The mid-range segment saw some fantastic innovation and consolidation this year. New players emerged, and the old ones weren’t too far in keeping things fresh in this hotly contested segment. The usual suspects from Vivo, Samsung and Oppo that operates in the under-30k segment was challenged by the entry of a budget OnePlus smartphone and an affordable Google Pixel smartphone. 2020 was a year of consolidation and pushing the envelope for OEMs in the mid-range segment.
5G was a recurring theme in most smartphones priced above Rs 20,000. And it is in this segment that brands got to really flex their muscles – The 7,000mAh battery on the Samsung Galaxy M51, or the 44MP selfie shooter on the Vivo V20 Pro, or even the 120Hz display on the Realme X3 SuperZoom. Brands really pushed the limits of what a smartphone can bring to the table at this price bracket.
All rounders like the OnePlus Nord and the beautifully compact, Pixel 4a were hot favourites during the online sales. The Realme X3 SuperZoom was a surprise while the Galaxy M51 turned out to be a solid value for money buy. The late entry of the Vivo V20 Pro also shook things up a little. Clearly, there’s a lot of action to unpack in this segment. So these are the nominations for the Best Mid-Range Smartphone for the Indian Gadget Awards 2020 –
Nominees for the Best Mid-Range Smartphone for the Indian Gadget Awards 2020
- OnePlus Nord
- Google Pixel 4a
- Vivo V20 Pro
- Realme X3 SuperZoom
- Samsung Galaxy M51
- Samsung Galaxy A71
With the cost of making a flagship smartphone on the rise, OnePlus had to make an U-turn this year and return to the affordable segment to continue remaining favourites among the masses. The result was the OnePlus Nord. A smartphone that comes dangerously close to being the perfect offering, at the sweetest price. With a robust, premium build, a 90Hz display and a quad camera setup, the OnePlus Nord doesn’t operate at the cutting edge of smartphone technology, but offers plenty to make the experience as enjoyable as using one of their flagship smartphones. The OxygenOS UI that powers the Nord is practically the same as the OnePlus 8T and 8 Pro, and the Snapdragon 765G under the hood ensures speed and future-proofing with 5G support.
Google Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel 4a does more with less, typical Google style. The smartphone, if made by any other company would not perhaps have been as fluid and hassle-free, but it works butter smooth with the Pixel launcher inside. Nothing inside the phone screams cutting-edge, yet Google makes the most of the Snapdragon 730G SoC and the single 12MP camera to deliver one of the best Android experiences in this segment.
It’s also a smartphone that will stay relevant for longer. Google has promised two version updates and three years of security updates for the phone. And the camera on the Pixel 4a, even after sticking to an older Sony sensor, delivers one of the best results in nearly every situation. But the biggest reason why the Pixel 4a attained legendary status in the mid-range segment is its compact form-factor. With every other offering attaining the size of a brick, the Pixel 4a was a nostalgic hark back to the times when smartphones could easily fit into the palms and one-handed use was the norm.
Vivo V20 Pro
The Vivo V20 Pro is an out-and-out camera smartphone with a strong focus on selfies. The 44MP selfie camera is paired with another 8MP sensor to turn it into a capable selfie shooter that can accommodate more than three people in the frame with ease. The rear camera stack is just as good and thanks to a bunch of AI filters, there’s a lot of scope for experimentation, making it sought-after for content creation. It’s also future-proof with a Snapdragon 765G 5G SoC, and while the infamous notch does make a return, the 6.44-inch AMOLED display is a great screen to watch movies and play games.
Realme X3 SuperZoom
The Realme X3 SuperZoom, if launched in 2019 would have counted as a flagship. It has the Snapdragon 855+ inside, as well as a capable 64MP quad camera setup that houses some fascinating tools for low-light photography, including Realme’s own Astrophotography mode. The smartphone also brings a 120Hz display in this segmen and t the UI feels super fluid and butter-smooth. While the Realme X3 SuperZoom stops just short of being a flagship smartphone fit for 2020, it’s perfectly capable of delivering nearly all the experiences one seeks in a flagship thanks to a reliable camera stack, a fast display and plenty of firepower in the processor.
Samsung Galaxy M51
If the Nord approaches the mid-range segment in a more nuanced way, picking the things one really seeks in this segment, Samsung went all out with the Galaxy M51. It’s basically the other end of the spectrum where the hardware inside overshadows the software it runs on. The Galaxy M51 rocks a 7,000mAh battery (yes, you read that right!), a 6.7-inch AMOLED display, 64MP quad rear cameras and a 32MP selfie shooter. The Snapdragon 730G inside manages to hold everything together, and easily ekes out more than two days of battery life on a single charge. This one is for the marathon users. Play games, watch movies, keep hundreds of tabs open, and you will still have plenty of battery life left to go about the day without having to plug in.
Samsung Galaxy A71
The Samsung Galaxy A71 offers nearly everything that the M51 has, sans that humongous battery. It’s also a little taller, with a larger display, making it one of the best in this segment for watching movies and playing games. The 6.7-inch AMOLED display offers good visual fidelity for content consumption. Then there’s the 64MP quad cameras at the back and the 32MP selfie shooter on the front, which come together to offer high-resolution photos no matter what you are shooting. The A71 also rocks an under-display fingerprint sensor, a 4500mAh battery and up to 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.