My friends and family know me as a tech enthusiast who is forever buying new devices and perusing the technology press. This has meant that I often I get asked questions on what devices people should buy. This is because (at least in my social circle) most people are non-geeks and use very mainstream devices. Most use iPhones with a significant minority using Samsung Galaxy devices. (Lets be honest, whether we like it or not, for many non-techies, Galaxy is Android) and are pretty wedded to these, upgrading to the newer versions when they come out.
This years mobile phone cycle hasn’t gone entirely as expected. First we saw Sony’s lacklustre X series. Then we had the amazing exploding Note 7, the death of the Nexus/birth of the Pixel and the questionably upgraded iPhone.
The last one is pretty significant, I now regularly get people asking my advice on what Android phone to buy. It seems to many the jump from iPhone 6/6S to 7 isn’t particularly big and are now actively looking at other devices. Most of these are non-techies who haven’t used anything but an iPhone for the last few years (though there were a few Note users planning on upgrading to the Note 7 before its fiery demise). Yet they are more then happy to jump ship and change platforms altogether.
My conundrum? Well what to recommend to this particular demographic? Initially the Galaxy S7 seems the most mainstream contender. Its a great device with a great camera and screen. It is also priced at a premium level. Over the last 18 months or so, the mid-range section of the market has blossomed with devices like the Honor 8, Alcatel Idol 4, OnePlus3 giving flagship performance at a much cheaper price point. Then there are lesser known brands e.g. Huawei with its P9 which are available at good prices/contract rates by the networks to help shift them. Similarly the LG G5 (which i really like) which hasnt sold well so and so is available with many discounts. For the first time I cant recommend a HTC or Xperia. The HTC 10 is a great device, but too expensive. The Xperia’s just seem half-baked.
What about arguably the best android device out at the minute, the Pixel? This is “Googles iPhone”. In a year with no Note and uninspiring iPhone, this could be the next big thing. But man its so expensive, even a diehard tech-nerd like me cant justify its price tag, how can I expect a non-techie to put so much money on an hitherto unknown quantity.
So I’ve had to think really hard before deciding what to recommend. In the end, I inevitably say that the OnePlus 3 is the best value proposition, but that doesnt gain much traction, and I end up advising people to go for the S7. It may not be “Googles iPhone”, but it is “Samsungs iPhone” and it’ll best for most switching to dark side.
Think I’m talking pants? Sound off in the comments!