As a new year begins and resolutions are being thrown about willy nilly (try our technology resolutions here), it wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve chosen to spend less time on your smart phone. These portable PCs occupy nearly all of our time, and it’s no wonder, they can literally do everything you could possibly want of them. But the question is, are you spending too much money on it? The new(ish) iPhone 6 Plus is a great example, even after a few months on the market it can cost upwards of £40 a month on a 24 month contract. Yes, you get minutes and call time included with that but surely £1000 is too much to spend on this one small gadget? And this is isn’t an outlandish example. The most recent flagship Samsung phone (Galaxy S5) is selling for well over £300 up front and around the thousand pound mark on a contract. It’s crazy isn’t it?

I bring it up because I recently had the opportunity to test out a phone made by a company I’d never heard of before. The phone is the Archos 5ob Platinum and it retails for just over £100 here in the UK. And it does everything any other Android phone does just as competently as that £300 S5 does. So why have I not heard about it before? Perhaps I don’t read around the subject of upcoming phone releases enough, or perhaps it is simply that the mass media doesn’t bother covering a device which doesn’t have a fancy launch party followed by bloggers and tweeters furiously updating their accounts every second. Who knows what the reason is, but I can guarantee it isn’t for lack of quality in the device itself.

archos 5oB

Does this look any different to any £400 phone? Rights; Archos

The phone has a 5 inch screen just like most of its rivals, it has a 1.3 GHz quad core processor (perhaps not as powerful as some but still good enough for the games, videos and browsing I used it for), it has 512MB of RAM and a MicroSD card slot, 4GB of internal storage and an 8MP camera (the same as the iPhone 6). As specs go that’s about average but obviously the price makes it such a compelling choice that it’s easy to overlook a little weakness in power.

Considering most modern phones run on Android, which is about as good as you’d want any mobile operating system, the choice for which phone to run it on becomes more blurred. Even among the big dogs of the industry (the HTC One M8, Galaxy S5, the Xperia Z3 and LG G3) there is so little difference between them all that most technology review sites simply give them all a 9/10 or five stars every time when actually they should all be receiving low grades for not being distinct or unique enough. At least the iPhone is a bit different to the rest (for the moment anyway). When it comes down to it, the phone you own is made up entirely of the quality of the apps you use, and the proficiency of the Operating System. Even design barely plays a role when most people strap it into a plastic case they bought for a quid on eBay. And to top it off, you’re stuck with a phone which will be out of date in a year and still have 12 months of huge bills to pay on it. It’s ludicrous.

It’s hard not to go for a really smart looking smartphone because, after all is said and done, these things become an extension of you and even a status symbol, an object of desire. But if you consider one resolution this year, I would reconsider forking out all that money on a phone because, at the end of the day, they’re all pretty much the same. Try searching out some of these budget offerings from companies you’ve never heard of, you may just find yourself saving a massive amount of money.

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About the author

Harry Parkhill

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I am the Editor for the Evans Review. I have previous experience working as a writer and editor for dozens of publications, including The Daily Telegraph, MSN, the Editorial section of (now defunct) LOVEFiLM, Kettle Mag and Journalism-Now Politically right of centre.