Best 4G smartphones: 5 to choose as Vodafone and O2 go superfast

Vodafone and O2 have now joined EE in offering 4G in the UK, but what phone should you think about upgrading to? We've pulled together the five (plus a bonus) 4G smartphones on the market that we've reviewed here at Pocket-lint to give you some idea of what your next smartphone should be. 

These are the phones available right now, from day one launch, but be warned, there are plenty of new phones on the imminent horizon that might be worth waiting for.

Rumours suggest we'll see the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the iPhone 5S, the Sony Xperia Z1, and the HTC One Max all within the next two months. 

In the meantime, if you've got to get your 4G smartphone today for your new Vodafone 4G and O2 4G contract, here are the best of the best for day one. 

Nokia Lumia 625

If cash it tight but you still want to live the 4G dream, then the Nokia Lumia 625 is the phone for you. Built to a budget, it features a large screen, that all important 4G connectivity, but does cut corners as we've come to expect from Nokia in its other more feature-packed handsets. That's not a problem, it's just something you need to be aware of, especially if you were looking for NFC and wireless charging. Still, bright colours, free GPS and music software, along with the Windows Phone 8 OS make this a nifty little phone for the price, although only if budget is your main consideration. 

QUICK VERDICT: The Nokia Lumia 625 brings you a large display and 4G on the cheap. But the display doesn't bring quality with it so the benefit feels slightly lost, leaving us with an oddball device - it's good considering the price, but not great on the whole.

FULL REVIEW: Nokia Lumia 625 review

 

Sony Xperia Z

The Sony Xperia Z is the first Sony Mobile device of recent years that really gets it right. The design is sumptuous, a glass monolith that is distinctly different from everything else on the market.

Sony's take on Android is lighter than ever before, resulting in a device that doesn't feel inhibited, while still bringing plenty of power. We love that even though this handset is water resistant, you still get the option to expand the memory.

There's a huge 5-inch Full HD display on the front, and although it's not as accomplished as that from the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4, it's still a pleasure to use. A great device from Sony.

QUICK VERDICT: The Xperia Z is Sony's best Android phone so far, combining sharp design with a great display, sensible software tweaks and attention to battery life. The camera feels pretty average though.

FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z reviewed

 

Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 brings more innovation to a phone that's already at the top of its game. The design offers flexibility where others don't, with access to the battery and the option to expand the memory via microSD.

Samsung continues to introduce more features designed to make your life easier and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is undoubtly an Android powerhouse.

There may be a feature too many and the design might not inspire like some other devices, but if you opt for the Samsung Galaxy S4, you won't be disappointed. This is an Android smartphone top of its game, let down on being the top smartphone in the worl  only because there is one phone that is better.

QUICK VERDICT: We love it, honestly. The new design might look the same as the old, but it isn't. New, more squared-off sides mean it feels nicer than the old model, and it's got so many new features that it's impossible not to love some of them. Battery life is still a major issue for Samsung though, and that's a big deal for most users.

FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

 

HTC One

The HTC One is a triumph of design, sumptuous to hold and wonderful to behold. There's a stunning 4.7-inch display on the front, with a Full HD resolution, so Android looks pin sharp on this powerhouse.

HTC Sense has been refined with a lot of the clutter removed to focus on the essential features. There's an elegance and sophistication to HTC's flagship phone for 2013, making it a pleasure to use.

The camera might not be the best for straight photos, but the unique features it offers are really fun. This is paired with stunning sound quality to result in a smartphone that covers all bases.

QUICK VERDICT: HTC has a history of making good phones, so the HTC One doesn't comes as a surprise to us. It's a fantastic Android smartphone and is well worthy of your consideration if you're in the market for a premium device.

FULL REVIEW: HTC One review

 

BlackBerry Q10

If you must go Qwerty, then the only real choice you have is the BlackBerry Q10. It should be your first port of call. Okay, maybe it's your only port of call, but it at least gives you the best physical keyboard experience you'll find in a modern smartphone.

The BB10 operating system is much refined and more competitive alongside other smartphone platforms, but still lacks in app availability and can be a little fiddly. 

If your company is still insisting you use a BlackBerry this still delivers that great messaging experience, but now faster. If your time is spent making calls and tapping out messages, be that BBM, email, SMS, WhatsApp or Skype, then look no further.

QUICK VERDICT: The BlackBerry Q10 is our BlackBerry of choice, delivering a great communication experience. But it lacks alongside rival smartphone platforms in other areas.

FULL REVIEW: BlackBerry Q10 review

 

BONUS - Apple iPhone 5

We've added the iPhone 5 in here because it's only 4G capable if you are on the EE network. Vodafone and O2 4G customers hoping their iPhone 5 will go faster, shouldn't. It won't. You'll have to wait for the iPhone 5S for that. 

With exquisite attention to detail and wonderful design, the iPhone 5 is master of the largest mobile ecosystem around. A larger 4-inch display gives the extensive range of apps more space than ever before.

Slick and seamless user experience is paired with the power to make everything skip along with pace. The operating system might be in need of a tweak or two, but this is still a premium smartphone experience, loved by many.

The iPhone 5 brings with it innovative features like Siri and a camera that just gets on and performs without the fuss, as well as often being the first destination for new apps and services. Little may have changed, but it the iPhone is still a firm favourite in smartphone circles.

QUICK VERDICT: The iPhone 5 is a phone that makes you feel safe. A phone that you know exactly how to use as soon as you take it out of the box and that is perfect for a wide range of people.

FULL REVIEW: iPhone 5 review



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