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The biggest brand you’ve never heard of

With my iPhone 5 finally in its death throes after three years of near constant abuse – two screens, three charger ports and umpteen Lightning cables – I took the chance to re-evaluate my relationship with Apple and decided to ditch the all-seeing i.

Ever the wannabe hipster, I eschewed the obvious replacements from Samsung, Sony and LG and rooted around a little deeper in the smartphone sack, eventually settling on a Huawei P8 Lite. The Chinese brand is far from a household name in the UK but is massive in both the rest of Europe and at home in South East Asia.

Looking at the P8, it’s hard to fathom quite why the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world raises little more than a “who?” in this country. It looks and feels like the perfect iPhone substitute – the curves are clean, and it feels sturdy enough to handle heavy usage but light enough not to cause Excessive Pocket Bulge (the bane of the skinny jeans generation).

Dealing with a new operating system was my biggest worry of the transition from Apple but Android runs like a dream on the P8 and the swag-heavy champagne colour made me feel a lot cooler than I actually am.

As is typical with modern smartphones, it was up and running with my most-needed apps within minutes (after a dash to get a sim converter – beware the nano-SIM). The battery life smashes the iPhone out of the park, the Swype keyboard is jaw-droppingly clever and you don’t have to deal with all the ridiculously over-priced Lightning add-ons (Micro USB is your friend).

I made a promise to myself when I binned the iPhone that I wouldn’t become that preachy anti-Apple guy but I have to say I’ve had my head turned.

Remember the days when you either had a Nokia or a Motorola? With the telecoms industry diversifying at a faster rate now than at any point in history, mobile handsets are no longer the domain of two or three big companies.

The world and his wife are releasing smartphones these days, with the nine different manufacturers featuring in Amazon UK’s 20 best sellers including the aforementioned retro brands, alongside newer market entries such as Wileyfox and THL.

So have a good look around when it’s contract renewal time. Don’t just stumble into getting the latest in the line of slightly bigger (or smaller) iPhones, dip your toes in the water and see what else is out there – you might be surprised.

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