A month of battery life. Near indestructibility. And Snake. Sure, you’ll have to make some sacrifices, but the Nokia 3310 “dumbphone” will definitely reward you in ways modern smartphones can’t. The iconic device is back 17 years after its initial release, albeit with a slightly revamped form factor, a 2MP camera with LED flash, 16MB of storage that’s thankfully upgradeable to 32GB by MicroSD, and a sharp, 2.4-inch color LCD display. You won’t be able to kill time on Facebook or Twitter or get turn by turn directions but it’ll make calls and play your mp3s while costing next to nothing. And did we mention it lasts one month on a charge?
Learn more at Nokia – roughly $52
It’s not made of actual carbon fibre: instead the Pitaka Slim Aramid iPhone 7 Case is made of Aramid fibre, which looks very similar but is weaved from super strong and flexible synthetic fibre instead (think Kevlar and the like). This means it won’t interfere with your phone’s antennas (cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, etc) in the least but still provides solid protection in a super slim, 0.03-inch package that hugs your device’s every curve. Aramid also adds a lot of texture and grip to your otherwise slick device, is scratch resistant, and will almost definitely outlive the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus you snap it to — which is a shame considering it’s unlikely to fit their next form factor-modified iPhone 8.
It’s technically a concept phone but it’s got a release date in early November, so take from that what you will. The Philippe Starck-designed, Android-running Xiaomi Mi Mix boasts an impressive nearly edgeless 6.4-inch display that spans to the device’s side and top edges, leaving only the tiniest of bezels on the bottom. In fact, about 91.3% of the phone’s front is screen. This required the shrunk selfie cam to be shifted to the bottom bezel, the use of an ultrasound proximity sensor to know when it’s held to your ear, and the inclusion of piezoelectric acoustic technology to replace more traditional speakers for hearing whoever you’re talking to on the phone, instead transmitting sound through the metal frame beneath the phone’s all-ceramic shell. We’d almost forgo looking at its specs, but we couldn’t not do it: it’s got a a 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB to 6GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of on-board storage, a 16MP rear-facing camera that also shoots 4K, and a 4,400mAh quick charge battery.
Learn more at Xiaomi – roughly $515
Your smartphone occupies an increasingly large role in your everyday life. So why not give it a bigger screen? The latest Samsung Galaxy Note7 features an immense 5.7-inch dual-curved display for edge to edge real-estate and works with the improved S Pen stylus that boasts a finer tip than before and has greatly improved pressure sensitivity for jotting done notes and annotating. It’s also got a fingerprint scanner like before, but it’s also got an iris scanner that’s far harder to bypass considering no physical mark is left on the phone — or on any of your other possessions, for that matter. It’s also got a feature list that would take us way too much space to write. These notably include a SIM tray with room for up to a 256GB MicroSD card to expand already generous (64GB+) storage, a huge and fast-charging 3,500mAh battery, a 12MP Dual Pixel Sensor camera, and full IP68 water resistance (to depths of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes) for both pen and phone.
Arriving August 19th. Hit up Samsung for details – roughly $850
Don’t let its surprisingly low price tag fool you into thinking the OnePlus 3 isn’t up to par with the best Android devices. This ultrathin smartphone boasts a carved aluminum unibody that isn’t far off from an iPhone, a 1080p 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display behind Gorilla Glass 4, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor alongside an Adreno 530 GPU, and 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It’s also quick charging thanks to Dash Charge, which hits a 60% charge — good for a day or so with regular use — in just 30 minutes. Add in a 16MP camera with electronic and optical stabilization, an ultrafast fingerprint sensor that unlocks in just 0.2 seconds, plus OxygenOS, a customized OS based off of Android Marshmallow that’s devoid of bloatware and carrier restrictions, and you’ve got yourself a flagship killer that’ll hold its own against far pricier devices.
Read more at OnePlus – $400
Project Ara has been fairly quiet for awhile now, but fortunately the announcement of Google’s Ara Modular Phone Developer kit shows us that the principal drive behind the project — modularity — is still front and center. Shipping in fall 2016, this developer-focused Ara is built around a frame that contains most of the phone’s brains including the CPU, GPU, antennas, sensors, a battery, and a 5.3-inch display. Six slots fit Ara modules solidly, connecting to the frame via Greybus, a bit of software explicitly designed for the inevitable hot-swapping of modules, and hardware that allows data-transfer rates of 11.9 Gbps. This makes adding an extra battery module or upgrading parts like your camera a cinch, and allows for plenty of creativity from hardware developers making unique modules. Moreover, the actual consumer-ready phone isn’t far behind: it should be shipping next year.
Learn more at Google ATAP – $TBA
Keep your phone handy in the kitchen, the garage, or anywhere there’s a ferromagnetic metal surface with the Kiyojo Magnetic Dock For iPhone. Kiyojo is CNC machined from aluminum that’s anodized to an Apple-like finish for long lasting looks, and sticks solidly to your fridge using powerful neodymium magnets despite the impression that it’s practically floating. Docking and undocking are a breeze, and it works just as well in both portrait and landscape orientations for handsfree calling, following recipes, watching videos, and just plain keeping your phone handy in one predictable place.
Find it at Kickstarter – $60
Meeting military drop-test standards MIL STD 810G 516.6, Urban Armor Gear’s Card Case protects your phone against inadvertent drops, bumps, bruises, and otherwise smartphone-killing tumbles of everyday life thanks to the coupling of a soft impact-diffusing core with a hard outer shell. And while it’s not the slimmest case in their offerings, it’ll likely still lighten your carry on most days since it’s got a back door that swings open to reveal a cutout for up to four cards — there’s likely enough space for a folded banknote or two as well. Pair it to their tempered glass screen protector for even more thorough security.