Smart Phone Previews

Photo courtsey Gabriele Barni/flickr

Photo courtsey Gabriele Barni/flickr

 Spencer Schneier
     News Editor

Last Wednesday, Apple announced its new iPhone 6s and 6s+, which means that smartphone users are now in the middle of new phone season.

When shopping for a new phone, it can be intimidating to have to consider all of the options, particularly when so many brands work hard on creating a persona for themselves, as opposed to a market where the products genuinely stand for themselves.

When the dollar figures at play are a little bit more than what a college student would pay for textbooks, it makes it important for the consumers to be aware of their options and what will work best for them.

With the exception of Google’s Nexus line of smartphones, all of the remaining major brands have been announced.

iPhone 6s and 6s+:

The iPhones are always a good bet when it comes to great hardware, close attention to design and a strong brand. Apple’s flagship smartphone comes in two sizes: the 6s, a 4.7-inch display and the 6s+, a 5.5-inch display.

Both feature Apple’s Retina display as well as a new 3D Touch feature, which enables the phone to measure how hard the user is pushing on the screen, something Apple has utilized to allow users to take quick actions on apps without needing to open them.

The camera is 12 megapixel and can take 4K video, and keeping in line with Apple’s track record, all accounts have noted that the pictures are great.

Another new feature of the iPhone’s camera is its ability to take “Live Photos,” which capture the few seconds before and after a photo is taken. This can be accessed via 3D Touch and is stored for all photos.

While higher quality photos and Live Photos sound like useful features, the iPhone’s base (and therefore most affordable) model comes with only 16GB of storage, more than one-third of which is already taken up by Apple’s pre-downloaded apps that users cannot uninstall.

With Apple’s new higher resolution photos, people who are having issues with space on their phone now will have it considerably worse with the iPhone 6s and 6s+, unless they pay for the 32GB version.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+:

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ provides a unique design aesthetic that will capture the attention of many users: its screen is curved on both edges.

This allows for useful features like alarm clock mode and discreet notifications (if the phone is face down on a table, users can still see notifications on the edge of the curved screen).

It carries top-of-the-line hardware and a reputation for having a camera that matches, if not betters, the iPhone’s camera, but unlike the iPhone, it runs Android.

This allows users greater customization and flexibility and means that they have much less pre-loaded bloat than the iPhone.

Its display is 5.7 inches and the camera is 16 megapixels, which gives it slightly higher values in both categories than the iPhone. It also comes with wireless charging and fast-charging, which allow for much easier recharging when users run out of battery.

Moto X Pure Edition:

Motorola provides perhaps the most unique option for someone looking to switch to Android, as its Moto X Pure Edition is sold off-contract, is fully customizable and runs essentially pure Android (hardly any pre-installed apps that eat space).

Users can customize the aesthetic of their phones and can choose from options such as a finished-wood back for the Moto X Pure Edition.

The phone is 5.7 inches, has a 21 megapixel camera, takes 4K video and can get 10 hours of battery life from 10 minutes of charging. Motorola has emphasized the quality of their camera, which boasts some of the best specs of any phone to come out this year.  They also offer their phone at just $400 off-contract, which prices it as a mid-tier phone despite its high-end specs.

The importance of it being sold off-carrier means that users can switch their mobile service provider much easier than if they bought their phone through a company such as Verizon or AT&T. This is extremely difficult if not impossible to do in many cases.

There are many other options such as the Nexus (which has not been announced), the Note 5 (a behemoth of a phone that comes with a stylus) and many other alternative Android phones that users can purchase.

Categories: News, technology

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