10 top smartphones: 5 for dads and 5 for grads

10 top smartphones: 5 for dads and 5 for grads

Summary: Smartphones make great gifts for tech-minded dads and students achieving their goals. Here are five handsets to consider for each group -- including one device that makes an ideal choice for either dad or grad.


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  • Top smartphones for dads and grads

    It's that time of year: Students are graduating and we also spend a day honoring dear old dad. A smartphone is a very nice gift for both grads and dads, and I offer up my top five picks for each group in this image gallery.

    Many dads are fans of mobile technology and for this group I picked the best high end smartphones that are available today. One phone is not yet available from a carrier in the US, but is readily available from online vendors,  including Amazon. Three phones are available on all major US carriers.

    Students are more concerned about pricing, like to use their phone for social networking, and also are more likely to drop a phone given they are carrying them around campus, in backpacks, at parties, and on the bus.

    As you can see in my image gallery, I have one phone that I picked across both lists and that is the iPhone 5s. I know it is very expensive, but it is also still my top smartphone of the year and offers superb functionality with little compromise across the board.

  • Dad pick: Sony Xperia Z2

    I spent a lot of money last month on a Sony Xperia Z2, but still feel it is the best Android smartphone available today and maybe even the best phone available today. You can find it for about $650 online, which is less than the iPhone 5s and about the same as all the other high end smartphones.

    Your dad will love the high end glass and metal design, solid camera, and awesome media experiences. Make sure to pick up a docking cradle that lets you charge up the Z2 without removing any covers while also serving as a photo frame on his desk.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, HTC, iPhone, Nokia, Smartphones, Windows Phone

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  • Just get a Lumia 630

    Suits grads and Dads...with your wallet intact.
    • You're being too practical...

      People want the "latest and greatest" and "coolest" and "what their friends have", and with a nice looking logo of a fruit that has a bite taken off it. Furthermore, if it's cheap, it's not cool. Never mind the practicality of owning a device which does 99% of what a smartphone is used for, and which is very easy to own.
    • 620

      my other half is very pleased with her 620, small and fine. The 630 looks like a nice improvement on the 600 line.
  • I asked my daughter for an essay.

    Subject: Why is an iPhone better than the more inexpensive Windows Phone her mom and dad have. I requested specific things that could not be done. After a point by point rebuttal and even some evidence that the Windows Phone outperformed the Apple offering in areas such as photos and search speed there was only one item left on her list that I could not rebut. You can guess what it was... "Dad, the Windows Phone is not cool, none of my friends would be caught dead with one in public. I would be the laughing stock of my entire class." So what do I do? Yep, I got her an iPhone. You see the truth here is that I already know from experience with other parents that if I don't the phone will "accidentally fall" or be left on a bench and "stolen".
    The Heretic
    • Same in Italy...

      Dear The Heretic,

      You are right, it is true!!!
      Windows phone is an excellent phone, but it is not cool also in the poor Italy.

    • The Best Smartphone OS

      Is BlackBerry 10.2

      Like the Windows phone, the Z10 can run rings around the iPhone. The Z30 is the Galaxy killer.

      Instead of being "not cool", show how your phone is more cool than theirs.
    • More than coolness.

      Although I find it a little strange because from reading comments on ZDNet, I would have thought Apple had lost its cool with the younger generation.

      What your daughter can do with her iPhone is use shared apps like "Find my Friends" and as a matter of fact this is probably also a nice app for parents when the kid is travelling.
    • Poor you...

      When its time to get her a car... you know that Ferraris are very cool...

      You sir, have just sold out all options to say no to your daughter in the future.

      My daughter is happy using her Lumia 800 in school and are eager to upgrade to the Lumia 930 this summer! Almost everybody uses iPhones in my daughtyers school, but she is proud to stand out and being different.
    • Not just about "cool"

      I just got back from a business trip in Chicago. On the train to Chicago and on the El in Chicago and at the conference I attended, I saw plenty of Android phones and iPhones; I even saw a several of Blackberry phones. I saw no Windows Phones. I probably glanced at over 500 phones in that time.
  • incomplete list!

    I cannot believe that you didn't put the Droid Ultra Maxx on your list! Except for the Sonys and the M8 my Maxx will kick the rest those phones to sleep especially the windows and the apples. I can see putting the Moto X on before the G. I have all 3 and the Maxx is better. The only thing the windows phone has over the Moto X is the wireless charge. Wow, you were paid to put out such a opinionated article? How many of these phones did you actually try or own? O that's right the iphone 5.....enough said!
    • LOLwut? Are you talking about the Droid Ultra or the Droid Maxx?

      Either way, my LG G2 is better :P
  • Good list.

    Very balanced. Kudos.
  • IP68

    I won't buy any new phone without this (real) rating.
  • iPhone 5s "top smartphone of the year"? Begone, fanboy

    - tiny screen
    - poor battery life
    - aluminium is soft, dents easily.

    People have this strange idea that aluminium is a good material to use for a portable device. "Feels premium" give me a break. A can of coke is made of aluminium, is not "premium".

    Polycarbonate LG G2 with small body, large screen ftw