Producing a smartphone that really grabs the attention of the public is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, effort and a little bit of luck.
There is so much choice for you and I as consumers, and it is this breadth of choice that makes it hard for smartphone brands to win big.
HTC have lost their way a bit of late, struggling to match Samsung and Apple’s devices. When I say lost their way, their hardware remains very good, but they seemed to have missed something in order to win the sale with many consumers.
Within the last month they have announced the HTC U 11 which might win over some. Just giving it a squeeze unlocks new potential.
BlackBerry too have been considered a company losing their way a bit over the last couple of years. I think it’s safe to say they have now adjusted their sails; the wind is behind them and they are full tilt into a bright new future.
The KEYone has been incredibly popular and has been our best seller this month!
Yes, the unique design has really captured the hearts and fingers of many. Our first stock sold out in a matter of hours!
So unsurprisingly the KEYone tops this month list, but how does the rest of the top 10 stack up?
If you want to see our previous top 10 lists you can do so here.
10. Honor 6X
The 6X sits below the more premium 8 but above thecheaper 5C and 5X models. It is more of a premium mid-tier smartphone if that makes sense.
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.
9. Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017 Edition)
Lovely and slim and a pleasure to hold in hand, I really think the A3 is underrated in a world dominated by premium flagship smartphones.
Suitable for a wide range of users, this is a mid-tier smartphone that offers more than the basic, but does most of what the premium devices can at a lesser price.
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.
8. Honor 8 Pro
Now £475 clearly isn’t a budget phone. However when you consider a new Samsung S8, LG G6 or HTC U 11 will set you back up to and over £600, it becomes much more palatable.
Especially so when you consider some of the raw specifications: 5.7″ 2K screen, 64GB/6GB storage & RAM, and an improved dual-sensor camera with dedicated black & white sensor.
Backed by Huawei you can be assured of great product quality and support.
The massive battery comes in at 4,000 mAh, plus the power efficient processing that goes on in the background will give nothing but impressive screen-on and standby time.
If you want the best, but also want to ensure you are not spending more than you have to, give the Honor 8 Pro a go.
7. LG G6
2017’s flagship device from LG, the G6 reverts away from the modular design of the G5, but has launched in shadow of the media frenzy that is the S8.
The G6 is on paper as well as in everyday performance everything a leading smartphone should be.
Plenty of unique features here on the G6, the most prominent of all being the 18:9 (or 2:1) screen ratio for the large 5.7″ display. With over 80% screen to body ratio, the screen dominates the front of the handset.
The LG G6 also features a return of the rear-mounted power button, this time integrated into the fingerprint sensor. Volume controls are located on one side.It is too IP rated, so for those working and wishing to use the phone in wet or dusty conditions, no problem.
A dual camera set up has been an important development in mobile photography in the past year, although depending on the implementation, results can vary drastically. At their best, dual cameras allow you to take images with enhanced depth of field, contrast and brightness, plus introduce special effect and layering technology not possible with just one lens.
LG have always pushed the boundaries of camera technology with the G range. On the LG G6, both rear cameras have a 1/3.06″sensor with f/2.4 aperture and 1.12μm size pixels. The difference is one lens has a super-wide 125° field of view compared to the standard 71° on the other.Switching between the two cameras is easy as swiping across the screen. Also available are specialised shooting modes and effects utilising both lenses simultaneously.
32GB storage, 4GB RAM, MicroSD card slot (up to 256GB) and a 3,300 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 are all reasons to pick the G6 as your next device.
6. Moto G4
Tumbling down the list a bit, the G4 has been superseded by the G5.
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.
As we are nearing the end of the Moto G4’s shelf life (because of the G5) it can now only be purchased as a dual SIM option, in white colour only.
The default storage is 16GB of internal memory coupled with 2GB of RAM. You can expand this with a microSD memory card.
5. Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
Android 7.0 updates are now available to deliver many of the latest software enhancements, 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.
The bezel might be larger than the new S8. To me though this has the feeling, even if it’s only psychological, that the S7 will be more robust.
Having personally been using the S7 for best part of a year now now, I am really impressed with the performance, reliability and camera. I see little need to change or opt for the newer model right now.
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.
4. CAT S60
A niche requirement it may well be but it suits those that need, tough, rugged and capable.
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 flip-side, 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.
3. Moto G5
Shrinking 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.
See it in action in our hands on review here.
2. Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
Every year manufacturers try to wow us with a new flagship release. In recent years though it has become increasingly difficult to be impressed. Many of the advancements in recent devices are not the big jumps in technology they once were.
Samsung has chosen to make an obvious statement with the new Galaxy S8 range. The screen is the most important feature of the phone. It is the window through which we view and interact with the modern world.
The last few generations have given us truly curved edges and new ways to interact. With the S8, Samsung take this to the logical extreme available in modern technology. The Infinity Display is available in 2 variants; the standard S8 has a 5.8″ screen and the S8+ comes with a 6.2″ panel.
Other important and notable hardware features are:
- 2.4 GHz Samsung Exynos 9 Octa 8995 processor / 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage & microSD support (up to 256GB)
- 12MP dual-pixel camera with smart OIS
- 8MP selfie camera with face tracking autofocus
- 3,000 (S8) 3,500 (S8+) mAh battery with fast charging and wireless charging (Qi or PMA)
- Bluetooth 5.0 / GPS / Dual Band Wi-Fi / NFC
- Gorilla Glass 5 front & back
- IP68 water and dust resistant
- USB Type-C / 3.5mm audio jack
Naturally this is an Android phone with a hefty amount of additional software features. In addition to standard Android features are Samsung’s developments, including the new Bixby Assistant. You can also turn the phone into a desktop workstation via Samsung DeX.
Google accounts, corporate exachange email accounts, social media accounts and more, they all run like a charm on the S8. It is the S7 perfected. Whilst some may not see a need to upgrade from the S7 but when held side-by-side you really can see how impressive it is to fit such a screen in only a marginally larger body.
1. BlackBerry KEYone
There are those that love the idea and are a bit nostalgic. Of course the flip side are those who feel it is a lost product in today’s all-touch environment.
I am not here to argue who is right or wrong. It’s not for everyone and to each their own. What I can say though is that by judging by the interest here at Clove, there are plenty of people who like what the KEYone offers.
It ticks the boxes for a solid high-mid specification; it’s not all singing and dancing, but definitely not a budget device.
One thing it does offer is excellent performance and battery life. The KEYone’s blend of power-efficient processor, reduced screen size and physically large battery make for a total workhorse of a phone.
The keys offer tactile feedback. They also include an integrated capacitive trackpad and fingerprint sensor. Plus the 4.5″ touchscreen is large and responsive enough for when you need it.
You can set shortcuts to certain keys on the 4-row keyboard with short or long presses. There’s even a programmable shortcut key on the side of the phone.
Android 7.0 is the operating system of choice over the older BlackBerry OS. This offers access to all the latest social and messaging platforms, with additional BlackBerry security layered on top.
BlackBerry too have added a variety of apps on top to give extra value and functionality to the phone.
32GB of internal storage, 3GB RAM, MicroSD memory card slot, 8MP front camera with flash, 12MP auto-focus large pixel rear camera, fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C connector and RGB notification LED are all built into it.
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 email@example.com or by phoning +44 (0)1202 552936 and we will happily help.