The recently-concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) introduced a handful of smartphones and mobile devices. Most of these are midrange models since the flagships are typically reserved for launch at the more smartphone-centric Mobile World Congress coming this February.
The mid-tier smartphones launched this years, however, are nothing to sneeze at. And since these are way more affordable than their high-end counterparts to be showcased next month, these will be what tech-savvy but budget-conscious people would be aiming for in their next smartphone purchase. Check out the following list to learn more:
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Huawei’s new flagship was launched late 2017, but it didn’t really get any attention in the US until the CES. This 6-inch behemoth from China packs 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage (or 4 GB and 64 GB for the lower end version) and is one of the first handsets to be powered by the Kirin 970 chipset. So, while this may be considered a midrange handset due to the price, the specs are definitely that of a high-end flagship smartphone. It can easily handle even the most demanding Android apps, or when used as a business phone, can be used as a mobile communication workhorse for messaging or even conferencing. You can preorder the Mate 10 Pro starting February 4, for a reasonable $799 unlocked.
Honor View 10
If the Mate 10 Pro’s $799 price tag is still a bit steep for you, perhaps you can wait for the Honor View 10. Honor is also owned by Huawei so you can expect similar build quality and other features for this handset. Proof of this is that it also uses the same Kirin 970 processor, which is perfect for AI-powered image recognition for better mobile photography. Other notable features include facial unlock, as well as hidden notifications when someone else views your device. There’s no definite release date for the View 10, but it will probably be on US shores before the end of March.
Sony’s Xperia lineup
It’s hard to believe that Sony was one of the major players in the smartphone industry several years back. Its Xperia line was comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy S series. Unfortunately, it was not able to truly evolve into a modern device, despite all the tech it packs in its devices. At this years CES, Sony introduced the Xperia XA2 and the Xperia XA2 Ultra. From the looks of these devices, it seems that Sony did not receive the memo regarding bezels. Both still sport the thick bezels at the top and bottom, so even the ‘non-ultra’ version looks huge. The good news is that both their cameras have been upgraded to a 23 MP shooter which will definitely do well in low light, with its 12800 ISO.
BlackBerry’s attempt at a truly keyboard-less touchscreen device
The now TCL-owned BlackBerry used the CES to introduce a legit touchscreen-powered device. Named BlackBerry Motion (a play on Research in Motion or RIM, perhaps?), this device is a full-fledged Android device using a Snapdragon 625 chipset, Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53, Adreno 506 GPU, and a modest 4 GB RAM. At just $449, the Motion is a midrange mobile that you can’t ignore. This may be disappointing for the very few Blackberry purists remaining, but according to TCL, two more phones with physical keyboards will be released this year for the brand.
Asus ZenFone Max Plus (M1)
Asus can be considered as one of the precursors of reasonably-priced, high-speed mid-range phones. Their latest ZenFone iteration still holds true to that recognition. Named the ZenFone Max Plus (M1), this device is a $329 smartphone with innards that can give other mid-tier models a run for their money. It comes with a modest 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage on a MediaTek chipset. What’s remarkable is the 4,130 mAh battery, coupled with power optimization tech that can truly deliver more than a day’s worth of use between charges. It now comes with a rear dual camera, fingerprint sensors, and other modern features that you’d expect on a more expensive device.
Unnamed Vivo Phone with a neat trick under its screen
Vivo introduced a yet-to-be-named mobile phone that will probably be released early this 2018, and it quickly became a fan favorite. So, what makes this one special? Well. It is the first to neatly integrate a fingerprint sensor under the full-screen display. No need to fiddle with buttons at the back, because you can activate the sensor in an area at the bottom of your screen itself. It disappears once the phone is unlocked, which is a pretty neat party trick, especially when its coupled with high-end specs and features that we’d expect from the brand’s next flagship phone.
If you’re worried about spending too much for a mobile phone, the ones listed above are your best bet at having modern specs and features on a smartphone, without having to sell an internal organ. But if you think none of these suits your needs, or are simply underpowered and underwhelming, you can wait for February’s Mobile World Conference for some of the best (and priciest) devices we can expect for 2018.
This Guest post was written by Francis, who has been writing for more than a decade now, focusing on Web Conferencing in the last couple of years. He is currently in charge of writing web-optimized content for RingCentral, an industry-leading cloud phone systems provider. Francis is also a voracious reader, spending most of his free time immersed in fictional worlds. You can reach him on Twitter and LinkedIn.