back to article Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one

It's mobile update month at my company, and that means it's time for a look at the smartphones. I've researched every single unit that will work on a Canadian cellular network and come to some interesting conclusions. For the first time I'm looking at a refresh cycle more from the standpoint of a business owner and end-user …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big

    I see the business arguments, but all of the answers are physically too big for me. I realise I am a 1% corner case but I have to be able to use the phone single handed while walking the dog and without dropping it in the mud. This rules out any kind of phablet, even the Note 3.

    What I want in a phone is one handed usability, perfect car integration and efficient backup and restore, as well as the ability to plug into a monitor or projector.

    The weird nature of UK contracts means that a phablet is better than a tablet (because some phone companies disable internet if you plug your SIM into a 3g tablet, but not a tablet with phone - I'm sneering at you, 3) - which means that as a second device the upcoming Huawei mediapad looks like a good option.

    I can't see the argument against two devices for different use cases, but then I'm a great believer in redundancy and have an office full of kit.

    The bottom line is that I still have a BlackBerry as a phone but I have an Android tablet that will be replaced with a phablet at some point, with a PAYG account for those times when it's out of reach of an 802.11 network. If BB had died I might even have a Windows phone. I just don't like to rely on one OS for mission critical communications.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Big

      Sounds like one of the previous generation might be right for you. Apple are still selling the iPhone 4S; I have one myself and will rue the day I have to 'upgrade' it. I actively don't want a bigger screen, like you I want to be able to easily use it with one hand.

      It's only those that must have the latest 'n' greatest that will really have no choice; everybody else may well be perfectly happy with a generation older.

      1. Bodhi

        Re: Big

        How about the Z1 Compact? Full spec phone, much smaller size.

      2. Rupert Stubbs

        Re: iPhone 4S

        I am still running my 4S very happily. Apple is still supporting it with every OS update, and although the newer iPhones may be faster I don't have any problem with the speed.

        BTW, the article's assertion that Apple has made the iPhone's battery "impossible to replace" is just bunk - Apple replaced mine for about £45. Not bad to keep a two and a half year old phone going.

        I suspect that the iPhone 5 style will be seen as a bit of a dead-end - the iPhone 6s look to have bigger screens and may well have more of an iPad styling. I'm sticking with the classic look of the 4S until the new ones come out - and maybe even after that.

        1. Frank Bough

          Re: iPhone 4S

          I don't see how - Apple are all about unibody construction now and it's an elegant method, but it does rather limit changes over what's available now. Presumably sapphire screens won't alter the aesthetics of the phone when they finally ship - my best bet would be more colours, faster CPU, more memory/storage, lower power draw.

        2. qwertyuiop

          Re: iPhone 4S

          Apple replaced the battery for £45? I can pick up a (genuine) Samsung battery for my S4 for about £25 - and I don't have to take it into a shop to have it replaced! Even better, I can charge it and carry it with me in case the battery in the phone runs out of juice. It's called convenience.

          1. Joe 35

            Re: iPhone 4S

            The argument was regards the statement it was "impossible to replace" not quibbling over the price.

            1. qwertyuiop

              Re: iPhone 4S

              @Joe 35 - I thought I'd addressed the ease of replacement by pointing out that I didn't need to take it into a shop. The fact it's also cheaper and more convenient is a bonus.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: iPhone 4S

          'Apple replaced mine for about £45. Not bad to keep a two and a half year old phone going.'

          Not taking the mickey here, but considering, for example, that you can get an HTC cell for about 6 quid and replace it yourself, it's not particularly good either.

        4. Nick Pettefar

          Re: iPhone 4S

          Most of his "reasons" are just bunk.

    2. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Big

      You could use a playbook and the bridge to get round that.

    3. Richard Jones 1
      FAIL

      Re: Big

      I also need a one hand or no hand phone calling for dog walking, shopping, gardening, etc. Currently I use a blue tooth headset, one touch, speak the name and make the call. Touchy feely phones/ phablets, etc. are useless as the phone is buried in my pocket.

      My present phone does exactly what I want, its small and fully functional for my needs and is about 8 years old; nothing on the present play-phone market comes close, except in the fresh battery stakes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big

        Or you could walk the dog, garden and do other such things without being tied to the rest of humanity by an electronic leash. Unless you're tied to an organization or job that relates to life-saving, none of us are that important that we need to be connected 24/7.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big

      You lot must have tiny hands, I can use a Note II (and I guess a Note III) with one hand no problem, have you even tried it ? I bet you haven't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big -"You lot must have tiny hands"

        Original poster here. Yes, I do actually. And yes, I have actually. I like the Notes a lot, but they are too big for me. I also like small laptop computers (!2 inch) because the keyboards are easier for me to use than full size ones.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big

        I'm with random AC. I've got a note 3. It's superb and one handed use is fine with the majority of apps/uses.

        I wanted one because of the battery spec, overall phone spec and replaceable battery. The battery life is so good however I've never even bothered to buy a spare. I get a steady 2days ish out of it with no charging over night, Takes only a couple of hours or so to fully charge too. Great device, even though it's mahoosive and took a while to adapt to.

        1. cambsukguy

          Re: Big

          Even if you can use a Note with one hand (the people I know with one always switch to two after a short time), the size means I can't fit it in a pocket easily (nor can they).

          This means I see it in a back pocket often (or, more annoyingly, on a desk, left there while they go elsewhere, ring ring, ring, ring). Result, much more risk of breakage, which is higher anyway since the screen is larger and the surrounding protection as small as possible.

          Given what I do and where I go with a phone, it would have no chance.

      3. FFF2

        Re: Big

        Have been using Notes for 3 years (previously a 2, and now a 3) and can accomplish pretty much everything I need to with 1 hand....I think people assume they can't, but once you try, and get used to it, it's not really ever anything you think about again.

    5. The Angol

      Re: Big

      It's all to do with how you house your Note. Mine's in a flip cover - like a Kindle or Nook's - so it can be naturally held with the phone between thumb and first finger and the cover between first and second fingers. It's never hit the mud while I'm walking two dogs.

    6. Kriilin

      Re: Big

      The Note 3 does have a feature that will make a smaller version of the screen on either the left or right side of the physical screen for one handed use. You can easily switch back to full screen for watching video, etc. when seated. I really like mine, although I'm a two-hander with any phone for anything other than dialling.

  2. Phil W

    Agreed

    I am precisely the same situation from a personal point of view.

    For years I have replaced my phone with a new shiney smart thing and I'm currently on a Note 2 with a contract that's almost up. But the handset is so good, and there has been so little advance since that I don't feel the need to part with it.

    My phone history is:

    Phillips BT Easylife (a large rubberised affair)

    Nokia 5510

    Nokia N95

    O2 XDA IIs

    O2 XDA Mini S

    Nokia N95

    Nokia N900

    HTC Desire Z & Xperia X10 Mini

    Samsung Galaxy Note II.

    Some small and some large generational leaps there. But now my Note II is coming due for renewal I'm feeling rather disinclined to bother and am seriously thinking about switching to PAYG or SIM only contract for the savings I'd make on either.

    The only realistic option that would be an upgrade is the Note 3 (maybe the Xpera Z1 but I'm not a huge fan). But the gap between them and the Note II in terms of performance you can actually feel, and benefit from is so negligible as to not be worthwhile. The Note 2 is in fact so good, that I haven't needed to modify/replace the OS at all, as I did with my other Androids.

    I think I shall be saving myself some money monthly on my tariff for a year or more.

    Maybe when the Note 4 or 5 come around it'll feel like an upgrade. The only thing that'll make me upgrade sooner is if a decent manufacturer release a phone with Galaxy S4 type specs but with a physical QWERTY keyboard that slides out, and it becomes readily available in the UK.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Agreed

      Still have my n900 in the draw as a backup phone. Pity the keyboard is starting to go.

      1. Phil W

        Re: Agreed

        Keyboard was never an issue for me (apart from when Nokia replaced mine under warranty and sent a replacement that hadn't had the keyboard fitted....).

        The problem I had with all 4 N900s I had (yes 4, I had 3 warranty replacements) was that the micro usb kept detaching from the board. Not through any abuse or unexpected force, one broke in less than a week this way. The USB socket was just crap, the Meego forums were full of people complaining about the same thing.

        Thing I miss most about it was the built in FM transmitter.

        1. petur

          Re: Agreed

          The problem with the n900 micro usb connector was more of a production issue and there is even a nice guide how you can make yours stronger.

          Mine never had the issue and still works for me every day.

          1. James 51 Silver badge

            Re: Agreed

            Haven't had a problem with the usb in mine. Was always worried about that going.

            1. Phil W

              Re: Agreed

              I have a feeling that they fixed that problem later in production, so it only exists on handsets manufactured before a certain date. I think, unfortunately for me, both my original and all my warranty replacements were from the production batches before this date.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Agreed

      Yep, upgrade time came around and to be honest my SGS2 does what I need. I picked a SIM only contract, dropped O2 when they couldn't beat the price I'd found with another carrier, finally flushed the phone with a custom rom. Things must be OK with it, when my Virgin connection dropped out at home the other day, I got a callout from the office. I managed to recover, reconfigure a DB via SSH through a Citrix gateway in 3 minutes flat just using the phone over a cell network. The SGS2 must be close on a 4-5 year old model of phone and it's still perfectly usable, why bother to upgrade until it breaks.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Agreed

        I have a very similar take with my S3, I can't actually see a compelling reason to replace it - it's easily a good enough phone for me and for what I use it for. e.g. calls, texts, mobile internet access and the odd game and note taking session - although I have a 2013 Nexus 7 for the more heavy content editing and not taking sessions.

        The S4 is a good phone but I see no reason to upgrade, the S5 looks more of the same. If, or more likely when, Samsung give up supplying updates I'll drop a custom ROM on it. I'm tempted to do that now due to the ghastly mess they've made of WiFi with the most recent update and losing the TouchWiz interface and Samsung shovel-ware apps really won't be a loss at all.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    The Big Question

    Throughout the article, I often found myself asking "What do you want a smartphone to do today that it didn't do yesterday?".

    What are the new, extra or amazing features that you are looking for / require ?

    Or have you arrived at the end of the "Feed me with smartphone wowness" stage of life...

    I would surmize that either

    a : Trevor is getting old and the geek is fading into the darkness.

    b : Someone needs to bring out handheld holographic devices, "today", in order to satisfy the waning geekness.

    c : The smartphone market has simly reached peak smartphone, fallen into complete banality and we, as a race, need to move on to newer grounds.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The Big Question

      Or to rephrase your question: "What can a smartphone to do today that it didn't do yesterday?".

      Yes, we can tick the usual boxes: cpu, memory, screen resolution and size, OS updates, but fundamentally today's smartphones are not that different to the first generation and are not running amazing new applications, particularly if you are looking from a business perspective. I suspect that one of the reasons for this viewpoint is that we've seen the way technology develops through growing up with Windows, hence we take as given that the more modern version should be more capable so we're less impressed with these features but are more impressed with a phone's battery life (don't have to carry a charger) and usability (to some of my clients usability can be summed up as: being able to walk down a busy road in direct sunlight and dial 999 one handed without having to look at the screen).

      1. Tim Wolfe-Barry

        Re: The Big Question

        I'm in a similar position at work with my much-loathed BB Bold being replaced. Choices were all BB apart from the 5s and the SGS4.

        Since my personal phone is an HTC OneX+ I've chosen the SGS4, at least that way I get a common eco-system and I don't have to learn (much) new stuff.

        What I *really* want is to have ONE device - I have to carry a work phone 24x7, and don't want to put work to my personal line, so what I really wanted was the HTC One Dual - a proper top-end smartphone (forget 4G; I live amongst sheep and cows, so there's no danger of actual coverage for years) with dual-sim sockets, active/active.

        Sadly not available through work and I'm a bit loath to spend £500 to buy it outright myself...

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: The Big Question

        One thing to get me to upgrade would be increased storage capacity. The first 128G mSD card was just announced. That's something that can get my attention. It might even get me to upgrade to the latest Galaxy.

        ...beyond that you do have to seriously figure out what you expect to get out of the upgrade.

        "Its a this season's model" is just not a good enough answer.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: The Big Question

      "a : Trevor is getting old and the geek is fading into the darkness."

      Get off my synthetic lawn.

      "b : Someone needs to bring out handheld holographic devices, "today", in order to satisfy the waning geekness."

      WANT

      "c : The smartphone market has simly reached peak smartphone, fallen into complete banality and we, as a race, need to move on to newer grounds."

      I suspect this is the case.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Smart, but useless

    > from the standpoint of a business owner and end-user ... use for hours every day.

    How is that possible?

    I have a Samsung smart-something or other and it's screen is far too small to use for anything but the most trivial tasks. Certainly nothing of the complexity or intensity that would qualify as "work". Typing on it is a nightmare - keys are far too small and at best you can do one-fingered "pecking" with continual interruptions for SHIFT and SYM functions. Plus, the amount of information you can display on the screen at a readable font-size is miniscule. And in daylight, is zero due to its shiny unreadability.

    I can understand how a user might spend hours every day using one, but personally I'd prefer a system with a big screen and normal sized (and featured) keyboard/mouse that gives me the productivity to achieve the same amount in a few minutes.

    I would suggest that instead of "stove-piping" and looking at (smart)phones as a single item, and making a selection purely on the basis of their cost/features/lifetime/sexiness, you take a step back and see how to improve the working environment of your employees, as a complete integrated approach. And where a phone - smart or otherwise, would fit into that strategy.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Smart, but useless

      "you take a step back and see how to improve the working environment of your employees, as a complete integrated approach. And where a phone - smart or otherwise, would fit into that strategy."

      This is often the problem business has, it has defined needs for a phone which are typically satisfied by a specific model when a system is first rolled out, a few years down the road the need is to do a technology refresh. The art and challenge is selecting a new phone that will fit in without requiring a massive amount of disruption.

      From comments here and from my own experience, a big issue is the ecosystem lock in, particularly if you are using bespoke app's that presently only support one ecosystem; which is the one you have therefore built around. But then when I look at my clients most are still effectively using the iOS/Android/Windows smartphone as either a 'basic' phone or a Blackberry (ie. phone with email inbox visibility), with users largely being left to use the other app's as they want. I suspect that for many voice calls are the primary purpose.

    2. sorry, what?
      Holmes

      Re: Smart, but useless

      "I have a Samsung smart-something or other ... Typing on it is a nightmare"

      I entirely agree. I have a Sammy Galaxy Ace 2 as my work phone and an HTC Desire (yes, the original 2010 edition). Whilst typing is fine on the HTC, using the HTC Sense virtual keyboard, I loath the Sammy's virtual keyboard. It is really hard to use, doesn't seem able to learn new "words" (at least not easily or obviously), fails to capitalize on the idea of press-and-hold to get secondary character options and is always auto adding spaces when I don't want them.

      HTC's much smarter virtual keyboard even has a choice of layout for the portrait version of the keyboard that relies more on XT9 for fat fingered users. I find this works rather well.

      Whilst Samsung have captured the market they could certainly still learn a few things from their competitors, especially in this usability area.

      As a final point, it's not an Android issue. There are third party virtual keyboards that work far better, if you can muster the required trust implied by their extensive permission requirements.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smart, but useless

        @ Sorry, What?

        If you're basing your opinion of samsung phones on there 2 or 3 generations old budget model then maybe it's worth a look at an S4 or note 3.

        The galaxy ace was garbage, but it was a cheap phone. Their cheapest at the time IIRC, many phones have been discussed in this article and comments but few of them budget offerings.

        The Galaxy ace wasn't good, not all samsung phones are so, both then and now.

        1. sorry, what?
          Unhappy

          Re: Smart, but useless

          @DijitulSupport

          The Ace _2_ is a "price point" device, yes, and not current generation, but my wife's Galaxy S3 has much the same problem with its virtual keyboard (spoiling an otherwise decent experience). Honestly, the HTC keyboard is *so* much better that Samsung should be ashamed. I haven't seen the S4 implementation so can't comment on the latest and greatest...

      2. cambsukguy

        Re: Smart, but useless

        I looked at some texts I typed the other day and their timestamps. I reckoned I was doing 30 words/min.

        Given that I can't type, was mostly using one hand and therefore one thumb with the occasional extra finger, this is pretty good.

        Of course, I only type one or two letters of almost every word, the predictive list that appears, and which is scrollable, means few misspelled words, noticeable auto-correct (in case it is wrong) and far more readable texts (they are spelled, spaced and capitalised correctly on-th-whole).

        I did smile at the thought that the author didn't want to change phones because of the porting of all his data even though it was the same OS.

        I started with a Factory reset Lumia 920, logged onto the WP website and pushed all my apps at the same time, about 100. Text messages, app settings, email accounts (linked as before) almost everything re-appeared. Only the front screen layout required setting. All of this is baked-in, switchable-off (if you must) and basically fool-proof.

        I can't believe the most popular system doesn't have this by default to aid the uninitiated. I presume there is an app for it but, no doubt, given the vast array of Androids, many, many differences would have to be catered for.

      3. Xxeno

        Re: Smart, but useless

        The Ace is really a low end device and the screen is tiny. Use a decent Samsung and I am sure the keyboard woes would be gone. I do not seem to have any of the mentioned problems on my Note 2. The only one I have thought of upgrading to is the Sony Xperia z. Because its 4G , huge screen , ,waterproof and very fast.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Smart, but useless

      "> from the standpoint of a business owner and end-user ... use for hours every day.

      How is that possible?"

      It's easier when you're nearsighted.

  5. War Puppy

    Battery FFS

    Battery that lasts Friday 5pm to Monday 9am.

    Micro SD slot. Jebus - its a nightmare without one.

    Good screen, android blah blah blah. I'm sick of smartphones that arent smart on battery life. I dont want 3D gaming and a 4k h264 megafiles. What is wrong with manufacturers?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Battery FFS

      They can't make money out of standard devices, they want you to buy the shiny expensive one.

  6. Big_Ted

    If you want answers

    about BB10 etc then go to crackberry and have a read then post a couple of question.

    the members there are fans of BB so know a hell of a lot but are also honest and not afraid to point out problems.

    to be honest I would have a BB over an android or apple phone for business any day. Android app loading is easy and most of them work perfectly on the BB10 OS,only intergration with google account on a few are a problem, oh and any app you bought already can if it works be loaded onto the BB at no cost.

    1. Gerhard den Hollander

      BB10 Re: If you want answers

      As a recent owner of a Q10 (to replace a dead bold 9x00) I have to say this device is sweet.

      The android compatibility layer is great, some of my favorite apps are now available as .apk's (endomorphpo, spotify, google maps).

      The new UI takes some getting used to, but is actually very easy to use.

      It has a physical keyboard ... honestly, if you do more than a few emaisl a day, physical keyboards are soo much better than touchscreens.

      It finally has a decent webbrowser

      And if you have a BES server as a corporate email gateway, honestly, there is no alternative worth trying for more than a few days

  7. GlenP Silver badge

    I'm in exactly the same situation with the personal phone. Contract is up in a few weeks, so I can upgrade now. Having been through various Windows phones then moved onto iPhone I've currently got a 32Gb 4S. At the moment it works fine, but I'm conscious that battery life is just starting to deteriorate so in that respect it may be time to change.

    Not that keen on the Z series BBs (got a Z10 as the work phone and whilst it has advantages I wouldn't want it for my personal one). The iPhone 5S is just too darned expensive and if I'm going to have to change connectors I want to go to Micro-USB so that's out.

    I'm not convinced by the current Windows Phone - not mature enough and not sure where MS are going with it.

    That really leaves Android. Don't mind the O/S (running a Nexus 7 so I know what it will and won't do). But then that means all new apps (and at least one of my current ones isn't available), transferring all the data from the iPhone, etc.

    1. Yesnomaybe

      Me too. I have a Note II, and can't for the life of me think what to "upgrade" to.

  8. ratfox Silver badge

    Good points

    It's starting to be hard to add bells and whistles that are "must haves". And so, battery life and familiarity become the important part. The good news for alternate systems like Blackberry (how the world has changed) is that they can catch up to iPhones and Androids simply because there isn't much more that can be added to smartphones. Or at least, anything that users are actually interested in.

  9. Shrimpling

    "Apple has to be the first smartphone manufacturer anyone considers."

    Apple is always the last manufacturer of anything I would consider.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Apple has to be the first smartphone manufacturer anyone considers."

      You must love poor service, tacky plastic cheapness and spending hours of forums looking for help with some intermittent error code.

      1. Shrimpling

        Re: "Apple has to be the first smartphone manufacturer anyone considers."

        Well I've never needed any service because my device works correctly, I've never had to search forums for an intermittent error code because I've never had an issue like that and I wouldn't describe my phone as tacky plastic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Apple has to be the first smartphone manufacturer anyone considers."

          Grow up fandroids...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Apple has to be the first smartphone manufacturer anyone considers."

            I consider Apple pretty early on in the consideration process.

            "Apple? BAHahahaha... OK, now onto serious choices..."

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: "Apple has to be the first smartphone manufacturer anyone considers."

        > You must love poor service, tacky plastic cheapness and spending hours of forums looking for help with some intermittent error code.

        Can't say that I've ever had that problem.

        Apple products are nothing special.

    2. armster

      What about updates

      So why would anyone consider the Nexus device for "good updates" when you already know that you get less than 18 month of updates, which is much less than the 2 year contract and much much less than I want to keep my phone. I need updates for 3 years guaranteed. So that means MS or Apple.

      I wish google would change, but I have no hope they will.

  10. AMBxx Silver badge

    Looks like you're not alone!

    Had to pack in BB OS6 after problems with Exchange 2013 (only 2 of us).

    I now have a Nokia Lumia 520 (cheapskate), my wife has a Q10.

    I like the 520, but every time I pick up the Q10, I fall in love with the amazing keyboard. Renewal in October. Will either go SIM only and stick with the 520, or go for another Q10.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks like you're not alone!

      The interesting thing I find about the Q10 (apart from the keyboard and the battery life) is that the screen looks too small till you actually use it, when it turns out to be big enough.

      I suspect the same is true of the iPhone but I really don't want to spend £600 finding out.

  11. Return To Sender
    Thumb Up

    Battery and storage

    I'm now at pretty much the same stage. The only bits that really matter to me are decent battery life and storage (i.e. microSD slot). I carry a ton of different manuals, image files and software around with me - the smartphone's a productivity tool as much as anything else - with different subsets on separate microSD cards. I also carry a USB-equipped battery pack for those occasions when I can't get to a mains supply. Oh - and I sometimes use the device as a 'phone, too.

    My next (and probably last for some considerable time) upgrade is likely to be the Sammy Note III, primarily for the big battery although the extra screen res might actually come in handy. The stylus is a must for that much res in such a small space though (and no, a stylus is *not* an anachronism, it's a tool like any other, I use whatever gets the job done best).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery and storage

      I have just relatively recently upgeaded to a note 3 after being impressed with a collegaues note 2 last year.

      If I already had a note 2 I think i'd have waited to see what the next round of releases brings, it was a huge upgeade from my HTC one X, but honestly the note 2 is still a great device and if I'd had one of those I don't think I would have bothered.

      Very happy with my note 3 though, horses for courses regarding the size of it, some just don't like larger phones. I was concerned I wouldn't, but I do. It's brilliant and had been problem free.

      The battery is incredible, it's changed the way I use my phone. I now own ONE charger. no charger near the bed or at my desk it gets plugged in for an hour or two in the evening every other day.

  12. msage

    Moto G

    I am surprised you wrote off motorola so quickly. The moto g is a very capable android business device. Can be managed by google apps (if that is the MDM of choice) or exchange. It's very cheap in the UK and has a brilliant battery life for a smart phone.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Moto G

      Both the Moto G and the Moto X showed that Motorola had turned over a new leaf and were producing excellent no frills phones without the cruft you get of Sony, Samsung, etc.

      The Moto X looked like a good sensible business phone with some excellent features for the road warrior such as the always on voice control

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moto G

      Yup the Moto G is excellent. Its easy to root and unlock. Once rooted and Google junk deleted off it it can last for 2 days with heavy usage. Much longer with light usage.

      http://www.stargw.eu/1e8e1f20e4441f57b

      One drawback is that Cyanogenmod is not stable enough for it yet. Especially the XT1033 dual SIM model.

      Negatives, are its big, heavy and no SD card. But surprisngly I have not found these to be as big a problems as I thought. At £129 its a bargain for the screen and procesing power.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phone and Tablet

    It may be a little ungainly but I have just switched to the Asus PhonePad 7 ME372G all the advantages of a phone with a 7 inch tablet screen. MicroSD card and tablets data is handled by the phone so no seperate data tarrif needed.

    Major advantage is that as it is 3g the tablet works anywhere without a wifi signal...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moto G is the new Desire

    I reluctantly gave up my Desire (with latest cyanogenmod) last month and plumped hard cash down for the Moto G. At £130 for the 16MB version it wasn't that much of a stretch.

    You need to revisit your comments on unlocking - 2 quid and 5 seconds work for an unlock code.

    Yes there's no micro SD slot which I hate, but Airdroid gets around that problem.

    Battery life - 4-5 days standby at least. Talk and play around with it all day and you get home late evening with 45% battery left.

    Ok it hasn't got the Camera and CPU to match the 400 pound phones but it isn't those.

    it does have naked KitKat (apart from 2 Motorola utils one of which is the awesome migrate tool) and it's not too big to hold in one hand.

    For me, it's the 2013 Desire. 4 of my friends and their friends bought one within days of seeing mine. There's no better praise.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HTC One is very good. Battery life isn't a problem and if you get the Google edition then you're OS update woes are gone.

    You can't really take any reports about HTC on forums seriously as Samsung pays people to leave bad reviews. I'll stick to technology websites with reviewers I know have some sort of track record.

    Lets also not forget the benchmark fiddles Samsung uses.

    1. Leonard

      I have the Verizon edition and I'm on 4.4.2.

      Battery last all day, even using it as a wifi hotspot for my laptop. Guess It would get better battery life if it was larger and heavier, or had a lesser screen. I wouldn't want that trade off.

  16. turnip handler

    HTC suprise

    I'm surprised that HTC One was discounted because of poor battery life. It was the one thing I was concerned with about switching to HTC but have actually found that I can easily last a full day of heavy use, a couple of days with medium use and if I'm away for a weekend with no power then activating the power save mode means I can last from Friday to Monday.

    I also really like the forward facing speakers - makes a big difference when you are playing music or watching youtube and you don't spray the sound out the back.

    1. JAB van Ree

      Re: HTC suprise

      Same here, HTC One surprised me positively with battery life. No external storage looked like an issue but so far isn't either. And with the updates already delivered and those still in the pipeline (any day now Android 4.4) I'm not complaining either.

      About the only negative to me is the camera, which even for a 4-MegaPixel cam is kinda crap. My old Nokia N900 5 MP camera was a lot better already..

    2. Snarf Junky

      Re: HTC suprise

      The HTC One battery life was awful to begin with but they fixed that with an early update and it's now very good. The article is essentially correct though in that I have had mine for 12 months now and there isn't anything any better out there to replace it.

  17. Glen Turner 666

    The Sony Experia Z1 Compact is close to the ideal corporate phone, although sadly at corporate pricing. If you are looking for an Android equivalent to the iPhone 4S then this would be it.

    1. techulture

      Also, many Sony Xperia are water resistant, which to me is a real improvement.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "design decisions forced upon users by fiat."

    $ollars ot Italians?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "design decisions forced upon users by fiat."

      Doesn't Pininfarina do most of Fiat's designs?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome Nokia

    Theyve just announced a forked Andoird today at MWC, Nokia X.

    How about it then, guys?

    The only question is , why didnt they adopt this model earlier?

    Best of both workds, and at very good price points, I guess.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Welcome Nokia

      Elop/MS wouldn't allow it.

  20. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Easy customisation? No Sale

    In my experience the ability to change the OS on a business phone is usually the reason why thety are not offered.

    IT see the phone as an extension of their domain so like to lock the phone down tighter than Scotsman's wallet. This is one of the reason why Applie phones remain popular. So the ability to update to cyanogenmod may look attractive to the user, IT will use that as a reason not to offer it.

    In fact any customization ability will be seen as a threat, even if the changes improve your productivity

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Easy customisation? No Sale

      You know why us BOFHs want to lock down your phones like that? It because if we don't, you'll break them. Then you'll get demanding and expect us to clean up your mess immediately and try and blame us for leaving it open in the first place. The majority of us want a nice easy life, so that means stopping the wetware fucking things up. May be harsh, but that is the day-to-day reality. Christ, I've just had to give an hour long tutorial on connecting a laptop to a dock. FFS.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Easy customisation? No Sale

        I'm not saying that this is wrong. I'm pretty sure if i worked in IT I would want the same.

        All I'm trying to say if you expect your company to buy you a phone, don't expect them to be grateful when you root it, upgrade the ROM and install all sort of potential malware.

        This is why from a corporate point of view, despite the cost, Apple and blackberry are likely to be the phone of choice. However I do like the Z10 partion facility and I'm surprised this has not been copied on more phones

  21. Craig "Spuddleziz" Smith

    Quite a quandry!

    Its time for me to upgrade my phone too.

    I went for the Xperia Z1 as an upgrade to my very battered and on-its-last-legs Note 2. We will see if it measures up, its battery life is meant to be good, screen is good too but I liked it because its solid and should last the 2 years I need to keep it, unlike my dying Note 2.

    I've had many, many phones over the years and I am actually using a Lumia 625 waiting on the Z1 to arrive. Have to say I am VERY impressed. Smooth, functional, battery lasts ages, Nokia should make a phone that size, with a better spec screen and processor etc.

    Had a look into Sailfish/Jolla and I think they could be on to a winner. Last mover advantage anyone?

    Just my $0.02

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Re: Quite a quandry!

      Sailfish is currently a loser. Unfortunately, my WordPress blog decided to commit hari-kiri last night losing all my blog posts, so I'm taking the opportunity to start with a clean slate, but there is much about Sailfish and particularly Jolla that screams, "Stay away for at least a year" while they get an awful lot of hitches sorted out.

      eg. My battery failed to charge after being completley drained (needed a good few hours rest) - it won't "lock" on some screens - it keeps switching the data plan off for some unknown reason - there are numerous "Problem with connection" error messages stored up and when that happens, just reboot the phone, it's quicker - you can't dock widgets on the android side, even if you load a launcher - there is no bulk mail selection - and I've got really serious problems with the swipe functioning and Jolla's feedback is that this is their design and it will be up to third parties to make the UI usable! ... there is more than this, including my phone has now started rebootnig itself when it feels like.

      Trust me, stay away from Sailfish until at least 2015.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Quite a quandry!

        I also have a Jolla, and regretfully have to agree with msknight - it isn't anything like ready for mainstream use. Whilst I haven't experienced any of the specific problems mentioned, it is a quirky bastard, and the app ecosystem is lacking, even with the Android apps available. As yet, I haven't worked out how to make it connect to Google Drive, and for some reason it won't let me get at downloads from emails. Just making the thing able to access Google Play (the only really reliable store to my mind) requires developer access and command-line jiggery-pokery!

        I have no doubt that it will be a great phone eventually (the silly gestures notwithstanding), and some of the apps coming out written specifically for Sailfish are great - Webcat is one of the best browsers I've ever used.

  22. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    Wait...

    There are no real great leaps forward in hardware unless someone brings out a phone which really improves battery life and if your hardware is CyanogenMod-friendly you are assured of OS updates. If Android is the new XP, one of BBX, Sailfish, or Tizen will be the new Windows 7. You can just sit back for a few months and read up on which one is the new shiny and evaluate it with your software.

  23. TeeCee Gold badge

    Just replaced mine.

    My previous phone was a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S. Right size, ludicrously thin, and using "Link2SD" to circumvent the storage issues.

    While still working reliably, it was becoming a shade long in the tooth and beginning to have trouble with some of the newer stuff.

    So my checklist included thinness, expandable storage[1], more RAM, a decent amount of internal storage, newer OS versions available, as near "stock" Android as possible and enough grunt to handle everything I can throw at it. Price was also a major consideration. I don't do long contracts as I have no idea where I'll be in six months' time.

    Huawei Ascend P6. Unbeatable for the money, fits nicely in the paw and built like a tank too.

    [1] Dear Google. If you really must do away with SD card expansion, the minimum internal storage on such a device is 32Gb and ideally it needs 64. That writes off all your flagship devices at a stroke.

  24. Jess

    I had to replace my BB9700.

    I needed a phone below £200 unlocked. (I was given about £160 insurance payout).

    Nokia - no chance, ever, I loved my N8 (apart from text input, hence my having a BB too.) To abandon such a good phone before it was properly finished. Grrr. (Didn't even need WP to put me off, which would do the job too.)

    I needed either a keyboard, or a huge screen.

    All the likely candidates were too expensive, but the Asus Fonepad was in budget, so I seriously considered it (the processor was what put me off), but then I found a Q5 for £185 unlocked on Amazon, so I took a gamble.

    I am happy with the phone, it looks great (best looking BB yet, much nicer than the Q10) a decent keyboard, no BIS, (used to be of benefit due to the price, but now with standard access as cheap, the limitations are a show stopper). Works well with Bria for VOIP (and Skype too). Nice media replay facilities (flac for example). I have just installed Amazon App store, which works. (not as smooth as the Native system, but not annoyingly sluggish). It even has a torch function built in to the UI.

    There are a few niggles. cursor keys would be nice. The email editor is not as good as on BB6, nor is the keyboard layout support. Hopefully these will be fixed in future versions.

    My suggestion would be to try and find a cheap BB10 device (Q10s look a bargain, for those who don't mind lack of keyboards), and give it a try.

    (And I got a second hand playbook for £50, which works well with it, had they bothered to put BB10 on them, I think they would have been worth closer to the price they tried to sell them for.).

  25. joewilliamsebs

    I believe the primary driver for smartphone upgrades is not battery life, but screens :)

    I was going to be quite happy with my S2 for another year or two. I'd just replaced the battery for a whole £6, so it could last the entire day again. Then I dropped it on the wooden floor one time too many and the screen finally gave up :(

    I've now got that mix of "shiny toy!" and "where's all my stuff?" that comes with toting a new device (a Note 3, in case you were wondering).

  26. dajames Silver badge

    Shout that from the rooftops!

    Battery life matters more than manufacturers are willing to admit, while style and "thickness" don't matter nearly so much as they think.

    I think most phone users would agree, but the twits that write about phones in shiny print-magazines are always banging on about style and thickness, so that's what catches the attention of the marketing people at the phone manufacturers.

    I personally think we'd have a richer marketplace and more choice were it not for the fact that every new technology -- such as the Palm Pre range (before HP gobbled it up) and the new Blackberries -- has been dissed into oblivion by hasty and ill-informed comments dwelling more on style than substance from the shiny-comic writers before being given a fair chance in the marketplace.

    1. jason 7
      Facepalm

      Re: Shout that from the rooftops!

      Oh I hate the fact that any smartphone review has to point out that a phone is no use if it weighs more than a gnats testicles and is thicker than a credit card.

      It's as though society has been enfeebled in some way.

      Some of us happen to have some body strength and like a phone that can go longer than 8 hours on a charge,

  27. kmac499

    Swiss Army Smartphone..

    I've been running an HTC Wildfire, not even an S, for three years. The biggest reason for sticking with this small phone is it fits in a belt holster\pouch without jabbing me in the ribs and breaking when I sit down or drive.

    It does everything I need and loads more, from a torch, a really good calculator (RealCalc) an Fm Radio, online banking, Alarm Clock, Bluetoothing music or calls to the car\mini speakers, GPS toys, E-Reader etc etc The contacts database is very flexible and auto syncs with google contacts and the call quality is fine.

    The battery could be better but it is physically a small phone and a charger on the bed side table solves that.

    Haven't tried using it to get stones out of horses hooves yet..

  28. Tabor

    WP8

    I understand the argument in the article regarding WP8. But in my case :

    - a few hundreds of smartphone users, many of them paid by the company

    - sim only contracts all the way

    - heavy investment in the MS ecosystem

    - phones are on average smarter than the users

    Based on those, it's simple here. SIM contract is company paid, if you want the same for the device then you'll get a nice company-supplied Nokia Lumia 52x or 62x. Cheap, and I always have a few spares if there is a problem. If you want something high-end : please, by all means, BYOD (and wallet). If you want the bling and get an iPhone, we'll support it if you have problems (hardware excluded). If you choose Android, no problem, but... If you want support : check with the vendor, or google it.

    I understand Trevor's position, but I would like to know what he recommends to his customers. From my POV, WP8 is the cheap and supportable one to beat.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: WP8

      "I understand Trevor's position, but I would like to know what he recommends to his customers. From my POV, WP8 is the cheap and supportable one to beat."

      iPhone, if they're part of the Apple ecosystem already. Nexus, if they're part of Android ecosystem already. Blackberry if they are not part of any ecosystem yet.

  29. Notorious Biggles

    Peak Mobile

    The smartphone market has basically reached it's own version of peak oil - the maximum rate of extraction after which there is terminal decline. Like the writer says, there's nothing particularly gripping around any more, to anybody who had a decent device in the last two years or so.

    I have an original Samsung Galaxy Note. I've had mine for two years and it was launched about six months before I bought mine. Compared to the Sony Ericsson Satio I had before it, it was a dramatic difference. The large, HD screen (1280x800) meant that it was great for watching videos, it was useful for the web and the chips inside meant it had the grunt to do stuff, whereas much as I loved Symbian, the Satio was comparatively underpowered by the end of it's life.

    At this point though, I'm still finding my Note to be very useful. The stylus was a novelty for a long time, but now that I'm doing things like occasionally using RDP or VNC on the Note, it's become a properly useful tool and that puts me off something like the HTC One Max, which I quite liked the look of previously. The Note is now running Android 4.2, so although not the latest and greatest, it's modern enough. I don't play that many games, so couldn't tell you how FIFA 107 is on it, but Candy Crush works fine...

    I look at the Note 3 and I think, "yeah, that looks great, bigger, faster, some more features" but then I realise that it's not going to let me do things I can't already and it's going to cost me the price of a cheap foreign holiday over the course of a year to actually get it. And I'd rather drink my body weight in local beer and burn on a beach than have a higher definition screen and faster (and more invasive) Facebook.

    So like my Core2Quad desktop before it, I think the Note is good enough. And a lot of people are now at that stage with their phones, so I expect to see even longer mobile contracts coming out soon. For those that had an HTC Desire or similar, you might benefit from an upgrade, since it was so close, but not quite.

    But 2011 Samsungs... they were the smartphones that were Good Enough.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Peak Mobile

      >For those that had an HTC Desire or similar, you might benefit from an upgrade, since it was so close, but not quite.

      Agree, the main limitation I've encountered with my Desire is the memory (and battery life!). As app's update and enlarge the number I can squeeze into the RAM has reduced (many default app's such as YouTube and FaceBook were deleted years back) - even after installing AppMgr to make use of the SD card.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    faulty premise no.1

    that because there's an upgrade month - that you need to upgrade.

    The money for that upgrade has to come from somewhere, presumably higher monthly rental.

    If the phone is still doing the job, why change and suffer the administration overhead of doing so.

    Fair enough if the phones are knackered after two years use. But wouldn't it be nice to have the option of (eg) a hundred quid knocked off the bill for each line and pay only for new handsets where needed?

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: faulty premise no.1

      Precisely why I'm still using my BB 9105 three years on... one day in the future I hope that somebody, somewhere, will realise that a phone is best supplied with a phone keypad on the front (and should last the best part of a working week without being recharged)

      Until then, I'll be deleting the "upgrade" offers Vodafone plague me with...

    2. Corinne

      Re: faulty premise no.1

      I think that's to a degree what Trevor is saying, he can't see any compelling reason to take advantage of this upgrade right now and if he was in the UK where sim only contracts are significantly cheaper than phone+sim contracts, then he wouldn't be upgrading but saving the money. Only difference is (assuming I read it right) that there are few cost savings in Canada by going sim only, and he may as well get a free brand new device to replace his current year old one.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: faulty premise no.1

        You can get a cost savings by going SIM only, in most cases. However, my provider has a thing where they do try very hard to keep you in their orbit, and they are willing to write off the entire cost of the devices for us, letting us keep the SIM-free price. (They like corporate mobile contracts.)

  31. Matthew 25
    Meh

    Smartphone?...Meh

    I'm seriously falling out with the idea of a smartphone. I have constantly upgraded to get more features and different ways of connecting to things.

    First it was a small phone. Then synchronizing calendars, contacts and To Dos over a wire.

    Then email and integration with Exchange and cloud services. All this costs me money in data plans and roaming charges

    Now I'm seriously thinking about having a phone thats just a phone. Small, light, battery that lasts for a week or so between charges and only pay for the (tiny number of) calls and texts that I use.

    I have a tablet which can handle all the other stuff on WiFi I don't need to pay for. Why do I need a smartphone?

  32. John Robson Silver badge

    Just got myself a Nokia C3-01

    (Second hand from my M-in-Law) Why?

    Because it has a battery that will last for a decent time (nearly 24 hours now and it's still reporting 4 bars of 4).

    It does HDPA (3.5g) data connectivity, and when I paired with my Nexus7 the tablet has a "use this device for internet access" checkbox - it just worked.

    So I now have a phone that sounds good as a phone (as in everyone I've spoken to on the phone has said it sounds better before they knew I'd changed the phone), and provides me with a data connection for my actual smart device.

    What issues do I now face?

    - SMS sync to Gmail - I've found that useful over the past 3-4 years

    - Data usage counter - I'd like to find a decent counter to ensure I don't blat my allowance

    (I should note that I have WiFi practically everywhere, so my data allowance is small - but easily adequate for my modest needs)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Just got myself a Nokia C3-01

      Have a Nokia X3-01 (only real difference to the C3-01 is that it supports WiFi) as my main phone, only really wish that I could sync contacts better with my other devices/systems.

      The main feature omission of these phones is the lack of Nokia maps (I previously had a Nokia 6220 Classic, so got used to having map's). But otherwise whilst travelling I've partnered it with an HTC Desire (pocket device so handy for essential mobile app's such as MapDroyd) and an iPad (larger device that resides in the bag for reading/watching stuff whilst travelling on train).

      As for battery life, you should get a couple of days out of it, so whilst no where near as good as some of the older Nokia's still very good by today's smartphone standards. Recommend you install Nokia PC/Ovi suite on your PC (need to lookup the phone on Nokia's website to get the right version that fully supports this handset).

      I've yet to find a half reasonable data usage counter even on Android - I've resorted to setting a hard bar so when I run out of allowance I can't use the internet!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New shiney thing!

    Looking for a new phone for myself & the missus.

    Have the following short list:

    HTC One

    Samsung Galaxy S4

    Samsung Galaxy Note 3

    Sony Z1

    Trying to shake the urge for a removable battery since the other phones are so shiney!

    Anyone have personal experience with these?

    1. FFF2

      Re: New shiney thing!

      I have a note 3, my better half has a HTC one and good friend has an S4 so have used/played with all of these. It depends what's important to you really... HTC One has best speakers and best camera of above (note, excluding SZ1 which I don't know), but has no SD slot and you can't use spare batteries. note 3 has best & biggest screen, great for watching video, the pen, which is more useful than you first think (I use mine mainly to draw/write on photos) and has both an SD slot and the ability to use spare batteries (I always have a spare battery charged at home, so when I come home and have to go out again, just swap out the battery). S4 has the battery and SD advantage of the Note, but not the pen or the glorious screen. Only downside on Note 3 is the abysmal low light camera performance, if you take a lot of pics at night, in bars, etc.. then you'll be disappointed.

  34. Vince

    Blackberry Queries...

    "I have a whole bunch of applications I've bought on Google Play. Will those be available (and usable) on a Z30"

    Not as such as Google Play isn't. If it's a free app, and you can get via Amazon App store it's dead simple, you can also use various other methods like Snap to get Android apps on. Other apps work generally well too. Some exceptions apply but generally it's pretty good.

    "or will I have to repurchase them?"

    Probably. Same as switching to Apple etc - although despite owning many smartphones, I have paid for very few so it's a non issue to me.

    "What are the native apps like?"

    Variable. As with any other platform. The good apps by good developers are good, and the ones written by clueless half-wits exactly the same... But if you actually mean are "good blackberry 10 apps any good" then absolutely yes. Fast, slick and functional.

    "What is the battery life actually like?"

    I have a Z10 which has a poorer battery than a Z30 - every software update makes it better (after a couple days for the caching, indexing to rebuild) - mine lasts all day and is heavily used.

    "How badly does using Android versus native apps affect battery life?"

    No idea - mostly because I haven't noticed enough of an issue to difference to register there is a difference. I suspect a tiny difference but insignificant - frankly most apps I want are native anyhow.

    "Will Blackberry (the company) be around long enough to see the two year contract through?"

    Yes

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: Blackberry Queries...

      If you are going to answer at least get it right.

      Google Play is available via the snap app. It does updates and allows downloads from the play store of most apps that you have already purchased. The main things that don't work are those that need google pay services so no signing to maps but it still works, plus seperate licence like on beyondpod don't work.

      You really need to go to crackberry and get version 2 of snap.....

  35. Dibbles

    "This being Canada, "bring your own phone" doesn't give you much of a rate discount"

    Amen brother! Although having had smartphones in both the UK and Canada, it seems fair to suggest much of your headache arises from being in Canada. The selection of handsets available is pretty poor, all things considered, and the 2-year minimum contracts (recently reduced from 3) means there's little incentive for the carriers to entice you with newer handsets.

    I look enviously at the choice available in the US, and in Europe - multiple versions of Sony's Xperia; Samsung Galaxy S4 widely available, and you can upgrade to it in less than a year; all sorts of Android, Windows and iOS devices in a range of sizes and colours.

    Mind you, the underlying problem is broadly the same. Windows phones are uninspiring; iPhones are ubiquitous, and Android is pretty variable in execution and reliability...

  36. SirDigalot

    the geek in me is dead

    I have a S4 and it is a great phone, it really is...

    I use it for work email

    texting ( but only because the kid has a phone and is preferred method of contact)

    looking stuff up

    maps

    that said, I could live happily without any of those things I can read a map, I grew up in the 80's where we used real phones or shock horror! were out of contact for a while when we did something outside the home!

    I can read a map/road signs, which are water proof and does not go flat

    I might miss the ability to easily tap the boobytubes for information on the fly, which means I would have to commit most facts to memory instead of indexing where they are and pulling the full details up later, but that is a small price.

    there is nothing that has been released since I first got a blackberry that has impressed me enough to be excited about a new model from anyone.

    in short if my job did not require me to have a phone, and supplies one, I would not have one.

    ** I still write with a fountain pen and paper ( or pencil when required)**

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nexus 5

    Getting a Nexus 5 for my daughter. It's in BC now so we should get it in the next day or two.

    Bought direct from Google: they have some in stock now so it makes no sense to pay over the odds on Ebay.

    My daughter had a fiddle with one in the phone shop and liked the nippiness of the display.

    Spec for spec it is on a par (if not a bit better) than the equivalent Galaxy and is actually quite a bit cheaper. Looks like a solid build.

    The contract is with Fido but their charge of a locked/branded version of the Nexus5 is $150 more than buying it direct from Google. Figure that one out :O

    We'll see. It looks like a cool phone though.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Nexus 5

      Fido is the rogers rebrand, innit? I thought they were horrifically oversubscribed on the lower mainland. Are you in the Cariboo or Kootanees? I'd heard that's where Rogers does best in BC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nexus 5

        We're in New Westminster.

        My wife sorted out the contract with my daughter so I don't really know much about the economics of it.

        For myself, I have an old LG Shine Plus with a 7-11 SpeakOut (Rogers infrastructure again) SIM in it. (It makes sense for the economy of it for me: I don't make that many calls).

        Rogers' have got decent enough coverage in this part of the world, at least it's not been a particularly big issue for us so far. Can't complain.

        The kids gotta have the best and I tolerate this "solid" but slightly annoying phone.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Nexus 5

          Nice to hear Rogers have been upgrading! :)

  38. DougS Silver badge

    If you're happy with what you have now

    Can you still get those exact same models from your carrier?

    Don't laugh, older phones are probably going to be "free". Since 18 month old Android devices have little resale value, you could either keep the used ones around as a backup in case something happens to the new ones, or give them to family members who aren't restricted to a corporate plan and could save money with a BYOD plan.

  39. Herby Silver badge
    Joke

    I guess...

    that my Motorola StarTac (about 12 years old!) should be fine. It is functional right now, and I can even talk on it.

    Look, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Then again, it might not be a joke after all!!

  40. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    The geek in me is alive and well

    ... which is probably why I've no interest in smart{thingyness}. The company gave me Samsung about three 'upgrades' ago. I tried to like it, really I did, but nothing could be configured the way I wanted it, the battery life was pathetic and I've got fat (engineers) fingers so was forever hitting everything except what I wanted. I have to use other engineers phones in the same work environment from time to time and find them all the same (but different in details of course). Eventually I got the boss to agree to me having a plain ol' dumb phone, and since then, I'm the only one who has no problems at all.

    P.S.

    I'm surrounded with some real 'smart' techy gear which I get to play with all day - and get paid to do so!

  41. Terrence Bayrock
    Angel

    Fashion vs Usability

    Our family has all three ; I have a BB Bold & Playbook, my wife/daughter Iphone 5's and my older boy has a Samsung GS4 whilst my youngest guy has an (ancient - non-smart) LG ??

    I prefer the BB as it is rugged and I saw the tethering to the Playbook as feature (security-wise really important for me) not an obstacle. Also, try dropping an ipad 2.2 meters (a hazard in my line of work): the playbook survived while I lost a $600 ipad "investment". I use my phone for calls and the very occasional text. The playbook doubles as a email viewport and repository of various reference files & documents. The BB (Bold) even survived a brief dunking in water while my wife's iPhone 4 fall in the snow(!!) precipitated a replacement of the current 5.

    I haven't seen a phone-based camera that I consider to have any real image quality (forget the pixels, I mean colour rendition and dynamic range). Mine is used only for emergency or just in the moment shots.

    I don't text since that means (for me) I have to put on glasses (sometimes very inconvenient) and NONE of the smartphones I've been exposed to offer a decent text sizing option on their applications. The first smartphone with a DECENT text sizing option will get my attention. I get by on the BB since I have speed dialing, voice dialing and don't use caller ID as a screening mechanism; either I'm available for a call or I let it go to voicemail. I guess I'm an old fogee that thinks it RUDE to not answer a person's call.

    The wife & daughter like the iphones as they suit their "gadget" texting and some of the apps that are offered (my daughter is the tech support around here for the iphone).

    My oldest like the size of his Samsung GS4 and uses it as a pseudo-tablet & gaming unit as well as a phone. He only wants one gadget in his pocket/rupsack/binder.

    The youngest couldn't care less about apps or texting (?surprise for a younger generation?) and just wants to do the odd phone call.

    IMHO, BB is the only serious contender for any comprehensive business use, although I have friends that swear by their iPhone capabilities. The key is to find a phone that works FOR YOU and ignore/take with large salt tablet/be skeptical of anybody's marketing claims of usability.

    As far as the corporate survivability of BB, they'll be around for a while, although the company might/should get bought out. Support will still be there for BB as there is far too large and established a customer base for someone not to address it (including the carriers).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    reliability?

    Amen about battery life. But also, reliability!!! Between me and the rest of my family, I've had at least 5 phones that lasted just long enough to be out of their warranty, but were far short of the 2 year (US) service commitment. Which left me scrambling to find affordable working phones for me or a loved one out of contract.

    Samsung counted for three of the above cases (out of 5 Samsungs total; I sure hope my daughter's current S4 lasts the full 2 years). And this wasn't physical damage, it was electrical problems: my educated guess is failing power management chips in two of those cases. Motorola? Lost me years ago when they refused to replace two flip phones where custom connector clips bent and would no longer hold the cable in to recharge. Those were even under warranty, but they refused to honor the warranty for the connector problem. I personally don't do Apple because I don't like their business practices, but I've always been of the opinion that they do quality engineering. Up until the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco. More recently, the number of people I've seen suffering along with iPhones with shattered glass (front and rear) is astonishing, because the glass broke and they can't afford to fix or replace out of contract.

    I've settled on Nokia, partly because I like Windows Phone and it does what I need, and partly because I've always had great reliability with Nokia hardware. I just hope that Microsoft doesn't manage to screw up the Lumia phones like they've done with almost everything else they've touched in the last few years.

    Oh, and the new cameras (on Lumia 1020 and 1520) are excellent, and contrary to a prior post, they do offer real image quality that can equal many point-and-shoot cameras.

  43. Hubert Thrunge Jr.
    Linux

    Sailfish is not for you, yet.

    What you have to remember is that it is still in it's Beta stages of development. There are lots of things to be sorted out.

    I'm using it now, and there are times when I consider putting the SIM and the sd-card back in my BB Z10.

    Of the phones you suggested for 'Work Phones' then to me, it has to be the BB10 devices.

    Some of your android apps will work, some won't. A bit like upgrading your PC OS. I have lots of expensive apps that I bought for MSDOS that don't run on Windows 8......

    Penguin because Sailfish is proper Linux for Phones (and other embedded systems)

  44. Compact101

    Sys admin lets users root phones?

    This article was nicely written, but seemed strange from the stand point of a sys admin.

    1) The employees get a choice??

    2) You disregard a phone (Moto) as they cannot root it and load whatever they want on it?

    Sounds like a pretty forward thinking company

  45. Drummer Boy

    Speaking as the guy responsible for sourcing our phones for my company. the selection criteria goes something like this:

    Does the hardware allowance from the network cover new phones for all, at the smartphone level. If yes pick best phone for the job that the IT team can support.

    If no, will CFO stump up the difference?

    If No, what phones do our heavy road warrior users NEED (not want!), and will the budget have enough left to get all other users usable phones, with some smart features (eg Galaxy minis and not full size ones).

    That's it for me!! Other elements are less important, as road warriors have car chargers and laptops, so battery life should be less important a consideration.

  46. markp 1

    Yeah, I'm feeling this.

    I'm in a similar pickle right now ... I really like my HTC Desire S as an overall package, and the things driving me to upgrade are, for once, external factors. Rather than doing it for the techno-joy of gaining new features or shoving a terrible operating system for the promise of a better one, or grabbing the best ad-hoc replacement I can because the previous phone was broken/stolen, it's more the matter of replacing something that's good, but a bit worn out and no longer able to entirely cut the mustard. Like an old laptop once it's been upgraded to the hilt, or an otherwise perfectly good car which has failed its MOT and can't be economically repaired.

    The screen's cracked (but I can deal with that, and would have had it replaced by now if I couldn't), the casing is all scratched and worn and bruised (battlescars, m'boy!), the battery is shot (that's a £10 replacement, really), the mSD card is a bit pokey (I could still double its size if I wanted, and take a more rigorous approach to spring cleaning)... but moreover the OS is out of date and can't be upgraded, which means I can't connect through authenticated proxy servers and is even starting to affect app compatibility, the CPU isn't quite strong enough to deal with 2014's multitasking requirements (it was fine in 2011), and the internal RAM and Flash is horridly overloaded. All of those things in combination spell "may as well replace it".

    But the form factor, the sheer usability of the OS, the ruggedness, and the ease of switching battery/card/SIM (and repairing genuinely broken bits) are all just fine by my standards. The camera could be better, but it's not a critical point. And any connectivity problems I've had have always been down to signal strength rather than download speed, so I couldn't give a stuff about 4G / LTE / Wimax or whatever unless they meant I was more able to get a reliable connection, rather than a faster but still patchy one, in places with borderline RF field density.

    What I'd really like to do is have something just the same as it was when I bought it, but with refreshed internals. Scads more working memory and system flash, faster dual core CPU, newer OS, and optionally a better camera and more pixels on the screen (and, if it can be arranged, greater touch precision so I can use a really thin-tipped stylus and have at least as much control over the result as I had with my trusty old Palm IIIe). Keep everything else as is.

    Seems that the "give me a Desire S with updated circuitry and firmware" scores a big "hahaha no" on the "what manufacturers want to offer the customer" front right now though. Bit of a problem. Every single handset misses the mark in one way or another. It's either too big ... or too primitive / not actually advanced in any measurable way ... or too limited (locked-in battery, no card slot...) ... or has shockingly poor battery life right out of the box ... or is goppingly expensive (I got the DS *free*, on an £18pcm 24-month contract...) ... or uses a horrible OS (I want Android, so I can bring my apps and cloud data with me) ... etc, etc, etc.

    What to do, other than buying something with a hopefully small enough PCB and doing a frankenstein job to wedge it in the existing frame?

  47. davemcwish

    Too much selection...

    Looking at the current offerings, albeit from an end/personal user I can understand Trevor's position. Being a 4s user I've got locked into the iTunes/iOS app ecosystem so changing would be difficult but not impossible. I've been very happy and to be honest, apart from the lack of storage (yes I'd like more than 64Gb) and my use case changing towards needing a bigger screen (I mainly use it as a small portable tablet with a phone attached) a slightly larger screen would help. Given that it would be a single device a large phablet (e..g Sony Xperia Z Ultra) would be too large; 5" would probably be sufficient.Other than that there's nothing currently out their that has a compelling case for me to change; even if it breaks, a 4s from fleabay, where I got my corrent one from, would be the obvious choice dependent on 5s availability/cost. I don't really see a compelling vision to move to the Android ecosystem.

    As others have said, the win pc/laptop market lost traction as it got to maturity with functionality broadly similar with very little differentiation other than the case, badge and screen size. I suspect that the handset is getting to a similar position much quicker and I can't really see what the next big jump will be.

  48. Levente Szileszky

    Z30 is...

    ...720, not 1080 - yes, it's got one extra row of icons but still runs in 720, check the specs.

    Nevertheless the whole article misses the main point: BB's Hub clearly MOPS THE FLOOR with anything I've seen so far on Android and I DID spend months hunting (and iOS7 does not come close to even Android, forget BB10 in terms of communication or multitasking, it's downright pathetic how far Apple has been left behind while "Sir" Ive was tinkering with his 'fabulous' color wheels and typefaces...)

    Now that BB10 comes with a full-blown Android inside I'm looking forward to either a price drop on Z30 or a new, updated high-end BB10 phone and I'll get one (though I will also hold onto my Xperia Z Ultra for certain work situations, its 6.5" display allows me to NOT have a tablet and not to carry my 12" ThinkPad everywhere, not to mention the morning greatness of reading the new under the shower, thanks to its waterproof nature.)

  49. mrwenni

    ah HTC Desire... how i love thee. We all knew this was the smartphone to buy. It has been my trusty companion for 4 years and hopefully will be in my pocket for many years to come. OK the memory is a bit tight (even with the Runnymede AIO rom) but those where the early days. The battery is still going strong so I see no compelling reason to replace it.

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