Best Phones on Telstra Plans


WhistleOut
01 May 2017

Telstra's a great option if you want reliable, wide-spread coverage. It's also got Australia's longest list of devices, with quite a few big name exclusives such as the LG G6 and Google Pixel. Picking ain't easy, so to help, we've put together a list of a few favourites and their respective plans. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 & Galaxy S8+

Overview:
Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are simply superb devices. Touting a stunning infinity display, they're pretty much the closest we've gotten to the sci-fi ideal of "glass as a computer". Sure, they're a little expensive, and there's a few small quirks like an awkward fingerprint scanner and an undercooked personal assistant, but none of these overshadow the quality of Samsung's latest and greatest.

Like:

  • Still one of the market's best cameras
  • State of the art 'Infinity' screen
  • Layered biometric security
  • A superb smartphone for daily duties

Dislike:

  • Bixby personal assistant is seriously undercooked
  • Fingerprint scanner is in an awkward location
  • Battery life could be better
  • Pricey

Score:

Outright: From $1,199

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Overview:
Don't let the lack of a big redesign put you off, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are more exciting than they first seem. Both devices are faster, offer improved battery life, and have stunning cameras. Optical zoom through iPhone 7 Plus' dual camera configuration is far more than a gimmick, and water-resistance on both devices is a very welcome addition. The only potential red flag is the lack of a headphone jack, but there's a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter in the box, making it easy to keep using your favourite pair of earbuds.  Or you can always go wireless.

Like:

  • Great camera
  • Water-resistant
  • Snappy performance
  • iOS 10 is the most polished iPhone software release to date

Dislike:

  • iPhone 7 Plus is a bit bulky
  • iPhone 7 has a smaller battery than iPhone 7 Plus
  • No headphone jack 
  •  

Score:

Outright: From $1,079

Google Pixel & Pixel XL

Overview:
They aren't going to make having a conversation with your smartphone mainstream, but Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are an otherwise compelling entry in the premium handset arena. A lovely display, fantastic camera, and solid battery life all make what's ostensibly the "Android iPhone" a fantastic buy.

As it stands, Telstra is the exclusive telco partner for the Google Pixel, so if you want one on a contract, Big T is your only choice.

Like:

Dislike:

  • Tight integration between hardware and software 
  • Fantastic camera
  • Good battery life
  • Zippy performance
  • No water-resistance
  • Expensive
  • Design is a little bland
  • Google Assistant feels like a first generation product

Score:

Outright Cost: From $1079

LG G6

Overview:
The G6 is a return to form for LG's smartphone ambitions, and is an excellent value, gimmick free flagship that just so happens to look hot as hell. Or alternatively, one might even say it's fly …much like a G6.

And if you're spending $95 per month or more on your G6 Telstra contract, you'll get a free TV if you buy the phone before May 9. We're not saying you should buy this phone for a free TV, but if you do, we don't think you'll be disappointed.

Like:

  • Gorgeous design
  • Water-resistance
  • Both rear-facing cameras are great
  • Solid battery life

Dislike:

  • Slight fisheye effect on wide-angle camera
  • Selfie camera isn't great
  • Screen corners aren't perfectly round
  • Default app launcher is clunky, some bloatware out of the box

Score:

Outright: From $1,008

Sony Xperia XZ

Overview:
After a couple of missteps, the Xperia XZ is a strong return to form for Sony. There's a few issues, but the Xperia XZ has a lot going for it. The thing we love most is how damn good the Xperia XZ feels. The subtle curved body - reminiscent of Nokia's Lumia 920 - makes it a very comfortable device to hold for extended periods of time, and it's got a nice amount of heft to it. No protruding camera bump is also a definite plus. If you want the Xperia XZ on a contract, Telstra is the only place to get it.

Like:

  • Unique design, comfortable to hold
  • Side-facing fingerprint reader is clever
  • Water resistant
  • Lovely display

Dislike:

  • Bloated take on Android
  • Awkward volume rocker placement
  • When zoomed in, photos lack fine details
  •  

Score:

Outright: From $999

Telstra Signature Premium

Overview:
The Telstra Signature Premium is technically a rebadged HTC One A9, but it's also a great option if you want a device that looks high-end without the daunting monthly fee. While the phone itself looks premium, the hardware isn't quite as fancy as what you'd find in a more expensive phone. Of course, midrange phones still pack one hell of a punch these days.

Like:

  • Polished design
  • Fast fingerprint reader
  • Relatively clean Android skin
  • Good value

Dislike:

  • Camera can take great photos, but struggles in low-light
  • Weak battery
  • Some issues running more intensive apps
  •  

Score:

Outright: From $648

Huawei P9

Overview:
Huawei might not have the same reputation as Apple and Samsung, but its latest smartphones well and truly go toe-to-toe with the best of them. The 5.2-inch P9 isn't the most exciting phone from a design perspective, but it has a nifty dual camera system ("co-engineered" with luxury camera manufacturer Leica) that allows you to snap pictures with DSLR style "bokeh". Most of the P9's hardware is flagship quality, but you can save yourself some cash by taking a punt on the underdog.

Like:

  • Fun dual camera system
  • Great value
  • Good battery life
  • High quality display

Dislike:

  • Bland design
  • Bloated user interface
  • Hit and miss 3D performance
  •  

Score:

Outright: From $799


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