It’s funny looking at the phone wars over the years. Seeing where it was when I was a kid to where they are now. I don’t know what caused people’s transitions between brands, but now you either have the Apple fanboys or the Android fanboys. The top two phone brands people are buying now are either iPhones or Samsung’s; let’s be fair, they do make some of the best phones out there.
Back when I was a teenager, it was either Sony or Nokia. I used to love my Nokia 3210; the fact that you could change the covers really appealed to me, you could have whatever design you thought of and make it personal to you. Then the Nokia 3310 arrived, still able to change the cases but more compact and indestructible. I think I actually still have one somewhere and the battery still lasts for a week.
A funny complaint people have these days, “Back in my day, my phone would last a week and I’d still have 2 bars of life on it.”
Yes, you did. But back then phones weren’t running what they have now. There were no cameras or apps eating your battery power away. As far as games went, you had Snake/Snake2. Hardly a power consumer that. You didn’t even have a colour screen let alone a HD OLED beast!
The amount of hardware that goes into a phone these days is truly amazing.
The phone I first had been some Sony with a huge ariel. I’m pretty sure going from memory it was a Sony CMD-J6.
No games, no apps, no colour; just calls and text messages. Text messages that cost 12p each. It sounds minimal but when you’re in school and your mum buys you credit, it adds up! Whatsapp and apps like that weren’t even conceived back then. I had that for years too, no changing every year when a new phone comes out; I stuck with mainly Sony or Nokia, all the way until the Walkman phones where you could put these new things called MP3’s right there on your phone.
None of these of course could compare to the Nokia 7110, probably the most beautiful phone ever made. My dad owned one of these; I remember just sitting where when he was asleep, sliding the front up and down thinking “OOOOOOOH!”
It’s just unbelievable how ancient that 1999 phone looked compared to the Nokia N95 and N96 that arrived in 2007. Those phones came out 11 years ago!
What sets all these phones apart and the reason why they were so popular is because of the changes in design. There was a massive call for the slide phone at one stage such as the N Series, I had a Samsung D900 for ages, loved it because it slid up and down, but I hated it because I could never find where the comma was! That was the last Samsung phone I owned until the Galaxy S7 I bought a couple of years ago.
After awhile the war shifted away from Sony and Nokia and went to HTC and iPhone. I think the iPhone 4 is one of the best looking phones that’s ever been made but I hated iOS. It’s because of this why I stuck with Android, the HTC Desire being the first Android phone and after that all HTC phones all the way to the M8. That’s when I took a chance on Samsung, mainly because Samsung moved away from their plastic design. That’s when the war shifted again and now everyone’s focus is on iPhone or Samsung. Sure Sony, Nokia, HTC’s; they’re still making phones. Are people as bothered with them like they once were? No.
But what do HTC’s, Samsungs and iPhones have in common? They’re all the same! Sure the design looks slightly different; but generally they’re the same. Same layout, same apps except Samsung took a chance and introduced the curved screen. Proving popular they’ve kept that design permanently now with the S8 series; now they’re getting rid of the bezels, trying to make the phone all screen.
I’m a fan of this sure and eventually we will end up having phones that have no bezels on them at all, but at the same time; all the other brands will be copying this. You upgrade every year and the internals never seem to change. They boast how much memory the phone has, how much RAM, the megapixels of the camera, but they never seem to change. What I have now, the S8 Plus is basically a bigger version of the S7 I had before that. It’s a beautiful phone no doubt, but it does the same things.
That’s why I think for the next phone, I’m going to move away from this and look for something a little more unique. With regards to design there’s recently been a lack of choice but now there are other companies out there that are making phones of the same quality, but being a little more radical in the design.
Here are some phones that are due to come out in 2018.
ZTE Axon M
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of ZTE before I discovered this phone. Mainly based in China, they’ve been around since 1985 and are one of the top 5 phone manufacturers in China. They’ve done what no one else has done previously and that’s create a dual screen mobile phone. With one 20 megapixel camera that serves as a front and back camera, the phone folds so it shows a screen on the front and back.
The moment I saw this phone I fell in love with it; though I’d be worried about scratching one of the screens you’d have to make sure you’ve got some durable screen protectors. This allows you to watch YouTube while browsing the internet, something I’ve often wanted to do and aside from having two apps showing at once I’m having to constantly flip between apps. You could also watch Netflix while playing a game, something else I’ve often wanted to do. Now I can watch Star Trek: The Next Generation whilst playing Star Trek Timelines! (I’m a geek. I know.)
There’s no word on when this phone will be released in the UK while it’s currently out there in some US markets.
For the best review of the phone, watch Unbox Therapy’s taking of it.
The Razer Phone
Already out there is the Razer Phone, not to be confused with the Motorola Razr; a beautiful phone in it self sure but completely different. A company that mainly focuses on gaming equipment such as laptops comes their first phone offering.
You may be thinking, “Look at the bezels on that!” Well they’re not bezel’s exactly, they’re speakers.
Two huge speakers on either side of the phone that give out some serious bass! With 8gb of DDR4 ram, 64gb internal memory that can be expanded to 2tb with external memory and sporting a 4,000mAh battery; this makes this thing one of the most powerful devices ever created. Compare the specs alone to the S8 Plus’ 4gb ram, 64gb internal storage and 3500mAh battery, how could you not consider this?
Sure the screen is smaller at 5.7 inches but what is in the pipeline is the Razer Project Linda; this will turn your phone into a laptop where your phone takes the place of the track pad. While this is still in development, I’m hoping this will be released before the phone is considered out of date. Which by todays standards, is in about six months time. But with the hardware inside the phone, it should be durable for some time to come.
This is currently on sale for around £550 in the UK, better get saving!
Samsung Galaxy Note X
Yes, I know this is still Samsung and while the above resembles that of an Axon M; it’s actually the one screen apparently. In 2015 they filed a patent for a foldable screen, how durable this will be without the use of Gorilla Glass I’m not sure and the rumoured design has gone through many changes. Two versions are said to exist, one folding in, the other folding out.
Everything so far is being hush hush regarding this particular device, with the S9 slated to come out sooner that looks more or less like an updated S8. The fact that Samsung are making this device already tells you that it’s going to be well made and it’ll no doubt sell a lot of devices. If your plan is to buy the S9 once that arrives, I would suggest waiting until later on in the year when this phone is slated to be released. It will be interesting to see how the screen handles constant folding but if anyone can do it, it’s going to be Samsung.
The YotaPhone 3, the successor to the YotaPhone 2 that came out a few years ago is also a dual screen phone with a normal OLED screen on the front whilst sporting a eInk display on the back. What’s the point of this? Good question, often you’ll find yourself turning on your phone just to read a text message or check the time, set an alarm etc; every time you’re doing this you’re using valuable battery power; with the YotaPhone 3, when you’ve put your phone into standby; you’ll be able to see an always on display at the back of the phone.
The always on display is an ePaper design, similar to what’s used in Kindle’s, this will give you the option of reading text messages, e-mails, setting alarms, answering calls etc. Look at how long a Kindle lasts, the always on display is a very low consumer of power but gives you all your essentials right there at any time. While you’ll not have a bezel free screen, you’ll definitely have a unique phone.