Which mobile phone should you get for you or a loved one for Christmas? It’s an impossible choice with so many options available. Before you go mad though and start singing “Christmas time – mobile phones and wine…” (best leave that to Cliff!), I’m here to help!
Having reviewed many of the phones that came out this year, and having bought a brand new one myself less than a week ago, I’m in a great position to help you out. So I’ve compiled this huge list of the different phones on sale this Christmas, and categorised them according to the type of person they’d suit.
Which should hopefully sort you out nicely, ensuring you get the best pressie for your loved one, and making you the best pressie giver on Christmas day!
And don’t forget Part 1 of this Buyer’s Guide: Mobile Phones with Free Gifts for Xmas, a round-up of the best free gift offers on sale this Christmas.
Superphones – for the techno-heads
Phone technology has leapt ahead so fast in 2010 that we now have a new phrase for the latest and greatest – Superphones! If you, or someone you know, absolutely has to have the most advanced phone on the market this year, then these are the ones to get:
- HTC Desire HD – winner of the best smartphone of 2010, and so good I actually bought one, the Desire HD is a beast of a phone! Huge screen, super-fast operation, 8 megapixel camera, built-in Maps stored on the phone, remote media streaming to your PC or DLNA-equipped HiFi or home theatre, Google Earth and StreetView that’s so fast it’s like you’re actually there, are just some of the features that make this phone the stand-out leader of the pack for 2010.
- Samsung Galaxy S – missed out on the top spot by a whisker, the Galaxy S is another superb Android phone, with possibly the best looking screen of any phone on the market.
- Samsung Omnia 7 – the best Windows Phone 7 device of the year, the Omnia is basically a Galaxy S with Windows Phone 7 rather than Android. That makes it a cracking phone, and the crystal clear Super AMOLED screen really makes Windows Phone 7’s interface come alive.
- iPhone 4 – still leading the pack in terms of its apps, Apple’s game changing superphone is starting to show its age a bit. It’s also expensive, particularly compared to the other phones in this list, but if you or your loved one is a certified Apple fan-person, then you have no choice – you have ot buy the iPhone 4!
Budget smartphones – for when you need to be smart about your money
Not everyone can afford the latest tech, but don’t worry. These phones are still better than last year’s best phones, yet because they’re sold as “mid-range”, you can get them for a bargain price!
- HTC Wildfire – supercheap Android phone that doesn’t compromise on features
- HTC Desire – the original Desire is now nearly a year old, and so it’s price has fallen nicely. It’s basically a Nexus One underneath with HTC’s legendary Sense UI running on top, and with 1GHz processor powering things, it’s still a great choice, and now great value too.
QWERTY keyboard phones
If it’s a QWERTY keyboard phone you absolutely must have, then this is the best of the bunch for 2010. Don’t rule out a superphone, though – I used to insist on a physical keyboard, but with screen sizes of 4″ and over, plus new virtual keyboard technology such as Swype, typing on a touchscreen is a lot easier than it used to be.
If you’re still after a physical QWERTY keyboard phone, though, here are the best of the year:
- HTC Desire Z – Only marginally less powerful than the Desire HD, the Desire Z comes with a great new keyboard and is the best keyboard-based Android smartphone. Don’t let the 800MHz chip fool you, either – it’s a generation up from the original 1GHz Snapdragon chips found in the likes of the original HTC Desire, so even though it has a slower clock speed, it’s actually a much faster chip.
- Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro – impossibly cute Android phone with small but perfectly formed dimensions and a great QWERTY keyboard
Smart phones for Women
Sony Ericsson seem to have a real flair for making phones that are super stylish, come with loads of features, and which aren’t pink. In other words, everything a woman actually wants from a phone!
In a poll I did recently amongst my long suffering friends, Sony Ericsson’s phones consistently came out on top amongst the women. So much so, in fact, that most of them had actually bought a Sony Ericsson phone.
It’s not exactly a scientific poll, granted, but their praise for the phones, and the comments they made as to why they liked them, was enough for me to feel confident in recommending the following to any gal you know of (including yourself, perhaps?) who needs a new phone for Christmas:
- Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 – super-sleek Android phone with gorgeous looks, great camera and a stylish rather than geeky user interface. Better still, the screen has acres of space, which is perfect for Angry Birds!
- Sony Ericsson Vivaz – beautiful, small, lightweight camera phone that takes great pictures with its 8 megapixel camera. The best looking phone of 2010 by miles.
- Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini – cut down version of the Xperia X10, the Mini combines style with practicality, and adds a large dollop of fun into the mix as well thanks to its super-small size.
Cameraphones for the shutterbug in your life
Cameraphones took a back seat to smartphones in 2010, but if you need a great camera in your phone, then take your pick from this bunch:
- Nokia N8 – without question, the best camera phone of all time. The user interface might be a bit cranky, but you can’t fault its features. With 12 megapixels, Xenon flash and super-smooth 720p video capture, plus its HDMI connector, the N8 is the best multimedia phone ever released.
- Sony Ericsson Vivaz and Xperia X10 – both phones, already mentioned under Superphones (above), will turn out great looking pcis thanks to their 8 megapixel camera and Sony Ericsson’s knowledge in the camera market.
- Motorola XT720 – if you need to take pics in low light conditions, then the XT720 should be your choice. Second only to the N8, the odd-looking XT720 does have the advantage of being an Android phone.
You can see all of 2010’s camera phones reviewed and compared in our review of the best camera phones of 2010.
For the Web Warriors
If you need to work with the Web constantly, you need a phone with some serious screen real estate, a nippy processor and a fast and responsive Web browser that can read the whole Web, Flash included. Here’s what we recommend:
- Dell Streak – 5″ of toughened screen, the Dell Streak offers arguably the best browsing performance of any phone simply due to its huge size!
- HTC Desire HD – 4.3″ of smartphone loveliness, the Desire HD is my phone of choice, phone of the year, and my number one recommendation!
- Samsung Galaxy S – Its screen may not be as big as the Dell Streak, but it is the best looking screen of any phone on the market, and that, combined with its speed and responsiveness, makes it a great phone for Web browsing
- HTC Desire Z – if you need to write to the Web as much as read it, you need a phone with a keyboard that will let you be as prodcutive as possible. For this, it has to be the Desire Z. It’s screen is only 3.7″, and it’s not as fast as the Desire HD, but its keyboard makes typing much faster, so if you need to blog remotely or edit reports on the fly, the Desire Z is the one to get.
- Samsung Omnia 7 – with Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen and the buttery smooth user interface of Windows Phone 7, the Omnia 7 is another good choice for Web workers (though it’s very Microsoft-centric).
If the person you’re buying for is just that little bit…different, you might want to consider one of these phones, which don’t fit into the usual “smartphone”, “cameraphone”, etc. categories.
Bullet proof phone
If you need a phone that will go wherever you go, and will survive being thrown around a lot, and even getting web, you need a rugged phone. Here are the ones to get:
Motorola Defy – New Android phone with 3.7″ touchscreen, the defy comes with unbreakable Gorilla Glass and is dust and water resistant. With a 5 megapixel camera, it’s not short on features either.
Eco-Phone for the Greenies
Sony Ericsson Elm – designed to be as green as possible, the Elm is made from recycled plastics and has no hazardous chemicals in it. It still comes with a 5 megapixel camera and GPS, though, so it makes the perfect gift for the eco-warrior in your life!
Need even more help?
That, in a nutshell, is an overview of the best phones on sale this Christmas. Naturally not everyone will agree with all of my choices, but if you’re after a great phone for you or your friends and family this year, you should find exactly what you’re looking for here in this list somewhere.
And don’t forget Part 1 of this Christmas Buyer’s guide:
If you still need more help, we’ve got even more articles to help you make your buying decision:
Mobile Phones with Free Gifts
- How to choose the best smartphone
- The 10 best smartphones of 2010 – and one winner
- Which is the best Android phone of 2010?
- Every Windows Phone 7 device compared (and a winner is found!)
- How to choose the best camera phone
- 6 of the best camera phones of 2010 (and one winner!)
- The best camera phones of 2009
Whatever you decide to get, have a Merry Christmas and a cracking time with your new phone (hmmm, it’s not even December yet – kind of jumped the gun with that didn’t I?! Must be in the Christmas spirit!)