2020 has probably been one of the strangest years for smartphone launches in Canada.
We saw some foldables, four new iPhones, possibly the latest Samsung Galaxy Note, a Huawei phone lacking the Play Store, and more. As usual, many phones that were launched in other markets did not make it here. With that said, this list looks at the best smartphones that were officially launched in Canada.
To be clear, this isn’t a gift guide to which phones you should buy, because in the case of the Z Fold 2, while it’s probably the best Android smartphone I’ve ever used, it’s definitely not for everyone due to its price.
Samsung has three smartphones on the list this year, and it probably could have had more, including the Galaxy S20 FE and the Galaxy Z Flip.
Samsung Galaxy S20 +
Samsung’s Galaxy S20 + doesn’t offer the highest specs compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but the smartphone is arguably the best of all the S20 series devices. With a Snapdragon 865 processor, a beautiful 120Hz refresh rate display, and four great cameras, the S20 + is an excellent smartphone package.
While the Galaxy S20 Ultra offers ‘Space Zoom’, MobileSyrup Editor-in-chief Patrick O’Rouke called the feature a gimmick in his review of the smartphone. Also, it has an absolutely huge camera shot.
The S20 + features a more refined bulge and the phone isn’t as flashy as its more expensive counterpart. Overall, I think the S20 + is the gold standard for phones in 2020.
Take a look at our Galaxy S20 + review here.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is one of the company’s best phones of the year.
The Note 20 Ultra offers a 6.9-inch 120 Hz refresh rate display with a resolution of 1440 x 3088 pixels. Also, it has a Snapdragon 865+ processor along with a triple camera setup, but it lacks the depth sensor available on the S20 +.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has very few shortcomings and is one of the strongest phones the company has ever released, according to O’Rourke.
Samsung has also improved the latency of the S Pen so that writing and drawing with the pen feel smoother and more papery.
Take a look at our Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review here.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2
This foldable phone might just be the best smartphone on the market thanks to its 7.6-inch foldable screen and 120Hz refresh rate.
With an ‘Infinity-O’ cut on both the inside and outside of the Fold 2, it looks much better than its clunky predecessor. The foldable smartphone also features a Snapdragon 865+ processor, 12GB of RAM, and a trio of 12-megapixel rear shooters that allow you to take great selfies using the Cover screen.
The device is an attractive smartphone that can handle whatever task you throw at it and offers a tablet-like size that fits in your pocket.
The Z Fold 2 is an incredibly expensive phone with an astronomical cost of $ 2,799. While few people need (or should) spend that amount of money on a phone, the Fold 2 is definitely one of the best phones to launch in Canada this year.
Apple iPhone 12 and 12 Pro
Apple’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have a lot to offer thanks to their 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR displays with Dolby Vision compatibility. Both smartphones also include Apple’s powerful A14 Bionic chip, improved camera capabilities, and a great-looking design.
Additionally, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro also feature square edges that are inspired by Apple’s latest iPad Pro, iPad Air (2020), and even the retro iPhone 4.
The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro also feature a spectacular camera package that includes improved night vision and better high dynamic range.
Depending on how you take photos, Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro features a superior camera experience compared to iPhone 12. For example, iPhone 12 Pro has a telephoto camera that allows users to get optically closer when taking photos, as well as a LiDAR sensor. LiDAR gives your phone enhanced augmented reality capabilities and improves your camera’s performance in low light conditions.
We could also have easily picked the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max for this list, which offer similar experiences but in smaller or larger sizes, respectively.
Google Pixel 5
The Pixel 5 is one of the most optimized smartphones on the market. The term “flagship killer” comes to mind as the phone doesn’t offer top-of-the-line specs, but still offers an excellent smartphone experience.
Notable Pixel 5 specs include a Snapdragon 765G processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 90Hz refresh rate display.
Google’s latest smartphone is an affordable device with no frills and it’s everything most people need in a phone, including future-proof features like 5G.
Take a look at our review of Google’s Pixel 5 here.
OnePlus 8 Pro
This year, OnePlus launched a smartphone that offered several high-end features, including a 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 3168 pixels and a 120Hz and HDR10 + update. Other features include a Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a 4,510 mAh battery.
There’s also a quad-camera setup with two 48-megapixel shooters, an 8-megapixel telephoto, and a 5-megapixel color filter camera.
Take a look at our OnePlus 8 Pro review here.
Honorable mention: Huawei P40 Pro
Huawei’s P40 Pro would be officially on this list, but the App Gallery needs a bit of time to grow. That said, I still wanted to acknowledge the Mate 40 Pro because it is an excellently built high-end feel phone with a fabulous camera.
For more information on Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro, check out my review here.