The best 4G phones in the UK

by , Smartphones 04/02/2013
phones

What is 4G?

4G is a new standard for mobile internet data that promises download speeds five times faster than that of 3G. Currently only EE, a new network in the UK, has 4G, but rivals such as O2, Vodafone and Three are expected to launch 4G networks this summer.

For more information on 4G, read our plain English guide to what is 4G?

Will I need a new phone?

Yes, unfortunately to make use of these faster speeds you will need a new phone. The good news is that since EE launched in 2012 quite a few have hit the market. Here’s a round up of what is available.

4G phones in the UK

BlackBerry Z10

The Blackberry Z10 is the first phone to run on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Unlike most previous BlackBerrys, it’s a fully touchscreen smartphone and has a 4.2-inch, 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution display (equivalent to 356 pixels per inch – more than the iPhone 5). The Z10 is available for £41/month (with a £49.99 upfront fee).

Read more about the new operating system in our BlackBerry 10 round up.

Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE & Note II LTE

We tested the flagship Galaxy SIII in June last year and were very impressed. Since then Samsung has introduced a 4G version though that’s the only difference between the two devices. The Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE is available for £36/month (with a £49.99 upfront fee).

Read our verdict on the original in our Samsung Galaxy SIII review.

If you want a 4G phone with an enormous screen then the Samsung Galaxy Note II is a great choice. It’s 5.5-inch display is the biggest we’ve seen and it also comes with a huge battery, powerful processor and an array of unique features, many of which make use of the supplied stylus. The Note II is expensive, costing £46/month (with a £29.99 upfront fee).

Find out what we thought of it in our Samsung Galaxy Note II review.

HTC One XL Samsung Galaxy S3 4G phones

The S3 (left) and One XL (right)

HTC One XL and One SV

The One XL is very similar to the One Xwhich has been on sale in the UK for quite some time. Unfortunately while HTC has added 4G connectivity it has also downgraded the processor – opting for a dual-core chip rather than the quad-core chip in the One X.

The HTC One XL is available for £36/month (with a £149.99 upfront fee).

The One SV is the cheaper of the two HTC smartphones, costing £36/month (with no upfront fee). It has a smaller 4.3-inch display (down from 4.7-inches on the One XL) and lower specification features.

Huawei Ascend P1 LTE

Few Huawei smartphones have made it to the shops but the Ascend P1 LTE is now available from EE. And with a price of £36/month (with no upfront fee) it’s one of the cheapest 4G phones you can buy.

We saw the Ascend P1 back at CES in January 2012 and it looked fairly impressive thanks to a fast dual-core processor and decent 4.3-inch screen. 

Nokia Lumia 920, 820 and Huawei Ascend P1 LTE

The Lumia 920, Ascend P1 LTE and Lumia 820

Nokia Lumia 920 and 820

Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8 smartphones both come with 4G connectivity.

The Lumia 820 is the cheaper of the two. But it’s far from a basic model and comes with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, dual-core processor and an 8Mp camera. It’s available from EE on a £36/month deal (with no upfront fee).

Read our verdict on the phone in our Nokia Lumia 820 review.

The flagship Lumia 920 has a bigger screen (4.5-inches), battery and internal memory (32GB). It’s also more expensive, costing £46/month (with a £19.99 upfront fee).

Apple iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 is the first version to come with 4G connectivity. This new version is also slimmer, has a longer screen and a metal back as well as a whole range of improvements – though Apple Maps is a backwards step. The iPhone 5 is expensive – even the cheapest 16GB version costs £56/month (with a £19.99 upfront fee).

Read our verdict on the celebrated smartphone in our Apple iPhone 5 review.

Apple iPhone 5

iPhone 5

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Audrey Ward

What can be done about the threat to those on TV Freeview losing their connection when the 4G spectrum is launched in April/May. I am concerned for the many older people being pestered by salespeople and scammers selling gadgets to prevent this or by companies like Sky taking advantage of the situation.

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