We’re in peak smartphone season and flagships are raining down on us. The flagships this year have been interesting, to say the least. Even till last year, the premium flagship phones would’ve launched by now and then would the high-end phones and flagship wannabes arrive. It’s the opposite this year. The flagship killers and the flagship wannabes are getting all the attention while premium offerings from LG, Moto, HTC and Sony are MIA.
In this landscape, the Asus Zenfone 5z, the OnePlus 6 and the Oppo Find X are the high-end offerings that dream of the flagship phone status while Samsung is the only one among the premium phone-makers to have launched a flagship phone in India. Among them, the Asus Zenfone 5z has the most affordable price tag, followed by the OnePlus 6. The Oppo Find X with its futuristic motorised camera fetches a premium of Rs 29,990 and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is a little more expensive at Rs 24,900 for the 64GB storage variant. Despite an affordable price-tag, the features and performance of the Zenfone 5z and the OnePlus 6 can give more expensive flagships a run for their money, while the Oppo Find X shames every phone maker who embraced the notch with a unique solution to provide a bezel-less display. All this begs for a comparison of the hardware each of the phones offer and that’s exactly what we are going to do!
|Hardware Specs||Asus Zenfone 5z||OnePlus 6||Oppo Find X||Samsung Galaxy S9+|
|Display||6.2-inch IPS LCD, ,19:9 aspect ratio,FHD+||6.28-inch Optic AMOLED, 19:9 Aspect Ratio,FHD+||6.42-inch AMOLED,19.5:9 aspect ratio,FHD+||6.2-inch Super AMOLED,18.5:9 aspect ratio,QHD+|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Exynos 9810|
|Rear Camera||12MP+8MP||16MP+20MP||16MP+20MP (Pop Up)||12MP+12MP|
|Front Camera||8MP||16MP||25MP (Pop Up)||8MP|
|OS||Android 8.0||Android 8.1||Android 8.0||Android 8.0|
If 2017 was all about metal unibody designs, this year is all glass. The glass-sandwich design has made a comeback with almost every high-end phone choosing to use glass over metal. Glass allows for the cool colour variants on the phones. The OnePlus 6 is offered in silk white, midnight black and mirror black variants. All the three designs are unique in the texture, hand feel and the colours. The Zenfone 5z is offered in silver and blue which are also quite distinctive. The Oppo Find X red and blue variants have a chrome finish which is slightly glossy, but premium nonetheless. The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is also a glass-sandwich with multiple colour options to choose from. Another defining factor in flagship phone designs this year is the display notch or the lack of it. The display cutout has been the most controversial design choice and while the Asus Zenfone 5z and the OnePlus 6 embraces the notch, the Galaxy S9+ sticks to the older design of its predecessor. The Oppo Find X finds a unique solution by offering a motorised camera unit that allows the screen to take up all the real estate up front. Furthermore, save for the Samsung Galaxy S9+, neither of the three phones offer waterproofing or wireless charging.
Smartphone screen sizes have been increasing year over year with demand for more screen real estate also booming. The 18:9 aspect ratio changed the game, though. It was now possible to offer more screen without increasing the size of the body. Then came the notch that allowed even more real estate and finally, the motorised unit on the Oppo Find X achieved what everyone wanted — A bezel-less, edge-to-edge screen. As a result, the Oppo Find X has the largest display at 6.42-inches while the display on the OnePlus 6, Zenfone 5z and the Galaxy S9+ are more or less the same sizes at 6.2-inches. The Zenfone 5z is 0.8-inches larger. While this does give a sense of uniformity, the devil is in the details. The Galaxy S9+ has a 2K display with a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. The Zenfone 5z, OnePlus 6 and the Oppo Find X all tout FHD+ resolution. Furthermore, the Galaxy S9+ is HDR10 compliant and has a 3D touch Home button. The Zenfone 5z and the OnePlus both support 95 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. The Oppo Find X only supports the usual sRBG colour gamut. A support for wider colour gamut results in better colours that look more vibrant.
Under the hood
The spec-sheet war seems to have plateaued this year as flagship phones across the price range are sporting similar hardware under the hood. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset is the unifying factor in the Zenfone 5z, OnePlus 6 and the Oppo Find X while Samsung, which manufactures its own chipsets, is using the latest Exynos 9810 to power the Galaxy S9+. Between the two chipsets, the Snapdragon 845 is slightly faster with a max clock speed of 2.8Ghz while the Exynos 9810 peaks at 2.7Ghz. While both chipsets seem fast on paper, the UI also makes a lot of difference. For instance, the OnePlus 6’ OxygenOS UI cuts down certain animations and transition effects to make the phone feel visibly faster while the Zenfone 5z relies on AI to improve app launch speeds. The Oppo Find X does the same as well. Additionally, there’s up to 8GB of RAM offered in the OnePlus 6 with up to 256GB of storage. The Zenfone 5z offers 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 64, 128 or 256GB of storage. The Oppo Find X has one variant only with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The Galaxy S9+ maxes out at 6GB RAM and goes up to 256GB of storage.
As for the audio, the Galaxy S9 and the Zenfone 5z touts twin speakers, but the Zenfone 5z doesn’t have stereo sound like the S9 does. Instead, the 5z has NXP amplifiers in each of the speakers that churn out audio at loud volume. The OnePlus 6 and the Oppo Find X have mono down-firing speakers.
The trend for dual cameras took off in 2017 and this year we have seen devices sporting up to five cameras as well. The flagships in question don’t have that many, but all of them offer dual cameras at the back. The Galaxy S9+ goes a step further by offering a variable aperture camera that can switch between f/2.4 and f/1.5. The larger aperture helps in taking better low light pictures. The 12MP+12MP camera at the back offers 2X optical zoom and portrait mode along with AR emojis. The OnePlus 6 offers a 16MP+20MP dual camera with the secondary lens used only for portrait mode. The Oppo Find X’s dual camera does the same as well. The Zenfone 5z takes a different approach. The secondary 8MP camera can take ultra-wide shots with a 120-degree field of view. All the four phones have OIS as well as EIS.
Special mention needs to be made for the Oppo Find X that has a motorised camera unit. The dual rear camera, the front camera and the sensors are housed in a pop-out unit that springs up when you need it and goes back in when you don’t.
On the front, you get an 8MP camera on the Galaxy S9+ and the Zenfone 5z. Both are pretty standard with the usual set of features that includes AR emojis and portrait mode. The OnePlus 6 has a 16-megapixel front camera that can portrait shots as well. No AR stickers though. The Oppo Find X takes inspiration from the iPhone and uses a 3D camera to offer 3D stickers along with more secure face unlock. The Galaxy S9+ packs an iris scanner for more secure biometric authentication.
In terms of video capabilities, the Galaxy S9+ leads the way with the ability to take super slo-mo videos at 960fps at 720p. Otherwise, all the four flagships can take 4K videos at 60fps from the rear camera.
Flagships phones are big on features and the hardware under the hood, but they never offer stellar battery life as compared to the big-battery mid-range phones. However, with AI-powered and UI-centric optimisations in place, a day-long battery life is more or less expected from all the flagships. In that regard, all the four phones have similar capacities of battery life. The OnePlus 6 and the Zenfone 5z packs a 3,300mAh battery while the Galaxy S9+ has a little more with 3,500mAh battery. The Oppo Find X is powered by a 3,470mA battery. Among them, the OnePlus 6 and the Oppo Find X has the fastest charging speeds thanks to Dash charge and VOOC charge respectively. The Zenfone 5z supports Qualcomm’s Fast Charge 3.0 while the Galaxy S9+ has Samsung’s own fast charging technology.
The spec-sheet of the phones reveal something pleasantly surprising. The Asus Zenfone 5z and the OnePlus 6 are delightfully feature-packed and can easily take on the most expensive of flagships in the Android phonescape. The two phones are indications that a reliable, functional and entertaining performer can be bought for half the price one usually paid a few years back. If your budget cannot go higher than Rs 20,000, you have options that doesn’t feel like a compromise at all. However, you do have the budget of Rs 24,900 to invest in the Samsung Galaxy S9+, the premium will worth it in the form of its superior display, and its seamless, waterproof design. The Oppo Find X though, seems like an adventure. It’s the future with its motorised ‘stealth’ cameras. The Rs 59,990 price tag of the Find X is worth it if you are an early adopter who can’t resist to be at the bleeding edge of technology.