What Hi-Fi (UK)


We test three of the best premium smartphone­s from Apple, Samsung and Sony


The average smartphone has more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that NASA used to land men on the moon just over 50 years ago. It has many million times the memory, too, while being ridiculous­ly smaller and cheaper. Computing power has come a long way in recent years, and the smartphone­s to which many of us are glued are perhaps the greatest example of that.

On test here, we have three phones that demonstrat­e just what is possible. These premium models are currently the best that Apple, Samsung and Sony have to offer; three flagship smartphone­s, each packed to the gills with features, and offering the best possible performanc­e with music and video.

The Apple iphone 12 Pro Max brings 5G connectivi­ty to Apple’s table for the first time, delivering, almost inevitably, a more svelte design and sporting a huge 6.7in Super Retina XDR screen. Ceramic Shield, said to be “tougher than any smartphone” glass, and ‘surgical-grade’ stainless steel help deliver that typically best-in-class design.

Samsung sells just as many phones as Apple in an average year and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is its super-sized rival to every other top-of-therange handset on the market. As well as the

S Pen stylus, there’s 5G connectivi­ty and the promise of the “brightest and most vivid” screen on the market. Support for 120Hz refresh rate should mean smoother operation than a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Last but not least is the Sony Xperia 1 II, which marks a welcome return to these pages for Sony smartphone­s. The company’s latest range focuses on audio and video performanc­e – it has a 6.5in, 21:9 Cinemawide 4K HDR OLED display – and borrows expertise from other parts of the business, such as working with Sony’s Alpha camera engineers to deliver a fast autofocus.

As always, we’re directing our focus towards performanc­e-per-pound value when it comes to the screen and sound, while taking into account overall performanc­e across key areas, such as battery life, usability, the camera and build quality. So which one delivers out of this world performanc­e? Let big-phone battle commence…

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