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.
Killer price for an unlocked smartphone, Fast next-generation CPU and GPU
Google has delivered an impressive smartphone with the Nexus 5 from LG, an unlocked powerhouse with a palatable price and solid performance, and the new Android 4.4.1 KitKat update largely fixes the phone's initial camera problems.
Great screen, Low price, Blazing performance
Although the issues we take with the Nexus 5 are considerable, they're not enough to keep us from recommending this device.
One of the issues we have, which is the lackluster camera, might be resolved with a software fix. And even if it were a minor fix, it's not so bad that you'll never be able to take good photos with it.
What really gets us here is what we're not used to seeing, and that's a device with these kinds of specs at this price point.
Impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price
It's a year since Google made a splash with an impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price. The Nexus 4 wasn't a financial success perhaps but making a profit off selling hardware is rarely the first thing on Google's mind. The pure Android experience was the major selling point and getting more people into their cloud services must've been worth the investment - the Nexus price is clearly subsidized, the way Amazon subsidizes its Kindle tablets so it can make profit on selling content.
Great features at a low price with no contract commitment
The Nexus 5 isn't the best smartphone on the market. In fact, there isn't a "best phone", because folks' needs are different: some want a small phone, others want lots of software features and still others want a phablet or a pen. The Nexus 5 is undoubtedly the best smartphone you can buy for just $349 full retail. It has a great mix of features for the price including a very fast CPU, a sharp full HD IPS display and the promise of always running the latest OS.
Pros: Value for money, display.
There's a lot packed into the Nexus 5, particularly given the £299 and £339 pricepoints for 16GB and 32GB respectively. For that money, you get a display that rivals devices that cost some £200 more, and a chipset that is, in many cases, more powerful. In addition to that, you have a Nexus device, meaning it's uncluttered by bloat and first in line for Android updates.
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 screen, compact phone
Samsung didn't exactly catch us by surprise with the Galaxy S4. Pretty much all the hardware improvements like the faster processor, better camera, and 5" 1080p screen were expected. Samsung simply had to have those in the Galaxy S4 if it wanted its product to be relevant in 2013. However, it's the flawless implementation of all the features that makes the Galaxy S4 the superb smartphone that it is. Design-wise, the latest Samsung flagship is nothing special.
Stunning screen, Superfast processor, Great camera
Make no mistake - the Samsung Galaxy S4 is far, far more than a Galaxy S3 'S' - Samsung may be copying Apple according to some people, but it's not as brazen as the Cupertino brand in flogging the exact same design with a slightly uprated processor and calling it a new phone.
The Galaxy S4 is a great, great device in its own right, re-inventing what it means to own a brilliant smartphone in a number of ways.
More serious and stylish look
While the Samsung Galaxy S4's exterior might be its Achilles' heel, we can't blame Samsung for sticking with the Galaxy S brand image it spent so much resources trying to build (that phone sold over 50 million units too, so being associated with it cannot be too bad).
With the sheer number of excellent flagships to choose from, if you are looking for the best smartphone, you had it better than ever.
Stunning 5-inch Full HD screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 might not look that different or have that one killer feature that sinks the competition, but it's a worthy successor to the Samsung Galaxy S3.
It's a true high-end powerhouse and undeniably one of the best phones on the market right now, albeit one that will relies a little too heavily on brand appeal and past successes rather than innovation and eye-catching design. Yes, it might not be the most stylish handset on the market, but nor is it a dog.
Huge display in a not so huge phone, excellent camera
The Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones is a juggernaut; like the iPhone, the next generation will sell well based simply on brand loyalty, trust and familiarity. Even so, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a lot to offer, and though I wasn't overwhelmed with love for the Galaxy S III, the S4 is seriously tempting me. The superb camera and related features, comfortable feel in the hand, replaceable battery and software like Smart Stay and Air Gesture are hard to give up once you've used them.
A brilliant phone in almost every way
As we type this we have the SGS3 and the SGS4 on our desk. While, superficially, there's really not a lot of difference between the two, to hold, they couldn't feel more different. We really like the new, more square-feeling SGS4. At the back, we prefer the SGS3 aesthetically, although the case design of the new phone is nicer - albeit still plastic.
There are a stack more options here.
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.
Customizable design, Snappy performance
Kudos to Motorola for bringing this smartphone to all four major wireless carriers in the country, including good old US Cellular as well. That's something to say about the handset's intentions, as it lives up to prestigious honor of being recognized as a flagship. It's the perfect strategy for it, especially if Motorola really wants to be taken seriously by its rivals again.
Pros: Motorola's hardware is brilliant, Android remains solid.
The Moto X is smart. It's aware. It's packed with features. It's powerful enough and it's got the right amount of Android - without too much bloat or gimmick. We really like the Moto X. It's not the flashiest smartphone out there, so we wouldn't recommend it to gadget geeks who want the latest and greatest on the market.
Comfortable design, Moto Maker customization is phenomenal
We really like the Moto X. It's a lean, almost pure Google Android experience, with a few nice extras and amazing Google Now support. We were incredibly annoyed by the bug we encountered with Moto Assist and don't recommend you touch the app, but outside of that, it's still a great phone. Hopefully, Motorola fixes more bugs before its launch in late August and early September.
the LG G Flex isn't without its share of shortcomings
LG was the first manufacturer to break news of a curved phone in the works, only to be beaten by Samsung to the actual unveiling. Yes, the Galaxy Round made it to the stores before its rival but is still only available in its home market, so the G Flex can get one back with its global release. Anyway, neither of this will probably count for much in what seemingly will continue to be a two-horse race for at least another while.
Curved screen smarthphone doesn't fool us
The LG G Flex has some decent hardware including a great camera and more storage than usual. Excellent software is also a lure but its main feature, the curved screen, is too big, only 720p and offers no real benefits. This phablet is too gimmicky so you're much better off saving some money and going for LG's proper phone, the G2.
Pros: Interesting design will 'turn heads', comfortable to use as a phone.
We do love the G Flex, because it's an interesting phone and one that worked for us. However, the reality is that most people will find it's too big, too irregularly shaped and, most crucially of all, too expensive. There will, of course, be those for whom this is a great choice, and to those people we can't endorse it enough. But for the majority this curved phone probably isn't the smartphone you're looking for. The screen shape is something of a gimmick.
Very slim and compact handset for the screen size
Samsung is apparently not aiming the Mega 6.3 for the mainstream user, but for those who want the largest screen in the most compact package aimed at media consumption. It already has a strong direct competitor in that category, however, in the face of the excellent Huawei Ascend Mate, and if Samsung overprices the handset, it might be disappointed in the sales results of the Mega 6.3.
4G and microSD support, Large, bright screen
In the end, we are left feeling a little confused by the Samsung Galaxy Mega. Every time we pick it up, we really want to like it. Samsung proved with the original Galaxy Note, and the subsequent Galaxy Note 2, that big screens really do sell phones, and we can see exactly why.
But that Galaxy Note 2 comes with an AMOLED screen, and the same resolution as the Galaxy Mega but in a screen that is 0.8 inches smaller so seems that bit more impressive.
Good mix of flagship features
At a lower price point, the Mega 6.3 will be a great midrange deal. Modern smartphones are quickly growing out of the "phone" part and everything else - web browsing, email and chat, watching videos, using apps and playing games - is better on a bigger screen.
Large screen effective for multi-tasking
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is essentially a giant version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. It doesn't quite have the up-to-date specs of the Galaxy S4, making this phone all about screen inches. And you need to be all about screen inches too, as the sheer size of the otherwise-accomplished phone makes it tricky to use one-handed.
Great battery life, superb internet device, feels responsive
As good as the Mega is, it's not going to be for everyone. We can't give it a bad mark just because it's big, though, because it also succeeds in being really rather good. But it is kept short of a higher score by limited internal memory, a problem that isn't getting any less troublesome as time goes on. We also wonder if people considering this phone might be better off with the Note 2, which has more features and can be bought for not a huge amount more cash these days.
Bright clear full-HD 6.3-inch TFT display
The Mega isn't the next Galaxy Note despite its size, but it does have its charm, especially if you like the S4's design. Those who don't want to wait for the Note 3 have a viable alternative in the form of the Mega, though it's not as powerful. The Mega, at S$798, does seem like a tad expensive for the handset's performance, but bear in mind you're really paying for the large display, which is a key feature for those who want to consume media on their smartphones.
Battery charges quickly, and lasts for a long time
While it may save you some dollars up front, I can't quite see the Galaxy Mega 6.3 being the go-to device for the general consumer. The Galaxy S 4's 5-inch display is big, an the Galaxy Mega 6.3 makes the Galaxy S 4 feel like a tiny baby in comparison. However, if you are aching to get your hands on a phone, and not a device that's even remotely trying to act like a tablet (in the software department), with a huge display, then I don't think you'd go wrong with the Galaxy Mega 6.3.
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