Nice and inviting Glam design
Phew, now that we've gone through all the different aspects that make up this prominent handset, we guess the time has come for some closing words.
With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is staying true to its typical design language, however, the company has further enhanced the exterior of its product, making it look eye-catchy, all the while preserving the comfort that comes with a fine textured-plastic design.
The prettiest Galaxy S to date and one that looks different from everything else on the market
The Samsung Galaxy S5 polarized opinions at its very launch - it's inevitable when a device has so much to live up to. Yet, you don't need to look any further than the stats on our homepage to know the name of the latest star commanding the interest of our readers.
The question is which of the two camps you are in. Were the critiques justified or was it just the usual exercise in hating what's trendy?
Fantastic screen. Versatile, high-quality camera
The Samsung Galaxy S5 fits happily into the role of Galaxy S4 successor. It's a phone with some significant improvements over that model. It lacks the style of its nearest rivals, but it more than delivers on every other point and has a truly oustanding screen.
Flagship smartphone doesn't match up to rivals
Things haven't changed much from the Galaxy S4 but Samsung, as usual, has packed the Galaxy S5 with features. However, a lot are somewhat unnecessary. The heart rate monitor is a prime example and while the fingerprint scanner is cool, it's difficult to use. There is some top end hardware here, particularly the screen, but nothing which stands out in a busy and competitive market. A key element is that the design of the Galaxy S5 falls short.
Pros: Great display, good camera performance.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a fantastic handset. The design could be seen as playing it safe, although the addition of waterproofing and presenting a compact and lightweight device has much merit, as does continued access to the battery. The software updates don't make huge changes compared to its predecessor, although things feel a little more advanced and a little less cluttered than previous Samsung handsets.
Seamless design that's even more gorgeous than ever
HTC isn't wasting any time in getting its flagship out and into the hands of hungry consumers. In just a short time, we've witnessed the unveilings and announcements of several flagship smartphones, but it's comforting to see that HTC is aggressive with the new HTC One's rollout.
Superb to look at and hold and extremely capable, the HTC One (M8) is a proper flagship smartphone.
Superb to look at and hold and extremely capable, the HTC One (M8) is a proper flagship smartphone. The development team behind it deserves praise for improving the strengths of the first generation while also addressing some of its biggest shortcomings.
The metal body has been improved and while the front facing speakers have been matched by Sony they are still a strong point in favor of the One (M8), against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G2.
Better than the original and now with a microSD card slot
Like the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2, the new HTC One M8 isn't a big leap compared to the previous model. What HTC has done is taken a great phone and made it better. The M8 looks and feels gorgeous and with important upgrades including a microSD card slot and an innovative camera. This is one desirable smartphone.
Pros: Luscious metal design, powerful.
HTC is passionate about smartphone design and you can see the consideration that has gone into the new HTC One. It's difficult to criticise the quality of the solid build, which eclipses many other devices. It sticks very much to the concept behind the 2013 model, so if you own the older device, then you'll love how the One has evolved in 2014. The new phone is a large device and that may be a consideration for some.
Hard-to-beat $100 on-contract cost, Excellent still image quality
For those who are contemplating on picking this up without a contract, its $584.99 price point still seems pretty good in comparison to other phablets - though, there's no arguing that its on-contract cost absolutely gives it more bang for the buck. At the end of the day, there's plenty to like about the 1520, as it's no doubt the best Windows Phone out right now. For a long time there, Windows Phones in general just seemed underpowered in comparison to those premier Android smartphones.
Great 1080p display, Fine camera, Solid build quality
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is an absolute beast of a phone that we suspect only the large-handed and generous pocketed will be able to live with day to day.
Those who accept the challenge will find the most capable Windows Phone 8 device yet, with top-of-the-range specs that include a stunning 1080p display and a superb 20-megapixel camera.
Despite its size, however, the Lumia 1520 feels like it's missing something.
Half An Inch From Greatness...
Another flawed gem of a phablet. Like competitors, the Lumia 1520 sports an excellent set of hardware. The screen, battery, camera, processor and build are all fantastic and score it top marks, but the phone is simply oversized and isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea
Pros: Excellent build, fantastic camera and options.
READ:. The Nokia Lumia 1520 has to be the best Windows Phone 8 handset on the market. It's certainly the best Lumia we've used to date. That's not just thanks to the reassuringly high quality build, but also thanks to the new Black OS. The OS version we've seen is missing one or two components, but it's still a definite step forward. Accompany that with an ever growing selection of apps, and the first Nokia phablet is a genuinely capable mobile OS.
Long battery life, Has all the S4 features & more
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is simply one balanced performing smartphone! At $300 with a 2-year contract, there's no denying the fact that it's an expensive cost, but as we've come to learn, the hefty pricing does come with some perks. The phablet category saw some new entrants into the space this year, but the Note 3 continues to be the best in its class.
Beautiful large screen, cutting edge tech
Samsung has done it again - and it made it look so easy. The Galaxy Note 3 can pretend it has no competition, while otherwise remarkable rivals know they'll will have to live with - but not quite live up to - comparisons to the gadget that defines an entire segment.
Three generations into it, Samsung is returning to a playground which now has to be shared with others. There are bigger screens out there, waterproof bodies, impressive cameras and immensely powerful chipsets.
Huge full HD display, S Pen digital pen, fast CPU
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is king of the phablets, as was the Note II. Heck, before the original Galaxy Note, there was no such thing as a phablet. Good thing Samsung was cheeky enough to give oversized smartphones a try. The Note 3 is currently among the fastest phablets; only the Sony Xperia Z Ultra shares the Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 graphics for now, though we expect that to change as the months pass.
Pros: Improved looks, hugely powerful.
There are a few little things about the Note 3 that we think require some attention, such as photo processing and possible concern over SIM region-locking. These feel like software issues though, and that gives us some hope that they might be fixed at some point in the future. Aside from that, the leap forward from the Note 2 is pretty epic. The included S Pen is great for handling the new air command interface, while handwriting recognition is more accurate now.
Crisp, bold screen, Very powerful
Its huge 5.7-inch size means the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 really won't be to everyone's taste. If you're after a big screen, however, and a phenomenally powerful phone to help tackle anything your working life is likely to throw at it -- and you fancy hand-writing notes with a stylus -- the Note 3 is the best massive mobile around.
Great battery life, Excellent screen, Top-notch specs and performance
If you don't mind feature clutter and the device's high price, or you just want a big-screen phone that has the fastest internals for gaming and multitasking, the Note 3 is the best phone for you. But if a big screen and good performance are mostly what you're after, there are other big-screen options, and there will soon be more. If you can live with a lower-resolution screen (that's still pretty great) and the absence of the S Pen, Samsung's Galaxy Mega is a good choice.
Great camera with 1080p video recording at 60 fps
The LG G2 is an outstanding smartphone almost every way you look at it. The screen is beautiful, albeit a bit off in terms of color temperature, while the camera is simply outstanding - definitely among the very best out there. Under the hood, the Snapdragon 800 processor is doing exactly what you'd expect it to do - making sure that everything operates perfectly smoothly with no hiccups or delays.
Amazing colors, viewing angles, great brightness and contrast
The LG G2 is not just the company's next flagship. It is LG's hope of getting their best shape back after quite a few uninspiring attempts. And this time around, the stakes are higher than ever as the competition out there is in its top form too.
The first thing LG got right is the timing, staying put well after Samsung and HTC unveiled their flagships. This allowed LG to offer the best chipset from Qualcomm, essentially coming up with a 2014 flagship in 2013.
Stunning 5.2-inch edge-to-edge display
The LG G2 is an impressive return to smartphone prominence for the South Korean company but one which still falls slightly short. It is a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One but thanks to plastic build, peculiar button placement and less than gripping camera is unlikely to worry its more illustrious competition too much.
Large and lovely full HD IPS display, great camera
The LG G2 is assuredly the company's best Android phone yet. We were bullish on the also very good Optimus G Pro, but the G2 is all that and more in a more mainstream size. The display is top notch, performance is fast and fluid, the camera is excellent and the rear buttons actually work nicely. We'd love to see a more interesting and attractive casing that didn't turn murky with fingerprints so quickly, but the phone is nonetheless solidly built and curved nicely to fit in the hand.
Pros: Visually appealing, feels great as a phone.
The G2 is easily a competitor for every other high-end smartphone out there. The "weird" button layout works for us, and it's paired with some smart touch functions that are well thought out. The phone looks and feels great, and just works as a smartphone should. There are some minor things about the G2 we don't like, but our overwhelming sense is that this phone does what we want and it does it well, with style and smoothness.
Large display is ideal for games and videos, Outstanding metallic design
For those who don't feel like the HTC One max is the right choice for them, we have a few alternatives to recommend. One if them is the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is definitely more capable in the hardware department with its Snapdragon 800 SoC and 3GB of RAM. An option that impresses with both performance and design is the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which is, on top of it all, resistant to dust and water damage.
Larger screen, Longer battery, MicroSD slot
We won't pull any punches. The HTC One Max doesn't come close to hitting the heights of the HTC One.
It's a phone that's designed to serve a very singular purpose - give those that liked the look of the One a phone with a bigger screen, and almost nothing else.
Biometrics are going to be big in phones, but not implemented in this way.
Solid Phablet, excellent battery life
So in the end, the HTC One Max is a solid device that has more than enough to keep you happy, but it may have a hard time luring you into the store in the first place. Unless HTC delivers a prompt upgrade that makes the fingerprint scanner a real game-changer, it will probably have to cut the One Max's price a bit to keep the phablet relevant.
Decent battery life, Great 1080p display, Fantastic audio quality
The One Max isn't much of an upgrade over the One and its features don't warrant the excessive volume or weight. Its screen, speakers and battery life are saving graces, however, and give it some credibility as a media player.
Pros: Great display, good looks from that One design.
The phablet category of devices is an odd one. The home of giant phones that haven't quite reached tablet sizes, and the HTC One max finds itself nestled into this awkward pack. For those looking for a big smartphone experience, then that's what the HTC One max delivers: it's the HTC One experience, but on a larger scale. There are some notable benefits: the display is lovely, the microSD card convenient, the BoomSound speakers excellent and the user interface nicely refined.
Premium build quality, Good battery life
If your company's IT department is invested in the BlackBerry universe, and your colleagues are mostly on BBM, the Z30 is your best bet. It folds all the security and messaging features of the BlackBerry platform you are used to, into a consumer-centric big screen phone with premium design and decent specs.
Great battery life, Unified messaging hub, Premium feel
It's sad to think that this might be BlackBerry's last release because with the Z30 it has finally, belatedly, figured out how to make a really good touch screen smartphone.
The trouble is, the Z30 is up against the Samsung Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5S, the LG G2, and even the Nokia Lumia 925. In terms of pricing and features you could make a compelling argument that every one of those devices would be a better buy right now than the BlackBerry Z30.
Against the odds
This review is hot on the heels of a failed rescue deal and
. No way obviously to look at the Z30 and ignore the dire condition the company is in. Yet, this didn't happen overnight. Things were already going downhill when the Z10 arrived. And it seemed to bring the right kind of hope. Quite unfortunate for the Z30, which is clearly better than its predecessor but has even darker clouds looming over it.
Strong email, chat and social network support
The BlackBerry Z30 is a great phone for someone who wants lightning-fast access to every stream of communication under the sun. It's also a better phone than the previous BlackBerry Z10. However, it suffers from a poorly-stocked app store, a problematic camera and an OS that looks a little drab in parts.
Well-designed piece of smartphone hardware running a decent OS
There isn't the app ecosystem of the big two competitors but we can see the BlackBerry Z30 as a useful compromise of the needs of businesses that rely on BlackBerry's security model, and users who'd like something with the touchscreen power of iPhone-based handsets. This big handset deserves to win friends from anyone that can value its secure and robust features.
Excel at battery life, call quality, and data strength
Sequels are rarely better than the original when it comes to entertainment, but they are always better in technology. The nature of advancement and upgrades dictates that improvement is a given, so no one should be surprised that the LG Lucid 2 is a noticeable step up from its predecessor. What might catch some people off guard is that this is a step up from many midrange devices currently on the market.
Free with contract, Pleasing size
Since the LG Lucid 2 is currently available for free with a 2-year Verizon contract, there is a lot to like about the device. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around, the 4.3" qHD display is a nice size with clear text and images, the user interface is well laid-out and easy to use, not to mention the device has good call quality and a larger capacity battery.
You won't get a top-tier display or camera, but it's a good value
Overall, the Lucid 2 is a fantastic deal -- it's a great bang for the buck device at a great price. Sure, neither the screen nor the camera is top-tier, but you aren't paying a high-end price as well. I can't think of a better budget device on the market.
Manageable size, sharp display, removable battery
If you're in the market for an Android smartphone on Verizon but don't want to spend much money for the phone itself, the LG Lucid 2 is easy to recommend. That doesn't mean the Lucid 2 lacks solid competition if you're open to other platforms: from the older iPhone 4, to the relatively new Nokia Lumia 822 running Windows Phone 8 for $50 or less.
Extremely responsive with the dual-core processor
So in closing is the Lucid a device we'd recommend to someone who is considering the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III (or S4) or any other high end device? Nope! Nor does the device deserve any such sort of recommendation. What we will say is for a teenager or a first time smartphone buyer the Lucid 2 for free is a pretty good option, and something worth taking a look at in a store near you.
Powerful processor, Good rear camera
If you have eyes, it is obvious that the LG Lucid 2 is not the most glamorous phone available on Verizon. But with a price of free ($200 cheaper than many competitors), it's not a bad choice for those on a budget. If you can spend an extra $50, we do like the Motorola Droid Razr M a lot, and it is similarly sized, but there isn't much to dislike about the Lucid 2. She could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but all-in-all, we like what we see.
Outstanding battery life
If you are looking at purchasing a high-end Android smartphone from Verizon, your current choices at the moment are the Samsung Galaxy S III or either the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD and DROID RAZR HD, as they all offer large 720p HD displays, and are using the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor for fast performance.
The Galaxy S III may look more stylish and flashy, though its plastic construction does have a cheap feeling to it and doesn't hold up well to abuse.
Overall, we see no reason to fault the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD at all. It's got nearly all the top specs: NFC, HD screen, massive batter and a solid design encased in Kevlar.
It's still only running Android 4.0.4, rather than the latest version of Jelly Bean, and we can see this being a phone that's visibly improved by the likes of Project Butter.
Would we like to have seen a quad core processor in there. In a word, yes.
At $300 on contract, the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD is on the expensive end of the smartphone spectrum. Is the extra battery life worth the extra $100? If you value battery life, the answer is yes. If you don't mind tweaking some settings or using SmartActions to get the most out of your battery, then the Droid Razr HD is a more budget-friendly choice. Either way, you're getting a good phone.
Just remember that smartphone prices are bound to fluctuate.
Brilliant screen and powerful internals
The Razr Maxx HD is a fantastic phone. It's not burdened with features that are cumbersome or clumsy, and its brilliant screen and powerful internals will satisfy almost anyone who wants something and fast and adequately future-proof. And of course, there's that massive battery to keep everything running for literally days.
Excellent Battery Life
The Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX sports incredibly long battery life, excellent build quality and an update to Android 4.1 is due in the near future. The $299 price is a bit steep compared to options like the Galaxy S3 but if battery life is a major factor the RAZR MAXX HD is a solid choice.
Good call quality
If you are looking at purchasing a high-end Android smartphone from Verizon, your choices are currently the Samsung Galaxy S III or the Motorola DROID RAZR HD (and RAZR MAXX HD), as they offer large 720p HD displays, and are using the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor for fast performance.
The Galaxy S III may look more stylish and "flashy", though its plastic construction does have a cheap feeling to it and doesn't hold up well to abuse.
Strong call quality
The Droid Razr HD is a very good phone. The screen and overall design is very handsome. Its dual-core processor is capable, and it only sips battery power. It's a long lasting, reliable device that still has more than enough power to get the job done.
Being exclusive to Verizon is no handicap either, since the company's 4G LTE service is far-reaching and fast.
There's nothing wrong with the device, except for a mediocre camera. It's just that competition is so stiff.
So, all in all, the Motorola DROID RAZR HD's biggest problem isn't that it's not a solid device. Just the opposite it's an excellent performer that is only bound to get better when the updates start coming in (and when you have Google's word for it, you know they will come in). However, on current merit, it's hard to recommend it over the established players in the game.
Good performance for a dual-core handset
On paper the Razr HD may not look all that tempting given its fairly modest spec. However, in the flesh it's an attractive looking phone that feels more robust than the likes of the Samsung S3. It's got surprisingly good performance for a dual core phone too, along with excellent battery life.
Looks awesome and gives the premium feel you want from a smartphone
The Motorola Razr HD offers superb build quality and battery life along with a nice screen and great battery life. However, its £400 asking price means that it's probably worth spending the extra for a rival flagship smartphone or saving some money by opting for the Google Nexus 4.
Durable and refined smartphone
However, I've talked to many that refuse to touch this phone solely because of those buttons. However, if you can get past that, I would definitely recommend this over the Galaxy S3. Both are certainly great phones, but the Droid RAZR HD feels more refined and professional. At least go try it out at your local Verizon store!
Lovely looking, great screen, decent battery life
So there you have it, we have more faith in Motorola's products than Google CFOs do. While you could argue that the Razr HD isn't a "wow" device, you can't really argue that it's bad, because it isn't. And honestly, we really like its design and feel. It might not be one of the new generation of giaganto-phones that are all the rage now, but it will suit that audience who want smaller devices, with plenty of scope.
Excellent signal strength
The Motorola Droid RAZR HD is, simply put, an excellently built and designed smartphone. It's a pleasure to use, and a solid choice for anyone looking for a good high-end device today.
In fact, the only thing that I could see significantly improving the user experience would be to add more memory and more battery power... which is exactly what the RAZR MAXX HD does. Motorola has a clear hit on its hands here, and for a whole bunch of very good reasons.
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