OnePlus

These were the best phones of 2018 that shipped with notches.

Raindrops, cropped-tops...

This year saw a shitload of phones with notches on them. The rapid influx began with Andy Rubin’s misfired Essential phone in 2017 which was later picked up by Apple’s iPhone X. And due to the company’s history of its products being mimeographed by other manufacturers, the trend spread like a wildfire.

Sitting at the end of 2018, I was precariously searching for a decent phone to gift. But it got overwhelming noticing varieties of phones that had one thing in common: notches. At one point, I considered going upstream by choosing a phone without a notch. But all the phones that did not have notches didn’t have the “X-Factor” either. So, the only option I had was to choose one that had a notch.

And that pretty much landed me to the question: Which is the best phone with a notch out there?

After some light research and some help from MKBHD’s Smartphone Awards, I was able to come to a conclusion. And it was fairly easy to reach to one.

The best phone with a notch

OnePlus

OnePlus 6T

The iPhone XS would’ve been a perfect fit for this title if it wasn’t so expensive. The pricing, per se, is the only intelligible difference that makes the OnePlus 6T float above. 

Both phones have splendid cameras, both have the fastest processors in their respective ecosystems (although, the 6T has been tested to be faster), both offer vanilla software, and both have wonderful screens. 

The iPhone, though, tops most comparison criteria by a minimal margin. It has a better screen with a better pixel density, less saturation, and the best speaker setup on a smartphone. But its tremendous price overshadows all that. Even more so, when the 6T offers almost the same experience in a remarkably slashed-off price. 

The 6T is available for $549, which is a price that over justifies the potential OnePlus 6T packs. It has a Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8 GB of RAM, and up to 256 GB of storage capacity. The ultra-combo of such RAM management and processing power, however, has helped this phone grab the title of the fastest phone in the industry. 6T also has a 3700 mAh battery to support the speed it offers. Not much, but it roughly offers a day for a single charge.

While we’re at the subject of juicing-up the 6T, do not forget it also has OnePlus’ fast charging feature named “dash charging.”

This phone does not offer much in terms of exterior design. It does have the proficiency of glass backs but the only two black shades OnePlus offers it in is quite disappointing. But, most of the times, people don’t tend to look at the back. What really matters is the front. And the 6T does a lot there by simply doing less. For instance, instead of having a conspicuous notch like the Pixel 3 and the iPhone XS, OnePlus 6T has a drop-shaped notch that is implemented unobtrusively. After a week or so using the phone, I guarantee you’ll forget the presence of the notch.

But the screen that the notch is trying to highlight is just slightly above average. It’s not too great; not too bad. It has a 6.4-inch screen with a resolution of 2340 x 1080. The Optic AMOLED panel on the screen has a noticeably low pixel density of 394 ppi. And the tones in the display are a bit much more saturated than they should be.

But that’s not all for the display department.

OnePlus

OnePlus is a company whose product decisions are partly driven by its vast and strong fan base. This time, as a result; the company decided to include an in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s alright. The notion of having a breakthrough technology in a phone so cheap is great. But when it isn’t implemented to perfection, you feel a sense of losing rapport with the product. You have less respect for it than when you first bought it. Then again, this isn’t a review; and the phone is damn cheap for its kind. So little imperfections here and there don’t matter much.

The 6T also doesn’t produce photos that compete with the likes of the Pixel 3. Specs wise, the front camera is a 16-megapixel sensor with a lens having a f/2.0 aperture. The main camera at the back has a two-sensor system. With one 16-megapixel and the other 20-megapixel sensor; both having a f/1.7 aperture. The 6T shines in low-light tests, though, which is a feat not a lot of phones have been able to achieve.

At the end, a phone is a phone. But what you need to sacrifice in order to get the best, de facto matters. And OnePlus’ ability to ship significantly more in significantly less makes the 6T the best phone with a notch! AND the best phone. PERIOD. According to MKBHD.

Best runner-up with a notch

iPhone XS: Runner-up

iPhone XS

At this point, it must’ve been clear to you that this position was deemed for the iPhone XS.

It’s probably the first phone from Apple that performed just about average. And part of that disappointment can be blamed to the “tick-tock-tick” cycle based on which Apple releases its phones. According to the Cupertino tech giant, an iPhone will see a refresh in design every three years. That being said, it’s clear that 2019 iPhones are gonna flaunt no new designs.

Now, even though the iPhone XS failed to impress the masses, the reason for its loss is not nearly attributed to design or performance. It was the price at which Apple sold the iPhone XS that messed up its chances of being popular. This phone is still the best flagship you could ever get; if you just keep its $1000 tag in the shadows.

iPhone XS has Apple’s A11 Bionic chip with six cores and 4GB RAM. These figures may not look strong on paper. But they blast off in reality. Geekbench scores, side-by-side comparisons, rendering tests. The XS tops them all.

It also has one of the best AMOLED screens in the industry. Its 5.8-inch screen with a better pixel density, at least than the OnePlus 6T, is much better than what Apple is known to offer. iPhone XS surprisingly also has 2.2 percent less battery capacity at 2,658 mAh than the iPhone X. Although, you won’t notice a huge difference in terms of usage.

Cameras on this phone are impressive, like every year. The only difference this year is that there are a couple of phones having way better sensors and image processing algorithms than it. Set aside similar stuff, FaceID is one of the unique things that the iPhone XS offers. And to top it off, consider the fact that it’s the second generation with improved recognition.

The design on the iPhone is more on the premium side of the spectrum, just like its price. There’s stainless steel bands on the edges, a glass back, and more color options than its predecessor. In fact, it has more color options than the OnePlus 6T as well.

With the XS, the highest storage model is 512 GB, which in my opinion, is useless. I have a 128 GB iPhone and I’ve never even touched the 50 GB mark. Further, it comes with iOS 12, which is Apple’s operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods.

iOS 12, per se, isn’t the greatest OS you’ll find on a phone. But, it does a pretty good job, especially in terms of performance management. There might be certain restrictions here and there. But you’ll never get tired using it. Mainly because there’s so much to discover. And if you already have other Apple products, you’ll love having the iPhone XS as well just because of the interconnectivity iOS 12 skillfully conducts.

Overall, the XS is one phone you cannot forget to want. Although, its repelling nature is only due to the price. Rest assured, there’s nothing to hate and nothing you can’t love.

With phones stupendously pacing towards attaining an all-glass smartphone dream, there’s enough evidence to say that 2019 will be a tremendous year. You can get the essence of it right now with phones like the Samsung Galaxy A8s and Huawei’s Nova 4, that ditch the notch by punching a hole straight into the display to house a camera.

But, even with all the constructive predictions, effective amounts of denigration prevails to remind companies of the fact that they’re stepping over the line with the prices.

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