Long battery life, Has all the S4 features & more
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is simply one balanced performing smartphone! At $300 with a 2-year contract, there's no denying the fact that it's an expensive cost, but as we've come to learn, the hefty pricing does come with some perks. The phablet category saw some new entrants into the space this year, but the Note 3 continues to be the best in its class.
Huge full HD display, S Pen digital pen, fast CPU
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is king of the phablets, as was the Note II. Heck, before the original Galaxy Note, there was no such thing as a phablet. Good thing Samsung was cheeky enough to give oversized smartphones a try. The Note 3 is currently among the fastest phablets; only the Sony Xperia Z Ultra shares the Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 graphics for now, though we expect that to change as the months pass.
Improved looks, hugely powerful, 4K video looks epic
There are a few little things about the Note 3 that we think require some attention, such as photo processing and possible concern over SIM region-locking. These feel like software issues though, and that gives us some hope that they might be fixed at some point in the future.
Aside from that, the leap forward from the Note 2 is pretty epic. The included S Pen is great for handling the new air command interface, while handwriting recognition is more accurate now.
Crisp, bold screen, Very powerful
Its huge 5.7-inch size means the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 really won't be to everyone's taste. If you're after a big screen, however, and a phenomenally powerful phone to help tackle anything your working life is likely to throw at it -- and you fancy hand-writing notes with a stylus -- the Note 3 is the best massive mobile around.
Great battery life, Excellent screen, Top-notch specs and performance
If you don't mind feature clutter and the device's high price, or you just want a big-screen phone that has the fastest internals for gaming and multitasking, the Note 3 is the best phone for you. But if a big screen and good performance are mostly what you're after, there are other big-screen options, and there will soon be more. If you can live with a lower-resolution screen (that's still pretty great) and the absence of the S Pen, Samsung's Galaxy Mega is a good choice.
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.
Scaled down S4 design, Bright screen, Excellent camera
As for those wondering whether they should buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini instead of the Samsung Galaxy S3, truly that is something that you will have to decide for yourself. But the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini more than makes a case for itself, with the upgraded software, decent battery life and 4G tech more than giving the Samsung Galaxy S3 a run for its money.
Looks like its bigger brother but fits in the hand better
The Galaxy S4 mini is a great mid-range option, offering the same styling - which includes the same mediocre build quality - as its flagship counterpart, with a cheaper price tag. The cameras are good but the screen and storage are both under par. Consider the HTC One mini or the Nexus 4 as serious alternatives.
Fantastic styling, nice size, great screen
The Mini remains a solidly built, likeable and surprisingly capable phone. TouchWiz and the included apps are, for us, not exactly welcome these days - we'd prefer a more "Google" look, but there is so much extra functionality here with Samsung's services that we can't argue that these customisations aren't necessary.
Fits great in the hand, Nice screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a little frustrating. It has the pieces to make it an affordable alternative to some of the gargantuan top-tier phones, but it falls short of the mark.
It's not, as the name suggest, simply a mini version of the Samsung Galaxy 4, but a completely different phone with wildly different specs and the only part that's the same is the plastic-fuelled design. The wait for a really good small screened Android phone continues.
Good value-for-money for a convergence device
Oh, and if you have to have a convergence phone/camera device with optical zoom for whatever daily reason - well, nothing can rival the chubby S4 Zoom then, and Samsung has priced it pretty well to boot, just slightly above its S4 Mini blood brother, throwing in the whole camera part for cheap.
Battery life is decent
It's almost impossible to score the Galaxy S4 Zoom. It is such a niche product. £400 buys you either not much phone or a lot of camera. Actually, it buys you both. But whether that makes it a good deal depends on your needs: do you want a superzoom camera that can make calls and send and receive emails? If so this is the phone/camera for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
Responsive camera, physical controls make for ease of camera use
As a phone the S4 Zoom has us equally as charmed as the S4 Mini - it's snappy, great to use, has plenty enough power and is a decent size. As a camera the S4 Zoom performs like a reasonable 16MP, 10x optical zoom compact camera too. Married together and the potential of both sides opens up: there's no need to switch between two products so no waste of precious bag or pocket space, while using apps, snapping shots and sharing on the go are just a few finger taps away.
Very slim and compact handset for the screen size
Samsung is apparently not aiming the Mega 6.3 for the mainstream user, but for those who want the largest screen in the most compact package aimed at media consumption. It already has a strong direct competitor in that category, however, in the face of the excellent Huawei Ascend Mate, and if Samsung overprices the handset, it might be disappointed in the sales results of the Mega 6.3.
4G and microSD support, Large, bright screen
In the end, we are left feeling a little confused by the Samsung Galaxy Mega. Every time we pick it up, we really want to like it. Samsung proved with the original Galaxy Note, and the subsequent Galaxy Note 2, that big screens really do sell phones, and we can see exactly why.
But that Galaxy Note 2 comes with an AMOLED screen, and the same resolution as the Galaxy Mega but in a screen that is 0.8 inches smaller so seems that bit more impressive.
Good mix of flagship features
At a lower price point, the Mega 6.3 will be a great midrange deal. Modern smartphones are quickly growing out of the "phone" part and everything else - web browsing, email and chat, watching videos, using apps and playing games - is better on a bigger screen.
Large screen effective for multi-tasking
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 is essentially a giant version of the Samsung Galaxy S3. It doesn't quite have the up-to-date specs of the Galaxy S4, making this phone all about screen inches. And you need to be all about screen inches too, as the sheer size of the otherwise-accomplished phone makes it tricky to use one-handed.
Great battery life, superb internet device, feels responsive
As good as the Mega is, it's not going to be for everyone. We can't give it a bad mark just because it's big, though, because it also succeeds in being really rather good. But it is kept short of a higher score by limited internal memory, a problem that isn't getting any less troublesome as time goes on. We also wonder if people considering this phone might be better off with the Note 2, which has more features and can be bought for not a huge amount more cash these days.
Bright clear full-HD 6.3-inch TFT display
The Mega isn't the next Galaxy Note despite its size, but it does have its charm, especially if you like the S4's design. Those who don't want to wait for the Note 3 have a viable alternative in the form of the Mega, though it's not as powerful. The Mega, at S$798, does seem like a tad expensive for the handset's performance, but bear in mind you're really paying for the large display, which is a key feature for those who want to consume media on their smartphones.
Battery charges quickly, and lasts for a long time
While it may save you some dollars up front, I can't quite see the Galaxy Mega 6.3 being the go-to device for the general consumer. The Galaxy S 4's 5-inch display is big, an the Galaxy Mega 6.3 makes the Galaxy S 4 feel like a tiny baby in comparison. However, if you are aching to get your hands on a phone, and not a device that's even remotely trying to act like a tablet (in the software department), with a huge display, then I don't think you'd go wrong with the Galaxy Mega 6.3.
Large 720p display that performs as well as it looks
With all Windows Phones running nearly identical software and Microsoft employing strict hardware minimums it can be challenging for manufacturers to differentiate their products. Nokia has already chosen to focus on the camera, and HTC is producing their typical top-notch hardware. Samsung's Android approach has been to include an excess of niche software customizations, but with the less open Windows Phone platform they are not able to do this.
Nice screen for a mid-range smartphone, Good battery life
If you're on Sprint and are specifically looking for a Windows Phone, the Samsung ATIV S Neo is a better option than the HTC 8XT, largely because of its higher-resolution screen and better battery life. And while it requires an extra $50 initial investment, that's a tiny portion of what you'll pay over the required two-year contract.
Good picture quality
When Samsung slapped the slogan "Enjoy the New Mobile Essentials" on the Galaxy Ace 3, it meant it. The phone is a very mild upgrade over its predecessor the Ace 2, and only the LTE version offers more internal memory and a faster 4G radio, which will likely come at a heftier price.
The price will ultimately be what determines the Ace 3 success, as, besides the Samsung branding and newest Android version, it doesn't offer much differentiation in the sea of humble midrangers.
Inconsistent performance, Unimaginative design
Motorola's "exceptionally powerful, exceptionally priced" Moto G has also shaken things up in the mid-range market and in its wake, made phones like the Galaxy Ace 3, less relevant. The Ace 4 will have to offer more for less, and right now, the Ace 3 doesn't offer enough, but asks for too much.
4G connectivity, Expandable storage, Samsung stylings
The Galaxy Ace 3 has an adequate set of specs for the price, but neither its screen, software or performance match the Motorola Moto G's, which costs half as much. Unlike the Moto G though, the Ace 3 does offer 4G and expandable storage -- the only reasons to go for this phone over Motorola's.
System performance is good enough for all the latest games and apps
The 4-inch Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 GT-S7275R is relatively cheap and has no Achilles' heel. Its dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8930 SoC allows the Android smartphone to turn out decent performance with which it can run all the latest Apps and games fluidly. The nice interface and high-quality workmanship and build quality are further plus points alongside the above-average bright display.
Thin and light for a mid-range device
First and foremost, there's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus is a capable and well-made mid-range smartphone. It has preserved many of the traits that made the 2-year-old Galaxy S II land in the pockets of over 40 million people worldwide, such as the slim profile, the great performance, and the high-grade camera gracing its back.
But at the same time, we can't hide our disappointment from the fact that there's nothing to justify the "Plus" in the smartphone's title.
Jelly Bean out of the box
The Galaxy S II Plus is a solid, if not spectacular, smartphone. Its dual-core chipset is good enough for the WVGA screen, while the latest version of TouchWiz adds plenty of cool tricks to the already feature-rich Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It may not be stuff from your dreams, but it's shaping to be a reasonable package that can get a lot of work done
High-contrast AMOLED screen, Smooth user interface
The bottom line is; the S2 Plus has clearly earned its purchase recommendation, even if the current price of 300 Euros (~$390) is definitely not a bargain. Consequently, the Nexus 4 remains to be the unchallenged star in the Android camp for enthusiasts who place particular importance on the latest hardware (at least in this price category).
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