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Smartphones

The five best Apple iPhone X clones ranked: Android smartphones with a notch

Walk into any electronics store to buy a new handset and the first thing most of us will say of any we pick up is: this looks just like the iPhone X. But what’s under the hood? The five best ways to get the Apple look for half the price

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 10:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 11:09am

Remember how Apple was ridiculed for the notch in the iPhone X’s display? Well, as is usual in consumer tech circles, Apple has had the last laugh: almost every flagship smartphone released by other manufacturers since has followed the design trend, except for Samsung.

And truth be told, if the South Korean tech giant continues to hold out over the notch, it is probably more because of ego than anything else, because the notch design has proven practical – especially on Android phones, whose status bar at the top of the screen contains crucial information on its left and right but is always empty in the middle.

Functionality is one thing, blatant copying – from the notch to the entire handset design language – is another. Walk into any phone store today and the first thing that comes to mind for most casual buyers will be: “this looks just like the iPhone X!”

So which Android release is the biggest iPhone X rip-off on the market today?

2nd Runner-up

Take your pick: OnePlus 6, Vivo X21 and Oppo R15.

All three Chinese handsets have a notch; the Vivo X21 even has a vertically aligned camera module that sits on its back like that of the iPhone X. However, they are more clones of each other than anything. All three handsets have the same 6.3-inch OLED display, with virtually the same dimensions and in-hand feel.

Vivo X21, first smartphone with fingerprint sensor under screen, is a thing of wonder

There’s a reason for this: OnePlus, Vivo and Oppo are owned by the same parent company, and so share the same production lines. To their credit, while they have a strong physical resemblance, all three phones run drastically different software, each offering its own user experience. Of these, the OnePlus 6 is easily the best of the bunch.

Prices: Vivo X21 HK$4,498 (US$573); Oppo R15 around HK$3,600 (US$459); OnePlus 6 from HK$3,998 (US$509)

Oppo R15 smartphone review: bezel-free beauty with a notch is more than ever an iPhone X lookalike

1st Runner-up

The Zenfone 5 from Asus was the first Android notched handset to hit the market when it was unveiled at this year’s Mobile World Congress in February. It is the least powerful of the handsets here, but also the cheapest. Its glass back and camera layout are all very iPhone X-esque, but its build quality is superb for a phone that retails for under US$400.

Price: HK$3,098 (US$395)

Winner 

It’s a shame that Xiaomi felt pressured to follow in Apple’s footsteps again after introducing a bezel-less phone in 2016 that impressed the industry and, in my opinion, made the top-of-the-range iPhone at that time look outdated.

Xiaomi Mi8: the most blatant Apple iPhoneX rip-off yet, and what’s to like about it – first impressions

While the Mi 8 looks more like an iPhone X than all other phones on this list, it looks to be a very capable handset, with a Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM and Xiaomi’s usual thoughtful MIUI software that’s community-driven.

Still, you can’t steal animoji wholesale and not be called out.

Price: from US$421

Price of an iPhone X: HK$8,588 (US$1,094)

More to come …

If you think the notch trend will end soon, think again. Reliable leaks suggest Google’s flagship 2018 handset, the Pixel 3, will also have a notch. In fact it’s probably safe to assume every upcoming phone will have a notch – other than the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.