SUMMER is often a quiet period for new phones – but not this year.
After the outstanding-value iPhone SE, there have been six great smartphones from Huawei, Sony, Oppo, Nokia, Motorola and new brand TCL. Four of them are future-proofed in the shape of 5G connectivity.
The two that are not, the TCL 10 Pro and Nokia 5.3, are keenly priced. Oh, and four have a great feature I thought had almost disappeared these days – a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s on the Sony, Motorola, TCL and Nokia phones.
I have been busy trying out what is on offer and here are my verdicts . . .
BEST FOR CAMERA
Huawei P40 Pro+
£1,299 from Huawei (with free Huawei Watch GT 2 worth £179.99). Contract prices TBA. Also great for: Lovely design.
The Chinese firm’s new offering looks amazing with its ceramic back and a screen that slopes over the edges. But it’s the camera tech that excels.
In fact, there are FIVE cameras. There’s a 50MP main one, 40MP ultrawide for panoramas and telephoto with 10x zoom.
A periscope lens that reflects the light five times inside the phone means it can get this zoom and remain thin. No Gmail or Google app store. Huawei has alternatives for many apps, but not all.
BEST FOR WATCHING FILMS
Sony Xperia 1 II
£1,099 from Carphone Warehouse or from £19 plus £46 a month from Vodafone. Also great for: 4K display.
This is a movie-watcher’s phone – it has a true widescreen display and a 4K screen as rich and detailed as a full-sized Ultra HD telly.
The three cameras are very advanced and deliver amazing shots. But you can still get great photos with a point-and-shoot approach.
The phone is a longer, slimmer shape that makes the 6.5in screen manageable. Oh, and last but not least – here is a top-of-the-range phone that possesses a proper head-phone jack.
BEST FOR PRICE
£149.95 from Argos. Also great for: battery life. The fingerprint sensor on the back of this phone – and the plastic it is made of – tells you this is a budget device.
There is, nevertheless, a lot to like about it. There are four rear cameras, and it has a vivid 6.55in display and a battery that can go for up to two days.
It also has, yes, that handy headphone jack.
Nokia uses an almost pure version of Android software, which means that it’s usually positioned right at the front of the queue when software upgrades come around.
BEST FOR BATTERY LIFE
£550 from Amazon or from £30 plus £30 a month from O2. Also great for: Design.
One of the classiest phones Motorola has ever made – with a slick, slim design and a display that curves down the phone’s long edges (hence the name).
The display is bright and attractive. Cameras include a main 64MP sensor which makes four pixels work as one to deliver pin-sharp 16MP images, even in lowish light.
The battery goes on and on. The fingerprint sensor, which is underneath the display itself, isn’t quite as fast or reliable as others but that is one of few let-downs.
BEST FOR BUILD QUALITY
TCL 10 Pro
£399.95 from Argos or from £30 plus £35 a month from EE. Also great for: Value.
Another value option, this phone from Chinese brand TCL still has excellent design, four rear cameras and twin flashes for low light. It looks much classier than its price tag would suggest.
The back has a colour that graduates from forest green to black. It’s a speedy performer, but the battery life is no match for the other phones here.
Though there are multiple cameras, the image quality is not as good as the Sony or Huawei. Also has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
BEST FOR FAST CHARGING
Oppo Find X2 Pro
£1,099 from Carphone Warehouse or from £29 plus £70 a month from Vodafone.
Also great for: Top photos.
It can’t match the Sony screen’s 4K resolution but the display is stunning thanks to its super-fast refresh rate, which means scrolling through lists or playing games are super-smooth.
Like the Huawei, it has a ceramic back, or one with a vegan leather back is also available.
It’s a fast performer and quick to charge – from zero to full in 38 minutes. It is second only to Huawei for photos.
It has three rear cameras including a 5x zoom peri-scope lens.
The main 48MP camera is very high quality.
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