It’s been an odd few weeks at Stuff HQ. Bags packed, the team were all set to head out en masse to Barcelona (tough gig) to cover the planet’s biggest smartphone show, Mobile World Congress (actually a tough gig). Then the Covid-19 outbreak struck and the expo was cancelled.
It’s by no means the only major event to have fallen victim to the virus – the Geneva Motor Show, Milan Design Week, Google’s I/O developer conference, the E3 video games expo, SXSW and counting – but given it was tasked with setting the agenda for shiny new mobile tech coming our way in 2020, it was easily one of the most influential.
Twiddling thumbs wondering if we’d have any new touchscreens to attach them to, a triumph over adversity action plan has kicked in with a number of major phone makers saying to hell with it and releasing awesome new handsets anyway. So to celebrate their endeavours in innovation, design and raw power, we’ve given some of them a special badge in the form of a Stuff Mobile Award.
These are, officially (according to us), the most exciting new mobile devices so far in 2020.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Samsung’s second foldable feels a lot more viable as a phone. Like the reimagined Motorola Razr, the Galaxy Z Flip is an old-becomes-new-fashioned flip phone with a clamshell design that opens up to reveal a large foldable display. At £1300 it’s still prohibitively pricey, but of all the phones we’ve folded (and rest assured we’ve folded all the foldable phones), it might just be the one we want most.
Huawei Mate Xs
Bendy tablet or folding smartphone, however you look at it, the eye-wateringly expensive Huawei Mate Xs is an incredible feat of engineering that opens to show an 8in display with a two-layer polymer structure for extra strength. A powerful Kirin 990 processor and 40MP Leica quad cam prove Huawei has gone on a tech splurge, and you’ll need to too if you want one.
Samsung Galaxy Ultra S20 5G
No limits. No compromises. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G takes everything we’ve come to expect from a Galaxy phone, then gives it a stunning high-refresh-rate screen and a set of cameras that could embarrass a DSLR. Throw in hardware that could rival a desktop PC, 5G connectivity and a colossal battery, and you’ve got the blueprint for what all future flagship phones should look like.
RealMe X50 Pro 5G
Coming up hot on the outside, RealMe’s first 5G handset gets a 64MP quad camera setup, including a 12MP lens with 20x hybrid zoom, a wide-angle lens and a portrait mode lens. Flip it on its front and dual 32MP and 8MP in-display selfie snappers are there to capture your narcissistic side. That’s a lot of picture power for your pounds, while a Snapdragon 865 processor and 6.44in 90Hz Super AMOLED display mean it’s no mug in other areas too.
Sony Xperia 1 II
Insert a lazy line here about sequels being a disappointment, but Sony’s second Xperia 1 is a 5G phone built for gaming, gorging on Netflix, and listening to hi-res music. Sony’s 6.5in 4K HDR OLED display keeps the cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio of its predecessor, but adds a Snapdragon 865 chip, and improved cameras created in collaboration with Sony's Alpha 9 series team and sporting Zeiss lenses. It arrives later in the spring.
Huawei MatePad Pro 5G
Okay, so it’s not a phone, but Huawei’s iPad Pro knockoff has a 10.8in display for gorging on games, movies and more. The 16:10 aspect ratio makes it look like a super-sized mobile and with a Kirin 990 processor it’s equipped like a flagship phone too. That 5G network capability is also something the iPad Pro can’t muster and could be the difference when downloading box sets before a flight.
Oppo Find X2 Pro
Oppo’s latest 5G phone has an ultra-responsive 120Hz 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED display with HDR10+ that on paper at least should make for an incredible gaming and movie-watching experience. An Ultra Vision Camera System adopts a 48MP main camera, 48MP ultra-wide-angle, 13MP periscope telephoto combination with 10x hybrid zoom and 60x digital zoom. A Snapdragon 865 processor rounds off a formidable spec sheet.