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The Best Deals on the Best Handsets - June 2012

  • Best deals on flagship models
  • Surprisingly good deals on last-gen phones
  • iPhone best in class, but needs a refresh
Written by Adam Wajnberg
06/06/2012

We’re closing in on June 30. Retailers and service providers of all stripes will be preparing special offers and stocktake sales for the financial year ahead. Here’s the best offers on hand right now, if you’re in the market for a brand new handset.

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Top of the Line

iOS

                                      iphone 4s

 

Apple iPhone 4S 64GB – The best from Apple is usually the gold standard that everyone else compares themselves to. But the 4S is starting to look a little puny next to the competition. Apart from Siri, which is still not-quite-perfect, the main selling points are the 8MP camera, huge onboard storage and of course, the Apple ecosystem – App Store, iTunes and more accessories than you can shake an iPhone at.

Vodafone – For $89 (incl. handset costs), you get Infinite calls to Australian mobile, local, STD, 13 and 1800 number, infinite text to any network and 2GB of data on a 24 month contract. For $10 more, you get the same, with 4GB of data. You also get Vodafone’s 30 Day network guarantee. Click here to sign up online.

Verdict – Hold off for the next iPhone, which will likely be available towards the end of the year. Or look for cheaper deals on the iPhone 4, which is similar enough to the 4S but much cheaper.

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Android

                                  samsung galaxy s3

Samsung Galaxy S3 – With the S2 the best-selling Android phone to date, the S3 looks to double down and cement Samsung further as the Android hardware maker of note. The S3 boasts a big 4.8” screen, quad core processor, near-field-communications (NFC), HD video and pretty much anything you could ask for from the boys at Samsung. With a slicker design than its predecessor, expect the S3 to lead the pack for the next 12 months.

Virgin – with everyone offering ‘unlimited’ or ‘infinite’ plans these days, Virgin have taken it one step further. Not only does $89 Topless Plan get you the phone, all calls, all text and 4GB of data free; you also get $89 credit for international calls and texts, and that credit rolls over from month to month. If you never use it, you could wait until Christmas and call the whole family, all around the world, for nothing. Call Virgin on 1300 302 649

Verdict – The best plan for the best Android phone. Go for it!

                        HTC One X

 

HTC One X – The race for Android supremacy, “Best Overall” category, has been narrowed to the best handsets from HTC and Samsung. HTC’s One X, released just slightly ahead of the S3, boasts a more impressive design than Samsung’s champion, with a polycarbonate shell that looks designed by aliens (polycarbonate is the high-grade plastic used on the iPhone 3GS, Macbooks and Han Solo, I think). As for specs, the One X is almost identical. This is a squeaker – the only real differentiator is that the HTC One X comes with a slightly better camera, and the S3 comes with less interference from the manufacturer. In other words – both phones come with a ‘skin’ over Android 4.0, but Samsung’s (TouchWiz) is slightly less intrusive, while HTC (Sense) seems intent on piling on the additions. This aside, take your pick.

Optus – The One X is free on the $89 Timeless Plan, which comes with the usual free calls and text. But Optus have bolted on an innovative extra – 50GB free fixed-line Broadband, via Cable or ADSL (depending on availability). The Broadband component comes with a free connection, free Wi-Fi modem and no commitment. It’s a good one-two punch, but make sure you’re a) in an Optus area (which usually means a large metro area) and b) only going to need 50GB broadband. Call Optus on 1300 302 412

Verdict – The OTHER best Android phone, on what might be the BEST plan available, depending on your needs.

                iphone samsung galaxy note comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note – The clear winner in the Android Phone “Crazy Pants” category, the Galaxy Note bridges the gap between phones and tablets – a ‘gap’ that many of us didn’t know existed. With its monstrous 5.3” screen, the race is now on to find the gap between phones and Phablets.

Joking aside, the Note is popular, with good cause. The big screen might be too much for most people/jeans, but for many people it’s a revelation. Reading a book on your phone is a pleasure, webpages aren’t compressed, navigating maps is far easier and writing and drawing on the Note feels like using…well, a notepad. It’s a big gambit from Samsung, but it’s paying off.

The Note may as well be called the Galaxy S3 Extra Large, because for a novelty-ish phone it really is very well decked out. 8MP camera, big processor, slow motion HD video – there’s really nothing to separate this from Samsung’s best, besides the big screen. Samsung have pushed some buttons with this one.

Dodo – For $76.90, Dodo can get you the Note, with a free leather cover, unlimited calls and text, 5GB of data and…what else would you need? Dodo uses the Optus network. Call on 1300 301 550

Verdict – I have a soft spot for this large, ungainly phone, and Dodo’s plan is bulletproof- 1300 calls and 1800 calls are included, and even international calls, while not free, are still cheap. If you’re feeling adventurous, get the Note. You won’t be disappointed.

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Windows Phone

    nokia lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 – The 710 and 800 came with big fanfare, as a breakthrough for both Nokia and Microsoft. Sales have been less than fantastic, which is why the release of the 900 has been a bit quieter.

The 900 is pretty much the 800, but bigger. With a 4.3” screen compared to the 800’s 3.7” screen, the 900 boasts Nokia’s usual stellar camera (8MP), and enough grunt to handle Windows Phone 7.5 like it ain’t no thang. In fact, it’s probably quick enough to handle Windows 8, due for release this year.

Windows Phone’s lacks of apps is troubling, but the important stuff is all there and plays nicely – Facebook, Evernote, Instagram and of course, Angry Birds. The Nokia Drive GPS puts all other phone based GPS systems to shame, and is good enough to do away with the Tom-Tom as well.

Optus – The Lumia 900 is available on the $89 Timeless plan as well, free Broadband and all. But for a slightly cheaper deal, The phone can be had for $0 on the $60 Cap plan, which includes infinite text to any network, free calls to Optus mobiles, and $650 credit for everything else. Call Optus on 1300 302 412

Verdict – The best Windows Phone available, for what that’s worth. Might be worth waiting to see what Windows 8 brings with it.

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Bargain$$$

iPhone 4 8GB – It may be two years old, but it’s an iPhone. With a ‘Retina’ screen that still hasn’t been topped for clarity, 5MP camera and…dude, it’s an iPhone. If what you’re mainly looking for is something that allows you to use iOS, and that ‘just works’, this is the phone for you. The phone and software are also ideal for older folks, who don’t need the very latest thing but want to take advantage of the screen clarity and intuitive platform.

Optus – The 8Gb model is available for free on plans as low as $30 a month, but the $50 a month comes with 1GB of data and $500 call and text credit, which is a safer bet. Call 1300 302 412

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Samsung Galaxy S2 – Just because it’s been superseded doesn’t mean the S2 isn’t still a great phone. With rock solid specs and a big screen, the S2 ticks every box.

Virgin – The S2 is $5 a month on the Virgin $29 Big Plan. Normally this plan comes with only 250MB of data (with $450 credit), but if you sign up before July 1, you’ll get an additional 2Gb a month for the life of your plan. Hard deal to beat. Call 1300 302 649

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus – This phone really belongs in the first group, but slow sales have brought it down to earth. The Nexus is the Android phone that seeks to show off Android itself, rather than the manufacturer’s hardware. It runs Android 4.0 with no Samsung ‘skin’. The specs are still solid, with a 5MP camera and 4.7 display.

Dodo – For $61.90, you get the Nexus, unlimited calls and text, and 2.5GB of data. Call Dodo on 1300 301 550

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