REVIEWS / Mobile & Smartphone Reviews (Android, Apple, Windows Phone...)

Romain Thuret
As multitasking work/life organisers, portable multimedia entertainers and full-on pocket computers, smartphones have soon become a mainstay of our daily lives. With manufacturers updating ranges regularly, make sure you compare several models before you buy to ensure you pick the smartest choice.

When testing smartphones, we assess the general display quality, onscreen colour fidelity (Delta E), contrast levels, brightness levels and viewing angles. We check out the photo/video camera, audio quality and the GPS, not to mention the general web-surfing experience and the quality of the browser. We also look at network connectivity to check how well a phone finds and holds on to Wi-Fi, 3G and other networks. Battery life is tested for several types of use (video playback, web), as well as for mixed use over 3G and over Wi-Fi.

With the average smartphone you can now surf the web, take photos, send and receive e-mails, search for locations and routes via GPS, listen to music, watch videos or play games on a generally decent screen. Ever since the original iPhone hit the market back in 2007, the smartphone hasn't looked back, with more and more multifunction connected mobiles outed each year.
Smartphone screen size just keeps on growing. In fact, it's increasingly difficult to find a decent selection of models with displays under 4'' in size. On top of that, processing power is on the up while power use drops to boost battery lives. Operating systems (Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Microsoft's Windows Phone, RIM's BlackBerry OS, Samsung's Bada, etc.) are becoming increasingly intuitive and practical too. It's no wonder so many of us have snapped up one of these new-generation mobiles.
Over the last couple of years, we've seen a selection of stand-out handsets emerge in the high-end market. However, there are now more than ever good-value mid-range smartphones out there too. There are even some decent entry-level handsets around (approx. £200 SIM-free), which are perfectly suitable for users who don't want to shell out for an all-singing, all-dancing mobile.
Basically, you're spoilt for choice these days! To pick a model, think about your needs and priorities (do you need a good camera, a good battery life, a fast handset, a high-def screen, etc.?), then use our reviews, search filters and buyer's guide to whittle down the options.

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