2020 saw the high-end smartphone segment really bloom into something that’s as aggressively competitive as the mid-range segment in India. And while there are those finer things that kept these high-end phones from becoming true-blooded flagships, the performance was certainly not one of them. In fact, one of the smartphones here managed to beat all previous benchmark records in Android benchmarking. It’s not necessarily the best you can get, but it’s just one sign of the awesomeness we saw unfold this year.
The segment was particularly interesting to observe this year for the kind of entries we had. From a budget iPhone to a 108MP camera phone, this had it all. The segment also introduced 5G modems in the country, even though you can’t do much with them. All of the following phones offer good performance, dependable cameras, and bright and fast dis- plays, with good battery life and fast charging.
Winner: OnePlus 8T
From the two phones, the OnePlus 8T is based on, there’s really little that the company could do to market it as groundbreakingly new. But the little things that the company added just completes the puzzle for this year and sets the stage for what to expect from this massively successful lineup next year. While the core hardware is more or less the same as before, it’s the optimisations in place in the OnePlus 8T that propelled the smartphone to the top of our test sheets. The OnePlus 8T scores the highest in CPU benchmarks and real-world usage simulations, and the 65W fast charger in the box basically nullifies the average screen- on times you get. The 120Hz AMOLED dis- play is also one of the brightest in the category and because it’s flat and not curved, the One- Plus 8T feels a lot more pragmatic to buy than its Pro counterpart. The 48MP quad-camera stack, however, doesn’t pull any surprises. It’s strictly functional for its class.
Runner Up: Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
The Mi 10T Pro punches through by including two aces up its sleeve — A 144Hz display and a 108MP camera. And the display and camera were enough to compensate for lower CPU and GPU scores in our test sheets. The high refresh rate ensures everything you do on the phone feels butter smooth, and the Snapdragon 865 allows for smooth gaming, HDR support, 4D vibrations, and more. The 108MP camera is excellent for vlogs and vacation videos, and photos come out good (not as good as on the Mi 10 though). What seals the deal here is battery life. The 5,000mAh battery can easily last the day even with 144Hz enabled. It lost to the OnePlus 8T because of benchmark scores, but it was a pretty close runner up.
Best Buy: Asus ROG Phone 3
The Digit Zero1 Awards is all about performance, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the only smartphone dedicated to gamers in India this year. The hardware inside is the absolute best you can get today, and ASUS unleashes the monster inside with the X Mode, a performance mode that kicks in every time you start a game. There are pressure-sensitive shoulder buttons, a plethora of additional accessories, and the most respon- sive display ever on a smartphone – all of which makes a huge difference when you are trying to rank on CoD: Mobile. Just don’t expect superlative camera performance, and you’re going to need big pockets to carry this phone on a daily basis.
About Digit Zero 1 Awards:
With a legacy of 20 years, the Digit Zero 1 Awards is recognized as the Industry’s only performance-based awards. Digit rewards brands for putting in years of research in developing and introducing performance-driven products for their audience. All products are made to pass through a rigorous and scientific test process and compete with competitor brands in the same category. The Winner in each category is announced on the basis of their total score post complete performance analysis done across an average of 56 tests conducted for every category, across key performance parameters. The test process for the Zero1 Awards does not consider scores for features, price or design. The aim is to identify the very best products that money can buy, celebrate the innovations that push the industry forward, and reward the products that dare to disrupt the market.