Smartphones are a fixture of modern life, with tech-savvy consumers ever-eager to get their hands on the very latest devices. Unfortunately, the pressure to squeeze increasingly complex functionality into small packages, the drive to create features that other developers can’t match, and the rush to bring new products to market as quickly as possible means that developers always have to make compromises.
The results aren’t always as dire as the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, which saw phones hastily recalled after they began catching fire; however, they can be irksome to consumers who must contend with cracked screens, dubious security and fleeting battery life.
Apple iPhone 7
The Apple iPhone 7 is being lauded by amateur photographers as one of the best camera phones on the market, with the iPhone 7 Plus drawing even higher praise. Much was made of the iPhone 7’s water-resistance when it launched in 2016. In a series of creative tests (splashing, dunking, taking it for a swim and even using it for underwater photography), the phone performed well — although its speakers were damaged. Owners should resist the temptation to play Jacques Cousteau with their iPhone 7s, no matter how crystal clear the pictures are. Neither Apple’s standard warranty nor most mobile phone insurance covers water damage.
Samsung Galaxy 8
It’s true that the Samsung Galaxy 8’s gracefully curving Infinity screen looks luscious and performs very well. Unfortunately, the lack of a protective casing at the edges makes this a fragile beauty. In tests performed by a mobile phone insurance provider, the Galaxy 8 scored an alarmingly high 76 points out of 100 for “breakability”. Its big brother, the Galaxy 8 Plus, fared even worse, scoring 77 points out of 100.
If you’re not an Apple fan or are cautious around Samsung products, the Google Pixel might be the phone for you. Its camera has drawn praise for its good performance in low light. Unfortunately, not everyone’s a fan of the Google Assistant feature, with some reviewers feeling it needs work. It’s also nowhere near as water-resistant as the iPhone 7 and is rather expensive compared to earlier models.
LG has become something of a favourite with those who aren’t keen on Apple or Samsung. With its lower price point, clean lines and extra wide-angle camera, the LG G6 has built on that popularity. Unfortunately it lacks the removable battery found in previous models.
Mobile Insurance and Security
Most phones come with a warranty that will cover some of the basics, but if you lose or break your phone you may be out of pocket. For real peace of mind it’s a good idea to obtain additional mobile insurance through a reputable provider.
You also need to prepare for what might happen if your phone is out of your possession. Biometric security may be all the rage but it’s not completely effective yet — just ask the ingenious hackers who fooled Samsung’s iris scanner with a photograph on a contact lens.