Color variety, Simplified Android experience
Sporting an outstanding outright price of $179 for the base model, it's something many people believe to be mind-boggling. Just when we thought $349 for the Nexus 5 was pretty darn good, but this obviously takes the cake. It's unlocked, there's variety with its color casings, and the Android experience is also easy to understand, so it's hard not to like it. All told, Motorola is defining what it means to be an entry-level player.
Great value, Decent screen, Slick interface, Android 4.4 incoming
Motorola is back folks, it's official. It may not be the return we would have predicted - there's no flagship phone stuffed full of the latest tech - but arguably what the now Google-owned firm has done is even better.
The Moto G is a top notch, low cost smartphone and we wholeheartedly recommend this as the best budget mobile currently on the market.
A Google phone for the masses. At long last. Nothing like the enigmatic Nexus, drip-fed through the Play Store, attractively priced but hard-to-get.
OK, go ahead and call the Moto G the poor man's Nexus. Just don't call it cheap. For what it has to offer, this phone is beyond cheap - but doesn't look it. And definitely doesn't act like one, for the most part. Bottom line, it's the Nexus 7 of smartphones - perhaps even better.
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.
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.
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.
High-resolution display, Fast processor
An alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active - with such impressive characteristics and top-of-the-line hardware specs - is pretty hard to find. As of this review, the Sony Xperia Z is the only capable competitor to Samsung's tough handset as it is also water-resistant and with high-end hardware specifications.
IP57-level water resistance is nice
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is not the best smartphone in the Samsung lineup, but if you add "that I can put in water," things definitely change. It's a very good 2013 flagship aimed at people who until recently had very few options - as you can see there aren't many high-end smartphones with water resistance.
Sure not everyone needs to have an IP57 certified handset, but if it doesn't cost anything in terms of overall smartphone performance than it certainly doesn't hurt having it.
Able to handle dust, water, and all the vicissitudes
We really like the Galaxy S4 Active. It's got the kind of features that we wish the flagship smartphone has. There is a downgrade with some specifications but they don't seem like a big sacrifice. Performance is excellent and the neither display nor the camera could be described as poor. If you want durability, this is the Galaxy S4 for you but it's worth checking out the Xperia Z as an alternative.
Same great features as Galaxy S4 though the camera resolution is demoted
If you love the Samsung Galaxy S4, but work or play in harsh environments where the phone comes into contact with water and dust, then the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is for you. In order to keep the price the same as the regular GS4, Samsung dropped the camera quality down a notch, but you're still getting a very good shooter than can even photograph fishies underwater.
Wow just wow
The Samsung Galaxy s4 active is probably the phone to have right now on the market. Although pretty pricey it is literally a "Smart" phone. The phone may be a little bit bulkier than the other phones in the past, it is life proof, literally. When I purchased the phone the first thing I did was test it to see if it could last in water. I poured water straight into the sound output then played music straight after, and the sound quality was perfect.
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.
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.
Handles 3D games flawlessly, Great call quality
There is no such thing as a perfect smartphone, and the Sony Xperia SP won't be the one to break that rule. However, looking at its pros and cons after testing it extensively, we can confidently conclude that its a mid-range smartphone worthy of attention. It is a capable multimedia device suitable for those who want the benefits associated with high-end devices ??
Lower price, Impressive specs
Although not blessed with the looks or specs of the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia SP is a phone that still deserves a raised eyebrow of appreciation thanks to the combination of spec list and likely price.
The body is smooth and feels quality in the hand, and while the screen is slightly dwarfed by the larger chassis, there's no doubt this is a phone that could fly off the shelves if enough people get fed up with the notion of spending loads of money each month on a handset.
Beautiful and well-built
Sony is doing the right thing by offering a midrange smartphone hot on the heels of their two flagships. Last year, HTC had a similar thing going on with the One X and the One S but failed to capitalize on the width they had through those two excellent devices. We're yet to see whether or not Sony will do better but if you're looking for a capable smartphone in the 300 euro range, the Xperia SP should be high on your short list.
Excellent range of connectivity options
The Xperia SP is a very likeable mid-range phone. It's reasonably powerful for the price, has a stellar line up of features and looks pretty fly too. However, Sony needs to iron out a few quirks in its software, and the phone's battery life isn't quite as impressive as specs would suggest.
An impressive mid-range Android smartphone
The Sony Xperia SP has the spec and price of a mid-range Android smartphone, but when you actually get the device in your hands and start using it any ideas of it being mediocre go out of the window. It really is a class act, so if you're looking for a good phone to browse the web, perform tasks quickly and take decent photos with at a price that won't break the bank, then you really should consider the Xperia SP.
Nice design, frame feels solid in the hand
The Sony Xperia SP is a good mid-range phone. There's power and flexibility on board and there's the performance to back it up, aside from a few minor quirks.
The design of the handset is good too with the metal frame giving the SP a nice solid feel. We're not sold on the flashing bar however, it just seems a little too much at times, especially when you're lying awake at night, watching it illuminate your bedroom.
The camera performance isn't great.
Great design, able to change colors of LED alerts
The Xperia SP could have been a great smartphone with its solid build and great design. However, the poor display and camera performance lets the phone down. Retailing at S$598 in Singapore, the handset seems aggressively priced, especially against the HTC One SV (which has a street price of around S$500 but lower specs). The smartphone will also make its way to other parts of Asia, though Sony has yet to release further information.
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