Phones with IR blasters? Is this even still a thing in 2021? Let’s find out by looking at what your best options are right now for Android phones with integrated IR blasters…
Back in the day, IR blasters were a common feature on Android phones. Samsung used them, and so too did HTC. But for whatever reason, IR blasters have gone the way of the of the headphone jack.
Samsung stopped including IR blasters on its phones when it released the Samsung Galaxy S6 (an eon ago now, in phone-time) and HTC, well… HTC kind of ended up doing a BlackBerry.
I Want An IR Blaster on My Phone Though…
If you want a phone with an IR blaster, you’re not alone. As a feature, an IR blaster on a phone is actually incredibly useful. With an IR blaster on your phone you can use your phone to control your TV as well as plenty of other things in your home.
And while IR blasters are pretty niche these days, most people have forgotten they exist, there are still some decent phones around that feature an IR blaster, although most of them are from Chinese brands like Huawei, TLC, and Xiaomi.
In fact, Xiaomi’s latest phone – the Xiaomi Mi 11 – has a dedicated IR blaster and that phone can be picked up for $689; and while that might seem like a lot, it basically packs in the same specs as Samsung’s $1300 Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Best Phones With IR Blaster – The Best Options Right Now
1 – Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
If you want a good phone with an IR blaster, your best best is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro. Aside from packing in some really great specs – SD 865, a 4500mAh battery, and 8GB of RAM – the Mi 10 Pro also features a dedicated IR blaster.
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Xiaomi has made huge inroads into markets outside its native China in the past 24 months, and this is largely down to the fact that it makes hugely powerful Android phones and sells them for next to nothing (when compared to the likes of Apple and Samsung).
The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro features an array of excellent specs, including a large 6.7in OLED display and a potent Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 CPU. You also have a very good quad-lens camera module on the rear fronted by an impressive 108MP sensor.
Add in things like 50W wired and wireless charging, and it is easy to see why plenty of people are ditching Apple and Samsung for Xiaomi. Keep in mind that this phone, with all those specs, can be bought for just $519 – or, around 30% less than most of its peers with similar specs.
2 – Huawei P30 Pro
The Huawei P30 Pro was the last Huawei phone to ship with full support for Google services – meaning Google Play and Google’s core apps like Chrome, YouTube, and the like. It also happens to be one of the best Android phones Huawei has ever produced. And it has a fully-featured IR blaster too.
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The P30 Pro has an IR blaster, not the standard P30. If you want an IR Blaster, you’re going to have to go with the Pro model. Not that this is an issue; the Huawei P30 Pro packs in a ton of amazing specs and features, including Huawei’s ultra-powerful Kirin 980 CPU.
The Huawei P30 Pro’s main benefit, however, is its camera. You have a quad-lens camera on the rear and it is damn-capable. With it you can capture stunning landscape and portrait shots, thanks to its innovative technology, the inclusion of an ultra-wide lens, and Huawei’s excellent image signal processing tech and machine learning.
The Huawei P30 Pro isn’t the newest Huawei phone, that’d be the P40 and P40 Pro, but the P30 ships with full Google apps support. And that is far more useful than a slight bump in processing grunt and imaging technology. At least, I think it is anyway.
3 – TCL Pro 10 (The Ultra-Affordable Option)
If you want an Android phone with an IR blaster and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the TCL Pro 10 could be just what you’ve been looking for. The TCL Pro 10 can be had for as little as £199/$199 and it features a dedicated IR Blaster.
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The TCL Pro 10 comes with a 6.4in OLED displays, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 675, and a 4500mAh battery. Interestingly, TCL uses the Nxtvision engine for its OLED display and it looks amazing – the colors and contrast are outstanding, especially given the cost of this phone.
Like most of its peers, the TCL Pro 10 features a very capable quad-lens camera module on its rear that is fronted by a 64MP ultra-wide-angle lens. It isn’t as capable as the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro’s or the P30 Pro’s but for better than 60% less in cost it is damn good.
If all you need is a basic, functional phone with a solid camera, solid performance, and an IR blaster, you really cannot go wrong with the TCL Pro 10 – just don’t go expecting flagship performance!
Wrapping Up: What’s The Best Phone With An IR Blaster?
If you want my advice, go with the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro (VIEW DEALS) – it’s a killer phone with great design, amazing specs, a brilliant camera, and it has an IR Blaster. I really do love what Xiaomi is doing right now with its phones.
With its focus on what consumers actually want (great design, great cameras, and low prices), Xiaomi is one of the fastest growing brands on the planet. I honestly do not think you can go wrong with the Mi 10 Pro (if your requirements demand that the phone you get has an IR blaster).
I like the Huawei P30 Pro but I really dislike Huawei’s software, so this phone is harder for me to recommend. The TCL 10 Pro is a great budget option but it does lack a lot of the performance and finesse you get with the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro.
So, for this reason, my #1 recommendation for right now is the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro (VIEW DEALS) – it is a flagship phone with flagship performance, and it has an IR blaster, and is cheaper than nearly all of its peers. You cannot really argue with that, can you?
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.