Buying a Christmas smartphone? Here are 8 quirky iPhone and Android alternatives to consider

Buying a Christmas smartphone? Here are 8 quirky iPhone and Android alternatives to consider

Summary: 2013 has seen several startups launch new smartphones, and while many can't keep up with Apple, Samsung, Nokia and other OEMs on specs, they all manage to bring something unique.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Smartphones, Android
14

 |  Image 1 of 8

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Jolla

    Born out of Nokia's bloodletting during its shift from Symbian to Windows Phone in 2011, the team at Jolla has just released its first smartphone. 

    While there's a bevy of alternative Android smartphones out there these days, what makes Finnish startup Jolla stand out is that the company has not only designed and built its own hardware, but it's also taken a punt on its own operating system — the Linux-based Sailfish OS — which picks up from where Nokia left off on the MeeGo OS. 

    It's one of a few alternative smartphones that have put a unique experience over specs, with the hope that its noble efforts to do something different will be enough for customers to part with a few hundred bucks.

    Along with a different operating system, the Jolla device has an swappable NFC backplate that can be used to customise the UI and other elements of the phone.

    The devices were put up for pre-order earlier this year, but now the only place you can get your hands on one is through Finland's smallest mobile operator.

    Cost: €399 ($548), currently only available from Finnish operator DNA.

    Specs: The 4.5-inch screen has 960x540 qHD display resolution. It comes with 16GB storage, a microSD slot, eight-megapixel main camera, two-megapixel front-facing camera, replaceable 2100 mAh capacity battery. It runs on a 1.4Ghz dual-core Qualcomm chip, has 1GB RAM and supports 4G LTE.

    Hails from: Finland

    Image: Jo Best/ZDNet

  • Oppo N1

    Chinese hardware maker Oppo has just released its third phone, the N1. It's a 5.9-inch Android 4.2 Jelly Bean phablet with some hardware and software components that elevate in beyond the average smartphone.

    The N1 hardware looks polished, and like Jolla, the N1 aims for different experience — aiming at both the modder crowd and general consumers with its pre-loaded CyanogenMod firmware.

    Two standout unique features of the N1 are its rear touch-panel for scrolling, tapping or snapping pics and the rotating camera, which can roll from a front-facing position to the back.

    Cost: €449 ($599)

    Specs: The 5.9-inch phablet has a 1080p HD display with 377 ppi, a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB RAM and 3,610 mAh battery. The N1 runs Oppo's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with the Oppo Color UI, but also comes with support for CyanogenMod. It weighs 213g, with dimensions at 170mm long, 82mm wide and 9mm thick.

    Availability: Europe and the US from 10 December.

    Hails from: China

    Image: Oppo

Topics: Smartphones, Android

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

14 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Quechua Phone

    What carrier or is it unlocked?
    ArchieK
  • NO MORE!!!!!

    No more of these galleries which reload the page for each succeeding page.

    Either do it all on one page or maybe two or three pages, but for Pete's sake, please stop these infernal galleries. I know this separates individual items from each other but a line or maybe three asterisks would do just as well.

    If you insist on separate pages, please make a .pdf file available for download. Those are easy to make. Just prepare your text and photos in a text-handling program (Jarte makes an excellent one), save it, then save it again as a .pdf with the help of Nitro or Nitro Pro, the easiest .pdf-maker program to use. If the resulting layout does not quite please you, you can either change the pdf directly in Nitro, or make major changes in Jarte and re-save as a .pdf.

    Thank you for listening.
    bart001fr
    • ...............

      They won't its how they get site hits. Its honestly a very dishonest way to earn hits but I guess the site must be struggling if this is how low they have to stoop and basically cripple their site.Makes them look like amateur morons really.
      Fletchguy
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
      • except the Android app...

        doesn't look like it handles comments very well
        frylock
        • haha

          yep. it posts slowly and you can hit the post button multiple times...
          Andrew Hargrave
  • non-Android?

    the title claims "quirky iPhone and Android alternatives" which could read as quirky versions of iPhones and Androids, yet there are no quirky versions of the iPhone, so we must read it as "quirky alternatives TO iPhones and Androids"

    However, out of 8 phones, 5 ARE Android, and two are not available so you really shouldn't be considering them if you are "Considering buying a Christmas smartphone"

    The Jolla on the first pic is the only phone here that fits the title of the article.
    Mytheroo