HTC U12 Plus ($800)
One of the unusual features of this high-end smartphone is its ability to squeeze its sides to launch an Alexa-based voice assistant or the camera. The U12 also looks great and comes in three metallic colors (black, blue and red). You can choose 64GB or 128GB of storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card. Another interesting feature is the ability to capture video that focuses on the person speaking (HTC calls this Sonic Zoom ) by using multiple microphones. And the U12 gets high marks for some of the clearest, loudest audio available on any smartphone. The U12 Plus comes with a 6-inch screen and two cameras on front and back for image stabilization and depth of focus. It’s water resistant up to 5 feet for 30 minutes.
Pixel 2 ($600)
The Pixel 3 is expected this fall, but in the meantime the Pixel 2 remains a solid choice for business users. The phone comes with a separate chip for image processing--the Pixel Visual Core--and combines a burst of images to create one photo that looks great even in uneven lighting. The phone also uses an always-on display feature that uses surprisingly little battery life, another area where the Pixel excels. An included fast charger will bring the phone up to full power in 90 minutes. Other work-friendly features include instant-updates and a two-year warranty, twice that of Apple’s.
Galaxy Note 8 ($950)
The Note should appeal to those who want a seriously large screen and a stylus. The phone’s screen is slightly larger than the display on the Galaxy S9 Plus. You can scribble notes and make drawings with its S Pen, and since the phone is always on, you can write on it without first waking it up--handy for impromptu notes during meetings. The phone runs the speedy Snapdragon 835 processor, where the S9 boast the newer, faster Snapdragon 834. For those considering this phone, keep in mind the recently released Note 9,
Moto G6 ($250)
If you’re looking for a full-featured budget phone, the Moto G6 should be on your short list. The phone’s display is reasonably large at 5.7 inches, and it features two rear cameras. The G6 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, a middle-of-the-road 1.8 GHz octa-core processor. It’s not waterproof, but it is splash resistant and can be unlocked with a fingerprint reader (though you can’t make purchases with it, as it lacks NFC support). The phone ships with 64GB of storage space, but a microSD slot will allow you to increase that to 128GB. You can purchase the phone unlocked for use with all the major U.S. carriers and Google Fi.
LG V35 ThinQ ($900)
The first thing you’ll likely notice about the LGV30 is its brilliant, 6-in OLED display. Two cameras on the back let you jump from standard to a wider angle than most smartphones (107 degrees), though that wide angle is slightly trimmed from its predecessor, the V30. LG’s V series phones still come with a headphone jack, with a DTS-X Virtual Surround Sound digital audio converter--indeed, these phones are known for great sound. The ThinQ is powered by the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
Blackberry KeyOne ($550)
For those who pine for bygone days of phones with physical keyboards, the KeyOne might be a good fit. Though the phones now run Android, Blackberry includes its own security software that monitors for unauthorized intrusions--for example, someone trying to listen in on your microphone or access your contacts. You’ll also find workman-like efficiency in the Blackberry Hub, which offers one place to read your mail, text messages and social media feeds. Like most Blackberry phones, the KeyOne uses a snappy, though midrange processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625. If you’re looking for a secure work phone with admirable battery life, the KeyOne may be a good fit for you.
Apple iPhone X Updates
Apple on Sept. 12 officially announced three new phones that should appeal to enterprise users looking for fast, feature-filled mobile devices--as well as those looking to outfit their departments’ mobile needs on a budget. In a live event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif., CEO Tim Cook showed off the new updates to the X line: the Xs and top of the line Xs Max. Cook said the phones offer the fastest processor and biggest screen and battery ever in an iPhone. All three new phones share features of the formerly flagship X--including an edge-to-edge screen and Face ID. None of the new phones has a home button. The phones all use Apple’s own A12 Bionic chip, which the company says opens apps 30 percent faster than its previous flagship phones. The Xs features a 5.8 inch OLED display, while the Xs Max has a 6.5-inch OLED display. The phones are dust resistant and water resistant up to 2 meters, and are made of stainless steel. The Xs will sell for $999 for a 64GB model and the Xs Max for $1,099 for a 64GB model. Both can be ordered with 256GB and 512GB. A new, less costly iPhone called the iPhone XR was also introduced. It uses a 6.1-inch LCD “liquid retina” screen and a single camera to shave costs. The phone doesn’t have 3D-touch, but does offer a feature called haptic touch that offers feedback similar to the trackpad on current MacBook pros. And it uses the same front-facing camera and rear-facing 12MP wide-angle lens found in the two pricier models.
Red Hydrogen One ($1,300)
OK, this one is a stretch. But it’s so cool (and expensive) one might argue it’s more industrial equipment than gadget. The Hydrogen One uses what Red calls a “holographic display” to provide a sense of depth on its 5.7-inch screen when viewing 3D content and games, without needing to wear a headset. The phone’s maker produces video equipment for feature films, so expectations for photo and video quality are high. The chunky phone runs Android, uses a huge 4500mAh battery, will be sold unlocked.
iPhone 8 ($700, iPhone 8 Plus $800)
If speed is what you’re looking for, you won’t find a faster phone than the 8 or its cousin the iPhone X, which both use the A11 Bionic chip. Those who prefer dual rear cameras for a depth-of-field effect will need to pay extra for the larger iPhone 8 Plus. Like other high-end phones, the iPhone 8 offers dust and water resistance: It has a IP67 rating that protects the phone, to a depth of slightly more than 3 feet for up to 30 minutes. Though familiar in looks to the previous two generations of iPhone, the 8 adds wireless charging and better battery life. But for business users who are coexisting peacefully with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 7, those features might not be enough to encourage the upgrade.
iPhone X ($1,000)
Apple’s flagship X (pronounced "ten") is larger (5.8-inch screen), lighter and adds two hours of extra battery life, compared to the iPhone 8 Plus. One thing that’s missing, though, is the home button. The X adds 3D Face ID for unlocking the phone and making purchases. The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X all come with 64GB or 256GB of memory. The iPhone X turns heads with its stainless steel frame and large display with notch, and just a hint of bezel. A glass back allows the X to charge wirelessly, like the iPhone 8. The iPhone X won’t impress the crowd in accounting, but most agree Apple’s flagship is the best smartphone available today.
Galaxy Galaxy S9 ($800, S9 Plus $930)
Business users looking for a speedy iPhone alternative in a gorgeous design would do well to consider the Galaxy 5.8-inch S9 or 6.2-inch S9+. The S9 offers a handsome, curved edge-to-edge display and high resolution (570 pixels per inch vs. 458 on the iPhone X.) Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor is remarkably zippy, but benchmark tests show it lags slightly behind the latest competition from Apple. The S9 offers wireless charging and industry-leading dust and water resistance, with an IP68 rating up to 30 minutes at a depth of 5 feet. The phone’s Knox security platform may impress some business users with its ability to create a firewall between personal and corporate files.