In Canada, we’re able to purchase smartphones from carriers like Bell and Rogers and directly from manufacturers like Samsung and Apple.
Some phone makers like Asus and TCL also sell their handsets in Canada through retailers like Staples and Amazon. This gives us access to handsets from several brands, including Samsung, Apple, Google, Huawei, LG, Nokia, Alcatel, TCL, Asus, OnePlus and more.
However, there are still a variety of handsets that aren’t easily attainable in Canada. For example, Sony no longer sells its handsets here, and Chinese brands like Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo have never officially sold their devices in North America.
This story looks at the handsets I wish were released here. It’s worth noting this list doesn’t include every single notable smartphone that’s not available in Canada, like Microsoft’s Surface Duo or the Vivo X50 Pro+.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
Huawei typically brings all of its smartphones to Canada, but in 2020 the company’s Mate 40 series didn’t come here. This includes the Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, a handset that features an elegant design alongside the top-of-the-line specifications that make it one of the best phones hardware-wise that you can’t get in Canada.
With four cameras alongside a time-of-flight sensor, a Kirin 9000 5G processor, 12GB of RAM with both Face ID and an under-display fingerprint scanner, the Mate 40 Pro+ is an excellent piece of hardware.
Like some other China-based phone brands, Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro lacks the Google Play Store and instead offers the company’s own App Gallery. The App Gallery offers tons of apps and is the third-largest app marketplace in the world.
Asus ZenFone 7 Pro
Last year, the Asus ZenFone 6 was one of my favourite phones. I love the idea of a handset that doesn’t feature a front-facing camera and uses its rear-facing shooter for better selfies. Plus, the display is unobstructed by a notch or camera cut-out, and I remember I couldn’t stop looking at the phone. So, it broke my heart when Asus didn’t bring the successor to Canada.
The Asus ZenFone 7 Pro has everything I loved about the ZenFone 6 and more. With three rear-facing shooters, a 90Hz refresh rate and a Snapdragon 865+, the ZenFone 7 Pro is undeniably awesome. Plus, it won YouTuber Marques Brownlee’s (MKBHD) best smartphone camera contest, which features a comparison of various phones snapping the same pictures until a winner is decided. In this test, the ZenFone 7 Pro won against notable smartphones like the Pixel 5 and Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro.
Recently, LG started a new ‘Explorer Project,’ a mobile category that’s aimed at discovering new ways consumers can interact with mobile devices.
The first phone out of this project is the swivelling LG Wing. The LG Wing is cool-looking, and it offers two displays on top of one another. The front 6.8-inch screen can rotate to reveal the secondary 3.9-inch screen.
While the Wing offers a weaker processor than any other smartphone on this list, the fact it offers this swivelling innovation makes it interesting enough to be included. Additionally, like the ZenFone 7 Pro, the LG Wing’s display is unobstructed by a notch or hole punch, as the handset offers a pop-up selfie shooter.
Sony Xperia 1 II
Sony’s smartphone business officially left the Canadian market in 2019, with the company’s last handset to launch in Canada being the Xperia XZ2 series from 2018. At first, I was fine with the manufacturer’s decision to leave the country, however, Sony’s latest smartphones are pretty stellar and I wish it held out just a bit longer.
Gone are the days of Sony’s huge bezel phones; now the company has dramatically reduced bezels compared to its predecessors. Other phones on the market have smaller bezels, but this is a big step for the company.
The Xperia 1 II (what is this name?) features a quad camera setup, a 6.5-inch display with a 1644 x 3840 pixel resolution giving it an astonishing 643ppi density, and a Snapdragon 865 processor. It’s interesting to see Sony is still only putting side-mounted fingerprint scanners in its phones, but after using the Pixel 5 for a couple of months, I have no quarrels with handsets that lack an under-display fingerprint scanner.
ZTE Axon 20 5G
Similar to the LG Wing, ZTE’s Axon 5G doesn’t offer the best specs available on a smartphone whatsoever, but it features something new no other handset on the market offers: an under-screen selfie shooter.
The Axon 5G’s 32-megapixel front-facing camera is hidden underneath the display. It’s not totally invisible and, similar to the Predator, you can see the camera depending on the light.
Alongside the innovative hidden camera, the ZTE Axon 5G features a rear-facing 64-megapixel primary shooter, with an 8-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel macro, and 2-megapixel depth sensor, 8GB of RAM, and an under-display fingerprint sensor.
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra
Xioami’s Mi 10 Ultra doesn’t have the coolest features like an in-display camera or a screen that swivels, but what it does feature are a ton of high specs.
Notable specs include up to 16GB of RAM, 8K video at 24fps, up to 120x hybrid zoom, a 120Hz refresh rate, 120W fast charging, reverse-wireless charging and more.