If you want an Android smartphone with all the features that most OEM today didn't include or has phased out, then you should consider this list.

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

Smartphones of today have become a daily tool for people all around the world. From basic daily necessities such as making calls and sending out messages to the occasional free time of scrolling through your social media feeds, everything is now can be done in the palm of your hands. In fact, some people are even using a smartphone as an everyday tool for Office work and also for photography and videography. Whatever the intention of use would be, smartphones are undeniably powerful computers with astonishing technologies that you won't even find in today's modern laptops and PCs.

However, with the current race of making sleeker and thinner smartphones day by day, smartphone manufacturers realize that some of the features that we all like or love to use could not be possible to fit in the thin chassis. More to the point, some manufacturers didn't include those notable features in order not to drive up the manufacturing cost. That is why you tend to see smartphone brands ditching out necessary features such as the 3.5mm audio jack and microSD card slot, to name just two.

With more and more smartphone brands are doing just that, it's now hard to find a complete smartphone - a one-for-all and all-for-one device where you have all the features that you can rely upon on daily rough work. True that some features would only attract a number of probably specific buyers, but that doesn't mean that smartphone brands didn't have the balls to do it.

  • What are the criteria needed for a complete smartphone?

Here are the criteria to be considered as a complete smartphone.

3.5mm audio jack

When Oppo introduced the R5 in 2014, Oppo made a headline by removing the 3.5mm audio jack. Despite it, most people didn't really bother about it at that time because Oppo was not a well-known brand outside China. It was only when Apple stepped into the picture two years later and did the same thing with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that Android OEM started to follow that route. Since then, smartphones without audio jack needed to rely on either an adapter or the still unpopular USB-C (aka USB Type-C) earphones. Some brands even went wireless as they would go on to offer a number of wireless audio peripherals to combat the absence of the audio jack.

Personally speaking, I find this a real tragedy since wireless audio could never replicate the same true audio quality as wired audio does despite numerous solutions such as Qualcomm's aptX. Furthermore, there is no need to worry about the fragility of the adapter or the compatibility of certain USB-C earphones or even the battery life of your wireless headphones. The audio jack is there all the time - all you have to do is go out and buy your personal favourite headphone and just simply slot them in. It couldn't get any simpler than a cumbersome and occasionally laggy Bluetooth connection.

microSD card slot

With the advancement of internal storage such as UFS 3.1 technology, some people wonder if microSD card is still relevant at all. For me, that would be a big yes. Why?

Here's the thing - not all people, including myself, store their photos, music, and videos on internal storage. More than that, it was the internal storage where the Android OS was installed in the first place. So if you happened to come across a situation where you need to do a hard factory reset, it was the internal storage that would be used in the process. By contrast, all the files stored on the external microSD card would remain untouched as it was there solely to store your important files. It means that you can carry on doing the reset without the worry of having all your files lost in the process. This is also useful for anyone who wants to flash a custom ROM.

FM Radio

With the mushrooming rise of standalone apps from radio stations all over the world, you may wonder why I include FM Radio in this list. What you have to remember about online radio streaming is that it relies on your mobile data connection all the time. That is because the radio is broadcasting in real-time. Doesn't sound like a problem if you never listen to FM Radio, but definitely a problem if you always do. Having a native FM Radio receiver would eliminate any internet connectivities as it only relies on your earphone or headphone to act as an antenna.


"What is even this thing?", I hear you ask. Put it simply, it's a feature that allows you to connect any external hardware peripherals such as a hard drive and wired keyboard directly to the phone. You want to connect your external SSD to the phone? No problem, carry on.

IP and/or MIL-STD rating

A feature most worthy for hardcore adventurers and tough careless daily users, the Ingress Protection (IP), and the United States Military Standard (MIL-STD) ratings exist for protection purposes. It allows your smartphone to withstand the everyday elements without breaking it. No matter how much torture you throw onto the smartphone, it can happily work as usual.

  • Complete smartphones that you can buy in 2020

Now that I have listed the criteria, we've now come to the list that you have been waiting for. Here is a selection of six 'jack-of-all-trades' smartphones that you should consider in your next purchase.

LG V60 ThinQ 5G

The DualScreen dynasty lives on

LG isn't really as popular as any other smartphone brand, but that didn't stop LG from releasing new models. The latest flagship-grade V60 ThinQ 5G is a testament to LG's commitment to the smartphone world. In essence, this is a brand-new replacement for 2019's V50 ThinQ 5G. Like its predecessor, you get IP68, MIL-STD-810G, microSD card slot, and FM Radio as standard. What is different from the V50 is the inclusion of USB OTG. In fact, that is not the only difference.

For the V60, you now get Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 865 chipset inside a 6.8" body with a P-OLED screen and 1080p+ resolution. The resolution downgrade from the V50's 1440p+ may be a bummer for some, but I can see the logic behind it in terms of battery life. Speaking of battery, the V60's battery capacity is now rated at 5000mAh. Another thing that has undergone a transformation is the camera hardware. While the V60 retains the same triple camera setup as the V50, LG traded the native telephoto sensor in favour of a 3D Time-of-Flight (3D ToF) sensor. LG claims that the new 64MP Quad Bayer main camera sensor can capture enough or more detail as a native telephoto camera. It sparked a number of debates among tech fans, so Juan Bagnell from SomeGadgetGuy decided to do a zoom experiment with the V60 and the V50. Spoiler alert: the result may surprise you.

But for me, the best feature of the V60 is the DualScreen case. LG's two-screen solution that was first seen in 2019 still lives on. It didn't change much from the case made for G8X, but the ability to use a stylus with Active Pen support made the V60 a true flagship hero. Do you think I'm joking?

LG G8 ThinQ

The 4G LTE variant of the V50 ThinQ 5G

During Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, LG launched an array of new flagship-tier smartphones using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset. One of them was the V50 ThinQ 5G. It signalled to the world that LG is now embracing the new 5G network. Unfortunately, not every country has a proper 5G network nationwide. Even in Malaysia at the moment, the 5G network is still limited to internal testing only. Because of this, demand for 4G-only smartphones is still on the rise.

That is where the G8 ThinQ comes in. Put it simply, it's a V50 with the 5G modem thrown away. As far as the spec sheet goes, there are only three notable differences between the G8 and the V50 - screen size, USB OTG support, and DualScreen case compatibility. Despite both phones having a 1440p+ resolution, the G8's screen is smaller at 6.1" compared to the V50's 6.4". Another point worth noting is that the DualScreen case cannot be used in the G8. However, the G8 made up for the DualScreen loss with the inclusion of USB OTG, something that the V50 doesn't have.

All the usual LG paraphernalia are still there - IP68, MIL-STD-810G, microSD card slot, and FM Radio. You even get the same exact camera module as the V50, even though the American market only gets the dual wide/ultrawide setup. The South Korean market has the same exact triple wide/telephoto/ultrawide camera and module as the V50. 

LG G8X ThinQ / V50S ThinQ 5G

An affordable flagship-tier LG smartphone with an updated DualScreen case

As I mentioned earlier, LG's DualScreen solution was first launched during MWC 2019. The idea is that you have a detachable case with a secondary screen that you can use to boost productivity. It is definitely a much more practical solution than smartphones with foldable screens such as Samsung's Galaxy Fold or Huawei's Mate Xs as you don't need to carry the case all the time. That said, I don't see any problem with you bringing the case everywhere as you can use two different apps together at the same time. You can even use the secondary screen for a virtual touch gamepad or keyboard. Needless to say, the creativity you can do with the case is limitless.

During the first introduction of the DualScreen case, it was only available for the V50 ThinQ 5G and not everyone was keen on the V50's near-$1200 price tag. LG decided to launch a more affordable version of the V50 at the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) 2019 exhibition in the shape of the G8X. At $700, it was nearly half the price of the V50. Sure, the internal specs aren't the same as the V50 as the G8X only sported a wide/ultrawide dual camera compared to the V50's wide/telephoto/ultrawide triple camera setup and only has 1080p+ screen resolution despite the same screen size. Other than that, you can expect to see all the V50's standard features in the G8X. You even have USB OTG capability for the G8X.

A point worth noting for the G8X is the DualScreen case. It was a completely different design compared to the V50 as it sported a pair of symmetrical screens with a monochrome OLED panel at the front. GSMArena had done a review of the G8X's DualScreen case, so you can read more about it here. For those who want 5G connectivity, there is also the V50S ThinQ 5G launched specifically for the South Korean market.

Sony Xperia 10 ii

The Xperia 10's successor with loads of hardware improvements

I want to make an apology to all Xperia 10 users out there regardless of the standard or the Plus variant: your phone is currently worthless now. Sony had launched a totally different successor for the Xperia 10 lineup. Called the Xperia 10 ii (pronounced Mark 2), it is a total rework of Sony's mid-range offering. If the new year's successor is not much different from last year's predecessor, you can still keep on using the predecessor. In this particular case though, I will definitely recommend you to trade in the old predecessor and go for the new successor.

Compared to the standard Xperia 10 alongside the Plus variant, you can actually see the starking difference between them and the new Mark 2. For starters, there is an IP65/IP68 rating which you would normally see on flagship-tier Xperia models. The camera also received a major hardware upgrade as it now sports a wide/telephoto/ultrawide triple camera setup. The Snapdragon 630 and 636 chipset has been replaced by a more powerful and more efficient Snapdragon 665. While the screen size and resolution remain the same at 6.0" and 1080p+ respectively, the panel is now OLED. Even the battery capacity is now rated at 3,600 mAh.

Couple that with the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack and FM Radio alongside a microSD card slot and USB OTG, and you have a seriously potent mid-range smartphone that is hard to ignore. At the time of this writing, the Xperia 10 ii is not on sale yet to the public but Sony had disclosed the recommended retail price of €370, roughly about MYR 1,800 in Malaysia. So if you happen to own an Xperia 10 or Xperia 10 Plus, do seriously consider trading them for this new Xperia 10 ii.

LG G7 One

Another LG smartphone? Yes, but for a completely different reason.

For LG enthusiasts, the difference between the V-series and the G-series is easy to spot. The V-series is a money-no-object flagship-grade device, while the G-series is a more wallet-friendly flagship-grade device. Occasionally, a V-series phone could share the same spec and software as a G-series phone with some minor differences. What if you don't want an LG phone with all those LG UX clutter? Is there any LG phone out there with a simple and clean user interface?

What if I tell you that there is actually an LG smartphone with Android One?

Yes, that phone exists and it's called the G7 One. Launched in August 2018, this was LG's take on creating a competent Android One device. With a flagship-grade Snapdragon 835 chipset onboard, the only comparable Android One smartphone at the time was the Nokia 8 Sirocco. In terms of camera setup and the screen, Nokia had the LG licked. But while LG only offers an IPS LCD screen and a single camera, it fights back with the inclusion of MIL-STD-810G, microSD card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio, and USB OTG. Even with the 8 Sirocco's native telephoto camera versatility, the G7 One is definitely a much more useful device for everyday use. It's not like LG had skimped on updates - the G7 One had already received the latest Android 10 update late last year, thus completing the two major software version update courses.

Motorola Moto X4

It is still a worthy midrange smartphone despite its age

Using common sense, why should I include a 2017 smartphone in this list? After all, most people don't keep their Android phones for too long, especially if it's an entry-level or mid-range smartphone. With newer, faster, and more battery-efficient smartphones is launching nearly every single day, what does even this near three-year-old Motorola smartphone is doing here?

Let me tell you a little secret. If you want a complete mid-range smartphone running Android One, the Moto X4 is THE only option. Not even HMD Nokia and Xiaomi can offer a truly complete Android One smartphone. Being a 2017 device, Motorola has finally done their job of releasing two major software version update to the X4, so don't expect for Android 10 update unless there is a custom ROM for it. Despite that, you do get all the listed criteria as standard.

While this is not a worthy competitor against the latest 2020 models such as the Sony Xperia 10 ii, this is definitely a worthy purchase if you are looking for a secondary backup device.

What are other complete smartphones worth recommending in the future? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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