If money is tight this Christmas there's no need to deny yourself a new smartphone. We've just published an article about the top 5 best smartphones of the year but we know things are tight for us all this year; although that shouldn't deny us our little gadget pleasures!
Despite ever-advancing technology, old handsets (if something built late last year/early this year can truly be considered 'old') still manage to make a good impression in the smartphone world. If posing with the very latest smartphone really doesn’t bother you, consider one of our recommendations as your next mobile phone. To make the financial burden a whole lot easier, you should consider trading in your old mobile phone or any other gadgets you don't want and free up some extra cash to put towards a new phone.
Even with an update every year from Apple, the iPhone 4 is still impressive as a smartphone for those who aren’t fussed about showing off the very latest gadgets. Apple improved everything about the previous model with the iPhone 4, giving it a completely new look and tweaking all the insides to make it even better. The 5MP rear camera might sound lowly in this world of 13MP’s, but Apple implemented an ‘illuminated sensor’ feature that is more sensitive to light and makes for crisp photos and improved low-light performance. The built-in flash, which was first seen on this iPhone, also means you can say goodbye to those dark disappointments.
The phone itself is just 0.37” thick and manages to pack a lot into such a small frame. The gyroscope takes gaming to a whole new level and uses your movements to control the game. Similar to the Wii controller, the iPhone gyroscope knows which way you’re facing, whether you’re looking up or down, and transfers your physical movements into the game. It’s clever stuff and makes gaming on the iPhone feel more involved, so rather than tapping some buttons you actually feel as if you’re physically controlling the game.
The Good: The iconic all-in-one phone, computer and music player. The gyroscope makes gaming more interactive and the camera is vastly improved from the 3GS.
The Bad: One major flaw in the iPhone 4 is that it loses reception when held in a certain way. There is a 'solution' to this, though: "Just don't hold it like that."
Samsung Galaxy S2
Despite now being considered ‘old’ technology, the Samsung Galaxy S2 still holds its own in the now even more advanced world of the smartphone. At just 8.49mm thick, it’s the pocket-friendly smartphone with a whole load of impressive features – one of which is its striking display. The 4.3” screen has a resolution of 800x480MP, which sounds distinctly unimpressive given that average resolutions now hit and exceed the 1,000 mark, but the AMOLED technology makes for a vivid display with vibrant colours and sharp, clear images, so you won’t miss those extra pixels one bit. What’s more, that vibrancy remains undiminished when you tilt the phone at an angle, which is a rare feat for LCD screens.
The dual-core processor of the Galaxy S2 means that everything is faster and smoother. You can browse the web seamlessly, multi-task quickly and stream smoothly. On top of that, you can share your multimedia using the AllShare feature that allows the S2 to wirelessly connect to a TV, laptop of audio system to play files from the phone.
The Good: Fast processing speed and amazing display thanks to AMOLED Plus technology, making gaming and movies sharper than ever.
The Bad: A flimsy back cover gives a cheap feel to what would otherwise be a very stylish handset.
Nokia Lumia 800
The Lumia 800 was the first of Nokia’s smartphones to make the change to Windows operating system, which worked largely in its favour. Millions of people worldwide are already familiar with Windows, so the addition of Windows Phone 7.5 means users should feel comfortable with the OS, and instantly recognise the user interface.
The vibrant AMOLED screen sits behind tough Gorilla Glass making the Lumia 800 both striking and sturdy, and a resolution of 800x480 on a 3.7” touchscreen offers clear text and crisp images, though obviously not on a par with the likes of the iPhone. The 8MP camera can record video at 720p HD, making it a perfectly fine phone camera if a little fussy about light levels. This probably won’t bother you much though since the OS is the real star of the show with responsive and intuitive menus and large, colourful user-friendly tiles.
The Good: Gorilla Glass with ClearBlack AMOLED display makes viewing sharp and vibrant, and Office Hub equips the phone with Microsoft Office functionality.
The Bad: The screen can be dodgy at times and there is often the risk of hitting the wrong icons when getting used to the Windows Live Tiles.
Sony Xperia U
The Sony Xperia U is a sleek, stylish little handset which offers that increasingly rare feature on Android phones: the ability to fit it into your pocket. This phone packs everything you need from an Android device into a size that’s half that of the latest 80’s-sized handsets, and has some impressive features that make you wonder why the newer technology is really necessary. The 3.5” screen of the Xperia U is powered by a mobile Sony BRAVIA engine that makes everything sharp, clear and vibrant, so that 480x854 pixel display doesn’t look as measly as it sounds.
The 5MP camera comes with LED flash and fast capture, which, as the name suggests, means you can capture photos quickly. The camera also features HD recording and both 2D and 3D panoramic photo imaging, but the real star of this show is the music player. As you’d expect from a Sony device, the music player features a whole load of features to make the listening experience more immersive, with xLoud technology and Sony 3D surround sound audio integrated as standard to make music loud and clear even when using the external speaker.
The Good: Bright, vibrant display with enduring battery life makes for a great display that won't drain the power after a couple of hours use.
The Bad: With only 4GB of internal storage and no SD card slot, you're limited to the amount of data you can store on the phone. The memory also gets eaten up quickly when shooting video at 720p, on top of everything else that you can expect to keep on there.
BlackBerry Bold 9900
If you like calculators, chances are you’ll love the BlackBerry Bold 9900. Often the handset of choice for corporate users and, bizarrely, teenagers, the BlackBerry provides email and instant messaging services (BBM) - but that’s about all it’s good for. In terms of apps, RIM’s App World is severely lacking when up against Apple’s App Store or those on offer from Android, and given the current smartphone climate, that’s not really good enough. It’s a decent enough phone if you’re not after an all-singing handset though, with a 1.2GHz single-core Snapdragon CPU, 768MB of memory and 8GB of storage. The camera has a fast shutter speed making it easy to point and click to get a decent picture, while the menus appear swiftly and the document editing features add to the appeal of this as a business handset.
Overall, if you're already a die-hard BlackBerry fan you'll find the Bold 9900 a great little phone, but it's unlikely to create any converts.
The Good: Touchscreen technology teamed with a physical qwerty keyboard and small touchpad makes web browsing convenient and avoids incorrect links when trying to press the screen.
The Bad: Lack of autofocus on the camera makes for blurred shots when trying to capture moving images - even when moving slowly.
If you happen to aquire one fo these ne phones, don't forget to sell your phone (the old one of course).