Excel at battery life, call quality, and data strength
Sequels are rarely better than the original when it comes to entertainment, but they are always better in technology. The nature of advancement and upgrades dictates that improvement is a given, so no one should be surprised that the LG Lucid 2 is a noticeable step up from its predecessor. What might catch some people off guard is that this is a step up from many midrange devices currently on the market.
Free with contract, Pleasing size
Since the LG Lucid 2 is currently available for free with a 2-year Verizon contract, there is a lot to like about the device. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around, the 4.3" qHD display is a nice size with clear text and images, the user interface is well laid-out and easy to use, not to mention the device has good call quality and a larger capacity battery.
You won't get a top-tier display or camera, but it's a good value
Overall, the Lucid 2 is a fantastic deal -- it's a great bang for the buck device at a great price. Sure, neither the screen nor the camera is top-tier, but you aren't paying a high-end price as well. I can't think of a better budget device on the market.
Manageable size, sharp display, removable battery
If you're in the market for an Android smartphone on Verizon but don't want to spend much money for the phone itself, the LG Lucid 2 is easy to recommend. That doesn't mean the Lucid 2 lacks solid competition if you're open to other platforms: from the older iPhone 4, to the relatively new Nokia Lumia 822 running Windows Phone 8 for $50 or less.
Extremely responsive with the dual-core processor
So in closing is the Lucid a device we'd recommend to someone who is considering the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III (or S4) or any other high end device? Nope! Nor does the device deserve any such sort of recommendation. What we will say is for a teenager or a first time smartphone buyer the Lucid 2 for free is a pretty good option, and something worth taking a look at in a store near you.
Powerful processor, Good rear camera
If you have eyes, it is obvious that the LG Lucid 2 is not the most glamorous phone available on Verizon. But with a price of free ($200 cheaper than many competitors), it's not a bad choice for those on a budget. If you can spend an extra $50, we do like the Motorola Droid Razr M a lot, and it is similarly sized, but there isn't much to dislike about the Lucid 2. She could use a prettier chassis, a little more memory, and a higher resolution screen, but all-in-all, we like what we see.
Good display, Adequate performance
There was a time when cheap smartphones were slow and clunky, which made them frustrating to use, but it looks like things are now changing for the better. Of course, the LG Optimus L5 II is far from a benchmark record holder, but it offers performance that is satisfactory and very adequate for its class. Furthermore, it has a screen that is better than what you'd see on similarly priced devices - one of its best advantages over the competition.
Camera shutter can be voice activated
The LG Optimus L5 II is a neat and compact little handset, with a vibrant screen and good battery life. It has some neat features too, including its Quick Memo app and the voice activated shutter for the camera. However, we wish LG had given it a bit more grunt in the performance department, as it can feel a little bit underpowered at times.
Affordable price, Bright screen, Decent battery life
The LG Optimus L5 II is cheap, has a decent screen and pleasing battery life, making it a fair choice for recent smart phone converts. Unfortunately, it's let down by unimpressive performance, and its tiny storage will likely cause a few problems.
Bright display with good viewing angle stability
The LG Optimus L5 II meets the requirements of a mainstream smartphone: It does not really stand out in one category. Inside the pretty simple case is a SoC with a weak processor and limited memory equipment. The internal storage is just too small and the quality of the camera is tolerable at best. The touchscreen with the sticky surface attracts dirt, at least it does not affect the functionality.
Catchy and ergonomic design
HTC has made a mucho sympatico handset with the 8S, shaping it in a two-tone ergonomic bod, with very easy one-handed operation. It has skimped a bit on the camera quality, and not even included one for video chat, but the rest of the readings are solid, and there is even a microSD slot for storage expansion, which you don't see often with HTC these days.
Its direct competitor is the Nokia Lumia 820, which is capable, but more expensive and more unwieldy to handle.
Great social network integration
The HTC 8S is a good all round handset. It doesn't do a terrible job of anything but stylish looks aside it also struggles to stand out.
Pretty much every Windows Phone is great for messaging and social networks and this is no exception, while being able to expand the storage with a microSD card is always appreciated.
Equally the performance is generally pretty slick, which combined with the stylish design gives the impression of a more premium, expensive handset than it actually is.
Excellent build quality and a fresh youthful styling
The HTC Windows Phone 8S is a likeable little handset. It clearly isn't one of the platform's headliners, but it may be the right thing to help the fresh Windows Phone 8 conquer some new territory.
The 8S was meant to make the WP OS more desirable and accessible, and it seems the HTC engineers did a pretty good job of cutting the right corners. The display may not be the standard-setting stuff that we saw in the One X, but it isn't half bad either.
Expandable storage via microSD slot
The Windows Phone 8S by HTC isn't going to blow anyone's socks off with its modest specs. But its design certainly sets it apart from the pack - the range of bright, strongly contrasting colours its available in will put a smile on many a face. Running Windows Phone 8 and with a dual-core processor, its nice and fast, and the microSD slot means you can easily upgrade storage.
Solid performance and features for a reasonable price
The HTC Windows Phone 8S is the first Windows Phone 8 handset to fit into the mid-range price category. As such it's not quite the performer of the high-end Windows Phone 8 devices, but it's not so poor as to make it a bad deal. It offers solid performance and features for a reasonable price. Whether you prefer it to a similarly priced Android phone will depend on your own subjective preference of platform.
When we got our hands on the 8X, we found it to be a worthy flagship, with a good balance of specifications and design. Fortunately for the 8S, much of the design DNA has carried over, which we like. Naturally, the spec sheet differs dramatically, but only as you would expect for a phone aimed at a more mainstream section of the market. Some people might not fancy the sound of a 1GHz dual-core chip or 5-megapixel camera, and these people should indeed look elsewhere.
Affordable & Good camera
You can pick up an HTC 8X for just £180 offline. That's a fantastic price for a phone that looks and feels better than any Android device below £240. When you consider that we're talking about the Google Nexus 4 - an anomalously value-centric device - it just goes to show how great a package the HTC 8S actually is.
There are a few issues though. For starters, stability isn't as good as we'd like and certainly isn't up there with other Windows Phone 8 handsets.
Beats sounds good
The Windows Phone 8S by HTC comes in as an affordable handset for those wanting the Windows Phone experience on a budget. The quirky user experience is delivered here much as it is elsewhere but we can't help feeling, thanks to the specs of the phone, that the 8S isn't too far removed from the previous run of Windows Phone devices.
What you don't get is the additional software that Nokia is pouring into its handsets to boost the offering.
Cheap, Great battery life, MicroSD slot
When you consider the Huawei Ascend W1 will set you back just £120 it's difficult to fault, as you're getting a pretty good deal.
The Ascend W1 comes with a strong set of features allowing you to fully use the handset as a mobile phone, internet portal, handheld gaming device and multimedia station.
It may not excel at any of these things, but that's OK.
Good looking, Colourful design, High quality screen
The Huawei Ascend W1 is a cracking little phone. It feels slicker and faster than most budget Android handsets (which are its main competition), has an eye-catching design, long battery life and good call quality. You don't get access to as many apps as you do on Android or iOS handsets, but if you can live with this then you'll find that at £110 on Pay As you Go from O2 it represents exceptionally good value for money.
All things bright and colourful
At £199, Huawei's Ascend W1 is a respectable entry into the world of budget-friendly Windows Phone 8 devices. It's stylish and solidly built with fantastic battery life and a compact-but-crisp four-inch screen, but Huawei hasn't gone the extra mile like Nokia to try and entice you in with extra apps and services. The lack of apps could be a deal-breaker for smartphone fans, although newbies are unlikely to be bothered.
Good build quality, quite fast
As a mid-price gateway to the world of Windows Phone the Huawei Ascend W1 is an efficient, fast and capable way in. But the camera isn't quite up to scratch, the screen could be a bit sharper, and it has its work cut out to distinguish itself from the small but growing range of mid-price Windows rivals such as the Nokia Lumia 620, which isn't quite as big, or as fast, but comes with a range of extra features for less cash.
Bright, high-contrast IPS screen
Huawei wants to mingle in the still new Windows Phone 8 market with its brand new Ascend W1. The manufacturer's debut is successful. The bright IPS screen is seldom seen in the 200 Euros (~$259) price range and contributes largely to the Ascend's good impression. The above-average, long battery runtime and decent equipment wrapped up in an elegant design are also compelling. The power-duo from Qualcomm is strong enough for all applications and ensures swift routine use.
Screenshots, resize tiles, customize the lockscreen
To conclude, the Huawei Ascend W1 is a strong Windows Phone offering. It has a solid construction, attractive design, great display, decent camera, and a really good battery life. The only real downside we see here is the 512MB RAM as it limits the amount of applications it can run from the Windows Phone Store.
One of the cheapest Android phones from a known brand
The Acer Liquid Z2 stands out only with being dirt-cheap and nothing more, but that's enough for it to draw the attention of budget-conscious consumers. Despite its weak hardware, it is still a usable, full-fledged Android smartphone with access to tons of applications from Google's library. The fact that it comes with Android 4.1 Jelly bean out of the box is definitely a plus, and so is the dual-SIM option, allowing one to use the services of two carriers simultaneously.
Runs Jelly Bean out of the box
The Acer Liquid Z2's main attraction is that it runs the Jelly Bean version of Android. This definitely is a big plus as it makes the phone feel quite a bit more responsive than most budget handsets. However, the Liquid Z2 is held back by its small, low-resolution screen and relatively short battery life. As such, it's a good budget handset, but not a really great one.
Affordable price, Sturdy, portable build
With its low-resolution 3.5-inch screen and single-core processor, the Acer Liquid Z2 won't tempt gadget geeks among you. Its £90 price and Android Jelly Bean software, however, make it a good choice for new smart phone converts or even to use as a temporary phone.
Awesome interface, Great dual-SIM implementation
The LG Optimus L7 II is a dual-SIM handset at heart, meant for developing markets where the feature is hugely appreciated. It arrives for a relatively affordable price of $280 off contract (280 euro in Europe), right at the start of the mid-range segment.
Responsive, precise touchscreen
As was the case with the LG Optimus L5 II, the Optimus L7 II remains rather unremarkable, sporting neither obvious highlights nor glaring weaknesses. This may be a problem for the L7 II since there are already a lot of other great devices on the highly competitive smartphone market.
There are some advantages to LG's new mid-range phone. It is a very functional device capable of running almost all apps smoothly.
Compact to hold and carry around
Overall, we're content with the Samsung Galaxy Stratosphere II. Not only is it more fashionable than the original model, but is quite faster with the dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon S4 processor. The full QWERTY keyboard is one of its main features, and we like how it is laid out and is easy to use for those of you that do a lot of typing. We do wish that the 4" screen was a little larger and higher resolution, but it still does a good job for a mid-range device.
Decent choice -- the keyboard and business features
Overall, the Stratosphere 2 is a decent phone if you'd prefer a keyboard over a high-quality screen. If you want a touch device, take a look at a sleeker device with better options. Nevertheless, if you're coming from a BlackBerry, you'll find a lot to love, since it comes with a lot of business features.
I just got the phone yesterday and it is working great. It is super fast and easy to figure out, easy to work, easy to manage. It is a bit on the large side ( as it fits from fingertip to the heel of my palm) and so is the slider keyboard but that might be because I have smallish hands, otherwise the keyboard is also good. The keys are close together and not to flat or bulky.
Stunning screen, Great for video
The Acer CloudMobile S500 is a fairly impressive handset. The screen is absolutely stunning - one of the best around in fact, and certainly better than others in its price range.
The dual-core 1.5GHz processor can tackle pretty much anything you throw at it. The phone looks expensive and feels good in the hand, and it comes with a pretty solid 8 megapixel camera.
But it's not all good news.
720p screen and the latest Android on board
The CloudMobile seems like Acer's greatest chance so far to make its presence on the smartphone market felt. The hardware is all there and if the company brings a Jelly Bean update quickly enough, this one might go on to achieve big things.
And even before that, the Acer CloudMobile is a great smartphones, the purchase of which you are unlikely to regret.
Attractive design, Stunning screen
The Acer CloudMobile S500 is in many ways a likable handset. It's got a fairly speedy processor, a stunning screen and a gorgeous design. However, it's hugely disappointing that it only comes with the older Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, its camera is weak and its battery life is below par.
Looks good, barebones Android
The S500 is a great device. It's sensibly priced and features the sort of cut-down Android experience that Android lovers will really like. As a result, there's a lack of enhancements over Google's core OS, but that core is a lot more feature-complete than back in the days of 1.6 or 2.0.
Battery life is, we think, a little lame, but this phone has a reasonably modest capacity of 1460mAh.
Responsiveness, Photo and video rendering
The Acer CloudMobile is a great smartphone that's part-mid-range and part-high-end, all at an affordable price. With its excellent display, high responsiveness and good video and audio performances, it's nearly flawless. The only major drawback is the battery life. If you buy a CloudMobile, you might want to keep your charger handy.
Very robust viewing angles, excellent colour saturation
If you are considering buying a smartphone outright then the Acer is certainly worth a look. The superb screen boasts one the highest pixel densities I've come across. It's light too and comfortable in use. Underneath the Qualcomm Krait dual-core processor the Acer CloudMobile S500 has all the power you will ever realistically need. With change from three hundred quid it's one of the smartphone bargains of the year.
Dual SIM support for two carrier networks at once
As for the basic single SIM Acer Liquid E1, the competition in this $200 and change segment is vast and furious - the LG Optimus L9 comes to mind, with IPS screen and larger battery, or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Express, with the same screen size, but AMOLED technology and more internal memory.
With a price of around $140 off contract, the Optimus L3 II has fierce competition among low-end Androids, but not only. We honestly think the small screen in the L3 II takes a lot of the beauty of Android and that's one big reason against buying it. There are phones with slightly larger screens, but even a small increase in screen size makes a big difference for the user experience. The camera is also disappointing even for such an affordable device.
Voice-activated camera shutter
We like the fact that the LG Optimus L3 is small and pocketable and comes with an affordable price tag. It also has good battery life and a neat voice activated camera shutter feature. However, the tiny, low-resolution screen makes web browsing a bit of a chore, it's camera isn't great and call quality could be better too.
Very long battery life, Low price, Handy size
As our tests make clear, the cheap 99 Euros (~$129) Optimus 430 L3 II from the Korean manufacturer LG excels more than anything at "long-distance running". With a battery runtime of over 36 hours in the reading test, and still more than 16 hours in the WLAN surf test, the "battery giant" even beats potent devices like the Apple iPhone 5 - at least when it comes to battery life.
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