Largest display in a Nokia Lumia phone so far
The Nokia Lumia 625 comes with a fairly large 4.7" display and 4G LTE on a budget, but there are a few things that hold it down. We like the smooth performance and the fun colors, but the low-res display seems out of place on today's market. Moreover, the average camera and limiting 512MB of RAM are all considerable downsides.
Free lifetime voice-guided navigation
We have no choice but to put aside the Microsoft deal, the value of stock and the aftershocks in our evaluation. Simply put, the Nokia Lumia 625 has the timing - but not the substance - of a swan song.
That said, it would be a massive injustice to burden the phone with such responsibility. The Nokia Lumia 625 is a simple package with a simple purpose - to offer a big screen experience on a budget. And it delivers on that quite alright, with the usual give or take.
Good value, Decent performance
The Nokia Lumia 625 is one of the cheapest 4G phones you can get. It's colourful, stylish and has the same Windows Phone 8 OS as other Lumia phones. However, the screen is disappointingly low in resolution. With a 720p screen this would be a corker. In its current form this is a cheap 4G smartphone that's not quite the finished article.
Pros: Good value for money, Nokia gives you a great Windows Phone experience.
With each Nokia Lumia device we examine we find a lot to love. Nokia's design is solid throughout much of the Lumia range, the specifications see Windows Phone 8 ticking along without complaint and the Finnish company is certainly bringing improvements to the platform - including more all-important third-party apps. But as the Lumia 625 represents Windows Phone's foray into larger screen displays, it feels as though it's missed a trick; it's just an odd compromise.
Bargain price, Colourful, changeable shells
It's easy to be impressed with the Nokia Lumia 625 thanks to its colourful, replaceable shells, stellar performance and great build quality. The qualms with Windows Phone 8 are still lingering, though this could easily be sorted with a few high profile app release.
We can even forgive the middling, low-res screen just because the device is priced at the low-end of the market.
Svelte metallic design, Pentaband radio
With its combination of curved lines and sharp metal edges, the slimmest phone out there is undoubtedly one of the most elegant designs we've seen, too, and not only in the Android world.
The Ascend P6 gets almost all major smartphone details right except for the mediocre camera, which has some issues both with pictures and video. For about 400 (USD or EUR), we can't complain if something is lacking on a midranger, especially in such a thin and light package.
Stylish, powerful enough for most uses
We like the P6. It's got good looks, runs well and it feels well built. Yes, there are some really minor niggles, like that daft headphone cover/pin, among some more major issues such as the limited battery life - but we still rather like the phone when it's in full swing.
Incredibly thin, Highly customisable homescreens
If you want a ridiculously slim phone to slide into your pocket and don't mind that its specs are more typical of last year's kit, the Ascend P6 is one to consider. Its overheating is a concern though, as are the small issues with construction and software. Let's hope Huawei sorts them out before it goes on sale.
Clearly arranged operating system
Overall, the Ascend P6 lags behind the current first league of smartphones in a few points. Nevertheless, it is an impressive phone but not only because of its very slim build and good workmanship. Users who do not need LTE or a Full HD screen and can accept a lower performance will get a good smartphone for just under 450 Euros (~$599), which is more located in the midrange than the premium range.
Great design, Super thin form factor
The Ascend P6 combines a good set of hardware in a very sexy design and super thin form factor that very few other handsets have achieved. Huawei has certainly done a lot of effort in order to give the P6 the title of worldÃ¢Â? Â? thinnest and the attention to detail is very evident.
It's a looker - compact and stylish
The Sony Xperia M is a phone with good looks, streamlined user interface that we actually like, and a powerful chip for its class. Not a bad combination, is it? It has its downsides - we wish the screen was a bit better, but our biggest complaint right now is price. The handset sells for prices of between $200 and $250 off contract, and that is a bit steeper than weÃ¢Â?Â?d like for such a device.
Offers a relatively big and sharp screen
Sony has had some very strong contenders at the entry level: the Xperia U was the cheapest dual-core you can get for a long time and the M is its spiritual successor. Most phones in this price range have Cortex-A5/A7 chipsets and can't shoot 720p video.
The Sony Xperia M has a lot going for it - attractive design, compact size and good build, and a reasonably powerful chipset for the class.
cheap Android phone is okay, but there are better budget phones
Well built and designed, and with great battery life, we can't be too harsh on the Xperia M. Performance an connectivity is good enough, but these days for this price we want better from the display and camera. Not a bad phone, but there are better rivals on the market.
Quality build, Available in four colors
Sony's 4-inch Samurai proved to be a little hot-head that fits in every pocket due to its compact size in the test. We particularly liked the quality build and the strong graphics unit considering it is an entry-level phone. The Xperia M also scores with its phone qualities. The message LED is a nifty and useful feature that has been implemented well in the design.
On the other side, the middling screen is at the top of the list.
Likeable design, Great screen quality
Nokia has covered pretty much all price points with its Lumias, with the 520 and 620 being even cheaper, but if you plan on going that way, keep in mind that you are going to get what you're paying for. We also don't encourage you to purchase the Lumia 820, because it simply lacks the finesse of the 720. Yes, it has a slightly better processor and a bit more RAM, but specs don't really matter much when real-life performance speaks otherwise.
Slick OS, Good camera, Attractive design
We really like the Nokia Lumia 720, it's a great all round smartphone and while it doesn't do enough for us to love it, we would seriously recommend it.
It falls into a difficult place in the market with strong competition from the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini and HTC One S, but both of those handsets are getting on a bit and the Lumia 720 has the vitality of youth in its favour.
Widest aperture on a phone yet
The Nokia Lumia 720 may be some of the best work we've seen from the Finns recently - not a pricy best-of-the-best flagship, but an affordable, well-built phone that packs more than enough features to get users interested. It has its nagging flaws, but as an overall package it's hard to beat.
Higher-end features without a massive display
In some ways, the Lumia 720 is everything we've asked for from Nokia. It's slickly designed and has superlative battery life, the camera out-performs rivals in the same price bracket, and the screen - though lower resolution than we like - is a nice compromise of size, outdoor usability, and general clarity.
Beautiful 720p display, Slim and light
All in all, the Huawei Ascend P2 is an okay mid-range Android smartphone. It is far from being the ultimate device of this class, but it gets the job done and it doesn't have any major drawbacks, save for the inexplicable lack of a microSD card slot. The pretty, 4.7-inch display tops the list of things we like about it, followed by the slim profile and lightweight body, so if these are the features you value the most, then the Ascend P2 won't disappoint.
Decent screen, Great camera, Super fast 4G
The Huawei Ascend P2 is a solid mid- to high-end smartphone with some decent features and a pleasing array of specs.
It doesn't quite have the build quality of the iPhone 5 or HTC One, nor does it have the same snappiness as the excellent Galaxy S3, and the Emotion UI may not be every Android fan's cup of tea.
First phone to support LTE CAT4
The Huawei Ascend P2 is a phone that will live or die by its pricing. It's set to sell for 399Euro, but exactly what thatÃ¢Â? Â? ll translate to in the UK is up for debate. The Huawei Ascend P2 a solid, well-made phone with solid specs, providing everything most people need without the arguable diminishing returns some of 2013's "mobile innovations" come with.
Decent style, solid battery life
Small, light, pleasant to look at and packed with a decent screen and powerful processor. On the surface, the Huawei looks like the perfect purchase for many. The truth, however, is that it doesn't quite meet the spec with its performance. There's more lag here than we'd expect, and the phone never feels all that nippy.
Even so, it remains a good choice in the mid to high-mid market.
Fast and responsive
Huawei is good at delivering strong, affordable handsets with good design and great screens. This is no exception and will be a great mid-range phone though the smartphone stakes are high now with powerful and punchy phones being released from every manufacturer.
The exceptionally nippy modem is a key standout, but may not be enough to set it apart when network speeds won't routinely reach the maximum levels possible here. Still, it feels good and has a strong 13MP camera.
Slimline design, good specs, decent camera
The Huawei Ascend P2 is a competent handset that sits neatly in the upper mid-range of the smartphone hierarchy. While there are a few glints of creativity, for the most part it is an unassuming device for people who want an Android phone that isn't too flashy and will do what they want without gimmicks. At just £299 SIM-free, it's a definite contender.
Impressively lightweight smartphone
As an independent smartphone, the Asus Padfone 2 is one impressive device that can tangle with some of the greats out there, seeing that it has that wonderful balance between raw performance and impressive hardware. Crazy to believe it, but the handset is one of the lightest smartphones in its class! Beyond that, we're glad that Asus decided to go with a different route in how the smartphone is docked with the Padfone Station.
Crisp, clear screen, Snappy performance
The Asus Padfone 2 may be a smartphone-tablet hybrid, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the smartphone element. It's powerful, well built and energy efficient, and the camera is capable of taking decent photos and videos in the right conditions.
However, that's only half the story, and the tablet part of the Asus Padfone 2 package is sadly lacking when stacked up against rival devices such as the Google Nexus 10.
Lighter and looks more stylish than its predecessor
So at the end of the day the Asus Padfone 2 will only cater for the needs of a specific group of people, but it will do so quite well. And as tablets continue to gain popularity, a combo like this will only be getting a bigger field to play in.
Unique two devices in one hybrid
The Asus Padfone 2 is a difficult device to dislike because it's interesting and innovative, but it is also a difficult to defend. The idea of it makes sense on paper and there is a very capable, well-built phone coupled with a functional, if average, tablet. The problem is that it comes at a hefty premium and only one person can use the device at a time.
If the Padfone 2 provided a perfect phone and tablet experience we might be more forgiving of the lack of microSD card slot.
Really is a good deal
The Asus Padfone 2 is an interesting and unique offering. For £599 you get both a phone and a tablet in one although this has its limitations. Good hardware and excellent battery life are the standout features while build quality is a bit of a let-down. We really like the Padfone 2 but if you're looking to a smartphone and a tablet on the cheap then we suggest Google's Nexus devices.
Good smartphone performance
The more we've lived with the Padfone 2, the more apparent it has become that for every highlight, there's a simple, regular solution. That leaves the Padfone 2 in something of a tricky situation. It's well engineered, it's almost priced right, but you walk away without a hero handset or a hero tablet. You don't get the both of best worlds, you get something in the middle: a compromise.
Compromises aren't necessarily bad, as long as you're getting what you need.
Improved design, long battery life, overall speedy performance
We love the concept of the smartphone-tablet hybrid, and we think it's great that Asus has taken our complaints of the original PadFone into consideration and improved on many aspects of it--for example, making it slimmer, lighter, faster and less unwieldy. However, the camera could have been improved even more, as it's still not on par with some of the better high-end smartphones.
Fast quad-core processor delivers great performance
If you thought Xperia Z is amazing, but could make do without the waterproof part of it, Sony's got you covered, as it introduced the Xperia ZL sibling, with an even more compact design. With its 5.18" x 2.74" x 0.38", it is shorter than the Z, and a soft-touch curved back nestles it comfortably in your palm grip. The microSIM and microSD slots are situated under a large flap at the back bottom, and the phone is graced with a dedicated shutter key, unlike the glassy, watertight Z.
Compact handset that fits the bill
The most compact FullHD five-incher is the Xperia ZL's defining feature - and the emphasis is on compact. But ... the Xperia ZL is a FullHD five-incher after all, and for Sony having two horses in the flagship race must feel good. Plus, there's always people who like to cheer for the dark horse.
1080p display is gorgeous
Should you run out and buy an Xperia ZL? In a word, no. There's nothing expressly wrong with it: I rather like the design, which feels modern, if a bit run-of-the-mill. It performs well, serves up plenty of battery life for average use cases, and even has a nice camera once you get used to its limitations (or aren't especially picky). But there are just too many great options out there, and while the Xperia ZL won't disappoint, your money will be better spent elsewhere.
Unlocked with 4G LTE, very good camera
If you're fond of Sony's smartphones and software experience, the Xperia ZL is particularly attractive as a no-contract smartphone. It's fast, the UI is clean and pleasing and the camera is very good. Here in the US, I suspect no-contract high end phones are beat out by carrier subsidized models, but for those of you who appreciate an unlocked world phone or perhaps aren't due for a subsidized upgrade, the Sony Xperia XL has its appeal (especially because you can use it on both AT&T and...
Deep integrated S Pen features
Sure, there's a premium price attached to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, but there's a very good reason for that. In T-Mobile's case, they're asking a mind-blowing $369.99 for the Note II and that's with a 2-year contract ($649.99 outright), while AT&T and Sprint are selling it for $299. At one point not too long ago, the threshold seen with cream of the crop smartphones topped out at the $300 mark, but with this, it totally kicks down the door and establishes a new tally.
Enormous battery, Expandable memory
It's tricky to pull all of this together in a final summary. Do we mark the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as a phone with a trillion bells and whistles? Or as a personal media player that makes phone calls?
As a phone, it's big, but once you get over that, if you can, it's great. As a PMP, it really does excel, and as a web communicator, it is almost second to none (though we can't fully get the taste of Flash absence out of our mouth).
Bigger and better screen
At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Note II seems to have completed all it's here to do. Samsung have solidified its lead in the phablet market, while offering enough novelties to keep those already in it interested. There's also plenty of exclusive stuff too.
We guess some people will still be less than impressed by a bigger Galaxy S III with a stylus. And we're not saying that a big screen and a stylus is exactly what makes a near perfect smartphone better.
Increased screen size
Where the Galaxy S II and III were Samsung's answer to the Apple iPhone, the Note II is a step in another direction for different users those requiring something more like an old-school PDA, able to work with a stylus for reading handwriting input and for sketching. As a phone, it has the same kind of capabilities as the Galaxy S III, with slightly faster performance an added bonus to the increased screen size, at the expense of one-handed usability.
Refined and useful pen input
This is a great offering from Samsung, but as with previous Galaxy Note devices it will not suit everyone's tastes.
If you're onboard with the stylus-driven concept there's plenty of rewarding stuff here.
Is it perfect? Of course not. But, it is unquestionably the best realisation of the Galaxy Note concept we've seen so far.
Indeed, we'd go so far as to say this is how the original Galaxy Note should have been.
Oh boy Samsung does it again
I love this phone and to be honest with you I don't see myself using another phone for a very long time. This Quad-core beast can handle it all. I don't even take out my iPad anymore....I don't even feel the desire to buy the Nexus 7 at this point in time because this phone is just fun to use. This is now my personal on the go PC. I put in a 64GB microSD card into it (MicroSD slot another plus btw) and now I take all my movies and music along with me.
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.
Appealing design, Vivid 4.3 in display
With all its downsides, we can see the case for the Desire 300. HTC has priced this well. If you can live with the slight lag and appreciate the design and in-hand feel, it is not a bad deal at its very affordable starting full retail price of around $200 (180 euro in Europe).
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