There is another way – several, in fact. Let us relieve you of the most ubiquitous phone on the high street
iPhones. They’re everywhere, aren’t they? There are iPhone widows, iPhone widowers, and the downright weird obsessives who have about 500 apps all ordered and categorised.
But what if you don’t want one? How to buck the trend without looking like a weirdo because you’re not halfway through drawing Godzilla on Draw Something?
Look no further my friend, the answer is right here: five great smartphones that will let you stand out proud from the crowd.
HTC One X Android phone
HTCs have long been considered the phones of choice for tech geeks, those “in the know”, and men that like their toys. The HTC One X boasts a new 4.7 inch display – one of the largest screens on the market – which makes reading emails and documents much easier than on many other handsets.
The pixel density (that’s sharpness of screen to you and me) is top of the range too, meaning you don’t lose any clarity despite such a large screen.
Proving it’s still the gadget man’s favourite, this phone lets you take a photo while shooting HD video (which is pretty cool). And, according to HTC, thanks to its Beats Audio™ you can do all this while enjoying “authentic, deep sound with true, finely-tuned details.”
Critics of the phone argue it has a short battery life, and not enough storage (32GB).
Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5
Hmmm. Being a Windows Phone it’s never going to have quite the consumer street cred of an iPhone (sorry), but it does have some clever tricks, including the “Live Tiles” operating system. This is Microsoft’s personal stamp on the smartphone market and it is pretty cool.
The “tiles” are essentially all your apps and grouped apps, what makes them different is that you can have as many or as little displaying on the start screen (home screen) at any one time.
So what? You’re thinking.
Well, these tiles can be live, meaning they’ll up date in real, LIVE time. So a travel app showing train times and your Facebook app can be live and visibly updating on your phone right there in front of you all at once.
Obviously this needs a decent Wifi or 3G connection to work, and I dread to think at what rate it eats up data, but it is an exciting new approach to phone operating in an iPhone and Android dominated world.
Another nice twist is the grouping contacts facility. Users can group and then pin the grouped contacts to the start page. For consummate networkers and people managing multiple projects, this is undeniably genius, except for one thing: the maximum number of people in a group is 20, which critics argue is too small to make it really functional.
Best of all for business users, it runs Office, and features nifty things like Excel Mobile so you can create and edit spreadsheets on the go. The Office Hub feature gives you the option of creating and editing documents and saving them to a drive that is accessible from your computer.
Samsung Galaxy Note Android phone
When you see people getting out sticks (a “stylus”, if you want to be technical) and tapping their phones, they’re not using some 10-year-old personal digital assistant (remember them?). More often than not, they’re using their Galaxy Note.
Bigger than the average smartphone, the massive 5.3 inch screen means, well, that it’s massive. Probably not the phone of choice if you have a tablet already (seeing as it’s about half the size), but ideal if you spend a lot of time commuting and don’t want to invest in a tablet or lug a laptop around.
For some, though, bigger isn’t necessarily better and critics bemoan the awkwardness of having something so big in your pocket. (For women, it makes rifling through handbags easier at least.) It’s also quite tricky to have in your hand when rushing about doing five things at once. But then maybe doing five things at once isn’t always a good idea?
Nokia Lumia 800
Life ain’t easy being Nokia. The one-time king of the mobile phone is trying to regain some territory in the smartphone world after recently losing serious ground to Samsung.
The Nokia Lumia 800 isn’t a bad effort. It’s super sleek and nicely proportioned (it looks as good as an iPhone basically). Being a Windows Phone it has the same operating system as the 7.5 outlined above, with a start screen and the groovy “Live Tiles”.
Unfortunately, unlike the old Nokia phones kicking around the back of your spare room, the battery life on the Lumia has been brandished poor, though Nokia is working on this and the new Nokia Lumia 900 promises a longer battery life.
The big coup for this phone has got to be its inbuilt sat nav – called the Nokia Drive. Sadly you don’t get an Australian or South African telling you to bear right, but you do seriously improve your chances of getting from A to B. You can check out places of interest (on the phone) while navigating roundabouts, as well as share info on your journey – i.e. tell your mates you’ve just made it through the Blackfriars tunnel alive.
BlackBerry Bold 9790
Ah. Once the daddy of corporate phones, BlackBerry (or “strawberry” as my mother still calls it), has had a tough time of late. BlackBerrygate (last year’s blackout that left millions of BlackBerry users without mobile internet access for three days) left otherwise loyal BB users furiously questioning their allegiance to the brand.
Research in Motion (RIM) which makes BlackBerry phones, is under well-publicised strain too. But it has fought back with the BlackBerry Bold range. The latest in this range is designed to be used alongside the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution package specifically for business use. The package enables employees to access their work communications and company data in a secure environment, and is intended to help businesspeople work more flexibly.
BB claims the package is more cost effective than others on the market and has different versions tailored for different sized businesses.
Critics argue the touch screen is too small to be used effectively and that there is nothing truly bold about the latest in this bold range, while the cramped keypad is tricky to manoeuvre for anyone but a concert pianist on speed. But, frankly, for sending endless emails it’s still hard to beat.
More on flexible working…
Free e-guide: The Flexible Working Revolution
Free report: Flexible working – myth or reality
Must-have gadgets for flexible working
How to make your business a lean, green, productivity machine