Flagship smartphone shootout

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro's 4000mAh battery can last a day of usage with plenty to spare.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro's 4000mAh battery can last a day of usage with plenty to spare. PHOTO: HUAWEI

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Impressive dual cameras


• Almost bezel-less Amoled display.

• Dual-camera system with black-and-white sensor shoots fast and produces lively images.

• Camera's wide-aperture mode produces subtle but realistic-looking bokeh effect.

• Large 4,000mAh battery lasts a day of usage with plenty to spare.

• Ample internal storage (128GB) and RAM (6GB).

• Huawei's EMUI user interface has useful features, such as multiple instances of a single app for different users and a desktop mode when connected to external monitor.


• Screen offers lower pixel density than rivals.

• Camera tends to over-sharpen images.

• Preloaded with tons of proprietary apps.

• Machine-learning features underwhelming.

• Lacks 3.5mm audio jack, wireless charging and expandable storage.

Vincent Chang

Images and videos taken by the camera are uploaded for free at original quality to Google Photos until end 2020. PHOTO: GOOGLE

Google Pixel 2 XL

Unrivalled user experience


• Smooth and lag-free user experience unrivalled among Android smartphones.

• Camera excels at taking both images and videos.

• AI-powered smarts enable bokeh effect, aka Portrait Mode, for both front and rear cameras.

• Three years of Android software and security updates compared with one to two years for other Android phones.

• Squeezing its sides to trigger Google Assistant is more convenient than saying "OK Google".


• Oled screen has blueish tint when viewed even slightly off-centre.

• No wireless charging.

• No expandable storage, only 64GB storage option available here.

• No 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C headphones not included.

• Exclusive to Singtel.

Vincent Chang

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 features fantastic dual rear cameras that shoot sharp, punchy pictures. PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Massive, vibrant screen


• Gorgeous 6.3-inch Super Amoled display with vibrant colours and massive screen estate.

• Fantastic dual rear cameras which shoot sharp, punchy pictures. Low-light performance is great as well and Live Focus mode takes photos with smooth bokeh.

• S-Pen makes taking down quick notes and sketches not only convenient, but also fun.

• Its 6GB RAM handles everything a power user can throw at it, with little slowdown in performance.


• Samsung's attempt into artificial intelligence, Bixby, isn't quite up to scratch yet and takes up a button on your phone that is prone to accidental presses.

•The Note8's $1,398 price tag makes it one of the most expensive phones on the market.

• Comes pre-loaded with a bunch of Samsung apps which users might not want to use.

Lester Hio

The iPhone X has a high-resolution 5.8-inch edge-to-edge Oled display, but the "notch" at the top of the screen might irk some. PHOTO: APPLE

Apple iPhone X

Easy handling, reliable face recognition


• Fantastic build and sleek design.

• Gorgeous high-resolution 5.8-inch edge-to-edge Oled display.

• Smaller size means great one-hand handling.

• Reliable Face ID 3-D face recognition technology.

• Apps and games run fast and smoothly.

• Animoji, or animated emoji, is fun.

• Superb rear dual-lens camera and front-facing TrueDepth camera system.


• Most expensive flagship smartphone in the market.

• Need to re-learn gestures to operate the phone.

• The "notch", or black area on top of iPhone X's screen, might irk some.

Trevor Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2017, with the headline 'Flagship smartphone shootout'. Subscribe