At the massive Berlin-based tech expo IFA 2014, we played with all of the latest and greatest smartphones due to hit the UK before Christmas 2014. Here’s our round-up of the best new kit from Sony, Samsung, LG, Nokia and more…
UPDATE: With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve now rounded-up our favourite phones of 2014 – check it out if you’re stuck for present ideas, for yourself or the family.
From powerful mini mobiles to weird curved-screen smartphones, we’ve seen and fondled a lot of cool new devices set to hit the UK before the end of 2014. Here’s our round-up of the very best, most innovative mobile gadgetry coming this autumn/winter.
Best wearable device: LG G Watch R
Our wrists were a little limp and sore after donning dozens of different wearables at this year’s IFA, but only a few stood out as truly worthy smartwatches. LG’s G Watch just crept into first place for us, with its slick rounded face that actually makes it look like a proper watch. It’s fairly chunky and heavy, but we’d rather that than some cheapy plastic number.
Device most likely to make you look like a massive twonk: Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR is the latest virtual reality headset to be launched and it’s pretty good fun. Just slip your Galaxy Note 4 inside the plastic headset and bung the thing on your head and you can enjoy immersive video or get stuck into some games.
Fair play, the Gear VR works well, but you should never, ever play it in public. Not only will you look like a bit of a bellend shaking your head all over the place (see above photo for proof) but you’ll probably be arrested for assault after headbutting some poor curious bugger in the face.
Most exciting affordable phone: New Motorola Moto G
Motorola’s Moto G is still the best all-round affordable phone and it just got updated to a ‘New Moto G‘ 5-inch model with an 8-megapixel camera. There may not be 4G support like the Moto G 4G, but if that doesn’t bug you, this sub-£150 mobile can’t be beat.
We’ve also got high hopes for the Nokia Lumia 830, Nokia’s latest ‘affordable premium’ handset. The specs and solid, slender design make it feel like a full-on flagship phone, even without a Full HD screen, while the 10-megapixel camera can shoot 4K video.
Best phone for selfie lovers: HTC Desire 820
There’s some great selfie cams from the likes of Nokia on the horizon, but the HTC Desire 820 looks to be the ultimate handset for self-obsessed photo uploaders.
This 5.5-inch mid-range mobile packs an impressive 8-megapixel selfie cam, which even allows you to cut and paste your gorgeous mug into a pic with your favourite celebrity. We personally can’t wait to show off photos of us partying with a nudey Jennifer Lawrence.
Most intriguing ‘WTF’ phone: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edge
When we first saw Samsung’s curved-screen Galaxy Note 4 Edge, we really didn’t know what to make of it. The right edge is curved and displays a selection of options at any given time – app shortcuts when you’re on the desktop, for example, or camera settings when you’re busy shooting. The edge will also be used to present media controls when watching video, so they don’t pop up and cover half of the screen.
Of course, that doesn’t really explain why the edge is curved, or why this model exists alongside a normal flat-screened Note 4 handset. Plus, if you usually clutch the phone in your right hand, that curved edge is going to be smothered anyway.
Still, we’re intrigued to play with the Note 4 Edge some more and see if that curvy display adds anything at all to the overall experience. There’s a fair few cool features chucked in as you’d expect, including a cool dictaphone app that can isolate individual voices to cut out extraneous sound.
Best upcoming smartphone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Some hot competition in this bracket, from Sony’s own full-sized Xperia Z3 too, but it’s the mini marvel that bags our award for best upcoming smartphone.
The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact boasts most of the specs and features of its bigger brother, but in a gorgeous, colourful and easily-handled compact size. We love the bright and super-sharp 4.6-inch screen and the no-compromises 20.7-megapixel camera, plus support for High-Res audio.
Check back soon for full reviews of all of this gorgeous new kit.