Flagship models offer a premium smartphone experience, but they also come at a premium price. Even with the likes of OnePlus flagships becoming as expensive as they are with each passing year, super premium smartphones like the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 9 which cost more than a thousand dollars each, are not really options that everyone can afford. This is exactly where the older flagship smartphones come in with their great cameras, powerful chips and ongoing support from the manufacturers. They are not going to be as good as the latest flagships from this year, but all three models below will still be superb options that will beat this year’s mid-high range handsets without breaking a sweat or the bank.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
From the front, it’s almost identical to the latest model in the series, aka the Galaxy S9 Plus, and it still packs a punch in all departments. The S8 Plus has one of the best cameras from last year and it still competes with the best of 2018’s smartphone cameras. The QHD+ Super AMOLED display is also just as beautiful as the one sported by the S9 Plus. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip inside may not be the fastest Android chip anymore, but it is definitely one of the top three most powerful Android SoCs even today. All of this comes at a significantly discounted price in the $500+ range for the unlocked model, making the Galaxy S8 Plus a better deal than any mid and even some high-end flagship smartphones being sold today.
The LG V20 is two-years old at this point and although we wouldn’t normally recommend buying any phone that has been released in 2016, the LG V20 is an exception for more reasons than one. Firstly, most people are of the opinion that the wide-angle rear lens (135-degrees) on the LG V20 is better than the wide-angle (120-degrees) rear snapper of the LG V30+, in spite of the latter being much newer. It also has an awesome Hi-Fi Quad DAC, a fast SD 820 SoC and a secondary 2.1-inch display, not to mention a removable battery; something that almost every manufacturer has stopped making, much to the dismay of Android users. Just put a sturdy LG V20 case on it to protect the somewhat flimsy metal body and what you have is essentially a beast of a phone that costs less than $200 now, while offering similar features and power to most modern smartphones in the $400 – $500 range!
At about $400 or less, the Nokia 8 has everything going for it with a powerful SD 835 SoC, 4GB/6GB of RAM and a bright, 5.3-inch 1440p IPS LCD display that isn’t extra-long and has been constructed in an old fashioned 16:9 aspect ratio; something that a lot people sorely miss. The cameras are mediocre at best though and that’s a bit of a letdown. Nonetheless, if you are a Nokia fan who wants to support HMD Global’s relaunching of the Nokia brand, this is a good entry point.
As mentioned earlier, buying any one of the three smartphones we just discussed will provide you with superb speed, camera performance, and most modern features that we have come to expect in 2018, albeit not all of them. Nevertheless, the point to remember is that these are supposed to provide you with the best value for your money and therefore, if you do spend significantly more on the latest flagship device from any reputed company, you will definitely get better raw performance.