Feeds

2011's Best... Smartphones

Your portable internet companion

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Xmas Gift Guide The modern smartphone is the true Swiss Army knife of gadgets. Want to listen to music? Watch a video? Browse the web? Read a book? Keep up with your friends? Take a picture? Make a video? A smartphone can do all those things, with ever increasing competence.

In 2011, the smartphone just got better and better, with the arrival of dual-core processor technology, and 1080p HD recording and playback.

Of all the handsets I saw this year, five stood out for me, listed below in reverse rating order. They are all competent phones, capable and powerful whatever you want them to do. They have different, but good operating systems - whatever their respective fanboy cheerleaders may say. If you don't like one, try another.

Orange Monte Carlo

RH Numbers

With the global economy circling the bog bowl in a manner not seen since the fall of the Roman Empire, there’s a lot to be said for a phone that gives you 80 per cent of the large-screen smartphone experience for 25 per cent of the price. And at £120 pre-paid - with a free Christmas gift box no less - that’s what the Monte Carlo, aka the ZTE Skate, does.

Sure, the 800MHz CPU can’t handle Flash video well but then neither can can the iPhone or Nokia's Lumia. The 4.3in, 480 x 800 screen is more than capable of matching the rich kids’ toys when it comes to Facebookery, Tweeting, e-reading, satellite navigation and web browsing. The trade-off? All that horrid Orange bloatware.

Orange Monte Carlo
Reg Rating 80%
Price From £129 on PAYG
More Info Orange

Nokia Lumia 800

RH Numbers

Can one phone ever have had to carry so great a weight of expectation? Not only does the Lumia 800 have to staunch Nokia’s haemorrhaging market share but it also has to prove that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is something more than a Redmond vanity project.

There’s no doubt the Lumia is a fine phone: it’s superbly made, comes with free turn-by-turn satnav, goes like the clappers thanks to its 1.4GHz CPU, and has a beautifully colourful 480 x 800 OLED screen. And it doesn’t cost an arm and leg.

Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 Mango handset
Reg Rating 80%
Price £450 Sim-free
More Info Nokia

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.