Yeah, we heard. On September 9 there’s going to be a new iPhone. Eyes will be on Apple like never before: their most recent products have been characterised by evolution not revolution (better screens, faster processors, but nothing as revolutionary as the first iPhone was in 2007 or the iPad was in 2010) so they’ve going to have to pull something special out of the bag.
They’ve been victims of their own success, of course. Everyone else has played catch-up to such an extent that there’s now little between the best smartphone offerings at the top-end of the market. In many cases those Android offerings beat Apple on speed, user interface and most obviously, screen size. (Not for nothing is the iPhone 6 rumoured to come in two sizes: 4.7-inch and 5-5-inch, up from the current 3.5-inches - which now seems positively titchy compared to, say, anything by HTC.)
Before Apple can play its hand in a fortnight’s time, here are the best “iPhone alternatives” on the market.
1 | HTC Desire 510
HTC’s brand new handset is described as its ‘most affordable’ 4G phone, available from September for less than £150 – a snip. For that you get a generous 4.7-inch screen, a nippy Qualcomm quad-core Spapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM. Also included is HTC’s trademark BlinkFeed, a neat, customisable offering that fills the home screen with live social media feeds, news, weather, etc without having to access any apps.
£149, multiple carriers, out September
2 | Samsung Galaxy S5
A huge 5.1-inch screen that’s bright with it – far brighter than the iPhone 5. The battery life is also better, it’s waterproof and there’s a fingerprint scanner. Samsung are ahead of the curve on fitness-tracking, too: the S5 boasts a dedicated heart rate monitor on the rear, which links with the company’s S Health app. In our view, it’s the best Android phone on the market.
3 | LG G3
The LG G3’s 5.5-inch screen places it firmly in ‘phablet’ territory but the heft isn’t at the expense of finesse: it packs a pin-sharp QHD screen, a lazer-focusing camera that’s unbeatable in low light and a slick, simple UI. It’s well-designed, too: the slim screen bezels and tapered edges make it a joy to hold, even at it’s whopping size. Another neat touch is the ‘smart keyboard’ which learns your typing habits. LG claim it will reduce errors by 75 percent.
£479, multiple carriers, out now
4 | OnePlus One
The sell from this start-up brand is of a high-end phone at a markedly middling price point: for that achievement alone it should be considered alongside the best of the other Android phones by Samsung, HTC and LG. The 5.5-inch 1080p display is lovely and superb at video playback, with its mighty 1920 x 1080 resolution. Its two cameras is equally super-sized: 13-magapixels on the back and 5-megapixels on the front. Fast processing speed and overall specs are similar to the HTC One M8. Due to some restrictions on 4G it’s only available on EE, at least for the moment.
£265, EE, out now
5 | HTC One M8
It’s won several design awards and little wonder: the sturdy aluminium design is a thing of beauty, and at 5-inches this might be the sweet spot for those who want something bigger than the iPhone but not so big they feel like Dom Jolly every time their mates call. The 1920 x 1080-pixel Super LCD 3 display produces the best visuals we’ve seen on a phone, while similar could be said of the clarity of sound from the BoomSound speakers. Another fun USP: the Duo Camera that lets you change the focus on your shots, after the fact.
£530, multiple carriers, out now
6 | Google Nexus 5
Launched in October 2013 and updated this month to include Android 4.4.4 KitKat, the Nexus 5 remains a premium phone at a very reasonable price. Comfortable to hold with a purposefully understated design (at least, that’s what they’re saying), the 4.95-inch screen offers full HD, there’s wireless charging and Dualband Wi-Fi. There’s also a neat design to the microUSB port which means you don’t need to buy a separate HDMI cable to link the Nexus up to your TV.
£329, multiple carriers, out now