Here at Three we do get pretty excited about a new phone launch. This year we’ve seen some of the most dazzling technology make its debut, and there’s no doubt that the latest generation of handsets can streamline and supercharge our day-to-day lives – especially if we’re the kind of gamers, photographers or binge-watchers who […]

Here at Three we do get pretty excited about a new phone launch. This year we’ve seen some of the most dazzling technology make its debut, and there’s no doubt that the latest generation of handsets can streamline and supercharge our day-to-day lives – especially if we’re the kind of gamers, photographers or binge-watchers who rarely leave our devices in our pockets.

But to say that the highest tier of mobile phones should be everybody’s first port of call would be like saying we should only drive Porsches; sometimes you’re going to need to get more boot space or better fuel economy, and fork out less money for the privilege.

Here are just three situations where a clever buy could save you hundreds of pounds – without losing out on the kind of features you’d normally associate with a much pricier phone.

 

You’re going travelling
Honor 9

Pay As You Go £379 (+£10 top up)

Huawei Honor 9via Huawei

Seasoned travellers would tell you that taking a the cheapest possible phone on your trip of a lifetime is a safe bet – but when it comes to capturing the best possible photographs you can easily strike a balance.

And this is where the Honor 9 steps in. Available in Glacier Grey or the snazzy Sapphire blue, this glass-body handset from Honor might cost half the price of the top-of-the-range Huawei Mate 10 Pro but it offers a heck of a lot for that money. This even includes 4GB of RAM – more operating power than many top-end phones.

Happy snapping

It packs the same dual cameras you’d find on a much more expensive handset, and at 12MP and 20MP they can more than compete with the bigger boys.

There’s also an 8MP front-facing camera which, with its 3D facial detection and dynamic illumination, will give your Insta-followers maximum #holidayselfie jealousy – especially if you’re making use of Go Roam and sharing everything to social media with no roaming fees.

Other goodies

You won’t ever have to worry about storage cramping your photographic style, as the Honor 9 will give you a whopping 64GB to stuff with your movies and snaps. And when you’ve finished for the day,you can kick back with the 5.15-inch screen and 3D surround sound and watch all the 4K video you’ve captured so far.

It’s no slouch on power, either. It uses machine learning to map how you use your phone, then distributes operating system resources to fit – so the hefty 3200mAh battery will last even longer than you expect on those long tours into the back of beyond.

 

You’ve lost or damaged your phone
Apple iPhone SE

Pay As You Go £379 + £10 top up
iPhone SEvia Apple

So you’re 8 months away from the end of your contract but despite your very best efforts disaster has struck your uninsured iPhone. How are you going to make it through the next 32 weekends without FaceTime, Siri and iTunes?

You could start a second plan and pay for two contracts for 8 months – with nothing to show for it at the end – but why not get an iPhone SE instead? Granted it will still cost you – because getting insurance was the sensible thing to do – but only half the price of an iPhone 8. You’ll only pay for your usual plan and have a lovely little handset at the end of it.

SIM-only savings

Should you and the SE end up getting along as famously as we think you will, you can save big time by switching to a SIM-only plan once your contract ends. For example, our 12-month Essential Plan will give you 4GB of data and Unlimited minutes and texts for just a tenner a month.

All the familiar features

If your thumb still instinctively reaches out to unlock an invisible phone, you’ll welcome the news that the SE still rocks the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The HD FaceTime camera means you’ll won’t have to miss out on your video chats, and Siri is still listening and ready to help.

Screenwise, you’ll get a compact but rich 4-inch Retina display, and the 12MP iSight camera with Retina Flash will easily meet your photographic needs – you can even keep your Live Photos collection up-to-date. And once you hook it up to iCloud all your pics and videos (and contacts, phew) will be right in front of you.

with a choice of Space Grey, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold, phone fashionistas get to choose from twice the range of colours than the big daddy itself – iPhone X – offers.

You’re buying for junior
Samsung Galaxy A5 2017

Pay as you go £349 + £10 top up

 
Samsung Galaxy A5via Samsung

Well obviously it would be lovely if your teen could have that latest model they’re hankering after, but we’re currently wanting – nay, yearning – to get that quarterly gas bill paid too. Life plays you that way sometimes, shawty.

If the idea of dispatching your precious, impetuous offspring to the educational jungle with £700’s worth of tech in their pocket makes you feel uneasy, the 2017 release of the Samsung Galaxy A5 will meet all of their inexplicable needs for half that price. Power-wise, its 3GB of RAM shapes up nicely against the 4GB of the Galaxy S8.

That’s entertainment

Binge-watch buds will be happy to hunker down in their teencaves with the S5’s 5.2-inch FHD Super AMOLED screen – or take their TV out in the fresh air with no impact on their data allowance, if you’ve treated them to the pay monthly SIM-only plan with Go Binge.

Superb selfies

If your offspring insists on nothing but the best for their ongoing self-portraiture, the A5’s enhanced front 16MP and rear 16MP cameras won’t let them down, even in low light. And the handset itself looks pretty swish too, whether it’s in the Black Sky or Gold Sand finish.