Tuesday 27 September 2016

The magnificent seven: the best phones to buy by price

Published 23/10/2015 | 02:30

Huawei Ascend G7 (€250 from operators)
Huawei Ascend G7 (€250 from operators)

Under €100

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Vodafone Smart Prime 6

(€99 from Vodafone)

It used to be that sub-€100 smartphones were dinky pieces of tat that struggled to do half the things you asked of them. But this own-brand phone can do a reasonable amount of what rivals five times the price can do. The phone has a decent five-inch screen, is 4G-compatible and is pretty comfortably designed with more than a passing resemblance to Samsung's last-but-one Galaxy S4. It also has a memory card slot meaning you can back things up. It has a serviceable 8MP rear camera and a 2MP selfie lens in front. The battery's only okay, but you get what you pay for.

€100-€200

Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen

(€190 from operators)

With a 13-megapixel camera, five-inch HD screen, 4G and 5-megapixel selfie camera, this is a lot of smartphone for your money. The Moto G (3rd generation) also has a decent 2,500mAh battery and water resistant features. A nifty sensor feature within the rear casing also tells you when it isn't fully pressed closed and, thus, not water resistant. The phone is also very easy to use with a minimum of fuss because of its 'pure' Android operating system. It has just 8GB of storage but also an external memory card slot to expand this.

€200-€300

Huawei Ascend G7

(€250 from operators)

Huawei ('wow-way', not 'hoo-wow-way') is making phones with 90pc of the features of flagship rivals and selling them for 50pc of the price. The G7 is a perfect example. It's a very decent-looking 5.5-inch Android model with 4G, a good (13-megapixel) camera, a fast processor and 16GB of storage. Clever design tweaks include two built-in antennae which allow it to maximise the phone signal depending on which way you're holding it. This sounds minor but it's not in areas where the phone signal is patchy.

€300-€400

OnePlus 2

(€399 from OnePlus.net)

This 5.5-inch OnePlus 2 may be the best value phone on the market right now. Its 13-megapixel camera is a huge improvement on its predecessor's lens, with much better shooting in low light. It also captures 4K video and it has a front-facing 5-megapixel selfie camera. Aesthetically, the handset is beautifully designed, with tactile rear casing that makes it easy to handle. There's a clever switch on the side of the phone that allows you to switch off, or limit, interruptions from notifications. OnePlus is not a large company so its after-sales capability - including customer service - is much more limited than big rivals and their partners.

€400-€600

Sony Xperia Z3 Plus

(€570 from Vodafone)

Hovering just below the superphones is this superb model from Sony. The 5.2-inch Z3+ is supremely elegant, lightning fast and packs one of the best cameras (20 megapixels with 5MP selfie camera) you can get on a smartphone at any price. It's also almost waterproof, a feature that may be useful to some. It has a beautifully fluid, bright smooth full HD screen and probably the best battery life on the market. This is a really good deal for the money.

€600-€700

Samsung Galaxy S6

(€680 from Carphone Warehouse)

Samsung's S6 has a better camera, more power and more storage (32GB) than almost all rivals in this price category. It has a great 5.1-inch screen, too, and decent battery life. But its looks are what gives it the finishing touch: this is a metal affair, with plastic all but banished. This catapults it up to the lofty heights of the iPhone 6 in design aesthetics.

Over €700

iPhone 6S plus

(€870 from Compu b)

The top iPhone is always going to be hard to beat. And so it is with Apple's new flagship device: the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus. An improved 12-megapixel camera, brighter screen and much faster engine mean that this is the Mercedes of phones. It has the looks, it has Apple's latest iOS 9 operating system and it will be future-proofed for at least two to three years. This is top of the pile.

Irish Independent

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