Have you heard? Christmas is coming. Advent calendars are on the supermarket shelves. The dark evenings are closing in. It’s time to think about buying pressies.
A smartphone is a really special gift to buy for someone, and to give you some help we’ve rounded up our top choices below. For all interests and all ages, we’ve come up with a phone to fit everyone’s Christmas stocking…
OnePlus 6T – a real gift for gamers
We all know someone who’s mad on mobile gaming. From cult classics like Candy Crush to the new breed of Battle Royale games, they’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. So naturally, you’ll want to get them a phone that can keep up with the action.
The OnePlus 6T is a real powerhouse, and its huge 6.41-inch AMOLED display and Smart Boost mode makes it a brilliant choice for gamers. Smart Boost helps games load up to 20% faster, and also gives them much better frame-rates. This makes on-screen action super smooth, so even after an hour of playing an intense 3D racer like Asphalt 9: Airborne, you won’t experience a moment of lag or slow-down. The OnePlus 6T can handle it all with ease.
And if that wasn’t enough, the OnePlus 6T also has a dedicated gaming mode that keeps the display bright and stops notifications getting in the way of the onscreen action – they appear as small floating bubbles instead.
Interested? You can order the OnePlus 6T 6GB model here, or get the more powerful 8GB version here.
Huawei P Smart – a smart choice for kids
You’ve finally relented. The kids have worn you down, and you’re getting them their first smartphone. We recommend you start them off with a good quality budget phone. If they look after it, you can upgrade them to something fancier in a year or two. But as far as Christmas 2018 goes, we suggest the Huawei P Smart.
The only thing that’s budget about this phone is the price. We’re not quite sure how Huawei has managed it, but this phone is packed with the kind of specs that much more expensive phones would be happy to have.
There’s a dual lens camera, for starters. The lenses work together to create stunning bokeh shots with blurred backgrounds, so if you’ve got a budding photographer in the family this’ll really get them interested in their hobby/future career.
The P Smart’s 5.65-inch display is also top quality. It stretches from edge-to-edge, it’s bright and sharp, and kicks out colours that are rich and vibrant. It’s absolutely perfect for watching movies and playing games on, and perhaps most importantly – browsing the web and finding out lots of facts for homework. That’s got to be part of the deal, right?
Interested? You can order the Huawei P Smart here.
Galaxy S9 – for the movie buff in your family
The 5.8-inch widescreen Infinity Display on the S9 is a movie-watchers dream. It covers almost the entire surface of the phone, so nothing will take your film fan’s focus away from what’s happening on-screen. And with Quad HD+ resolution, they’ll see everything happen in jaw-dropping quality.
They’ll hear everything in incredibly quality too. The stereo speakers can produce Dolby Atmos surround sound that makes the listener feel like they’re right in the middle of a cinema. This effect also works on the excellent free AKG earphones included in the box - so they’ll be able to immerse themselves in their favourite Netflix flick on the commute home from work, without annoying the neighbours.
Interested? You can order the Galaxy S9 here, or get the larger S9 Plus with a 6.2-inch display here.
Google Pixel 3 – perfect for photography fans
The Google Pixel 3 has one of the best cameras around. It’s packed full of features to make photos taken on it look amazing, and it uses the latest in AI tech to help the user capture that perfect shot…
Not everyone knows how to take photos like a pro, which is where Google’s smart AI comes in to play. It acts like a personal photography assistant, calculating things like lighting conditions, contrast and brightness, and adjusting the settings automatically.
Top Shot is a cracking feature that uses the AI to great effect. As soon as the camera shutter’s pressed, Top Shot takes a series of photos and recommends the best one. So if the family’s gathered round for a Christmas photo and someone blinks, no dramas - Top Shot will whizz back in time to find that magical moment when everyone’s all smiles with wide open eyes.
If you’re buying the Pixel 3 for someone that loves a selfie, the Group Selfie Cam will be a huge hit with them. It uses the phone’s dual front-facing cameras for super wide-angled selfies - so they’ll be able to fit more friends and family into every shot.
Want to find out more about this amazing camera? Then read our recent Google Pixel 3: your new camera article.
Interested? You can order the Google Pixel 3 here.
Galaxy J6 – make it easy for gran
If you’re treating gran (or indeed, gramps) to a smartphone on December 25th, the Galaxy J6 is the one we recommend. It’s an affordable choice, and it’s packed with Samsung’s best tech – a lot of which is specifically designed for older users.
Switch on Easy Mode straight away, and they'll be able to enjoy a simplified layout with larger fonts and clearer navigation. Easy Mode also suspends all those non-essential advanced features that could be confusing.
The 5.6-inch display is bright and sharp, and covers virtually the entire face of the Galaxy J6. That keeps the size of the handset down, making it compact and light enough to sit comfortably in the palm and use with just one hand.
The 13MP camera is a doddle to use and will take family snaps of the grandkids to the next level. And finally, the 32GB of inbuilt storage space should be more than enough for all the apps, photos, videos and games that your grandparent fancies downloading from the Google Play Store.
How to buy a phone as a gift
If you’re buying a phone for someone, you’ve got a few things to consider – not just the phone itself. There are different ways to buy a phone (Pay Monthly or SIM Free, for example), and you’ll also need to pick a suitable network. If you need some guidance, read our How to buy a phone as a gift article before you hit that order button.