Smartphones: Apple’s core competition

IF you’re looking for a new phone this summer, you’re in luck: the choice has never been greater. But should you choose an Apple or Android model, and what’s the difference anyway? Here’s a rundown of the top six handsets currently available.

Apple iPhone 5S: Apple’s top-of-the-range model (for now) is claimed to be the world’s fastest – though its four-inch screen is dwarfed by some of its rivals. Apple’s strength is its simplicity: you don’t need to be a computer whizz to use an iPhone and you need never go near the settings menu because Apple’s closed environment means all the important configurations are made for you.

Samsung Galaxy S5: For the hard-core phone basher, this is the model of choice. It uses Google’s Android operating system, which is more fiddly but also more flexible than Apple’s, and comes with a wonderful 5.2in screen – small enough to fit in your pocket but big enough to watch videos without squinting. A sign of technology to come is the fingerprint scanner. Passwords may soon be a thing of the past.

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Apple iPhone 5C: Apple’s cut-down current model is a better value proposition altogether – and for casual users who want an elegant solution that works out of the box, this is it. It comes encased in your choice of blue, green, pink, yellow or white plastic, and the better-than-average battery life lets you browse the web for up to 10 hours on wi-fi.

HTC One: Alongside Samsung and Sony, the Taiwanese electronics giant HTC is the leading provider of Android phones, and specialises in supplying its own customised interface. This handset has a five-inch screen and software which is claimed to understand what its user is about to do next – such as putting the phone to an ear, in which case it stops ringing.

Sony Xperia Z2: For those who like to use their phones as music players, Sony models, with their Walkman heritage, are always going to be strong contenders. But there are so many third-party Android music players available that any Samsung or HTC model will serve equally well. Look for apps like PlayerPro and PowerAmp.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: A phone that’s also a notebook, this large-format Android device comes with a stylus and a 5.7in screen – so big it’s actually hard to hold in one hand. Nevertheless, for some business users – especially those who lament the passing of palm computers – it’s indispensable. Think of it as a 21st century Filofax.