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Is the Motorola Moto G5S Plus a Best Buy smartphone?

If you’re on the lookout for a new smartphone, our latest mobile phone reviews include both the cheap and pricey, and other models somewhere in between. Among them is the Moto G5S Plus, a mid-range handset from popular household name Motorola. It has a large 5.5-inch screen, two 13Mp lenses on its rear for recording 4K videos, and it looks and feels premium – impressive considering the phone’s price.

But does this Motorola option reach the dizzying heights of Best Buy stardom? Find out by reading our full Motorola Moto G5S Plus review[1]. Elsewhere from our latest batch of reviews is a model that has the best battery life for call time we’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, there’s also a Don’t Buy in the mix – for which, as we go on to explain, there are plenty of reasons to avoid. Mobile phone reviews[2] – discover the best handset for you, whatever your budget.

LG V30

The LG V30 has an enormous six-inch Quad HD+ OLED touchscreen to help make colours pop and detail look sharp. The curved glass rear and narrow bezels make the phone look the part, too – the screen fills most of the front of the device.

It’s packed with fancy features to tempt you to part with your cash, such as facial recognition and dual rear cameras. But we’ve seen pricey smartphones fail to deliver on the basics, such as battery life and camera quality – does this GBP600 handset really have what it takes to earn our seal of approval? Head to our full LG V30 review[3] for the answer.

Nokia 6

At GBP200, the Nokia 6 costs a third of the price of the LG V30, which means it has fewer features.

But could it be the perfect choice for buyers on a budget? We found its large 5.5-inch nice and clear. But can its 16Mp rear camera takes photos and videos you’ll be happy to share on social media?

And how long will it last before running out of juice? Read our full Nokia 6 review[4] to find out more.

EE Hawk

The EE Hawk has some pretty decent features for its GBP140 price. Its fingerprint sensor means you can unlock the phone in a jiffy, and it has NFC-capability, which means you can use it to make contactless payments via Android Pay.

Is the Hawk a high-flyer, or is it one you should scuttle past in the shops? Read our full EE Hawk review[5] for everything you need to know.

Alcatel U5

The Alcatel U5 costs just GBP90 to buy outright, which is a refreshing break from the raft of new smartphones that may as well cost you both your arm and your leg. It has a removable battery, a feature lacking in more expensive phones.

We like phones with removable batteries because it’s easier to both diagnose and fix any battery-related issues. As you’d expect from a phone this cheap, the U5 is understandably light on features – but we’ve found sub-GBP100 phones that aren’t too shabby at all. Looking for the best cheap mobile phone?

Find out whether this handset is everything you’ve been looking for by consulting our Alcatel U5 review[6].

What makes a Best Buy mobile phone?

A smartphone has to excel across the board to earn our Best Buy recommendation. Here are a few of our key tests to help you buy the best:

A Best Buy smartphone easily gets through a day without needing a recharge, takes nicely detailed photos and keeps everything ticking over nicely. A Don’t Buy, on the other hand, will be painfully slow to use, take photos you’ll want to immediately delete, and will seemingly take pleasure in losing charge.

Make sure you end up with a smartphone you love by checking out our Best Buy mobile phones[7].

References

  1. ^ Motorola Moto G5S Plus review (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Mobile phone reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ LG V30 review (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Nokia 6 review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ EE Hawk review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ Alcatel U5 review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Best Buy mobile phones (www.which.co.uk)

New Best Buy and Don’t Buy mobile phones uncovered by Which?

We’ve found new Best Buy and Don’t Buy smartphones in our recent round of rigorous tests. Which models are worth their salt? The best of the bunch offers exceptional battery life, powering through almost 26 hours of calls and 11.5 hours of web browsing in our tests.

It also takes good photos with sharp detail and nice balance, as well as excellent videos with smooth motion. The worst, on the other hand, will prove to be a constant source of frustration. It manages just 11 hours of calls or 5.5 hours of internet use, so it may well struggle to make it through the day without needing a recharge.

And to add insult to injury, it takes a laborious 3.5 hours to charge from flat to full. Keep reading to find out more about the five most recently tested smartphones, and make sure you check out our full review before parting with your cash, to avoid spending unwisely. Mobile phone reviews[1] – discover the best models for your budget

Google Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 XL is the big-screen cousin of the Pixel 2[2], with an enormous six-inch screen.

To help you use it more comfortably with one hand, Google has made this phone’s aspect ratio 18:9, which means it’s twice as long as it is wide. It has a 12.2Mp rear camera and you can squeeze the handset to open Google Assistant, which will respond to your voice commands. But, like the latest iPhones, it doesn’t have a traditional headphone socket.

Instead, you connect headphones via the USB-C port (Google provides an adaptor). You could also consider investing in wireless headphones[3]. You can currently buy the Pixel 2 XL for GBP669.

But should you? Find out in our full Google Pixel 2 XL review[4].

Huawei Honor 6A

The Huawei Honor 6A costs less than GBP150 to buy outright, so it might be worth considering if you’re buying on a budget. It has a 13Mp rear camera and a 5Mp front-facing camera for taking photos and videos, plus it has built-in FM radio to let you easily tune into your favourite stations.

It has a small 16GB of on-board storage, though, so you may want to buy and insert a separate micro-SD card to boost space. Find out whether this smartphone offers good bang for its buck, or whether it’s worth eradicating from your mind, by reading our expert Huawei Honor 6A review[5].

OnePlus 5T

Slim bezels surround the 5T’s display to create an expensive look, and its aluminium build makes it feel like it’s worth a few bob, too. It has a large 6.1-inch display and, like Google, OnePlus has made the phone twice as long as it is wide.

It has two camera lenses on the back – one is a 20Mp telephoto, and the other a 16Mp wide-angle. The theory is that, by working together, the cameras deliver better detail, especially when zooming. It also lets you play with some depth-of-field effects – for example, you can increase focus on your subject by blurring out the background, for a nice artistic shot.

Discover what we made of this phone’s camera quality, battery life, speed and more by checking out our full OnePlus 5T review[6].

Motorola Moto X4

The Moto X4 is another example of Motorola’s perseverance in launching mid-range smartphones to appeal to those who don’t want to spend top dollar. You can pick it up for around GBP250, which is a quarter of the price of the iPhone X (64GB). It has a large 5.2-inch screen, which you may appreciate if you like to watch videos on your smartphone.

It also has a fingerprint sensor for fast unlocking, a built-in FM radio, and it’s NFC-capable – so you’ll be able to use it to make contactless payments via Android Pay. We’ve found brilliant smartphones that cost less than GBP300 before. Is the Moto X4 one of them?

Find out in our Motorola Moto X4 review[7].

Vodafone Smart E8

If you’re really looking to cut costs on your next smartphone, you might want to take a look at the Vodafone Smart E8. It costs around GBP50 to buy outright, and it’s predictably short on features. But if you’re not fussed about having all the latest smartphone technology at your fingertips, the Smart E8 could do the job quite nicely.

That said, it has built-in FM radio, as well as a removable battery, which makes it easier to diagnose any battery-related issues – a feature often lacking on more expensive smartphones. Spending more doesn’t necessarily guarantee better quality when it comes to smartphones. Read our Vodafone Smart E8 review[8] to see whether it hits the spot for buyers on a budget.

Want to see what the new models are up against?

Browse all our mobile phone Best Buys[9].

References

  1. ^ Mobile phone reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Pixel 2 (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ wireless headphones (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ Google Pixel 2 XL review (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Huawei Honor 6A review (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ OnePlus 5T review (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Motorola Moto X4 review (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ Vodafone Smart E8 review (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ mobile phone Best Buys (www.which.co.uk)

Smartphones in 2018: what to expect

The new year presents an opportunity for reflection, as well as a chance to think ahead. In an effort to avoid focusing on our personal goals, we’ve put together our 2018 predictions for the world of smartphones. Some of our predictions are admittedly almost dead certs.

For instance, there’s almost zero chance we won’t see new high-end smartphones from the likes of Apple, LG and Samsung. But a few of our other musings are a little less tangible. Keep reading to discover what we think 2018 will bring for smartphones.

We cover expected high-end launches, the rise of the mid-range model, foldable phones, and more. Mobile phone reviews[1] – if you’re simply looking for a smartphone you can buy right now, consult our expert reviews that are based on weeks of lab tests

Phones that fold

This musing falls more into the ‘wishful thinking’ camp than other predictions, but it’s not entirely without substance. There’s talk on the tech grapevine that Samsung will be launching a foldable phone at some point in the near future.

The theory is that it will have two displays that are held together by a hinge, allowing the device to unfold into more of a tablet – great for watching films, gaming and other activities that require a bit more space.

Patent drawings of Samsung Galaxy X, seen by LetsGoDigital

This could mean you could have two apps running on separate displays at the same time. Android phones already let you have two apps open on one screen – but two screens could make this even easier to do. Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer toying with the idea of a foldable phone.

There has also been speculation that Microsoft will return to the smartphones market with the Surface Phone, which could adopt a similar design. The below image is from designer David Breyer, who created some rendered images of the Microsoft Surface, based on patent filings.

Rendered image of possible Microsoft Surface Phone from @D_Breyer

Under-screen fingerprint sensors

There’s been plenty of speculation over the past year that both Samsung and Apple were attempting to master the apparently very difficult art of placing a fingerprint scanner under a display. This would have allowed phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8[2] and S8 Plus[3] to sport an even sleeker look, and the iPhone X[4] to retain an alternative to Face ID.

Samsung has registered to patent such a design, and Chinese smartphone maker Vivo appeared to have beaten both phone giants to the punch by launching an under-display fingerprint technology back in June. There was talk that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 will have an under-screen fingerprint sensor, but the prevailing gossip places it underneath the rear camera. With a range of additional applications for such technology beyond smartphones, it seems like only a matter of time before it arrives.

Whether it will be 2018 before it’s polished enough to reach the mass market, we’ll have to wait and see.

Slimmer bezels for more immersive displays

2017 saw many manufacturers reduce the bezels at the top and bottom of phone displays, for large screens without increasing the size of the phone to a comical extent. It means you have a bigger screen for more immersive video-watching and game-playing, and you won’t need to scroll as much when reading a news story. It’s been the preserve of pricier smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8[5], iPhone X[6] and Huawei Mate 10 Pro[7].

However, we may well see it filtering down to mid-range models in 2018. Samsung recently announced the latest additions to its more budget-friendly A-series, the Galaxy A8 and A8+. They each have narrow bezels and immersive-looking displays – although the actual prices of these handsets have not yet been revealed.

More viable mid-range alternatives

Dual rear cameras (as seen with the pricey iPhone X here) may well appear on more mid-range phones in 2018

This move by Samsung could be an indication that, for many consumers, the mid-range could be the ‘sweet spot’ for 2018.

As high-end smartphones get more expensive, we think more people are going to turn to mid-range models (costing between around GBP200 and GBP400) that are perfectly capable of handling day-to-day tasks and look nice, too. In recent years, mid-range smartphones have really upped their game. You can currently buy our cheapest Best Buy for around GBP200, which we name in our top five best smartphones of 2017[8].

A fingerprint sensor for fast unlocking used to be found mainly on high-end models. However, it’s appearing more frequently on cheaper designs. It’s likely that the same will happen to features we currently think of as high-end.

So 2018 could see more mid-range phones that are water-resistant, have dual rear cameras, more generous on-board storage, and possibly even facial recognition as an alternative to unlocking with your fingerprint.

New premium smartphones from big brands

A bit less speculation is needed here – it’s inevitable that the big brands will be launching new premium smartphones in 2018, although it may be a little while before we see any radical new designs. The first three months of the year will almost definitely bring one of the biggest phone launches of the year, in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S9. Tech enthusiasts are already busy making predictions – we cover some of the key rumours and what we reckon we’ll see in Samsung Galaxy S9: what we know so far[9].

We’re also expecting the follow-up to the LG G6[10], which will probably be called the G7, and in the last few months of the year, we’ll also probably see new Apple iPhones and the Google Pixel 3. The launches of the iPhone 8[11], 8 Plus[12], X, and Google Pixel 2[13] and 2 XL[14] are a little too recent for anyone to make too many predictions on what their successors will look like.

Growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Mobile phone developments next year won’t just be about refining hardware and design – a number of software developments are in the works, two of which could begin to shape the way we use these devices.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We’d expect to see more AI on smartphones in 2018. The recently launched Huawei Mate 10 Pro is an example of what this could look like.

The Chinese manufacturer claims to have trained this smartphone’s cameras to detect what you’re taking a picture of. If this works, you can press an icon on the touchscreen, which should adjust the camera settings to give you the best possible results. Currently, it can only recognise certain things, such as people, pets and plants, but Huawei says it will add more in the future and this will be helped by collecting data from people using its phones.

Head to our Huawei Mate 10 Pro first look review[15] to find out what our experts thought of it after using it for a few days.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Although AR is more about apps than smartphone hardware, we think it will affect how we use our phones in 2018 – especially as AR apps are becoming more popular by the day. Augmented reality works by overlaying things into the world around you through a camera. Point your phone in any direction, and the app will overlay images into the environment, making it look like they’re actually there.

Ikea has recently launched an AR app that lets you preview how furniture, rugs and even paint will look in your home – and plenty of other manufacturers have jumped on the hype.

This is definitely a trend to watch out for.

Take a look at the cream of the crop from 2017 with our Best Buy mobile phones[16].

References

  1. ^ Mobile phone reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ S8 Plus (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ iPhone X (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 (www.which.co.uk)
  6. ^ iPhone X (www.which.co.uk)
  7. ^ Huawei Mate 10 Pro (www.which.co.uk)
  8. ^ top five best smartphones of 2017 (www.which.co.uk)
  9. ^ Samsung Galaxy S9: what we know so far (www.which.co.uk)
  10. ^ LG G6 (www.which.co.uk)
  11. ^ iPhone 8 (www.which.co.uk)
  12. ^ 8 Plus (www.which.co.uk)
  13. ^ Google Pixel 2 (www.which.co.uk)
  14. ^ 2 XL (www.which.co.uk)
  15. ^ Huawei Mate 10 Pro first look review (www.which.co.uk)
  16. ^ Best Buy mobile phones (www.which.co.uk)

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