Mobile / Buying Guide

Back to School Cool – 5 Phones to Study Up On

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School is back in session and that means it’s time to outfit the favorite student in your life with the latest and greatest gear and gadgets. Topping that list should be a brand-new smartphone, capable of navigating the sometimes-challenging waters of post-elementary life. To make sure your student is well-equipped and not left holding something technologically passé, we’ve compiled a list of five must-have smartphones. Time to study up!

Samsung Galaxy S8

If 2017 were to end today, Samsung would likely take home the award for the year’s best smartphone thanks to the release of its awe-inspiring Galaxy S8. The S8 features a large 5.8" AMOLED screen, which thanks to its detailed Quad HD 2960 x 1440 resolution, delivers vivid details and fully rendered, high-definition content. It’s equipped with dual cameras: a front-facing, 8MP, wide-angle lens—great for shooting selfies—and a powerful rear-facing 12MP camera with an aperture of f/1.7 that allows you to shoot detailed photos even in low-light conditions. Two popular features from the Galaxy S7 return in the S8: IP68-rated waterproof protection and a microSD card slot that allows users to expand the base storage. Powering the S8 is the powerful new Snapdragon 835 chipset, which, in tandem with its 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, ensures students will be able to text, talk, and multi-task with ease—they might even get some homework done while they’re at it.

Samsung Galaxy S8 SM-G950U 64GB Smartphone

LG G6

The LG G6 is like that nerd from acapella club who goes to stay with their relatives in Mykonos one summer and comes back the coolest kid in class. Taking the criticism of last year’s G5 to heart, LG roared back with the completely made-over G6. The attractive redesign includes a stylish metal-and-glass body with an eye-catching 5.7" 2880 x 1440 display, as well as a unique 18:9 aspect ratio that makes it stand out from the crowd. Not everything is brand new though. LG did keep the lauded dual rear-camera setup for the G6. Both rear lenses are 13MP sensors that allow users to switch between standard field of view and wide-angle shots. There’s a front-facing 5MP selfie camera with wide-angle options as well. To safeguard the camera and protect all that pretty, the G6 is IP68-rated to be water and dust-proof (though it won’t shield you from all those iPhone + Galaxy Stans out there).

LG G6 US997 32GB Smartphone

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Announced back at Mobile World Congress in February, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is just now finding its way to stores and shelves. Despite the delay, we’re happy to report the XZ was well worth the wait as its feature list is as long and drawn out as the phone’s more-than-a-mouthful name. Topping that list of highlights are a native 4K/UHD display, which allows users to view ultra-high definition content without pixel loss, a powerful 19MP rear shooter with 1/2.3” Exmor RS sensor, skinned Android 7 UI, Snapdragon 835, and massive built-in battery. The list of features goes on, as it should, considering the XZ Premium will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of a single college credit hour. But don’t worry, you definitely get plenty of bang for your buck, and then some. Besides, if you wanted to go the safety route, you would have sent your kid to Cornell.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium G8142 64GB Smartphone

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom

Students interested in a photo-friendly phone for a fractional fee should definitely consider the ZenFone 3 Zoom. Though its price tag puts in squarely in the budget-phone category, the new Zoom features photo tech that rivals even the leading flagship devices. For starters, it offers a dual rear-camera setup that consists of two powerful shooters: a 12MP wide-angle lens with SuperPixel technology and a 12MP 59mm-equivalent telephoto lens good for high-quality close-ups. On top of that, the Zoom also houses a front-facing 13MP Sony IMX214 sensor capable of shooting hi-res selfies and glamour shots even in low- light conditions.

Advanced photo tech isn’t the only advantage of the ZenFone 3 Zoom either. In addition to its crisp 5.5” AMOLED display, Full HD screen resolution, and USB Type-C support, the Zoom also offers some of the longest usage times on the market thanks to its mammoth 5000mAh built-in battery—no more furtively recharging your device in homeroom.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ZE553KL 32GB Smartphone

Moto E

The Moto brand is no stranger to shout-outs and recognition lists. Previous generations of the Moto G and Moto E have consistently placed among the year's best phones, delivering powerful performance at a consumer-friendly price. The new Moto E keeps that tradition alive and well thanks to a solid slate of specs made available for hundreds of dollars less than what you would pay for a flagship device. Among those quality features are its sharp-looking 5.0" display, broad GSM and CDMA connectivity options, and quality camera. Performance-wise, the Moto E utilizes a quad-core Snapdragon 425 CPU and 2GB of RAM to run Android 7.1.1 Nougat, which many more-expensive phones still don’t have. Best of all, the Moto E is water-repellant, so it can stand up to light rain, spills, or a cafeteria water-balloon fight.

Moto E (4th Gen.) XT1768 16GB Smartphone

There you have it: five smartphones guaranteed to please the most precious pupil in your life. Whether they’re interested in photography, aesthetics, or simply wanting to own the greatest phone ever built, there’s something for everyone. Of course, that’s just our opinion—what do you think? Did we leave any phones out? Let us know in the comments below.

2 Comments

The phone in the photo about 6 phones to consider, the square white phone isn't covered ! Which brand & model smartphone  is it ?  It's shown again with a woman 'using' it in your The connect Pet Article but, again, it looks too generic, i.e.  I cannot make out the brand and, oddly,  it's not mentioned in either article. Looks like an iPhone to me... which you don't se sell. Or is it a Huawei Mate 9 Pro (or something else I cannot afford)? 

that's a Sony Xperia, isn't it ? out of my $eague. 

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