The iPhone 5 will be one of those handsets that scores well across the board with its stunning design, pin sharp screen, simple user interface, sharp shooting camera, superb multimedia capabilities and speedy performance. Not everyone will be able to afford the new iPhone though with its high tarriff monthly cost and up-front fee. We’ve therefore put together a quick outline as to which phones you should go for if you want a feasible alternative to Apple’s costly iPhone 5.
Design: Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Lumia 800, £310: Curvaceous, bold and rich, the Nokia Lumia 800 is still a design king amongst mobiles. It isn’t too big but still manages to combine striking design with a comfortable, ergonomic and cohesive feel. Available in a range of colours it’s also going to deliver more design choice than the black or white iPhone 5 and given the fact it has just been superceded by the Lumia 820, will be getting a price drop any minute now.
Screen: Sony Xperia U
Sony Xperia U, £180: To get the sharpest display a la iPhone you will want to be going for an LCD panel with as high a resolution as possible and as small a screen size. The handset of choice for this combination would be the Sony Xperia U. With its 3.5-inch display and WVGA resolution, it isn’t too discernably far off the iPhone 5’s retina display when it comes to sharpness. It also offers an attractive chassis rocking dual-core internals, you could definitely do a lot worse with £180.
User Interface: Nokia Lumia 710
Nokia Lumia 710, £100: Windows Phone is hands down the best alternative to iOS from a design standpoint with no fragmentation, a clean and simple look and feel with smooth performance even with single-core CPUs. The Nokia Lumia 710 would be our recomendation of choice. While it’s not as strong in terms of design as the Lumia 800, it comes in at around £100 and delivers the same processor and gorgeous interface as well as a host of Nokia specific apps such as Nokia Drive and Mix Radio.
Music: Sony Xperia Tipo
Sony Xperia Tipo, £80: If you’re invested in iTunes, then the iPhone 5 will be a perfect choice. Android alternatives are however becoming more viable and you can see how to transfer music from iTunes onto your Android handset here. At £80, the Sony Xperia Tipo manages to not only offer expandable storage, but also packs what can only be described as a perfect chassis for casual mp3 usage. It’s also equipped with Bluetooth for wireless music playback and supports DLNA with the Twonky app downloadable in the market, so you can stream music from it across your connected home.
Movies: Huawei Ascend G300
Huawei Ascend G300, £100: For movies, the iPhone 5’s new 4-inch display will be perfect, but you can get a 4-inch display for as little as £100 in the Huawei Ascend G300. While it’s 800×480 aspect ratio won’t be as well suited as the iPhone’s to widescreen movies, it’s 1GHz processor means you’ll be able be able to playback most video resolutions below HD. Non standard video codecs are also available through third party players in the Google Play Store and the design isn’t too shabby either. With a micro SD card slot under the hood, you can get about 32GB of movies onto your G300 and even pack spare batteries to keep you going when you’re away from power. That’s our £100 budget option, but if you can stump up £200, our next phone will be even better suited to video.
Games: ZTE Grand X
ZTE Grand X, £200: When it comes to games, more cores tends to mean for more frames per second, more responsive gameplay and better graphics in general. A bigger screen means more room for your touch controls, more visible detail and a more immersive 3D experience. The ZTE Grand X, with its Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor is a bit of a cost effective king in terms of its gaming potential thanks also to its 4.3-inch qHD display. Not all games on the Play store will be compatible with it, but the ones that are look incredible considering the ZTE Grand X’s £200 price tag.
All Rounder: HTC One S
HTC One S, £320: This is the most expensive phone in the mix at around £320, but that’s because it’s the best alternative to the iPhone 5 across the board. Design wise, it’s skinny measuring just 0.2mm thicker than the new iPhone – “the thinnest phone in the world” according to Apple. Its AMOLED display may not be as sharp, but it’s punchy and vibrant with excellent depth. The latest version and HTC Sense delivers the best Android experiences this side of stock Jelly Bean and in terms of multimedia, it offers 16GB of storage for music, a great qHD display for movies and a powerful processor for gaming. Its 8-megapixel camera has an f/2 lens for great low-light shots and an intuitive interface making sure that anyone who goes for the One X won’t be dissapointed.
Affordable iPhone 5 alternative: Conclusion
If the original iPhone changed the face of mobile back in 2007, it’s clear that the competition has stepped up to the plate. For anyone looking for a sub £200 phone with a key strength, you can get it. If you’re looking for a sub £350 phone offering excellent performance across the board, the HTC One S is something of a perfect balance of cost and klout and a great phone upon which to wrap up our list of affordable iPhone alternatives. If you have any questions of suggestions on the subject of affordable iPhone alternatives, just fire us a comment below.