TOP 5 mid-range smartphones at start of 2019: best models

It is not necessary to buy a flagship for $1000, because there are cool smartphones you can easy find for $300-400. Such models are equipped with powerful hardware, excellent cameras, displays and cool technologies like face recognition or contactless payment. Next – TOP 5 best phones in January-February 2019.

1st place - Xiaomi Pocophone F1

  • Released: august, 2018
  • Android 8.1, up to 9.0
  • Body: plastic, 182 g, 8.8 mm
  • Display: IPS, 6.18", Full HD+, Gorilla Glass
  • SoC: Snapdragon 845
  • Memory: 6/8 GB RAM, 64/128 Gb disk
  • Battery: 4000 mAh
  • Main camera: 12/5 Mp, f/1.9, 1.4 um, Dual Pixel
  • Selfie camera: 20 Mp, f/2
  • Comms: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 AC, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 4G
  • Features: Fast Charging QC 3.0, infrared scanner for FaceUnlock

This is weak flagship by Xiaomi, but in the middle segment it is the best smartphone. It got powerful Qualcomm processor, Snapdragon 845. These chips are ussually installed in top devices, but Xiaomi managed to create a cheap phone based on it. It makes Pocophone F1 a real flagship, but on the other hand, there is a simple plastic case, an IPS screen, no NFC chip and optical stabilization on camera.

Screen – standart, with IPS-matrix and Gorilla Glass. On the back – 2 cameras with resolutions of 12 + 5 Mp. The aperture of the main lens is f / 1.9, the add-on module is a depth sensor that only works if portrait mode is activated.

The autonomy of the smartphone is solid due to the 4000 mAh battery, plus it supports fast charging Quick Charge 3.0. The device withstands 25:31 conversations in the 3G network, 13:51 hours of surfing, 12:11 hours of video playback.

Camera samples

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Pros and cons

  • Good body without backlash and squeaks.
  • The best processor in this price segment.
  • Infrared face scan.
  • Headphone jack 3.5 mm and flash drive.
  • Plastic cover.
  • No NFC and water protection.
  • Hybrid tray for microSD card.
  • Thick bottom frame.
  • Complaints from users about the firmware.

2 place - Honor Play

Honor Play

honor play
  • Released: July, 2018
  • Android 8.1 up to Android 9 Pie
  • Body: 176 g, 7.5 mm
  • Display: IPS, 6.3", 1080x2340, 409 ppi density
  • SoC: Hisilicon Kirin 970
  • Memory: 4/6 Gb RAM, drive 64 Gb
  • Battery: 3750 mAh
  • Main camera: 16 MP, f/2.2 + depth sensor 2 Mp, f/2.4
  • Selfie camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm
  • Comms: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2, USB Type-C, 4G, jack 3.5 mm
  • Features: fast charging 18 W

This smartphone by a Chinese brand is the cheapest flagship based on SoC HiSilicon Kirin 970. All other models such as Honor 10, Huawei Nova 3, Huawei P20 are more expensive. Consequently, Honor Play is the best model in the middle segment after the Pocophone F1.

The device is made in a metal case, equipped with an IPS-screen with a diagonal of 6.3”, Full HD+ resolution. On the back there are 2 cameras with 16 + 2 megapixels with aperture of the main lens f / 2.2. Front – one camera, 16 MP.

Also, the phone has no an NFC chip, but there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack, fast charging with a 18 W native adapter, fast Wi-Fi 5 GHz. Well, the battery at 3750 mAh refers to the pros, as a EMUI shell and GPU Turbo technology, that is responsible for games optimizing. Yes, the phone has some cons, but since its price is lower $300, this is a very good choice.

Camera samples

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Bad light

Selfies

Bokeh mode

Pros and cons

  • Metal body.
  • Good and large display.
  • Good battery and autonomy.
  • Good camera for it’s price.
  • Hard apps load SoC and heat up it.
  • Bad photos when shooting in low light.
  • No EIS when recording 4K.

3rd place - Nokia 7 Plus

  • Released: March, 2018
  • Android 8.1 (One) up to Android 9 Pie
  • Body: aluminum, 183 g, 8 mm
  • Display: IPS, 6.0", 1080x2160, 403 ppi, Gorilla Glass 3
  • SoC: Snapdragon 660
  • Memory: 4/64 Gb
  • Battery: 3800 mAh
  • Main camera: 12 MP, f/1.8, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel + 13 MP, f/2.6, 1.0 µm, 2x-zoom
  • Selfie camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm
  • Comms: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 4G, jack 3.5 mm
  • Features: fast charging 18 W, Zeiss optics on cameras, NFC

The device was presented in March 2018, and at the beginning of 2019 it is a cool choice in the middle segment. It costs about the same as Honor Play, plus there is an NFC chip for contactless payment.

The screen is IPS, with a diagonal of 6”, at the rear there are 2 cameras with resolutions of 12 + telephoto at 13 megapixels and an aperture of f/1.75; Processor – Snapdragon 660 – a chip by Qualcomm for mid-range smartphones, characterized by performance. In terms of speed, it loses to the Kirin 970 and even to Snapdragon 845, but its power more than enough for 90% of users. The PUBG game at high settings will start without problems.

3800 mAh battery support fast charging from an 18 W adapter, NFC and fast Wi-Fi ac standard are included. All this makes the phone one of the best for little money. If the camera is fundamentally important, then I offer examples of photos on the Nokia 7 Plus:

Camera samples

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Selfies

Bokeh mode

Pros and cons

  • Design, solid built.
  • Android One and very fast updates from Google.
  • Battery life.
  • Camera + 2x zoom.
  • Max display bright at a level of 432 nits, it would be better.
  • Zeiss optics give no benefits.

4th place - Vivo V11

Vivo V11

New Chinese smartphone by Vivo unexpectedly turned out to be very cool in terms of photo shooting. Plus, here is the Amoled-matrix, which distinguishes this smartphone among all the devices in this review. And most importantly – Vivo V11 got the fingerprint scanner under screen, and this is the second phone (after the Meizu 16X) from middle segment with this technology.

It is made in a glass case with a plastic frame, equipped with a Snapdragon 660 chip, 6 GB of RAM, so it has no problems with performance. Rear – dual camera 12 + 5 MP with a diaphragm of the main module f / 1.8. Plus, there is a 3400 mAh battery, fast charging from an 18 W adapter, Wi-Fi ac, working with 5 GHz networks, 3.5 mm headphone output. The only omission is the old microUSB 2.0 connector. However, there is fast charging technology. Judging by the reviews, the phone from zero to 60% is charged in just half an hour, and that’s cool.

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Selfies

  • headphone jack 3.5 mm.
  • A fingerprint scanner in display.
  • Fast charging.
  • SuperAmoled-matrix, HDR10 support.
  • Solid autonomy.
  • Cool daytime photos.
  • Old micro-USB interface.
  • The plastic frame.
  • Funtouch shell is not well optimized yet .

5th place - Nokia 7.1

  • Released: october, 2018
  • Android 8.1, up to 9.0
  • Body: glass + aluminum, 160 g, 8 mm
  • Display: IPS, 5.84", Full HD+, Gorilla Glass 3, HDR10
  • SoC: Snapdragon 636
  • Memory: 3/4 Гб RAM, drive 32 Гб
  • Battery: 3060 мАч, quick charge 9V/2A 18 W
  • Main camera: 12/5 Mp, f/1.8, Dual Pixel
  • Selfie camera: 8 Mp, f/2.0
  • Comm: 2 sim, Wi-Fi 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5, USB Type-C, 4G
  • Features: NFC

Another Nokia device completes the rating. Model 7.1 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo, is upgrated to 9 Pie and in generally it is a cool mid-segment solution.

There is a Snapdragon 636 processor inside. The speed of the chip is inferior to the Snapdragon 660 (as in the Nokia 7 Plus), however, due to the energy-efficient cluster, it consumes less energy in the passive mode, which increases the autonomy of the smartphone. By the way, a 3060 mAh battery is installed here. Fast charging with 18-watt adapter is supported. The phone works for 22:48 hours of communication in the 3G network; 11 hours of surfing the Internet, 9:31 h video playback.

Next – a 5.84-inch display with HDR10 support and Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is not a shovel, so it comfortably fits in your hand, plus you can use it with one hand. NFC, 5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB Type-C are included, as well as cool 12 + 5 megapixel cameras with f / 1.8 aperture and Zeiss optics.

Camera samples

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Bad light:

Bokeh mode:

Selfies:

Pros and cons

  • Good HDR display.
  • Battery + fast charging, autonomy.
  • Glass case.
  • Camera + good portrait mode.
  • NFC, headphone jack 3.5 mm.
  • No video recording at 60 FPS.
  • Bad selfies.
  • No water protection.

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