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.
Excellent low-lighting photo performance
Obviously, it's not the most mouthwatering inducing iPhone we've seen to date, but considering that it hits the mark in the categories that matter the most, the iPhone 5s proves itself as being a feared competitor in the space. Like we said, there's nothing in the specs or hardware department that would terrify its rivals, but the updated iOS 7 experience is enough to make this iPhone look and feel different from past ones.
Powerful core, Touch ID is a real step up, Excellent camera
So to say this is the best iPhone yet is relatively pointless, as of course it was going to be. But the combination of iOS 7 to freshen things up with a powerful core and great camera mean that this phone should be considered on its own considerable merits, and while the high price will continue to put many off, anyone already wedded to the iPhone bandwagon, or even if they're just on the fence, will find a lot of joy in a phone that's a lot more than an iterative update.
Pushes the major re-design another year back
For half a decade Apple made just one iPhone a year and each was at least in the running for the best phone of the season. This year is different but at one point it seemed so for the wrong reasons. For a moment there, we thought Apple may have ended up with no potential winner out of two runners in the race.
Never mind the 5c, it's an old phone in new clothes, but yes, we were that skeptical about the 5s at first.
A7 chip offers fast performance and 64-bit support
The 5s is a solid effort from Apple, but its true worth is yet to be determined. If developers come up with clever ways to take advantage of the M7 coprocessor and the 64-bit support in iOS 7, the 5s will truly shine. If not, many people might just wait it out another year.
Pros: Touch ID fingerprint sensor, A7 processor.
The iPhone 5S fulfils the pre-determined destiny of all Apple "S" devices - it's the one that's normally met by the baying crowd as "meh". . At the start of this review someone asked what we though of the iPhone 5S in two words and we replied "same as". But the more we've played with it, the more we've used it, and the more it's clear that Apple has made vast improvements here, even if we are yet to see the full realisation of those improvements.
Improved camera and flash, Wide LTE support
We kicked off this review by stating the 5s has the potential to be Apple's most game-changing iPhone since inception. Apple is clearly looking to future-proof its handset while offering developers the opportunity to take advantages of its 64-bit architecture, A7 chip and M7 Coprocessor. Right now, you won't really experience what this phone is capable of. Give it six months and we'd expect some truly groundbreaking apps to appear.
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.
Color variety with its design, Solid build quality for a plastic phone
Even though the high-end segment seems to get all of the attention, the mid-range landscape is quickly seeing the same level of competition. In that sense, the iPhone 5c proves itself as one those trailblazers in the space thatâ??ll keep the heat turned up against the competition.
Bright and cheerful new colors, Solid value
The colorful, plastic iPhone 5c is a welcome upgrade for existing iPhone 4 and 4S owners, and a great introduction to Apple's awesome app platform at a nice price. It's the best $99 phone you'll find on Verizon Wireless, but otherwise, there's not much new to see here.
Colourful options, Smooth OS, Decent battery life
If you're paying a larger price you want a phone which looks and feels premium, and while the iPhone 5C comes with all the Apple hallmarks and tradition, it's a device that falls between two camps. If you want the best Apple has to offer and you're coming from a 4S, then go for the new 5S.
The color of magic
The Apple iPhone 5c is a very solid smartphone - we know it well because we've spent a year with its previous alter ego, the iPhone 5. Try as we might though, we didn't find any difference between the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5 that goes beyond the exterior. Sure the battery has grown by 70 mAh, but that's not the kind of difference you can feel in real-life usage.
Glossy, smooth and feels nice in the hand
The iPhone 5C is a nice smartphone. However, we just can't see the need for it in the first place, unless it was cheaper. It's too expensive for what is effectively an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell with minor changes in hardware. There are better and cheaper Android devices on the market and those wishing to stick with iOS should pay the extra £80 for the iPhone 5S.
Excellent build quality, iOS 7 rocks
Taking everything that made the iPhone 5 great and adding in a few more bells and whistles. The iPhone 5C is not the iPhone 5S, but it's still a great little handset in its own right. Should prices come down - which they inevitably will - this handset could become very, very, popular.
Pros: Colourful, solid.
The iPhone 5C is a lovely phone that is solid in its performance and playful it its approach. The combination of the colourful exterior sits beautifully against the latest iOS 7 operating system and it's good to see Apple ditching the ode to faux leather and yellow legal paper shtick. New Apple is an embrace of a modern future. . As an upgrade to the iPhone 4S, the 5C is a perfect option, and it refreshes the iPhone 5 in a way that makes it a lot more fun than the iPhone 5 ever was.
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.
Affordable price point
Taking into account the $99.99 on-contract price attached to the HTC 8X right from the onset, it's at an attractive price point that would handedly reel in some curious bystanders. To HTC's credit, we absolutely love the direction they went with the 8X's design, as it seemingly stands out magnificently from the staple of cold industrial designs we're normally bombarded with.
Elegant, latest WP8 OS
When we reviewed earlier Windows Phone handsets, we were told the platform needed time to bed in.
It's had that and it's evolved but we can't help feeling there are still a few areas it really is left lacking. Things like the poor media support are inexcusable and these are places where Microsoft is to blame more than HTC.
We're sure it will be fixed but it takes the gloss off a new purchase when things like this don't work flawlessly.
Colorful and eye-catching design
The 8X is available on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, so you have no excuse not to pick one up. It's a toss-up with the Lumia 920: if you love music, the 8X is for you. But if you're a shutterbug, you can't beat the 920's outstanding camera. In the end, only choose either if you don't need obscure apps, because you won't find them on Windows. But if you're willing to give the software a shot, the 8X is a solid choice.
Boasts a 1280x720-pixel HD resolution
I am going to hold my hands up and say that I used to be a massive fan of anything made by HTC. I have owned, in total, around seven different Android handsets by the Taiwanese giant, including the Hero, Desire, and Sensation XE. But whilst my love has been transferred to Samsung in more recent years, I was very keen to get my hands on the 8X and to see what HTC would do with the Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Rubbery finish is pleasant to the touch and aids grip
The HTC Windows Phone 8X is the best all-rounder of the Windows Phone 8 smartphones we've tried. It has a different and less comprehensive selection of pre-loaded apps to Nokia models, but the hardware is better than the identically priced Lumia 820.
Gorgeous design and cool colors
The HTC is unique looking, absolutely stunning and we love the color selection. It's a quality piece of hardware with an excellent HD display, Beats audio and it's plenty fast. Windows Phone 8's app selection is gaining steam and the OS is now robust enough that it's a good time to try Windows Phone. The HTC 8X's biggest problem in the US is the bargain priced yet high end Nokia Lumia 920 that sells for less and doubles storage while adding excellent free navigation.
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.
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