smartphonesOur phones are like body parts nowadays. We take them everywhere and they function as handheld computers and even video cameras now. Tthe amount of money we spend and the time we put in on mobile phones are constantly rising.

The good news is that rates and the actual prices have gone down, as the market is saturated with phones and carriers. Since everyone wants to make the best choice when acquiring a cell phone, whether it’s for yourself or family member (the holidays are coming up), here’s a look at the best mobile phones of 2014.

Top of the Line

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s fast and has a large screen, but it can be pricey, running from about $300 to $800 for the more sophisticated ones. Perks include high-end camera and a stylus, which makes it really easy to use. It’s actually the only smart phone of this caliber that comes with a stylus, so people that use their mobile phones to take notes and write stuff down on the run will love this bonus. It’s a little larger than the average smart phone, so it doesn’t always fit easily into a back pocket, but the fact that it has a split screen function makes it worth it.

Samsung Galaxy S5

This is one of those mobile phones that is very versatile and can handle a bump or two and even a splash of water and keep functioning. It offers a fast camera operation that puts out great pictures in HD resolution, long battery life and experts say it is user friendly for any level of user. That’s to say even your parents can use it without too much confusion. One of its best qualities is that its screen is HD, which makes it easier to see, even outdoors. It also has a long battery life; it can go for nearly 10 hours of normal use without running out of juice. Another plus is its S Health program, with which you can keep tabs on your diet, exercise and even measure your heart rate. And if you are a parent and need a distraction for your kid, there’s a Kids Mode that offers content that will keep a young one busy when you need it.

Apple iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus

Experts consider these the best iPhone versions ever; you just have to adjust to the larger size with the Plus especially. It’s also a bit pricey ($100 more for the Plus), but a lot of the carriers (such as AT&T) will practically give you the phone if you sign a two-year contract with them or use this as an upgrade from your previous iPhone. One of the perks is the larger battery inside, which means a longer battery life. These phones also boast a bigger screen with high resolution. But the most attractive quality for many will undoubtedly be that it is like a mini iPad, which makes it like a small computer. The Plus is better for watching movies and reading. Make sure that you get a protective cover that will keep it from the bending issue.

Hanging With the Best

LG3

This little baby will give you a lot of the same perks as the Apple and Samsung phones at a lower price. One new perk with this model is that it now has a removable battery and slot for a micro SD card. It’s got a lot of the same features as the Samsung and even some that are better. If you use your smart phone a lot to take photos, you’ll love the added touch of a high-resolution display and the laser-guided focus. Another perk is the LG Health, which is a built-in fitness system that tracks your physical activities. The LG3 costs a little bit less than the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy.

Motorola Moto G (4G LTE)

It comes in one version, one price just under $200. If your budget is tight, this is one of the best smart phones you can buy. It offers top-notch displays, lots of power to conduct everyday tasks and operating it is fairly uncomplicated. One expert on CNET said: “It offers the same performance for much less money.” The cool thing about this phone is that if you run out of storage space after downloading all of your favorite apps, you can add a space with a micro SD card.

How to Make the Best Choice

It’s important to make the best choice for you and not go with what’s hot or what your friends have. Different people have different needs. Also, these mobile phones are like your right arm nowadays, keeping you up to date on the weather, traffic, the time, where to go to eat or buy certain items and of course, communicating with family, friends and even business associates and clients. So how do you choose with all the options out there?

  • Think about the operating system. Try to pick a phone that is compatible with your computer. For example, if you have an iMac at home, you might want to go with an iPhone.
  • Choose the right size. Some of the newer phones are bigger. Make sure you pick a phone that suits your needs, whether you carry your phone in your pocket or a certain compartment in your purse. Size does matter!
  • Make sure the phone’s specs fit your usage. If you use your phone a lot for music, watching videos and playing games, it might need a faster processor than someone who just basically uses his/her phone for the essentials.
  • Make sure the phone you go for has the necessary battery life. If you are out of the house or office a lot and not always have access to an outlet to recharge, buying a phone with an extended battery life may be an important option.
  • Pick the best carrier for your budget and needs. Consider the coverage you need, whether or not you need a lot of data storage space and of course your budget.
  • Consider price. Make sure that the cost of the phone doesn’t break the bank and mess up your budget for the next couple months.

Bottom line: get what’s practical for you. When it comes to choosing a phone, think about your needs for the next two years, because that’s typically the length of a carrier’s contract and the average time that people keep their phones.

iphone 6The release of iPhone 6 was greatly anticipated by Apple users. Curiosity of how the phone would look like and what new features it included ended with the release of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September 2014.

However, various issues have been reported by those who managed to get it and use it. Although minor issues will always exist with smart phones, the issues of this new phone are major, with some of them hindering its functionality. Some of these issues include:

1. Bending

  • This has been the most talked about issue of the new Apple smart phone. The iPhone is in good shape when it comes from the factory. However, some have reported that when the phone was kept in the pocket for long, it lost its shape and bent. Click here to see some of the pictures.
  • Some experts who have tried to determine the cause of the bending problem are not surprised about this issue. They stated that one of the reasons for bending is the extremely thin nature of the phone. Additionally, it has been made of aluminum which is a very light material. When you put your phone in your pocket, heat from your body warms up the phone and can thus cause the material to bend.
  • Nevertheless, bending of the phone does not affect the functionality of the phone, just its aesthetic value. A simple solution to this is to have a case for your iPhone which will prevent it from heating up thus causing distortion to its shape.

2. Bluetooth Issues

  • The Bluetooth issues are not being experienced by everyone.
  • Some have reported that the Bluetooth works only partially while others have reported that it does not work at all.
  • Others have had little to no success when trying to connect their phone to their cars. When playing music in their cars, the Bluetooth can connect only for a short period of time and then fail or it can completely refuse to connect. Other users play music well in their cars using their phones but they cannot receive or make calls.
  • People using BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Acura, Toyota and Nissan have had these issues. One customer using a Mercedes Benz was told by a car dealer that the iPhone had not yet been synchronized with the satellite navigation system of Mercedes Benz.
  • An iPhone 6 user in Indiana managed to get past this issue by changing the registered name of the new phone.

3. Battery Issues

  • iPhone 6 plus has been reported to have a longer battery life than iPhone 6.
  • Those who used their phone constantly for browsing, games or for work reported that their battery run out in a few hours. This issue hinders effective use of the phone by those who use it for work or other important purposes.
  • Although the battery is much better than the iPhone 5s battery, it still needs some fixing. Before the issue gets fixed, it means you will have to carry your charger with you or limit the use of your phone if you are outdoors and have no facility for this.

4. Running Hot

  • Both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus have a problem whereby the phone gets unusually hot.
  • This is seen mostly when the user is accessing consecutive apps or streaming music and videos. At times, automatic downloads may be one of the causes of the heat.
  • Some iPhone users have reported that when they turned off automatic downloads from the app store and iTunes, the phone cooled down.
  • Some have had to stop using the phone and leave it on standby to let it cool down, which may not be something users are willing to do regularly.

5. Issues with applications

  • The number of crashing applications on the new smart phone is quite high with some of the applications, like Safari, performing slower than they did in the previous iPhone versions. Apps including third party keyboards, Photo Library and iMessage have had issues and Apple rolled out iOS 8.0.1 to correct some of these issues. The new software was also supposed to correct issues with the HealthKit app that prevented developers from launching the app in the app store.
  • However, the new software update caused more problems for Apple users as some of them reported that their phones cannot connect to a cellular network which means they have no service. Some said the TouchID was not working.