This year’s best smart­phones

Business Traveller - - CONTENTS - WORDS DAVID PHE­LAN


Ap­ple’s lat­est is the most pow­er­ful iPhone yet. It’s about the same size as last year’s iPhone 8 Plus but it has an all-screen front, with a 6.5in pin-sharp OLED screen – great for watch­ing videos. The rear cam­eras are Ap­ple’s most ad­vanced and in­clude a bril­liant new Por­trait mode where you can choose the depth of field af­ter you’ve taken the photo. Be­cause the front is all screen, the fin­ger­print sen­sor has been re­placed by Face ID: a spe­cial front-fac­ing TrueDepth cam­era can recog­nise your face re­li­ably, and quickly, even in the dark. It’s se­cure enough for mak­ing pay­ments with Ap­ple Pay, too. The pow­er­ful pro­ces­sor means this phone is light­ning-fast even when us­ing de­mand­ing apps, and the bat­tery lasts all day with ease.

A new fea­ture, Dual Sim, is bril­liant for busi­ness trav­ellers. One sim card plus one e-sim mean you can have two num­bers on one phone. Use your main num­ber for calls and texts, but buy a lo­cal data plan for the e-sim to save on roam­ing charges.

This is a big phone but there’s also the iPhone XS, which is smaller and more man­age­able. Apart from screen size and bat­tery life, the two are iden­ti­cal. iPhone XS, from £999; iPhone XS Max, from £1,099, ap­

HUAWEI MATE 20 PRO Le­ica makes out­stand­ing cam­eras and this brand-spank­ing new phone from Chi­nese brand Huawei has three of them on the back. One even has a re­mark­able 40-megapixel res­o­lu­tion. The cam­eras can work to­gether in­tel­li­gently to de­liver the strong­est im­ages and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence can spot what you’re shoot­ing and ad­just ac­cord­ingly.

For in­stance, it can tell cats from dogs and em­pha­sise their eyes or their fluffy fur re­spec­tively. It sim­i­larly shoots dif­fer­ently ac­cord­ing to whether your sub­ject is a land­scape or a plate of food. There’s also a 24-megapixel selfie cam­era, if you must. Ap­ple’s lat­est iPhone XS cam­eras give the Huawei a run for its money, but this is bril­liant for pho­tog­ra­phy.

It also has two amaz­ing fea­tures: the fin­ger­print sen­sor is em­bed­ded un­der the dis­play, so you press the screen. This fea­ture works well. Coolest of all, it has wire­less charg­ing that al­lows it to both re­ceive and give a charge. Press the Mate 20 Pro against an­other com­pat­i­ble phone and it’ll charge the other hand­set! Busi­ness users will like that this is a solid pow­er­house in a slim case. This is eas­ily Huawei’s classi­est phone yet. £899, SAM­SUNG GALAXY NOTE9 The lat­est from Sam­sung has a screen al­most as big as the iPhone’s (6.4in), ideal if you take a lot of notes. Thanks to the slim S-Pen that springs out of the phone’s base, you can write on the screen even on standby. There is a but­ton that works as a wire­less trig­ger for the cam­era and which also wire­lessly moves your pre­sen­ta­tion to the next slide. The Note9 has two highly ca­pa­ble cam­eras, es­pe­cially in low light, thanks to large sen­sors and ad­vanced soft­ware. The bat­tery life is ex­cel­lent, eas­ily enough for a full day. And if you need a lot of stor­age, the Note9 is un­beat­able: with the larger-ca­pac­ity model and a suit­able me­mory card, you can store 1TB. Un­like most of the phones here, the Note9 has a 3.5mm head­phone jack so you can use what­ever head­phones you like. (The other phones with this kind of con­nec­tor are the OnePlus 6, Mo­torola One and Black­Berry KEY2.) £849, john­ MO­TOROLA ONE A quick glance and you could be for­given for think­ing you’re look­ing at the iPhone XS; this Mo­torola hand­set of­fers strong de­sign at a keen price. The screen res­o­lu­tion is no­tice­ably lower than oth­ers here, mind. Still, it boasts twin rear cam­eras, sculpted glass 5.9in dis­play, dual-sim ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­cent stor­age ca­pac­ity (64GB), all un­usual at this price. The dual sim ca­pa­bil­ity is handy for busi­ness trav­ellers: pick up a lo­cal sim on ar­rival over­seas. It comes with a fast-charge plug, promis­ing six hours of use af­ter a 20-minute charge. A plain An­droid set-up means soft­ware up­dates will be prompt and it has some Mo­torola ex­tras: a dou­ble twist launches the cam­era, while a dou­ble shake turns on the torch. The Moto logo on the rear houses the fin­ger­print sen­sor and Mo­torola even in­cludes a trans­par­ent phone case that guides you to find the sen­sor with­out look­ing. £269, mo­

ONEPLUS 6 OnePlus has a his­tory of mak­ing high-end phones at mid-range prices and this one is half the price of some. The screen is large and cov­ers most of the phone’s front, though it’s not as high-res­o­lu­tion as oth­ers. But it’s a very fast phone: apps spring open in­stantly, video play­back is smooth and mul­ti­task­ing is ef­fi­cient. It has face recog­ni­tion, but it’s not as re­li­able as on the iPhone, nor deemed se­cure enough for bank­ing apps, how­ever the fin­ger­print sen­sor on the back is fast. Although it lacks the wire­less charg­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of some phones, the rea­son­ably good bat­tery charges very quickly: use the Dash Charge cable and plug and you’ll get al­most a day’s use from a 30-minute charge – handy when you’re on the move. The OnePlus 6T is im­mi­nent and will in­clude a fin­ger­print sen­sor buried in the phone’s dis­play but will come at a higher price. From £469, SONY XPE­RIA XZ3 This is the first Sony with an OLED screen and it looks fan­tas­tic, with a curved glass back and amaz­ing lev­els of con­trast and vi­brant colours. The 6in dis­play is big enough to make watch­ing pro­grammes or movies im­mer­sive – you might even leave your tablet at home when you’re trav­el­ling. Although it’s a big phone, there’s a clever ad­di­tion: tap the edge and a list of app short­cuts ap­pears, lined up at the side to make one-handed use eas­ier. Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence learns your habits and sug­gests dif­fer­ent apps ac­cord­ing to whether it’s a week­day morn­ing at home (traf­fic and news apps), a week­end af­ter­noon (Net­flix, per­haps) or on a work­ing day abroad (which might be trans­la­tion and cal­en­dar apps).

Note that the fin­ger­print sen­sor can take a lit­tle get­ting used to: it’s a lit­tle lower on the back of the phone than your dig­its might ini­tially ex­pect. £699, sony­mo­ GOOGLE PIXEL 3 XL The Pixel 3 XL has a 6.3in dis­play and, like the iPhone XS Max, a smaller-screened (5.5in) sib­ling is also avail­able: the Pixel 3. Google’s own-brand phones don’t have the dual- or triple-cam­era op­tions of some, but the cam­era is still re­mark­able. It uses highly in­tel­li­gent soft­ware both to im­prove re­sults in very low light and to cre­ate depth-of-field and other ef­fects. A fea­ture called Top Shot claims to be clever enough to avoid tak­ing a shot when some­one blinks, shoot­ing sev­eral im­ages quickly and choos­ing the smi­ley, not the frowny, one. It also has a zoom mode that stitches mul­ti­ple im­ages to­gether for greater de­tail. Mind you, it does have two front-fac­ing cam­eras to give you more ver­sa­til­ity with selfie shots.

Busi­ness users might like the way the phone uses AI to screen calls. Tap the screen call but­ton when the phone rings and a Google ro­bot will ask who they are and why they’re call­ing. You see a tran­scrip­tion on the screen and can de­cide whether to an­swer or not. No more spam calls, Google says.

£869, →








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