back to article You want to know which is the best smartphone this season? Tbh, it's tricky to tell 'em apart

I call it the "Phone Season". It's the glut of new smartphones that begins with splashy launches at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and ends in late spring. Phone Season defines what phones look like each year. Apart from Apple (which introduces its new models in September) and Google (in October), and the odd mid-year …

  1. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And before that, the introduction of reliable fingerprint sensors made logging in via a PIN or pattern seem slow and tiresome, even without lurkers peering over your shoulder. These two changes were small but welcome.

    Once again, repeat after me, biometrics have nothing to do on mobile devices. Remember, the device is full of your fingerprints, anyway ...

    "The World Won't Listen" to The Smiths.

    1. fandom Silver badge

      That's definitely something to keep in mind if you have reason to believe Mission Impossible operatives are going to want to read the files in your phone.

      But in real life, not so much

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        It's easy to forget that privacy and liberty isn't a God given right and that the moment we accept these intrusions in to our personal life with the mantra "If you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" we barrel roll down the hill to something like 1984. But without Room 101.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      The point of having fingerprint verification on is to make it easy to log in but impossible for your friends to post "amusing" comments on your facebook account.

      I couldn't give a toss whether the CIA could access my phone from the fingerprints left on the screen. I'm not that interesting.

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At disgustedoftunbridgewells, re: fingerprints.

        At least here on this side of the pond the courts have ruled that a merely biometric means of unlocking a device (face recog, fingerprint, etc) can be forced to be provided to law enforcement - they can force you to put your finger on the sensor, look into your screen, etc to unlock it & give them access. But those same courts have said that a password or knock code, anything that requires you to provide a *code you know* absolutely can not be forced to be divulged to the law without a warrant. So a fingerprint may be faster but it's also not going to stop a cop from grabbing your hand, knuckling apart your fingers, & forcing one onto your phone so they can search it for incriminating evidence. They can't do that with a code/password/etc. So you may not have anything to hide from the ThreeLetterAgencies, but that cop whom just decided you are now "a person of interest" & wants to go through your phone to find the terrorist bits will be yanked up short by the need to get a warrant first.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: At disgustedoftunbridgewells, re: fingerprints.

          As I said, I'm not interesting enough for that to matter.

          If I was to not use a fingerprint in order to avoid that, I'd be going out of my way to pretend that I care - I don't.

          If the cost of that laziness is that the police can force me to show them pictures of my dogs, or my inane ramblings on El Reg, then I'm not fussed.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: At disgustedoftunbridgewells, re: fingerprints.

            "If the cost of that laziness is that the police can force me to show them"

            The more realistic cost is that a thief will get his hands on your phone and use the fingerprint scanner to unlock it and access important data you may have there. Defeating those things isn't that hard. It's well within the means of a moderately competent criminal.

          2. Diogenes

            Re: At disgustedoftunbridgewells, re: fingerprints.

            If the cost of that laziness is that the police can force me to show them pictures of my dogs, or my inane ramblings on El Reg, then I'm not fussed.

            If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

            Attrib Cardinal Richelieu

        2. IsJustabloke Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: At disgustedoftunbridgewells, re: fingerprints.

          "At least here on this side of the pond the courts have ruled that a merely biometric means of unlocking a device"

          As it happens my Huawei requires the pin every so often regardless of whether it's the correct fingerprint or not. It always requires a pin upon restart, both to unlock the sim and another to unlock the actual phone. I'm one of those strange people that never starts his mobey until he's out of the terminal building.... I'm willing to take my chances with uncle Sam's operatives, they do seem to enjoy searching my luggage But then so do the Kiwi's and the Diggers. Weirdly the only place I've never been searched is Hong Kong

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who mentioned the CIA

        There are plenty of criminals who might want details for identity fraud

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        "but impossible for your friends to post "amusing" comments on your facebook account."

        You clearly don't know my friends -- one of those stupid fingerprint scanners would certainly not prevent them from doing this.

        As far as government bodies are concerned, the CIA (or FBI, or other TLAs) isn't the greatest risk vector. It's the local cops.

    3. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
      Big Brother

      The Goal Is Multifactor Authentication

      "Once again, repeat after me, biometrics have nothing to do on mobile devices. Remember, the device is full of your fingerprints, anyway ..."

      Good point. But dumping biometrics is a silly concept. What's required, as we humans get the hang of real device security, is full multifactor authentication. As usual, it's a case of convenience versus security. Seeing as security is losing, especially with Android, less convenience is required:

      1) Something you KNOW: A password, PIN...

      2) Something you ARE: Your face, fingerprint, retina, voice, signature, DNA...

      3) Something you HAVE: Hardware authentication device, temporary key, mag strip, RFID chip...

      Reading Assignment:

      https://www.cs.cornell.edu/courses/cs513/2005fa/NNLauthPeople.html

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: The Goal Is Multifactor Authentication

        "But dumping biometrics is a silly concept."

        Why? I think biometrics are a flawed concept in terms of security from the start, for a whole bunch of reasons.

      2. Alumoi
        Trollface

        Re: The Goal Is Multifactor Authentication

        Darn right!

        I'd say we need to add 2FA to this biometrics mumbojumbo. Send a SMS to the second phone then enter the ginormous passphrase into the first one.

        What could be more fun?

        Or we can just dispense with all this bull and get back to using the phone as, you know, a phone?

    4. Munkstar

      Always got my Lycopodium powder with me.

  2. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Trollface

    Tricky indeed...

    "Tbh, it's tricky to tell 'em apart"

    Yeah, apart from Apple's iOS, everything else is running SpyOS - so much for healthy competition...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tricky indeed...

      https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/ios-tracking-setup-part-1/12625/

      They all spy on you as your data is the asset.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Tricky indeed...

        @ AC, that Kaspersky article you linked to actual explains why Apple's privacy policies are fairly good. It certainly does not equate Apple with Google.

        It's largely a How-To article about managing the permissions of 3rd party apps and saving battery life by selective use of GPS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tricky indeed...

        https://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-data-collection-stored-request/

        What they do collect. Fair bit of meta data - no content of messages though.

      3. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Tricky indeed...

        It's not a good idea to be an apologist for Android's poor security reputation. Every month, if not every week, a major Android security incident is reported. They often involve millions of devices. By comparison, the security of iOS devices is astronomically superior, entirely be design. Apple is by no means perfect in their attention to security. But compared to Google and Android device makers, Apple is genius. Android continues to suffer from severe OS version fragmentation. Google still barely bothers to adequately vet apps tossed into their Play Store. Apple's 'walled garden' is a beautifully secure place by comparison, albeit imperfect.

        Meanwhile, marketing moron monitoring of mankind marches on. Taking deliberate precautions is required for every Internet user, no exceptions. Thankfully, both platforms are providing an increasing number of tools for maintaining our right to privacy. Stuff it, big brother!

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Tricky indeed...

          "But compared to Google and Android device makers, Apple is genius."

          I disagree. Apple and Google have just made different tradeoffs. One is not "more genius" than the other. In deciding between the two, if you aren't comfortable having to be more conscientious about security and don't mind the rather serious restrictions that iOS imposes, then iPhones are the way to go. Otherwise, Android is the way to go.

          Or, to put it a different way, they're both crap -- just flavored differently.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Tricky indeed...

            I disagree. Android is insecure in all sorts of ways, and google, as well as various others if they can get a chance, will collect a very large amount of your data. Apple doesn't collect as much, has more restrictions on third party collection, and has fewer security problems. Apple therefore makes a more secure product.

            However, there are a lot of good reasons to dislike IOS. The fact that it's secure doesn't make the lack of choice, the lock-in to apple, the ridiculous expense of the hardware (although certain droid manufacturers are giving apple a run for your money there), or any other annoying elements better. There are trade-offs, but I see them as security versus all the useful features android has that apple doesn't. Security vs side-loading. Security vs removable storage/battery (some conditions apply). On and on.

            Also, just because apple's phone is more secure than most android phones doesn't mean that apple is good. Apple could do more to protect their customers' security, and they could easily collect less. I would like to see both. For security changes, I have a very long list for android to do.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Tricky indeed...

              "Android is insecure in all sorts of ways, and google, as well as various others if they can get a chance, will collect a very large amount of your data."

              Sure, I never said otherwise. I will add, though, that it is possible to make an Android device reasonably secure, even from Google. It does take effort and vigilance, though.

  3. phuzz Silver badge

    I've never paid more than £150 for a phone, and I'm still yet to see a compelling reason to.

    Now if only phone manufactures would make phones with screens smaller than 5" again.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      There are Android phones with smaller than 5" screens, especially in your price range.

      For starters:

      Samsung S3, 4.7" screen, £180

      Nokia 1, 4.5" screen, £80

      There's also the option of the compact iPhone SE if you're not bothered about Android, a bit more expensive but refurbished models available.

      1. Joe Werner

        There are crap and ancient Android phones with smaller than 5" screens

        TFTFY.

        The S3 came out in 2012, and the Nokia 1 has a whopping 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage - not really that usable, with all of the apps being really hungry (and getting worse). Additionally the Google apps have to stay on the inbuilt storage and grow bigger and bigger every year - meaning all of the internal storage is filled and you can no longer update apps because of that.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Oops!

          @Joe Werner thanks, I meant to say Samsung A3, not S3!

          The A3 is a recent 4.7" Android phone close to the price range the OP desired. Obviously he's not going to get the greatest and fastest phone in his price range.

          It also has SD card slot and is water resistant.

          1. Joe Werner

            Re: Oops!

            @Dave126: thanks, I'll check it out - I do share the same problem as the OP. The current phone (LG... uhm... Leon?) is... woefully inadequate. Even opening the email program takes several minutes. And updates to the apps are impossible now the Google apps have taken over the internal storage. The stupid system cannot download the updates to the external SD card, it seems.

            I want my Windows phone back (a small, cheap Lumia 520 - my wife still has hers, still works well). And that's from somebody who doesn't even own a Windows computer...

            1. TomG

              Re: Oops!

              My wife and I both have Windows phone and they work very well. Microsoft made a mistake in stopping their phone business. BTW, what makes a cell phone the "greatest"? Yes, the apps are/were limited, but whos needs thousands of apps?

          2. alexmcm

            Re: Oops!

            That's my phone, and it is great, does everything you'd want from a phone. It also takes pretty good snaps. As I'm not a professional photographer, that is all I need. Stick a 128gb microsb in it, it's also your mobile media centre. Great battery life, usually above still 50% at the end of the day.

            If I come in to some money, my next phone would be a Sony compact xyz whatever they call their next small shiny thing, or else the Samsung A3 2019. But can't think of a reason to upgrade yet.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Well try a Nokia 2 (5") or Nokia 3.1 (5.2") then.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          There are crap and ancient Android phones with smaller than 5" screens

          TFTFY.

          The S3 came out in 2012, and the Nokia 1 has a whopping 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage - not really that usable...

          S3 from 2012? Meet my Nokia 3310 from 2017!

          This Nokia is an improvement from the 2000 version. It has a whopping 2.4" screen and 16 MB of storage - pretty usable if you ask me.

          /trollface

        4. Piro

          There is a manufacturer that still makes a high end, reasonably sized smartphone other than Apple, and that's Sony. Literally ONLY Sony, the market is incredibly bleak. (I'm referring to Sony's Compact lineup).

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Second all the comments on the A3. Its my work phone and there's very little it doesn't do well. For example the finger print sensor is faster than both my iPad Pro and my Moto Z. All for a fraction of the price.

            My only niggles are the un-removal Samsung trash apps and the annoying reversal of the standard Android button layout.

  4. _LC_
    Megaphone

    This should not go unnoticed:

    Dr Devra Davis: "The truth about mobile phone and wireless radiation"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwyDCHf5iCY

    Even if you think that you already know what is to know about this "issue", I would like to advise you to watch that little presentation anyhow. I'm quite sure that some new facts will come as a surprise to you as well.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: This should not go unnoticed:

      "Even if you think that you already know what is to know about this "issue", I would like to advise you to watch that little presentation anyhow. I'm quite sure that some new facts will come as a surprise to you as well."

      I've been messing around with RF since my early teens, and using mobile phones since 1990, and from reading studies and personal observation I am convinced that the main danger from mobiles phones is actually collision with people using them without looking around them.

      1. _LC_

        Re: This should not go unnoticed:

        They have quite a few cases where the cancer is not only found at the location of the smart-phone, but has even taken the shape of the antenna. Noteworthy are those, where the smart-phone kept re-logging in to the bases at full power repeatedly.

        Among the first things they ask male patients in fertility clinics today is the use of smart-phones.

        Your "argumentation" is going down the well known path of:

        "Woman aged 112 says her secret to long life is smoking 30 cigarettes a day"

        <sarcasm>But you seem to have captured the gist, without even knowing the content. Congratulations.</sarcasm>

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: This should not go unnoticed:

          "They have quite a few cases where the cancer is not only found at the location of the smart-phone, but has even taken the shape of the antenna"

          Oooh, citation needed. Very much needed.

          For one small thing, the intensity of radiation around an antenna is not the same shape as the antenna.

          But I will come here and post that I am wrong if you provide some accessible, peer reviewed citations. English, French, German, Italian, Russian all accepted.

          1. _LC_

            Re: This should not go unnoticed:

            The video comes with citations. It is in English. Dr Devra Davis has been working for the US government before.

            I'm not gonna feed it to you with a golden spoon, as I don't like trolls that much.

            1. phuzz Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: This should not go unnoticed:

              The video does not come with citations, it only comes with a hagiography.

              A citation would look something like this:

              Has the incidence of brain cancer risen in Australia since the introduction of mobile phones 29 years ago? Chapman S, Azizi L, Luo Q, Sitas F. Cancer Epidemiol. 2016. pii: S1877 - 7821(16)30050 - 9.

              That particular paper looks at 30 years of data on cancer rates in Australia and finds that the only uptick comes from better detection of cancer, by the way. In fact, no large scale studies have found any increase in disease or illness that can be linked to the rise in mobile phone use.

              1. _LC_

                Re: This should not go unnoticed:

                Yes, that is in there, plenty. She names the studies and there are footnotes on the screens. It is enough information to look it up.

                Are you a cynic or just playing dumb?

            2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: This should not go unnoticed:

              "The video comes with citations. It is in English. Dr Devra Davis has been working for the US government before."

              So that's a no, then, with added helping of insult. Figures.

              Davis's publications are marked by alarmist titles unusual in scientific publishing. Meanwhile, here's a quote from Simon Chapman's intro to the Australian study* cited by someone above. It's to the point and telling.

              "Davis’ concerns were the focus of an ABC Catalyst program that attracted widespread criticism, including from me and Media Watch. The Catalyst presenter Maryanne Demasi was nominated for the Australian Skeptics bent spoon award.....

              We examined the association between age and gender-specific incidence rates of 19,858 men and 14,222 women diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia between 1982-2012, and national mobile phone usage data from 1987-2012.

              In summary, with extremely high proportions of the population having used mobile phones across some 20-plus years (from about 9% in 1993 to about 90% today), we found that age-adjusted brain cancer incidence rates (in those aged 20-84 years, per 100,000 people) had risen only slightly in males but were stable over 30 years in females.

              There were significant increases in brain cancer incidence only in those aged 70 years or more. But the increase in incidence in this age group began from 1982, before the introduction of mobile phones in 1987 and so could not be explained by it. Here, the most likely explanation of the rise in this older age group was improved diagnosis."

              *Chapman S, Azizi L, Luo Q, Sitas F. Cancer Epidemiol. 2016. pii: S1877 - 7821(16)30050 - 9.

            3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: This should not go unnoticed:

              as I don't like trolls that much

              Can't stand the competition?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This should not go unnoticed:

      "The truth about mobile phone and wireless radiation"

      They're radios, of course they emit wireless radiation. They wouldn't work if they didn't. It's non-ionizing and has no proven harmful effects at the power levels emitted by phones. Those levels are always managed to be as low as possible to save battery life.

      1. _LC_

        Re: This should not go unnoticed:

        "has no proven harmful effects at the power levels emitted by phones"

        That is a lie.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This should not go unnoticed:

          That is a lie.

          Please provide a pointer to scientific peer-reviewed studies which support that allegation. Alarmist youtube videos don't count.

          1. _LC_

            Re: This should not go unnoticed:

            "Alarmist youtube videos don't count."

            That easy, a? They provide proof, you articulate that 'they suck' and that's it. *lol*

    3. bengoey49

      Re: This should not go unnoticed:

      Thank you, I have just watched it. Very interesting lecture, after this I will definitely change the way I use my cellphone.

    4. fedoraman

      Re: This should not go unnoticed:

      But, given that smartphones tend to be used in the hand much more than up to the ear, shouldn't there be a large increase in cancers of the hand and related areas?

      1. _LC_

        Re: This should not go unnoticed:

        There are different cells and different tissues. Some cells regenerate (renew themselves) faster than others. This is why cancer is very rare in some regions, while it is more common in others. For that reason, the breast region, the abdomen and the head, for example, are extremely problematic. Our hands are rather robust. For instance, our hands can tolerate considerably more heat than other regions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This should not go unnoticed:

          Some cells regenerate (renew themselves) faster than others. This is why cancer is very rare in some regions, while it is more common in others.

          So you understand nothing about cancer, as well as nothing about cellphones?

          1. _LC_

            Re: This should not go unnoticed:

            It's most obvious that this is just a mob. Bots will render you superfluous while increasing the quality of this scam.

          2. BrownishMonstr

            Re: This should not go unnoticed:

            I am confused, are you stating the cells which regenerate faster are more likely to cause cancer or less?

  5. katrinab Silver badge

    My wishlist

    3.5mm audio jack

    User replaceable battery

    All-day battery life

    Micro SD card slot

    None of the flagships seem to offer these features.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My wishlist

      I understand that many won't find this important, but if you add to that a side slide keyboard and you've sold one to me :). I, truly, find those so much easier to text with. Otherwise, I'll keep my existing phone until it quits and then wonder if I really need another.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: My wishlist

      I'll wish for:

      * Survive a fall from head height to concrete without screen shattering.

      * Good vsiibility of display in direct sunglight.

      * Decent signal in fringe coverage areas.

      I already have the 2 day battery life. Headphones are BT. DIY battery changes are easy even on so called non replaceable ones.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: My wishlist

        >* Survive a fall from head height to concrete without screen shattering.

        >* Good vsiibility of display in direct sunglight.

        Okay, the laws of physics and materials are against you, I'm afraid. The more deformation of the case, the less the force. Theres no getting around the bulkier the case the greater potential reduction in force on the phone. There's a wide range to choose from.

        An easily scratched plastic screen rapidly loses clarity in sunlight, but plastic screens are tougher - more resistant to shattering. Best solution is to use a case that protects the edges of the screen and to use a toughened glass screen protector on top. The glass protector will still crack if dropped from a height onto a but of gravel, but in doing so it absorbs the force and saves your expensive phone screen.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: My wishlist

          Another vote for the portrait mode full qwerty. All the OP's wishes are on my list too but I would give them all up (including some more of my own) for an actual keyboard.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: My wishlist

            A snap-on physical QWERTY keyboard? The following link is to the Indigogo page for the Moto Mod keyboard. It's being developed by a man who has put his money and time where his mouth is, not Motorola themselves. I recommend reading the project updates. Journalists had 'hands-on' back in January, but mass production has taken a bit longer.

            https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/keyboard-mod-a-physical-keyboard-for-the-moto-z#/updates/all

        2. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: My wishlist

          The glass protector will still crack if dropped from a height onto a but of gravel, but in doing so it absorbs the force and saves your expensive phone screen.

          Daughter's phone has a cracked screen, screen protector is intact. A mid-range screen protector .... so, yeah ...

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: My wishlist

            I said best solution, not a perfect solution! That was the whole point of my post - physics imposes limits, so it's hard to make a screen that is both tough and hard. However, that doesn't mean that all phones are built up to those limits. Lamination - a thin hard layer atop a more flexible layer is the technique that is used.

            There's screen damage from impacts against hard edges or points like a piece of grit in the pavement, and then there's cracking from the screen being bent from a drop. Screen protectors guard against the former. Cases and rigid phone construction guard against the latter.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: My wishlist

      And they won't be. So, do you really need a flagship phone, or can you find a way to adopt the workarounds that other people do?

      If you need a flagship, then Samsung offer you the SD card slot and 3.5 mm audio jack. Last year's S8 has the true flagship trappings ( ARCore, ability to sideload the Pixel Camera smarts, certified HDR display - all niche, but such compatability is reassuring) if you want to save money over this years model, and you can put the hundreds you save against the £50 Samsung will charge you for battery replacement in a couple of years time if needs be. It has Rapid Charging and Wireless charging to mitigate its finite battery.

      Oh, and the 3.5mm earbuds it's bundled with ain't half bad, especially if you use Adapt Sound to tune the audio output to your hearing.

      Whilst external battery packs can be cumbersome, rapid charging means they don't have to be attached for very long. It depends how much of your day you are away from your desk, car, or rucksack or power outlet.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My wishlist

      It seems that you need to listen to a good part of

      Jethro Tull's "Living in the Past".

      Things move forward and sometimes things get left behind. I'd love to be able to go out and buy a Steam Powered Car but I can't. :) :) :)

      I don't know how you use (or abuse) your phone but I never seem to have a problem getting my decidely ancient secondhand iphone 6 through a day. Sometimes it goes for two days between charges. I see no need to upgrade until this time next year.

    5. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: My wishlist

      Lanyard hole. I don't mind looking like a dork (after all plenty of people in companies have badges on lanyards) but this has saved my phone on several occasions when I've received a call when out and the dog has seen a squirrel.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: My wishlist

        Some of the Xperia range had lanyard holes, but people fearful of dropping their phones tend to use cases - many of which have lanyard holes.

        If you want a lanyard mount without a case, then I recommend a polyurethane adhesive such as Sikaflex. If it's applied to a metal or glass phone back, you should be able to remove it with a Stanley blade in the future should you want to.

    6. Wade Burchette

      Re: My wishlist

      I would like to add one thing to your wishlist: A minimum of 4 years of security updates and enhancements.

      I shouldn't have to look into Lineage OS (the successor to Cyanogenmod) to get new security updates after 18 months. I don't like getting a new phone because that means I have to spend a lot of time transferring stuff and getting things the way I like it back. I want to keep using my phone for at least 3 years, probably longer. It is not the money, it is the time involved with a new phone.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: My wishlist

        It's too early to tell what difference Project Treble mandatory in phones shipped with Oreo) will make to the regularity, alacrity and longevity of Android updates because at the moment updates are still arriving frequently for some non-Treble phones. All things being equal, being able to release updates without input from everyone in the supply chain - the aim of the modular Treble - should make things much faster.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: My wishlist

        A minimum of 4 years of security updates and enhancements.

        Yes, but with better user control. My current phone, a Galaxy S6 I bought used and use over an AT&T-hosted MVNO, gets OTA updates, which is good. But the phone only provides a short grace period after receiving an update before it forcibly installs it and reboots. I'm not sure how long a period; it doesn't tell me, or warn me before it does it.

        That hasn't been a problem yet, but there are plenty of plausible situations in which it could be. Just downloading the update automatically is pretty stupid.

    7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: My wishlist

      My wishlist? I don't give a flying rats ass - what's a "feature" today will soon be a standard and will eventually be abandoned - the average phones life is about 2 years so whatever you like today will be replaced/updated/improved/abandoned soon.

      Privacy? That's never an option, anyone who thinks their phone is secure is toast.

    8. Paul 195

      Re: My wishlist

      And wireless charging !

      Often derided by those who haven't actually used it.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: My wishlist

        "And wireless charging !

        Often derided by those who haven't actually used it."

        I have used it and I still deride it. It's inefficient, and there is still a wire.

    9. Grant 5

      Re: My wishlist

      Strangely the flagships don't but last year's Moto G5 offered all that and the performance is pretty good.

      My Moto Z Play offers it all except the replaceable battery but the battery life is so good that I still get 2 days heavy use now after 18 months.

      As we all know, these days battery life if the top of everyone's list as phones now do everything well. The manufacturers continue to ignore this as it's the only good way to force people to update.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My wishlist

      Go for something cheaper than a flagship phone, perhaps Samsung Galaxy J4 ?

    11. bengoey49

      Re: My wishlist

      LG V20 , unfortunately old model already.

    12. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: My wishlist

      My current Moto G5S+ has all of those, a decent camera and upto 2 or 3 days battery life depending on use.

      I got mine for £189 some £70 below retail.

      The only reason I bought it a couple of months ago was because my Wileyfox Storm developed a battery bulge and I needed a quick replacement before going on my hols.

      I've since repaired the Wilefox Storm at a cost of £13 and given it to my mum to replace her Moto G2.

      I've not checked out the new Moto G6S yet, but I hear good things... they make decent phones for people who can't or refuse to waste money on so called flagship shiny trinkets... I'm one who refuses to waste money when I can get what I want for a fraction and save money at the same time.

    13. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: My wishlist

      The only one of those my S9+ doesn't have is a user-replaceable battery. Otherwise it has the 3.5mm jack, the battery lasts two days with average use (phone calls, messaging on a variety of platforms, social media, camera etc) and it has a micro SD card slot which will support cards up to 400Gb.

      Don't know about the others...

    14. Shugyosha
      Devil

      Re: My wishlist

      Knew this comment would be here before I even read the article - it's on every phone article.

      The mythical Regitard's phone is this place's version of Homer's car.

    15. Raphael

      Re: My wishlist

      The only one the S9 is missing is the user replaceable battery. But personally I consider that a fair tradeoff for the water-proofing.

      (My S9's battery generally lasts all day)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still miss my old Nokia 3650, strange design but once you got used to it thoroughly enjoyable.

  7. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Pixel XL2 at approx £900 is up there with Apple prices.

    Funny enough, Google have dropped QI charging and now Apple starts using it - go figure!!!

    Google (and possibly others) still want a PIN after charging your phone if you have fingerprint unlocking set. Why Google, why?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      > Google (and possibly others) still want a PIN after charging your phone if you have fingerprint unlocking set. Why Google, why?

      It's by design. The idea is that biometrics aren't as secure as a passcode, so in some circumstances the phone will ask for a code.

  8. kuiash

    Blackberry

    Can we have an updated passport please?

    1. a pressbutton
      Trollface

      Re: Blackberry

      Due next march ?

      :)

  9. MJI Silver badge

    Some peoples wants are my hates

    I detest force installed crap I would not want to use, even worse when force restarted and forced to run when you are trying to use said device. I had to use my phone this morning and it took me 5 minutes to get it usable.

    Samsung are really bad at this, enough that if my next work phone is one it will go unopened to CEX.

    So what is there with

    Decent camera

    As little forced installed crap as possible

    Facebook not even installed.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Some peoples wants are my hates

      You are probably looking at either a Pixel or a OnePlus

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Some peoples wants are my hates

        Samsung phones don't force restart - a dialogue tells you an update is available, and then asks if you want to download it. Upon downloading, it asks if you want to do it now, later, or overnight. Windows Vista it ain't!

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Some peoples wants are my hates

          Ignore my above comment - I misread you as talking about phone after after an unprompted system update.

          You should tell your phone's app store not to install updates automatically. You do it in the Google Play Store, and the Samsung's Galaxy Store / Amazon App Store etc if you have them.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Some peoples wants are my hates

          Not restart the phone but software running on it.

          Took 5 minutes to stop all the blody pay shite before it was back to annoying.

          And I am also unable to delete the icon for it.

          None of the children want it either, they have the two previous HTCs.

          I'd been happy to have still used the N8 from before the landfill Androids.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some peoples wants are my hates

      So what is there with

      Decent camera

      As little forced installed crap as possible

      Facebook not even installed.

      If you are still using your samsung device, you could find root or lineageos on xda developers. Rooting lets you uninstall facebook app and update. Lineageos gives you a clean android experience. Otherwise, you could buy a Google supported devices like pixel or any android one devices like Nokia android device for a google android experience.

  10. juice Bronze badge

    Would have been nice to see some LG V7 photos

    ... as I've still not been down to Carphone warehouse for a tinker ;)

    AFAIK, it's the same hardware[*] and software as per the V30 I currently own, and anecdotally the image quality is measurably better than on the Samsung S7 which it replaced.

    Not had a chance to compare it to any of the other current flagships, though.

    [*] Give or take the ultra-wideangle lens; they've allegedly reduced the viewing angle somewhat. Be nice if they could restore it back to the same angle as the S6...

  11. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Calls? Check?

    Are you sure about this?

    I'm sure there are millions of "smartphones" out there where no one has ever tested the theory that they can make or receive calls. I know when I try phoning the kids they never answer so I'm forced to suspect that this is not a feature that their phones support.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Calls? Check?

      Is that the thing that lets sexist nuisance callers contact me to demand to speak to "the head of the household"? TBH, I would prefer that they didn't support this feature, or at the very least, that they let you uninstall the voice calls app.

  12. kyndair

    For most people they're not going to needing perfect shots as they just immediately upload to facebook etc. for others they can look around for a decent camera (for where they tend to use it) at lower price points. Yes some people insist on the latest shiny shiny and if they've nothing better to with the money fair play to them. I'd rather use the money for more interesting things. Personally I'm running the xiaomi MiA1 which for £150 has all the bells and whistles I need (4GB RAM, 64GB on board plus can add an external card or go double sim). Being on the android one program means it gets updates each month from google rather than wait wait in vain for an update, got tired of samsung et al. doing launch and forget.

  13. armyknife

    Best smartphone this season?

    There is another choice, no smartphone at all.

  14. msknight Silver badge
    Boffin

    I'd love Sailfish on Blackberry

    Pending that, my next phone will be Sailfish on Fairphone.

    But you didn't cover them.

    No mention at all.

    Come on 'El Reg. Be the rebel and try some of the alternative phones for us please.

    Especially as the difference between the big boys has become so utterly and boringly un-newsworthy.

  15. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Updates? Removable battery? Rootable?

    I know this isn't trendy due to the fact most people are on a contract and throw away their phones every two years, but in a sane world (one where people treated a laptop in their pocket exactly the same as a mobile phone) there would be riots if it was supported for less than five years.

    As it is the best that's possible with Android at the moment is three years for Android Enterprise phones (of which the latest Blackberry KeyTwo is one).

    Start punishing suppliers, and chipset creators. Say a new fancy graphics chipset comes out, and they want to extol its virtues :

    'so, how open are the specifications?' 'We supply a binary blob certified to work with Android Oreo'

    *sucks teeth, immediately lowers score out of ten by four points*

    'How long will you be supporting this chipset for?' 'Well, as we said we'll be supporting Oreo throughout its lifetime and then will make a decision on further releases'

    'Sorry, our review policy is a blanket support arrangement of a minimum five years including all Android versions released in that time. Come back when you've tried harder'

    Phones are now mostly a stable market with very little differentiation. Service should be the key factor here, and the whole infrastructure (Google, chipset manufacturers, headset manufacturers) being geared to force people to change phone on a regular basis is borderline criminal.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: Updates? Removable battery? Rootable?

      "due to the fact most people are on a contract"

      Really? Moat folk I know have moved to pre-pay with carry-over of unused data and minutes. Unless their work is paying. Which is less and less these days: you get an allowance and thus are highly motivated to manage your costs.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Updates? Removable battery? Rootable?

      The screen seems to be the weakest link now.

      They either smash or burn badly within two to three years, while the battery is often still "ok" for more than four.

  16. Muppet Boss

    ✓ PWM-affected super bright AMOLED screen for that eye-popping disco ball experience

    ✓ Locked bootloader and lots of system bloatware to entertain all those powerful CPU cores

    ✓ Reliable systems to detect and prevent a phone user from becoming a phone admin

    ✓ Irregular security updates not lasting for long anyway

    ✓ Who would ever need external storage anyway

    ✓ Who would ever need to swap the battery anyway

    ✓ Who would ever need to disassemble the phone anyway

    ✓ The most important thing in a phone: the [front-facing] camera of course

    Is there a chance that manufacturers see some market opportunities and develop phones for professionals: sturdy, long-lasting, easy to repair, quality hardware, software being LTS and optionally bleeding edge available, no unwanted or locked user space software. Expensive, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can imagine a manufacturer producing the ' sturdy, long-lasting, easy to repair, quality hardware, software being LTS and optionally bleeding edge available, no unwanted or locked user space software. phone - but I rather think that, when push comes to shove, a sensible purchasing department will look at the price tag and decide that a handheld/lose-able/steal-able/breakable device may as well be a cheap and cheerful device.

      1. Muppet Boss

        My experience is that quite a few businesses are happy to pay for expensive hardware because "price equals quality, y'know". Not all of them think the same about expensive workforce though...

  17. Daedalus Silver badge

    Hmmm

    Increasingly for the past few years, this has been a market desperately in need of some innovation.

    Actually the constant reinvention of the smartphone is getting to be a case of change for its own sake, or rather the sake of maintaining high prices and margins. I suppose the nearest comparison would be the planned obsolescence of cars, not to mention the arms race of strange features (fins, anybody?) before the oil shocks concentrated minds on a different topic. Why make something efficient, practical and durable when you can guarantee it will be traded in within a few years?

    Yes, once the technology plateaus the sales droids and marketeers will have to sell differently. The companies will have to content themselves with margins in the low double digits, if that, unless of course there's a quasi-monopoly a la Kodak in film (but that didn't last, haha). And reviewers will have to find other reasons for dishing out superlatives.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At Daedalus, re: fins.

      Where did you find a phone with fins?

      I'll get my coat... =-)p

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: At Daedalus, re: fins.

        "Where did you find a phone with fins?"

        I'm sure someone somewhere is working on a Moto Mod with fins.

  18. JDX Gold badge

    Optical zoom

    It seems every phone can take great shots these days if you don't want to zoom, and have good lighting.

    Lighting is being resolved through clever tricks but I still can't take a photo of anything not right in front of me, in most cases. Granted a phone isn't a DLSR but my Lumia 1020 had proper optics.

    My question is, can one buy an after-market clip-on optic to get 5X zoom? Don't laugh, but in the past I've stuck my phone up to the eyepiece of my binoculars and been really quite surprised how well it worked, letting me take photos of a bunny across a field or whatever.

    1. _LC_

      Re: Optical zoom

      There have been camera phones. Naturally, they are thicker and less practical.

      Some Motorola phones allow said "clip-ons". For instance, there is the 10x zoom from Hasselbad:

      https://www.motorola.com/us/products/moto-mods/hasselblad-true-zoom

      Problem: The whole thing becomes as thick as a camera and the clip-on costs just as much as a real camera ($199). Therefore, the advantage over having a separate camera is close to non existent. ;-)

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Optical zoom

      >My question is, can one buy an after-market clip-on optic to get 5X zoom?

      Yes. However a few factors will likely impair image quality at the cheaper end. And the widest choice of lenses from different vendors and of varying price and quality might not be available for your particular phone.

      Still, you easily make a clip for your phone by modifying a hard shelled plastic case - by doing so you could even attach your phone to your old monocular.

      1. _LC_

        Re: Optical zoom

        I have tried this. If you only intend to go with 3X or 5X it can work. However, the bigger the zoom, the more you will find yourself cursing. You'll need a tripod/mount then.

        What some people forget: You have to keep clean three lenses/sides with such a solution.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Optical zoom

          To clarify I'm not trying to make my phone into a pro camera here. Just something better than digital zoom so I can actually capture something further away.

          Good points made, thanks.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Optical zoom

          I did some searching based on responses and found you can get what IS a monocular-based clip-on from about £20. Probably some come in a handy case including a fold-up stand.

  19. Dropper

    Phone Calls

    Strangely nothing has been said about the ability to make a reliable phone call here.. because if it did the $1000 iPhone X would be slammed, followed closely by the iPhone 8. Can't tell you how often over the last month (since the last major iOS update) both mine and my wife's iPhone X have resulted in calls where the other person couldn't hear us - as though the front-side microphone just turns itself off, then back on, then off, randomly throughout calls. A quick search reveals the problem has been around since launch and has not been fixed. Oddly, I had no issues for the first couple months then after the last micro update, using the phone to make a call has been awful.

    1. Peter 39

      Re: Phone Calls

      I guess your carrier is shite. My iPhone X (in US) is solid on calls and has been so through all the s/w releases (was new in November 2017).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Phone Calls

      > both mine and my wife's iPhone X have resulted in calls where the other person couldn't hear us

      I have noticed this too. And from multiple generations of iPhones. The problem is, they can hear me quite well and cannot understand that I cannot hear them well. In their world this is unpossible.

  20. 404 Silver badge

    Chad...

    Yes, known about Chad for years, had to look at the details... and I checked two boxes...

    I like my V6 Mustang! (30mpg!) AND my next-gen S10, the GMC Canyon (23 mpg, Mustang beats it in almost every category - even hauling stuff, the 2007 Mustang has a big ass)... shitfire... but I'm good everywhere else.

  21. DougS Silver badge

    Cameras are a trade off

    That's why you see "best X" from one phone, "best Y" from another and so on. You aren't going to get the best low light, best contrast, best portraits, best zoom, best macro, etc. all from one phone.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Cameras are a trade off

      Given phones have multiple rear-facing cameras there's no reason why one phone couldn't be the best in most photo categories. Also, the things that make a camera good in low light also aid its contrast and portraits (high dynamic range and wide aperture, optical image stabilization. )

      Sony make all the sensors used in these other vendors best phones. Where the phone vendors differentiate is in the other camera hardware and the image processing. It's notable that both Apple and Google Pixel make phones with DSPs to accelerate this photo processing.

      Then of course the user interaction is an important part of any camera. In the cast of a phone, this means the screen is a factor - hard to frames a shot if the screen is dim in sunlight, easier to verify focus if screen high dpi. Phone system fluidity (lack of lag and stutter etc) is important too.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Cameras are a trade off

        Well phones have two cameras, that's hardly enough to be a jack of all trades. Maybe it will be like razors and we'll see phones with three, four, five and more cameras someday (I await the SNL parody this fall of a new phone that's covered in so many cameras you have to hold it by the edges to take a picture)

        I'm sure Sony would love a future where flagship phones have a half dozen cameras...

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Cameras are a trade off

          "Maybe it will be like razors and we'll see phones with three, four, five and more cameras someday"

          Some of the phones in the article have three cameras on the back and one on the front. So that's four. Though you might be able to count the fingerprint sensor as a "camera", so that'll be five cameras. My Moto Z has three light / presence sensors as well, and a bunch of microphones. On the other hand, I've never owned a razor.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Frankly, who cares? The phone is an appliance like my fridge. As long as it does what I need, I really couldn't care less how much irrelevant "innovation" they added to it to try and get me to cough up more money.

  23. vistisen

    Is this a phone review or a camera review?

    What I need to know from a phone review are things like:

    What do people sound like when you talk to them?

    How does call quality change when in area of poor reception?

    How quickly does the battery lose it's charge?

    How hot does it have to get befor it stops charging? ( a serious problem when using a phone as a GPS in a hot car)

    How well does it cope with changing nets whilst using VOLTE)

    How many time do you have to use the fingerprint scanne before it actually works?

    How far from the telephone do Bluetooth headphones work?

    All this is much more useful than how many shades og coffee it can take a photo of. Although this leads to the last question;

    How many weird looks did you get using a whole bunch of phones to take the same picture of your coffee?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this a phone review or a camera review?

      1 Darth Vader on helium

      2. The call quality improves when in poor reception, but only near ley lines.

      3. Very quickly if you accidentally short the battery with a spanner. Less quickly if you just use it to talk Darth Vader in an area of moderate signal.

      4. It's okay changing nets, but for optimal experience carry your own net with you everywhere you go, trailing CAT 5 from a reel.

      5 It depends what you have on your fingertips. Its probably best to wash *that* off, but at least wipe them on your trousers.

      6. Around 5.6 Smoots, though this is dependant upon which side of the tinfoil you wear your headphones. The current trend is for outside the foil. So hot!

      7. None, anyone who witnessed the coffee photo shoot may just assumed the same phone was being since they all look like glossy black rectangles.

      1. vistisen

        Re: Is this a phone review or a camera review?

        Somebody send this man a bunch of cameras to review I want to see the results, it would be about as much use as this article. If there really must be a test of the camera, then take pictures of him testing the others. I say ‘man’ of course as he posts as an ‘anonymous coward’. He might be a woman, but somehow I doubt it.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Is this a phone review or a camera review?

        trailing CAT 5 from a reel

        Run copper everywhere you go? Are you mad? Fibre is obviously the correct tool for this job.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this a phone review or a camera review?

      It's split into six clickbait pages to maximize the ads and splooge half of them with more pics than actual content. I was left wondering if this was a phone review or a phoneporn site.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Is this a phone review or a camera review?

      All this is much more useful than how many shades og coffee it can take a photo of.

      I'm sure this photo stuff is important to someone (besides Andrew), but frankly I couldn't tell the difference between the comparison photos. I have color-deficient vision (poor green response) and I'm reading the Reg on a laptop which I'm sure is not ideal for the purpose of rendering those images, but still - I too was thoroughly uninterested by that part of the article.

      Also, I have to say, I've never, not once, seen a phone photo taken by anyone of my acquaintance where I cared about the contrast, lighting, etc. As long as the subject was visible, that's all that was required. Everyone I know uses their phones to take snapshots, not art photography; they're meant as an aid to memory, not some Benjaminian auratic experience.

      (Of course, a digital photograph can't be an auratic experience. But I imagine most Reg readers are well familiar with their Benjamin, so that goes without saying.)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When last year's Google phone

    Is still as good, and in many ways better, than this year's offering from everyone else, why bother??

    I would be surprised if even the pixel 3 is a huge game changer, the pixel 2 barrier was set very high with a pretty affordable RRP that was £400 cheaper than what apple were asking for a worse spec devicr with stupid notches on the screen.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bifurcated market

    I wonder if the only people who could really benefit from the features of a $1000 phone are precisely the people who shouldn't have one: teenagers and social media <cough>influencers.

    Once the flagships crossed the $500 mark, the spell was broken for me. Would I would really get $500 worth of value from a device? Turns out that I wouldn't, and I suspect I'm not alone. At around the $200-$300 mark there are a lot of really good phones out there. My current fave is the Nokia 6.1, which is dual-SIM (or one-SIM + micro-SD), stock Android, two years of Android updates, very respectable camera and all for $250 on Amazon.

    I may be an edge case: I use my camera for holiday snaps (where an 8/10 photo is good enough, doesn't need to be 10/10, after all I know what my spouse and kids look like) and taking photos of meeting room whiteboards and blinky lights in server rooms. I make a few dozen calls a week and send a few hundred text messages. I use a small number of grown-up apps heavily, but it's no big deal if they take 0.7seconds to load instead of 0.3.

  26. martinusher Silver badge

    We have a problem.....

    The recent interim report prepared by a Select Committee of the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport had a number of important pieces of information in it but none more the statistics that Facebook has about the same number of users as Christianity adherents, Twitter is trailing a bit with only the same number as Islam and that users check their phones about once every six and a half minutes on average. (Which, given the number of people that don't......heavy stuff....).

    There's such a thing as an 'adequate' phone; I bought one recently via Amazon that cost $130 or so that had a decent amount of memory and processing speed plus a usable screen (...and it works quite well as a phone). Its cheap enough to be not a great loss if it gets broken or stolen so its not worth paying insurance and it doesn't need finance.....

    Obsessions with phones and social media are killing us (or at least turning us into sheep). (Again, read the report....its important.....). And, as anyone who's lived with an Echo or the Google equivalent will tell you, its also a pretty naff way to interact with a portable interface. (I'm also getting increasingly fed up with younger women who still think they can interact with their phones and drive --- had another one this morning, can't imagine what's so important on their feed that they just have to read their feed *right now*.)

  27. David Tallboys

    My current usage is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - for screen size - but with calls forwarded to an old iPhone 4s that fits in my pocket.

    Neither of which cuts out the spam PPI call I just received while writing this. Grrrrr.

  28. 9Rune5

    GPS

    I do not care much for mobile phones, but I am holding out for a handset with improved GPS performance.

    Broadcom made a splash in the headlines about a year ago (e.g. https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/design/superaccurate-gps-chips-coming-to-smartphones-in-2018) and since then... total silence.

    It was mentioned at the time that Broadcom isn't very popular among the handset makers, but I assumed other chip makers would add support for L5. Or maybe they already did. These specs aren't terribly easy to come by on shopper's websites that compare very short spec sheets.

    Enabling GPS on my current handset results in me having battery angst. So I frequently do a little GPS dance number every time I find myself lost in a new place (as recentlly today when trying to figure out if there was a pharmacy in the shopping mall I was currently trapped in. Turns out there was... about 5 meters behind my back. D'oh!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GPS

      Yes, L5 enabled GPS would be nice. And I would have guessed that the first handset with L5 would be heavily advertised for this fact.

      I had also expected Qualcomm to be an early provider of L5 GPS but no joy so far.

    2. Palladium

      Re: GPS

      I drive and rely a lot on Google Maps in a city where GPS multipath interference is supposed to hurt but yet I never had navigational errors from GPS inaccuracies in current gen phones. It's always things like unreported road closures and non-updated landmark changes.

      Then again common sense works a whole lot better when near a destination than blindly relying on GPS.

      Is ~30cm accuracy a good thing? Of course. But will I pay more for it, not really...It's the good enough adage all over again.

  29. JohnFen Silver badge

    What I want

    I want a smartphone that is at least as good and useful as the ones I could buy five-ten years ago. Since nobody seems to be offering such things, I would call such a device "innovative" these days.

  30. Palladium

    "Good enough" strikes back again

    There's no exciting, real and meaningful differentiation of old versus new, or new low-end versus new high-end in consumer electronics for most people anymore, and the only left to compete is price.

    -3 year old phones are entirely usable as long as you replace the battery

    -5+ year old PCs are still more than fast enough

    -Nobody cares about overpriced OLED, HDR, 4K, Quantum whatever backlight except for niche videophiles

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "Good enough" strikes back again

      Here's my review: The best phone of this season is last year's, now available at a significant discount. For buyers on a budget, the best choice is a gently-used phone, available without contract at an 85% discount from the original selling price.

      Surprisingly, these are the same winners as in last year's review.

  31. Peter 39

    two camps

    The question of "which is the best smartphone this season" is really "which is the best Android smartphone this season".

    Apple does its stuff with iOS and, if you're into that, that's the way to go. No questions asked.

    If you're into Android then the questions abound.

  32. tp2

    Notch...

    Shuoldn't minecraft fame sue these people for using valuable notch brand?

  33. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...the ritual of plugging a phone in overnight."

    It hardly amounts to a "ritual"; a word that falsely implies an elaborate ceremony. Plugging in a phone is actual the basic quanta of infinitesimal chore; it's the smallest imaginable action. This assumes that your phone has an ambidextrous connector that'll plug in either way; if it's USB Micro then yes it's a major ritual.

    Those that claim that charging their phone overnight is a huge bother are either homeless, lying about the state of their lifestyle, or slightly insane. Typically it's the middle option.

  34. Topperfalkon

    I'm almost surprised I've never bumped into AO. Waterhouse Square is an absolutely stunning building, I hope you keep using it in your phone comparisons.

  35. russmichaels

    Year after year people throw away £600+ of their salary on a flimsy device that they use to argue with everyone on social media, look at web pages and play simple games like candy crush.

    On top of that they then also need to buy a case to protect the flimsy phone because it is so thin.

    And a battery charger because the battery doesn't even last a day if you actually us ethe device.

    And a screen protector because the screens are so easy to scratch,

    All of this can be done on a phone that costs under £200, I have purchased several Chinese phones that do everything and cost less than £100.

    I would much rather have a chunky, rugged phone that I cana ctually hold properly, is shock proof, won't break in my pocket, a screen protector as standard, a battery that lasts several days.

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