Best smartphone?

Gramm838

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you need to get one of the ones with walking instructions on them - left, right, left, right,...you know, the one's people have to read as they walk down a street.

I mean, that can be the only reason they do that, can't it?
 

Brian G Turner

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I found my old receipt for my iPhone and was astonished by the price.

I've become so used to looking at Android phones - which are generally released as new in the £500-£600 range - and then after 2-3 months, can usually be bought brand new for around £350 on Amazon.

A plastic 8GB iPhone will cost £429, and a normal 16MB iPhone will cost £549 - all year around. a 64GB iPhone 5 will cost £709!! When the new larger screen iPhones are released, expect that to cost more, too.

And yet Android phones typically come with 16-32GB of memory, plus can now be expanded with a 64-124GB mini SD card.

The exaggerated price difference for the Apple iPhone is hard to justify - especially when you have to pay for most Apple iOS apps - but don't for Android apps.

Let's repeat that - a high end Android phone will have all the specs of an iPhone at half the price, and the apps will usually be free - an iPhone will generally be nearly twice the price, and you then have to buy all the apps after.

If Apple had created the perfect experience with the iPhone then at least they might be able to claim some justification for the extra price - and for the main part, I agree they've gone that extra way.

But then, there are so many small but significant niggles.

Updating software with Android is smooth - I've never had any problems with it. But I have lost all my data updating iOS before now, plus losing iTunes purchases.

Additionally - iTunes. I have always had a problem with album artwork not showing. iTunes sometimes just loses some of the images for no reason. Additionally, the iPhone frequently forgets what image should be displayed with an album track, so resorts to simply displaying a text header. These problems don not occur with Android devices I use - so at double the price, Apple delivers a less pleasing user experience with music. (Though, to be fair, most providers have no equivalent to iTunes for PC, except Samsung, and their Samsung Kies is a PC killer).

Meanwhile, I noticed the Sony Xperia T2 on the international site recently:
Xperia T2 Ultra | Android Smartphone - Sony Smartphones (Global UK English)

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's coming out in the UK, though we may get an equivalent later on, as it looks like an upgraded version of the Xperia Ultra. That looks like a potentially ideal machine for me - a good-sized phablet for writing notes on, plus a strong camera, phone, and all the usual features of a high-end phone. Can be upgraded to 128GB, too.

Not that I think I'm in the market to buy at the moment, but I just can't see myself upgrading to another iPhone model. It doesn't deliver anything special above the competition, but it does charge twice the price for doing so.
 

Starlyte

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I've had a Defy MB525 for 3 years, as it's shock proof (that's sure!), water proof (at least coffee splashes) and Android.
But, oh my!, I'm changing the operator in a couple of months, and I'm looking for something similar, but a better camera, and bigger screen, with NFC.
I might buy a Chinese one and save a few euros (yukky - doesn't sound the same as "save a few quid...or francs :( ), or go for an over the 1€ offer ones. But the choice isn't easy, that's sure.
I've looked at HTC, and Sony Xperia, LG, too, but I want a reasonable telephone, shock proof, rain resistant, with a good camera (can't afford both, at the price they are!), and of course, Android's latest success. I was impressed by the Sony Xperia, one of the newer ones, but OMG the price!
Why they can't let you pay in 3 or 4 times, like the PC hardware online shops do, most of the time?
There are some good Chinese phones, and sites in English or French, who specialize in their reviews, and also the soft that's suitable for each. So I think that will be my direction when my present contract is over, sadly. European phones are just too expensive if you want more than the basics.
 

Brian G Turner

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Interesting to see rumours put the larger new iPhone 6 on a release date for 2015, rather than later this year:
iPhone 6: Bigger, Faster, Coming this Fall

If a 5.5" iPhone 6 is coming, IMO Apple have to release it at the end of this year to remain competitive, rather than early 2015 as the article suggests. The company cannot afford to keep releasing minor updates/changes each year, while all of its rivals continue to innovate.
 

Phyrebrat

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If a 5.5" iPhone 6 is coming, IMO Apple have to release it at the end of this year to remain competitive, rather than early 2015 as the article suggests. The company cannot afford to keep releasing minor updates/changes each year, while all of its rivals continue to innovate.
I'd be quite happy if they deferred till the following quarter and suffer badly as it may give Apple the boot in the rear I think it needs to refocus. I think they're stretching loyalty now - certainly this* banner-man thinks so.

pH

*i.e. me ;) (Also, not due for an upgrade until 2015 anyway...)
 

Lenny

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To be fair to Apple, what I've read about iOS8 sounds like a step in the right direction - they're finally opening up the OS to third-parties. Sure, they're not cracking their closed garden wide open, but the fact that Apple are going to let third-party apps communicate with each other and, in the case of keyboards, replace stock apps, is huge.

Apple's new language, Swift, also sounds like fun... but that's not hard, as it's a replacement for Objective-C.
 

monsterchic

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I'm just going to jump in...I've had my Samsung Galaxy S5 for almost a week now and it is the best phone ever. Period.
 

Brian G Turner

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Interesting to see that Sony are about to launch the Xperia T3:
Xperia

Not least because with a 5.3" screen it's sized nearer the Xperia Z line than previous T models. It comes with a 8MP camera, rather than a larger than standard size the Z models had, which means the T3 looks like it's going to be a powerful mid-range smartphone.

As before, wait before you buy to allow the price to drop. :)

In the meantime, the Sony Xperia Z1 is now only just over £300 on Amazon - an absolute bargain by comparison to the iPhone:
Sony Xperia Z Ultra SIM-free Android Smartphone - Black: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

(EDIT - in fact, the White version is now selling at £295)
 

Brian G Turner

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Two interesting new stories today:

The first, a Chinese-made smartphone that looks like a Galaxy clone - but instead comes packed with non-removable malware that reportedly can track everything from personal info to banking details:
BBC News - eBay pulls sales of Chinese 'spyware phones'

The second is that Amazon are launching a "Fire Phone" - but by the sounds of it, it's priced the same as a low end iPhone or the Galaxy 5, which is surprising considering that Amazon normally chase low prices:
BBC News - Amazon Fire Phone offers 3D views and gesture controls
 

Kylara

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Hah, a friend of mine refuses to use or buy any computing components from America because he thinks that they are filled with malware and backdoors from being made in China. I'm more surprised that they were so blatant in their malware and that is was so easy to find...
 

markpud

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I'm a big HTC fan, running the HTC One (M7) for over a year now.. sadly the next gen phones are all too big for my tastes; I don't want anything bigger than the 4.7" screen I have now. Rumours are that Apple are moving up to 4.7" with the next iPhone (and possible 5.5" too).

iPhones are restrictive but simple to JB (presuming iOS8 can be broken faster than 7 was)... whereas you can do more or less everything you want on Android without rooting (installing 3rd party tweaks etc). I have a corporate email app that won't run on a rooted device so I have to keep it clean.

PS Jailbreaking is legal, but does void your warranty!
 

Kylara

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Haha I had to unlock the bootloader on mine and install a custom ROM because the stupid O2 engineers weren't getting my instructions as the customer service dept wasn't passing them on - so they weren't fixing it at all, just sending it back.

Voided my warranty but my HTC does work very nicely now :) aside from my camera killing the phone every so often, but I just haven't gotten around to fixing that yet :)
 

Brian G Turner

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iOS8 doesn't excite me:
https://www.apple.com/ios/ios8/

Integrated fitness apps. Photo editing on any device. Voice messaging. Just what I needed.

In the meantime, would be nice if it corrects some of the issues in iOS7, such as iTunes on the phone/tablet being ultra-fussy about image sizes.


In the meantime, Sony are launching the Xperia Z3 later this month:
https://www.apple.com/ios/ios8/

Though as yet I'm not sure how much of an upgrade it is from the Z2 - PS4 remote gaming and extended battery life are the only things that stand out for me at the moment.

IMO the Xperia Z1 is still amazing for general use - the Z2 only really introduced 4K video recording, but I don't know anyone who is capable of viewing that on a TV. And despite that it arguably has better features than the iPhone 5, it's a helluva lot cheaper - currently £292 at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ECBVNIG/?tag=brite-21
 

Michael Colton

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My vote for 'best smartphone' is whatever comes free with a plan. For some reason I just do not get excited by new phone releases. I am the boring dork sitting there going "but, but, this one works just fine..."
 

Brian G Turner

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Michael Colton

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Isn't the integrated fitness thing for the watch, not the new phone? Or is it both?
 

Brian G Turner

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Integrated fitness relates to the operating system - iOS8 - allowing apps to communicate. Plus the watch has body sensors.

And indeed, the iPhone is out:
http://www.apple.com/uk/iphone/

Good to see both larger models were released this year. But the price is steep. I like the look of the iPhone 6+, but it's more than twice the price of the Sony Xperia Z1, and doesn't do anything different for me. It offers Apple appeal, rather than functionality.
 

Michael Colton

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As far as I know, that has largely been the case with them for a little while is it not? That is why their market share has been deteriorating. Brand loyalty and aesthetics only go so far after everyone else has caught up to the innovation.
 

Brian G Turner

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Indeed - last year, the larger phones might have been exciting. But now Apple are simply playing catch up with the Samsung Galaxy - larger phone, check; NFC, check; smartwatch, check.

I believe the BBC website also reported that the Galaxy still has a higher resolution. And the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperian Z range are waterproof.

Apple are quoted as saying that they tend to enter a market late, and innovate. But the popular perception would be that Apple defined the smartphone market - but have spent the last couple of years more focused on legal battles, than innovation.

And they've lost a lot of ground because of that.

I speak as an iPhone 5 owner, who is slightly jealous of his wife's Xperia Z1. :D
 
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Michael Colton

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The one company I am surprised that has not caught up with everyone else is Nokia. There was some really promising stuff from them when whats-his-name started taking over their design process. I have not heard much since.

I think my iPhone is a 4S. I am not sure. A relative sent it to me when he updated to a new phone. That is usually how I get my phones - I have not bought a new phone for myself since '05 I think. I typically just use them for texting people, so I do not need much.

The one thing I currently love Apple for is bringing back minimalism in UI design. The iOS7 'blurry background with simplified thin-weight text' thing has really encouraged web designers and others to bring back minimalism. Which I am always a fan of. There have been some amazing websites that have utilized that style far better than I expected.
 
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