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December 2, 2014

Top 10 smartphones for Christmas

Fill your stockings with the year's hottest smartphones.

By Ben Sullivan

Looking for that perfect smartphone for a loved one at Christmas this year? Or perhaps it’s time to treat yourself with an updated and upgraded handset? Here are ten of the hottest phones on the market right now.

Amazon Fire


With a 4.7-inch screen, 13MP camera, and a Quad-core 2.2GHz processor, it’s clear Amazon is not messing about with its initial smartphone offering.

However, the real showstopper here is the dynamic perspective effect which emulates a 3D screen.

The Fire is perfect for someone who loves using Amazon, and services such as Netflix, as the phone comes bundled with the Amazon ecosystem.



LG’s latest flagship boasts probably the best smartphone display currently available – a Quad HD 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, giving 538ppi – which places the LG G3 higher up the definition scale than both the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

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The back may feel metallic but it’s actually mainly polycarbonate with some metal mixed in, meaning it feels very smooth but also sturdy. The slightly curved back means that it’s easy to hold and should allay any fears that you won’t be able to reach across the entire of that immense screen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4


The Galaxy Note 4, a phablet with a quad HD screen, showing off impressive detail.

The device has a ‘fast charging’ ability to help keep up with intensive battery demands, claiming to be able to reach 50% charge in just half an hour.

The 5.7-inch display is made all the better by the 16MP camera with image stabilisation and 8x digital zoom. There’s also a new version of the S-Pen stylus.

Motorola Moto X


Motorola’s 2013 flagship still comes with a very reasonable price tag. With a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and a 4.7 inch screen, the Moto X can boast up to 32GB memory and a 10MP camera. An all round excellent Android experience on a budget.

Sony Xperia Z3


Sony’s 2014 flagship, the Z3, is futureproofed to the max with a 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and a 20.7MP camera. Featuring the same aluminum chassis as its predecessor, the Z3 looks classic and stylish.

HTC One M8


This phone boasts a 5in Full HD (Super LCD 3) 1,920 x 1080 screen, which is 440ppi.

It’s also the first phone in the world to feature a dual rear camera setup, which allows the user to work on refocusing images after the picture has been taken.

"For the first time on a smartphone, this dual camera captures true depth information in your photos," said Chou during the New York launch event.

"We went the extra mile to do this the right way at the hardware level. It is an integrated part of our camera, so you don’t have to fumble with a clumsy mode or app."

Underneath the bonnet, the HTC One M8 has a Snapdragon 801 CPU working overtime at 2.5GHz, with 2GB of RAM. The 2,900mAh battery also gives the device a decent battery life, with storage options of 32GB expandable to 64GB.

The HTC One M8 weighs just 160g, and is 9.35mm thick.

Nexus 6


The Nexus 6 is a 5.96in smartphone which comes with a Quad HD display with 1440×2560 resolution and features a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera.

Running on Android 5.0 Lollipop, the smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor with 3GB of RAM, and it comes with internal storage option of 32GB or 64GB.

The metal finish phone is designed by Motorola and it features 3220mAh battery.

Lumia 830


The Lumia 830, featuring a 10MP camera, is Microsoft’s attack on Samsung and Apple, priced competitively at about £300.

Expected to reach the market this month, the phone will run on Windows Phone 8.1 with the Lumia Denim update. It’s got a 5-inch Gorilla Glass screen and a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

There’s 16GB of in-built memory, and obviously the token 15GB of Microsoft OneDrive storage. Weighing just 150g, Microsoft Nokia said that the smartphone’s performance is just as good if not better than Samsung’s flagship equivalent.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus


With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple is giving its loyal followers a choice of screen sizes (4.7in and 5.5in), but also opens up to potential customers who have criticised iPhone screen sizes in the past. Phablet-sized smartphones are on the up as consumers want better video viewing quality and better gaming experiences. Larger screens can also accommodate more information at once such as messages and news apps.

Alongside the new iPhones, Apple also announced the launch of Apple Pay, a new mobile payments service which lets users pay for goods using just the touch of their finger.

Using near-field communication (NFC) technology, users will be able to pay for purchases simply by holding their device over a compatible reader, doing away with the need for credit or debit cards.

The process uses the TouchID fingerprint reader built into Apple’s iPhone 6 (as well as its predecessor, the iPhone 5S) to authenticate a user’s identity, as they will have to hold their finger over the sensor to complete the payment.

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