Clove’s top 10 smartphones March 2017
The last month has not seen much change in our top 10 list. The Samsung Galaxy A3 and A5 2017 Edition models have arrived and the A5 has made its way into the top 10 already.
What has happened is a whole load of device announcements at the end of February at Mobile World Congress from BlackBerry, LG, Moto, Sony and more! (Read the roundup)
As the new devices start shipping over the next 4-12 weeks the top 10 list will see some radical changes as the this years crop of current desirable handsets make their way into users hands.
Which will be met with most demand?!
Rises in the cost of components used to make smartphones and other technology is about to start having a big effect on the price you and I have to pay for new gadgets, including smartphones.
All devices will be rising in price over the coming months, but this will be felt most in the more premium handsets that many of us desire, so getting value from phones is going to become even more important.
Whilst flagship phones don’t really come in under £500 now, there are plenty of exceptional phones available for the money and £250 today can get you some superb pieces of kit, the Honor 6X, and WileyfoX Swfit 2 Plus are just 2 examples.
So here is our top 10 list for March:
If you want to see our previous top 10 lists you can do so here.
10. Priv by BlackBerry
Surprisingly for some, this was one of our biggest sellers going into February, but it has now been discontinued, meaning that despite the great hardware for the price, getting hold of one now is going to be difficult.
Thankfully BlackBerry have a consolation in their new device the KEYone launched at MWC and available here.
The media would let you believe that the physical keyboard is dead on smartphones but there seems to be a mini revival in this physical form.
The Priv by BlackBerry was never going to appeal to all, but even those who were not taken by it I think can appreciate what it offered to some users.
Final sales of this device came in at £336 inclusive of VAT. That is a lot of phone for the money. During this time security updates and performance improvements came to the device regularly and will continue to do so.
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.
There is just so much to love about this phone. The size and performance of the SE make this a firm favourite and a consistent entry within the top 10.
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’. The SE uses the chassis of the iPhone 5S, which was an exceptionally popular phone. I wouldn’t mind betting you know people still using one.
Naturally the tech inside has been improved and is for all intense and purposes an iPhone 6S in 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. Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017 Edition)
I would personally seriously consider this as an alternative to the Galaxy S7, if I was not already using one as my daily driver.
Yes the RAM and screen specifications are not quite as good, the processor is different too but it still offers a HD screen at 5.2″, Android OS, USB type-c connectivity, 4G, WiFi, NFC, fingerprint sensor, 16 megapixel camera and an IP68 rating for just £360!
This is a superb package and unless you are a really heavy user will you really notice the differences. And did I mention the memory is 32GB with an option to expand via a microSD card?!
Samsung have a strong reputation for building quality products (let’s forget about the Note 7) with a 2 year warranty and all the neat customisation’s and extras Samsung put into their software.
For those who still like the idea of an S7 like device but do not have the budget or need the same powerful features, there is too the Galaxy A3.
7. BlackBerry Passport
The Passport might be considered a dying breed as BlackBerry no longer invest in their OS10 software, but there is still a place for it. It is a workhorse loved by many who are really not bothered by app availability.
Since TCL and BlackBerry announced their partnership at the back end of 2016 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.
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.
6. Moto Z
LG might have ditched the modular design, but Moto are sticking with it and encouraging more developers to come up with more innovative modules to further expand the scope and possibilities.
Chris, the Managing Director here at Clove has been using the Moto Z for a few weeks now having switched from the LG G5 and is a real fan, raving about all the options and just how surprised people are at what is possible when demonstrated correctly. People are in awe when shown how simple it is to just clip a Mod to the handset.
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.
A smooth user experience, some nice software enhancements from Moto compliment the aluminium and stainless steel body of the phone well.
As an added bonus Android 7 is now rolling out to devices.
5. Honor 6X
The Honor 6X is available today for well under £250 in Gold, Silver and Grey colours. This makes it more than half the price of top-tier handsets from Samsung or Apple. Each comes with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM.
Despite the low price, you still get a fingerprint sensor, dual rear camera and large Full HD screen.
The fingerprint sensor is a new 3rd generation model. This provides accurate results in just 0.3 seconds and has gesture control support. Tap or slide on the sensor to interact with the system notification shade or scroll depending on the app.
Dual cameras so far have only been seen on high-end handsets. The secondary 2MP sensor activates some interesting depth of field bokeh effects. You can select these post-capture or, if you have the time, set up scenes as you shoot. This extra module also improves autofocus time and enables a pseudo aperture selector on screen.
The 6X looks very smart for a phone at this price point. 2.5D curved edge glass sweeps into the casing. A metallic tinted material is used for the body. This remains lightweight, reflective and durable, without the cost of milled aluminium.
Honor are a brand to watch.
4. Apple iPhone 7/7 Plus
When you think smartphone, the iPhone range is often one of the first that comes to mind. The 7 and 7 Plus are the pinnacle of design and engineering achievment from the US firm and sales have been strong globally as you might expect.
The two flavours means that those who prefer a smaller or larger screen are catered for, although the 7 Plus does also bring some camera benefits.
The removal or the headphone jack still remains a contentious issue with some, but there is an adapter included and things change, we have to adapt, be that good or bad.
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. And what great pictures they will be from the the built in camera. Seen all the ads promoting the iPhone’s camera capabilities.
The processor is now more efficient and the home button replaced with a capacitive glass panel.
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.
3. CAT S60
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. Have you seen what it can do? Check out our competition entries here.
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.
2. Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
The rumoured S8 might be announced very very soon but with hardware pries going up it is likely the S7 and S7 Edge will actually be financially the more attractive of the two models, if the very latest specs are not a must have for you.
The S7 is and will continue to be a strong performer for the next 16-24 months, what’s not to like.
Android 7 updates are now available to give the latest software enhancements and there are quite a few.
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.
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
Staying at the number 1 spot is the Moto G4 with the superb value it offers. The New Moto G5 will challenge for this top spot though in next months top 10.
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.