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.
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.
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.
Sleek, comfortable design
The LG Optimus L9 brings a great budget option to T-Mobile's lineup. It is of course not as good as the forthcoming Nexus 4, but it absolutely holds its own with similar offerings from HTC and Samsung. The 4.5" IPS display is wonderful, and the dual core TI OMAP processor delivered smooth performance. We would have preferred a better camera, but at $80 on contract we can't complain too much.
Blazing speed on 4G, Updated design
While internal hardware certainly underscores the "you get what you pay for" adage, there is a enough packed into this little gadget to impress you with what you pay for it. T-Mobile currently offers the L9 for $48.99 plus a fee for a two-year contract. Or, you can pick it up for $199.99 without an annual contract. For someone on a budget who needs a smartphone, the contract is an attractive offer, but just be sure to check the T-Mobile coverage in your area.
Solid performance at an attractive price point
The LG Optimus L9 seems to make itself pretty comfortable in its little niche. Flagship-sized screen and solid performance at an attractive price point is certainly a combo many will be happy with. And considering there's virtually no competition (at least until the Galaxy Grand arrives), the L9 has every chance of making it big. We'd say it will be well deserved.
Almost Perfect for Under $100 Just got Patched to Jelly Bean!
It's not perfect, and it's obvious that LG had to cut some corners to keep the price low. There's no 8 MP camera with lots of functions, high-end processor, 8 or 16 GB internal storage, or super-high resolution screen. The camera could be better, so could the data speeds, and the loudspeaker needs some work, but for what it is, I can't find a better handset out there.
Better specs, a bigger screen
I still find the Final Thoughts of the L-series of smartphones from LG hard - they're budget phones, but I can't find myself recommending them. The Nexus 4, also made by LG, is less than $350 - and offers twice the specs, and twice the phone.
What LG have done with the Optimus L9 is finish off a series of smartphones with a better 'bang'. The L9 has better specs, a bigger screen and is the much better performer of the three L-series phones from LG.
Bright Clear Screen, 8MP Camera
LG has done a pretty good job with the L Series and the L9 in particular. There are only one downside in the hardware design which I raised but apart from that it's a very classy phone to hold and be seen using. The L Series is certainly a well thought out and designed range of phones and LG is definitely a respected hardware manufacturer who has delivered a quality product in the Optimus L9.
Improved Sense user interface
The HTC One S is simply a fine smartphone. It shows that HTC still knows how to build devices that elicit feelings of lust and desire, and it shows further that the company realizes that its Sense interface has seen better days and needs to get back to the basics. And the basics are what the One S does best. Call audio? Check. Web browser? Check. Camera? Check. Aesthetic appeal? Double check.
Very good call quality
The HTC One S might be the middle child in the new One lineup, but it can't realistically be called mid-range just because the screen is qHD instead of HD. Upper mid-range would be a good fit, if you are a categorization nazi. We loved the compact and sturdy design with a very light and premium feel. In fact, the One S feels higher-end in the hand with its sexy slim metal body, toned by the anodized coating, than the flagship One X, made of fancy plastic.
Beautiful slim but strong design
The HTC One S is a really difficult phone to judge. On the one hand its plasma-etched and super-slim design, fast processor, decent screen and good camera all add up to make this a major improvement over top phones of last year and certainly competitive with many current handsets. But, on the other hand, that plasma finish may not be as tough as first thought, it only packs 16GB of storage and the AMOLED screen is far from perfect.
The HTC One S is one of the top Android phones. The HTC One X has a bigger, higher-resolution display and LTE connectivity (not much use in the UK for now). Hopefully the call quality issues I experienced with my test HTC One S are an isolated incident. The lack of a storage expansion port is a shame, but other than that the HTC One S is a winner.
Stunning design, lovely display
The HTC One S is one of our top picks among Android smartphones. Not only is it one of the few to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, we also like the evolution of HTC Sense. The gorgeous, elegant and durable anodized aluminum unibody casing, impossibly thin profile and attention to detail are hard to beat among Android phones and the Super AMOLED display is super colorful and sharp.
Dual-core Snapdragon S4
Sporting a thinner and lighter design, the One S doesn't deserve to be hidden in the shadow of its pricier brother. With the latest dual-core Snapdragon S4 and noticeable improvements to HTC's Sense UI, as well as Android 4.0 and a potent camera, this phone is likely to play a large part of the manufacturer's renewed efforts after a shaky 2011.
If you can somehow see through the boring design of the Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, you'll find a superb Android smartphone that manages to be a good device in the mid-range category. In this day and age, it seems that the sweet spot for mid-rangers tends to be at $100, and at $150 with a 2-year contract, some might think the Relay 4G to be overpriced. Instead, we find it fitting knowing that it's one of the few Android smartphones being released nowadays with a fantastic keyboard â??
Dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset
Overall, it is hard to call the Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G the company's finest effort at the QWERTY theme. Given the relative lack of competition, combined with T-Mobile's traditionally large crowd of hardware keyboard lovers, the handset will likely sell well, with its buyers bound to pick one up with their thumbs, not their hearts
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