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The Top Business Handsets

If you choose a business SIM only plan, you can use it with the handset of your choice. This could either be a handset you own already or it could be a new handset that you buy SIM-free. Three Ireland's Ian Blake picks some of the best smartphones for small business.

Apple iPhone 5
An all-round top business smartphone

Back in 2007, it was the iPhone that kick-started the smartphone revolution here in Ireland. In the years since, the iPhone has gained a reputation for being both reliable and easy to use. It still remains one of the most popular smartphones for personal and business users alike.

The iPhone 5 is the newest version of the iPhone. It has a four-inch Retina display, a trendy design that's both thin and light, and access to over 900,000 applications. There's a highly-acclaimed camera and support for enterprise-level security.

Highlights: The iPhone 5 is light, portable, reliable and easy-to-use
Ideal For: An all-round smartphone for anyone who's serious about business
Operating System: Apple iOS 7
Price: €550 plus VAT

Alternative: Apple iPhone 4S (approx. €470 plus VAT).
The iPhone 4S has a slightly smaller display (3.5 inches, rather than four inches). It runs the same software and has much of the same functionality.

Samsung Galaxy S4
A high-tech smartphone that's packed full of gadgets

If you love to play with the latest gadgets, you'll feel right at home with Samsung's Galaxy S4. It has a large and vibrant five-inch display, as well as a powerful processor and a high-resolution camera. With its cutting-edge specifications, the Galaxy S4 can handle anything that's thrown at it: games, videos, the whole lot. It's also great for business. The phone comes with Google Maps for GPS navigation and the high-definition screen makes it ideal for reading documents on the go.

Highlights: A large number of gadgets. Great for media consumption and for monitoring your health.
Ideal For: Technology enthusiasts
Operating System: Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Price: €480 plus VAT
Alternative: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (approx. €340 plus VAT). A smaller version of the Galaxy S4. While some of the gadgets have been dropped, you'll get most of the Galaxy S4's features in a more portable package.

Samsung Galaxy Note II
A smartphone for creative professionals

If you work in marketing or a creative-based role, the Galaxy Note II could be your perfect smartphone. It's similar to the Galaxy S4 but there are two main differences: the screen is a lot bigger and the phone comes with an 'S Pen' stylus. This allows you to make handwritten notes and free-form drawings.

The stylus is notable because it's highly precise and uses the same technology as professional graphics tablets. You can sketch ideas and share them with other members of your team. The Galaxy Note II also has side-by-side multitasking, so you can run two applications on the screen at the same time.

Highlights: The S Pen allows you to make handwritten notes and drawings
Ideal For: Marketing Officer and Creative Team
Operating System: Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Price: €380 plus VAT

BlackBerry Q10
A real keyboard that can keep up with the pace of business

BlackBerry is well known for its business-oriented smartphones. With a full 'qwerty' keyboard, you can respond to emails and instant messages in just a flash. With the Q10, BlackBerry has combined their trademark keyboard with a touchscreen display that makes the device fun and easy to use. The BlackBerry Hub combines all of your incoming messages in one place: emails, text messages, voice mails and social networking updates. This makes it easy to stay in touch regardless of how your customers and colleagues contact you.

For greater security, enterprises can use the BlackBerry Balance feature. This separates your Q10 into two separate areas: one for business use and another for personal use. The two areas are securely separated ensuring information security.

Highlights: The qwerty keyboard makes it quick and easy to respond to emails
Ideal For: High-level managers and staff with a heavy volume of email
Operating System: BlackBerry OS10
Price: €480 plus VAT
Alternative: BlackBerry Q5 (approx. €310 plus VAT). The Q5 has a lower-resolution camera, less storage and a more basic design. However, the general functionality is exactly the same.

Nokia Lumia 925
Work on the go with Microsoft Office

The Lumia 925 is powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. This has a mobile version of Microsoft Office pre-installed. Want to check the latest financial figures or planning to work on a sales presentation whilst you're on the move? With Microsoft Office for mobile, it's not a problem. You can open files from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Changes can be made without the worry of formatting being lost. Documents can also be synchronised with your computer, so you'll have access to the same files even when you're away from the office.

Whilst the Lumia 925 is a great tool for business, it's not all work and no play. There's the 8.7-megapixel PureView camera (good for taking photos in low light), free music through the Nokia Music application and the Xbox Games Hub for letting your hair down.

Highlights: Microsoft Office allows you to work on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents
Ideal For: Chief Financial Officer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Phone 8
Price: €430 plus VAT
Alternative: Nokia Lumia 625 (approx. €240 plus VAT). It still has Microsoft Office but the camera is more basic at just five megapixels.

Sony Xperia Z
A business phone that's designed for the outdoors

The Xperia Z from Sony is water resistant and Sony claims you can use this phone underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time. So dropping it in a puddle shouldn't be a problem. The Xperia Z is also dustproof and is built with anti-shatter glass.

Highlights: Water resistant and fully dustproof
Ideal For: Anyone who works outdoors
Operating System: Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Approximate Price: €450 plus VAT

+ Ian Blake is Head of Marketing with Three Ireland. You can find him in Twitter, @IanBlake. (03/03/14)

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