There is, quite simply, no better Windows Phone smartphone on the market than the Nokia Lumia 800. It features wonderful hardware in terms of both design and quality, and Microsoft's operating system runs more smoothly on the Lumia than on any other Windows Phone to date. This phone is a flat out winner, and a great alternative for those that wish to rise above the flood of iPhones and Android smartphones that we wade through daily.
Solid, stylized design
And so it begins, Nokia's partnership with Microsoft has reached fruition and the first taste is in our hands. Bearing in mind how quickly Nokia got this to market, the custom Nokia Apps they pulled out of the bag and the reformatting of MeeGo hardware to fit a Windows Phone platform, we can do little but commend. The Nokia Lumia 800 sports a beautiful screen, slick design and promising OS only made more attractive by the inclusion of Nokia Maps, Drive and Music.
Although we had our doubts during initial familiarisation with the Nokia WP7 environment, the transition from the Symbian environment will be much less painful than expected for those still entranced by the Nokia brand. In less than 48 hours we went from wanting to return to our old phones to not wanting to let go of this one. After four months with the Nokia Lumia 800 we still don't want to let it go, although we have had to accept some of its negatives to make the most of its positives.
The Nokia Lumia 800 is a well built and handsome handset with a solid set of features. However, its combination of mediocre specs and mostly standard implementation of Windows Phone certainly doesn't catapult it above the competition. It's definitely one of the better Windows Phones, and the Nokia exclusives like Nokia Drive and Mix Radio have the potential to be great features, but considering the fanfare, we're a bit underwhelmed.
Comfort is quite good
As much a fashion accessory as it is a headset, Nokia's BH-800 mono Bluetooth headset puts on a good show despite its compact size. Its mediocre range and average battery life are likely both consequences of its design, while the rubber-encircled speaker insert is less so; still, comfort is quite good once the initial (and cumbersome) adaptation has been carried out, and the headset's easily-distinguished keys and good quality further contribute to a positive overall impression.
Sturdy and sleek construction, with a vivid display
The Nokia Lumia 800 is probably Nokia's best smartphone so far. It has a sturdy and sleek construction, with a vivid display, paired with refreshing software from Microsoft. If you are just upgrading to a smartphone or you have one of Nokia's Symbian devices, then the Lumia 800 is a stellar upgrade: it's fast, easy to use and it looks great.
Sturdy, elegant design
The Nokia Lumia 800 is probably Nokia's best smartphone so far. It has a sturdy and sleek construction plus a vivid display, paired with refreshing software from Microsoft. If you are just moving up to a smartphone, or if you have one of Nokia's Symbian devices, the Lumia 800 is a stellar upgrade: It's fast, it's easy to use, and it looks great.
The mid-end price point coupled with the simplistic Windows Phone OS and the unibody chassis of Nokia N9 is definitely a good buy. The Nokia Lumia 800 definitely is a great choice to include to your to -buy list.
However, the drawback will be the limited applications available for Windows Phone (for now) and the absence of mass storage. Overall, you will find it a pretty decent partner to go with, especially when it is priced at RM1650.
As it represents Nokia's first effort in the U.S. with a Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone, it's hard not to feel disappointed with the Lumia 710. It doesn't turn any heads or break any new ground in design or performance, and there are some issues with the quality of the components in its construction.
Free turn-by-turn directions with Nokia Drive
Behind the lights and glamor of being the first Nokia smartphone to arrive in the US with Windows Phone on board, there's some expectations riding with its release. However, we're simply not convinced that the Nokia Lumia 710 is going to be THAT device to bring Nokia from the ashes, but rather, we'll have to wait a bit longer to find it. It's not to say that it's a totally boring device, but it simply lacks the star power to propel it over other recent Windows Phones.
Intuitive user interface
Although we would buy the Nokia Lumia 710 over the HTC Radar, it's overshadowed by the Nokia Lumia 800, which impressed us a lot more and makes the Nokia Lumia 710 feel more like its cheaper relative than we would have liked. We know that the phone costs less, but the cost savings feel too apparent.
The Nokia Lumia 710 is competing in a very tough game. Mid-range WP7 handsets have virtually identical specs and clear advantages over competitors are hard to come by. The Lumia 710 carries Nokia's pedigree and some exclusive software, which have a lot of appeal, but newcomers to the brand might not be so easily convinced. However, in a world full of ageing Symbian smartphones, there should be plenty of business for the Lumia 710.
Slick Windows Phone OS
The Nokia Lumia 710 could have been the first budget Windows Phone handset to attract users in large numbers, but the inherent limitations placed on Nokia by Microsoft, along with a couple of poor design choices mean it falls just short of being a great budget handset. However, if Nokia gets the pricing right, it could represent great value for money for those looking to take their first step on the Windows Phone 7 platform.
Bargain priced smartphone with solid specs and good quality
There's a lot to like in Nokia's first US Windows Phone. The bargain price belies a solid set of features; quick performance and an elegant though not thin design. Call quality is excellent, the camera takes good photos and the phone is fast. Gaming is fluid and fun, the Zune music experience is as ever enjoyable and streaming video plays well over T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. If you're looking for an easy to pocket smartphone that's wallet-friendly, the Nokia Lumia 710 is worth a look.
When you stack the 710 up side-by-side with its sexier sibling the 800, you'll be hard pressed to find exactly what keeps this particular Lumia 90 points lower on the Nokia totem pole. It's certainly not the specs, as both handsets are nearly identical in that respect -- powered by a 1.4GHz MSM8255 processor, 512MB RAM and boasting the same undersized 3.7-inch screen, plus or minus the display tech.
Large screen, attractive design, HTC Sense 3.0 user interface enhancements
The HTC Sensation XL is a really nice handset to use, thanks to that large display and decently quick 1.5GHz processor, as well as Android 2.3 and HTC Sense 3.0 keeping things interesting. The 8 megapixel camera isn't bad for an HTC camera phone, either, and the XL is a well built and handsome device, too.
However, there are a handful of niggles that sour the overall experience.
Great audio quality with Beats
Speaking of which, the price is the biggest stumbling block for Sensation XL as it stands. As a mid-range, big-screen handset, HTC would be onto a genuine winner here. But the price puts it in the firing line of the Sensation XE, the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the iPhone 4S. And, frankly, it comes out at the bottom of that list.
Slim and well built handset
The HTC Sensation XL is a strange beast. On the one hand it's stylish, slim and well made with a nice interface but on the other it has a strangely large screen for what otherwise smacks of a mid-range handset. As for the Beats side of things, there are bound to be some people that like the headphones and if the price is right this may prove a great bundle but we've never been sold on any of the Beats Audio by Dr Dre products and this doesn't help convince us.
Good amount of internal storage
The HTC Sensation XL is a solid and high quality phone with skull-splittingly loud audio playback through the supplied Beats Audio headgear.
You get a good camera that copes well in most conditions and the fast processor means that there's virtually no shutter lag. Scrolling through web pages and maps is super-quick and games load quickly and play like a charm.
We only have one real moan with the XL and that's the decision to not include a microSD card slot.
An all-round impressive offering from HTC the Sensation XL is a leader on the audio front a barely a half step behind the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S and its dual-core siblings in terms of overall performance. The latest powerhouse to enter the smartphone fray, the brand associated with Beats audio is sure to see the XL become a massive hit and rightly so.
As it did with the Desire HD this time last year, HTC proves again that bigger is better. The 4.7-inch display makes everything bigger, easier to touch and better to read, without the screen showing its pixels and looking fuzzy. The camera is a corker, and the everyday user experience is excellent.
With its intuitive operating system skin, the HTC Explorer would make an excellent first smartphone. But it may not be as much of a treasure as first thought as it's not quite hitting the budget heights we thought it would - it needs to drop a few pounds per month to be a truly cheap-cheap handset.
Sense user interface
If you've owned an Android phone before, the chances are that the Explorer is not really going to appeal, as its specification is just too basic. However, if you're looking for a handset that would serve as a sensible first dip into the world of smartphones, then the Explorer's good build quality and neat Sense user interface makes it a good, if not exactly spectacular, option.
Easy to use & Easy to customise
The HTC Explorer represents great value for money. It's very easy to get to grips with and the layout is easily customisable. Overall performance is very smooth for a phone of this price and will more than satisfy those after an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone.
Our only real criticisms of it are that some may find it too small. That and that the flash-less 3-megapixel camera isn't very good.
Cool pebble-like design
The HTC Explorer, at first glance, reminds us of a black pebble that has been weathered in a river bed for a long period of time. By that, I mean, it's a solid black device that has nicely curved edges all the way around it. It ultimately feels wonderful in the hand even all the hardware buttons line up with your natural finger placements.
Gingerbread OS 3.0
To wrap up, the call features of the phone are just fine and the voice quality is pretty clear at both ends. But take this one; the phone's battery longevity does not live up to the expectation. But considering the overall performance, the HTC Explorer deal is worth-grabbing this winter.
The advantage of a relatively low-powered screen and processor is that the modest 1230mAh battery should be able to go a few times round the block without a recharge and sure enough, this one gave a little over two days of consistent use. Indeed, the HTC Explorer covers just about all the smartphone basics very well at a decent price making it a good introduction for Android newbies.
Very poor call quality
We can't help but like the Sony Ericsson Xperia active, given the multitude of accessories you get out of the box, not to mention the weatherproofing and pre-installed fitness apps. We even grew to like the protruding bottom as it houses the lanyard which we found ourselves using all the time. Unfortunately however, nothing saves the Xperia activeÃ¢?? s call in-call speaker. It really is a shame and weighs heavily on our rating.
Fast and usable camera
It's another good performer from Sony Ericsson. The Xperia Active is little more than the company's Xperia Mini in a chunky, water-resistant case, but if that's what you want... this is it. We're used to 'outdoor' mobile phones coming in awful shells and lacking features, but that's not the case here. The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active is a fast, usable, modern smartphone, that just so happens to be a bit better sealed off from rain and coffee than most.
After a number of years in the wilderness, Sony Ericsson (soon just Sony) is finding its feet again. The Xperia Active is a well-made, carefully thought out, specialist smartphone for those who love the outdoors. It is rugged, portable, comes with an excellent bundle including a runner's armband and has snappy performance which belies its run-of-the-mill specifications.
The Xperia Active is an interesting phone. We took too it pretty quickly, and while it isn't the sort of phone that we would probably buy, if you want something tough, water resistant and designed for workouts, then this is really an ideal phone. It's a little bit too expensive to replace an MP3 player, but if you take exercise seriously, it's the same price as a Motorola ACTV, for example, and offers you a full mobile phone too boot.
Solid-feeling Android phone
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active is clearly pitched at sporty types looking for a phone that also makes a good running companion (the phone even comes packaged with an arm strap that contains a clear plastic wallet for the handset). If this is what you're after, it's a brilliant device. We submerged the phone completely in water, made calls on it, took pictures and recorded video; we really did give it every excuse to break down.
Although it has a rather small screen, the Xperia Active isn't lacking in any other department. With a robust design, decent camera and nippy processor, this is the perfect handset for adventure-addicts who desire a rugged smart phone but don't want to compromise on functionality and power.
Android-exclusive feature - rugged smartphones
The Xperia Active is priced at Rs. 19,500 (MRP) and the increasing difference between the Rupee and Dollar is taking its toll on the pricing of smartphones as well. We're mentioning this because just a few days back, the market operating price for the phone was around Rs.17,500. The only competition at present to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active is the Motorola Defy+, which we'll be reviewing shortly, so stay tuned for that.
Good battery life
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Active is available at a recommended retail price of $498 (inclusive of GST) without a line contract. Compared to its immediate rival, the Motorola Defy ($528), the Xperia active is a better alternative for its overall better performance. However, with the Motorola Defy spending a significant amount of time in the market, you can expect a reduced price point from retailers if you look hard enough.
Offers plenty of cool Android features
The X10 Mini Pro is heavy on the cute factor, and its slide-out QWERTY keyboard makes this phone much more usable than its tinier sibling, the X10 Mini. But it's still not the most practical phone for all users. It offers plenty of cool Android features, but the phone is just too small to really take advantage of all of them.
Feature rich phone
The Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro is a handset that requires many caveats before recommendation. If you're looking for a powerful and feature rich phone with as small a footprint as possible that has a physical keyboard then it is without equal. However, if you're simply looking for a good budget smartphone then there are other handsets we'd recommend.
A cool and cute little smartphone with all the power of Android in a pocket-sized format.
We're fans of the Xperia Mini Pro for the simple reason that we're seeing something different. The slide out keyboard is surprisingly easy to use despite being squished into a smaller space, and the larger screen makes using the phone a lot easier than the previous version we used.
Decent QWERTY keyboard
The Xperia X10 mini pro is an engineering feat, but we don't buy phones because they are a certain size, shape or colour performance always has to come first. The X10 mini pro includes all of the features you'd expect from a smartphone, fast web speeds, Wi-Fi and GPS, a good suite of apps and an online store to expand its functionality, and it packs it all into a unit that is about half the size of a standard phone.
Fast, fluid performance
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini could be tempting if you're considering upgrading to a smart phone, but don't want one of the massive, sun-blocking slabs that are all the rage at the moment. Its screen is surprisingly spacious, given the phone's amazingly small case, and it even shoots HD video. If it turns out to be as usable as we expect, it could be a winner.
Beautifully crisp and responsive ClearBlack screen
All in all, it's a lovely phone for someone who wants to dip in and out of smart phone capabilities without losing either the phone element or most of their pocket space.
It's a discreet smartphone, one for a businessperson perhaps, who doesn't want to pull out an obnoxiously large piece of kit every time they want to make a call.
Comprehensive video support
With a top-quality Gorilla Glass screen and part-metal build, the Nokia 700 instantly feels like a top-quality device. The display carries this on too, using a great AMOLED panel. Sure, it's a smaller phone than many but hardware wise it almost seems surprising how you can get this handset for free on contracts of £20 or less. However, all becomes clear when using the phone as it's limited by the constraints of Symbian, with disappointing app support.
Superb call quality
A lovely little phone. It's a bit small for the larger fingers, but even if you have fat fingers like us, the phone still manages to understand what you're typing, most of the time. The build quality and design are second to none, and although Symbian is far from perfect, Nokia has tweaked it to the point where it's more than usable on a touchscreen.
Fantastic build quality
The Nokia 700 is a solid addition to Nokia's line-up, it's small, stylish and speedy, with a great screen. However, some may find it a little too small and Nokia's app store still lags behind rivals, in choice compared to the Xperia Ray. However, this is still a solid mid/high-end smartphone.
In short, the Nokia 700 occupies a spot in-between featurephone and smartphone, both in Nokia's own line-up and the market as a whole. If your priorities are staying connected without staying tethered to a mains socket, making occasional forays onto the web and all in something that won't dominate your pocket or purse, then the Nokia 700 could well be the first Symbian device we'd suggest you consider.
Resistance to dust, water, and shock
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover combines the functionality of an entry level Android-powered smartphone with the ability to withstand dust, shock, and water damage, which is a profile that few handsets can match. Our only major complaint is that its display is of very poor quality. However, since the Xcover retails for about $330, we would definitely recommend checking out a few tough alternatives.
Well protected microSD card slot
Samsung has made rugged handsets before, and not done too bad, but this is the first time the company has brought rugged features to an Android smartphone, and we aren't all that excited, because the general specifications are average rather than great.
If we were choosing a rugged smartphone right now, we'd choose the Motorola Defy+ rather than the Samsung Galaxy Xcover. Sorry, Samsung.
It is one of the best phones I have ever owned. The Corning Gorilla Glass is durable and scratch resistant. It has a great battery life, which is good, especially when you are on the move, using GPS. The Play Store has 1000's of apps to choose from. The phone has an amazing build quality, and is very tactile as well, the display is well lit, and it's easy to customise your phone, to your own liking. It is great for taking rainy day pictures when nothing else can survive.
Solid and comfortable feel
As we said before, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover manages to combine the functionality of an entry level Android smartphone with the ability to resist to dust, shock, and water submersion, and this is not something many handsets can do. One of the biggest drawbacks, however, is the poor quality of the display.
Considering the Xcover retails for about $300, which is rather pricey, you should also consider some alternatives, such as the Motorola DEFY+ or the Sony Ericsson Xperia active.
Screen resolution on the Xcover is a disappointing
Overall, it's got some nice features, but there's not enough to make it stand out. It's not often that Samsung misses the mark, but the Xcover is a definite misstep. It's mostly a case of too little, too late for this rugged phone that doesn't stack up against its cheaper competitors.
Superior messaging experience
Just looking at the name probably brings a lot of similarities with the Motorola CLIQ, but the CLIQ XT substantially sets itself apart in many ways. Sure it's got no physical QWERTY keyboard that most people feel to be beneficial at times, but the CLIQ XT's superior messaging capabilities clearly make it jump straight to the top of the heap with its responsive feel and touch.
Mediocre 3G reception
No kidding, it's not a Nexus One. But then it costs much less and you can take it to your local T-Mobile store if you have problems. The Cliq XT isn't a power user's phone, but it's a solid Android handset. We confess that we prefer the Cliq on T-Mobile and the Backflip on AT&T, not just because of their hardware keyboards but because they're a bit quicker and look much better. The Cliq XT doesn't look Motorola, it looks more like a cheap Asian handset.
Solid feature set
All in all, the Motorola CLIQ XT is a good mid-range Android device with a solid feature set that should appeal to many. Though one could compare the device to the original CLIQ, I find that the feature set and form factor separate it and make it an independent competitor that's worthy of a look. The thin size makes it perfect for the pocket, and the rubberized buttons at the bottom of the unit seem perfectly equipped to handle the test of time.
Good form factor and decent build quality
At Rs.12,990, the Fire XT is too expensive for what it has to offer and quite frankly even if it was cheaper, we wouldn't recommend it since it's simply not a very good phone. It does have some things going for it like a good form factor and decent build quality, functional music player, Gingerbread and a good battery life but the cons outweigh the pros quite significantly. It's slow to use, the screen is of very poor quality and average camera performance.
Sharp looking Super LCD display
For all the high-end hardware accompanying the HTC Incredible S, its arrival is somewhat late to the market and doesn't quite seem impressive versus other newer Android smartphones. Although it proves to be one well-rounded handset, which is evident by its wonderful platform experience, there are devices out there that simply have stronger presence right now since they're priced similarly such as the Motorola ATRIX 4G and LG Optimus 2X.
We know why you've come here: you want to know if we think that the HTC Incredible S is the phone you should be going for. Well, if you're thinking that the HTC Desire HD was a great handset, but the screen was a little too large and the battery life was a real worry, then you're in for a treat - this is the phone for you.
The Incredible S is one of the better Android handsets on the market right now. It has a great screen, is speedy to use and has a good camera. However, we think the design is a tad ugly and it doesn't offer much that's new, especially compared to the dual core Android phones that are starting to appear.
Attention to social-media detail
If you going to call something Incredible, it should really stretch the boundaries of imagination or perform feats previously thought to be beyond the realms of possibility. The HTC Incredible S does nothing of the sort, but there's plenty to like here and we were charmed by some of the device's attention to social-media detail.
Large Super LCD display
The HTC HD7S is currently our top pick among Windows 7 Phones. However, we understand if you opt for the also capable Samsung Focus for its Super AMOLED display and slightly more pocketable form factor. The Focus is currently less expensive since it's been in AT&T's lineup since November of 2010, but we wouldn't be suprised if third party dealers offer the HD7S at very attractive prices.
Sense UI makes Android feel polished
The Droid Incredible is the best Android device that you can purchase in America right now. It's better than the Droid, better than the Nexus One, and certainly beats the pants off of any previous generation handsets like the Eris, myTouch, or Cliq. It's not just a very, very good Android phone (though it is); it's also an excellent smartphone no matter how you cut it.
Experience is very good
We've been downbeat about a number of things the HTC Incredible S offers. It's worth stating again that this is an excellent phone and the experience is very good. But it isn't so far removed from HTC's most recent Android phone. Sure, it is snappier and more fully featured than the Desire of last year, but in terms of performance it isn't that different from the Desire HD.
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