2015 has been a great year for tech and mobile in particular. Some awesome and imaginative high-end phones have been released, as well as this being the year of “quality” mid-range phones. And, for me personally, it has been a growth, learning (that’s ongoing) and productive year. I thought I’d write about the phones that I’ve owned this year. Some of which I still own and two that I have sold and/or given away.
I started the year with my trusty Galaxy Note 3 (still have it, BTW) as my only phone, but I thought that as I was becoming more engrossed in mobile media, I should try an iPhone, having never owned or used an Apple product in my life. I purchased an iPhone 6 Plus in January and used it on a daily basis until June. It never became my daily driver, but it did give me my first experience with T-Mobile as a carrier. My general experience with the 6 Plus was positive, but a bit boring. Not that I’m any sort of Android power user, but the restrictions of the Apple ecosystem left me kind of cold. 5 months was about all that I could bear. iPhones do what Apple says they will and are a great experience for users who don’t mind not being able to switch things up a bit. iPhone 6 Plus 1st Impression.
Next I bought the Asus ZenFone 2. Straight from Amazon, unlocked. This was the first ‘budget’ phone of the year that started a trend of affordable phones with near top of the line specs. My international variant had 2 GIG of ram, 16 GIG of ROM, an 8-megapixel rear facing camera that took better pictures than one might expect and an SD Card slot up to 64GB. All for $219 at the time. You can get the US version today from Amazon starting at $269. This version has slightly higher specs than my international variant and is still a great buy. I was able to swap my T-Mobile sim from the iPhone and was in business. I still consider this to be a great phone for the money. I ended up passing it on to a family member and she absolutely loves it. Asus ZenFone 2 Review.
In May, I purchased the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3. Another ‘budget’ phone with great specs, as far as I’m concerned. And many other reviewers seem to be with me on that opinion. 5.5 inch IPS LCD display, Quad-Core Cortex-A53 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 16 GB internal storage and a microSD card slot expandable to 128GB. Two front facing speakers which sound really awesome and a very light skin quite close to stock Android. This phone is hard to beat and can be had at Amazon for $250. I still have it, still use it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good phone at a more affordable price than the “flagships.” Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 Review.
In late July I got bought the ZTE Axon Pro. A bit pricier than the others at $450, but still more attainable than the big flagship phones. Again, hard to beat for the price. 32GB internal storage (non-expandable), shoots 4K HD videos, full metal construction that feels and looks very premium, 5.5 in. Quad HD, LCD display, Qualcomm 810 processor (I have had no heat issues), 13 MP/2 MP secondary sensor rear camera, 8 MP from facing, Dolby digital Plus sound enhancement, but only one front facing speaker at the bottom. The sound quality is pretty great, even though it’s only one speaker. JBL premium earbuds included. This is available from Amazon today for $400. Yes, I still have it also. ZTE Axon Pro Review.
My final phone purchase of the year was the Google Nexus 6P made by Huawei. This is my very first Nexus and I wrote a previous article of my initial experience. You’ve probably seen some of my videos on this phone on my YouTube channel, Mobile Geezer. Also, there are many written and video reviews of it with the general opinion seeming to be that this is the phone of the year. Some much more experienced reviewers than I say it’s the best phone ever. I can’t disagree. This, of course, is my daily driver, even though I still use the others. No need to bore you with specs on this one, since it is so current and there is so much content about it to be found. My first Nexus.
I must say that much of what I’ve learned and accomplished this year came from attending the Big Android Barbeque in late October in Texas. Shout out to Joshua Bane, RootJunky, Marshall Williams and TK Bay for guiding me, helping me and generally putting up with me at my very first mobile event. And to Jerry Hildenbrand in particular.
So, that’s been my 2015 with phones and it’s been a great year for me. I hope and expect 2016 will be bigger and better.
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