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Buying Guide: Which is the best Orange phone?

Panther, Dolphin, Canary, Monkey, Camel and Racoon. You’d be forgiven for thinking we’d been on Safari, alas we’re not THAT lucky.

As we squirrel away (see what we did there?) our hard earned dosh, we like to know that we get the best from our network. This tends to vary from person to person: cue Orange’s slightly incomprehensible animal plans.

On a pay monthly contract, text-hungry users are presented with the Canary Plan, talkers could have the call based Racoon Plan, and then there’s the Dolphin Plan, which adds in some data too.

However, should you want, as Orange suggest, “everything”, it has created the Panther Plan. True to its word, included are minutes, texts, tether-able data, Wifi and what they call “swapables”.

Simply put, these are extras that can be changed monthly depending on your preference. You can choose from Mobile TV options, Deezer music streaming, Game or Book downloads, Puzzles and more.

If that’s not enough, available for every plan, for a fiver a month, are a range of optional extras including 500MB of data, Photo Messaging, Sat Nav, Gaming and Sky Sports Mobile TV.

Pay as you go users are similarly treated to a range of plans, each providing differing bonuses per top up, as well as a Phone Fund to contribute to your next mobile purchase, and the ability to top up from as little as 10p.

Oh and before we forget, there’s Orange Wednesdays and Film Thursdays, available to all their customers. The premier being 2 for 1 tickets to the cinema, the latter, a free film download from iTunes.

So those are the plans, but what are the phones?

Apple iPhone 4S

Its unsurprising to see the 4S here really, given that Apple’s device has taken the market by storm. Backed with an impressive App Store, the 4S brings greater functionality and faster speeds than previous iterations. This is all shown off beautifully on Apple’s stunning, pin-sharp Retina display and its quick, smooth processor.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray

They say big is beautiful, but as the adage goes, it’s not about size, it’s about what you do with it. Powered by a skinned Android Gingerbread (2.3) and an update to Ice Cream Sandwich incoming, the Xperia Ray can do a lot. Whether web browsing or multitasking, the 1GHz processor powers through nicely, and the clear sharp display shows off photos taken on the 8MP camera well.

HTC Sensation XE

Also positioning itself towards the top is, forgive us, the sensation-al XE. The first thing we have to mention is the sound. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but the Beats Audio technology, that HTC has moved to acquire, adds an extra level to a quality phone. It also comes with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and Sense 3.6 to keep it up to date.



The HTC One X has bounded onto the scene, and with its HD screen, NFC capabilities and quad-core processor it really is one of the top phones of the moment.

It’s running the latest version of Android in the shape of Ice Cream Sandwich, plus one of the best cameras on the market – capable of shooting 99 photos in a row and taking snaps while recording in 1080p HD. In short, one of the best phones around right now.

Orange Monte Carlo

It’s not very often that a network branded phone can make its way into a best phone list, but Orange have a low cost handset with a fair amount of technology. If you can accept some compromises, you’re rewarded with a large responsive screen on top of a surprisingly smooth 800MHz processor. Bundled is also a MediaShare app which makes content streaming nice for beginners too.

Samsung Galaxy S2

Mentioned once or twice before, the S2 has to make any list. Although fast approaching its first birthday, and being surrounded by some high end competition, we still love it. Vivid colours make media a dream, and multitasking has to be seen to be believed thanks to its lightning processor. It even looks amazing in its super slim chassis.

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