What phone should I buy?

If you're befuddled by the vast array of mobile phones on sale, then save your sanity with our handy guide to the best low, middle and top-price blowers.


If you think an Android is a something from Star Wars and an Appleis one of your five-a-day, then the wacky world of mobile phones must be an intimidating place. No doubt you've sheepishly walked into your local mobile phone store only to emerge a clammy, gibbering wreck a few minutes later.

The complexity and range of devices increases every year so finding the right handset for your budget and needs has never been tougher. As always, CNET UK is here to ease the pain with some timely assistance.

We've outlined three basic price brackets and selected the best phone currently available in each. At last, you can get your mitts on the handset of your dreams with the minimum of wailing and teeth-gnashing.

Huawei Blaze

Cheap and cheerful: £100 or less

You may assume that when your maximum spend is a paltry £100, you're going to have to put up with a truly terrible phone that's lacking in power, bereft of features and packing hopelessly outdated software.

That might have been the case 12 months ago but much has changed in 2011. A new breed of super-cheap smart phones has arrived, most of which are running Google's popular Android operating system (OS).

The Huawei Blaze is arguably at the vanguard of this low-cost revolution. This small yet attractive device features a super-responsive capacitive touchscreen, Android 2.3 (one of the most recent versions of Google's mobile OS), expandable memory and a 3.2-megapixel camera.

Because it's running Android, the Blaze can connect to Google's 'cloud-based' services. That means your email, word processing and calendars are saved on the web rather than on your phone or computer, using programs such as Google Mail, Google Docs and Google Calendar. Google's OS also opens the door to a world of downloadable apps and games from the rapidly expanding Android Market -- the equivalent to Apple's App Store.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray

Middle of the road: Around £250

The Xperia Ray is another Android device manufactured by Sony Ericsson, which has a track record in producing handsets with a lush design and cutting-edge technology concealed within.

The Xperia Ray's screen uses Sony Ericsson's Mobile Bravia tech to produce an image quality that is bright and colourful. In addition to this, it also features an 8-megapixel camera with a flashy Exmor R sensor. In layman's terms, it's capable of capturing some truly stunning photos.

It also supports high-definition 720p resolution video recording, which means you can finally retire that old VHS camcorder you're too embarrassed to use in public.

To cap it all off, you can use the phone's DLNA connectivity to wirelessly share your images and videos with compatible devices, such as your Sony PlayStation 3 games console. If that doesn't feel like the future, then we don't know what does.

Apple iPhone 4S

Reassuringly expensive: £500+

If you've won the lottery or inherited a massive pile of cash from a distant relative, then it's only right that you seek out what is considered by many to be the Rolls Royce of mobiles.

The iPhone 4S is arguably the most attractive and well-made mobile available today, boasting a gorgeous combination of tempered glass and machined metal.

While it's outclassed by some Android phones in the technological stakes, the iPhone is backed by the most popular app store on the planet. If you're keen on mobile games or like downloading the latest time-saving applications, then this is the phone for you.

Thousands of new items are added each day to the App Store. All the best content usually appears on the iPhone before any other mobile format.

Another massive selling point for the latest iPhone -- the recently launched 4S -- is the revolutionary Siri voice assistant. You can speak to your phone to send text messages, arrange appointments or get a run-down of your scheduled meetings on any given day. Should that all be a bit too serious, you can engage Siri in idle banter, which results in all kinds of amusing retorts.

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