Which smartphone is for you?

Are you in the market for a new smartphone? The first thing to decide is which features you actually need. Do you want whiz bang technology and dazzling displays? Or do you simply wish to make calls and receive text messages and emails, and maybe take a photo or two? 

Budget smartphones may offer similar features to more expensive phones, but they’re built cheap, and will have lower call quality, lower resolution screens, slower processors, less storage, poorer cameras and fewer features. But that’s fine if you just want to use your phone as, well, a phone. 

We’ve put together a list of smartphones that are available today, starting with budget and leading to the top-of-the-line phones and phone tablets, or ‘phablets’ as they are now commonly being called. It’s always best to know what you’re getting in a phone, so when you speak with a consultant you will be less likely to get upsold to a unit you don’t really need.

 

Budget: Nokia 215 Simple Smartphone

The Nokia 215 is ultra affordable and it does exactly what it promises. It’s a phone that makes calls and costs just AU$35–$40. It offers a good number of features for the price, which also happens to be one of the lowest anywhere in the world. Why not read Ryan’s review of the Nokia 215?

Specifications

  • Windows Phone OS
  • 2.4-inch screen with a 320 x 240 resolution
  • 0.3-megapixel camera
  • up to 20 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) AU$35–40
 

Budget: Samsung Keystone 2 E1205

Samsung Keystone 2 E1205 is a cheap phone that’s designed to provide basic mobile phone features. It has no camera, but is extremely user friendly, and within its small dimensions are packed all the basic phone features you will need. 

Specifications

  • 1.5-inch TFT LCD 128 x 128 display (65k colours)
  • 2G connectivity
  • up to 11 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) AU$30.95–59.95
 

Affordable: Nokia Lumia 635

The Nokia Lumia 635 comes in a range of bright colours that give this little smartphone plenty of personality. A front camera is missing and the 4.5-inch display doesn’t have great resolution, but the Lumia 635 packs 4G connectivity at an affordable price. 

Specifications

  • Windows Phone 8.1
  • 4.5-inch 854 x 480 display
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • 4G connectivity
  • up to 13 hours talk time.


Price (RRP): AU$279
 

Affordable: Motorola Moto E

The Moto E Android smartphone is not exactly a powerhouse unit, but is very capable of running modern apps and doing everything you’d expect from an Android phone. That makes it incredible value for its asking price. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper phone with the same level of features. 

Specifications

  • Android OS v4.4.2 (upgradeable to v5.0 Lollipop)
  • 4.3-inch qHD LCD screen
  • 5-megapixel camera
  • splash-proof rating of IPX2
  • up to 16 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) AU$160–199
 


Top of the line: LG G3

The LG G3 is a strong, well-made phone with one of the world’s sharpest displays – and it won’t break the bank. The screen on the LG G3 is huge – in fact, its size borders on phablet territory. The camera is great, too, so you’ll be able to capture some fabulous snaps whenever you point and shoot. And it features Android’s cool new OS, so usability ranks quite high with this smart mobile unit. 

Specifications

  • Android OS v4.4.2 (upgradeable to v5.0 Lollipop)
  • 5.5-inch screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • qHD screen with 3.6 million pixels
  • 16GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128GB via a MicroSD card)
  • 13-megapixel, laser-based auto-focus camera
  • up to 21 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) AU$699
 


Top of the line: iPhone 6

As is typical of Apple’s focus on design and usability, the iPhone 6 is a joy to use and it feels great in the hand. And while it doesn’t necessarily excel in any given area, its user iOS8 interface, with it’s clever mix of intuition and simplicity, is probably the best offered. The camera is fast, bright and easy to use, and its features are sure to satisfy any amateur photographer. The screen is not as sharp as its competitors, but it still dazzles with colour and brightness. 

Specifications

  • Apple iOS 8.2
  • 4.7-inch screen with 1344 x 750 resolution
  • 16–128GB internal storage
  • TouchID fingerprint security
  • 8-megapixel rear / 1.2-megapixel front cameras
  • 4G connectivity
  • up to 14 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) from AU$999
 


Top of the line: HTC One M8

The HTC One M8 nails the basics – the screen is fantastic, the speakers are loud and clear, and the processor and software cannot be faulted. If you’re into playing games, watching movies, taking photos and browsing all day, then this phone is for you. The camera may be a little low on the megapixel rating, but you still get faster shutter speeds, so you won’t miss out on the action. And besides, if you’re not a pro photographer, you’ll be super happy with the quality of images you capture with this unit. 

Specifications

  • Android OS v4.4.2 (upgradeable to v5.0 Lollipop)
  • 5-inch 1080 x 1920 display
  • 4G connectivity
  • up to 20 hour talk time.


Price (RRP) from AU$849
 


Phablet: iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus takes all the best that the iPhone 6 has to offer – design, easy-to-use interface, good camera performance – and improves upon them by including an even better camera, a HD screen and a much larger battery. The only problem is that it’s more challenging to hold in one hand due to its size, but that’s what makes this phone a phablet. 

Specifications

  • iOS 8 (upgradeable to iOS 8.2)
  • 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 HD display (16 million colours)
  • 8-megapixel rear camera / 1.2-megapixel front camera
  • up to 24 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) from AU$1149
 


Phablet: Samsung Galaxy Note 4

You won’t be able to take your eyes off the Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s amazing Super AMOLED screen with qHD resolution. Its pin-sharp display is most certainly a major selling point. It also has a sharp camera, super-processing power and a handy ‘S Pen’ stylus to help you navigate and take notes. It’s a smart phablet, packing a lot of features into the palm of your hand. 

Specifications

  • Android OS v4.4.2 (upgradeable to v5.0 Lollipop)
  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED 1440 x 2560 display (16 million colours)
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 16-megapixel autofocus LED flash rear camera / 3.7-megapixel front camera
  • up to 20 hours talk time.


Price (RRP) from AU$860

Do you have a favourite smartphone that you can recommend to our members?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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