I was most thankful for this year and i’m sticking with that for my main 2020 wrap up, but i got a few requests and questions on my top picks for phone of the year. You’Ll probably see me in a few videos on my friend’s channels closing out the year. It was worth sharing a few thoughts on pocket computers in an age of social distancing. There was no phone of the year full stop. This was a weird year for everyone. Never before in my lifetime has consumer tech been tested, like this 2020 was a brutal torture test of our gadgets and i’m happy to say that under these incredible circumstances, nearly everything i reviewed this year rose to the occasion now let’s be fair. 2020, got off to a rough start with 5g enabled phones breaking price tag records, but as we made it through the fall, i don’t think i’ve ever seen as competitive a landscape i’m based in north america. I live in the united states. My commentary focuses a bit more on where i’m from – and here we took another step for properly delivering, really good, mid ranger options. 5G started falling to more reasonable prices. Our nicer phones refined the glass on glass slab experience and when prices started climbing to a thousand dollars and higher, we got some really good reasons to spend our money on specialty hardware. I genuinely do not believe in winners and losers, i’m, not impressed with the chipset cheapskate trend in tech, reviewing or leaning into popularity, algorithms and taking thousand dollar plus devices, but boiling them down to the barest components of what average consumers might do with them or basing A review outcome on a small number of bullet points on a spec sheet.
How that doesn’t reflect the reality of owning a pocket computer instead, 2020 came to represent a shift in moving premium, build quality and premium features to more mainstream product segments. Looking at this rationally, if we could trade all of the hardware and features found on luxury phones and just reduce the processing power to save some money, that’s processing power, tech, influencers telus rarely gets used by those average consumers. We can compromise on unnecessary horsepower without suffering. Dull design, terrible displays, mediocre cameras and other lifestyle features at the high end. We got incredible experiments that largely succeeded at showing us a mobile lifestyle where a computer that fits in your pocket can displace the need to work from a traditional, desktop or laptop so to proclaim one device phone of the year. I think that does a huge disservice to the truly wonderful work accomplished by numerous manufacturers. In light of that, there are some accolades i’d like to deliver based on some of my personal experiences in no particular order of importance for my own use. The lg v60 kept my sim card the longest this year as an audio snob and a mobile content creator. It proved to be a fantastic workhorse solution with amazing battery life and still represents one of the most flexible platforms of 2020, though playing with the wing. That was definitely a highlight of this year too, and speaking of fun hinges on phones, microsoft delivered my favorite hardware. Surprise, with the duo i’m often cynical a touch sardonic and it’s rare that i’m truly shocked by hardware these days, so even for some persisting software gremlins, the duo is an amazing design accomplishment that i truly love using.
This helped breathe a little hope that we might see some better android based tablets in the future. Both google and apple delivered on premium small form factor phones, a category of communicator, gadget too long, neglected and truly beautiful for a connected lifestyle that shouldn’t take up that much space in a pocket or a purse. Tcl was a surprise. Hit shipping out surprisingly feature rich mid ranger devices. Sony absolutely killed it this year for pro focused devices, stunning build quality, replacing features like headphone jacks, incredible power management and software that actually empowers a more creator. Focused workflow oneplus caught a lot of flack for evolving out of their enthusiast image. But the mission of producing high performance phones at competitive price points was alive and well. The oneplus 8 pro was a joy to shoot on this year and if you slept on that camera, you missed out on something special, and this might have been my last dance with the galaxy note, a brand that defined my expectations for mobile computing and mobile work. If the rumors are true, i’ll at least be glad that i got to spend some time with the last of its kind, and none of this is meant to take away from the awesome work accomplished by a bunch of other brands. My reviews can often sound a bit repetitive, where most of my conclusions on gadgets have been very positive, really trying to evaluate a gadget on what it can do and who it might be for nearly every device i handled this year.
I could imagine a target audience that would have loved that device. Some audiences, of course, are gon na be larger than others, but wade against some pretty bold claims from these manufacturers. I found these devices mostly lived up to those claims. Picking winners and losers is toxic to the gadget conversation, picking, winners and losers gets in the way of trying to find the exact right fit gadget for someone’s specific needs. Speaking to that idea, i had a wonderful year with phones, and i hope you did too, as we close out this strange and historic year. My hope for you remains that you are safe, warm well fed and you get to spend some time virtually with people who care about you. We’Ve never had better tools to keep us connected, as always thanks.