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.
It's a looker - compact and stylish
The Sony Xperia M is a phone with good looks, streamlined user interface that we actually like, and a powerful chip for its class. Not a bad combination, is it? It has its downsides - we wish the screen was a bit better, but our biggest complaint right now is price. The handset sells for prices of between $200 and $250 off contract, and that is a bit steeper than weÃ¢Â?Â?d like for such a device.
Offers a relatively big and sharp screen
Sony has had some very strong contenders at the entry level: the Xperia U was the cheapest dual-core you can get for a long time and the M is its spiritual successor. Most phones in this price range have Cortex-A5/A7 chipsets and can't shoot 720p video.
The Sony Xperia M has a lot going for it - attractive design, compact size and good build, and a reasonably powerful chipset for the class.
cheap Android phone is okay, but there are better budget phones
Well built and designed, and with great battery life, we can't be too harsh on the Xperia M. Performance an connectivity is good enough, but these days for this price we want better from the display and camera. Not a bad phone, but there are better rivals on the market.
Quality build, Available in four colors
Sony's 4-inch Samurai proved to be a little hot-head that fits in every pocket due to its compact size in the test. We particularly liked the quality build and the strong graphics unit considering it is an entry-level phone. The Xperia M also scores with its phone qualities. The message LED is a nifty and useful feature that has been implemented well in the design.
On the other side, the middling screen is at the top of the list.
Can capture 1080p HD video
As someone who sporadically uses Facebook, the HTC First has zero appeal to me as a "Facebook phone." I could just as easily download the app and run it on another device. Furthermore, Home isn't impressive enough even for frequent Facebookers to warrant buying a new phone. The HTC First only makes sense for people in the market for a new midrange device.
Minimalist design, Modest price point
Knowing that other smartphones are going to be blessed with the new Facebook Home experience, we can't tell you to go out and buy the HTC First strictly for that experience. Instead, we recommend it most for its affordable $99.99 on-contract cost with its vanilla Android experience (once Facebook Home is disabled) and minimalist design. As for the Facebook aspect of the smartphone, it's decent starting point that undeniably will satisfy those who live and breathe Facebook on a daily basis.
Finally, a 5-inch LTE-capable stock Android phone
The HTC First is a good phone, but not for any of the reasons being highlighted in its marketing. It's compact, durable and has great LTE service from AT&T. It could become the next cult Android device, and might even be the last decent dual-core handset ever made. Sans Facebook Home, it's exactly the type of device we wish we'd see more often.
Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
There is hardly a smartphone, which matches the HTC First's talents completely. The so-called "Facebook phone", despite some of its limitations, is a perfect fit for anyone who thinks that an Android smartphone with a screen larger than 4.5" is going too far. It is therefore, the sidekick, which perfectly complements the HTC One flagship.
Solid mid-range device, jumps out of the spec-race
The HTC First is a mid-range phone at best, and we've made that clear throughout the review. But that's not to say the specs here aren't plenty enough to handle what Facebook Home or stock Android has to throw at it. The HTC First is incredibly snappy, handling most tasks with ease. The cameras need improvement given the social nature of this phone, but they do get by.
This smartphone will especially appeal to the entry-level smartphone buyer whoÃ¢Â? Â?
Decent screen, Well built
The early signs are positive for the Sony Xperia L which brings a decent set of features to the bottom end of the market and although it won't be as cheap as the likes of the ZTE Blade 3, Huawei Ascend G330 and Nokia Lumia 520, it will still register as affordable for a lot of people.
Generally it copes with everything pretty well and while there is a hint of slow down every now and then that's expected from cheaper handsets.
Seriously good camera for the price
Overall, the Xperia L is a package that fits in its midrange spot nicely. It's an adequately powered smartphone and an above average cameraphone. There seems to be enough appeal there for common-sense buyers - and that's something to build on. Without a doubt, the Xperia L should be grateful to the Xperia U for the momentum and to Sony, for doing the right thing.
Impressive camera for price
The Sony Xperia L is no Xperia Z, but then it was never meant to be. What it tries to do is take as many of the great qualities from the flagship Sony phone and blend them into a cheaper, more affordable body and it does a generally decent job of it.
The 8-Megapixel camera is a slick performer and the build is surprisingly quite good even if we are not entirely convinced by the sharp bezel.
Unimpressive performance, Some software bugs
With its black, arched design and silver details, the Sony Xperia L is definitely among the better-looking budget phones. Its older version of Android and software bugs really let it down though. The Google Nexus 4 is a much better phone all round and only costs £10 more.
Sturdy build, DLNA streaming and NFC
If it sticks with its attractively low price point, the Huawei Ascend G510 could be a winner at the budget end of the market, offering up a screen that's larger than most in its bracket.
The Emotion UI overlay may not be to everyone's taste, but we can see it helping those who are new to Android and to smartphones in general.
Core IPS tech is decent enough
We like the Huawei G series. It has provided the cash-strapped with some great, and affordable, Android phones. However, the Huawei Ascend G510 will need to sell at a bargain price to seem worthwhile. Some of its core specs are worse than those of its direct predecessor and we're not all that convinced by the Huawei Emotion UI. We'll be back with more in our full review, assuming the dual-SIM G510 comes to the UK.
Cheap, solid, works as you'd hope and expect
It might sound as if we don't like the G510. In fact, we think it's a capable enough phone, and that's reflected in its score. The problem for us is really just that we've seen it all in this price range. Each year, or even more frequently, there's a new low-cost handset from Huawei that fills a need, but it's nothing to get really excited about.
Unpleasant, bloated Huawei software
The Huawei Ascend G510 has one of the biggest screens you'll find in a phone under £150, but it's really let down by Huawei's awkward software, which seriously saps the dual-core processor's power. Its outward design isn't going to win you any style points either.
Apps generally run well, excellent battery life
Huawei's Ascend G510 is a bargain smartphone for those on a tight budget. Packing in decent dual-core performance, a surprisingly crisp and colourful 4.5-inch screen and capable five megapixel camera, itÃ¢Â?Â?s far from a budget experience. Only the lacklustre design detracts from a great value package.
Good performance, Low temperature, Decent battery runtime
Huawei does not make promises it cannot keep for its Ascend G510. Despite a budget price of currently 160 Euros (~$209), the entry-level device includes everything that can be expected from a good smartphone. This is the high-quality build, the very big and bright 4.5-inch LC display and numerous communication modules on the hardware side.
Good performance, Low temperatures, Enhanced sound via DTS
Huawei describes the Ascend G525 as an entry-level smartphone, but the review unit offers more quality than the low-end term would suggest. This starts with the good case: Even though it is only made of plastic, it accommodates the good 4.5-inch display, a 5 megapixels camera with decent picture quality as well as two slots for SIM cards.
Laggy performance Too big and heavy
There is definitely a market for the Ascend Mate, but we don't belong to it. If you are someone who doesn't mind using two hands to hold a phone, someone who carries their handset in a bag anyway, then it could be the phone for you. You'll be rewarded with amazing battery life if you decided to choose a Mate.
Bigger screen, a faster processor and - quite possibly - a lower price
However, we remain unconvinced by the Huawei Ascend Mate. It has a big, huge, massive screen. But isn't it too big? We've leaped over many screen size hurdles over the past four years, but when you need to start wearing surfer shorts to accommodate a new phone, isn't that something else? Perhaps we'll learn to love the Huawei Ascend Mate in time, but for now we'll stick to our Samsung Galaxy Note 2s.
Lags when performing processor-intensive tasks
If extended battery life and a huge screen for web browsing is all your after, then the Huawei Ascend Mate will see you right. However, those after an immersive gaming experience might find the processor lets things down a little. Waiting for Samsung's Galaxy Mega 6.3 might be a better option.
Sensibly priced, big screen is very useful and the quality is good
So with everything considered, the price, the brilliance of the phone in general, we have to say the Mate has earned our respect. We liked it from the moment we took it out of the box, and it just kept impressing us. This is one of Huawei's finest, and we hope it does more like this.
Very bend and torsion resistant
In the end, there are only two areas where the Huawei smartphone is not so impressive. Those would be the completely average image quality of the integrated cameras and the occasional soft background noise that we heard when phoning a landline, regardless of where we were standing. Altogether, the Ascend Mate imparts a really good attitude and is a looker with definitely more to offer than just a large display.
Display offers a comparable image quality
I am personally a big fan of phablets so I was really excited to discover the Huawei Ascend Mate when it was unveiled at CES 2013.
The product design quality is similar to my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 except for the lack of stylus, additionally, the display offers a comparable image quality. I am a little concerned with the fact that the device is slightly too wide for my hand, there is a tipping point where the user experience might stop to be agreeable with this type of form factor.
Elegant and compact design
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is a lovely mainstream smartphone. All of a sudden, the Galaxy S III's nature-inspired design looks and feels right in your hand. The device is easy to hold and operate, while its 4-inch screen is big enough to provide a comfortable and pleasant experience for smartphone users.
We won't really recommend this one if you're a diehard geek who wants the biggest and baddest device possible, but we can certainly recommend it to pretty much everybody else.
Scaled down design, Android Jelly Bean
We really liked the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. It ticks all the right boxes, and comes in at a very decent price. The truth of the matter is, though, that it's launching right smack bang against the Google phone, the Nexus 4.
Every time we looked at the Galaxy S3 Mini we were impressed. It beats the Nexus 4 in many areas, it has microSD support and a fantastic interface, but the Nexus has the impressive stock Android.
Android 4.1 with Samsung TouchWiz UI
At £270 on a PAYG basis, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is cheap enough to attract the masses, but for that price, we would certainly recommend looking beyond the alluring branding on the box and target one of the boundary-pushing, specs-impressive offers around the same print point.
This is a truly unlocked international phone, the UI can be set to any language from the long list. It's sad and understandable why Samsung won't sell it in US as it is twice as cheaper than its big brother Galaxy S III. The screen is gorgeous, the phone is very fast and responsive. The size of this baby is perfect for both men and women, unless one prefers all those "bricks" with huge screens. I love this phone!
Low resolution screen compared to original
The Samsung Galaxy S III mini is a downgraded version of the flagship Galaxy S III in both size and power. It will attempt to appeal to those who find flagship Android phones too big to handle but aren't necessarily interested in top-end specifications.
Slim profile, Samsung apps
The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini looks like a Galaxy S3 but has been stripped of all the things that made that smartphone the T3 smartphone of the year. It doesn't look as nice as an iPhone 4, doesn't have the camera skills of Sony smartphones and has a lesser screen than the Motorola Razr i.
The real killer is that it doesn't cost that much less than a Galaxy S3 which means, once you've seen one, it's hard to accept second best...
Decent battery life and call quality
The Galaxy S3 Mini has a very similar design to the S3, but internally it uses a significantly slower processor. It still delivers a pretty slick user experience thanks to Android Jelly Bean, but the screen and camera aren't on a par with those of the S3. It also seems overpriced, especially as the vastly superior Google Nexus 4 undercuts it by around £60.
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