It’s always difficult to pick a smartphone. With more and more choices popping up it’s almost impossible for the uninitiated to make a properly informed opinion. Usually our advice is to ask friends, read reviews, watch online videos and then make up your own decision based on what you personally like the sound of best.
However, the current mobile climate is a little odd. With all the recent strange goings-on – Jelly Bean being released without a flagship device, BlackBerry making the switch to BB10, WP8 being announced without backwards compatibility and even the semi-new timetable for iPhone releases – we thought we’d do a quick post to help folks along.
We’d like you to please note that this article was posted on the 7th of August 2012 and should be read in said context.
Should I Wait for the New iPhone?
Absolutely yes. Right now is the worst possible time to buy a new iPhone. The iPhone 5 (or New iPhone) is due to be released probably sometime in mid September. At worst we’re looking at an October launch. Just be patient and wait it out. Even if the iPhone 4S sounds fine to you by waiting that extra month or two you’ll see a significant price-drop when the new iPhone hits the shelves.
What Android Phone Should I Buy?
Android is tricky, there’s always a newer and better device around the corner. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has already been released, but so far no smartphones have actually launched with compatibility out of the box. In some areas we’ve started hearing unconfirmed reports about Jelly Bean updates for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but most users are still yet to see any evidence of it.
Generally the best time to buy an Android device is right after a flagship phone is launched. A flagship phone is the smartphone upon which all of a certain manufacturer’s devices will be based for the next year. The three biggest Android flagships right now are the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (the Android flagship) the HTC One X (The HTC flagship) and the Samsung Galaxy S3 (The Samsung Flagship).
Out of these three options we recommend the Galaxy S3. The HTC One X is also a great option, but after carefully reviewing both handsets we found the S3 offered just a slightly better overall experience.
Our advice here is to simply grab a Galaxy S3 if you’re after the best Android phone on the market right now.
Windows Phone 7, or Wait for Windows Phone 8?
Wait. Windows Phone 7 is a great and upcoming platform, we’re actually huge fans of it. However, Microsoft recently announced Windows Phone 8, the new and upcoming version of Windows Phone. WP8 will bring many exciting and new concepts to the mobile world, specifically the fact that it will be very, very closely paired with Windows 8, so much so that both OSes will be based on the same kernal. This means that a developer can write an app for Windows 8 and then port it to WP8 with relative ease.
There is also the potential for a gaming experience that we’ve never seen before, as WP8 will support the Havoc graphics engine. Havoc is the basis for such titles as Assassin’s Creed and even Skyrim.
In short Windows Phone 8 sounds incredibly exciting. So why do we advise against getting a WP7 device? Simple.
The current generation of WP7 handsets are woefully undergeared compared to the competition. Low resolution, single-core processors and generally low amounts of RAM are currently found on all premium WP7 handsets. This wasn’t initially a problem because WP7 didn’t require too much processing power to provide its unique and fluid experience. However, WP8 is going to be very hardware intensive. As a result Microsoft will be catching up one or two generations of tech almost overnight, meaning that the older WP7 devices will simply not be able to handle the new Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Current WP7 devices will receive a minor update called Windows Phone 7.8. This update should hopefully be enough to appease current users and will bring some interesting new features. Even so, we would advise against jumping on the Windows Phone 7 ship just as it’s being retired. Better to either wait for Windows Phone 8 (which, once again, we can’t stress enough how awesome its potential is) or, if you can’t wait, go for another option like Android or iPhone.
Currently we’re hearing rumours about a September announcement regarding new Windows Phone 8 devices from Nokia, but nothing is concrete as of yet.
What about BlackBerry?
If you’re one of the few remaining die-hard BlackBerry fans then the good news is that your choice is easy. Do you want a new BB10 device or are you so in love with the traditional BlackBerry model that you want to keep it going as long as possible?
BB10 is due out in early 2013, so you’ll have to wait until then to get one. We’d guess you’re looking at roughly a six month wait at this point, so if you can hold out until then we thoroughly recommend it.
If you still love your old BlackBerry experience then shop away. There are still plenty of BlackBerry phones on the market so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a hold of one. The good news is that you don’t have to rush. With BB10 at least six months away, coupled with the fact that traditional BlackBerry devices will still be around for a while after its release, you have plenty of time to spare.