The Best Smartphone for Traveling the World

The Best Smartphone for Traveling the World

Traveling over the years has changed quite dramatically, it wasn’t too long ago that the standard map, camera, and a backpack were the norm. However, the world has changed rapidly in the last few years and it now seems as though the new must have travel gear is a smartphone. It’s really no small wonder as to why, it’s essentially a full-fledged computer that fits in your pocket. Each provides travelers access to all kinds of useful data like offline maps, GPS navigation, voice translation, and did I mention it’s also a camera? The biggest bonus of having a smartphone on the road is just how much space it saves and value it adds to any excursion. The only problem is there are quite a few amazing smartphones out there, so which one is best for you?
Apple iOS
Best Phone: iPhone 5 (Soon to be iPhone 5S)
best smartphone for travelThe company that started the smartphone revolution still makes a pretty damn nice phone. While the iPhone 5 generally disappointed because it added very minor features to an already stellar iPhone 4S, it’s still the top dog in the smartphone universe. The App Store still holds the most apps which make photo editing and getting advice easy but its sleek lightweight design saves the feeling that you are lugging around anything extra at all. Beyond portability the iPhone 5 recharges at lightening speed something that travelers on the go will appreciate on those rushed days when they need to make it to the Louvre before 8am. The phone, however great it is, isn’t perfect and does come with its fair share of downsides. For one its built-in mapping app is completely useless and will end up sending you on a wild goose chase on a regular basis. Even though you can pick up another map app (Google Maps is still the best) getting offline accurate GPS is impossible making the map pretty useless without wi-fi. Furthermore, iPhones are magnets for thieves, while all expensive items are Apple products tend to get special preference because their re-sale value is far higher. Lastly, the camera is a huge improvement over older versions but is no match for others on the market. Taking quick shots for instagram it works perfectly but good luck capturing the Champs Elysees, its simply not possible
Best Phone: Samsung Galaxy S4
best smartphone for travelAndroid used to be the ugly step child of the mighty iOS but after years of smoothing out all the rough edges it is a far more unique stand alone experience than it has ever been. The open ecosystem allows user to unlock every feature of their phones making them far more useful and valuable than Apple’s offering in some cases. The big get here is the built in integration with Google and its search and mapping functions. Travelers will literally have to try to get lost while using it as the offline GPS and mapping works like a dream making it easy to get around any city. While the apps may vary from time to time with Apple, users will rarely ever feel as though they aren’t getting everything they bargained for and will have more than a few options for just about any app. With all this openness comes a price and the Google Play Marketplace is a nightmare to surf through. With all the fragmentation due to an open ecosystem many apps work on select devices but not others. Some apps are hidden with malware (although its getting more rare) which slow your phone down to a crawl and even worse lots of apps simply don’t work. Any user purchasing this phone would be wise to root it and make sure you get the full Android experience. Lastly, the camera again falls short, while its nighttime shots are far superior to the iPhone its nothing compared to a decent point and shoot so capturing all those amazing travel moments will once again ellude you.
Windows Phone
Best Phone: Nokia Lumia 1020
best smartphone for travelYes Windows Phone is the ugly duckling here and yes the apps marketplace is a bit thin, but the phone itself is one of the best, if not the best on the market. Finding all those great apps that exist on iOS and Android will be impossible as the store size is 1/10th that of Apple’s. However, there is no need to fear as many great apps do exist, its just that usually there are only one or two per category instead of hundreds. While its mapping cannot compare to that of Google (although it does have a dedicated app) Nokia’s HERE map system is great nonetheless simply put it gets you to where you need to go and you’ll never get lost. Beyond that its simply a great phone, but where this thing really earns its stay is the camera. Its is by far the best camera on any smartphone and better than most point and shoots. It has an amazingly simple yet intuitive interface that makes capturing all those larger than life moments actually possible. The learning curve is a bit steep but once users pick it up there really is no going back. The only downside is that it runs Windows Phone something that really holds this phone back. The fact is that while it does have many great apps, most of its AAA apps such as yelp or facebook are complete crap. The big developers, outside of games thanks to Xbox Live integration, basically abandoned the platform and are just now coming back so the quality isn’t there just yet.
My Advice
You won’t go wrong with any of these options but if you have to choose just one for traveling I would recommend you take a long hard look at the Nokia 1020. Even though the apps just aren’t there yet, they are growing everyday and the quality continues to rise. What pushes this in front is the fact that it has a 41 megapixel camera and the ability to capture things the others simply cannot. The best way to look back on a travel adventure is taking as many shots as possible and having a perfect camera built into your phone is invaluable. While Windows Phone does have its short comings its not a deal breaker, and the Nokia 1020 is simply one hell of a smartphone.
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The Best Smartphone for Traveling the World The Best Smartphone for Traveling the World Reviewed by Zahir Style on July 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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