What if we gave up Pocketnow and had to pick our own daily drivers?

As individual members of the editorial team here at Pocketnow, we often have the luxury of being able to pick up a different phone to use for every day of the week. While realistically it’s more hassle than it’s worth, theoretically, that would sound pretty cool to all of you.

And yet, there comes a time when we’ll reach the sunset on the other side of the hills. Giving it all up is not a matter of “if,” but “when?” So, what if “when” was now? What would we be toting around as our daily drivers for the next two years? After a particularly strong year of showings from manufacturers large and small, we have plenty on our plates to consider. As you’ll see in how we whittle our choices down, though, it turns out that we all have different wants and needs as we move along our lives — with or without Pocketnow.

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Adam Doud

It comes down to two things for me – great camera and easy security.

note-5-skinnyMy go-to recommendation has been the Galaxy S6 Active of late because it had a great camera and great battery life, but it’s missing the fingerprint scanner and Samsung Pay. Right now, with its magnetic secure transmission technology, Samsung Pay is a game changer. The US is moving toward chip and PIN tech, though, so I’m not sure how long we’ll be using magnetic strips. But it’s probably safe to say it’ll be at least two years.

My choice would be the Galaxy Note 5 since it has better battery life than the dreadful S6 class of devices, plus it has Samsung Pay, wireless charging, and all the geeky crap that I drool over.

Great question, by the way.

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Adam Z. LeinImage311

If I wasn’t a tech journalist for the past 15 years or so, I’d still be a photographer.

So, my smartphone of choice would still be the Nokia Lumia 1020 from 2013.  I currently carry an unlocked version sometimes with a custom painted wireless charging shell, sometimes with a camera grip extended battery. For weekends away, I’ll carry a spare Lumia 1020 in case the primary one’s battery dies.  I also have a 3rd spare unlocked Lumia 1020 in a box at home. That was purchased after a model accidentally spilled wine on my primary Lumia 1020. Thankfully it was totally fine due to that Nokia build quality.nokia-lumia-1020-with-camera-grip

None of today’s smartphones can compare to the image quality capabilities of the old Lumia 1020 with its 41 megapixel sensor, RAW DNG image data, Carl Zeiss lens, optical image stabilization, and action-freezing Xenon flash.

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Anton D. NagyImage310

I choose the iPhone 6s.

It’s the only phone that combines everything I’m personally looking for in a smartphone: great battery life, a good camera, awesome performance, insane fingerprint scanner speed and reliability, an app ecosystem to offer everything I might be using in the next two years, excellent sound output for my multimedia needs, and a form factor that suits my personal needs.

iphone-6s-rose

The criteria above are nothing you can’t find on Android. Sadly, I can’t find all of the above combined in a single phone, and that’s the problem for me, personally. I would have chosen the Galaxy S6 or S6 edge but the battery life leaves a lot to be desired, to put it gently. The Galaxy S6 edge+ and Note 5 are too big for my taste and that also goes for the LG V10 or G4, both having killer cameras. The Xperia Z5 Premium has great sound and battery life but has fingerprint scanner issues and a camera that could be improved — not to mention that it also is too large for me, and the smaller Xperia Z5 has those same issues.

All that being said, whenever I need, want or even miss Android, I’ll find myself using the Note 5. I think it’s the best Android phone out there for me this year with great performance, an excellent screen, outstanding camera output, awesome battery life and the added value of the S-Pen (which I never use).

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Jaime RiveraImage313

I’ve chosen the Note 5.

Galaxy-Note-5-in-hand

I feel Samsung has not only polished its Galaxy lineup, but the Note 5 is still the most feature-packed phone in the market for those interested in doing so much more. Surely most people won’t use the S-Pen all the time, but you probably won’t need it for more multi-tasking and better battery life.

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Joe LeviImage312

Being the Android Guy, of course I’d pick an Android – but which one?

nexus-6p-tight-trioBuying a phone that needs to last two years means you’ve got to future-proof as much as possible. Low-end specs simply won’t do and most mid-rangers would probably get you by for at least a year, but let’s face it, to get you through two very long years you’ve got to go for a flagship. I’m partial to the Nexus universe.

This year, that would be the Huawei-made Nexus 6P versus the LG Nexus 5X. The former has a higher-end SoC, enough RAM to handle today’s most demanding titles, and is available in configurations up to 128GB — though I went with the 64GB variety. Although other reviewers from other sites may hop between phones they’ve been given to review, when it comes to my daily driver I do my own research and spend my own money — just like you do.

When I tell you that the phone in my pocket now is the Nexus 6P, you know exactly what that means.

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Jules WangImage314

Surprise, surprise: it’s the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3. Really!

Let me say that I’m perfectly happy with the LG V10 that I was able to buy with a paycheck from Pocketnow. But here, I’m taking the position that if the company lifted all the inventory I had today and I had to go out with the money I have right now to buy a smartphone, I’d be looking for some pretty major value for the dollar.

alcatel onetouch idol 3 unboxing

Something enduring for my extensive browsing uses, capable for a great media experience and versatile for the one or two odd things I’ll need to do with my smartphone at some point before I delete those apps forever again. TechniColor-enhanced 1080p display. Check. JBL front-loaded speakers. Check. Great cell connectivity. Check. And from what we’ve tested, an all-day battery? Oh yeah. Can I see what’s in the pictures the Idol 3 takes? Yes. Good enough.

I’m a boring man, so this phone has enough guts for two years with me.

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Michael FisherImage308

It has to be the BlackBerry Priv.

I know it’s arguably underpowered as-is with a Snapdragon 808, and it’s got no guarantee of software updates — hell, it may even be an orphan phone if BlackBerry gets out of the hardware business entirely in the next two years. But one of my favorite things about being a phone geek is the community that springs up around standout phones like the Priv. Often, such communities can make otherwise forsaken phones last long past their expiration date.BlackBerry Priv

Also, I like being a weirdo. And I like carrying BlackBerrys.

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Stephen Schenck

I’ve already been using the same for the past two years and change.

While I suppose there’s the possibility that I’ll get another two years out of it, I’d like to hope – for my own sake, at least – that there’s something better out there. So if I’m starting fresh today, with a phone that needs to last me another long spell, I need to focus on where my existing model let me down.

I don’t demand much in performance and battery life, but I’ve been constantly butting my head against a storage wall; I need a phone with a stupid amount of internal storage, or at least microSD support. That knocks out some popular contenders right there, so where does that leave me? Well, I hate phablets, so I also need something closer to five inches than six. That lessens the appeal of phones like the Moto X Pure Edition.

OnePlus X Ambient Display

Honestly, the OnePlus X might be my best option, representing a minor upgrade over my Nexus 5 while giving me the microSD support I crave. The lack of NFC might have once been a deal-breaker, but Google effectively killed the appeal of Android Pay for me by requiring the use of a phone lockscreen — which I wholeheartedly reject.

In a world of not-great options, the OnePlus X looks like my best.

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You

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Hey! If you’re not the seven of us here, you’re probably thinking about your own financial situation, your own needs and your own life. Depending on how you interpret the “challenge,” which phone would you go out and buy to face it? Let us know in the comments below.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.