The market is quite literally exploding with innovative smartphones by leading and emerging manufacturers. Earlier this year, Samsung brought some excitement into the market with the much anticipated Galaxy Note 7. However, the company was forced to announce a global recall after some of the flagship device caught fire due to battery cell issues.
While some business users may want to return to the acclaimed Galaxy Note 7, there are many other excellent options to choose from. While we see how the re-release of the Galaxy Note 7 fares, we’ve found some other great devices for you to consider. But first, here’s some of the things you should consider when selecting a smartphone for your business.
Currently, there are two leading operating systems that can be easily supported: Android and iOS. Android provides the most choice in devices, as it is licensed to many manufacturers. iOS is proprietary to the Apple line of smartphones, but offers an excellent history of smartphone design and a huge number of apps in its App Store.
Smartphones cater to a broad consumer base, but there are specific features that business users should look for.
- Security is key. Most flagship devices provide fingerprint security for unlocking phone features. In addition, major manufacturers use hardware encryption in their top-of-the- line smartphones to prevent attackers from reading personal information. If you love a phone that does not feature hardware encryption, look for software-based encryption apps.
- Split screen multi-tasking is now standard in iOS and Android. This multi-window feature gives you the ability to easily switch between tasks and apps. It’s a great productivity booster when you’re trying to do two things at once, such as writing and e-mail and researching a client company on the Internet.
- Voice activation and always-on voice commands using Google Now on Android or Siri on iOS allow hands-free ability to operate many phone features, such as assigning reminders, initiating calls, or adding appointments to your calendar events.
- Battery life keeps getting better and better. With many smartphones, you should be able to get a good day’s work out of a single charge. If you’re a real power user, look for quick-charging or, in rare cases, removable batteries that allow you to swap on-the-go.
Compact smartphones probably aren’t a business user’s first choice as the small screen can be limiting for general display and make multi-tasking difficult. Other choices are midsize screens and very large “phablet” devices. Consider your need for portability of a slightly smaller display to the enhanced productivity you get from a phablet, such as reading documents and opening spreadsheets.
All phones have internal storage memory, while others offer the added benefit of expandable storage. If you like to store and access large files on your device, look for high internal storage capacity and/or the availability of expandable storage slots.
Now, let’s look at some of the best phones out there right now (in no particular order). As mentioned, we’re not including the Samsung Galaxy Note in this list because of its major recall; however, based on many respected reviews, it’s still worth a look. Actual prices are subject to vary from those published here.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Price: $650-$695, depending on carrier pricing and offers
Weight: 5.4 oz.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one great phone. It uses the Android operating system with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. As a business user, speed is your friend, and this smartphone performs. Not only is it fast, but with its slightly curved back and sides, it’s quite attractive and very comfortable to use. Samsung claims the model is water-resistant. While early phones did not perform well in water-resistance tests, manufacturing problems have been addressed, so go ahead and type or talk away near the atrium fountain or the hotel pool.
The ample 5.1 inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display on this midsize smartphone isn’t the largest screen around, but it’s a convenient size for users that like to keep the phone in the pocket of their jeans or jacket. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 12MB camera that performs well under a variety of conditions.
Besides the customary fingerprint security, the phone offers business users enhanced Knox mobile security. This allows you to separate work and personal data, secure hardware and software, and supports VPNs and other mobile-integrated business infrastructure. It also provides a MicroSD slot for 200 GB of expandable storage and S Finder, which helps you quickly locate files and folders.
Upgrade to Galaxy S7 Edge for 5.5 inch display, a bigger battery and an even more fashionable design.
Price: $649-$849, depending on the storage capacity selected by the customer.
Weight: 4.87 oz.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are finally here. After all the hype about its lack of a headphone jack, where does it stand against other flagship phones? As with previous Apple smartphones, it stands with the best of them, although it’s certainly not the most innovative iPhone ever released.
The overall design of the water-resistant iPhone 7 resembles its predecessor, the iPhone 6, though it comes with a broader palette of color options including matte black, jet black, silver, gold, and rose gold. It’s bright 4.7 inch retina HD display offers 1350 x 750 resolution. The iPhone 7 is also remarkably fast, with a dual A10 Fusion processor. Battery life is improved over prior models, and you should get a full day charge under typical conditions. Three internal storage options are available: 32 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. Fingerprint security, hardware encryption, and split-screen multi-tasking meet the security and productivity needs of business users.
So, what is the deal with the headphone jack – or the absence of it? It will come down to a matter of preference. There are three options for connecting a headphone:
- Use wired lightning headphones that come with the device
- Use Bluetooth headphones
- Use the included dongle with wired headphones that have a regular headphone jack
The dongle may be inconvenient for some. However, with the Apple iPhone serving as a hub for a variety of wireless wearable, such as the iWatch, it is a logical step for Apple to physically disconnect one of its most common accessories.
A 12 MP camera has an industry-leading f1.8-aperature lens and optical image stabilization. This boosts handheld camera performance as well as low-light picture quality. Finally, a pressure sensitive home button now feels like a touch screen. Pressing it yields an electronic click, but there is no mechanical action as in previous models.
Upgrade to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus for additional features like a large 5.5-inch screen and two rear cameras.
Google Nexus 6P
Price: $499-$649, depending on storage capacity selected by the customer.
Weight: 6.3 oz.
The Google Nexus 6P may be the final product appearing in the Nexus lineup, and for what it lacks in visual appeal, it makes up for in functionality. Made for Google by device maker Huawei, this is a true workhorse. It comes with either 32GB or 128GB internal storage capacity (no expandable storage) and runs Android 6 with a Qualcomm 810 processor.
For business users, the Google Imprint fingerprint reader provides device security and the always-listening voice commands make it quickly and easily access features and perform common work tasks. But it’s the 5.7-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display that provides a real wow factor, giving you plenty of real estate for split-screen multi-tasking. The 12.3MP camera with 4K video is sufficient, if not inspiring. Surprisingly, the phone lacks the wireless recharging supported by other Nexus models. Support for Project Fi, a Google wireless service, means that you can switch carriers without swapping a SIM card or hardware device. For enterprise users, this may help simplify the transition should there be changes in carriers when a contract is reviewed.
The Google Nexus 6P is a strong performer. But new in Fall 2016 is the Google Pixel, and its 32GB and 128 GB versions are also worth a look. It has a smaller, 5.0-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display. However, it runs the latest Android 7 operating system with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. The Google Nexus 6P has a strong battery life and quick charging. Users also benefit from the earliest release of Google updates, beating the competition by months. A 12-inch camera has an impressive f2.0 aperture lens with optical image stabilization to reduce camera shake and boost low-light image quality. The Google Pixel XL is the ultimate Fall upgrade for Google phone lovers, giving you a 5.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel Gorilla Glass display and a more powerful battery.
Weight: 5.57 oz.
For smaller businesses or enterprises looking for good performance at bargain prices, the OnePlus 3 is a strong attraction. It is the flagship smartphone from a Chinese company founded in 2013. With quality that matches functionality, it’s a fair match for more expensive phones from the popular manufacturers. Performance starts with speed, and the 64 GB OnePlus 3 is as much a racehorse as a workhorse. The 6MB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor handle both Android 6 and the OnePlus Oxygen OS running on top with ease.
Business users have much to be impressed by when looking at this phone’s durability and features. An aluminum uni-body design is attractive and strong. Fingerprint security keeps your data and documents safe, and the OnePlus Shelf gives you a customizable home screen where you can put your favorite apps and contacts for fast access. The long-lasting battery should give you enough power to make it through the day, but if not, quick charging the battery to full strength takes about one hour.
You get a big screen for the money, too. The OnePlus 3 has a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display makes room for Android 6 multi-tasking and makes all your favorite productivity apps easier to use when you are on the go. A powerful 16MP camera with 4K video is about as big as they come, with good resolution and image quality in normal and low-light situations.
There’s one caveat with the OnePlus 3: it supports only GSM carriers, which in the United States means AT&T and T-Mobile. If either of these are your carrier of choice, this phone is a great value.
Price: $625-$689, depending on the carrier.
Weight: 5.61 oz.
The LG G5 is currently available, and it offers a competitive set of features for smartphone shoppers. It’s widely promoted “modular design” allows you to swap accessories, which presently including a camera grip and a portable digital-to-analog audio converter. While these accessories aren’t necessary for most business users, it does provide some flexibility if you regularly use video or audio capabilities. Any business user will appreciate its speedy performance using Android 6 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4MB of RAM. You may also enjoy its 5.3 inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display and tough aluminum body.
Internal storage is limited to 32GB of data. However, with 2TB of expandable storage, there’s plenty of room for you to manage your work documents. If that isn’t enough to excite any power user, add to that a replaceable battery. Rare on phones today, if you’re an energy hog, you don’t have to wait for a recharge – simply swap batteries and keep on working.
Another impressive feature is the dual 16MP, 75-degree and 8MP, 135-degree rear cameras. The 75-degree lens provides an image you might expect to see from any smartphone on the market, but by quickly changing to the 135-degree wide angle lens, you can get great group shots or panoramic-like images of scenery or architecture. The camera also supports 4K video.
A Fall 2016 addition to the lineup is the LG V20, and it promises to be a release to watch. Announced in September, the 64 GB smartphone will have a large 5.7 inch, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel Quad HD Quantam display. An expandable storage slot ups the capacity to 2TB. It will run Android 7 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM. The rugged metal body in silver or titan finish features MIL-STD 810G drop protection. Business users will appreciate the fingerprint security and multi-window display that Android offers. Dual rear cameras include a 16MP f1.8-aperture optical stabilized and 8MP f2.4-aperture wide-angle. As with the LG G5, a removable battery gives power users an upper hand in managing a busy work day. At 6.1 oz., the LG V20 is one of the heavier devices reviewed, but it promises to be a powerhouse worth its weight in gold.
And what about Blackberry?
Blackberry is trying to re-enter the smartphone market after giving up its Blackberry OS in favor of Android-compatible phones. They released the moderately priced DTEK50 in 2016, with several other models slated for release in Fall 2016 and 2017. The 5.2 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel display makes it a midsize edition to the market. A proprietary “Productivity Tab” and “Blackberry Hub” add business-oriented features that allow users to access and manage their information. They also promoted the DTEK50 as having the best security in the industry; however, there is some question whether that is the case as most Android phones have comparable out-of-the-box security.
The verdict? Don’t count them out just yet, but Blackberry’s early offerings aren’t up to the competitive specs of flagship Android and iOS phones. Let’s see what future releases have in store for the business user…
Whatever phone you choose, Contentverse has you covered. Our mobile integration enables you to store and manage documents anywhere, anytime. An intuitive interface and full-featured app, Contentverse for Android and iOS provides superior business process automation and the ultimate in productivity when you’re on the go.