I decided a little while ago that I was going to get a new phone for the new year so I have been doing a little research.
I don’t actually work my phones that hard — I don’t use many apps(1), rarely take photos and hardly ever make calls but I do have a few specific requirements;
- I like to own my phones rather than enter in to contracts with telcos — this is after ongoing annoyances with Orange and Vodafone
- I have an upper price limit — I dislike the idea of carrying something wildly expensive in my pocket everyday as I am both clumsy and forgetful
- The battery life has to be decent — I spend a lot of time on trains & buses that don’t have power sockets (I do carry an Anker battery as well but wish I didn’t have to)
- ..and this one is apparently the deal breaker for the most recent generation of phones — I want a phone that easily fits in both my hand and my pocket comfortably and doesn’t feel like I’ve got a bloody baking tray in my trousers!
After years of being an Android devotee I was seriously tempted to switch to an iPhone 5S this time. I know it is a couple of years old but the spec still seemed decent enough and the price seemed OK. Mentioning this on Twitter though led to a flood of iOS fans telling me that it wasn’t worth it and I should just get an iPhone 6S if I wanted to really experience the best of the operating system. Given my preference for smaller phones this was a non-starter and to be honest put me off.
So I’m back looking at Android. The Nexus 5X(2) was recommended by a couple of people and the Nexus 4 was my favourite ever phone so I checked it out. Size wise it is on the limit of what I am looking for but unfortunately the common thread in reviews is that the battery life is weak at best. The benefit of having access to pure Android without telco junk and early OS upgrades is nothing to sniff at the though so it is still a contender.
The OnePlusX(3) is a real contender — at 5” the screen is just about OK for me and the price is certainly compelling. The reviews seem mostly positive but I do wonder about the sustainability of the OxygenOS(4) and how that will effect the few apps I do use and the ongoing upgrade path. I have to be honest I am also a sucker for the bamboo rear covers — love the look of that.
The lead contenders at the moment are the Sony Xperia Z3(5) or Z5(6) compacts. They are both less than 5” and don’t seem to compromise regarding the specifications particularly. The Z5 is pretty much at the limit of what I’m willing to spend on a phone though so the likelihood is I’d go for the slightly older Z3. The battery life on both is praised in a number of reviews as is the build quality — the Sonyified version of Android is a bit of a minus point but I could probably get used to it.
So at the moment I think it is a straight fight between the OnePlusX as the underdog and the Sony Experia Z3 Compact — any thoughts on the phones or any contenders I have missed out in my deliberations?
(1) Chrome, Echofon Pro, Spotify, Kindle, Guardian, Facebook, Inbox, Google Maps, Slack, Evernote.