For anyone who travels overseas a lot a dual-SIM phone can be a real benefit because you can divert your data through a local carrier while still taking calls on your regular, roaming number. This is particularly handy with modern smartphones as there is nothing worse than stepping off a plane in parts foreign only to lobotomize your all-singing, all-dancing device by turning the data feed off. But let us say you want a dual-SIM smartphone with a big screen but you only have £200 to play with. You probably think you've no chance, but Archos has just the phone for you in the 50 Platinum.
When it comes to smartphone/tablet hybrids Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 has had the market pretty much all to itself for nigh on a year but the competition is hotting up. Sony’s 6.4-inch Xperia Ultra and the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are both due to be launched soon as are similar devices from the likes of LG and Asus. Being range-topping flagships all four will doubtless cost a pretty penny (meaning £500 or more for an unlocked example) which leaves space for cheaper alternatives like Huawei’s Ascend Mate 6.1 and the new Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3.
To date Huawei’s smartphone offering has concentrated on budget and lower-mid range devices but the arrival of the Ascend Mate phablet heralded a change in the wind. Now with the P6 Huawei has launched a phone that it hopes will appeal to potential buyers on the grounds of style, performance and quality as much as value. That’s a tough trick to pull off because it puts Huawei in direct competition with the likes of HTC, Samsung and even Apple: big boys with established brand loyalties and a track record of making popular, quality devices.
What do you get when you lock a Samsung Galaxy Camera and a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in a cheap hotel room with a bottle of wine and a Barry White album and let them get it on? The answer is the Galaxy S4 Zoom, a device that blurs the line between phone and camera to such an extent that it becomes impossible to say which is the primary function. Is it a phone with a huge camera or a camera that can make a phone call?
Last week at a press event in New York City Nokia announced a new Windows 8 smartphone that added the PureView 808's massive 41-megapixel camera sensor into the WP8 equation. By way of background most people - including me - who used the 808 though the camera was absolutely spectacular. Yes, the phone was a bit clunky thanks to it running the old and now abandoned Symbian operating system but for taking pictures and recording video the 808 was as good, if not better, than many mid-range 35mm digital compacts. That alone was no mean achievement.
BlackBerry has always had a reputation for designing and building the best smartphone Qwerty keyboards. Now it also has a reputation for building the only ones but it’s a shame most are fitted to handsets running the horribly out of date BB7 OS. The Q10 aims to revive the breed and BB’s fortunes by offering the combination of a top notch keyboard and the new BlackBerry 10 operating system first seen on the Z10.
Phablets, or very big smartphones that are half phone and half tablet are the current darlings of most gadget makers. The majority of them like the current Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the forthcoming Sony Xperia Ultra are flipping expensive but spotting a potential gap in the market Chinese handset maker Huawei has launched the Ascend Mate, a phablet with a 6.1-inch 1280 x 800 screen which can be picked up for under £340. It’s also the first device fitted with Huawei’s own chipset that I've been able to have a prolonged fiddle with.
Seen in its box the new Nokia Lumia 925 looks a lot like the 920. It has the same Gorilla Glass front, the same gently curving edges, and it’s the same size when viewed head on. But get one in your hand and you’ll see that the casing is aluminium rather than polycarbonate, that it's a little thinner and a lot, lot lighter. But does that make it a better buy than the still-available 920?
The three big beasts of Android all now have new flagship handsets on the market. HTC has the One, Samsung the Galaxy S4 and Sony the Xperia Z. If you are buying your phone on contract there isn't much difference in terms of price which raises a question. Just which one should you buy? To answer that question we put the three smartphones that would be king head-to-head.