With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Oppo Find X2 Pro we have seen a sharp rise in the cost of a flagship phone this year. The 5G equipped Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is partly to blame causing all phones within this segment to increase in price.

That doesn’t mean you need to (completely) break the bank if you want a flagship Android phone this year. With the launch of the Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro today we now have a phone sitting at under £500 and three other superb options from Realme, OnePlus and Black Shark.

Admittedly we are not seeing the incredible prices originally set by the Pocophone/Poco F1 back in 2018 or the Realme X2 Pro towards the end of last year, but these phones will likely be the best-valued phones of 2020.

So how do they stack up against each other?

Display & Design

Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro vs Realme X50 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 8 vs Black Shark 3 Compared – The three cheapest flagships head to head 1

All the phones have an AMOLED display running at 2400×1080 and all, but the Poco F2 Pro use the new super smooth 90hz refresh rate. They also all have under-display fingerprint scanners.

The Poco F2 Pro and Black Shark 3 have the same display size of 6.67 inches, and neither display is blemished by a notch or cut-out. However, the Black Shark has big bezels, so it makes it physically a very large phone at 168.7 x 77.3 x 10.4 mm weighing in at 222g.

In comparison, the Poco F2 Pro is 5mm shorter and 2mm narrower at 163.3 x 75.4 x 8.9 mm, though it is still quite weighty at 218g.

Next up is the OnePLus 8 with a 6.55-inch display, this has a small punch hole to the top left and comes in smaller and the lightest overall at 160.2 x 72.9 x 8 mm and 180g

Finally, the Realme X50 Pro 5G has the smallest display at 6.44 inches, however, it is not that much smaller than the OnePlus 8 due to larger bezels. This measures 159 x 74.2 x 8.9 mm and weighs in at 205g

RAM and Storage

The Realme and Poco both have base configurations of 6GB/128GB. Technically the Poco is faster with its              UFS 3.1 storage while all the other phones use UFS 3.0.

Poco only goes up to 8GB/256GB while the Realme goes up to 12GB/256GB

Both the OnePlus and Black shark have 8GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB options.

None of the phones has a card slot of extra storage.

Camera

Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro vs Realme X50 Pro 5G vs OnePlus 8 vs Black Shark 3 Compared – The three cheapest flagships head to head 2

Camera performance is largely dependant on software, as I have not used all the phones I can not compare that. From a hardware point of view the Realme has the slight advantage overall with:

  • Rear Facing:
    • 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    • 12 MP, f/2.5, 54mm (telephoto), 2x optical zoom, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.3, 13mm (ultrawide), PDAF
    • 2 MP B/W, f/2.4, (depth)
  • Front Facing:
    • 32 MP, f/2.5, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm
    • 8 MP, f/2.2, 17mm (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm

Next, I would say the Poco has the best specification with:

  • Rear Facing:
    • 64 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    • 5 MP, f/2.2, 50mm (telephoto macro), AF
    • 13 MP, f/2.4, 123° (ultrawide), 1.12µm
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
  • Front Facing:
    • Motorized pop-up 20 MP, (wide), 1/3.4″, 0.8µm

Then the Black Shark 3 with:

  • Rear Facing:
    • 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
    • 13 MP, f/2.3, (ultrawide)
    • 5 MP, f/2.2, (depth)
  • Front Facing:
    • 16 MP, f/2.0, (wide), 1/3″, 1.0µm

Finally the OnePlus with:

  • Rear Facing:
    • 48 MP, f/1.8, 25mm (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
    • 16 MP, f/2.2, 14mm, 116° (ultrawide)
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
  • Front Facing:
    • 16 MP, f/2.0, (wide), 1/3″, 1.0µm

It is a close call with the OP8 and Black Shark 3, and I would bet the OP8 does a better job at processing the images.

Battery

The Black Shark 3 has the best specification with a massive 4720 mAh battery and 65W charging, you can then also use the magnetic adaptor for 30W charging.

Then Poco has a 4700 mAh battery with 33W charging.

The OnePlus has a 4300 mAh battery with 30W charging.

Finally, the Realme has 4200 mAh battery, but it then has a 65W charger matching the Black Shark.

Other Features

Both the Poco and Black Shark 3 have a 3.5mm headphone jack, the other two do not.

None of them has an IP rating for waterproofing.

Benchmarks – Antutu

While they all use the same chipset, the different cooling elements and software optimisations mean they each perform differently on benchmarks.

Xiaomi was keen to point out the prowess of the Poco F2 Pro during their launch with it scoring 589,983 in Antutu.

They claimed the OnePlus 8 Pro, which should be the same as the standard model scores 575,213, this puts the Poco 2.6% ahead of the OnePlus 8.

During my review of the Realme X50 Pro this achieved 590,914 which is effectively the same as the Poco with a 0.15% difference.

The Black Shark 3 managed 572,437, giving the Poco a 3% advantage.

Real-world performance will be almost identical to each phone, no one is going to notice a 3% difference while gaming. If anything, the perceived performance will be worse for the Poco due to is slower 60Hz refresh rate feeling less responsive than the other.

Price

The Poco F2 Pro is an incredible price (for 2020 flagships) starting at €499 for the 6GB/128GB model and €599 for the 8GB/256GB.

UK pricing has not been revealed yet, but it should be available form the UK Mi store, or you can import it from Amazon Spain when available. The Euro price works out as £439 and £539.

Alternatively, you can get it even cheaper if you buy from Gearbest for $499 which works out as £403.39.

The Black Shark 3 starts at £539 for 8GB/128GB or £649 for 12GB/256GB.

Then the Realme is €599 for 8GB/128GB, and this goes up to €749 for the 12GB/256Gb model.

Finally, the OnePlus is £599 for the 8GB/128GB model, which is the only option available at the moment.

Overall

Each phone has its own redeeming qualities, the OnePlus will probably be the most popular in the UK, and the software experience is likely to be the best, and I would say it physically looks the best.

The Poco F2 is easily the cheapest, there is no notch, and it has a nice large screen. It has a better all-round spec than the OP8 and Black Shark thanks to the telephoto lens, and it looks like it will be an amazing phone for the price.

The Realme X50 Pro has a slightly better spec with a superior camera and a 90Hz display which is much more pleasant to use. I think it justifies the extra cost over the Poco, but it is a close call. I would say the Poco looks nicer, and the overall decision (apart from price) would be if you want a 90hz display but with a large notch due to the dual selfie cameras, or want a 60Hz display with nothing interrupting it thanks to the motorised pop-up.

Spec-wise, the Black Shark clearly shares some DNA with the Poco, but the camera is not as good and it is physically quite a large phone. It is not quite as cheap, but the focussed gaming features give it a big advantage for a specific set of users that are keen gamers.

Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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