Blackberry Passport v Lumia 950 XL v iPhone 6s v LG G4 v Galaxy Note 4…

Learnings from the last 12 months of Smartphone trials… Now I won’t get emotional here… I’ll tell it how it is… here we take a journey of expectations, to compare some of the most iconic handsets of recent times, and report back with the results of the road test.

iphonepicsApple iPhone 6S – If you want reliability and everyday
compatibility (apps, accessories,  support) this is the phone to go for…. but don’t even bother with a 16Gb… that’s not enough to run an iPhone today for basic day to day… 32Gb is an absolute minimum for an iPhone and Apple shouldn’t be selling 16Gb
phones… Good to see 32Gb is now minimum on the iPhone 7…. Battery life on the 6S isn’t great… go the Plus to save you looking for a power socket everywhere you go… Apps are the best IMG_3240thing about the
iPhone… if you run mobile reporting for your business for example, the Power BI app on the iPhone is ahead of the rest… and for keeping up with special ones… Skype is exceptional compared to Windows phone and Blackberry… The camera and easy IOS work together to smash out some nice pics like the Tweed Heads and Western NSW sunsets above… The iPhone 6S is just a bit underwhelming for a tonne of dollars…  And like Kate Spade handbags, everyone has got one… but don’t take it from me, look at the sales figures going backwards on Apple’s website…

Blackberry Passport – The Blackberry OS is legendary and the Passport silver edition has exceptional build quality.  The notifications and gestures are so sophisticated, so if you are an advanced user, there is quite some depth to learn Bbfront_editthe features in the Blackberry O.S. that will make your day….  The Blackberry app store resembles something of an abandoned shopping trolley… There are a few nice native apps, but search for a few of your favourite apps and you will quickly get the sense, the developer community has left the building…. But wait, the Blackberry runs Android apps (asterisk)… OK, it does run Android apps with a hack but the apps are very hit and miss… and most of the important ones are not usable… It also runs Android apps through the Amazon app store, but you won’t find some important everyday apps on here, like Uber for example.   The battery life, notifications, the bazillion shortcuts and build quality are Blackberry Passport’s golden moments and the camera takes some surprising good shots, such as this Brisbane sunset.  The Passport has the appearance of something outstandingly different that could make you think this is a successful smartphone differentiator… but it’s not…. it’s a wounded thoroughbred…. No support available in some countries, like Australia… and too many app “anomalies” that will end up costing you precious time and productivity… but it will be a nice compliment to your Tag watch in the boardroom and it’s certainly a conversation starter in any social situation…

Windows Lumia XL 950 – Battery life poor, Windows 10 O.S. poor… built quality feels cheap… Camera quite average… not lumia-950-XL-Rendersthe quality of photos from the 1020… It runs hot… I’ve had a range of Nokia/Lumias… Loved my 920 and 1020…. Loved the 930 less…. the rest were average… the 950 is a complete fail in my opinion… But the specs look so cool on paper… Retina login, 8 core liquid cool processor, Continuum (Use your phone as a PC)… and Windows 10 mobile is such a generation ahead of Denim… But you are busy and thrive on productivity…. it runs so hot sometimes you can cook an egg on it, which is great for breakfast on the run but rebooting in the middle of a phone call will wear you down… maybe I gotta lemon ?   I was so excited to get this phone in the post, yet so happy to see it leave… But read here for a nice detailed appraisal …

lgg4LG G4 Android… run away now ! … I can’t believe I’m going back to Android… I’ve had a few Android phones… lack of stability and support for the latest Android release were the biggest turnoffs… The G4 is a year old now, but it’s still a fashion statement… baby!  With an exceptional photo capability, a leather back… was one of the first phones to support Android marshmallow…,  same sized screen as an iPhone 6S plus,  but 1 cm shorter in 20160627_172916-3overall size… a curved screen that contours to your face or your leg when landing in your pocket.  On paper it looks like an exceptional phone that may address a lot of the shortcomings experienced in this smartphone journey… and it’s only $400 bux…

From the cool snaps here… you would think it takes pretty awesome photos… and it does.  It’s probably the best camera phone I’ve had ever, and that includes the legendary Nokia 1020… the low light photos are an absolute dream.  The buttonless design and leather back give the phone a balanced feel and appearance, and the only thing that lets it down in my opinion is Android Marshmallow and the battery.  After plugging in all your social media and contact accounts, phone calls come through unmatched to the same number already in your contact list.  Requires a workaround where you go and delete the contacts storage cache then it’s all good.

20160627_173950-2Workarounds are not a biggie, but definitely one of those WTF moments where you wonder if they actually tested this build before release.  I’ve encountered a bunch of other weird head-shaking issues on Marshmallow, but that’s Android… which turns it’s head on Apple’s minimalist, keep it simple design, and would rather give you 3 different ways of doing everything, instead of focussing on a simple reliable core… That said, is still a far better operating system on features and bugs than Windows phone… and more exciting than an uninspiring IOS.

The photos are so beautiful, but battery life however eventually wore me down on the G4… numerous days of constant phone calls and emails on the go, no time to charge, ordering the Uber at 4% battery at 1:00pm, or not making the distance at all…which is pretty ordinary considering the phone comes off charge at 6am and gets the occasional charge on the way to the office.

Where to now, enter the Galaxy Note 4…  Amidst news of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire, I thanked my lucky stars, with the Note 4 trial arriving 4 weeks after order with T-Mobile branding.  For that reason it lasted only a week… Nothing against T-Mobile, but the bundled branding is tacky and offers nothing to an Australian region other than the update gateway.  Opting for the 4 instead of the 5 meant I could enjoy a removable battery and upgrade-able memory card, and a somewhat legendary following.

The Note 4 beams of iPhone 6 plus battery life, but it doesn’t live to expectations, literally watching the battery % use indicator drop before my eyes, though it was still better than the G4.    The phone itself is solid, and well reputed for it’s strong build.   The camera took some really nice shots, and with an aperture of 2.2, it didn’t take overly great selfies (maybe that was just me looking old and tired), but it belted out a few beautiful landscapes like these scenes of Broadbeach at the Australian Partner Conference 2016.



Choosing a phone is about finding a balance of pro’s and con’s that you are happy to live with… Life is too short for struggle, and you may deserve better, yet there is no one perfect phone… and somewhere in the middle is an appreciation and a phone you will be happy with…



iPhone 6s 16Gb – FAIL

iPhone 6s Plus 64/128Gb – SIMPLE, FUNCTIONAL and HARD to BEAT

Blackberry Passport – FAIL

Lumia 950 XL – FAIL, Poor Battery Life, Flaky O.S., and Apps in Windows 10 Mobile to comprising…

Lumia 920,1020 – MEMORABLE but DATED

Lumia 930 – FORGETTABLE, DATED and Windows 10 Mobile… 

LG G4 – LOVEABLE and FORGIVEABLE but ahhh the flippin battery…

Galaxy Note 4 – PRETTY GOOD except for some Skype anomolies and a battery that didn’t live up to all day expectations…




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