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Top 5 phones you’ve never heard of

Sure you could stump up for the highly acclaimed iPhone 7 or the similarly lauded Galaxy S7.

But there are plenty of lesser known, upstart mobile-manufacturers out there selling phones that are giving the major players a run for their money.

From OnePlus to WileyFox, here are the independent and alternative phones that made a splash with the tech team at uSwitch Towers.

1. OnePlus 3

oneplus 3 hero

OnePlus’s smartphones have become firm favourites with committed tech fans over the past two years.

But with the OnePlus 3, the indie mobile-maker arrived with a winning formula that allowed them to crossover to the mainstream for the first time.

The OnePlus Three is packed full of high–end features, including a fingerprint sensor, 16-megapixel camera, 4K video-recording capabilities and a metal construction that put Samsung and other Android makers in the shade. And all for £329 when bought off-contract.

That’s a steal for a phone which is pushing the top–end and has the very latest Android software on board.

For us, OnePlus really is the king of the indies.

Buy the OnePlus 3

2. Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus


A phone that treads the fine line between between budget and bargain bin, the Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus stands up well to more mainstream, cheap smartphones.

Despite costing £189 SIM–free, it comes with specifications that’ll please all but the fussiest smartphone fans.

We’re talking customisable Android software, dual SIM support, microSD expandable storage and a 5–inch display that is bright and reproduces colour brilliantly.

The fingerprint scanner sets it apart from rivals such as the Moto G4, too.

Buy the WileyFox Swift 2

3. Blu Vivo 6

BLU vivo 5r

US mobile-maker Blu has been making waves for some time across the pond. Its new Vivo 6 launched in the UK last month and, if Amazon sales figures are anything to go by, seems to be making a splash over here too.

It comes with 64GB of storage which can be doubled via microSD, USB–C support for fast–charging, an octa-core processor and a capacious 5.5–inch display.

All this for £240, although if you shop around you can find it for less.

Aimed squarely at taking on the One Plus 3, it comes with Android Marshmallow but an upgrade to the latest Nougat version of Google's smartphone software is promised for the new year.

Buy the Blu Vivo 6 contract-free

4. Huawei P9

huawei p9

China’s Huawei is one of the world’s biggest mobile-makers, although you’d be forgiven for not knowing as they do most of their business in Asia.

Their P9 is one of the best flagship phones we’ve seen in 2016 and at the time of writing is available from a shade over £20 per month on a two-year contract.

It features a camera with Leica–backed technology with super fast focus, a dual-lens, 12-megapixel camera setup that predates Apple’s iPhone 7, a powerful processor and a crisp 5.2–inch screen.

A larger P9+, with 5.5–inch display, is also available.

Buy the Huawei P9

5. Xiaomi Mi5


Xiaomi is another Chinese manufacturer that’s been making a big impression for some time. Its Mi5 flagship is a every bit as good as rival phones from Samsung and LG.

It's available in three variants: Standard, Prime and Pro. The latter comes with a massive 128GB of storage and a hefty 4GB of RAM, which means it runs at lightning speed.

Throw in 4K video skills and a 16-megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus and you’re looking at a phone which is well worth a second look.

Think you'd prefer a Samsung or Apple phone, after all? See deals for the most popular smartphones at our dedicated comparison page

Category: Features
Tagged: smartphones
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