We’ve all heard of the big smartphone names like Samsung, Apple, Sony and LG, but there are dozens of other smartphone manufacturers that are doing well today or have had their time in the spotlight in the past.
In fact, there are enough smartphone manufacturers to cover the entire alphabet, and the majority of them have had a smartphone sell like hot cakes in the past. Take a read through 26 of the biggest smartphone names in history in this blog. Where possible, I’ll be missing the big names to shed light on some of the other manufacturers on the market.
A - ASUS
ASUS is known in the tech world, but the quality of their smartphones has always been something that has caught my eye in the past. They are still releasing a wide range of smartphones today at differing price points. In the past, ASUS has launched giant phablets with humongous batteries and all sorts of transforming devices. My favorite is their all-in-one Android PadFone that could be turned into a tablet, then turned into a laptop.
B - Blu
Blu is the master of the budget smartphone game. Plenty of their releases have had specs that could almost rival flagship devices, but their selling point is usually between £80 and £200. You’ll find plenty of budget Blu smartphones on places like Amazon selling for far less than budget options from the big names like Motorola and Samsung.
C - CAT
From the company renowned for sturdy footwear, comes a range of sturdy phones. The CAT smartphones run Android and are rugged enough to withstand a lot of punishment. The latest CAT phone is the S61 and it features a 5.2 inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 630 and a huge 4,500mAh battery. It’s not cheap, though. You’ll be paying £799 directly from CAT.
D - Dell
Dell is most known for their PCs and laptops, but they have branched off into the smartphone world in the past. Their most recent mobile devices have been Android and Windows tablets, but before that Dell launched the Streak Pro D43 in 2012. It was a welcome addition to Android at the time and it specs to rival any competitors on the market that year.
E - Energizer
Low battery life is a common concern for smartphones and Energizer took that opportunity to create a smartphone and blend it with what they do best. The Energizer Power MaxP600S launched in 2018 and has a lengthy battery life thanks to its custom Android software setup and 4,500mAh battery. The device also had a 5.9 inch 1080p display, 6GB of RAM and a sleek, modern design.
F - Fujitsu Siemens
The Fujitsu Siemens T830 is a brick - it has a built in keyboard like the Blackberry and runs Microsoft Windows mobile 5.0. Sound unfamiliar? It’s because the T830 launched back in 2006, just before the smartphone game had truly found its roots. The T830 managed to do well as a Blackberry contender, but the T830 was their last true smartphone.
G - Gionee
There’s a lot of choice for G, but Gionee stands out as an innovative and valuable smartphone brand in 2018. Gionee is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer that has launched plenty of powerful smartphones into the Chinese market. This year, Gionee has been quite quiet, with their latest options being those that launched in 2017 - the A1 and A1 Plus. The latter of which has a 6 inch 1080p display, a 13 megapixel primary camera, 4GB of RAM and a massive 4,550mAh battery.
H - HP
The latest Windows Phones deserve some attention - they’re powerful devices that can perform many tasks that rival desktop functionality. The most exciting Windows Phone to reach the market recently is the HP Elite x3. It’s pricey, but it comes with a 5.96 inch 1440p display, a 16 megapixel camera, 4GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 820 CPU and a 4,150mAh battery.
I - Icemobile
Icemobile is a relatively new smartphone company that’s looking to get their bearings. Currently, the best smartphone available from Icemobile is the Prime 5.0 Plus, which comes equipped with a 5 inch 720p display, an 8 megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM and a 2,000 mAh battery. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but if Icemobile gets their feet off the ground they could become a great low end smartphone manufacturer.
J - Jolla
Jolla is an interesting one because they have focused on manufacturing smartphones that run the relatively unknown Sailfish OS. Sailfish OS has grown over the past few years and it’s now a fully working mobile operating system. If you’re looking for something a little different, the Jolla C running Sailfish 2.0 could take your fancy.
K - Kyocera
The rugged smartphone market is getting very big. Kyocera is yet another rugged phone manufacturer that has dedicated their business to creating sturdy, yet reasonably powerful Android smartphones. Their latest release is the DuraForce Pro 2, which uses a Snapdragon 630, 4GB of RAM, a 5 inch 1080p display, and a 3,240mAh battery.
L - Lenovo
Lenovo may now own Motorola, but they’re still focusing on their own lineup of smartphones. Their latest release that has caught my eye is the sleek Lenovo Z5s. It features a 6.3 inch 1080x2340 display, a waterdrop notch, 6GB RAM, and a Snapdragon 710. It’s aimed at the mid-range market, but it has a very premium design.
M - Meizu
Meizu is another Chinese manufacturer that’s slowly gaining the love of the western world. Meizu is ramping up its smartphone production this year, but my favourite highlight from 2018 was the Meizu X8. It has a 6.2 inch display with a unique slimline notch, 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 710, as well as a 3,210mAh battery capacity.
N - Nvidia
NVIDIA is dominating the PC graphics card market, but they have attempted to branch out onto the mobile world a few times in the past. Their most successful attempt was their Shield K1 tablet from 2015. It has an 8 inch HD display, a 5,200mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and the graphics-focused Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since NVIDIA has made a true tablet or smartphone.
O - OnePlus
When OnePlus first hit the scene, it was almost impossible to get a OnePlus handset. Their devices were sold to those with invites, and only those who already owned a OnePlus could hand out an invite to another person. You felt special holding a OnePlus. These days, the OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6 can be purchased without an invitation. In fact, they are now on giffgaff. The OnePlus 6T is a performance focused device. The model available from giffgaff has 128GB of internal storage, a 3,7000mAh battery, a Snapdragon 845, and 6GB of RAM. What’s great is that despite featuring high end specifications and even an in-screen fingerprint sensor, it only costs £499.
P - Panasonic
Panasonic is a great electronics company but their smartphone efforts have mostly been unheard. I think they have the potential to have a top seller on their hands if they were to market to the right regions. Currently one of their most popular devices is the Eluga Tapp, which is primarily sold in India. The Eluga Tapp is a budget friendly device with a 5 inch 720p display, an 8 megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM and a 2,800mAh.
Q - QMobile
QMobile is another company that is doing well in the Indian smartphone market. Their latest smartphones have taken inspiration from the Sony Xperia range when it comes to physical design. On the software-side, they’re running a very stripped down version of Android. The QMobile device to take my interest the most is the Noir Z12 Pro, which has a 5.5 inch 1080p display, 3GB of RAM, and a 3,150mAh battery. Unfortunately, the Noir Z12 Pro launched in 2016 and we haven’t heard much from QMobile since.
R - Ringing Bells
Ringing Bells got a lot of press in 2016, and I mean a lot of it. They were the shady company behind the infamous $4 smartphone. You may have seen headlines hitting news sites and social media that mentioned a company based in India was looking to sell an Android smartphone for just $4. The Freedom 251 was the name of the smartphone and it was going to sell for 251 rupees, which equates to just over £3. Unsurprisingly, this was a business venture that never left the ground.
S - Sharp
Another reputable electronics company has dabbled in the smartphone market recently, and I have to say I’m quite impressed. Their latest release will be the Sharp Aquos R2 compact and it has a notch on both sides of the display. The notch on the bottom is used for a fingerprint-enabled home screen. The specs for this phone include a 5.2 inch 1080p display, 4GB RAM, and a 2,500mAh battery. No details on the release yet.
T - Tesco
Tesco never made any smartphones, but they did release two very generously priced tablets that completely blew the competition out of the water. Despite the amazing success of the two tablets, the Hudl and the Hudl 2, the tablet venture was ultimately not a profitable one for Tesco and the project has since been axed. The Hudl 2 will go down in history as one of the biggest innovations in the tablet space.
U - Unnecto Unnecto is a smartphone manufacturer that focuses on the super cheap end of the spectrum. Currently, Unnecto is focused on the North American region but I’d love to see them come to the UK because their devices are between £60 and £120. Their Unnecto Bolt, for example, sells for $69.99 and has 1GB of RAM, a 5 inch display and a 2,000mAh battery.
V - Vertu
Anybody got £7,500 lying around? The Vertu Signature Touch launched in 2015 and currently sells for roughly 7 grand. The Vertu Signature Touch has such a high price because of its premium build. Handcrafted leather, sapphire glass display, and precious metals come as a standard.
W - Wiko
Wiko is a French smartphone manufacturer that has put a lot of love and care into the style of their smartphones. The Wiko Fever Special Edition is a testament to that, and an image of it can be seen above. Wiko phones tend to have a solid hardware setup, too. The latest Wiko offering is the View2 Go, which features an iPhone X inspired design, but it’s for the low end market. With the View2 Go, you get a 5.93” 750x1512 display, a 12 megapixel dual camera, 3GB RAM, a Snapdragon 430, and a 4,000mAh battery.
X - Xiaomi
We’ve featured a few chinese manufacturers in this list but Xiaomi is the Chinese giant. New Xiaomi phones sell out incredibly quickly and many western smartphone owners are starting to see the reason why. My favourite release from Xiaomi in 2018 was their bezelless phablet, the Mi Mix 3. Instead of including a notch, the camera and sensors are hidden in a small component that slides up when you open the camera app. You also get a 6.39 inch 1080x2340 display. The front of the device is beautiful as a result. You get some hefty specs on the inside, too, such as 10GB RAM, a Snapdragon 845 processor and a 3,200mAh battery.
Y - YU
I hadn’t heard of YU until I started this blog, but I managed to learn a few things about them. They’re relatively unknown but they have a large selection of phones under their belt. Their flagship for 2018 was the YU Ace, which houses 3GB of RAM, a 5.45 inch 1080p display and a 4,000mAh battery. The design itself isn’t anything special, but it’ll be interesting to see what YU does next.
Z - ZTE
Wow, we made it! I’ll be ending this blog by sharing the manufacturer that blessed me with my first ever smartphone - ZTE. The ZTE Blade launched as the Orange San Francisco in the UK in 2011 - it had a 3.5 inch 480p display, 512MB of RAM, and a 1,250mAh battery. I absolutely loved it. Nowadays, ZTE is doing some magnificent things. The device that is getting the most attention is the Nubia X. The Nubia X sidesteps the notch issue by removing the front facing camera completely. You get a full-bodied almost bezelless display that looks incredible.
But what about selfies? No problem, just flip your phone over and use the main camera on the back and use the secondary display to see the image preview. The front facing display is a large 6.26 incher with a 1080x2280 resolution. On the back, you get a 5.1 inch 720x1520 pixel display. The main (and only) camera shoots in 24 megapixels, and has a secondary sensor. There’s no doubt the Nubia X will give you the highest quality selfies to date. On the inside the Nubia X has 8GB RAM, a Snapdragon 845, and a 3,800mAh battery.
Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog. Which smartphone manufacturers caught your eye in this blog?