Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
iPhone SE (2nd gen, 2020)

The Wrap – The Best Phones of 2020 So Far

It’s the middle of the year, and it’s time to wrap up the year’s best phones so far. If you had to buy a new phone now, what should you consider? Find out in five.

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It’s the middle of the year — can you believe it’s July? — and this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and I think it’s pretty safe to say no one quite expected a year like this. A year that hasn’t gone according to plan. Any plan, really.

2020 has been strange, and we all kind of know why: COVID-19, the coronavirus, something that has dented pretty much everything, from travel plans to jobs and economies, health, politics, you name it. COVID has had an effect, and 2020 has been poorer for it.

That means the regular year of tech hasn’t quite been the same, even if it started in much the same way. First there was CES in Las Vegas with a bunch of new devices being shown off, TVs and computers and security and whatnot, but with Mobile World Congress cancelled a month later, phones have largely been left in a strange position.

Instead, mobile companies have been announcing and releasing them gradually, more gradually than we’ve seen in some time, and that has meant 2020 has been a little strange for phones.

We’re in July, the halfway point of the year, and while we’re normally flooded with mobiles by this time, right now feels a little more bare than has been.

There are certainly phones on the way, but if you had to buy a new phone now — if you had to buy a phone today — what would you get?

We’ve assembled some of Australia’s best tech journo minds for that very question, to find out what’s worth spending your money on, and whether new technology like foldables is where you should plonk your cash if you had to.

Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer & Host of Vertical Hold
2020 has been a weird year for phones. In the premium space foldables have kind of flopped. Sad but true. So if you’re looking at the best premium phone, probably the Oppo Find X2 Pro, great all rounder hits all the sweet spots at quite a decent kind of price.

That’s Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer and Host of the Vertical Hold podcast, who told us that the Find X2 Pro was his favourite flagship so far, and he’s not alone.

Alex Choros, Managing Editor of WhistleOut
The Find X2 Pro is the actual flagship that makes the least amount of compromises. They’re a little underwhelming this year, but Find X2 Pro delivers excellent cameras and a stunning display at a pretty reasonable price. It’s just a shame the battery isn’t a little better.

That’s Alex Choros, Managing Editor for WhistleOut, who agreed with the Find X2 Pro, and it’s one we agree with as well.

While Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus and S20 Ultra are both good phones, if you had to spend flagship dollars on a mobile in July, the X2 Pro delivers a solid phone with 5G, a great set of cameras, and water resistance. It just needs better battery life and wireless charging.

If you don’t want to spend flagship money, you might want to look at something a little unexpected: an iPhone, or more specifically, the iPhone SE 2, which we thought was a real winner, and Alex Choros did, too.

Alex Choros, Managing Editor of WhistleOut
As for the iPhone SE it’s just great to see a new affordable iPhone, and more importantly, an affordable iPhone that will continue to get software updates for years to come. It’s easily the best value phone you can buy right now.

It’s an opinion shared by Alex Kidman, who agreed, but added another option for anyone looking to spend closer to the $700 mark.

Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer & Host of Vertical Hold
The iPhone SE 2 is a real standout insanely powerful for its price, although the battery life really does suffer as a result. I’d also highly advocate for the Realme X3 Superzoom: great camera on that for the money, nice design, overall nice performance..

That covers the high-end and the mid-range, but what if you wanted to spend a little less?

Alex Kidman, Freelance Tech Writer & Host of Vertical Hold
it’s in the budget space that I think the real excitement is, because you get some amazing phones for about $200-$300 and the models there that I’d suggest you look at are things like the Realme C3 or Oppo A52 or Alcatel’s 3L: they’re all really terribly affordable phones that just absolutely hit all the basic things that you need out of a phone and hit them pretty well. They make a real challenge to both the mid range and premium phone markets.

The point of all of this is that even though the phone world can feel a little slow at the moment, there are still phones out there that can fill the gap.

Of course you don’t have to buy anything at all. You might have a phone that works wonders already, and might just be biding your time, which is fine. A lot is coming, and some of it in the very near future.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note range looks set to launch in the first week of August, while Google’s follow-up to one of last year’s best phones, the mid-range Pixel 3a, is due any minute now. And that’s before you mention the Pixel 5 some time this year, Apple’s new iPhones expected in the iPhone 12 range, and whatever else is coming from LG, Motorola, Nokia, Oppo, Realme, TCL, and others. We might even see HTC make an appearance.

Simply put, there’s no shortage of phones, but if you had to get something now, we’d probably look at the iPhone SE or the Find X2 Pro.

Thanks to both Alex’s for coming on the show, and you’ve been listening to a special half year episode of The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will return next week for more technology in the space of five, but until then have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

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