As sales of second-hand smartphones continue to soar, we take a look at the possible contenders for top ranking in 2020.
Released just over two years ago, the iPhone 8 presents an improved camera, some design tweaks and extended battery life, as well as some useful new features. The device was positioned originally as the entry level into Apple’s flagship range.
The iPhone 8 is slightly larger than the iPhone 7 but should still fit in an iPhone 7 case. The 4.7” screen puts the iPhone 8 in a class of its own as there are no Android flagship phones with such a compact screen.
The handset’s size makes it agreeable to hold and use single-handed. While the design isn’t a huge departure from the aesthetic of the iPhone 6 and 7, the phone doesn’t have the bezel-less displays which the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone X offer, which makes it look rather dated.
The aluminium unibody design has been replaced by a glass back, reminiscent of the iconic iPhone 4, which enables wireless charging and should improve the wireless performance.
The LCD display has a pixel density of 326 PPI, the same as the iPhone 7, but the brightness and colour representation are much improved. True Tone technology has been added to the display which monitors the ambient light around the handset and calibrates the screen to perfect it under current lighting conditions. The result is bold colours and beautiful contrast.
The iPhone 8 packs the new and speedy A11 Bionic hexa-core processor, the most powerful yet. What’s impressive is how apps are instantly ready when multitasking between numerous jobs.
The battery is an improvement over the iPhone 7 and has been found to last one day comfortably with mixed usage. The glass back means that the handset can placed on a wireless charging pad, which is convenient albeit rather slow. The device has the capability for fast charging, but you’ll need to fork out for a USB-C Lightning cable and fast charger to enable this.
The camera with its 12mp f/1.8 lens set-up is the same as the previous generation but the sensor has been enlarged and the software is smarter, resulting in a camera capable of taking stunning snaps with great detail and contrast.
All in all, the iPhone 8 is an excellent phone with respectable battery life, improved camera and the convenience of wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
The Galaxy S9 Plus is a bigger version of the Galaxy S9 and then some! The outstanding hardware is the phone’s rear 12mp dual-aperture camera system, which offers enhanced low-light, bright-light image and video-taking functionality.
Innovations related to the camera are Super Slow-Mo recording, an augmented reality (AR) Emoji which turns a selfie into an avatar which can be styled with various items of clothing, and an upgraded version of Samsung’s AI assistant Bixby which now delivers real-time object detection and recognition.
As regards software, there is very little difference between the two handsets; the S9Plus has a little more RAM and internal storage. At first glance, the S9Plus looks identical to the S8 Plus, but if you look more closely you will see that although the same luxurious and premium melding of metal frame and glass remains the same, the bezels have been minimised, reducing the phone’s overall height.
The other major difference is that the fingerprint scanner is now located at the centre-back of the handset below the dual-aperture camera, which looks better and makes it far easier to unlock the phone while avoiding smudging the rear camera’s lens.
The screen is the same as the S8 Plus, and with extra space available here, the Super AMOLED 18.5:9 panel looks superb.The Quad HD+ resolution at 529ppi looks crisp and sharp and delivers wonderfully vibrant colours and a high contrast that makes images, games and media really jump out of the screen. The screen also fills 90% of the phone’s front face and, with no sensors, buttons or visible cameras, has an amazing elegant and futuristic look.
The combination of the powerful hardware and the screen deliver a super- fast and vivid user experience. Games load quickly and run smoothly, and using and switching between apps is seamless and delay-free.
Samsung has beefed up its AI assistant Bixby on the S9 and S9 Plus with a live translation mode that allows you to point the phone’s camera at a piece of foreign text and have it translated instantly automatically. Bixby is also location-aware and can be used to bring up information about food, monuments and locations just by pointing the phone at the item in question.
Security is provided by Samsung’s Intelligent Scan system which combines facial recognition and iris scanning to allow the S9 Plus to be unlocked by simply looking at the device.
Considered by many to be the best big phone on the market right now.
Once the iPhone XS was released just over a year ago, Apple stopped selling the iPhone X, although it is still available to buy second-hand.
Its top selling points are by far the best screen of any iPhone with clear, vibrant colours, although the notch at the top can be irritating. The 5.8” OLED display is considered by many to be the best Apple has ever put in a phone, or was, until the iPhone XS arrived. It surpasses the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in terms of sharpness, quality, colour reproduction and the fact that it fills the whole front face of the phone.
The handset also has a new, longer screen which looks larger than the iPhone 8 Plus 5.5” display, but is only slightly bigger in terms of actual screen real estate. It’s just been stretched upwards, so it’s taller, not wider. OLED technology means deeper blacks and brighter whites, and although it’s not the sharpest or most colourful screen on a smartphone, it’s clean, crisp and doesn’t suffer from horrible colour shifts when you move the phone around. The display is great to look at from all angles and that’s what you want on a mobile device.
The term ‘bezel-less’ has been used about the iPhone X, but it’s more accurate to say that there are slight bands around the edges of the screen as this isn’t a curved screen iPhone, but they don’t detract from the experience. On the contrary, they enable fingers to land on something other than the screen itself.
Apple took a small chunk out of the top of the screen to house the new TrueDepth camera but it encroaches on the display. In portrait mode it’s hard to notice it’s there, but place the phone in landscape mode and it’s way more noticeable. It’s an irritant when watching films as when you expand them to fill the screen (one of the advantages of the the longer display), elements of the action are obscured by the notch.
The display also highlights a new feature for Apple, HDR playback which means the phone can run movies encoded in HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats, and combined with the OLED display give the images much more depth and realistic colour reproduction.
As with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the X uses a True Tone display which mimics the lighting conditions around it and adjusts the white balance accordingly.
These three phones are available second-hand from specialist retailers such a www.ineedamobile.com and other outlets. As stock is plentiful and competition healthy, you should shop around for the best price.