So here we are then a New Year and a potential for a whole raft of new devices.
As I write this CES in Las Vegas is taking place. Following this soon after is MWC in Barcelona.
Come March there will be a few new devices on the horizon. So before we know it our top 10 list will likely turn upside down! This month has not seen too much change but the gifting season does bring about a rise in popularity of some of the cheaper handsets.
What is going to be hot in 2017? We will have to wait and see.
Innovation or refinement? Big or small? I am sure we all have our own ‘I want’ list, but just how much of that will come true?!
So here is our top 10 list for January:
If you want to see our previous top 10 lists you can do so here.
10. Moto Z
At 5.2mm thick the Moto Z is a stunning piece of hardware.
It has internal specifications that match the stylish prowess. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor alongside 4GB of RAM and 32GB of memory and microSD card slot give this Android powered phone appeal to those who want the very best.
Add into this mix USB Type-C connectivity a 13 megapixel camera and arguably the best modular add on system to date, the Moto Z is a versatile smartphone.
Using magnets, you can attach and remove modules such as a speaker, battery, projector and camera within seconds. There is no need to power the phone on or off to swap these out.
News suggest more manufacturers are getting on board. With as many as 250 developers working on projects, the future looks exciting.
A smooth user experience, some nice software enhancements from Moto compliment the aluminium and stainless steel body of the phone well.
9. Apple iPhone SE
I have mentioned multiple times the saying: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I continue to feel this is appropriate with SE. Although it is not strictly true because in some respects it has been ‘fixed’.
SE uses the chassis of the iPhone 5S, which was and still is (in the second-hand market), an exceptionally popular phone.
The tech inside was improved as a result of the upgrade, essentially taking the internals from the iPhone 6S and getting them inside the body of the SE.
This is the cheapest iPhone yet. Prices start at £379 for the 16GB model, but your probably best opting for the 64GB model at £429. Both are available in Space Grey, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold.
iOS 10 is available for the handset and hardware specifications include the powerful Apple A9 processor, 13 megapixel camera, with 4K recording, 4G connectivity, Apple Pay and much more.
The small screen at 4″ keeps the physical size down but the resolution is a little yesteryear at 326 pixels per inch, but for text messages, phone calls and web browsing it is perfectly acceptable, just lacking some of the richer detail from the HD displays on the larger iPhones.
8. Honor 5C
At the time of writing Honor have just launched the 6X, which looks fantastic. Interest is high, but it’s a little too soon to hit this top 10 list.
The 5C is cheaper than the new 6X and there are a few compelling reasons to spend a bit more on the newer phone.
But the 5C remains astonishingly good value. You can expect a fair amount for your money today at £150. Just look at the Moto G4, that sits pretty at the top of our list this month.
The Honor 5C is another example to be considered alongside the Moto. Perhaps the Honor brand is a little less known to you? Well they are actually owned by Chinese giant Huawei, so aren’t some venture-capital backed startup with little credibility.
At 5.2″ the screen is a little smaller than many phones that now boast 5.5″ displays so perhaps a little more practical in size for some?
Running Google’s Android OS, the design and layout has been tweaked slightly but you can get access to all your favourite Google services and apps within minutes of setup.
On the front the selfie camera gets a boost to 8 megapixels as well for those who like to take pictures of themselves.
The 5C provides 2 quad-core processors, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There’s also a microSD card slot and the option for dual SIM. Did I mention it has a fingerprint reader and aircraft grade aluminium?!
7. CAT S60
This is not a phone for everyone. You likely have to have a need for this type of handset because its chunky and relatively expensive. However, for those who want a rugged and reliable phone that can survive water, impacts and a bit of a tougher life the S60 is one you must consider.
A definite unique and a big selling point for some users is the built in thermal camera.
Dedicated thermal cameras exist but they’re not exactly pocket friendly. Nor can they do a lot more than just thermal imaging. As a result the S60 is a very compelling device. Capture thermal images and video, create the report and send it off all whilst several hundred miles away from the office and in the middle of almost nowehere!
Built into a very solid and rugged frame, the S60 is a drop and water resistant to 5 metres. This is an Android smartphone which can serve construction workers, site managers, engineers and the outdoors type very well.
Create, edit and review documents on the go. Manage your email, music or catch up with the latest news. Navigate from point A to B via C. The S60 is an all-round modern smartphone device that just works.
32GB of internal storage can be expanded via a microSD card. Plus you can run 2 SIM cards, combining a personal and work SIM into one phone.
6. Priv by BlackBerry
The media would let you believe that the physical keyboard is dead on smartphones but for us here at Clove, whilst we have seen a reduction in demand and the improvements of onscreen keyboards, there is clearly still a demand for the physical.
BlackBerry Passport, Classic and Passport have all been relatively popular considering.
The Priv by BlackBerry was never going to appeal to all, whilst it has the physical keyboard is present, it is hidden and the device is still quite large, but the specifications and productivity should help make up for that.
A year on from its launch, the Priv is still a strong performing product and can compete with the best of the rest. Launching at £549, the Priv is now £219 cheaper at £330 inclusive of VAT. That is a lot of phone for the money.
One of, if not the only Android smartphone with a physical keyboard (until the new BlackBerry device arrives) BlackBerry have rolled out monthly updates security to it since it launched, keeping true to their word.
This powerful and flexible with a massive application library Android gives you the ability to do a lot on the move, it can replace your desktop computer if you are committed!
An exclusive DTEK by BlackBerry warning system app, provides you with the power of privacy and to monitor the security of your device.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM keeps things ticking along nicely and with an internally fixed 3410mAh battery a full days work away from power is more than possible.
A larger 5.44-inch QHD (2560×1440) dual-curved AMOLED display with deep and rich colours makes for a great viewing experience, particularly media such as video and images.
The rear mounted 18 megapixel camera with Schneider-Kreuznach certified camera optics captures stunning photos which can be stored on the internal 32GB of memory, and if you need more space you have the microSD card slot too.
5. BlackBerry Passport/Passport Silver Edition
In the last few weeks BlackBerry announced their partnership with TCL in regards to the future manufacturing of their smartphones. Ever since then, the remaining BlackBerry built devices, namely the Passport and Passport Silver Edition have undergone somewhat of a resurgence. In fact the Silver Edition Passport has now sold out, with no more to be made or sold.
BlackBerry OS has lost the support of major apps like WhatsApp, but the OS is very stable and a firm favourite with many, particularly large international organisations and governing bodies.
The Passport is a slightly unusual form factor, being the size of a physical Passport it is wide, but has the benefit of a touch screen and physical keyboard.
Aside from being tried and tested the 4.5″ screen allows for a lot of information to be shown on screen. Great for document management and reading emails and web pages.
The built in trackpad to the keyboard is also great, meaning a simple swipe of the keyboard rather than a touch of the screen to scroll around the page.
4G connectivity and 13 megapixel camera round of the facilities of this solid handset.
If you are keen BlackBerry user, these won’t be around for long. So perhaps consider one as a backup.
4. DTEK60 by BlackBerry
The DTEK60 that follows on from the DTEK50 is well built and performs well. The DTEK60 is a larger and more capable variant that meets the needs of more demanding users.
An Android device with a focus on security, this is the first to have a fingerprint scanner built in.
A smart and solidly constructed device it is essentially an enlarged DTEK50 with a few tweaks.
Great speakers, a respectable camera, high resolution screen, microSD card slot, NFC, 4G, Bluetooth and more.
USB Type-C connectivity is also present, a change to the microUSB found on the DTEK50.
BlackBerry’s DTEK application is present to monitor and advise on the security status of your device. It also provides other software enhancements designed to make your life and mobile communications easier to manage.
BlackBerry Hub is a one-stop shop for all your communications, be that multiple email accounts, social media and more.
A customisable convenience key is also a nice touch for one-touch access to a frequently required app or setting.
3. Apple iPhone 7/7 Plus
The removal or the headphone jack still remains a contentious issue with some, but the complaints are reducing as acceptance settles in. You still get headphones and an adapter in the box, so it is not all bad. For those who want to go wireless there are the new Apple AirPods.
Existing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus users may not see enough features to upgrade given the iPhone 7 expected premium pricing. However if you’re due an upgrade, then heck why not? If you’re a generation further back, then the new integrated Touch ID sensor and iOS 10 features could more easily sway you.
The addition of an IP rating is great. This provides peace of mind should you be using the iPhone in the rain or want to snap a picture by a waterfall or fountain.
At this point Apple are now perfecting what was already a very good product.
The processor is now more efficient and the home button replaced with a capacitive glass panel. The 7 Plus also makes use of a 2nd camera, primarily for optical zoom but also for depth of field techniques.
2 new colours make an appearance: Black and Jet Black. Although the fingerprint magnet that is the Jet Black is only available on higher storage models.
Demand is still high for all variants. Supply has struggled to keep up with the exclusive Jet Black being the option delayed most. As we enter November, stock has improved significantly.
256 GB of storage is available which should keep even the most hardcore of users happy. Although if the Plus model is your choice, at over £900 this purchase might not be the easiest to justify.
2. Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
The Samsung phones that haven’t bee banned on aeroplanes, the S7/S7 Edge are 2 extremely similar yet impressive phones.
The difference is the screen size. The S7 is 5.1″ whilst the S7 Edge is 5.5″ but has a curvature to the edges of the display.
Having personally been using the S7 for well over 6 months now I am really impressed with the performance, reliability and the camera images. There are though newer devices which are justifiably better value all-round. Consider the Honor 8 for instance.
It is quite amazing to have something just so powerful in your pocket and at your fingertips. You can remain connected and functional all from this one device with incredible ease. A heavy day’s usage can affect the battery, but a few tweaks to your approach for a long day and you can still get by.
Unless you are a photo fanatic, the S7 can replace larger dedicated cameras. Great features include 4K video recording, time lapse, slow motion. You can also double-tap power to launch the camera; a very handy addition.
Whilst the Edge probably is the better aesthetically, I feel the standard S7 feels more secure in my hand, but I have always been a fan of the ‘smaller’ phone.
If you use the Edge, the added screen functionality is improved from the S6 version. More capability for faster interaction with the phone can be very useful for some, but for others affects the grip of the handset.
Great results come from the internal camera, plus focus speed of the lens is really, really quick. Both phones are fingerprint magnets although that’s a minor gripe for a device with this speed, performance and general appeal.
1. Moto G4
Creeping back up to number 1 spot as this found it’s way into Christmas gift lists for December 2016 Moto’s G4 is still a powerhouse that doesn’t break the bank financially.
It offers so much for the money and irrespective of your day to day needs, even the most demanding smartphone users ‘could’ use this. For lighter users who want a functional smartphone and survive 18 months to 2 years then you can do a lot worse.
Sporting a large 5.5 inch touchscreen display, Moto’s G4 still manages to feel great in hand despite being larger than previous generations. This is thanks to smooth curved edges and premium materials.
With an almost stock Android experience, the G4 is not laden with unused memory-hungry apps. There have been a number of other welcome improvements too. These include revisions to the camera software and a bump in battery size, which somewhat compensates for the larger screen.
Android 6 is installed out of the box. ‘Doze’ is a feature of this version, bringing increased standby times we all desire.
Available in 2 variants, the Moto G4 can be purchased as a single or dual SIM option. The Black colour is the single SIM option, whilst the White is the dual SIM.
The default storage is 16GB of internal memory coupled with 2GB of RAM. You can expand this with a microSD memory card.
The popularity has been for the dual SIM variant so far.
Clove top 10 information
Please do remember that this list is our top 10 based on our preferences, feelings, sales and customer feedback. Others may have a very different opinion on what makes their top 10. For a complete list of the phones that we range, see our SIM free smartphones section.
If you have any questions then contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning +44 (0)1202552936 and we will happily help.