Feeds

Review: Britain's 4G smartphones

Nine handsets, one network - is it time at last to invest in LTE?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Reg Verdict

There’s no denying the attraction of the speeds on offer from EE’s 4G network, which are pretty darned impressive. But you need to balance that against the currently rather limited coverage, especially if you live away from the centre of the UK’s larger urban areas, and much reduced battery life.

If I had to pick one of the six as a recommendation it would be the Samsung Galaxy Note II. It’s the only device here that I could live with without constantly worrying about the battery packing up and leaving me with an expensive paperweight in my pocket.

If the Note is just too big, I can’t see many people being unhappy with either the Galaxy S III or the iPhone 5. They are the world’s best selling smartphones for a reason, though the latter is the most expensive handset here even in 16GB form - the 32GB version will set you back £100 more on the same tariff.

Phones on test

Smartphones, prepare to be tested

Both Nokia’s Lumia 920 and HTC’s One XL feel great in the hand and have excellent screens. The HTC was always the most eager to drop a 3G connection in preference for 4G when the opportunity arose, while the Nokia boasts a superb camera and excellent satnav app.

You could argue that the BlackBerry Z10 lacks a stand-out feature to match the heavyweights from Apple, Nokia and Samsung, but you’d be wrong. For messaging competence it beats the other phones hollow and once you’ve grown used to it - and assuming you’ve never used a PlayBook - the UI is a blinder. Its Balance system for keeping work and personal stuff separate yet present will appeal to folk struggling with BYOD.

The Huawei P1 struggles because it’s a budget handset that isn’t available at a budget price. The Lumia 920 is only £20 more, the One XL, BlackBerry Z10 and Galaxy S III only £30 more. All are far superior devices in every way.

There’s a question niggling me, though. Why would you buy any of these handsets on a 4G contract rather than the 3G equivalent for less and then spend the balance on an EE 4G Mobile WiFi router?

EE MiFi

The best buy? EE's Huawei-made 4G MiFi modem

For £50 down and £15.99 a month for 18 months, you get 3GB of data per month that can be used with any Wi-Fi enabled device. If you feel to need to haul some serious coal over a cellular network this surely is the better value and more flexible option and you won’t run the risk of castrating your smartphone when you go over your 4G data allowance.

If the coverage gets better locally I may just invest in one and treat myself to a blazing fast cellular connection for my Nexus 7, Chromebook and Razr i all at the same time. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?