motorola has mostly focused its attention on the affordable devices in its One range. With the Moto One 5G, the range makes the jump to the new connectivity standard, making 5G an even more accessible proposition.
Granted, there’s not a lot to write home about the Moto One 5G, which looks to be a rebranded Moto G 5G Plus. The Snapdragon 765 processor has become the norm in the sub-premium segment, but it’s coupled with just 4GB of RAM. The battery, at least, is a generous 5,000mAh.
Samsung Galaxy M51
The value proposition is simple here: battery for days. With its 7,000mAh battery, the Galaxy M51 simply dwarfs other phones in its price range. The battery is actually the biggest of any phone that Samsung has released in 2020. The 25W charging speed is decent as well.
Available for just €360, Samsung’s battery champion hits the mark with other specs too. You get a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 730 chip, 6GB of RAM, and a quad-camera setup. Not bad for the price. It’s also a breath of fresh air if you favor form over function.
That wraps up our look at some of the most interesting phones launched in the past couple of weeks. Several other devices were either launched at or had international releases coinciding with IFA 2020, including the Realme 7 and Realme 7 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy A42, Nubia’s Red Magic 5S, and the Oppo F17 Pro.
Which one is your favorite?