Advertorial feature

Getting on the smartphone ladder

 

Such are these tough economic times, many will be tightening belts and concentrating on the essentials ahead of material acquisition. But with Christmas fast approaching, the annual dilemma of watching the pennies versus satisfying the desires of those nearest and dearest is about to raise its ugly Yuletide head. And for those of you with children this can be a tough time indeed, especially if your brood is collectively piling on the pressure to find under the tree that most desirable of tech trinkets: the smartphone.

However, whilst the media is seemingly always awash with tales of early adopters camping out overnight and splurging the best part of a weekly wage to be first in line for Apple’s latest smartphone effort, there are devices other than the iPhone, and many are not as prohibitively expensive as you might think.

In fact, taking those first steps into the world of the smartphone and leaving behind the clunky, hand-me-down relics that just don’t cut it anymore isn’t the financially draining minefield it’s often portrayed to be. Several major handset manufacturers now produce budget devices that offer a comprehensive smartphone experience at competitive price points. And here are just a few:

Sony Xperia U

Sony is a seasoned campaigner in the world of mobile, although the Japanese company might be more well-known to a smartphone novice as part of its fruitful partnership with Ericsson. Now flying solo having jettisoned the Swedish telecommunications giant, Sony has reinvigorated its Xperia range of devices, releasing high-end phones such as the Xperia S and Xperia T. Not wanting to neglect the mid-range market, the Xperia refresh has also given rise to the Xperia U, a compact Android-powered handset with a stylish design and impressive 3.5-inch screen powered by the same BRAVIA technology featured in the company’s range of high-end television sets. Whilst the Xperia U doesn’t run the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich is the operating system of choice here), the software and its user interface are easily mastered and the inclusion of a 5 megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording capabilities is perfect for those with a Facebook or YouTube affliction.

Nokia Lumia 610

Mobile stalwarts Nokia recently entered a big money partnership with software giant Microsoft to showcase the often overlooked Windows Phone operating system, the results being a slew of impressive high-end devices that made up the Nokia Lumia range. Whilst the flagship (and suitably expensive) Nokia Lumia 920 may well be grabbing the headlines currently, the Finnish company’s mid-range device, the Lumia 610, is still popular, catering for those wanting to sample the Windows Phone experience without paying through the nose for doing so. Despite being on the shelves for coming up to a year now, and its Windows Phone 7.5 operating system about to be superseded by the forthcoming Windows Phone 8, the Nokia Lumia 610 still offers an inexpensive inroad to Windows Phone and the functionality it offers. Powered by an 800MHz processor and featuring Windows Phone’s innovative Live Tiles user interface, the Lumia 610 presents a user experience that’s a radical departure from that offered by the likes of Android and iOS’ icon-based efforts, and yet still engaging, responsive, and most importantly, centred around you. When you factor in a wealth of social options enabled by Microsoft’s People Hub area (which groups every possible facet of information relating to your contacts in one easy to reach place), the familiar Internet Explorer browser and a more than adequate 5 megapixel camera, the Nokia effort shapes up to be a more than viable route into the world of the smartphone.

HTC Desire C

Small but perfectly formed, the HTC Desire C is another Android handset that offers a premium experience – both in terms of aesthetics and performance – without breaking the bank. HTC has quite a track record in producing good-looking handsets packed full of functionality, and the Desire C is no different featuring HTC’s sturdy construction, a vibrant 3.5-inch display (quite a boon for a handset in this price bracket) and a 5 megapixel camera complimented with a host of social media sharing options making it easy to post your pics for the world to see. As with Sony’s Xperia U, Google’s Android Ice Cream Sandwich is the operating system used, although in this case the mobile platform is overlaid with HTC’s own user interface, the highly stylised yet incredibly intuitive HTC Sense. This brings impressive personalisation options including handy widgets displaying information on pretty much anything (stocks, news, weather, social media updates) which can be placed on one of the many home screens for quick access. Add to this a raft of Google software including Maps, YouTube and Google Messenger and the opportunity to pimp out the device with a multitude of apps from the Google Play app store, and the Desire C is an enticing proposition indeed.

By Dean Quinn, Tech writer at Phones 4u – the go-to retailer for upgrades, top deals and awesome handsets

News
people
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of web an...

    Langley James : Project Manager, Healthcare, Devon (6 month Contract) £500 pd

    £425 - £525 per annum: Langley James : Project Manager, Healthcare, Devon - (6...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Operations Manager

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing outsourced IT comp...

    Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London up to £40k

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London u...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?