ASKADRIAN

Our tech edi­tor ADRIAN WECK­LER tack­les your trick­i­est tech­nol­ogy prob­lems

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS - @adri­an­weck­ler

QMy hus­band and I have just paid off our mort­gage and are think­ing of get­ting a re­ally nice smart­phone. We’ve al­ways made do with ba­sic mod­els, usu­ally Sam­sung. My hus­band got a Huawei on his last up­grade. We tend to keep our phones for as long as we can. Mine is al­most five years old. Now that we can af­ford to spend more, is it worth chang­ing to an iPhone? Is there a good Sam­sung or ri­val model that’s worth spend­ing the ex­tra money on?

AThe main dif­fer­ence be­tween ex­pen­sive phones and bud­get mod­els is that the pricier ones take bet­ter pho­tos, have more stor­age and have more at­trac­tive phys­i­cal de­signs. They also tend to get the new­est fea­tures first, like fa­cial recog­ni­tion.

So it might de­pend on how much those facets mean to you. Suf­fice to say that to­day’s ‘ba­sic’ smart­phones are ca­pa­ble of much bet­ter things than those a cou­ple of years ago — just look at the fea­tures that mod­els such as Huawei’s P Smart (€210 from Littlewoods) or Mo­torola’s G6 (€190 from Argos) of­fer for about a quar­ter of the price. (I’ve writ­ten re­views of these bud­get hand­sets on In­de­pen­dent.ie.)

That said, the top hand­sets do have bet­ter screens, speak­ers and more power un­der the hood. That makes a dif­fer­ence if you’re go­ing to hang onto your phone for a few years, be­cause it means they can gen­er­ally cope with ad­vances in apps and ser­vices that most of us grad­u­ally adopt (like Facebook, What­sapp or Net­flix).

Those flag­ship mod­els rarely stut­ter or hang and are gen­er­ally eas­ier to look at out­doors in sun­light. If you’re in­tent on up­grad­ing and are gen­er­ally con­tent with the way your cur­rent Sam­sung or Huawei phone works, it prob­a­bly makes sense to stick with that (An­droid) oper­at­ing sys­tem rather than switch­ing to the iPhone.

Luck­ily for you, there’s no shortage of pre­mium mod­els to pick from. Sam­sung’s S9 and S9 Plus are both ex­cel­lent phones that look and feel like the ex­pen­sive hand­sets they are (The main dif­fer­ence be­tween them is that the S9 Plus’s screen is about 20pc big­ger than the S9.)

Sam­sung also re­cently re­leased a new flag­ship phone, the Galaxy Note 9 (€1,019), but it’s not pos­si­ble at this stage to give a rec­om­men­da­tion on this model.

Sim­i­larly, Huawei’s top-end phones are amaz­ing and have ar­guably over­taken Sam­sung as the best pre­mium An­droid de­vices (while cost­ing a lit­tle less, too). Huawei’s P20 Pro is prob­a­bly the best An­droid phone out there at the mo­ment. This is down to its cam­era and its bat­tery life: both are the best on the mar­ket at present.

(I have writ­ten longer, de­tailed re­views on each of these phones which you can find on In­de­pen­dent.ie.)

Sony’s top-end phones have fallen off the pace in re­cent years, while HTC is barely hang­ing in there. How­ever, their pric­ing re­flects this, with Sony’s flag­ship XZ2 now avail­able for around €600 (from Three) and HTC’s U11 avail­able for €550 (from Har­vey Nor­man).

If you don’t quite fancy head­ing to­ward €1,000 for your phone, OnePlus has a bril­liant phone (the OnePlus 6) for just over €500 (from oneplus.com). How­ever, you have to buy this di­rectly on­line.

It sounds like you’ve been sen­si­ble for the last few years and are look­ing for a treat. If so, I’d go for Huawei’s P20 Pro. As well as hav­ing the best bat­tery life on the mar­ket and an in­cred­i­ble 6.1-inch screen, the cam­era on this is sen­sa­tional. It has a fea­ture called ‘night mode’ that pro­duces bet­ter low light snaps than most pro­fes­sional cam­eras.

REC­OM­MEN­DA­TION: Huawei P20 Pro (€899 from Har­vey Nor­man or €699 from Three on pre­pay)

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