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iPhone 12: the alternatives

Apple is set to launch the iPhone 12 early next month. That’s later in the year than usual – new iPhones usually launch in September, but this year they’ve been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. So Apple fans have been left waiting longer than usual.

If you’ve got a new phone itch that you’re just dying to scratch, help is at hand. There’s no shortage of new phones around that look absolutely amazing. There are tough ones, cheap ones, folding ones... everything except a new iPhone, basically.

Check them out. Who knows, they might even make you forget about a certain new Apple handset…

LG Wing

LG Wing

We’ve seen dual-screen phones before, but not one quite like this. The Wing looks like a normal handset, but the main screen swivels from horizontal to vertical to reveal a smaller screen underneath.

Why? Well why not? It looks quite cool.

Seriously though, it allows for extended functionality and better multi-tasking. That means you can watch a film on the main screen while the smaller screen below shows your Twitter feed, for example. Or it could show the controls for games, music or other media without cluttering up the main screen.

The main screen could be a huge, easy-to-use keyboard while the second screen shows your message thread. Or the second screen can be used as a grip for controlling the camera, whose viewfinder will appear on the main screen.

The main screen is pretty big, at 6.8 inches, while the second screen is a much smaller 3.9 inches.

Away from the dual screens, the phone is 5G and has some pretty powerful cameras.

It’s been announced for South Korea, the US and Europe, but pricing is yet to be announced. Don’t expect it to come cheap.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2

Samsung’s new foldable is a more traditional take on a folding phone, if we can use the term ‘traditional’ when talking about such cutting-edge tech. It opens up like a notebook, with a screen on the outside (what would be the cover), and a bigger, hinged screen inside.

It’s huge. And not just the inside screen. The outside screen is 6.2 inches, but open it up and you’re faced with a gargantuan 7.6-inch display. It’s basically a tablet that folds in half to fit in a pocket or handbag.

You can run one app over both inside screens for big-screen entertainment, or run two apps side by side. It’s up to you.

As you would imagine for such a premium device, it’s extremely powerful, and all the moving parts have been engineered to last. It also doesn’t come cheap, at £1,799.

Sony Xperia 5 II

Xperia 5 II audio blue

This is more of a straightforward smartie. The Xperia 5 II is essentially a smaller version of the Xperia 1 II. Though at 6.1 inches, it’s not exactly small.

That screen has a 21:9 aspect ratio. Sony claims this is better for watching widescreen films. So if a mobile cinema is what you’re after, it could be the phone for you.

Also onboard is a 120Hz refresh rate. Most phones only manage 60Hz. The higher rate means fast-moving action like sports, video games and action films will look better with less blur.

Speaking of gaming, there’s a dedicated gaming mode that silences notifications, incoming calls and the like, so you can game in peace. And you can plug into a power source and not use your battery while gaming – not only will this help your device last longer, it’ll minimise the chances of it overheating, too. Win-win.

It costs £799 – money well spent if you’re a gamer. Look out for it before the end of the year.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Fan Edition

Samsung Galaxy Note S20 FE

Hang on, didn’t the Galaxy Note 20 launch over the summer? It did, but this is a slightly tweaked version, known as the Fan Edition, or FE for short. So what’s changed?

Firstly – and most importantly – the price. The Note 20 FE costs £599, which sure isn’t cheap, but is much more affordable than the £850 asking price of the standard Note 20. (And if you want the 5G Note 20 Ultra, it’ll set you back £1,179.)

Obviously this price cut entails some compromises, but the FE is still a lot of phone. The screen is massive, at 6.5 inches, and it has a stellar 2,400x1,080 resolution. A 120Hz refresh rate makes for super smooth scrolling and gaming, and there’s a very nippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor onboard to keep it all running.

The cameras are slightly less powerful, but still pack plenty of punch, and there’s a 5G version too. Compromise? What compromise?

OnePlus Nord


OnePlus made its name with decent-specced handsets at bargain bin prices. In recent years, as the brand has grown and – it’s found itself in mainstream retailers like John Lewis – it’s tended to drift towards higher-end handsets with asking prices to match. The Nord takes it back to its roots.

It’s a well-specced phone that costs just £379. It has the same camera as the much pricier OnePlus 8 – complete with night mode and dual selfie cameras – OnePlus’ own OxygenOS operating system, a quick chip and fast charging for juicing up just before you step out of the door.

It’s even 5G. At a time when household budgets are being squeezed more than ever, it looks increasingly like a smart buy.

iPhone SE

iphone se 2020

If you have to have an iPhone, you could save yourself a fortune by buying an SE instead of the iPhone 12. At just £420, it’s likely half the price of the upcoming model, yet it packs many of the same features thanks to its user-friendly iOS operating system.

Sure, you don’t get the FaceID facial recognition system as on pricier iPhones. And the camera on the iPhone 12 is likely to have some new bells and whistles. But for an everyday phone that does the basics better than most, the SE is hard to beat.

Doogee S40 Pro


The S40 Pro is a tank of a phone. Just look at it. Built for outdoor adventures and those working in the great outdoors (it has an SOS button), it’s water- and dust-proof, and thanks to its Gorilla Glass coating, it’ll shrug off the kind of knocks and drops that would have owners of lesser handsets Googling ‘phone screen repair near me’.

A big 4,650mAh battery gives all day performance, while the cameras aren’t too shabby either. And it doesn’t cost the earth – just £120 on a deal that lasts until 4th October. Think of the saving in screen repairs.

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