Color variety, Simplified Android experience
Sporting an outstanding outright price of $179 for the base model, it's something many people believe to be mind-boggling. Just when we thought $349 for the Nexus 5 was pretty darn good, but this obviously takes the cake. It's unlocked, there's variety with its color casings, and the Android experience is also easy to understand, so it's hard not to like it. All told, Motorola is defining what it means to be an entry-level player.
Great value, Decent screen, Slick interface, Android 4.4 incoming
Motorola is back folks, it's official. It may not be the return we would have predicted - there's no flagship phone stuffed full of the latest tech - but arguably what the now Google-owned firm has done is even better.
The Moto G is a top notch, low cost smartphone and we wholeheartedly recommend this as the best budget mobile currently on the market.
A Google phone for the masses. At long last. Nothing like the enigmatic Nexus, drip-fed through the Play Store, attractively priced but hard-to-get.
OK, go ahead and call the Moto G the poor man's Nexus. Just don't call it cheap. For what it has to offer, this phone is beyond cheap - but doesn't look it. And definitely doesn't act like one, for the most part. Bottom line, it's the Nexus 7 of smartphones - perhaps even better.
Good still photos, Cool design, Nice call quality
The Desire 500 is a pretty good shot at the booming lower midrange market for HTC, fusing together an entry-level screen and processor, which, however, do their jobs fine, with some more upscale features like a good 8 MP camera and an eye-catching, youthful design lines.
Here To Charm
You may not be able to tell going by the financial reports alone, but HTC has produced plenty of fine hardware in 2013. The company has consistently delivered well-built stylish smartphones with lots of character and the HTC Desire 500 is no exception.
The handset looks fresh and up-to-date, and delivers handsomely for the price. The plastic build makes the phone light and more affordable, placing it right where the company could really use a boost - the lower midrange market.
Nice, classy design, Bright and clear screen
The HTC Desire 500 is a very good phone that's perfect for light, relatively undemanding users who don't want to put up with the very cheapest phones around. But enthusiasts looking for a good deal are better off looking at the Nexus 5, which offers a lot more for not that much more money.
A great mid-range smartphone with impressive specs and performance
The HTC Desire 500 is a great-looking device, with tons of unique software and solid mid-range smartphone specs on board. It's hard to find any real weaknesses with the phone, including its reasonable £199 price tag. To sum up, it's simply a very good mid-range Android smartphone.
Bright display, Sturdy build
Who's going to buy the HTC Desire 500? Well, we're not entirely sure. If you love the software on the HTC One, but don't have wide enough pockets then it could be for you. But, if you're solely focused on price, the Motorola Moto G is a clean Android and cheaper, while for around £80 more you can get a Nexus 5 with an amazing spec sheet and 4 times the internal storage, plus LTE.
Attractive design, Affordable price, Decent screen
The HTC Desire 500 looks cool, has a decent lineup of specs and at only £199 SIM-free, won't force you to empty your bank account to buy it. If you're after a decent all-round phone that stands out from the other budget Android blowers, it's a good choice to go for.
Nice design, Quad-core processor, Competent camera
For the most part, the HTC Desire 500 performs well, squeezing the best out of its mid-range components and looking good while it does it. The WVGA screen will put off buyers looking for the better resolution, which seems to be a staple of other mid-range phones.
Bright display, Price, Good main camera
We used our Desire 500 review unit over the last couple of days. The smartphone is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core SoC and supports the common wireless standards WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS and even NFC. Contrary to many HTC devices you can expand the internal storage (4 GB) and also replace the battery. A display resolution of 800x480 pixels is not up to date anymore and cannot compete with the HTC One Mini, for instance.
Handles 3D games flawlessly, Great call quality
There is no such thing as a perfect smartphone, and the Sony Xperia SP won't be the one to break that rule. However, looking at its pros and cons after testing it extensively, we can confidently conclude that its a mid-range smartphone worthy of attention. It is a capable multimedia device suitable for those who want the benefits associated with high-end devices ??
Lower price, Impressive specs
Although not blessed with the looks or specs of the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia SP is a phone that still deserves a raised eyebrow of appreciation thanks to the combination of spec list and likely price.
The body is smooth and feels quality in the hand, and while the screen is slightly dwarfed by the larger chassis, there's no doubt this is a phone that could fly off the shelves if enough people get fed up with the notion of spending loads of money each month on a handset.
Beautiful and well-built
Sony is doing the right thing by offering a midrange smartphone hot on the heels of their two flagships. Last year, HTC had a similar thing going on with the One X and the One S but failed to capitalize on the width they had through those two excellent devices. We're yet to see whether or not Sony will do better but if you're looking for a capable smartphone in the 300 euro range, the Xperia SP should be high on your short list.
Excellent range of connectivity options
The Xperia SP is a very likeable mid-range phone. It's reasonably powerful for the price, has a stellar line up of features and looks pretty fly too. However, Sony needs to iron out a few quirks in its software, and the phone's battery life isn't quite as impressive as specs would suggest.
An impressive mid-range Android smartphone
The Sony Xperia SP has the spec and price of a mid-range Android smartphone, but when you actually get the device in your hands and start using it any ideas of it being mediocre go out of the window. It really is a class act, so if you're looking for a good phone to browse the web, perform tasks quickly and take decent photos with at a price that won't break the bank, then you really should consider the Xperia SP.
Nice design, frame feels solid in the hand
The Sony Xperia SP is a good mid-range phone. There's power and flexibility on board and there's the performance to back it up, aside from a few minor quirks.
The design of the handset is good too with the metal frame giving the SP a nice solid feel. We're not sold on the flashing bar however, it just seems a little too much at times, especially when you're lying awake at night, watching it illuminate your bedroom.
The camera performance isn't great.
Great design, able to change colors of LED alerts
The Xperia SP could have been a great smartphone with its solid build and great design. However, the poor display and camera performance lets the phone down. Retailing at S$598 in Singapore, the handset seems aggressively priced, especially against the HTC One SV (which has a street price of around S$500 but lower specs). The smartphone will also make its way to other parts of Asia, though Sony has yet to release further information.
Good physical QWERTY keyboard
The BlackBerry Q10 is every inch a BlackBerry. It has the traditional BB form-factor and, more importantly - the physical QWERTY keyboard that's coveted by so many BlackBerry fans. This, however, is a device that's exclusively targeted at existing BlackBerry users, we don't think the Q10 is capable of attracting new ones.
As a niche smartphone, the BlackBerry Q10 is a pretty decent performer. It can do anything a diehard BlackBerry user would want it to do and more.
Full physical keyboard, Impressive web speeds
Without doubt the BlackBerry Q10 is the best QWERTY keyboard smartphone on the market, which is certainly a bold claim - until you consider, what other high-end smartphones are sporting a full-on keyboard these days? Exactly.
It may be the best, but it's the best of one. People will buy the Q10 for its QWERTY keyboard, it's a business tool and in that arena it excels.
Easy phone to appreciate
In terms of where the market is heading and where BlackBerry want to be, we cannot help the thought that they'd rather have the Z10, and its successors, up there with the best than keep the messenger concept on life support. On the other hand, it's QWERTY messengers that have shaped the company's identity. It's a tough one, finding the right balance between what the market wants and respect of tradition.
Provide snappy performance for touches
BlackBerry's Q10 is filled with many creative features but its ultimate success will come down to one basic question: Do you want a qwerty device? I don't think the era of the qwerty is over, since I have met users who prefer a physical keyboard. But they are in the definite minority.
Excellent hardware QWERTY keyboard, long battery life
The BlackBerry Q10 brings the traditional BlackBerry smartphone into the modern age. I suspect it's enough to make BlackBerry loyalists happy, though I doubt iPhone and Android users will flock to it (that was the BlackBerry Z10's job). It's fast, stable, and secure and it maintains enough of the UI conventions of older BlackBerry smartphones to make existing BlackBerry owners feel a bit less lost.
Design, improved camera, some nice UI features
In summary, we like the BlackBerry Q10 because it embodies those things that we love best about BlackBerry. We like the design and the keyboard experience, but beyond that communication experience, there's little that's unique and BB10 is still some way behind rival offerings.
New 28nm Snapdragon 200 chip is fast for its class
All in all, the Sony Xperia E1 turns out to be a device that is affordable, yet offering an above average performance for its class. It will appeal to music lovers with its dedicated key for controlling music playback, but it does not offer much in terms of loudspeaker sound quality. It has a dark side too, though, as two of its most important components are compromised: the display is of underwhelming quality, and the camera captures mostly disappointing shots.
well-made affordable smartphone
What's not to love about well-made affordable smartphones with a distinct feature that's not only marketable but adds character too? We don't mind aggressively priced either. Which the Sony Xperia E1 clearly is. It's built to a budget, but not a lazy copy-paste job of which we've seen enough in the low end.
The Sony Xperia E1 has a no-nonsense kind of hard-plastic finish that may feel a bit rough to the touch, but doesn't collect fingerprints and feels extra sturdy.
A bright and uniformly illuminated display
Huawei presents a good smartphone in the mid-range with the Ascend G700. It has a very good price versus performance ratio. Furthermore, the display is really good and comes with a higher resolution than its direct competitor the Acer Liquid E2 Duo. Moreover, both the RAM and the flash memory have twice the size of the competitor. Then it does not hurt so much even if the memory is somewhat slower.
Good physical keyboard
Nevertheless, folks who absolutely must have a hardware keyboard should be happy with a BlackBerry Q5. Chances are they won't be able to find a better alternative anyway, other than the pricier BlackBerry Q10. Those who don't need one, on the other hand, better look elsewhere. The HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 720, for example, are both good, compact phones that also runs a platform as fluid and responsive as BB10.
Fast web browser, HD screen
The BlackBerry Q5 is one for the aficionados who can't afford, or refuse to splash cash on the highly priced Q10, with the solid BlackBerry typing experience at the heart of everything it does.
Without knowing the price it's difficult to say how it will stand up against other handsets, but anyone who isn't a BlackBerry fan and is in the market for a reasonably priced smartphone probably won't be taken with the Q5.
Cheap BlackBerry 10 phone with keyboard is a mixed bag
It's a mixed bag when it comes to the BlackBerry Q5. It's cheaper than both the BlackBerry Q10 and Z10 and a lot of its hardware specs are better than we expected. However, build quality isn't inspiring and while BlackBerry 10 is smooth with good features, a shortage of apps remains a downfall.
Lacking in 'key' areas?
If you're a legacy user of BlackBerry and are itching to get a slice of BlackBerry 10 without committing a huge slice of money, then the Q5 won't disappoint. If you're just in the market for an affordable and functional smartphone though, there's plenty of other options that offer more for less.
Pros: Most affordable route to BB10, keyboard action is nice.
BlackBerry's rebirth in 2013 hasn't got off to the strongest start. The Z10 feels like the poor cousin to the flagship devices of rival platforms. The Q10 is great as the Qwerty messenger, but again, the user experience just doesn't feel as exciting as you'll get elsewhere. That leaves the BlackBerry Q5 with something of a problem. It's like the BlackBerry Q10, but not quite as good. That would work if this was going to be available at pocket money prices, but it isn't.
Boasts a full QWERTY keyboard
With two high-end devices already out it makes sense that BlackBerry would return to its established emerging markets and make a phone that would be deemed "affordable".
What will be most interesting however is seeing just how affordable it really is, sporting many of the same specs as the Q10 many users could be in for a shock when BlackBerry does finally release pricing information.
The Samsung Galaxy S III is a spectacular phone. A big part of what makes it spectacular is its incredible specs sheet. Yeah, although its specs can easily be rivaled by strong competitors like the HTC One X, which also has a quad-core processor and the other beloved tech goodies, the Galaxy S III manages to shine brighter, thanks to its superior user experience.
Excellent battery life
So to summarise: if you've been waiting feverishly for the new Samsung Galaxy S3, you will not be disappointed. It's fast, it's sleek and it packs the latest technology that will get your pulse racing.
The recent update has made it an even better phone, and we've been using it out of choice for the last few months - given we've got the choice of most handsets out there, that's a pretty big recommendation for any phone.
Good design and build quality
Subject to further testing, the Galaxy S3 has turned out to be an excellent smartphone. It offers a good design and build quality, despite our small niggles. Samsung has put together an impressive set of hardware resulting in silky smooth performance and extensive software features.
Fast, big display and a great camera
Is the Samsung Galaxy S III an excellent smartphone? Yes it is. Given the millions of preorders, I suspect many of you would buy this no matter what I said about the phone. That speaks of Samsung's momentum in the smartphone market and their excellent track record. Is this Samsung's best Android phone ever? Yes it is, but there is room for improvement. I'd love to see Samsung use high quality materials and cutting edge designs in their top tier phone.
Decent specs, Well built
The Ascend G330 hasn't been around for long but the Ascend Y300 looks set to usurp it at the bottom of Huawei's smartphone range.
It offers a good array of features for a low-end smartphone and will certainly give the ZTE Blade 3 and LG Optimus L3 2 a run for their low cost money.
No-frills value Android smartphone
The Huawei Ascend Y300 is a no-frills smartphone with little to get excited about in dazzling new features. However, it does the basics well with Android 4.1 software with usable battery life at an incredibly low price. For the money, it's one of the best budget smartphone choices around.
Extreme battery runtime
We reviewed the Y300 thoroughly and applied the same standards we use for high-end devices - despite the fact that the entry level device is four times less expensive than the HTC One, for example. Obviously the Y300 does not want to be the performance king but it is interesting for the user how it handles more demanding tasks and if the retail price of 149 Euros (~$194) is justified.
Icons are crisp, colors are good, viewing angles are okay
The Ascend Y300 is a very capable entry-level smartphone that looks and performs like mid-ranger. With its solid construction, 4-inch IPS display, dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 5 megapixel camera and Android Jellybean, Huawei has certainly set a higher standard for their entry-level product line.
I really enjoy the smartphone. The only thing I don't like about it is a tiny internal storage. You get only 1 GB for your applications and data. Of course you can extend that by inserting a sd-card. But unfortunately you cannot install your app on it, unless you root your device. The battery life is even better then I expected. Normally I charge it not often then every other day. Overall it's pretty good rigid smartphone.
Fit for outdoor use, Bright display
Overall, we can certify that the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 completed our tests with good results --considered as if it were a normal smartphone. The fact that it is suited for outdoor use is something like a big bonus. We definitely recommend the Xcover 2 to anyone who wants to have their smartphone with them "at work and at play", sports included. The recommended retail price is rather high, but the street price -- as usual with Samsung products -- is much lower.
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