Users are buying flagships less and less often, because a smartphone that is good in all respects can be purchased much cheaper. We have selected the most interesting models in the range from 5,000 to 7,000 hryvnias. All of them are officially on sale in Ukraine.
When stores started to raise prices for Redmi Note 9 Pro, he quickly found a replacement in the line of another sub-brand Xiaomi - Poco X3. The smartphone's trick is a screen with a 120 Hz sweep rate, it makes the interface faster and more responsive. Some games also support this mode, and the 240Hz touch layer frequency ensures instant response to touches. 6.The 67-inch IPS panel with Full HD+ resolution is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, with a 20-megapixel selfie camera perched on top in a small opening. Just above in the speaker grill hides a tiny event indicator, it glows in white only. Fingerprint scanner is combined with the power button on the right side. The device is not afraid of rain, the body is protected against dust and moisture in accordance with IP53.
Poco X3 built on an eight-core Snapdragon 732G processor, which is enough features to run all modern games. However, the most demanding projects are better to run on medium graphics settings. On early firmware during the game the case heated appreciably, with updates the situation has improved. RAM 6 GB, built-in - 64 or 128 gigabytes. Of course, it is possible to insert a microSD card, but because of the hybrid slot the user will have to give up the second SIM card. If you can, it is better to go a little over the budget and buy the older version for 7,500 hryvnia. The basic 6/64GB variant will cost 6,800 hryvnias.
The camera system on the back looks impressive, but of the four modules, two are with useless 2 MP sensors (macro and depth sensor). Things are much better with the main 64-megapixel camera. In the daytime Poco X3 takes decent pictures, and even in the evening with the switch to night mode you can get a good shot. By default, the smartphone combines adjacent pixels and saves 16-megapixel shots. Shooting at full resolution is also available, but you can safely rely on automation in most situations. If you want to get the most out of your Sony sensor, the thematic forums will tell you which Gcam port to choose for that. The 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera is one of the best in this segment, however, in bad light it will be of little use. When recording video (up to 4K, 30k/s) works EIS electronic stabilization. The quality of the front camera is limited to Full HD resolution, plus there is no stabilizer.
The battery capacity is complete, 5160 mAh provides one and a half to two days of use under average loads. The increased clock speed doesn't really affect the runtime, because the screen refresh rate of Poco X3 actually changes depending on the content being displayed. On the desktop and compatible applications, it's 120Hz, while the system switches to 60Hz on a static image. Most people won't even notice this, though. It comes with a fast 33 watt power adapter. In the box you will also find a case with a rim that protects the rear camera. It will do for a while but you'll need to replace it as the round cutout on the back is not made to the shape of the protrusion, so dust collects in the gaps. The manufacturer claims a metal frame, but because of the thick layer of plastic on top it's hard to guess about it. Back with a large brand logo is also made of polycarbonate, it slightly resonates at high volume stereo speakers (almost forgot to mention them). Contactless payment is supported, in some countries the smartphone is even sold under the full name Poco X3 NFC. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR port for controlling the tech, and there's a linear drive with a nice kick instead of the usual vibration motor.
The 2019 bestseller is still early to write off. Firstly, it has dropped slightly in price, and for 7,000 hryvnia today you can buy the top configuration of the Redmi Note 8 Pro with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory. Secondly, its 6.53-inch IPS screen behaves well in direct sunlight. The brightness of the display can reach 660 cd/m² when automatically adjusted versus 570 cd/m² for the new generation. The difference is noticeable when watching HDR content as well, and the out-of-fashion "blob" can be well lived in. In terms of body materials, full parity: Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides and a plastic frame. The company can also be praised for the successful choice of colors - in addition to the classic black version is white and luxurious green.
The device has a fast MediaTek Helio G90T processor. In everyday use, the interface looks smoother compared to Redmi Note 9 Pro, but in games, the performance gain is not always noticeable. The chip came out relatively "hot", and during long firefights the frequency has to be lowered to avoid overheating. Plus some games are better optimized for Qualcomm platforms, but despite all the nuances, MediaTek turned out a good solution for the middle segment. The base variant of the Redmi Note 8 Pro features 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, priced at UAH 6,500. Since the memory card slot is combined, it makes sense for users of two SIM cards to pay extra for the 128GB model.
Redmi Note 8 Pro became the first smartphone with Samsung's 64-megapixel GW1 sensor, and it turned out to be not just marketing. Compared to the previous wave of devices with 48-megapixel sensors, the shooting quality has increased, although in low light the device is strongly inferior to the flagships. The main mode here is 16-megapixel, with the possibility of double zoom. The 64 MP pictures have more detail, but the files also take up several times more space. The system includes a depth sensor and a nearly useless two-megapixel macro module for shooting from a distance of 2 cm. The 8-megapixel wide-angle camera fared the worst - due to the close proximity of the fingerprint scanner, the eye easily gets smudged. Although a case can solve the problem (it comes with a silicone one). 4K video is written without stabilization, in terms of video recording successors cope a little better.
Battery capacity of 4500 mAh provides a day and a half or two days of battery life, if not fond of games. Since this model, Redmi smartphones began to embed NFC-chip (unless you count the Redmi Pro, which was officially sold only in China).
Samsung has two curious candidates from the M-series in its line - Galaxy M31 and the slightly more advanced Galaxy M31s. Both often participate in sales, and the availability of a discount plays an important role in choosing in favor of one of them. Thus, the promotional Samsung Galaxy M31s for UAH 7,500 looks clearly preferable to the M31 for its full price. But the junior model can regularly be snatched up for 6,500 hryvnias or so, it is a good deal. Let's take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy M31. The smartphone has a juicy 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and adequately working autobrightness (unlike previous models, there is a separate light sensor here). Several color profiles and white balance adjustment are available in the settings, and Always On Display is also supported. In the "droplet" is a 32 megapixel selfie camera, by the way, one of the best in this segment.
The proprietary eight-core Exynos 9611 processor is responsible for the performance. Not the most productive chip for the money, but in ordinary tasks Galaxy M31 works without brakes. Demanding games can also be played, only not all will go on maximum graphics settings. The RAM capacity is 6GB, the built-in memory is 128GB. Card tray is triple, sacrificing the second SIM card for microSD installation is not necessary. Behind the glossy plastic back panel hides a powerful 6000 mAh battery. On average, it lasts for two days of use without extreme loads. Claims fast charging, but because of the large capacity for a full charge still takes two and a half hours.
The rear camera consists of four modules: the main 64-megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture, 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, 5-megapixel macromodule and 5 MP depth sensor. In automatic mode, the camera "glues" four pixels into one, and if you need to get the most detailed picture, you just need to switch to 64 MP (the option is hidden in the aspect ratio settings). Daytime photos look good, and even at night the smartphone is not much inferior to the main competitors. "Shirik" is good for shooting in good light. The macro camera is still more of a toy. Video features are standard for this price range: 4K at 30 fps without stabilization or Full HD (except that 60 fps was not brought in).
Samsung Galaxy M31 equipped with NFC-chip for contactless payment for purchases. As a result, we have a good-quality device with a nearly record-breaking operating time (the Chinese third tier does not count).
As for Samsung Galaxy M31s, in the updated model, the company uses a display with a hole instead of a blob, and the fingerprint scanner moved to the side panel. The main camera shoots better thanks to a new Sony sensor, plus the resolution of the ultra-wide-angle module has increased from 8 megapixels to 13 megapixels. The body is still plastic, but it's closer to the more expensive A-series units. M31s supports fast charging capacity of 25 watts, you only need to buy a compatible adapter. The smartphone is completed with the usual 15W unit, just like M31.
3 reasons to buy:
3 reasons not to buy:
user-friendly shell One UI 2.0
marky plastic body
not the most powerful processor for the money
you hit the sale Galaxy M31s
Read also: paired review of Samsung Galaxy M31 and Galaxy M21
Realme has taken to create its own ecosystem of products, and to quickly gather an army of fans around itself, the brand is pursuing an aggressive pricing policy. The manufacturer does not forget about the current trends too: the smartphone realme 6 supports the proprietary fast charging technology and has received a rare for this segment display with a high refresh rate of 90 Hz. This mode makes any movement on the screen smoother, although if you do not notice the difference, you can always switch to the standard 60 Hz to save power. The front camera is in a small hole. The only complaint is the low maximum brightness (about 460 cd/m²), the screen can be blind in the sun. IPS panel with a diagonal of 6.5 inches and a resolution of 2400x1080 pixels is protected by Gorilla Glass 3.
Inside the realme 6 works already familiar to us octa-core processor Mediatek Helio G90T. The system does not slow down, "heavy" games run, but the trotting has not gone anywhere. Even after 10 minutes of play there are occasional short-lived but noticeable frequency drops. Though much depends on the air temperature - in a cool room the performance drop is not so noticeable. Three memory configurations are available for sale: the basic model with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of built-in memory costs 5,600 UAH, you can buy a version with 4/128 GB for 6 thousand, and if you choose a device for at least a few years, we recommend you look at the version with 8/128 GB for 6,700 UAH. There is a slot for a memory card, and it is not combined.
The main "quadro camera" is almost like the Redmi Note 8 Pro: the company has a 64-megapixel sensor with f/1.8 optics is an ultra-wide-angle camera at 8 MP, a 2-megapixel macro camera "for a tick" and a depth sensor. The smartphones shoot at about the same level, the only difference is the image processing algorithms. In photos with realme 6 people's faces look more natural, and in low light the work of noise reduction is more noticeable. Video is recorded in quality up to 4K at 30 frames per second, but to compensate for the shaking in motion the resolution has to be lowered to Full HD. The front camera is 16 MP.
Realme 6 is enclosed in a plastic case, and so that the glossy back cover is not covered with scratches in the first days of use, the package includes a silicone case. The 4300 mAh battery provides about 7 hours of screen life under mixed load (and with 90Hz on). A full charge using the in-house 30W adapter takes just over an hour. The set of wireless interfaces is standard: dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS and NFC. Fingerprint scanner is built into the power button, the device unlocks almost instantly.
Strictly speaking, Motorola G9 Plus runs on My UX shell, but it looks almost the same as the reference Android. There's even room for a separate Google Assistant button on the left face. Since the voice assistant is not officially launched in Ukraine, the application of the search giant with a news feed opens by pressing. The Moto's branded features have not disappeared either: gestures for starting the camera and flashlight, quick actions by double-tapping the power button (which houses a fingerprint scanner) and an analogue of Always On Display - activation of the display when you lift the smartphone. The model is suitable for fans of large diagonals, almost the entire front of the 6.81-inch IPS-display with FHD + resolution of 2400x1080 pixels. A round cutout with a 16-megapixel front camera is shifted to the left edge, when watching video or playing games, it does not distract attention.
The heart of the device is the vigorous octa-core Snapdragon 730G processor. It is almost as fast as the chip in the Poco X3, plus it doesn't drop frequencies under load. But the Moto G9 Plus's rivals have the advantage in RAM capacity. Motorola has limited itself to 4 gigabytes, so the system will be more active in offloading background processes when there are a large number of running apps. The storage is 128 GB, the memory card slot is hybrid. In our market there is a version of blue color with a price tag of 6,800 hryvnia, in other regions there is also a variant of "rose gold". Since the glossy plastic case is easy to smudge and quickly covered, the smartphone comes immediately in a case.
There are four cameras on the rear at once: a 64-megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture and phase autofocus, an 8-megapixel wide-angle module, a 2-megapixel macro camera with questionable utility and a depth sensor. The Motorola G9 Plus shoots about on par with other devices in this price range. During the day in auto mode (16 MP) HDR works well, and if you need to get a more detailed photo, shooting at 64 MP is available. In low light, the picture becomes a little soapy. Video can be recorded in 4K format with stabilization. "Shirik" is not of the best quality - there is a low resolution, and not the brightest optics, although on the smartphone screen daytime shots look good.
Inside the Motorola G9 Plus is a 5000 mAh battery. The manufacturer promises two days of battery life, in practice it turns out about that. Even if you get carried away with games and forget to charge the smartphone, the included 30W adapter will quickly bring it back to life. There's Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi and FM radio, but for some reason the company has skimped on the electronic compass. This creates some inconvenience in the navigation mode - when the user is standing still, no directional arrow is shown on the map. Some users also noted that contactless payment is not always the first attempt. One has to get used to it: the NFC antenna is located closer to the center of the rear cover and it may be blocked by a hand while bringing it to the terminal.
3 reasons to buy:
3 reasons not to buy:
You need a big screen
almost pure Android with Moto gestures
excellent battery life
only 4 GB of RAM
starchy plastic body
non-displayable Google button
Answers to popular questions:
Which smartphone is best for gaming?
The most versatile in this regard Poco X3 with octa-core Snapdragon 732G processor. Not far behind Redmi Note 8 Pro and realme 6 based on Helio G90T, but during long sessions, the MediaTek chip gets hotter and performance has to be artificially limited.
AMOLED or IPS screen?
It depends on personal preference. Among the advantages of AMOLED technology are bright colors, high contrast, and the Always on Display feature for displaying notifications and standby time. AMOLED screen is installed in Samsung Galaxy M31. IPS panels, in turn, are not subject to flicker, which can cause eye pain for some users (the effect is especially noticeable at low brightness levels). It is these displays are used in most devices in the middle segment, and realme 6 in addition supports an increased refresh rate.
What about their battery life?
By battery life Samsung Galaxy M31 with a 6000 mAh battery is the absolute leader. In second place we can put Motorola G9 Plus with a 5000 mAh battery. realme 6 capacity is more modest, but with the branded fast charging it can be brought to action quickly.
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