Every year manufacturers release their new flagship smartphones. And every year, like a flock of well-trained sheep, we throw our hard-earned cash at devices because they come from a certain brand, or because we like hearing fancy words like “Magnesium Alloy” and “Quad HD.” If you ask the average person what the best phone on the market is, nine times out of ten their response will begin with “Samsung,” “HTC” or “Apple.” We are well used to the hype that these companies generate around their products, but is it justified, or are there better options out there?

In the UK, the most common “Flagship” smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, the HTC M9 and the Apple iPhone 6 are all retailing for over £400, with their bigger-screened brethren (e.g. the Galaxy Note and the iPhone 6 plus) retailing for well over £500.

So, what if you could get a premium quality device with just as good a spec sheet as these heavyweights for less than £400? Enter a new breed of smartphone – the “Flagshipkiller.”


Oneplus Two – £289 for 64GB Model

The much anticipated sequel to one of the best phones of last year and set to become the definitive “Flagshipkiller” of 2015, the Oneplus Two is an impressive handset with powerful specifications and an affordable price tag to match. Some new features from last years model include an aluminium-magnesium alloy frame, USB Type-C, support for dual sims, an alert switch, improved cameras with laser autofocus and a fingerprint sensor/home button. Currently, the Oneplus Two is only available to purchase through an invite system on the Oneplus website (N.B. don’t let this put you off – it’s not actually that hard to get an invite if you’re persistent!).

When you consider that the Oneplus Two gives the Samsung Galaxy S6 a serious run for it’s money, despite costing around £200 less (the cheapest you can get the Galaxy S6 64 Model is £480 from Amazon), it’s hard to see how it’s possible to justify spending all that extra cash on a more expensive phone.

OnePlus_2_release_date_price_and_specs

The Good

  • Very Bright 600 nit Display
  • Great Build Quality
  • OxygenOS offers a nice UI and fast performance
  • Customizable Back Covers

The Bad

  • Heats up slightly due to Snapdragon 810 Chipset
  • No NFC
  • Odd Camera Placement
  • No MicroSD Slot

Key Specs

  • Processor/CPU: 64-bit Snapdragon 810 1.8GHz Octa-core
  • Weight: 175 g
  • OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop running OxygenOS
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB Non-Expandable
  • Battery: 3300 mAh
  • Display: 5.5 inch IPS 1080p (401 PPI)
  • Rear Camera: 13Mp with dual-flash and laser auto-focus
  • Front Camera: 5Mp

Oneplus One – £219 for 64GB Model

The predecessor of the Oneplus Two and the original Flagshipkiller, I’m including the Oneplus One on this list for a very good reason. Despite it being over a year old, it remains an outstanding phone for the money, with a spec sheet to rival all but the very best phones of 2015. With the recent price-drop resulting from the introduction of the Oneplus Two, the Oneplus One now costs less than half the price of a Galaxy S6, making it a veritable bargain.

oneplus-one-phone

The Good

  • Runs CyanogenMod 12 which is highly customizable
  • Choice to switch to OxygenOS if you want
  • Sturdy Build Quality
  • Great specs, even now.

The Bad

  • No MicroSD slot
  • Non-removable battery
  • A non-metal chassis

Key Specs

  • Processor/CPU: 32-bit Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz Quad-core
  • Weight: 162 g
  • OS: Android 5.02 Lollipop running CyanogenMod 12 
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Battery: 3100 mAh
  • Display: 5.5 inch IPS 1080p (401 PPI)
  • Rear Camera: 13Mp with dual-flash
  • Front Camera: 5Mp 

ZTE Axon (US Only) – $450 for 32GB Model

Unfortunately, this is only going to be an option for our friends across the pond. The recently announced ZTE Axon is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a handset that balances the latest specs with good build quality and a reasonable price. Packing high-end features such as a 5.5 inch IPS quad HD display, an aluminium build, dual front facing speakers and dolby digital audio, it is a direct challenge to the Galaxy S6 and HTC M9, whilst costing half as much.

ZTE-Axon-specs-1024x788

The Good

  • Impressive performance
  • US LTE Support
  • Audio Enhancements work well
  • Aluminium Build

The Bad

  • Only 32GB Non-Expandable Storage
  • Software can be a little buggy
  • Relatively chunky design
  • Camera is solid but underwhelming

Key Specs

  • Processor/CPU: 64-bit Snapdragon 810 1.8GHz Octa-core
  • Weight: 172.9 g
  • OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • Display: 5.5 inch IPS Quad HD (534 PPI)
  • Rear Camera: 13Mp + 2Mp (Dual Camera) with dual-flash
  • Front Camera: 8Mp 

Moto X Style – £359 for £32GB Model

Due to be released in the UK this September, the Moto X Style is the latest iteration of Motorola’s popular Moto X line. As with the previous models, the design is highly customizable thanks to Motorola’s online “Moto-maker” service, meaning you can swap out the stock plastic back-panel for more fancy wood or leather alternatives. This latest handset is no slouch either, with powerful specs and the inclusion of some welcome features, such as a large 5.7 inch Quad HD display and Turbo charging technology which, astonishingly, allows you to get 10 hours of battery time from just 15 minutes of charge. It also sports a high resolution 21Mp Rear Camera, NFC and support for MicroSD Cards up to 128GB – all at a price point below that of rival flagship devices.

verge-2015-07-28_05-56-05.0 verge-2015-07-28_05-56-12.0

The Good

  • Lovely, Sharp Display
  • Customizable Design
  • Fast Charging Battery
  • Expandable Storage via. MicroSD

The Bad

  • Battery seems small considering the size of the phone
    (N.B. But no word on how long the battery lasts in actual use yet)
  • Plastic backcover option doesn’t look great
  • Slightly less powerful processor than other flagship devices

Key Specs

  • Processor/CPU: 64-bit Snapdragon 808 Hexa-Core
  • Weight: 179 g
  • OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • Display: 5.7 inch LCD Quad HD (520 PPI)
  • Rear Camera: 21Mp + 2Mp with dual-flash
  • Front Camera: 5Mp with flash  

That completes my overview of the best “Flagshipkillers” smartphones of 2015 so far. Hopefully, this has helped show that if you are in the market for a handset with all of the latest specifications, there are options out there that, while less well-known, will make a much smaller dent in your wallet.

As always, feel free comment with your own suggestions, and if you liked this post, please like and share it! 🙂

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