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The 5 best premium smartphones to buy this Christmas

The 5 best premium smartphones to buy this Christmas

Note: This feature was first published on 20 November 2023.

What are the best premium-grade smartphones you can get as a gift? We answer that in this article.

Premium-grade Android smartphones you can get as a gift

It’s the gift-giving season, and we at HardwareZone are often asked what the best gadget or device is to get for themselves or someone else. I get asked a lot about phones.

Here’s a list of the best smartphones you can buy as a gift. I’m only recommending phones that the HWZ Editorial team has tried before, so you know they are the best of everything we’ve seen thus far.

In this gift guide, we’re looking at phones that:

Have an official retail price of S$1,500 or aboveAre phones tested by HWZ’s Editorial team (via reviews, hands-on, etc.)Are sold in SingaporeAre Android only (I have a separate buying guide for the latest Apple iPhones)

If you have a smaller budget, you can consider the other gift guide for smartphones I have here.

For the person that won’t shut up about generative AI

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Google Pixel 8 Pro.

There’s no better example than the Google Pixel 8 Pro if you want to understand and experience the powers of generative AI in a phone.

With it, you can “take” better photos (with its Magic Editor post-processing tool), generate AI wallpapers straight from the device, removeunwanted noises from short video clips, and even replace heads for a perfect group shot.

At this point, the Pixel 8 Pro having the most updated Android platform and it being a premium-grade phone with performance and cameras to match are just cherries on top of its generative AI bag of tricks.

Google Pixel 8 Pro starts at S$1,549 (128GB), and you can find it at the following links:

AmazonShopeeChallengerOfficial online store

Check out our review here.

For the multi-tasking workaholic

Oppo Find N3

Oppo Find N3.

Do you know someone who’d appreciate multiple full-screen ~1:1 apps on their phone? Do they also want it slim enough for regular phone use when folded?

The Oppo Find N3 offers both and has a near-creaseless main display, powerful cameras backed by Hasselblad, and one of the best 2023 flagship-grade smartphone processors in a single device. Its Three-app Boundless View and 15-inch Boundless View modes allow you to easily switch between three full-screen apps. If you got your favourite workaholic something this powerful, they would have a new favourite person.

The Oppo Find N3 officially retails at S$2,399 (512GB storage) at the following places:

AmazonShopeeLazadaOfficial online store

Check out our review here.

For that friend who wants style and stylus

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

If your favourite person loves using a stylus with their phone (and their phone seems long overdue for an upgrade), the only natural choice is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which we also chose as our Editor’s Choice.

No, we’re not recommending it solely because it’s the only phone with proper stylus support. Samsung’s S Pen has more features than most users know, with tons of shortcuts for photo-taking, annotating, messaging, and more. Any other brand that foolishly decides to launch a stylus phone would find it nearly impossible to match the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s S Pen, a spiritual successor to the Galaxy Note.

Combining that with impressive imaging chops, a flagship-tier chipset, and the complete Samsung ecosystem, you can see why this is an easy recommendation. It might be more challenging to recommend a stylus lover to get any other phone.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra official prices start at S$1,828 (256GB). Retail touchpoints are as follows:

AmazonShopeeLazadaSelect consumer electronics retailersOfficial online store

Read our review here.

For the young, or young-at-heart selfie-lover

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 is a clamshell foldable phone that undeniably draws users who love its cute size and selfie-friendly Cover Screen.

Most notable is its highly customisable 3.4-inch Flex Window, which is significantly larger than before. Its use allows you to express your personality through static and animated wallpapers fully, and taking selfies doesn’t require you to squint.

It also performs well as a phone with a flagship-grade processor, a sharp display, and reasonable battery uptime. It comes in many colours and has even more optional accessories for further customisation, making it a gift that keeps giving.

While this foldable comes with a cheaper 256GB model, the 512GB variant would be better for storing all the photos and videos users will take with the phone. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5’s 512GB version officially retails at S$1,678, and the purchase links are below.

AmazonShopeeLazadaOfficial online store

Check out our review here.

For the photo enthusiast

Xiaomi 13 Pro

Xiaomi 13 Pro.

While Xiaomi isn’t traditionally known for being the de facto choice in smartphone photography, the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s Leica optimisations might make your photo-taking friends think otherwise.

In our trials, we found that the phone’s Leica Photographic Styles offer stylish finishes, giving it a Leica vibe (without having to shell out for a true Leica camera). It even has access to 10-bit RAW DNG format shooting, which gives users who enjoy obsessing over photography and post-processing controls.

At its core, it’s also a competent smartphone with raw performance and a battery life to match.

The Xiaomi 13 Pro starts at S$1,599 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage) and goes up to S$1,699 if you want to double the storage. Purchase links are below.

AmazonShopee (Singtel)LazadaChallenger

Check out our review here.

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