• Clove’s top 10 smartphones April 2017

    By Jon , April 12, 2017 - Leave a comment

    Like the last couple of months, there have been no significant changes in the month’s top ten list. Expect considerable changes for May however!

    LG’s new G6, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and BlackBerry’s KEYone should have all begun shipping. These are sure to change the table of ‘what’s hot’.

    For a while now premium smartphones have been pretty good value, especially when you consider how much use they get. But these premium, feature-rich handsets are slowly creeping up in price due to increasing raw material costs and exchange rates.

    However even at £700, over the course of 2 years a phone works out at about £1 per day (not taking into account resale/recycle value). I think for most this is still excellent value given how frequently they are used.

    That said, for those who do not need the very latest and greatest, then a budget of £200 still gets you a whole lot of phone. At this price, the average 2 year ownership comes down to less than 30p per day! The Moto G5 is one such example.

    So, what’s made this month’s chart? Read on to find out.

    If you want to see our previous top 10 lists you can do so here.

    10. BlackBerry Passport

    BlackBerry PassportSliding down the list a little, for what are fairly obvious reasons.

    A dying breed as BlackBerry no longer invest in their OS10 software, there is still a place for this handset. It is a workhorse loved by many who are really not bothered by app availability. I regularly hear nothing but praise from those who still use it.

    Since TCL and BlackBerry announced their partnership at the back end of 2016, the remaining BlackBerry built devices have undergone somewhat of a resurgence. This includes the Classic, Passport and Passport Silver Edition. In fact the Silver Edition Passport has now sold out, with no more to be manufactured or sold.

    The Passport has an unusual form factor. At the 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 keyboard has an excellent built-in trackpad. 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 off the facilities of this solid phone.

    If you are a keen BlackBerry user, these won’t be around for long. So perhaps consider one as a backup.

    Click here to find out more about the BlackBerry Passport

    9. Apple iPhone SE

    There are few ‘powerful’ smartphones with a smaller screen. Aside from the Android-powered Sony Xperia X Compact, there is this, the iPhone SE.

    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, so for all intent and purposes is an iPhone 6S in the body of the SE.

    A refresh of the range means that from March 2017 the 16GB model and 64GB are no longer available. Now only the 32 and 128GB are available at £379 and £479 respectively. Both models can be purchased in Space Grey, Silver, Gold or Rose Gold.

    iOS 10 is available for the handset. Hardware specifications include the powerful Apple A9 processor, 13 megapixel camera with 4K recording, 4G/LTE, Apple Pay and much more.

    At 4″ the small screen keeps the physical size down. The resolution though is a little yesteryear at 326 pixels per inch. Although for text messages, phone calls and web browsing this is perfectly acceptable, just lacking some of the richer detail seen on the displays of larger iPhones.

    8. Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017 Edition)

    Bucking the trend slightly with a screen that is smaller than 5″, the A3 2017’s 4.7″ screen makes for a slim, pocketable phone.

    Whilst it will not have the power-users chomping at the bit, for the majority of us the A3 is actually very impressive for the £280 price point.

    With a 720p resolution the screen is not a massive power drain, yet is plenty crisp enough to complete all your tasks and enjoy media on the go.

    4G and WiFi connectivity are present, as is USB Type-C connectivity, IP 168 water resistance, 16GB internal storage and a 13-megapixel rear camera.

    And in an age where security and privacy is so important the fingerprint sensor should please many.

    Available in Black, Gold and Blue, the NFC enabled Android smartphone can too handle your contactless payments.

    7. Honor 6X

    This is another example of a cracking mid-range phone.

    Honor produce several fantastic value handsets that offer an exceptional level of quality and performance for the price.

    The 6X sits below the more premium 8 but above the 5X.

    It’s 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.

    You 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.

    Click here to find out more about the Honor 6X

    6. 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 high, the processor is different too; but it still offers an HD screen at 5.2″, Android 6.0 OS, USB Type-C connectivity, 4G, WiFi, NFC, fingerprint sensor, 16 megapixel camera and an IP68 rating. All for just £360!

    This is a superb package and unless you are a seriously heavy user, I doubt you would 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) which include a 2 year warranty and all the neat customisation extras Samsung put into their software.

    For those who like the idea of an S7-style device, but do not have the budget or need for such powerful features, there is also the Galaxy A3.

    Click here to find out more about the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017 edition)

    5. 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 achievement from the US firm. Global sales have been strong as you might expect.

    The two flavours mean that those who prefer a smaller or larger screen are catered for, although the 7 Plus does bring additional camera benefits.

    Within the last few weeks Apple added the (RED) colour option to the range, which has sparked a resurgence in tech circles to talk about this masterclass of smartphone. The only difference is the colour, plus, with every purchase Apple donate to the Product(RED) HIV/AIDS programmes. Of course if you already own an iPhone or don’t like the red colour, you can always donate directly.

    The removal or the headphone jack still remains a contentious issue for some, but an adapter is included. Also 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 on a 5S or 6, 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.

    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.

    Click here to find out more about the Apple iPhone 7 & 7 Plus

    4. CAT S60

    CAT_S60_FLIR_Thermal_Image_Smartphone_0003The surprise to some that the S60 ranks in our top 10 so frequently is quite apparent. However with few selling this niche device, it remains a popular option here at Clove for select customers.

    If you are looking for a new smartphone for you mum, aunt or friend, this is unlikely to be the one unless being used for professional purposes.

    On the flipside, if you’re a bit of a power user and find yourself in the outdoors in your spare time, maybe it’s worth consideration.

    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 feature and big selling point is the built-in thermal camera. Have you seen what it can do? Check out just some examples of how it can be used 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 nowhere!

    Built into a very solid and rugged frame, the S60 is 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.

    Click here to find out more about the CAT S60

    3. Moto G5

    Moto G5 SIM Free UK CloveShrinking back to the 5″ display found on the Moto G3, the Moto G5 brings back a bit more of a compact form factor and improves the material quality alongside it.

    An aluminium effect body makes the handset look classy. The camera module also stands out with a design influence from the Moto Z range.

    Retaining affordability, the G5 is available with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, also providing microSD expansion and fingerprint security for just £170

    Android is the operating system of choice, updated to 7.0 Nougat in 2017. All of the Google services are pre-installed, as well as some neat Moto additions such as the karate-chop motion to turn the flashlight on. Innovative and useful tweaks that just make the device a little more fun, but useful.

    The battery is removable, unusual for a modern phone, and new compared to previous internal batteries in past Gs.

    This is a great first smartphone or for those looking for the ultimate blend of performance and price. You can’t go too far wrong here, especially when the smaller screen appeals to those who want one-handed use.

    Click here to find our more about the Moto G5

    2. Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge

    The S8 may well have been revealed but at the time of this list coming together is not on sale. As such the S7 is not yet challenged by its successor.

    Despite essentially being replaced, the S7 will remain a much loved and desired product for the foreseeable future.

    Android 7.0 updates are now available to give the latest software enhancements, of which there are quite a few including a blue light filter.

    The S7 is 5.1″ and S7 Edge 5.5″, with a curvature to the edges of the display which slim it in the hand.

    Having personally been using the S7 for  best part of a year now now, I am really impressed with the performance, reliability and 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, although a few tweaks in your approach to a long day and you can still easily get by.

    Unless you are a photo fanatic, the S7 can replace larger dedicated cameras. Great features include 4K video recording, time lapse and 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. I have always though 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 the edge does affect gripping the handset.

    Great results come from the internal camera, plus the 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.

    Click here to find out more about the Samsung Galaxy S7

    1. Moto G4

    The Moto G4, with the superb value it offers, retains the number 1 spot for another month. This is despite its successor having now launched and being available for purchase.


    Irrespective of your day to day needs, even the most demanding smartphone users ‘could’ use this. For lighter users who want a functional smartphone which survives 18 months to 2 years then you can do a lot worse.

    On trend with a large 5.5 inch touchscreen display, Moto’s G4 feels great in hand, thanks in part to smooth curved edges and premium materials.

    With an almost stock Android experience, the G4 is not laden with unused memory-hungry apps. Other improvements include revisions to the camera software and a bump in battery size, which somewhat compensates for the larger screen.

    The handset launched with Android 6 and has since updated to 7.0 with the benefits that this brings.

    Available in 2 variants from Clove, 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.

    With the dual SIM model offering excellent value for money, popularity has been for this and is a big factor in it staying at the top this month.

    Click here to find out more about the Moto G4

    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 sales@clove.co.uk or by phoning +44 (0)1202 552936 and we will happily help.


    Constantly challenging opinions and looking for new opportunities, Jon develops the product ranges and business activities and very much strives to maintaining growth and taking Clove in to the future. Never knowing when to stop, he spends a lot of time coming up with ideas. When he does relax, however, he can be found out in the forest walking his Dog, down the pub or enjoying food at local restaurants.


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