The UAE's best new smartphones
Specs, ratings and comparisons for the iPhone 6S, LG V10, Huawei Honor 7 and other new models to hit the UAE’s smartphone market.James Reynolds October 18, 2015
While today’s smartphones might lack the bulletproof durability and eternal battery life that typified the phones of yesteryear, there’s no doubt that in the past few years, huge advances in technology have seen the development of some amazing new models.
And with the likes of the iPhone 6S, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, the LG V10 and new pretender the Huawei Honor 7 coming out this year, 2015 is proving to be a good one for tech fans.
Here’s everything you need to know, including a breakdown of the specs and key features, for all the hottest new smartphones currently available in the UAE.
The iPhone 6S
The much-anticipated 6S hit UAE stores this month, and after so much build up, there were always going to be questions as to whether it could live up to the hype. And despite looking almost identical to the iPhone 6 (save for the tiny ‘S’ logo and the new rose gold colour option), it actually packs a fair few new features that set it apart from its predecessor.
In the past iPhones haven’t been the most reliable in terms of durability, however, the 6S has come on leaps and bounds in that department, with it’s new pliable 7000-series aluminum, which is also used by the aerospace industry and has been dubbed “the strongest in the industry” by Apple exec Phil Schiller.
The newly improved 12MP rear camera now enables users to shoot videos in 4K, whilst there’s now the added bonus of a retina flash on the 5MP front camera, which means that even selfies taken in dull lighting will look clear and professional.
One of the breakthrough features of the 6S is what Apple calls ‘Live Photos’ – a feature that automatically captures one-and-a-half seconds of footage before and after the shutter button has been pressed to create mini videos. These can played using another one of the 6S’s breakout features: 3D Touch, which sees the screen react differently, depending on how hard it is pressed. The introduction of 3D Touch is a big step for Apple and it means that general use of the iPhone 6S has become a lot more advanced than ever before.
One potential downfall is the battery life, which hasn’t been improved from the 6. However, on the upside, for roughly the same battery life as the 6, the 6S has more features, increased RAM (from 1GB to 2GB) and a lighting fast A9 processor, which means the iPhone 6S is faster than ever.
Standout Features: 3D Touch and Harry Potter-esque Live Photos.
Battery Life: Around a day with normal use Cameras: Rear: 12MP; Front: 5MP Storage: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB RAM: 2GB Processing speed: 1.84GHz Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm Weight: 143g Screen: 4.7” Operating System: iOS 9.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Not quite as recent a release as the iPhone 6S, for example, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 still has more than enough clout to compete. The design carries on from the company’s S6 model, with a dual glass case, as apposed to the iPhone’s stainless steel. One change that’s clearly visible is the back of the phone curves round to the sides, making it a smooth fit in the hand.
The Note 5 prides itself on its S Pen, which now has a neat clicking mechanism to release it from the bottom right corner of the phone. It’s also considerably lighter than previous models, while still maintaining smart functions such as the fingerprint scanner on the front and heart monitor on the back.
In terms of performance, the 4GB RAM is comparable to the LG V10, and double that of the iPhone 6S. However, the lack of expandable memory or a bigger 128GB option will affect those who have a lot of music or movies.
With it’s 16MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, as well as it’s Quad HD resolution, it’s certainly a great camera phone in it’s own right, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the Huawei Honor 7. The photo collage feature and the capability of broadcasting directly from the camera to YouTube are also nice touches.
The S Pen contributes to this phone’s most interesting feature, which is when the phone is locked, a faded black screen will appear, allowing the user to write down any urgent notes without having to unlock the phone.
Standout Features: Rapid charging, wireless charging, S Pen.
Battery Life: Around a day with normal use Cameras: Rear: 16MP; Front: 5MP Storage: 32GB, 64GB RAM: 4GB Processing Speed: 1.8GHz Dimensions: 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6mm Weight: 171g Screen Size: 5.7” Operating System: Android 5.1.1(Lollipop).
Aiming to rival heavyweights such as the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy Note5, the new LG V10 has been designed to be the perfect on-the-go media phone, with a heavy impetus on making filming a more hands-on experience.
This new smartphone is one of few that don’t have a single switch or button on the sides – instead the volume buttons and fingerprint sensor can be found just below the rear camera. The materials have changed from plastic to stainless steel and silicon, which gives the phone a much sturdier feel and adds plenty of grip.
A nice interface touch comes from the optional second screen at the top of the phone, where most-used apps can be attached for quick and easy access without having to leave the current page (according to LG, even if you were to leave the second screen open all day, it would only take a maximum of 5 per cent of the battery life).
The V10 packs a decent 16MP rear camera, but its main selling point has to be the duel front cameras, which negate the need (as if there ever was one) for the selfie stick, with the choice of using a wide-angle lens to capture more in the shot.
There is also the choice of adding a microSD card of up to 128GB, so you don’t have to keep on deleting captured footage or images to make room in the 64GB memory.
Standout Features: Simultaneous video and image capture, duel front cameras, second screen.
Battery Life: Two days, with the added bonus of removable battery Cameras: Rear: 16MP; Front: 5MP Storage: 64GB RAM: 4GB Processing speed: 1.82GHz Dimensions: 159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6mm Weight: 192g Screen Size: 5.7” Operating System: Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop).
Huawei Honor 7
With the Honor 7, Chinese brand Huawei has managed to cram a lot of tech inside a relatively compact space, albeit a space that is slightly bigger and heavier than its predecessor, the Honor 6.
The phone has a slick metal chassis, which gives it a distinctly premium feel comparable to some of its more expensive counterparts. With a fairly quick charging speed and decent battery life, this phone is ideal for those who are constantly on the move, but need to keep in touch.
The in-house Kirin 935 processor, which has four Cortex-A53 cores running at 2.2GHz and four more running at 1.5GHz, has more than enough power to run the smooth user interface and handle everyday tasks such as social media, web browsing and emails at a fast rate.
The rear camera boasts an impressive 20 megapixels (far higher than the iPhone 6S) and comes with a smart autofocus setting, making clear photography almost instant. There is also a front flash to accompany the 8MP camera at the front to keep selfie-takers happy – and illuminated.
A couple of clever features include the ‘Knuckle Tap’ – which takes a screenshot at just the double-tap of the knuckle – and the Smart Key, which can be customised to perform a range of different functions, such as bring up the most-used app or even call a favourite contact.
Standout features: The Smart Key and quirky Knuckle Tap.
Battery Life: Around a day and a half, but Ultra setting extends life for longer Cameras: Rear: 20MP with dual-LED flash; Front: 8MP Storage: 16GB RAM: 3GB Process Speed: 1.5GHz Dimensions: 143.2 x 71.9 x 8.5mm Weight: 157g Screen: 5.2” Operating System: Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop).