Pop goes the flagship!

IndiaTechOnline  | vishnu anand

Technology, Mobiles and Tabs

Brands are leveraging pop-up cameras to redefine the mobile phone experience.

This new breed of affordable flagships uses state-of-the-art features such as pop-up cameras, in-display fingerprint scanners, disruptive cooling mechanisms and fast charging, all at attractive price points.

New-age flagships have arrived! Unlike their previous counterparts, these flagships do not cost you a kidney and they are no longer the prerogative of a handful of regular brands. This new breed of affordable flagships uses state-of-the-art features such as pop-up cameras, in-display fingerprint scanners, disruptive cooling mechanisms and fast charging, all at attractive price points. We have identified two worthy candidates this week:

Redmi K20 Pro: The fire-and-ice phone

Xiaomi has adopted a fire and ice design philosophy for this design by offering a soothing glacier blue and a raging flame red. The phone itself is a combo of hot, trending features and cool bells-and-whistles, making it one of the most anticipated and talked about smart phones in the last few months. The Redmi K20 Pro is the first device from Xiaomi with moving parts under the hood, resulting in a pop-up camera, which saves real-estate around the screen. What additionally saves screen space is a 7th generation in-display fingerprint scanner. The 6.39inches device comes with Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back, with a vertical design and colour flow which reacts differently to outdoor scenarios and low-light conditions. Watch out for the halo ring in the different colour variants of the device.

The Redmi K 20 Pro comes with a 48MP + 13MP + 8MP back camera configuration, where the 48MP one is the main camera, with a wide-angle and telephoto lens respectively. In an industry first, this device invokes all the three lenses simultaneously to ensure sharper, more accurate images, even in low light. The front camera is a 20MP pop-up module that has really cool 'guiding lights' that move around the corners of the lens, and also help you identify the lens in low-light conditions. Along with an AI portrait mode and automated fall protection, the pop-up camera on this device ticks the right boxes.

Powered by the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which introduces unique tri-cluster silicon architecture, with one prime, 3 gold and 4 silver cores, the K20 Pro is able to optimize performance, especially while gaming. Along with an 8-layer graphite cooling system for heat dissipation, the phone offers a 2nd generation game turbo mode that enhances touch response, introduces night vision, and reduces network quality drops while gaming.

What makes the Redmi K20 Pro an affordable flagship is the fact that it has added innovations to flagship features, For example, the edge lighting to a pop-up camera is a first in the industry, and it looks good while being functional. Also, the glass back is a flagship feature but the light reflecting aura design is a tasteful enhancement. With similar innovations under-the-hood like dual-frequency GPS, the K20 Pro is a good buy at Rs 27,999 (6GB + 128GB), or Rs 30,999 (8GB + 256GB).

Realme X: The tempting ex

Every time you find love, there's always that ex who somehow seems to know about it and decides to pop into your life, just at the right time, in an attempt to woo you back. Realme has been that brand of late, which knows exactly when a competing brand is going to launch a good product and quickly puts together an offering that sounds just as attractive. Add to it, a philosophy, where design is used to acquire fans and users. This time around, the Realme X is positioned as the most affordable pop-up full-screen in the market. Powered by the Snapdragon 710 chipset, along with VOOC 3.0 fast charge, the Realme X comes in a dual back camera 48MP + 5MP configuration, along with a 16MP front clicker. What is notable is the addition of Dolby Atmos on the Realme X which promises to turn your smartphone into an entertainment hub by beefing up sounds from regular apps into immersive, surround sounds, and providing all-around sound for content that is originally created for Atmos. With the combination of the 710 processor and the Adreno 616 graphics card, the device provides faster 3D image rendering and stable downloads. Additionally, performance during gaming can be boosted by switching on the optimized Game Boost Mode, and further with a Hyper Boost mode that makes all processing cores run on overdrive.

The 16MP pop-up camera is able to enhance your selfies by invoking AI-driven 3D enhancements, especially in low-light, by recognizing background scene data and optimizing facial colours. Designwise, Realme gets it right with onion and garlic coloured variants, designed by Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. These are a feast to the eye and will make you stand out from the crowd. The Realme X is priced at Rs 16,999 (4GB + 128GB) or Rs 19,999 (8GB + 128GB), an interesting price point for the mix of specs and design.