In 2018, smartphone shipments and sales reached new highs in many parts of the world, especially India. The year will also be remembered as one in which companies took some big risks in terms of design and came up with phones that were not only original but innovative as well. These aren’t necessarily the most polished smartphones in terms of experience, but they do offer a peek into where we are headed, and what the future could hold.
Here is a list of five smartphones we thought were the most out of the box:
Most innovative smartphones of 2018: Oppo Find X
Oppo Find X price in India Rs 59,990
It took a few years, but Oppo has finally managed to deliver a phone that is full of surprises. A curved glass front and back, with a metal frame sandwiched between, makes the Find X one of the best-looking premium smartphones of 2018. The Find X has no notch and the 6.4-inch OLED display dominates the front of the phone.
The phone has a motorised part on top when the camera is activated. However, the implementation is not perfect and long-term durability does appear to be a concern — Oppo says it is designed to last up to 5 years with an average usage of 150 times a day.
Techie take: This phone isn’t cheap, but offers the top-notch experience. The Find X may not be the most revolutionary smartphone, it’s definitely one of the most transformative devices launched this year.
Most innovative smartphones of 2018: Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Mate 20 Pro price in India: Rs 69,990
When Apple and Samsung continued to fight over the premium flagship of the year, Huawei shook the world with the Mate 20 Pro. This phone is arguably one of the best Android smartphones on the market, thanks to its cutting-edge hardware. There is no better Android phone that crams everything — huge OLED screen, ultra-fast performance, all-day battery life, triple rear cameras, water-resistance, in-display fingerprint scanner and a beautiful glass and metal design.
There’s wireless charging in the rear, which can even wirelessly charge other devices. Plus, the phone houses a 3D face recognition system similar to that of Apple’s Face ID. The Mate 20 Pro is a great performer, but I am still not convinced with the heavy EMUI skin based on Android 9.0 Pie.
Techie take: For Rs 69,990, you get what you pay for. This is among the best premium Android smartphones out there.
Most innovative smartphones of 2018: Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition
Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition price in India: TBA
From a distance, the NEX Dual Display Edition looks like the original NEX smartphone, packed with a bezel-less smartphone. But when you flip the phone, it’ll quickly hit you. The Vivo NEX Dual Display Edition offers a second display on the back with no front-facing camera. The smartphone does away with the camera module in favour of two screens.
The idea is to take selfies with the main camera system using the back screen as a viewfinder, thus eliminating the need to put a front-facing camera. While the concept is not new, it’s exciting to see Vivo’s take on the dual-screen smartphone. But it is a TOF camera that is also the big draw, which can be used for 3D facial and object scanning.
Techie take: One thing is clear: Vivo has raised the stakes in the premium smartphone market. How the consumer reacts to this remains to be seen.
Most innovative smartphones of 2018: Honor Magic 2
Honor Magic 2 price in India: TBA
Let me say this: Honor Magic 2 is an unconventional device. But I liked its weirdness. The main selling point of the Honor Magic 2 is a sliding mechanism that hides the phone’s front camera when closed. The slider phone feels different and it shows the technical prowess of Huawei. It is an innovative approach to get rid of the notch in order to make a bezel-less smartphone.
In my brief use, I did like the sliding nature of the Magic 2. But I am also worried about the way the phone requires a user to pull down on the screen with a bit of force. I didn’t experience any quality issues, though.
Techie take: The Magic 2 has a beautiful design, a total of six cameras (three on the back and three on the front), and Kirin 980 processor. The phone is not yet available in India.
Most innovative smartphones of 2018: Asus ROG Phone
Asus ROG Phone price in India: Rs 69,999
When I first stumbled upon the ROG Phone, I knew it was my type of device. It doesn’t look like the regular flagship smartphone – after all, the ROG Phone is designed with mobile gamers in mind. Taking cues from a gaming laptop, the phone has an aggressive look with its glossy chrome finish, copper grills on the front and back, and the illuminated ROG logo (which can be customised).
Internally, it packs an overclocked Snapdragon 845 processor alongside a 3D vapor-chamber built-in that helps the device stay cool during intense gaming sessions. This is a top-notch gaming smartphone and there is no second thought about it. I am ready to believe in Asus’ vision to create a dedicated gaming smartphone. However, the ROG Phone has a limited appeal, mostly due to its expensive price tag and the way it has been marketed.
Techie take: The ROG Phone is out and out designed to appease hardware mobile gamers who are willing to splurge Rs 69,900 on a gaming phone