10. Apple iPhone 5 – Creeping in at number 10, although generally unpopular in the office, is the iPhone 5. As a result of the popularity of Apple products its hard to ignore them and there’s no denying that the iPhone 5 is a looker. The iPhone 5 looks much the same as the iPhone 4 and 4s, increased in size from 3.5” to 4” its still smaller than most Android devices. Having said that it does have some very impressive features and the OS is very user friendly. The 4” retina display has 326 ppi and a resolution of 1136 x 640, the extra size on the screen allows for one extra row of app icons on the home screen. The iPhone 5 is equipped with a Dual-Core A6 chip which, Apple believe, is powerful enough to run the device, having used an iPhone 5 for a while I did sometimes find it lagging behind on speed. Regardless, the iPhone 5 is a solid, easy to use smartphone.
9. BlackBerry Z10 – The BlackBerry Z10 is a solid smartphone, I find it better than the QWERTY Q10 because of its flexibility, it also does not have a keyboard taking up half the space on the of the device. When BB10 was first launched the app support was pretty weak, although it has now grown, it is still not comparable with iOS or Android. The display lacks that of a premium device at 1280 x 768 px and the camera at only 8mp falls short of the likes of the Sony Xperia Z and even the Xperia SP. On the plus side it does support a 64MB micro SD card, has a quick 1.5GHz Dual-Core processor and a removable battery. Ideal for those business types who will be mainly attracted to the Blackberry Z10. Although the screen is smaller than most Android and Windows Phone’s it is still larger than the latest iPhone.
The BB Z10 can be had for £334.00 Ex VAT
8. Seals TS3 – Whether or not you need a device as rugged as this, its fun and different nonetheless. The seals TS3 is the first rugged smartphone that I’ve turned my head at, it looks rugged and sturdy and like it can take a good old beating. With an SD card expansion slot of up to 32GB, dual sim functionality and an IP68 rating the TS3 is a practical mans phone. The TS3 is also equipped with sound cancelling technology and a 5MP waterproof camera! All in all I think the TS3 is a bit of a game changer in the rugged smartphone world, allowing people who require a rugged phone for work to stick it under the tap after work and use it as a personal smartphone also.
The Seals TS3 is available for £259.00 Ex VAT
7. Nokia Lumia 925 –
The Lumia 925 was a turning point for Nokia, a premium smartphone with all the specs and features to go with it. In my opinion the camera on this device will only be surpassed by the likes of the camera dedicated devices such as the Lumia 1020 and the Galaxy S4 Zoom. The 16GB camera with a Carl Zeiss lenses really does produce some stunning pictures. The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz Dual-Core processor keeps things in check comfortably. One of the stand-out features for me is the wireless charging technology, for me, this is the future and Nokia have shown with the 925 that they are leading from the front.
The Lumia 925 is available for £385.00 Ex VAT
6. Huawei Ascend P6 – Another new entrant to the premium smartphone market is the misunderstood, in my opinion, Huawei Ascend P6. Coming in at just 6.18mm thick its an astonishing example of the craftsmanship the boys down at Huawei are capable of. The P6 is surprisingly rugged with Gorilla glass 2 slapped on the front protecting the 4.7” 1280 x 720 display. The 8MP camera punches above its weight and the 5MP front facing, yes front facing, camera certainly suits those who like to video call in high quality. Another stand-out spec for me is the 1.5GHz Quad-Core processor, allowing fast and smooth operating of the device. Inside the aluminium casing is a premium spec’d device, there’s only two questions left to answer: 1. Why is it not more popular? and 2. How is it so cheap?
The Huawei Ascent P6 is available from £283.00 Ex VAT
5. Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom – Another interesting device is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, a “Phamera” as I like to call it. Its not the best looking device if we are completely honest, in fact, it looks like a science experiment. However, it does do what its supposed to do well, very well indeed. The camera is 16MP BSI CMOS Sensor with 10x optical zoom with a whole host of features. As far as using it as a day-to-day mobile phone is concerned, personally I would not use it. The camera bolted onto the back of the device is just too intruding for my liking. The best use for this device would be for a keen photographer who occasionally needs to use a phone. On the plus side, you can instantly upload your beautiful photos directly to the social network of your choice.
Samsung Galaxy S4 is available for £440.00 Ex VAT
4. Sony Xperia SP – In my opinion the best value smartphone on the market right now. The SP is the Xperia Z’s little brother and seems to have inherited some of its older brothers finest features that the girls go crazy for. Its a real looker, much like the Xperia Z and has the specs to back it up. The 1.7GHz Dual-Core processor ensures things run smoothly on the 4.6” 1280 x 720 BRAVIA Engine 2 powered display. The display is as colourful, crisp and sharp as the Xperia Z, a real joy to use. The 8MP camera is built with the same modules as leading Sony cameras and, thus, produces quality images. As far as getting more bang for your buck is concerned, you will struggle to find a device with a better spec than the SP for around £250.
The Sony Xperia SP is available at £249.00 Ex VAT
3. Samsung Galaxy S4 – Of course, we had to squeeze it in there somewhere. There’s no denying the S4 is an incredible smartphone and possibly the best spec out there currently. The only problem for me is, its not very exciting. I imagine getting an upgrade from an S3 to an S4 much like trading in your Golf Mk6 for a Mk7, different car, but not really. Besides this, it is a great device, the display is one of the best I’ve seen on a smartphone, crisp, clear and colourful. The list of features is endless such as eye tracking, gesture control, Qi wireless charging, Drama shot, Dual camera shot, S Health, Eraser… you get my point. The camera is as you would expect from a market leading smartphone produced by Samsung, 13mp with a whole host of features…
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is available for £369.00 Ex VAT
2. Sony Xperia Z – I’m slightly bias here as I actually own an Xperia Z. However, this could bring out the worst in a bad device therefore I see this as a “fairer” review. The Xperia Z is up there with the best spec’d devices on the market today, the camera is certainly a defining feature and creates images that look great on the 1920 x 1080 px 443ppi display. With a 1.5GHz Dual-Core processor the Xperia Z is more than fast enough to withstand your daily needs. The Sony skin is easy to use and very functional and the connection with other Sony products such as the PS3 and soon PS4 is great. Hooking up a PS3 controller to a phone to play games is most enjoyable. Therefore, Overall the Xperia Z finds itself in at number 2!
The Sony Xperia Z is available at £370.00 Ex VAT
Such as the overly exuberant picture dictates our number 1 smartphone for August is the HTC ONE. HTC have thrown themselves right up there with the likes of Samsung, Sony and Nokia with this device and have taken no shortcuts. The ONE’s body is made from a smooth aluminium cut from the same piece of metal, resulting in a device that feels great in-hand. It has all the specs you would expect from a top end smartphone such as a 1.7GHz Quad-Core processor and a 468ppi 4.7” display protected by Gorilla Glass. HTC’s new blinkfeed feature which streams live updates from a variety of feeds such as social media and news is a bit of a Marmite feature, some love it, some hate it. Worried about the effect it has on battery life some select different home screens in place of the blinkfeed. Another defining feature on the ONE is the “BoomSound”, dual front speakers that use Beats Audio tuning and produce very impressive sound levels and quality for a smartphone. Other features such as Zoe, and Sense TV really set the ONE apart from the field at this point in time. After seeing what HTC are capable of in a premium device I’m interested and excited to see what HTC have in store in subsequent devices to see if they can remain on-top of the smartphone world.
HTC ONE available for £420.00 Ex VAT