Top 10 mobile phones for Christmas 2014

Christmas Gift Guides, Mobile phones
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Looking for the perfect phone to buy someone this Christmas? Then you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a list of what are probably the ten best phones of 2014.
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iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus

Let’s start with the biggest phones of the year: the new iPhones. This year Apple made its devices thinner than ever – but also supersized the screens. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7″ screen, and the 6 Plus goes all the way up to 5.5″. Though the latter isn’t great for one-handed usage, it can display full 1080p video in a first for Apple phones.

If the person you’re buying for an Apple fan – and already has a Macbook and iPad, this is phone to get, as it is increasingly integrated with the others – offering “hand over” functionality, such as seamlessly answering calls on your computer, or pick up writing an email from one device to another.

Perhaps the best new feature though is the ability to shoot slow-motion video at 240 frames per second – meaning you can capture some awesome footage, that not even top end cameras can manage.

Cost (SIM Free): iPhone 6 starts at £539, 6 Plus from £619.
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Galaxy Alpha

Forget Samsung’s Galaxy S5 – the Galaxy Alpha is much classier. Though its innards are slightly less powerful compared to the flagship S5, the Alpha wraps it up in a classy metal case – rather than relying on plastic like its contemporaries.

The Galaxy Alpha has an 8×1.8ghz processor, a 4.7″ screen and a 12MP camera – so if you want a classy Android, this could be the one to get. Though the S5 could also be worth a go if you want removable storage and a slightly bigger screen (that clocks in at 5.1″).

Cost (SIM Free): Starting at £549.
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Galaxy Note 4

The Galaxy Note 4 is Samsung’s flagship phablet, and sports a massive 5.7″, which runs at a huge 1440×2560 resolution. It also packs a 16MP rear camera and 3.7MP front-facing camera.

Perhaps most uniquely, it also comes with a stylus enabling handwriting input and easy note taking – you can either scribble, or use the stylus to highlight text and images in other apps and save them to Samsung’s notes app.

A must-buy for any business-minded users.

Cost (SIM Free): Starting at £599.
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HTC One M8 / HTC One M8 Mini

HTC has some rather bombastic cinema adverts where it calls the M8 “Perfect” – we’re not sure we’d go that far but it is certainly a very attractive phone. Boasting a full metal exterior, it looks the business and most intriguingly, it features two cameras on the rear – one to actually take the photo and one to gauge the depth, so you can mess with the focus after shooting – so you can pick objects out of the foreground and so on.

The phones also come with HTC’s “Sense” user interface, which brings your social media updates from Facebook, Twitter and others to your phone’s homescreen for easy access.

Cost (SIM Free): Starting at £499.
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We really liked the LG G3 when we reviewed it – it has a big screen, lightning fast processor and crucially, lacks all of the extra interface tweaks that manufacturers tend to layer on top, making it a relatively pure Android experience. The camera is really nice too.

Cost (SIM Free): Starting at £420.
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Sony Xperia Z3 / Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

If you’re paranoid, or buying for someone who is paranoid, then the Sony Xperia Z3 is the phone to get. Sony’s big boast is that the battery lasts not one, but two whole days, and anecdotally this appears to be fairly on the money.

The other major unique feature of the Xperias is that they are water and dustproof – so whilst your mates are carefully leaving their phones by the side of the pool, you can take yours for a dip – and capture some amazing imagery as a result.

The phones are also some of the first to shoot 4K video (to see them at full quality you’ll need to play back on another device) – with the primary camera being a massive 20.7MP.

Cost (SIM Free): Starting at £429.99.
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Huawei Ascend P7

Finally, if you’re looking a high-end phone at a mid-range price, the Huawei Ascend P7 could be for you. It runs a quad-core 1.8ghz processor, and has a 5″ display which runs at full HD (1080p) resolution. The cameras are great too – clocking in at 13MP on the rear and a (huge) 8MP on the front. Amusingly after shooting a selfie there’s various tools you can use to modify the image – which includes a slider that will make your nose more or less slender. (We’ve no idea either).

The other great thing about the phone is the battery life – you can easily use it with moderate to heavy use all day, and yet have no trouble reaching until bed time. Top stuff.

You can read our full review here.

Cost (SIM Free): Starting at £399.

James O’Malley
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