Think James Bond, and once your mind’s eye has passed over the womanizing spy clad in tailored suits, Aston Martins, vodka martinis, the Walther PPK, (mostly) Rolex and Omega watches, and all manner of pseudo innuendos and wisecracks, you’ll be left thinking of the gadgets.
From credit cards with lockpicks and tiny cameras to machine guns in bagpipes and exploding pens, Bond, Q Branch, and enemies of all shapes and sizes have never been short of a gadget or two. But in recent years, Bond has eschewed some of the more ridiculous gadgets for more practical devices, including modified dumb and smartphones based on devices you could actually buy at the time; we even have a list of every phone James Bond has used.
However, the era of Daniel Craig’s Bond is over, with his polished Oxford shoes yet to be filled by another actor. But James Bond will return… and thanks to Amazon’s new 007: Road To A Million series, we have a slight taste of Bond-like action while we wait. And as Managing Editor of Mobile Computing at TechRadar, I’ve been pondering over what phones the next Bond could use right now.
As a Bond fan, I know that the movies mostly featured phones with licensing deals, notably Sony and Nokia models, rather than some of the best phones available at the time.
But I’m applying some creative license here, along with phones we’d recommend you get as well. So read on for (00)7 phones I think the next Bond could use today and one phone the suave spy would never use.
Quantum of Sony-ace: Sony Xperia 1 V
Let’s start with an obvious one: Bond has used Sony and Sony-Ericsson phones for many of the Pierce Brosnan and Craig-era Bond movies, so it would be an obvious choice of phone brand for the next Bond. Right now the Sony Xperia 1 V tops the Sony phone range, and I reckon it would be the clear choice for a spy with high-end tastes.
In practical terms, the Sony Xperia 1 V has solid flagship specs and a rather slick design, making use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a 120Hz OLED display protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2. A trio of slim yet capable rear cameras complete the package, and there's even a headphone jack – ready to be repurposed into some form of hidden listening device by Q or used to attach top-secret peripherals while not rousing attention at first glance. Clean and unfussy software on top of all this, makes for a phone that gets stuff done without getting in the way of an international spy.
No Time to Dial: Nokia X20
Following on from the licensing angle, Nokia would make for another good phone partner to Bond given its phones featured in No Time to Die. Right now the Nokia X20 tops the range. It’s far from a flagship phone but still has plenty to offer for its budget price. And given the austerity measures of the UK government, perhaps MI6 won’t have money to blow on high-end phones.
The Nokia X20 still offers four rear cameras, albeit two come in at 2-megapixels and are used for depth-sensing and macro photography. These cameras are largely shrug-worthy for the garden variety user. But for Q, perhaps they could be reworked into some form of hidden X-ray scanner or electromagnetic detectors helping Bond find hidden fuses to primed bombs. I’ve also long been an advocate of the stock Android Nokia uses for its phones, unfettering them with useless UI elements, and I’m sure a Q-Branch technician would relish this as a means to add custom MI6 features to the phone that wouldn't look out of place on the X20 when seen on the silver screen.
Tomorrow Never Dials: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
This would be my personal pick for a phone if I was Bond. It’s basically one of the very best Android phones you can buy and a joy to use. A huge display with an adaptive refresh rate and great colors would make it great for pouring over shots beamed from a spy satellite. While buckets of power and good battery life mean the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is up for most tasks.
Being able to slip out an S Pen already feels a bit Bond-esque, and I can imagine using the precision of the stylus to pilot a small drone into a Spectre meeting, with 360-degree audio support feeding back the plots of Blofeld and pals with clarity. The only problem here is the amount of stuff Samsung throws at One UI – I could imagine Bond trying to access MI6 archives for data on a hitman only to trigger Bixby or be forced to log into the Samsung Cloud. Put that all aside and the Galaxy S23 Ultra feels like a phone and gadget worthy of any secret agent.