As 2018 draws to a close, it's time to take stock of the year. FrAndroid's editorial team offers you the chance to come back to the ten smartphones that moved the lines this year.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro
In the smartphone market, 2018 will not have been a year like the others. In terms of design as components, performance or, more generally, innovation, this year has pushed the builders to their limits.
A few days before the end of the year, the FrAndroid editorial team wanted to highlight ten smartphones that have reshuffled the cards this year, whether for their particularly attractive price positioning, for embedded technologies or for their frankly innovative design. . Be careful, these are not the best smartphones of the year – although some may overlap – but more innovative disruptors.
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018): the mid-range unbeatable
The Galaxy A8 2018
The year was launched on January 19 with the launch by Samsung of its Galaxy A8 (2018). A mid-range smartphone rather correct with its Super AMOLED screen and its chip Exynos 7885. Launched at 500 euros, it is now less than 300 euros. But it is not for its excellent value for money that the Galaxy A8 is in this list, but for its consistency, or rather the consistency of our community.
Since its release in January, it has not been a single week without Samsung's smartphone is among the list of the ten cards most consulted by our readers. For almost a year, this smartphone has interested you, and for a mid-range Samsung, it's a feat in itself.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: The sensational arrival of Xiaomi in France
The Redmi Note 5 was officially presented by Xiaomi on February 14, but it will be a little later in the year that will mark the spirits, especially in France. Arrived officially in the Hexagon in the spring, the Chinese manufacturer, already known to our community and fans of imports, scored a big blow on the segments of the entry and mid-range.
While some might be reluctant to get a Xiaomi smartphone in import a year ago, there's no reason to be deprived this year. Not only the Redmi Note 5 is an excellent smartphone, but it can now be tried in shops and especially, it came to give a hard time to Honor, long considered the brand par excellence around 200 euros. With the Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi proved we could do at least as well.
Samsung Galaxy S9: the variable focal aperture for the photo
At first glance, it was a rather flat year for Samsung. While the Korean manufacturer is about to celebrate the ten years of its Galaxy S range next year, it has not particularly innovated this year, whether for Galaxy S9 and S9 + or Galaxy Note 9. All at least at first sight.
On closer inspection, Samsung has managed to innovate the highly competitive aspect of photography. Better still, the manufacturer was not content with a new system of image processing, but did bring a mechanical novelty on its Galaxy S9: the variable aperture. While all smartphones on the market offer only a fixed focal length on their smartphone lenses, Samsung has integrated a diaphragm that can open at f / 1.5 or f / 2.4 depending on the ambient brightness. An idea already adopted ten years ago by Nokia on its N82.
Very interesting on paper, this novelty has struggled to convince us, the differences between the two openings being too small on such a small sensor.
Huawei P20 Pro: the smartphone of maturity
A month after Samsung, it was Huawei's turn to respond by presenting his P20 and P20 Pro. If the Chinese manufacturer had already made a strong impression at the end of 2017 with its Mate 10 Pro, it is however the P20 Pro that will confirm the trend.
Performing in 3D games, offering a neat design, a bright and well-contrasted screen and a very comfortable autonomy, the P20 Pro did not lack qualities. Among them, the quality of the photos was not the least. Logic, therefore, that we have devoted it among the best smartphones this year. It is also thanks to this P20 Pro that Huawei was able to delight Apple the second place of the smartphone manufacturers this year, passing just behind a Samsung in decline.
Oppo Find X: the really original design
Traditionally, the summer period is not the most conducive to the announcement or the release of new smartphones. Never mind, it was at the end of June that the Chinese manufacturer Oppo presented with great pomp in Paris its new high-end device, the Oppo Find X.
Unknown to the French general public, Oppo is nevertheless one of the largest manufacturers in China, cousin of OnePlus and Vivo. Like Xiaomi in the spring, he finally made his entry on the French market during the summer, helped by the Find X, a smartphone with a very original design. The device offers a screen without any border or notch.
To do this, Oppo took up an idea that was launched at the Mobile World Congress in February by Vivo: a retractable camera system. Here, it is a part of the hinge that comes mechanically up to allow the user to take selfies or unlock the smartphone. Vivo has also borrowed the concept on its Vivo Nex S, but it is not available in France. It is probably the smartphones with valves that are the Honor Magic 2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and Lenovo Z5 Pro who are the most inspired by this concept.
Pocophone F1: low-cost performance
At the end of August, another brand was launched under the aegis of Xiaomi: Pocophone. With the Pocophone F1, the Chinese manufacturer wanted to mark the coup and show that the performance was not reserved for smartphones over 500 euros. The device was indeed equipped with Snapdragon 845 backed up to 6 GB of RAM.
Proposed at launch at 330 euros, the Pocophone F1 has attacked frontally other manufacturers and especially to OnePlus, whose smartphones have taken a few tens of euros with each release of new model. If Honor tried to resist by launching at the same time its Honor Play, the Kirin 970's lower performance compared to the Pocophone F1 quickly eclipsed it.
Honor 8X: Honor's comeback
Despite the shocking arrival of Xiaomi on the French market, Honor still had some reserves. Huawei's brand, which was not particularly noticeable with his Honor 10, hit a big blow in the last quarter.
In September, she presented her Honor 8X, launched a month later in France. Particularly well finished, with a large borderless screen, good photo quality, a well-managed notch, excellent battery life and comfortable performance, the mid-range smartphone has shown that Honor was still under the hood.
Posted at less than 250 euros, the Honor 8X is an excellent value for money and allows Honor to stay in the race on the mid-range segment, despite the repeated assaults of Xiaomi.
iPhone XR: finally an iPhone at a normal price
In the last two years, the prices of high-end smartphones have soared to exceed more and more the bar of 1000 euros. With its iPhone X then XS, Apple is largely responsible for these rates on the rise.
Conscious of cutting a share of the market by offering only devices at luxury prices, the US manufacturer has decided to address this part of the year with the iPhone XR. Here, there is no question of smartphone entry or mid-range, but a device offered at the same price as many high-end smartphones Android: from 855 euros.
If we could smile some features (definition, LCD panel) during its presentation in September, it is clear that the iPhone XR has something to seduce with its photo quality, performance or colorful design. Yes, even at FrAndroid, you can put good notes on an iPhone.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: the consecration of Huawei
After a very successful P20 Pro, Huawei was logically waiting for the turn for its high-end end-of-the-year smartphone, the Mate 20 Pro. And the least we can say is that the Chinese manufacturer did not disappoint for his device launched in October.
Without just taking over the main new features of the P20 Pro by adding the new processor Kirin 980, the first Android to be engraved in 7 nm, Huawei has multiplied innovations. 3D face recognition, fingerprint reader in the screen, night mode, induction-inverted charging, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a gem of technology and manages to be the best smartphone of a year yet rich in novelties.
But it is mainly thanks to its processor Kirin 980 that it appears in our list. While the first smartphones with the Snapdragon 855 will come out early next year, like the Samsung devices equipped with the Exynos 9820, Huawei has taken a few months ahead of the competition thanks to its 7nm engraving supposed to maximize the autonomy and performance.
Samsung Galaxy A8s: small holes, small holes, still small holes
The year 2018 seems to end as it began, with another Samsung Galaxy A8 that has particularly distinguished itself. This is the Samsung Galaxy A8s, the new mid-range of the Korean manufacturer first intended for the Chinese market.
This smartphone, presented on October 10, will be the first to adopt a new type of design with a pierced screen. If Huawei and Honor have adopted an identical solution for their Nova 4 and View 20, this time Samsung will be the first. It must be said that the Korean manufacturer seems particularly interested in these holes in the screen, since according to the latest rumors, it would offer the same type of display on its future Galaxy S10 range.
As the year 2018 opened on the notches, it ends on the holes in the screen. Not sure it's much better, but at least it will give us one more reason to complain if these drilled screens are poorly optimized.
What does 2019 hold?
As we have seen, the screens drilled seem to be one of the main avenues used by smartphone manufacturers, be it Huawei or Samsung. Logically, we should therefore find again next year.
The year 2019 should also see the arrival of a new type of design with folding screen smartphones. Samsung has already teased its Galaxy F at the end of the year, but should formalize it in the first quarter, potentially at CES Las Vegas. Huawei and Lenovo are not left behind and would also work on a similar solution.
For the photo, Samsung has opened the way for variable focal openings, but there is no indication that other manufacturers are following. It is especially towards the increasing number of objectives that seem to orient the manufacturers, in particular with the Nokia 9 Pureview and its five cameras on the back.
Finally, the major challenge for builders this year will be that of 5G. Although networks are not yet compatible, there is no doubt that brands will embark on a communication war to know which smartphone will be the first to be compatible with the new standards.
In the meantime, to find out more about what's new, do not hesitate to take a look at our feature on the most anticipated smartphones next year.
Read on FrAndroid: The most anticipated smartphones of 2019 (Samsung Galaxy S10, Huawei P30, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 …)