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Jenneth Orantia
Smarter Writer

Jenneth Orantia is a journalist who has been reporting on tech developments and trends for the last decade

Jenneth Orantia
Smarter Writer

Jenneth Orantia is a journalist who has been reporting on tech developments and trends for the last decade

Is your current smartphone looking a little rough around the edges? Why not make the most of the new year by upgrading your existing handset?

Advanced features, a better screen, and superior performance are just some of the perks you can look forward to if you swap out your ageing mobile device for something newer.

There are plenty of great devices out there, but for this roundup we’ve concentrated on smartphones that are either out already or confirmed to be launching this year.

LG vs Blackberry vs Sony

1. Apple iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 is perhaps the least controversial smartphone in this list, combining Apple’s highly regarded iOS 8 operating system with world-class industrial engineering that continues to improve every year. Compared to its iPhone 6 Plus stablemate, it has a smaller 4.7-inch screen that makes it easier to carry and use one-handed, which means it’ll appeal to a broader range of people. The rest of its features are more or less identical: a gorgeous glass and metal enclosure, the best rear-facing camera on the market (forget the lower eight-megapixel resolution – the superior image processing and advanced image processor means it outclasses every other smartphone), and up to 128GB of storage. 

2. Sony Xperia Z3

Sony’s flagship smartphone has plenty to offer active smartphone users. It’s one of the few on the market with an IP65/68 dust and waterproof rating. The Z3 is also a good-looking handset that feels great in the hand, boasting a premium, glass-encased front and back, and a bright 5.2-inch Full HD display. The Android 4.4 operating system comes with a few Sony-specific nips and tucks that improve the smartphone experience, such as a modified launcher and custom multimedia and gaming apps. Battery life, too, is impressive; using the extended battery life mode, you can squeeze up to two days out of it. 

3. LG Flex 2

If you thought curved smartphones were just a fad, think again. LG launched the sequel of its lesser-known Flex smartphone at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, and this time around, we think it’ll be a huge hit. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the Flex 2 curves throughout the entire body, producing an eye-catching effect that mimics the trend towards curved televisions. But the subtle curve isn’t the only good thing about this phone. It’s also packed with the latest mobile technologies, including the powerful 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, the newest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, and a 5.5” Full HD display.

4. BlackBerry Classic

Don’t count BlackBerry out of the game just yet. The retro-looking Classic is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something different. As with previous BlackBerrys, the focus is on offering an excellent communications platform that makes it easy to juggle various email addresses, social media networks and cloud services. BlackBerrys have always had a great reputation for excellent hardware keyboards, and the Classic continues the tradition, offering a spacious, well-designed keyboard with excellent tactile feedback. The piece de resistance, however, is native support for Android apps. Using the preinstalled Amazon Apps store, you can access a far wider variety of apps than is available through BlackBerry World.

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

If you’re a fan of bigger screens sizes, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an excellent mobile to wrap your mitts around. All of the latest smartphone technology can be found within its plus-size 176g frame, between the 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display and 2.7GHz quad-core processor with 3GB of RAM, to the 16-megapixel camera with 4K video recording capability and beefy 3220 replaceable battery. As with previous Note devices, you can write on the screen using the bundled S Pen stylus – this is a handy feature for tasks such as marking up documents and images, converting handwriting to digital text, and capturing on-screen items to share through your messaging, social and cloud services.

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