In 2020, there were many good smartphones, although we could do without the price increases. Nevertheless, between the OnePlus 8 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, the Google Pixel 5 and many more, there were plenty of quality offerings.
Still, for every major Samsung or Xiaomi phone, there were a few lesser known devices that deserved a little more love and attention. Keeping that in mind, we’re looking at the most underrated smartphones we reviewed in 2020.
Asus Zenfone 7 Series
Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Government
We chose the Zenfone 6 as one of the most underrated devices of 2019, and its successors also appear here. Yes, Asus released the Zenfone 7 and Zenfone 7 Pro this year.
Fortunately, the Taiwanese brand has retained the unique mechanism for turning the Zenfone 6. However, it added a triple camera setup to the mix (with a tele-lens) as opposed to last year’s dual camera combination. We also get several other upgrades, such as 5G, a 90Hz OLED screen, 30W fast charging and 8K recording.
Our verdict: Asus Zenfone 7 Pro Review
However, there are some differences between the standard Zenfone 7 and Pro model, such as the Pro variant that uses the Snapdragon 865 Plus SoC, packs OIS and offers dual base storage (256 GB).
The biggest downside of the range is that it starts at a fairly substantial € 699 (~ $ 936) for the base model with 128 GB of storage. Meanwhile, the Zenfone 6 sold 128GB model for € 559, while the 64GB option had a launch price of € 499.
Sony Xperia 5 II
Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Government
The Japanese manufacturer had a tough few years, but by 2020, the company had produced two excellent flagship phones in the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 5 II. We said that the latter could be Sony’s best phone to date, and it’s even coming fifth in our Editor’s Choice Award for 2020.
Our verdict: Sony Xperia 5 II review
Sony’s flagship at the end of 2020 deserves its place on our list based on its rounded spec sheet. It features a 6.1-inch OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, a powerful Snapdragon 865 SoC and a 4000 mAh battery to keep you going. It does not hurt that the price of $ 949 on the phone was significantly cheaper than the Xperia 1 II’s price of $ 1,200.
The Xperia 5 II also has a rounded 12MP triple rear camera setup. Sony has put extra effort into offering dedicated pro photo and video applications in addition to the standard camera app. Photography enthusiasts should keep an eye on this. And yes, Sony has also brought back the headphone jack on both of its 2020 flagships.
Credit: David Imel / Android Government
LG is no stranger to these lists, as it regularly delivers rounded, as unspectacular, luxury phones. However, the LG Wing makes its mark based on its unconventional, yet polished form factor.
With a slide-out main screen that hides a much smaller screen, the design makes multitasking a little easier. This means you can watch YouTube on the main screen while searching on the smaller one, or use Google Maps on the big screen while fiddling with your music player on the small screen.
Our verdict: LG Wing Review
Do you not care about the form factor with two screens? The device can be used well without the second screen. You also get some solid specs differently. There’s an upper-middle-range Snapdragon 765G chipset, 4000 mAh battery, a unique triple camera setup (with two wide-angle lenses) and a ‘gimbal’ video mode. Throw in an IP54 rating, wireless charging and a pop-up selfie camera, and you’ve got a pretty neat package if you don ‘t like the price.
Looking for something a little more conventional from the Korean brand? This is where the LG Velvet comes in. It stands out due to its striking design compared to the rest of the smartphone industry. Much of this was due to the thin form factor and the distinctive design of the water drop camera.
The Velvet also indicated a rather interesting change in strategy for LG, as it rather followed a super mid-range route. That means you have a Snapdragon 765G processor instead of the latest and greatest silicone, a standard refresh rate and a camera setup that is more in line with the budget phones.
Fortunately, the Velvet still delivered welcome features, such as water resistance, wireless charging, a 4,300mAh battery and an FHD + OLED panel. It offers a rather interesting proposal at $ 599, which is the presence of typical cheap flagships.
Vivo X50 Pro
Optical image stabilization is a must if you want a good recording with poor light or reduced ambiguity and glare in videos. However, Vivo went better by introducing a so-called “micro-gimbal” 48MP main camera in the Vivo X50 Pro.
We found that this stabilization system produced impressive recordings with low light and smooth video recordings. In fact, our very own Dhruv Bhutani noticed that the phone took ‘incredible’ recordings in low light and offered an exemplary video quality.
Our verdict: Vivo X50 Pro review
Other notable features include two telephoto lenses (2x and 5x), a 90Hz OLED screen and a Snapdragon 765G chipset. Despite the middle processor, the phone has prices as in the UK at the highest price, and it is a striking £ 749 (~ $ 1,018) for the renamed Vivo X51 5G. At least it’s cheaper in India like $ 680.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Series
Samsung has used 2020 to really corner the foldable space, with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 rightly earning praise and creating a buzz. However, it seems like people forgot the Galaxy Z Flip series when the larger, more expensive foldable was released.
The Galaxy Z Flip has given a new version of an old shape by modernizing the clamshell design. Samsung was not the only brand to adopt this form factor in 2020, but wiped out the Motorola Razr foldably based on its cheaper price, better specifications, and better build quality.
The small foldable Samsung also offers a Flex mode, which uses the versatile hinge for various neat features. This includes acting as an improvised tripod for the cameras (e.g. selfies, long exposure recordings) and a hands-free way of conducting video conferencing.
It’s for our choice. We also pay tribute to the Oppo Ace 2 and Redmi K30 Ultra, which were only China devices. What do you think were the smartest smartphones of 2020? Let us know via the comments section below!