This year has been rather exciting regarding smartphone releases what with three smartphones sporting folding displays.

Sadly, only one of those smartphones made it to shelves and the price tag really only appeals to the geeks with burgeoning bank balances and a desire to be first.

But what about the sensible folks, the people who just need a smartphone that works well and doesn’t need to fold. Well for that there is always the premium tier of smartphones and we’ve used two that have impressed the socks off of us.

What about the third you ask? Well it’s not technically a smartphone.

Third – Vodacom’s Vibe 4G

The Vibe 4G is not a smartphone but it is so good we honestly can’t write this piece and leave it out.

At R299 along with 150MB of data per month (for 12 months), one has to wonder how much money is being lost on sales of this device.

It sports a tiny 1 600mAh battery, a physical keypad and two cameras that perform awfully.

Where the Vibe 4G shines though, is in the name.

Having an easy to access 4G connection over the last few weeks with loadshedding has been a godsend and Vodacom’s coverage means we only lost signal in rare instances.

The battery life was admirable but with the power source being so small, it sipped power from our battery bank when the battery level warning arrived.

Every geek should have the Vibe 4G ready for emergencies, we’ve actually just ordered our own device.

Second – Huawei P30 Pro

The Huawei P20 was widely regarded as the best handset of 2018 so the Huawei P30 Pro needed to top that and somehow, Huawei managed to pull a rabbit out of its tech-infused hat.

This time around there were four cameras including an option in the P30 Pro to zoom up to 50X digitally which was unheard of at the time. The camera array made night-time shots brilliant and during the day you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference between a DSLR and the P30.

As far as performance goes seemingly nothing can shake the P30 Pro. The 7nm Kirin 980 is blazing fast but also requires less power to perform and 8GB of memory is honestly too much for a smartphone. Obviously we’re kidding, the additional RAM in this handset makes multi-tasking incredible and using the P30 Pro is a joy.

For those worried about the Chinese and US trade war, the P30 Pro remains safe from trade restrictions and the lack of Android so it’s still a decent buy if you’re in the market for a new handset.

First – Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

The best handset of the year, as far as I am concerned is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+.

There is still no such thing as a perfect phone but Samsung came so close with the Note 10 series I feel it has earned some praise.

The performance is other worldly as far as I am concerned. Nothing I threw at this handset even flustered it let alone broke it down. Heat is managed incredibly well and the camera is, it’s damn near perfect people.

Despite having used a Galaxy S10 since launch, I have nearly taken the plunge and purchased myself a Note 10 several times. The only thing keeping me back really is my bank account.

What the Note 10 represents however is clear progress from Samsung as a brand.

The reason the Galaxy Fold is able to exist at all is because after several controversies and meh smartphones, 2019 was the year Samsung got it right.

It’s hard to think that just a few years ago the Galaxy Note 7 was blowing up and had to be recalled.

While the Note 10+ is the best phone of the year in my opinion, Samsung as a whole is deserving of your attention especially if you are looking for an affordable smartphone.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]