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.
Good-looking and high-quality exterior
With the Xperia Z1, Sony has finally become truly competitive. The Japanese company has been experiencing great difficulties during the last few years, but after a relatively lengthy transition, it's finally caught up with the big players of the wireless industry.
Handsome looking brute
The Sony Xperia Z1 marks the second rebirth of the company's premium take on what a smartphone should be like. The Xperia Z was a great foundation and laid the groundwork for the company to expand with the Z1. Yes, the naming scheme doesn't really make sense, but nowadays manufacturers are very frivolous with the names of their products. But we digress.
The company has matured its OmniBalance design philosophy by ever so seductively continuing to use aluminum and glass.
Xperia Z gets tuned but puts on weight
Sony has upgraded its fantastic Xperia Z. The Xperia Z1 feels nicer but is unfortunately bigger and heavier. It's a powerhouse with an all-round impressive specification. Easily one of the best Android handsets around but the high price tag taints this slightly.
Pros: Plenty of decent software refinements, battery life with Stamina mode.
There's a lot to love about the Sony Xperia Z1. It's a valiant effort, but not infallible. We like the the design overall, it's a smart-looking device that exhibits plenty of quality and there's stacks of power under the hood of that 5-inch HD display.
Beautiful tempered-glass design, fairly good battery life
The Sony Xperia Z1 is one of the better smartphones to debut in the later half of the year. While its raw performance is similar to the LG G2, the Z1 stands out with the use of better materials, water-proofing capabilities and most importantly, an impressive camera.
Thin and light premium design
The Ascend P7 is a great-looking handset with a premium feel and a nice specs sheet. Its eye-catching chassis design also makes it one of the thinnest and lightest Android 5-inchers out there, and an ambassador of Huawei's engineering prowess. The phone is a nice upgrade over its predecessor, as it offers a good 1080p display, and improves on the weakest spots of the
P6, like the camera quality, and the 3D gaming performance.
The Huawei Ascend P7 surely does at least one thing right - stand out visually in the Android crowd.
It was probably the P6 that put Huawei on many people's map, but the Ascend P7 intends to make the brand a fixture in the mobile industry. Ours is of course a mostly Western perspective as Huawei is already extremely popular in its home market and Southeast Asia.
The Huawei Ascend P7 surely does at least one thing right - stand out visually in the Android crowd.
Firm's best smartphone is sleek and affordable but let down by software
Huawei has produced a stunning smartphone in the Ascend P7 and this is couple with good value for money with that non-flagship price tag. There's some decent hardware on offer here, particularly the camera but the P7 is let down by software performance issues.
Pros: Thin and light design, ample performance.
Huawei has made a decent smartphone in the Ascend P7. It's a considerable step up from the earlier P6 model thanks to a larger scale 1080p screen and a design that avoids treading into the "oversized" category. Is it enough to keep the other well-established big guns at bay? There's a mixed answer to that. One area we feel isn't quite as strong as the competition is battery life.
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.
Extremely high pixel density screen, over 300ppi
The specs on the Xperia Z are what we expected from the rumors. It will be a 5" 1080p display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, LTE, a 2330mAh battery, and the highly anticipated new 13MP Exmor RS camera sensor. As we saw in leaked images, the Exmor RS camera sensor will allow for HDR video recording, and a newly announced feature is that it will also offer a 10fps burst mode at 9MP. The phone also has NFC and a microSD card for those of you looking for that.
High power camera
There's no doubt that Sony has stepped up its game with the Xperia Z. We were pretty unimpressed with the screen quality when we first saw the handset sitting nonchalantly on the table, and if you're not using the phone straight on, then you may not think you're staring at a top-end smartphone.
But that aside, the rest of the device impressed us hugely.
Killer looks to match the wealth of skill and power
The Xperia Z is a burst of confidence and inspiration that will rally the troops and send a warning to the opposition. Another message is delivered too, loud and clear: Ericsson is no longer a haunting shadow. Sony has moved on.
Sleek, strong, waterproof design
A mixture of high-end handset supremacy and a few small niggling issues, the Sony Xperia Z takes the Japanese manufacturer so close to smartphone superstardom, only to fall at the final hurdles.
Overall, the Sony Xperia Z is a device that impresses on first use, continues to please over time and which, thanks to its high-end specs collection, will remain future proof well into your two year contract. That said, the battery concerns surrounding the device are hard to overlook.
Pleasing UI and software customizations
Sony's top smartphones get better with every generation, and the Xperia Z is a worthy contender to fight the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Fans of the Xperia line and Sony's software will no doubt love the phone, with the possible exception of battery life, but those who aren't loyal to the brand may find the durable metal casing and better display on the HTC One and the myriad features and replaceable battery on the Samsung Galaxy S4 more captivating.
Classical design, Refined UI, Fantastic camera UI
The Sony Xperia Z is unrivalled, and it will be until the HTC One lands in March. While not perfect, it's a fantastic all round phone. Provided neither the Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S are water and dust resistant, Sony's offering will always have a point of differentiation.
Sony Xperia Z, I finally switched to Android
The phone is very very fast and responsive, I was impressed. I really like the widget that allow you to access to different phone configuration very quickly. Turning wifi, bluetooth and GPS OFF in just 4 clics. Every thing is faster with Android, access to configuration, killing running application, switching application ... Apple should learn something here.
The 5 inch display is just gorgeous, every things look great... photos, videos, web browsing ...
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.
Very good 1080p display
When the OneTouch Idol X came last year, it was the thinnest, lightest, and cheapest 5â?? handset with a good 1080p display. Its Idol X+ successor, however, will have a steeper climb ahead of it. Granted, the phone has remained relatively compact, and has received important processor, battery capacity and storage upgrades, but the $400 launch price has remained unchanged.
Alcatel's Idol X+ is an extremely compelling offering despite its shortcomings.
The Alcatel Idol X+ has its downsides. Take the lack of a microSD slot and the non-removable battery, as well as the now ageing Android version and the low loudspeaker volume. The fact of the matter is the Alcatel's Idol X+ is an extremely compelling offering despite its shortcomings. While our benchmarks proved that Mediatek's "true" octa-core chip can't rub shoulders with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, the X+ still has a lot going for it beyond mere horsepower.
Huge long-lasting 3200mAh battery
Most puzzlingly, the HTC Butterfly S is available now, at a time when the very similar HTC One is also on sale. Our guess is that HTC just targets a different markets with the Butterfly S. Otherwise, the handset is just as expensive as the HTC One - it's clearly HTC's other flagship.
Would we recommend it? We don't think the Butterfly S is everyone's cup of tea, but those who crave maximum battery life and a great display, won't be disappointed.
Powerful performance, good low-light camera, brilliant screen
The HTC Butterfly S packs better specifications compared with the HTC One, but doesn't have the great industrial build. If you're the type that prefers the fastest hardware, then the Butterfly S is the one for you. Otherwise, stick to the better-looking flagship One.
Fast quad-core processor delivers great performance
If you thought Xperia Z is amazing, but could make do without the waterproof part of it, Sony's got you covered, as it introduced the Xperia ZL sibling, with an even more compact design. With its 5.18" x 2.74" x 0.38", it is shorter than the Z, and a soft-touch curved back nestles it comfortably in your palm grip. The microSIM and microSD slots are situated under a large flap at the back bottom, and the phone is graced with a dedicated shutter key, unlike the glassy, watertight Z.
Compact handset that fits the bill
The most compact FullHD five-incher is the Xperia ZL's defining feature - and the emphasis is on compact. But ... the Xperia ZL is a FullHD five-incher after all, and for Sony having two horses in the flagship race must feel good. Plus, there's always people who like to cheer for the dark horse.
1080p display is gorgeous
Should you run out and buy an Xperia ZL? In a word, no. There's nothing expressly wrong with it: I rather like the design, which feels modern, if a bit run-of-the-mill. It performs well, serves up plenty of battery life for average use cases, and even has a nice camera once you get used to its limitations (or aren't especially picky). But there are just too many great options out there, and while the Xperia ZL won't disappoint, your money will be better spent elsewhere.
Unlocked with 4G LTE, very good camera
If you're fond of Sony's smartphones and software experience, the Xperia ZL is particularly attractive as a no-contract smartphone. It's fast, the UI is clean and pleasing and the camera is very good. Here in the US, I suspect no-contract high end phones are beat out by carrier subsidized models, but for those of you who appreciate an unlocked world phone or perhaps aren't due for a subsidized upgrade, the Sony Xperia XL has its appeal (especially because you can use it on both AT&T and...
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