Brands and models tested
- Apple iPhone 5s
- Aspera R5
- Google Nexus 5
- HTC One M8
- Motorola Moto G
- Motorola Moto X
- Nokia 208
- Nokia Lumia 1020
- Nokia Lumia 1320
- Nokia Lumia 630
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Samsung Galaxy Young
- Sony Xperia Z2
- Telstra Dave
- Telstra EasyCall 3
Our in-house tester, Scott O’Keefe, and testers Josh and Ben from the Kondinin Group’s Farming Ahead magazine rate the following aspects of each phone:
Reception Range testing is conducted at Oxley Downs in NSW, which is chosen for its flat topography surrounding a Next G phone tower and lack of interference from any other nearby towers. No other mobile network reception is available in this area. Josh and Ben travel away from the tower in 500m increments (using GPS) and place two-way calls with the various handsets. At the limit of reception, some back-tracking is necessary to pinpoint the exact point at which a particular handset fails.
Telstra has a Blue Tick program to indicate superior reception performance following a series of in-house tests. Our testing found that while all the Blue Tick mobile phones perform well in the outback, including the top model for network sensitivity test, several without the Blue Tick perform just as well.
Call sound quality is tested by a panel receiving one call made from a landline to each mobile handset, and another made from each mobile handset to a landline desk phone. The sound they hear in each case is the same wave file recording of the tester reading from a document into a high-quality microphone recording to a wave file on a computer.
Web browser performance is scored on how easy it is to start the browser, navigate to sites, enter addresses and use favourites and bookmarks. We also note models with Wi-Fi connectivity.
4G performance was assessed through a series of downloads and uploads carried out near a 4G tower with multiple passes for each mobile.
Ergonomics Scott assesses the keypad, touchscreen and keyboard, as well as general handling and menu controls when using the phone.
SMS use is examined by writing and receiving an SMS and checking the suitability of the display for texting.
Email Our testers see how easy it is to set up an email account as well as send, retrieve and read emails.
Daily use Scott conducts a series of everyday tasks with each handset, including accepting a call, saving a call as a contact, bringing up the address book, adjusting the volume level and diverting an incoming call to the message bank.
Music performance was assessed and rated for ease of use and control layout.