1. Samsung Galaxy S III
It’s finally here. After months of hype and feverish speculation the Samsung Galaxy S3 is now available in the UK. It’s already the most pre-ordered gadget in history, and it’s not hard to see why. First up, there’s the screen: a massive 4.8-inch Super AMOLED beauty with a whopping resolution of 1280 x 720p. Despite the size of the display the Galaxy S3 is no bulky beast; it’s ridiculously light and slim. There’s a quad-core processor beating away beneath the chassis, so web browsing is blisteringly fast. A whopping amount of storage is also available for your media files. All of which helps to make this a phone that’s more than worthy of our number one spot.
2. HTC One X
The first quad-core HTC phone to land on these shores looks set to reinvigorate the HTC brand after a bumpy 2011. It has everything you could want from a premium handset: cool looks, a ridiculously powerful 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and a fast, feature-packed 8MP camera. The screen is an absolute gem too: 4.7-inches of high definition eye-candy that melts into a slim polycarbonate unibody chassis. The One X runs the latest version of Android out-of-the-box, with a brand new HTC Sense 4.0 overlay packed with customization options. We love it, and we bet you will too.
3. Apple iPhone 4S
Some say the iPhone 4S is merely a bridge phone, designed to prop up sales of Apple’s handsets before the iPhone 5 is released in the near future. Even if that turns out to be true, the 4S is still a great handset in its own right. Although it’s identical to a regular iPhone 4 on the outside, a number of tweaks and improvements have been made under the hood. The camera, for instance, has been bumped up from five to eight megapixels, the processor is faster, and Siri, a virtual personal assistant, comes built-in. The easy-to-use iOS and the pin-sharp Retina Display still seem a cut above the competition. However, all this goodness does come at a price.
4. Samsung Galaxy S II
The cutting-edge label may have passed to the Galaxy S3 now, but the Galaxy S2 is still one of the most popular and reliable handsets available. A dual-core 1.2GHz processor means apps run at warp speed, and the bright and colourful 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen means movies and games are gorgeous to behold. Web browsing is also blisteringly fast, even for a phone that’s now a year old; the design still seems amazing thin and light too. The Galaxy S2 also features an 8MP snapper that can hold its own against the cameras found on more recent handsets, and it’s possible to record full 1080p video too. Add in the fact that it’s a fully-fledged multimedia machine as well, and you’ve got one of the finest smartphones ever made.
5. HTC One S
The middle-child in HTC’s new One Series family is almost as good as the flagship One X. The screen is slightly smaller, but for some people that will be a plus point; not everyone wants a big screen beast. Looks-wise the HTC One S is one cool customer, thanks to its sleek aluminium chassis, which has been treated to a special oxidation process to make it virtually scratch resistant. At a mere 7.8mm thick it’ll easily slip into any pocket too. And the 1.5GHz dual-core processor can handle just about anything you care to throw at it. The 8MP camera is also identical to the one found on the One X, making this a mid-level handset that could easily be a flagship one.
6. Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is one hot handset. Although the screen is 4.65-inches, the resolution is 1280 x 720, meaning it’s both massive and pin-sharp. It runs Ice Cream Sandwich, otherwise known as Android 4.0, and also chucks in an NFC chip, facial recognition unlock feature and amazing synchronisation with Google services – all of which make the Nexus a very impressive package .
7. Nokia Lumia 800
Ever since Nokia and Microsoft joined forces we’ve been waiting for a phone that would show off the best of each company’s expertise. Well, that phone is finally here: the Nokia Lumia 800. The design of the handset is the culmination of decades of Nokia development: unfussy and attractive, functional yet also fun (the 800 Lumia comes in several soda-pop colours). As you’d expect, the Carl Zeiss camera is exceptionally good, and the 3.7 inch ClearBlack curved display has fantastic depth and contrast. All this hardware is coupled with the wonderfully intuitive Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) – the best version of Microsoft’s smartphone OS yet. A recent firmware update also improved the Lumia 800’s battery life. Want a bigger screen? Check out the recently released Lumia 900 – much the same package but with a 4.3-inch display.
8. Sony Xperia S
The partnership between Sony and Ericsson is over, but that hasn’t stopped the newly minted Sony Mobile from putting out another superb handset. The Sony Xperia S features a distinctive design: a see-through plastic bar that slices across the bottom quarter of the phone, giving it a futuristic feel. The spec sheet for Sony’s new flagship device is also mightily impressive, particularly the 12MP snapper and gorgeous high-res screen. However, there are a few niggles that stop this phone from achieving true greatness. It’s rather thick and bulky, for one, and there’s no microSD slot for upgrading the memory.
9. BlackBerry Bold 9900
RIM, the manufacturer of BlackBerry devices, is having a tough old time at the moment. Android and Apple devices have taken a chunk out of its market share, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss its phones out of hand. Why? Well, the superb BlackBerry keyboard for one, which the Bold 9900 marries with a responsive touchscreen, making it the perfect phone for both business and pleasure. The design is pure class too, with a brushed stainless steel frame, and the phone is sturdy enough to handle a few drops to the floor. Built-in Near Field Communications (NFC) technology will also keep it future proof for a while yet.
10. Huawei Ascend G300
A masterclass in how to make a great handset on a budget, the Huawei Ascend G300 offers everything you’d expect from a mid-range phone yet It costs a mere £100. The design shows that cheap doesn’t have to mean ugly, and the screen is pure eye-candy: big, bright and sharp. The Ascend 300 can also handle games, movies and desktop web browsing without any hint of slowdown – a big plus at this price point. The battery life is great too. In fact, the only real letdown is the five-megapixel camera, which, although perfectly fine for everyday snaps, doesn’t quite match the performance of the rest of the phone. However, that’s a minor niggle really. As far as budget handsets go, they don’t come any better than this.
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