Choosing A New Smartphone | TechTuesday

I’m analysing every device on the current UK smartphone market to find one which fits my incredibly difficult requirements. Here’s how I got on…

I’ve already mentioned in an earlier post that I broke my Nexus 5, so now I’m looking into buying a new phone rather than potentially wasting £100 repairing my current one, which is a bit old anyway.

What Next?

The problem I’m having is that I don’t think there’s a phone on the market right now which is a big enough improvement to be worth my money.

I’ve automatically ruled out a Windows Phone because, despite their great improvements on Windows 10, I’m just not keen on Microsoft. Nobody cares about Windows Phone anyway. The same goes for Blackberry phones – they’re just not a thing anymore. Plus, can we really trust the company, formally called Research In Motion, who went by the acronym “RIM”?

iPhones are also ruled out. They work, they’re great, Apple has made a lot of improvements with the 6, but there’s plenty of things I hate about iPhones too: the price, Apple’s inability to use a standard micro-USB charger & Apple’s closed Apple-only approach – that’s not what technology is about, it’s about working together to make a great product, Apple are just greedy. Overall though, Android and iOS are on par, I just have a preference for Android.

Pure Android Experience

Android comes in many different varieties, however I’m a lover of stock “vanilla” Android (the way Google intended Android to be) for three reasons:

  • I hate the ugly, bulky user interfaces that manufacturers add to Android.
  • I hate the bloatware (crappy, useless apps) that manufacturers force you too have. It uses up storage space & slows down the device performance.
  • Stock Android phones gets the first batch of Android updates, as and when they come out. Their software is kept up-to-date for a long time (many years) after launch. (As if we’re Google’s best buddies!)

So, that rules out Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG and Huawei, leaving only Motorolas range or the Nexus 6 (made by Motorola for Google). Yes, I know I’m fussy. I did consider the OnePlus One, which runs a modified version of Android 4.4 called Cyanogen. It’s high-end spec, innovative features and low price are extremely appealing, but I’m worried about moving away from how Google intended Android to be and there’s no Qi wireless charging. Once the hype for the OnePlus One dies down, the company is said to have a OnePlus Two ready to launch. Maybe I’ll reconsider it later?

Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen)

I’ve worked out that the best Motorola phone available currently is their flagship Moto X (2nd Gen). Strangely, it’s the only phone in their latest range which offers NFC, which I consider an essential (ready for Google Wallets’ UK arrival).

For the model with 32GB of storage space, the cheapest price is £435.00 upfront. For that price the Moto X offers some innovative features, such as super-smart camera abilities, 4K-quality video recording, enhanced voice-control capabilities & water resistance.

My worry with Motorola is that it’s no longer owned by Google (they sold it to Lenovo). I fear that this may lead to the Moto X no longer getting fast updates to the latest versions of Android – which is important for me. Also, there’s no wireless charging! Weird, as Motorola has been such an innovative company. I’d consider wireless charging a standard feature for higher-end handsets now, I already have that ability with my Nexus 5.

Google Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 (the next model up from my current phone) is essentially the same as the Moto X. It was built by Motorola for Google & it’s based on the Moto X’s design and specifications. The Nexus 6 is owned by Google, therefore it’ll be given priority when any updates to Android are released. The Nexus 4 (model before my current phone, released November 2012) still has the latest Android update, so the Nexus 6 is guaranteed to be a long-lived handset, thus a worthwhile purchase.

However, at £479.99 cheapest price for the 32GB model, it’s pretty expensive. It’s sad to see the price go up as well, the Nexus range was well known for it’s stunning value; high-end specs at mid-range prices. Maybe if there was a few extra features, like a fingerprint scanner, I’d be a bit more willing, but Apple took the best fingerprint-scanner manufacturer for its’ iPhones and Google wasn’t willing to settle for second best. So, overall, the Nexus 6 doesn’t feel like a huge improvement at all over the Nexus 5. The only “improvement” I can see is the screen being bigger at 6 inches, but I think that’s too big. It’s stepping into tablet territory, it won’t fit nicely in my hand. Silly Google! Bigger doesn’t mean better.

So Much Choice, But Nothing For Me

So, after my analysis of every phone on the UK market, I’ve learnt that, well, I’m ridiculously fussy. However, I think I’m happy in my ways. Maybe I’ll just have to wait for the OnePlus Two, a new Moto X with wireless charging or the next Nexus phone from Google – maybe this time it will launch with a fingerprint sensor and full waterproof abilities?

Rumour has it that the next Nexus phone will be made by with Huawei or LG. I’m personally making an ambitious guess that there may be two Nexus phones in 2015 – one high-end and one stunning-value budget/mid range phone. Maybe?

For now, I’ll continue to wait. Maybe I should get my Nexus 5 repaired after all?