The best Android smartphone of the year 2020: Editor’s Choice — the winner is…

The best Android smartphone of the year 2020: Editor’s Choice — the winner is…

What a yr 2020 has been. One welcome mild within the darkness of those previous 12 months was the launch of tons of fantastic telephones. Yet, just one can take dwelling the title of Android Authority’s greatest smartphone of the yr.

Even with out the pressured changes as a result of ongoing international pandemic, 2020 was a yr of main change for the cell trade. We noticed recent type elements emerge with the rebirth of clamshells, spinning telephones with two screens, and a tease of what rollables would possibly appear like. A handful of foldables that lastly felt ok (and durable sufficient) to genuinely contemplate shopping for made an look too.

We additionally noticed 5G take middle stage with its continued rollout. There had been even new worth tiers of smartphones with $1,000+ ultra-premium telephones, tremendous mid-rangers, and even a really price range iPhone! Cats and canine. Mass hysteria.

2020 was a torrid yr for a lot of, however we at the very least had some wonderful smartphones.

2020 was additionally a yr of change for us right here at Android Authority. If you’re an everyday, you’ve little question seen us regularly broaden our scope past cell because the years have passed by. We’ve usually introduced you all the newest information and evaluation within the audio, sensible dwelling, and computing classes, however we’ve expanded even additional this yr to have a look at gaming, streaming, and far, rather more.

Next yr we’ll be reflecting on that change once we come to awards season. Moving ahead, we wish to present like to the easiest the patron tech world has to supply. Of course, we received’t ever cease bringing you one of the best protection of the cell platform everyone knows and love — Android!

With that stated, it’s time to crown our Editor’s Choice smartphone of the yr. As ever, we’re working two awards — one determined by us (Editor’s Choice) and the opposite decided by you, our great readers (Reader’s Choice).

Here, we’re counting down the highest 5 telephones chosen by members of our critiques and options groups at Android Authority. Be positive to move over to our Reader’s Choice voting to forged your personal vote.

How we determined and why

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

As with our mid-year award, this yr we mixed uncooked information gleaned from Android Authority‘s goal testing suite with real-world concerns to find out an total winner.

Thanks to our testing workforce, we had been in a position to choose by means of essential information on show accuracy, digicam high quality, audio readability, in addition to sustained efficiency and battery life. This was achieved by means of a customized model of Speed Test G designed by our very personal Gary Sims of Gary Explains.

Each telephone represented right here reached or surpassed a threshold in our testing, proving their superiority versus dozens of rival handsets throughout varied worth tiers. However, we additionally wished to issue within the intangible components that separate good telephones from nice ones. These embrace software program assist, construct high quality, worth, availability, and extra.

To decide our winner, we balanced our goal testing with seasoned, subjective evaluation.

That’s the place our seasoned editorial workforce stepped in — a workforce with sufficient expertise to look past a specs sheet full of massive, attractive numbers or enticingly low worth tags (or certainly each). We forged judgments with a watch on the larger image of the ever-changing smartphone panorama.

The voting was extraordinarily shut this yr. There had been some surprises alongside the best way, however we lastly arrived at 5 telephones that every one deserve the very highest reward. One undisputed champion rose above the remaining.

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Without additional ado and counting all the way down to the general winner of our Editor’s Choice 2020 award, these are Android Authority’s smartphones of the yr.

Fifth place: Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony Xperia 5 II rear panelCredit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

In our assessment, we put it on the market that the Xperia 5 II might be one of the best telephone Sony has ever made. Considering the Japanese OEM’s ailing fortunes in recent times, that will sound like faint reward. However, its presence right here exhibits that’s completely not the case. In truth, it narrowly beat out the OnePlus 8 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus by only a single vote. That’s some severe competitors.

The Xperia 5 II distilled all that was nice in regards to the Xperia 1 II — itself a notable improve over earlier Xperia telephones — decreased it to a extra compact type issue. It dropped the worth to a much more enticing sub-$1,000 tag as well.

Everything you should know: Sony Xperia 5 II purchaser’s information

As a {hardware} bundle, the Xperia 5 II is solely unbelievable. The 120Hz show could also be Full HD+, however the elongated OLED panel delivers an virtually Samsung-level expertise with stable peak brightness, coloration accuracy, and really low gamma error. The common efficiency and triple digicam are equally nice, as is the colossal battery life. It pushed virtually 5 hours even in our most excessive stress take a look at — very almost matching common utilization for a typical flagship smartphone. There’s even a headphone jack.

Sony’s slimline telephone may’ve ranked even larger, however legacy software program points — notably the complicated digicam app state of affairs — prevented it from difficult for high honors. If Sony can repair these, then the sky’s the restrict.

Fourth place: Oppo Find X2 Pro

Oppo Find X2 Pro camera module macro

This is one for the books. The Oppo Find X2 Pro not solely blew our expectations out of the water in 2020, but it surely additionally ended up besting the OnePlus 8 Pro within the battle of the BBK-affiliated manufacturers.

OnePlus’ flagship (our mid-2020 winner, no much less) continues to be a unbelievable telephone, however our love affair sadly pale over time. Meanwhile, our affection for the Find X2 Pro grew, capturing a particular place in our hearts.

It’s not laborious to see why both. Unlike its sister model, Oppo’s tuning of the BBK-exclusive Sony IMX689 sensor proved to be elegant. The telephone constantly ranked close to the highest of our digicam testing. The Find X2 Pro matched and in some circumstances bested the general chief, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro. That’s fairly an accomplishment.

Our verdict: Oppo Find X2 Pro assessment

Throw in spectacular efficiency stats, fast charging (slightly below 45 minutes from zero to 100%), and a cool, color-accurate QHD+ AMOLED show, and also you’ve acquired your self a high flagship. It might not have the innovation issue of its slider-toting predecessor, but it surely’s nonetheless a looker, particularly the good-looking vegan leather-based mannequin.

If Oppo is ready to proceed delivering aggressive flagships like this, we are able to’t wait to see what’s in retailer in 2021 with the Find X3 sequence.

Third place: Google Pixel 4a

Google Pixel 4a screen in hand 3Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

The follow-up to 2019’s Editor’s Choice award winner, the Pixel 4a took the blueprint of the beloved Pixel 3a and in some way made it much more enticing.

Compared to the powerhouse units of 2020, its Snapdragon 730 chipset was by no means going to set the world on hearth. Yet, elsewhere the Pixel 4a punches nicely above its weight. This is especially true of its stellar show, with very excessive peak brightness (720 nits), glorious coloration accuracy, and low gamma error.

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Everything you should know: Google Pixel 4a purchaser’s information

Despite sluggish charging, battery life can also be respectable and, once more, it’s good to see a headphone jack on any telephone in 2020. Then there’s the 12MP digicam that after once more brings Google’s applauded computational pictures to the price range section.

Speaking of price range, the Pixel 4a hit the market with an MSRP of simply $349. It is probably not probably the most flashy telephone of the yr, however its unbelievable worth blows out different comparable telephones just like the OnePlus Nord with an plain pairing of fantastic {hardware} with glorious software program.

Second place: Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a 5G standard back imageCredit: David Imel / Android Authority

Coming in only one vote forward of its 5G-less sibling, the Google Pixel 4a 5G provided a lot greater than its awkwardly affixed moniker would counsel.

Much just like the Pixel 4a, the show is astonishingly good, however the battery life is even higher. Even our intense stress take a look at couldn’t cease the telephone hitting slightly below six hours of display on time. The digicam additionally enjoys a welcome improve with a secondary ultra-wide shooter. While the Pixel 5’s pictures suite faltered just a little this yr as others caught up, that very same digicam module shines right here. The digicam expertise is leaps and bounds above anything within the sub-$500 area, together with Apple’s iPhone SE.

Everything you should know: Google Pixel 4a 5G purchaser’s information

That was the case throughout the board too. While there have been some nice mid-range telephones in 2020 just like the Poco F2 Pro and Realme X50 Pro — toting flagship processors as well — they couldn’t match the imaginative and prescient of Google’s completely balanced center youngster. The incontrovertible fact that our workforce resoundingly shunned Google’s 2020 flagship for the sweet-spot-hitting Pixel 4a 5G speaks volumes.

Stupid identify be damned, the Pixel 4a 5G was Google’s greatest telephone of 2020. Arguably its greatest ever… but it surely nonetheless couldn’t topple the last word winner of our 2020 Editor’s Choice award.

Android Authority‘s Editor’s Choice 2020 winner: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in hand 2Samsung Galaxy S20 FECredit: David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung launched an insane quantity of telephones in 2020, but it surely was its final massive launch of the yr that stole the present.

Launched in an understated vogue only a month after the headline-grabbing Note 20 sequence and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (one of the best foldable of the yr, no query), the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition was the proper reply to a yr the place the commoditization of smartphones reached fever pitch.

On one hand, you had the Ultras, the Pro Pluses, and the Pro Maxes — eye-wateringly costly luxurious flagships bursting with energy and bloated with further extras. This, mixed with rising worth tags throughout the trade, pushed a whole lot of patrons in the direction of the steadily bettering mid-range.

That wasn’t the one possibility although. 2020 noticed the rise of a brand new class of tremendous mid-rangers — such because the Pixel 5 and LG Velvet. They eschewed flagship energy however nonetheless delivered premium design and options.

The Galaxy S20 FE does not essentially excel in anybody space, but it surely completely smashes expectations in all of them.

At a look, the Galaxy S20 FE seems to fit properly into this class with its $699 price ticket. But, no, this can be a good quaint flagship killer with bleeding-edge silicon — one which beat out its personal Galaxy S20 members of the family in our collective voting.

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With the S20 FE, you don’t must closely compromise in a specific space to avoid wasting a number of {dollars}. Its triple digicam can’t fairly hold with the easiest of the yr, but it surely’s a punchy and splendidly versatile setup. The “glasstic” construct isn’t as premium as glass, but it surely’s way more sturdy. Samsung’s professional craftsmanship nonetheless shines by means of.

The Galaxy S20 FE is blazing quick, too. The Snapdragon 765G might have risen to prominence in 2020, however the Snapdragon 865 continues to be the place it’s at in order for you true top-tier efficiency. Samsung’s show pedigree is on present with its impeccable 120Hz panel. It drops the decision to FHD+, however delivers on brightness and accuracy. This is topped off with aggressive battery life, wi-fi and reverse wi-fi charging, 5G mmWave assist, UFS storage, a microSD slot, an IP68 score, and Samsung’s One UI pores and skin that continues to mature over time.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back 4
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back 3
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back 2
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back 1

The few trade-offs that the Galaxy S20 FE makes are exquisitely balanced in opposition to its approachable retail worth. While it doesn’t actually excel past the elite units of 2020 in anybody space, it meets and surpasses expectations in all of them.

In a yr the place many telephones appeared laser-targeted on a particular viewers — be it frugal patrons, early adopters, or energy customers — the Galaxy S20 FE was the telephone for everybody. You can in all probability even purchase it in your favourite coloration, because the telephone broke the monochrome monotony with its vibrant colorways.

Samsung known as its reasonably priced S20 the Fan Edition — and you’ll rely us amongst them. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the deserved winner of Android Authority’s Editor’s Choice award.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
All one of the best options of the Galaxy S20 sequence at a lower cost

If you do not thoughts chopping a number of corners, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for “Fan Edition”) is likely to be the telephone you might be searching for. It gives a lot of the flagship specs and options of the Galaxy S20 household however trims issues all the way down to preserve the worth low.

  • $699.99 at Samsung
  • $699.99 at Amazon
  • $699.99 at Best Buy
  • $699.99 at Verizon
  • $699.99 at AT&T

Make your voice heard in our Reader’s Choice award!

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is our choose for one of the best smartphone of 2020. Don’t agree with our alternative? We wish to hear from you! Head over to our Reader’s Choice survey under and vote to crown your favourite telephone.

What was your favourite smartphone of 2020? Cast your vote in our Reader’s Choice survey

Also, remember to try our 2020 retrospective articles under for extra on a number of the greatest telephones of the yr:

  • 2020 smartphone mega shootout: The greatest digicam telephones examined
  • Did smartphones get much more costly in 2020? Let’s take a look at the numbers
  • 2019 vs 2020 digicam telephone shootout: Is cell pictures stagnating?
  • Did 2020’s Snapdragon 765G reasonably priced flagship experiment work?
  • The rise of ultra-fast charging
  • 2020 was the yr of the mid-range smartphone
  • High refresh charges exploded in 2020, however you should look past the numbers
  • Apple made 2020 the yr of energetic noise-canceling


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