Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Looking For a New Smartphone? July 2014

Some of you may be bored with your current phone, and looking to get a new one. Maybe your current phone is old, or your contract allows you to get a new phone soon. If you are in the market for a phone, I think that you should know what's the best of what's out there at this moment in time.

Many of you are constrained by budget, especially if you are buying a pre-paid device. I don't know a whole lot about contracts, or the way buying devices works in those situations, so I'll be working mostly off the assumption that you are buying an unlocked device, or buying a pre-paid phone from your carrier. I'll also avoid deals on eBay, Amazon, or any other similar outlet.

Under €150:

When looking at smartphones in this bracket, you are usually looking at phones branded by the carrier themselves. Honestly, if you are looking for the best User Experience, the best phone within budget is the Moto E, available from Expansys for €122.99 at time of writing.

Other viable options include the Sony Xperia E1, Nokia Lumia 635, HTC Desire 310, and the Vodafone Smart 4 Turbo.

€150 - €250:
Maybe you want a slightly more upmarket device that won't break the bank. As regards User Experience, you want the Moto G, also available from Expansys for between €180.99 and €214.99. Motorola have proven themselves to be excellent at providing a smooth, consistent UX, dominating the bottom end of the market.

Other good options at this bracket include the Sony Xperia SP, LG G2 Mini, and the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3. Some of these phones may be within budget only if bought from a carrier.

€250 - €400:

There are several excellent phones available within this bracket. Admittedly many of them are at the top-end of this bracket, but they are excellent choices. The best phone on the market for User Experience is the Google Nexus 5. This is available from €349.99 from Google Play.

The best Small Phone available is the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, available from Vodafone for €349.99. It has largely the same specs as the Sony Xperia Z1, but it has a smaller screen, which users with smaller hands will appreciate.

Other strong devices in this category include the OPPO Find 7a, which I recently reviewed URL[here], Apple iPhone 4s (refurbished, available from Expansys), Nokia Lumia 925, and the HTC Desire 816. Again, some of these may only be in budget from your carrier.

€400 +:

This is flagship smartphone territory, so really this is simply a comparison of the current flagships from the major manufacturers, and a minor one too. Most of these flagships have one or two USPs (unique selling points), so that's what I'll focus. Really, most of the flagships are pretty identical, having the same amount of RAM, more or less, the same processor, similar cameras, and they nearly all run Android 4.4 KitKat.

The HTC One (M8)'s claim to fame is its aluminium construction, as well as its BoomSound speakers. The Sony Xperia Z2 boasts the best camera on the market. LG's G3 is the first QHD (2560x1440) resolution screen from a mainstream manufacturer, and also has the best screen-to-bezel ratio, with 76.4% of the phone's front covered by the screen. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a great deal of health related features, such as a heart-rate monitor. Finally, the OPPO Find 7 has the title of first QHD phone overall, and also equals most of its competitors on specs, at a sizeable discount, costing just €479 compared to ~€630 for any of the other flagships.

The iPhone 5C and 5S also feature in this budget, but honestly, based on specs, I can't recommend them, as they are completely outclassed by any of the phones mentioned above. However, if you don't want an Android handset but do want a premium phone, the iPhone 5S is probably what you want.

Hopefully that should clarify the daunting task of making your choice for those of you looking at buying a new phone. Feel free to leave a comment below, and thanks for reading.

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