MESSENGER SERVICES

Since it was founded in 2009, WhatsApp has become one of the apps you’re most likely to find on phones worldwide. 

Today, it has 1.5 billion users in 180 countries – even more than users of its stablemate, Facebook Messenger, which is presumably why Mark Zuckerberg’s company were so keen to gobble it up for an eye-watering $19 billion in 2014.

But lately, the app has come under fire. Back in May, it was revealed that malware had been developed that could potentially open up all of your WhatsApp data to hackers. 

Since then, Facebook has patched WhatsApp so that the current version isn’t impacted – but you can still be forgiven for starting to wonder…what alternatives are out there? Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular.

Facebook Messenger

Two of the most popular messaging services are also owned by Facebook. Facebook Messenger is an integral part of the Facebook experience, but a separate app enables private messaging between individuals and groups.

Until recently, Instagram Direct did a similar job for Instagram, however the app was recently scrapped.

While Facebook Messenger offers a distinctive user experience at present, it may not be the best options for an alternative to WhatsApp going forward. 

This is because Mark Zuckerberg has announced his intention to merge Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp together – at least on a technical level (which could also be why Instagram Direct was shut down so abruptly). 

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp may continue to exist individually, but they will share back-end infrastructure. On one level, this is a good thing, as it means you’ll be able to message people on WhatsApp via Facebook, and on Facebook via Instagram, and so on (and Facebook has said that eventually both messengers will be end-to-end encrypted) – but it also means that features-wise it’ll be like choosing between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.

iMessage

In response to the growth of WhatsApp, Apple has built out its own Messages app – iMessage – to be just as fully featured. 

Now, when messaging iPhone to iPhone, there are no character limits, you can send pictures, videos and…well, pretty much anything, thanks to a plethora of app integrations. 

Most notably, this includes Apple Pay in some countries, so that you can literally send money over text and, of course, Animojis. Hit a button and rather than type out your missive, you can perform it as a 3D animal puppet, with the fox, monkey or unicorn’s mouth movements matching your own. 

And yes, you can also be a talking poop emoji, but we recommend only using that when, say, dumping someone or telling a loved one about a death in the family.

There’s just one catch: iMessage is, by design, only available on Apple devices, so if you want to chat with your Android mates you’ve got to go back to using plain old 140-character SMS.

Google Messages

In response to Apple not playing nicely with iMessage, Google launched its own Android-only messaging service called…Messages. 

Available on the Play Store, this app also replaces your standard SMS app, and the big point in its favor is that it deeply integrates with all of Google’s apps and services. 

This means that you can easily share images from your Google Photos, or use Google Assistant to make a restaurant reservation with a friend from right within the app.

Telegram

Telegram is perhaps WhatsApp’s closest competitor in terms of functionality – and it even looks almost identical to the Facebook-owned behemoth. 

What sets it apart is that it doubles down on the promises over security: Not only are messages end-to-end encrypted, but it is possible to set messages to self-destruct after a given period of time – leaving no trace of whatever important conversations you were having.

One other nice feature is that, unlike WhatsApp, it’s truly multi-platform – with apps available for desktop, as well as mobile and on the web.

Signal

Many of these alternatives boast about their security credentials but if you’re really paranoid there’s only one option. Signal offers a similar suite of features to its competitors, as well as end-to-end encryption, but there’s one big difference: The app itself is open-source.

This means that all of the code for the app is publicly available to view, making it impossible for the creators to sneak in any backdoors that could give governments or hackers access to your messages. 

The app has also scored a major endorsement to bolster its privacy credentials even further in the form of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Line, Viber, WeChat and others

There are a number of other messaging apps out there which have millions of users. Line, for instance, reportedly has 700m registered users and Viber supposedly has 260m active users every month. 

Some of these apps have some really interesting functionality too – for example, WeChat has an entire mini-app eco-system inside of the app, so that you can shop, order taxis and so on without leaving WeChat itself.

But we wouldn’t necessarily recommend making the switch to these apps as they may not be all that useful. Why? Because they’re mere minnows in the English-speaking world. 

WeChat dominates China, Line is the go-to messenger in Japan, and BlackBerry Messenger is the biggest in Indonesia (no, really) – which are great if you live there. If you’re in the UK, the United States, or Australia however, you’re not going to find that many of your friends on these apps.

NOKIAS TOP TEN

10. Nokia N9
The first and last device to run Nokia’s ill-fated MeeGo operating system, the N9 provided plenty of design inspiration for the Windows Phone-based Lumia range that followed. Despite being doomed to early obsolescence from a software perspective, so popular was the N9 that consumers petitioned the company to continue developing for MeeGo. Reviewers at the time heaped praise on the N9, with some bemoaning Nokia’s decision to move to Windows Phone for its smartphones exclusively.

Nokia-N95-640

9. Nokia N95
This 2007 device, released in the same year as the original iPhone, slid open in two directions. Moving it one way revealed a regular numeric keypad, while sliding it the other way allowed access to dedicated media playback controls. With its wide array of multimedia capabilities and hardware such as a GPS and an accelerometer, the N95 was one of the first mobile phones deserving of the “smartphone” moniker, which, for a time, made it the handset most desired by geeks the world over.

Nokia-7650-640

8. Nokia 7650
Another of Nokia’s forays into “slider” form factor, the 7650’s claim to fame was its built-in digital camera, Nokia’s first in a phone. Though only capable of capturing images at a resolution of 640×480, when it was launched in late 2002 the 7650 pioneered the idea of putting a camera in a mobile phone to the delight of citizen journalists and the dismay of gubernatorial candidates in years to come.

Nokia-E55-640

7. Nokia E55
In its heyday, the E55 was the pinnacle of design and functionality for the business user who wanted to be able to read their office e-mail in traffic. Its unconventional keyboard, with two letters sharing a key rather than three, and its dedicated keys for frequently used punctuation, made it a discreet and understated mobile phone with all of the features.

Nokia-9000-Communicator-640

6. Nokia 9000 Communicator
In many ways, the 9000 Communicator was the precursor to netbooks and tablet computers. Weighing almost 400g and with 8MB of memory, the 9000 included a 24MHz processor, a 4,5-inch monochrome display and cost more than most desktop computers. Introduced in 1996, the 9000 even made its way into pop culture with appearances in the 1997 remake of the film The Saint and Bret Easton Ellis’ novel Glamorama. The 9000 deserves to be on this list because of it was so groundbreaking. Our favourite Communicator, though, was the 9500, introduced in 2004.

Nokia-3310-640

5. Nokia 3310
One of Nokia’s best-selling phones — at over 125m units — the 3310’s enormous success stems from its sturdy construction, intuitive user interface and the fact that it embodied just the right mixture of functionality and price. As the first mobile phone to allow users to send three SMS messages in one, it also proved incredibly popular with teenagers, students and anyone else with plenty to type.

Nokia-808-PureView-640

4. Nokia 808 PureView
Nokia’s long prided itself on the quality of its cameras, and the 808 PureView has the dual accolade of being the phone with the world’s largest sensor and resolution (41 megapixels) and the last device to run the Symbian operating system. The same imaging technology is set to make an appearance in Nokia’s forthcoming flagship device, the Lumia 1020, which also may be the last smartphone bearing the company’s name.

Nokia-E71-640

3. Nokia E71
Nokia’s Eseries handsets set the bar for business devices before BlackBerry stitched up that market (for a time) with its Bold range. The E71 included a full Qwerty keyboard, and support for Wi-Fi, and dedicated keys for functions like calendar, contacts and e-mail. It also included a 3,2-megapixel rear camera and and Nokia’s mapping software.

Nokia-6310i-640

2. Nokia 6310i
The fourth reworking of the massively successful 6110, Nokia’s 6310i included support for e-mail, text and picture messages as well as Java applications, making it the first choice for business users and one of the first mobile phones to hint at the hyperconnected world to come. Added to this was a triband antenna, making it the perfect travel accessory. Launched in 2002, it was discontinued in 2005.

Nokia-2110-640

1. Nokia 2110
Released in 1994, the Nokia 2110 was the first mobile phone capable of sending SMS messages and the first to offer Nokia’s now unmistakable ringtone. It also included the ability to store the last 10 dialled, received and missed calls. Its retracting antenna also made it the device of choice for busy professionals who liked little more than pulling out the antenna with their teeth while dashing between meetings and looking far busier than their phoneless peers.

FACEBOOK AI

Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) research team has developed a tool that tricks the facial recognition system to wrongly identify a person in a video, the media reported. The “de-identification” system, which also works in live videos, uses machine learning to change key facial features of a subject in a video, according to a report in VentureBeat on Friday.

“Face recognition can lead to loss of privacy and face replacement technology may be misused to create misleading videos,” reads a paper explaining the company’s approach, as cited by VentureBeat.

This de-identification technology earlier worked mostly for still images.

I’m going to say it first, when Facebook rebrand as Skynet…….

BEST EVER NOKIAS?

  • Microsoft may be pulling the Nokia brand from Australia, but the glorious company will leave an indelible legacy. Here’s but a glimpse at ten just examples. 

  • 10. Nokia 7210 (2002) 

    Colour had finally come to the Nokia mobile with the 7210. Nokia took advantage of the 1.5in, 128×128 resolution screen with an important accessory: an attachable camera. 

    These two traits made the 7210 worthwhile as the phone was crippled by an uncomfortably keypad.

  • 9. Nokia N91 (2005) 

    The N91 may be the ugliest phone ever manufactured by Nokia. The phone towered over alternatives and the screen was hideously bulbous in design. Stainless steel weighed the phone down and music controls were built into its slide. A series of software glitches caused the N91’s release to be delayed for almost a year. 

    Nokia was pushing the envelope. Those keys at the front hint at the N91’s party-trick: 4GB of internal storage dedicated to music. No other phone packed such generous memory before the N91. Stock was limited and customers vied for a phone that could double as an mp3 player. The N91 proved such a hit that Nokia introduced an 8GB version dressed in black.

  • 8. Nokia 900 (2009) 

    Nokia’s N900 was ahead of its time when it came out in 2009. The 3.5in smartphone had an interesting form factor, with a screen that would slide out, tilt, and subsequently reveal a landscape QWERTY keyboard. Coupled with its linux-based Meamo 5 operating system, the N900 proved to be a solid productivity machine. 

    And when you tired of working, all you would have to do was slide it shut, flip open the rear kickstand and watch a movie. The N900 didn’t have mainstream appeal, but the people who bought the smartphone loved it tirelessly.

  • 7. Nokia 808 PureView (2012) 

    The Nokia 808 PureView was a largely unspectacular phone. It was big and bulgy at a time when Apple’s iPhone was sleek and slender. The processor was slow and the screen, which although used an AMOLED panel, had a low 360×640 resolution. Worst of all, the 808 PureView ran an updated version of Symbian, which could not compete against Apple’s iOS and the emerging Google Android. 

    Nokia did nail one feature so well that, till this day, its existing range of smartphones continue to reap rewards from the technology. The 808 PureView came with a whooping 38 megapixel camera that eliminated the competition on the photo front. No matter its shortcomings, the 808 PureView was the first phone to put Nokia on the map as a master of imaging.

  • 6. Nokia E71 (2008) 

    Apple’s iPhone had been out for one year. BlackBerry was still the hallmark brand for business phones. Then Nokia launched the E71, a metal-clad phone distinguished by a QWERTY keyboard and a thin 1cm profile. No BlackBerry looked as good, and buying an E71 was a lot cheaper. 

    The E71 appealed to people interested in work and multimedia, however, it leaned more towards work. Nokia made it possible to switch between two home screens so that its customers could have one for work, and another for personal use.

  • 5. Nokia 8210 (1999) 

    Nokia miniaturised the technology in the 5110 and planted it into the 8210. This was a fully functioning phone that stood 10cm tall and weighed a defying 79 grams. Numbers like that don’t exist nowadays. 

    Specs for the 8210 include a phonebook with enough memory to store 250 numbers, four games, interchangeable covers and 75 hours of standby time

  • 4. Nokia N9 (2011) 

    The N9 could be the saddest story in Nokia’s illustrious past. On the one hand, it ran an evolution of the Maemo software found on the N900 called MeeGo. This was the follow up in which N900 fans waited a lengthy three years. 

    News then broke the Nokia N9 would be the last smartphone developed by Nokia to run MeeGo. Nokia’s smartphone business was failing and the company had decided to back Windows Phone instead. 

    Emerging from this sad tale is the bold design pioneered by the N9. Rounded corners, bright colours and polycarbonate plastic are all traits Nokia’s Windows Phone range inherited from the N9. Smartphones as recent as the Nokia Lumia 735 wears the N9’s design language

  • 3. Nokia N95 (2006) 

    The Nokia N95 is one of the most important phones, both in Nokia’s history and in the overall feature phone market. Nokia positioned the phone as the quintessential multimedia device. 

    The N95 was built on a dual-hinge design, which allowed music controls to pop out on-top of the screen. A series of firsts were introduced with the Nokia N95, including a camera supporting 5 megapixels and GPS navigation. 

    Customers bought the phone en masse and Nokia assuaged the demand with the release of the Nokia N95 8GB, a stunning black rendition of the popular feature phone.

  • 2. Nokia 5110 (1998) 

    No other phone was as inviting as Nokia’s 5110. Everything about the phone was large, including the pictorial icons, the buttons and the battery life. A case could also be made for the 5110 being the first phone to be fun. Bright coloured cases could swap out the stock front, and speciality shops sold custom antennas that would light up. 

    The real show-stealer was a simplistic game that appealed to children and pensioners alike. Snake is ingrained in popular culture in the same way people fondly remember Super Mario. 

    The 5110 wasn’t just simple. It was simply perfect. 

  • 1. Nokia 8810 (1998) 

    Nokia’s most desirable phone was without question the 8810. The entire phone was encased in chrome, save for a plastic strip needed to let the signal pass. The metal body made the phone difficult to manufacture and caused stock to be limited. The 8810 did not only pave the way for its successors, but for all phones with daring designs. 

    There’s more. The Nokia 8810 was the first phone to have an internal antenna. Having the antenna in-built taxed the battery life, but between its desirable build and limited construction, Nokia simply could not make them quick enough.

What phones were left out of this list? That’s right, the 3210 and 3310 were too good to even be considered in any list!

LAPTOPS: BEST PICKS

There’s never been so much choice when it comes to buying a laptop, which is great news for us – but it also means that there are more machines to sift through before you find your perfect portable. Even if you’re a tech enthusiast, that still means a time-consuming search as you sort through dozens of potential purchases. That’s not ideal – which is why we’ve picked out the best laptops in every key category.

Coming up in the next few months, we’re expecting to see a Google Pixelbook 2 and a 16-inch MacBook Pro. Here’s the best of what you can buy right now. 

What’s the best laptop in 2019?

The Dell XPS 13 2019 (from £1,149) is the best laptop you can buy for most uses. The performance has been boosted and the price dropped with the same quality screen and slim, sturdy ergonomics. 

View the Dell XPS 13 (2019) for £1,149 on Amazon

Acer’s Chromebook 14 (£279) is our pick for the best cheap laptop under £400. It’s light, looks good and has a 12 hour battery life with the intuitive Chrome OS. 

View the Acer Chromebook 14 for £279 on Currys

If you just care about gaming performance, the best gaming laptop is the MSI GE75 Raider 9SF (£2,200). There’s plenty of power for gaming and other computing with a large, absorbing screen and it’s cool and quiet too.

View the MSI GE75 Raider 9SF from £2,200 on Overclockers

WIRED Recommends is your definitive guide to the best technology. Read our list of the best gadgets for our favourite pieces of tech in every category. When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we earn a small affiliate commission. This does not impact the products we recommend.

Dell XPS 13 (2019)

WIRED Recommends: Dell’s XPS 13 is slim, light and capable

Weight: 1.2kg | Size: 11.6mm thick | Battery life: Up to 21 hours | Screen: 13.3-inch 1080p/4K | RAM: 8/16GB | Storage: Up to 1TB | CPU: Up to 8th gen Core i7 | OS: Windows 10 Home

We previously recommended the XPS 13 because it was a stunning, versatile machine – and sensible upgrades and small tweaks make the 2019 version even better. With the new Dell XPS 13 (£1,070) you get Intel Whiskey Lake processors, which deliver improved efficiency and a performance boost. The webcam has moved to a more sensible position above the panel, and the existing silver and rose gold options have been joined by a bright, metallic finish called ‘frost’. 

Elsewhere, the XPS 13 is the same – and that’s no bad thing. It still weighs 1.2kg and is just 12mm thin, and it’s sturdy thanks to aluminium and fibreglass construction. The bezel is tiny, the power button still doubles as a fingerprint reader, and you still get a solid selection of USB Type-C and Thunderbolt ports. 

The screen remains available in 4K touch and 1080p non-touch variations, and quality is exceptional. The fast, consistent keyboard is one of the best on any ultraportable. 

On the inside, those new Intel CPUs are joined by plentiful RAM and SSD options. Entry-level, Core i3 machines start at £999 – £100 cheaper than last year. There are loads of mid-range choices, and the £1,848 top-end model undercuts last year’s £1,929 laptop while offering a Core i7 CPU and vast SSD.

Any configuration will scythe through day-to-day computing, media playback and Office work. Core i7 models will run tough work tools, too, although you’ll need something beefier for particularly demanding software. And, finally, battery life is a little better – so expect a full day of use from the XPS 13, especially if you have the Full HD model rather than the UHD display. The lower prices are welcome, and presumably Dell’s response to the Huawei MateBook line. The XPS 13’s weak point remains its lack of a discrete GPU – something that the Huawei does offer.

Dell has retained the XPS 13’s best points while making helpful changes in key departments – all while dropping the price. The Dell XPS 13 is better than ever, which is why it remains our favourite laptop.

Pros: Updated processors; cheaper prices; fantastic ergonomics
Cons: Still no dedicated graphics

Price: From £1,070 (i3), £1,119 (i5) | Check price on Amazon | Currys PC World

Acer CB3-431 Chromebook 14

The best cheap laptop under £400

Weight: 1.68kg | Size: 11.6mm thick | Battery life: Up to 14 hours | Screen: 14-inch 720p/1080p | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | CPU: 1.6 GHz dual-core Celeron N3060 | OS:Chrome OS 

There aren’t many better options than a Chromebook if you want something portable and affordable, and Acer’s CB3-431 Chromebook 14 (£279) is the best of the bunch. 

Chrome OS gives you the freedom to work online – which is perfect if you’re already familiar with Google’s products – and the Acer’s useful 12-hour battery life, Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of dedicated memory ensures that you’ve got enough power to zip around between tabs and apps. Those are, of course, modest specs but it’s capable enough for what you need from a Chromebook. 

The well constructed aluminium alloy housing does a good job of balancing strength and weight, and the 14-inch Full HD display gives plenty of screen real estate. And, if you need more, Acer also sells a 15.6-inch variant. It’s light, affordable and versatile – and so Acer’s latest Chromebook is ideal for zooming around the web.

Also consider: If you prefer Windows, check out the equally good value Acer Aspire 3 (£280). It’s a solid laptop for those on slim budgets with a Full HD screen, decent keyboard and solid Core i3 processor. 

Pros: Intuitive Chrome OS software; lightweight, attractive design
Cons: Celeron chip isn’t particularly powerful; limited storage

Price: £279 | Check price on Amazon | Currys | Very

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

The best laptop for students

Weight: 1.37kg | Size: 14.9mm thick | Battery life: Up to 10 hours Screen: 13.3-inch 2560×1600 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB-2TB SSD CPU: 1.4GHz Core i5 – 1.7GHz Core i7 | OS:macOS

The MacBook Pro series has seen a few semi-controversial changes lately, most notably the fact that you can no longer buy a device without the Touch Bar and a slight price bump for the basic spec. Nonetheless, the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro (now from £1,299) is still a neat alternative to the Dell and our top pick for campus companion. 

Why? Well, there’s just no denying the combination of style and specs in a compact, backpack-friendly form factor. Whether it’s the beautiful 13.3-inch 2,560 x 1600 screen, the considerably powerful combination of a 1.4Ghz Core i5 processor (with a top Boost speed of 3.9Ghz), 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Plus if you think you’ll be dealing with say, large 4K video files, there’s the option to pay more for an up to 2TB SSD.

The base MacBook Pro can handle any task with ease but there’s also the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s AMD graphics and higher-res display on offer, though it is also, of course, larger and heavier. Elsewhere, the MacBook body is light, sturdy and ergonomic and there’s a choice of two or four Thunderbolt ports, again depending on how much you want to fork out.

Pros: Lots of power; lots of pixels; stunning design 
Cons: Expensive both for the minimum spec and upgrades 

Price: From £1,299 | Check price on Apple | John Lewis

MSI GE75 Raider 9SF

Our top gaming laptop is hugely powerful

Weight: 2.64kg | Size: 28mm thick | Screen:17.3-inch 1080p | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD/ 1TB hard disk | CPU: 9th gen Core i7 | OS: Windows 10 Home

There’s no denying that the MSI GE75 Raider 9SF (£2,200) is expensive, but this notebook delivers huge power with less compromise than its rivals.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 delivers on gaming grunt. This GPU will run esports titles and today’s trickiest single-player games without breaking a sweat. The powerful graphics core is supported by a six-core i7 CPU, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD and a 1TB hard disk. That’s space for loads of games – and enough power for virtually any task. And, if you want to save some cash, RTX 2060 models cost around £200 less.

The 17.3-inch screen’s huge diagonal delivers great immersion, and there’s enough graphics power to deliver triple-figure framerates to the 144Hz screen – so smooth gaming is ensured. Quality is great, too, with stonking colours and acceptable contrast.

Remarkably, the MSI plays the latest games without making much noise – there is some fan noise but it’s quieter than most of its rivals. The speakers are decent, too, with ample volume and clarity.

The MSI’s exterior blends brushed aluminium with red accents, and there are plenty of ports. The networking is beefed up by gaming experts Killer, and the SteelSeries keyboard has more snap and travel than most chiclet units. The trackpad buttons offer a satisfying, crisp action. The downsides are not surprising. The MSI weighs a hefty 2.6kg, and battery life is expectedly mediocre.

In every department that counts, though, the GE75 is fantastic. The RTX 2070 is a powerhouse, the rest of the components are great, and the machine is impressively cool and quiet. The screen, keyboard, trackpad and speakers are all good too making this our gaming laptop of choice right now. 

Pros: Huge gaming power; cool and quiet; absorbing, large screen 
Cons: Some noticeable fan noise; high price; poor battery life 

Price: £2,200 | Check price on Overclockers

Asus Chromebook Flip C434

Our favourite Chromebook and a genuine Windows replacement

Weight: 1.45kg | Size: 15.7mm thick | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Screen: 14-inch 1080p 16:9 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | CPU:Intel Core m3/i5/i7 | OS: Chrome OS

With an aluminium shell, a bright, sharp 1080p touchscreen and a solid range of specifications, Asus’ Chromebook Flip C434 (£599) looks and performs like a laptop twice the price. In fact, it’s our pick for best Chromebook over Google’s high-end Pixelbook. 

Aside from the plasticky trackpad – we’d prefer textured glass, to be perfectly honest – it’s difficult to find fault with the Flip C434, so called for its 360 degree hinge. There’s no stylus to use it in touchscreen mode, though.

Otherwise, it’s all rather pleasing. It’s an Intel generation ahead – for now – of the Pixelbook and performance is very reliable, plus there’s two USB-C ports, one full-size USB and a microSD slot, which is all very handy. The keyboard, too, is deep enough and responsive. Sure, you can’t forget this is still a Chromebook but for browsing and productivity apps, this works nicely, plus there’s Android apps or games too if you insist. 

Also consider: Google is, by all accounts, on the verge of announcing a Pixelbook 2 and its first high-end Pixelbook has disappeared from pretty much all online retailers apart from Google itself, which still has some i7 models in stock. 

Pros: Well specced; aluminium body; cheaper than Pixelbook
Cons: Trackpad is plastic; no stylus (as on some rivals) 

Price: £599 | Check price on Amazon | Very | Argos

Huawei MateBook 13

Ultra-thin and lightweight 

Weight: 1.11kg | Size: 14.9mm thick | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Screen: 13-inch 2160×1440 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | CPU: 8th gen Core i5 or i7 | OS: Windows 10 Home 

The Huawei MateBook 13 (£800) is an updated version of the award-winning MateBook X Pro. Impressively, this latest version makes subtle refinements while also lowering the price. This year’s models cost £799 and £1,099 – while the Pro machines arrived at £949 and £1,149.

The screen is a noticeable alteration: last year’s model had a 13.9-inch panel with a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution, but this cheaper MateBook has a 13-inch screen at 2,160 x 1,440. You lose out on some crispness, but this touchscreen is still terrific. It’s sharp enough for every task, and its 3:2 aspect ratio provides extra vertical space. It’s bright and punchy, with stunning vibrancy. And, as an added bonus, the smaller screen means that the MateBook is narrower, lighter and not as deep as its predecessor. It also undercuts the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13 for size in several departments.

Despite the reduced price and dimensions, Huawei maintains the MateBook’s performance. Its Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs handle Office tools and loads of browser tabs, and an Nvidia MX150 core tackles light gaming and photo-editing. The MacBook Air has weaker CPUs, and neither rival has discrete graphics.

You only get 8GB of memory rather than 16GB, but that’s a minor complaint. Battery life is good, but not great – you get eight hours from the Huawei, but no more.

On the outside, the MateBook retains its stunning metal chassis and satisfying keyboard. The power button doubles as a fingerprint reader. You get two USB-C ports, but no Thunderbolt – a rare mis-step.

The MateBook isn’t perfect, but it’s close – it refines last year’s machine and drops the price and the lightweight machine is better value than Apple and Dell’s rivals.

Pros: Ample CPU power; slim, light; outpaces rivals for GPU ability
Cons: No Thunderbolt; Nvidia graphics aren’t standard 

Price: £800 | Check price on Amazon | Currys | Very

Dell Precision 7730

A high-end workstation for photo and video editing

Weight: 1.11kg | Size: 14.9mm thick | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Screen: 15/17.3-inch 1080p | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | CPU: 8th gen Core i5 or i7 | OS: Windows 10 Pro 

If you regularly handle video editing, CAD design or huge database tools on the road, then you’ll need a mobile workstation – and none are better than the Dell Precision 7730 (from £1,782). 

On the inside, the Precision can be equipped with fast eighth-generation Core i7 processors or heavyweight Intel Xeon chips, and the powerful CPUs can be paired with AMD or Nvidia’s pro graphics chipsets – and with huge amounts of memory and storage. Indeed, the memory is now faster than the previous iteration, plus you get the benefits of a Thunderbolt 3 port. You simply won’t find a laptop with this much raw power – and, crucially, you won’t find any other laptop that has this many customisation options.

On the outside you can opt for screens with 4K resolutions, and the entire machine undergoes military testing – so you can be certain that it’ll survive life on the road.

The Dell Precision 7730 offers enormous power and versatility, but there are inevitable downsides. Battery life won’t be particularly good, and this 30mm thin, 17.3-inch machine weighs 3.17kg and depending on the specification. It’s hardly cheap, too, with prices starting at £2,014. If you do want true desktop power on the road, though, it’s worth paying for – and nothing does it better than the Precision 7730.

Pros: Unbeatable mobile power; unrivalled customisation
Cons: Necessarily heavy and bulky design; expensive

Price: From £1,782 | Check price on Dell

Razer Blade Pro

Good for gaming and video with a THX-certified screen

Weight: 2.75kg | Size: 19.9mm thick | Battery life: 2-4 hours | Screen: 17.3-inch 1080p/4K | RAM: 16-64GB | Storage: 512GB-2TB SSD | CPU: 2.6GHz 9th gen Core i7 | OS: Windows 10 Home 

It’s understandable to think of Razer as a gaming brand, but pigeon-holing the company – and the Razer Blade Pro (from £1,650) laptop – does a disservice to a fantastic media machine. For starters, you’ve got the choice of two 17.3-inch displays: a Full HD model with 120Hz refresh rate for smooth gaming, or a pricey £3,350 4K touchscreen version for incredible media clarity. And, as an added bonus, the 4K screen is certified by THX – which ensures consistent image quality and punchy audio for what is undoubtedly a luxury purchase.

The Blade Pro serves up Thunderbolt and USB 3, an RGB LED keyboard and a trackpad that sits to the right of the keyboard. It’s designed to mimic sitting at a desk, and it’s intuitive – if initially disarming. Under the hood you’ve got Intel Core i7 hardware and Nvidia graphics, so the Blade Pro will handle work and play: you’ll be able to run the latest games, create video and edit photos, all on the same machine.

The Blade Pro is not subtle, small or cheap, but you get what you pay for – and, on this occasion, it’s a large, impressive laptop that has the chops to handle any kind of game or media.

Pros: Superb screen options; ergonomic; powerful
Cons: Heavy; expensive

Price: £1,599 | Check price on Amazon

NEW IPHONE FEATURES

With iOS 13, Apple is back at it with a number of brand new features that should drastically improve the overall user experience for iPhone and users alike. And seeing as it’s been a while since Apple first introduced iOS 13 at WWDC, we’ve compiled a list of the best features Apple managed to pack into iOS 13.

Dark Mode

First and foremost, we have to start with Dark Mode given that it’s a feature that users have been demanding for years. With iOS 13, a system-wide Dark Mode option is finally here. As you might expect, the feature can be toggled on or off directly from the Control Center. Users can also have Dark Mode come on automatically at night.

Swipe Typing

With iOS 13, Apple is finally introducing an official swipe keyboard that will allow users to type text with one hand without having to lift their fingers off the screen. While there have been third-party solutions for folks who enjoy swipe typing, it’s nice to see an official implementation from Apple. Incidentally, Apple’s implementation uses machine learning to better learn the specific paths used by individual users.

Raw speed

iOS 13 is blazing fast, which is great if you’re not planning to upgrade to a new iPhone this year. During WWDC, Apple noted that apps in iOS 13 will launch up to twice as fast as they did in iOS 12. As another example, Face ID in iOS 13 is said to be 30% faster than before.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade represents Apple’s biggest foray into the world of gaming yet. Apple Arcade is a $5/month subscription service that allows users to enjoy a curated list of games from some of the top game developers in the world. The early reviews for Apple Arcade have been overwhelmingly positive and represent yet another example of Apple leveraging its vast user base to boost its services revenue.

A trailer highlighting some of the games coming to Apple Arcade can be viewed below.

Smaller apps

If you’re a user that’s constantly running out of storage, iOS 13 may be just what you need. Apple notes that apps on the App Store “will be packaged in a new way” that will make them 50% smaller when you download them for the first time. Additionally, app updates are said to be 60% smaller.

New Camera options

iOS 13 has a host of new camera features, including additional portrait lighting effects

Updated Maps

Apple Maps was pretty weak when it first launched with iOS 6, but Apple has slowly but surely improved upon it ever since. With iOS 13, Apple is introducing a number of new features to its built-in Maps app, including an immersive “Look Around” feature similar in nature to Google’s Street View. Further, the updated Maps app — which Apple says was re-built from the ground up — now includes a lot more detail regarding roads, buildings, airports, parks, and more.

The navigation experience has also been improved thanks to a new lane guidance feature. As an example, Siri will tell you to “take a left at the next traffic light” as opposed to giving out a nebulous direction like, “turn left in 200 feet.”

Lastly, the new Maps app includes an Indoor Maps feature which provides detailed information about what’s inside major airports and shopping malls.

Messages

iOS 13 will finally let users assign a photo or memoji to their account that will appear by default when exchanging iMessages.

Revamped Photos app

iOS 13 has a redesigned Photos app that should make it easier for users to find specific photos they’re looking for. Further, iOS 13 takes advantage of advanced machine learning to bring photos you’re likely to enjoy to the forefront. There is also a revamped editing pane which should make tweaking your photos that much easier.

Easier access to Wi-Fi settings and Bluetooth

There’s a clever new Wi-Fi setting in iOS 13 which lets users see a list of available Wi-Fi networks to join simply long-pressing on the Wi-Fi icon in Control Center. The same thing goes for Bluetooth.

Silence ALL Unknown Callers

With phone spam a seemingly never-ending nuisance, iOS 13 has a clever solution which silences incoming calls from numbers that don’t appear in your list of contacts. In such instances, calls are directly routed to a user’s voicemail.

Sign in with Apple

If you’re wary about signing into a website using your Facebook credentials, Apple has a solution for you dubbed “Sign in with Apple.” Simply put, users can use their Apple ID to log into apps and websites in such a way that values user privacy. Verification is achieved via Face ID or Touch ID and user activity is never tracked.

Low Data Mode

Low Data Mode in iOS 13 is an option that can be toggled on and off via the Settings app. As the name implies, the mode restricts the amount of data apps use and should help prevent users from going over their monthly data allotment.

GARMENT STEAMERS

What is the difference between an iron and clothes steamer?

Similar to an iron, water is placed in a capsule and heats up but where they differ is in the application and result – steamers don’t make direct contact with clothes, thus preserving high quality fabrics and achieving a crease-free look on even the most difficult-to-reach spots. As they work more quickly than irons, you’ll also save time and energy and their portability means you can take them anywhere.

Pro tips for a wrinkle-free wardrobe

1. After you have allowed your steamer to fully heat up, test it on a kitchen towel first to prevent any water sputtering all over your clothes. And always steam in a vertical position!

2. Be aware of the type of fabric you are working with. Silk should be steamed from the reverse side to avoid water streaks and velvet should never touch the face of the steamer.

3. Use distilled/deionized water to fill your clothes steamer. Hard water minerals found in tap water such as calcium and magnesium can clog clothes steamers and decrease their overall effectiveness. Distilled water is readily available from most grocery stores and cost about £1 for 2.5L.

4. Clean you clothes steamer with white distilled vinegar. Fill the tank with the vinegar (white distilled only), allow to heat completely then push all the steam out into your kitchen or bathroom sink. Repeat with distilled water to remove any trace of the vinegar and voilà, a good as new clothes steamer.

Here’s our pick of the best.

Fridja F10 Handheld Travel Clothes Steamer

If aesthetics are important to you it doesn’t get much cuter than the Fridja F10, which comes in black, white or pink. Taking only 45 seconds to heat up, it makes quick work of crumpled clothing – especially as the steam jet can be held down continuously for up to 14 minutes.

The handle is slim and the model is light, making it easy to manouver around garments and the chord stretches to almost two metres, which is great if your plug points are in awkward places. Add-ons such as the delicate fabric guard and collar press come in handy whilst the anti-calcium water tank gave us assurance that the product will is durable. Though one of the pricier products on the list, all these factors add up to make it a favourite.

£99.99 | Amazon | Buy it now

Beautural Clothing Steamer 

The 1200W of power provided by this steamer make it a power house at getting out tough creases and enables it to work continuously for up to 15 minutes. What’s more, it works on multiple fabrics including cotton, wool, silk, polyester, velvet and linen to name but a few. What we really love about this model, though, is its intuitive, simple design.

There’s an on/off button and trigger which can be manually activated or set on a lock (allowing a continual flow of steam) and it works both vertically and horizontally thanks to the small pump in the water tank. Aside from that, all you need to do is ensure the no-spill vessel is filled up. Added conveniences such as the 360 degree swivel chord and 35 second heating time make it a particularly user-friendly model.

£29.99 | Amazon | Buy it now

Pro Breeze Garment Steamer 

A truly multi-purpose item, the Pro Breeze Garment Steamer isn’t just good for clothes – it can be used on furniture, upholstery and, most importantly, bedding too (a dream if you love perfectly smooth bedsheets but can’t be bothered to iron them).

Looking a little like a watering can, it’s easy to grip although is a little on the heavier side. It comes with a safety auto-shut-off which disables the steamer if it overheats or runs out of water, bringing us peace of mind in those unpredictable moments such as when the phone rings, the doorbell goes or a child under our care starts climbing into the toilet (for example…). This one also works well on beaded and sequined garments – a god send if you’ve been wondering what to do with that crumpled ballgown that’s been sitting at the bottom of your wardrobe since last year’s Christmas party.

£24.99 | Amazon | Buy it now

Philips Styletouch Pure GC442 Compact Garment Steamer

Streamline and compact, the Philips Styletouch is a small enough model to pack into hand luggage or a suitcase without taking up too much weight and space.

It comes with three buttons that are easy enough to understand without even having to look at the instructions (although we’d always advise that you do) – there’s an on/off switch, a gauge to control the amount of steam that’s released and a button to release the steam.

The small brushes at the top are really handy for protecting your clothes as they create a helpful barrier and the detachable chord makes it much easier to fill up at the sink.  

£99.99 | Argos | Buy it now *On sale now

Vivreal Clothes Steamer 

This is a particularly budget friendly model and actually delivers a lot for its small price. It’ll be ready to go in 80 seconds and can continually steam for up to eight minutes, working on everything from wedding dresses and curtains to carpets.

With an easy to hold handle and thin nozzle, we found it worked particularly well on more delicate and intricately constructed items such as tops with ruffles and pleated skirts. It’s simple to use, too – the water container uses a simple cap, much like a kettle, forgoing the more fiddly screw tops on other varieties.

£21.99 | Amazon | Buy it now

Tefal DR8085 Handheld Garment Steamer

Looking more like a retro microphone than a clothes steamer, the Tefal DR8085 is one of the most aesthetically pleasing on the list.

Its steaming works well on some of the more crease-prone synthetic fabrics, creating a smooth finish quickly and thanks to its 45 second heat up time, you can have you don’t need to set aside much time to use it.

On the plus side, its chord is two metres long, allowing for greater flexibility when in use, but it is on the heavier side, so if you plan to steam multiple items in one go, you may want to choose a lighter option.

£39.58 | Amazon | Buy it now

Von Haus Handheld Garment Steamer

Cheap and cheerful, this is a great option to try before committing to buying a more expensive model and works well as a portable option for travelling, weighing in at just 640 grams when empty.

Heating up in 90 seconds, it can work continuously for up to six minutes and comes with a handy clear window to help you gauge how much water is left.

Though it doesn’t pack enough of a punch to completely decrease stubborn items such as cotton shirts, it works wonders on gauzy fabrics and more floaty pieces. 

£11.99 | Amazon | Buy it now

 

BOKEH 1200 Multi-Purpose Clothes Steamer and Travel Kettle 

Yep, you read that correctly – this one doubles up as a travel kettle, making it the ultimate travel companion. With a 450ml tank, it’ll work as a steamer for much longer periods than most and has enough capacity to make two cups of tea at once.

Heating up in just 35 seconds, the model is lightweight and can used with both hard and soft water. The four steam jets are small, helping it create high pressure for the more stubborn creases you’re tasked with removing. Nifty and compact, its ingenious design is something of a space – and life – saver whilst travelling.

£29.99 | Amazon | Buy it now

Efbe-Shott Hand Held Garment Steamer

With a special adaptor for creasing trousers, this one is a great option if you have to wear a suit for work and travel a lot. Its wide surface area gets the job done quickly and hold-down button is easy to manoeuvre. Weighing just 1kg, it’s light enough to pack into hand luggage and isn’t as awkward a shape as some of the other models, making it easier to slot in beside your other belongings.

£12.98 | Amazon | Buy it now

APPLE WATCH 5

Apple’s next-generation smartwatch is reportedly launching in the fall and will retain its OLED displays, with Japan Display tipped to be the supplier. The Apple Watch Series 5 will be unveiled next month, MacRumors said Friday, citing a research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The previous Apple Watch Series 4 was unveiled almost a year ago, with the next smartwatch also expected to be announced during Apple’s traditional September event, where the company launches its new swathe of iPhones.

According to MacRumors, Kuo also predicted that Korean tech giant LG will supply more OLED displays for future iPhones and said Chinese manufacturer BOE could get involved in supplying screens too.

The Apple Watch 5 is also rumored to come with sleep tracking, a larger battery and more health features. It’s rumored that the 2020 version of the smartwatch will come with a MicroLED display. Kuo had previously predicted that the Apple Watch will get a “new ceramic casing design,” MacRumors said Friday.

The 2018 Apple Watch Series 4 came in 44mm and 40mm displays, faster speeds than the Apple Watch 3, fall detection, electrocardiogram (ECG) and up to two days of battery life.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

E-READERS

For several years the Amazon Kindle has achieved near total domination of the ebook reader market. The only other company to even come close is Kobo (it’s an anagram of “book”), the Canadian underdog that released its first ebook reader in 2010.

Between the two of them, they’ve not left much room for other companies to elbow their way into the market but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and, in Kobo, Amazon does at least have some competition worthy of the name.

In this article, we’ll assess the six best ebook readers available in 2019 and, hopefully, help you make a decision about which one is right for you. First, though, a little explanation about the services they offer.

READ NEXT: How to find the best free UK Kindle books

Is Amazon the best ebook provider?

Not necessarily. All Amazon’s ebook reader devices have exclusive access to Amazon’s ridiculously large library of ebooks and magazines, which are often reasonably priced – and many are free. The downside is that the Amazon Kindle won’t read certain file types, as it’s only programmed to work with files purchased through Amazon’s Kindle library. If Amazon doesn’t have what you want (which is unlikely) you’ll have to go without.

Are there any Amazon Prime benefits?

There are, indeed. Boons of siding with Amazon include family ebook sharing and the perks of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and Prime Reading service for Prime subscribers. The former allows Amazon Prime subscribers with a Kindle device to borrow one book per month at no cost, with no due dates, from a choice of 600,000 books. Prime Reading gives Prime members free access to a smaller library of 1,000 titles – including books, magazines, and comics – which they can download and keep.

What does Kobo’s service have to offer? 

Kobo users can buy or borrow ebooks from pretty much anywhere – apart from Amazon. The Kobo Library and local library OverDrive system are where you’ll source your ebooks. Certain Amazon Kindle file types even work, too.

You can also buy through indie bookstores to support physical businesses that have partnered with Kobo. An added benefit is that Kobo ebook readers are compatible with a wider range of file types than Kindle, and Kobo’s own library of ebooks is more comprehensive these days. It’s now rare to find a hot new best-seller that is on Amazon but not on Kobo.

Are there no other competitors out there?

There are, but they’re just not on the level of Kindle and Kobo. Barnes & Noble, the American book store chain, makes its own line of electronic book readers called Nook. Although they are still being made, new models don’t come out anywhere near as frequently as Kindle or Kobo devices. What’s more, they’re hard to find in the UK. The latest B&N ebook reader is a premium offering called the Nook GlowLight Plus. Released in May 2019, it is currently only available to buy in America.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best ebook readers you can buy right now.

Best ebook readers in 2019 from £60

1. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: The best all-round ebook reader

Price: £120 – £220 | Buy now from Amazon


The all-new 2018 Kindle Paperwhite is the fourth iteration of the Paperwhite range, and it’s seen some major improvements. IPX8 waterproofing, double the storage capacity and Audible audiobook integration are its new headline features, but the design has also been totally overhauled too.

Though it’s only a mid-range Amazon device, it offers far more than the standard Kindle – which doesn’t even have a backlight – and is certainly worth the additional £60 from that budget option. In fact, it’s almost up to the standard of the 2017 Kindle Oasis and is over £100 cheaper.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Who is it for?

For anyone who owns a standard Kindle and is looking to upgrade, this is the logical step up. For £120 you can get most of the premium features of the Kindle Oasis, which starts at £230. We also recommend the Kindle Paperwhite for first-time ebook readers, as it isn’t too expensive and certainly worth the extra money over a standard Kindle.

Read our full Kindle Paperwhite reviewfor more details 


2. Amazon Kindle Oasis: The most luxurious Kindle of all

Price: £230-320 | Buy now from Amazon

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this is the best ebook reader ever made. Amazon’s Kindle Oasis doesn’t come cheap but if you’re already into ereading and fancy an upgrade then this is what you’ll want. Weighing just 194g, it’s lighter and thinner than the Kindle Paperwhite, it comes with up to 32GB of storage, and cleaner, crisper lighting on a 7in touch screen. Not only that, but the newest edition of the Oasis has Audible integration, Bluetooth connectivity and is waterproof up to two metres.

Admittedly, it is an expensive device. It’s twice the price of the mid-range Kindles and a lot more expensive than the Kobo Aura One but it is the most luxurious ebook reader available. It has 12 built-in LED lights for clear glare-free reading, an ambient light sensor, and page turn buttons if you prefer that to using the touchscreen. Battery life is roughly the same as an Amazon Voyage (now discontinued) or Paperwhite. Three models are available, with the most expensive featuring 3G connectivity and more storage.

Amazon Kindle Oasis: Who is it for?

The high-flying, speed-reading adventurer who wants to read every book in the world and is damned well prepared to try. Also for the clumsy; if you drop in it the hot tub or the pool, it’ll keep right on ticking.

Read our full Amazon Kindle Oasis review for more details


3. Kobo Forma: Perfect for late night readers

Price: £240 | Buy now from John Lewis 

Amazon dominates the ebook market to such a degree that most other competitors have been wiped out. But there is one rival ebook manufacturer left that still draws breath: Rakuten Kobo. Granted, Kobo is nowhere near as well known as Kindle but it does offer some features that Amazon can’t. The Kobo Forma is the current flagship ebook reader from Rakuten, replacing the excellent Kobo Aura One(now discontinued). Though a blatant design clone of the 2017 Kindle Oasis, there are some subtle differences with the Kobo Forma.

For a start, it has a fantastic 8in E-ink Carta display, a full 1in bigger than the Oasis. it’s also got Comfort Light technology which adjusts the lighting automatically as it approaches bedtime, tuning down the blue light and transforming into a warm red hue which doesn’t interfere with your sleep. The back of the Oasis is rounded due to the battery bump, but the Kobo Forma – which has an equally commendable battery life that can last weeks – is flat and lies completely flush. Kobo ebook readers are able to read more formats than Kindle devices too, and you can even access the free OverDrive ebook library service.

Kobo Forma: Who is it for?

If money is no object then the Kobo Forma might be the ebook reader for you. At £240 for the 8GB and £290 for the 32GB model, you’re looking at a big spend for a single-purpose device. But it has a lot to offer, with IPX8 waterproofing, access to an online library of free books via OverDrive and a battery that has the potential to last weeks. And thanks to its Comfort Light technology it’s the ultimate ebook reader for late night fiction fiends.

Read our full Kobo Forma review for more details

Buy now from John Lewis


4. Amazon Kindle (2019): Best budget ebook reader, now with a reading light

Price: £70-£80 | Buy now from Amazon

The standard Amazon Kindle remains a stalwart of the ebook reader market and an excellent choice for anybody buying their first ebook reader. The Kindle has been upgraded time and again since its initial launch back in November 2007 with better memory, longer battery life, and now it has a touchscreen as well. The latest refresh, which came out in mid-2019, is a major upgrade for this humblest of ebook readers.

It costs £10 more than the previous generation device, but the Amazon Kindle (2019) at last has LED lighting for reading in the dark or outdoors. This was a long-awaited feature and, for many, it will be a good reason to choose the basic Kindle over the premium Kindle Paperwhite. As if that wasn’t enough, build quality has been improved and Bluetooth has been added, which allows users to download and listen to Audible audiobooks via speakers or headphones.

Amazon Kindle: Who is it for?

Prior to the release of the 2019 Kindle, many people would opt for the slightly pricier Paperwhite because of its LED reading light, waterproofing and Bluetooth. Now, though, the basic option in the range has two out of those three elements while costing £50 less. The Amazon Kindle (2019) is the perfect ebook reader for a first-time ebook user and, if you happen to own an older generation, it’s well worth upgrading to the latest model to make use of the new features.

NOKIA 3310 REBOOT

The good news: The throwback Nokia 3310 candy bar phone is one of the most buzzed-about items at the Mobile World Congress trade show. 

The bad news: The throwback Nokia 3310 — and not the new Nokia phones — is one of the most buzzed-about items at the show. 

The Nokia 3310, which originally launched at the turn of the millennium, is the latest attempt to tug at our heartstrings, part of a broader trend bringing back iconic shows and products from our youth. The miniaturized Nintendo Classic was a hard-to-find item during the holidays, and ’80s stalwarts “Full House” and “Voltron” are both enjoying a revival with new episodes on Netflix. 

It’s no coincidence that following the press conference held by HMD, the Finnish startup building Nokia phones, people made a beeline for the table with the 3310 phones. 

Video: The Nokia 3310 is back and so is Snake

It’s an effective way to get people talking about your products at a crowded trade show like Mobile World Congress, which this year featured attention-grabbers like LG’s newest flagship phone and a supposed “Gigabit Phone” from ZTE. And for HMD, which was founded and staffed by many former Nokia executives, attention is a valuable commodity. 

“The frenzy of nostalgia around the updated 3310 will deliver some much-needed consumer awareness that Nokia-branded devices are back on the shelves,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight. 

But here’s the rub: Relying too much on that storied name and the novelty factor of a phone that’s nearly two decades old (even if the company did update its look) bring their own issues: They threaten to overshadow what you’re doing today.

“They have a juggling act,” said IHS analyst Ian Fogg. “How does HMD leverage the old brand and at the same time do brand-new things?”

Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD, isn’t concerned that the Nokia brand might get relegated to a novelty item and believes the new 3310 will give the startup a chance to do “some fun things on social media.”

Why not?

It’s clear HMD put some thought into the new 3310, which has more rounded curves and new bright colors but retains much of the DNA of the original candy bar phone.

“We thought, what the heck, let’s do it,” HMD CEO Arto Nummela said during an interview in a small hotel room off the main Las Ramblas drag in Barcelona on Saturday. “We wanted to have fun with it.”

The 49 euro ($51.75) 3310 boasts 22 hours of talk time and a month of standby time, 10 times the original’s capabilities. Yes, it comes with Gameloft’s updated version of the original Snake game, as well as the iconic Nokia ringtone. 

While conventional logic would argue that the people who have a fondness for this phone would be the least likely to buy it — most of us have moved on to slightly more sophisticated devices — HMD believes the 3310 could win the company new Nokia fans in emerging markets, where basic phones are still common. 

Sarvikas said it could also work as a secondary “digital detox” phone you use while on vacation. It’s much harder for your boss to reach you over the weekend if your phone can’t get e-mail. (The boss could call you, but who does that any more?) 

What’s in a name?

HMD’s ambitious revival of Nokia will serve as a test of how much influence the brand still holds over consumers. 

If China is any indication, HMD has reason to be optimistic. When the company launched the Nokia 6 there last month, 1.3 million people registered for the product in the first four day