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No notch? No problem! The best smartphones defying the trend

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It’s not just a Chinese trend. At a time when even the Google Pixel 3 looks like it will imitate the iPhoneX’s notch, that little display cutout looks to become a worldwide phenomenon. But if you want a top of the range phone that won’t commit this aesthetic offense, there are still plenty of good options. 

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Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+

The first that comes to mind is Apple’s great rival, Samsung. Samsung’s image and popularity give it its own character and distinguish it from the (vast) majority of its competitors by not offering a notch. The latest flagship, the Galaxy S9 offers us a device that excels on almost every level: the screen is quality, the performance is excellent, and the camera has proven its worth.

samsung galaxy s9 vs s9 plus front c2vx
No notch for the Infinity Display! / © AndroidPIT

Samsung offers a nice range of technical features with this flagship (AR emojis, 960 fps recording, etc), we also find the Bixby home assistant (not unanimously popular, we admit) and the option to use the DeX to have the smartphone screen on the big screen.

Those of you who need some more size and power (and have a little more money to spend) might also consider the Samsung Galaxy S9+. In addition to its larger screen (6.2 inches instead of 5.8 inches) which is aimed at multimedia enthusiasts, the Galaxy S9+ also puts more emphasis on photography because its dual camera contains a telephoto lens that allows a 2x optical zoom and of course a nice Bokeh effect. 

For the rest, the Galaxy S9+ offers almost the same technical specs, except of course the capacity of the battery because the larger size allows to shelter a larger battery, thus making it possible to feed a larger screen. Another notable exception is the amount of RAM that can reach 6 GB on the large model.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+ technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S9+
Dimensions: 147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5 mm 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm
Weight: 163 g 189 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3500 mAh
Screen size: 5.8 in 6.2 in
Display technology: AMOLED AMOLED
Screen: 2960 x 1440 pixels (568 ppi) 2960 x 1440 pixels (531 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 12 megapixels
Flashlight: LED LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo 8.0 – Oreo
RAM: 4 GB 6 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
256 GB
64 GB
256 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Samsung Exynos 9810
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Samsung Exynos 9810
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.7 GHz 2.7 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

The latest from Xiaomi still isn’t available in the US, but this Chinese company has its sights set on the American market in the future. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S deserves special mention for integrating the bezel-less display without resorting to the notch.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S 5143
Not every Chinese phone is an Apple clone. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

This smartphone is simply excellent. It makes a faultless impression on almost all points (unique design, good performance, very good camera, etc.). True to form, Xiaomi also offers a good price/quality ratio on the device, and it could be worth it even if you have to import it.

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S technical specifications

Dimensions: 150.9 x 74.9 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 190 g
Battery size: 3400 mAh
Screen size: 5.99 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2160 x 1080 pixels (403 ppi)
Front camera: 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: MIUI
RAM: 6 GB
8 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
128 GB
256 GB
Removable storage: Not available
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.8 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Currently head of the Mate family range, the 10 Pro is a phablet from last year that still holds its own against the current generation. It uses the same hardware as the latest Huawei and Honor smartphones, namely the Kirin 970 SoC and its artificial intelligence chip. Of course we find a bezel-less screen and no notch (hence its presence in this list), which will delight all users. Here too, the camera is of good quality, especially in terms of software retouching after the shot. 

AndroidPIT huawei mate 10 pro review 1852
The Mate 10 Pro could be the best Huawei flagship for American buyers. / © AndroidPIT

US buyers could always import P20 Pro with no valid regional warranty if they want the latest and greatest Huawei, but the GSM unlocked Huawei Mate 10 Pro officially sold by Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg and B&H would be a better deal, especially since the price has dropped to around $550, well below the launch price of $800.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro technical specifications

Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 178 g
Battery size: 4000 mAh
Screen size: 6 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 2160 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi)
Front camera: 12 megapixels
Rear camera: 20 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: Huawei EMUI
RAM: 6 GB
Internal storage: 128 GB
Removable storage: Not available
Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 970
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.36 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2

LG V30

This smartphone may not be the latest LG, but it is the last one not to offer a notch since the LG G7 ThinQ decided to adopt the trend (which can be software hidden). The V30 exists in two versions, the second being simply a model improved by artificial intelligence. 

v30 display loop ff2
LG’s floating bar is a fun gimmick on the V30. / © AndroidPIT

The LG V30 is available on Amazon for under $500, which isn’t quite as good a quality/price ratioas the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, but it is still a quality smartphone that will meet all user expectations thanks to its high-end components (such as the Snapdragon 835 SoC). But if you want more modern hardware you will have to turn to the competition. 

LG V30 technical specifications

Dimensions: 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 158 g
Battery size: 3300 mAh
Screen size: 6 in
Display technology: POLED
Screen: 2880 x 1440 pixels (537 ppi)
Front camera: 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 16 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 7.1.2 – Nougat
User interface: LG UX
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Honor View 10

The Honor View 10 has been available for purchase since December so it is not one of the newest options, but that does not prevent it from being very competitive. It also uses the Kirin 970 SoC, which guarantees not only excellent performance but also the presence of artificial intelligence for assistance in photography and computing.

The Honor View 10 lacks some features that are almost always found on top of the range (mainly the IP67/68 certification), but it has the merit of having no notch and to offer a mini-jack and dual SIM functionality. Currently, the device is accessibly priced at $499.

Honor View 10 technical specifications

Dimensions: 157 x 74.98 x 6.97 mm
Weight: 172 g
Battery size: 3750 mAh
Screen size: 5.99 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2160 x 1080 pixels (403 ppi)
Front camera: 13 megapixels
Rear camera: 20 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: Emotion UI
RAM: 6 GB
Internal storage: 128 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 970
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.36 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2

HTC U12 Plus

Will HTC ever get the recognition it deserves in the mass market? The Taiwanese company has rarely been on the lips of salespersons due to poor carrier distribution and lackluster marketing, that doesn’t stop them from making quality top-range smartphones that refuse to bow down to the notch trend.

The XZ2 may lack the flashier gimmicks of its notched competition, but won’t let you down in your daily smartphone tasks. The Xperia range also has another unique advantage: it is practically the only option for buyers who want a premium, top-end device in a compact size, namely the XZ2 Compact, which packs all the XZ2 goodness into a small package.

Sony Xperia XZ2 vs. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact technical specifications

  Sony Xperia XZ2 Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
Dimensions: 153 x 72 x 11.1 mm 135 x 65 x 12.1 mm
Weight: 197 g 168 g
Battery size: 3180 mAh 2870 mAh
Screen size: 5.7 in 5 in
Display technology: LCD LCD
Screen: 2160 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi) 2160 x 1080 pixels (483 ppi)
Front camera: 5 megapixels 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 19 megapixels 19 megapixels
Flashlight: LED LED
Android version: 8.0 – Oreo 8.0 – Oreo
User interface: Xperia UI Xperia UI
RAM: 4 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.6 GHz 2.8 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0
HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Which is your favorite of the above phones? Do you have any to recommend for our list?

This article was written in contributions from AndroidPIT.fr’s Benoit Pepicq

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