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.
Good physical keyboard
Nevertheless, folks who absolutely must have a hardware keyboard should be happy with a BlackBerry Q5. Chances are they won't be able to find a better alternative anyway, other than the pricier BlackBerry Q10. Those who don't need one, on the other hand, better look elsewhere. The HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 720, for example, are both good, compact phones that also runs a platform as fluid and responsive as BB10.
Fast web browser, HD screen
The BlackBerry Q5 is one for the aficionados who can't afford, or refuse to splash cash on the highly priced Q10, with the solid BlackBerry typing experience at the heart of everything it does.
Without knowing the price it's difficult to say how it will stand up against other handsets, but anyone who isn't a BlackBerry fan and is in the market for a reasonably priced smartphone probably won't be taken with the Q5.
Cheap BlackBerry 10 phone with keyboard is a mixed bag
It's a mixed bag when it comes to the BlackBerry Q5. It's cheaper than both the BlackBerry Q10 and Z10 and a lot of its hardware specs are better than we expected. However, build quality isn't inspiring and while BlackBerry 10 is smooth with good features, a shortage of apps remains a downfall.
Poor camera, small screen
If you're a legacy user of BlackBerry and are itching to get a slice of BlackBerry 10 without committing a huge slice of money, then the Q5 won't disappoint. If you're just in the market for an affordable and functional smartphone though, there's plenty of other options that offer more for less.
Most affordable route to BB10
All these things, the slightly sluggish performance, the generic design and a price that's not all that compelling make the BlackBerry Q5 a smartphone that's difficult to get excited about. It's not without merit, but it doesn't feel like the cheap and cheerful Curve replacement we want it to be.
Boasts a full QWERTY keyboard
With two high-end devices already out it makes sense that BlackBerry would return to its established emerging markets and make a phone that would be deemed "affordable".
What will be most interesting however is seeing just how affordable it really is, sporting many of the same specs as the Q10 many users could be in for a shock when BlackBerry does finally release pricing information.
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.
Likeable design, Great screen quality
Nokia has covered pretty much all price points with its Lumias, with the 520 and 620 being even cheaper, but if you plan on going that way, keep in mind that you are going to get what you're paying for. We also don't encourage you to purchase the Lumia 820, because it simply lacks the finesse of the 720. Yes, it has a slightly better processor and a bit more RAM, but specs don't really matter much when real-life performance speaks otherwise.
Slick OS, Good camera, Attractive design
We really like the Nokia Lumia 720, it's a great all round smartphone and while it doesn't do enough for us to love it, we would seriously recommend it.
It falls into a difficult place in the market with strong competition from the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini and HTC One S, but both of those handsets are getting on a bit and the Lumia 720 has the vitality of youth in its favour.
Widest aperture on a phone yet
The Nokia Lumia 720 may be some of the best work we've seen from the Finns recently - not a pricy best-of-the-best flagship, but an affordable, well-built phone that packs more than enough features to get users interested. It has its nagging flaws, but as an overall package it's hard to beat.
Higher-end features without a massive display
In some ways, the Lumia 720 is everything we've asked for from Nokia. It's slickly designed and has superlative battery life, the camera out-performs rivals in the same price bracket, and the screen - though lower resolution than we like - is a nice compromise of size, outdoor usability, and general clarity.
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).
Resistant to dust and water damage
Let's be serious, people. The Sony Xperia acro S may not be the best smartphone out there, but it is the ultimate water-resistant Android handset that money can buy outside of Japan. Sure, we cannot deny that it is a bit bulky and its capacitive keys are kind of tricky to use, but its flaws are greatly outnumbered by its advantages, such as the catchy design, high-resolution display, capable camera, and rich multimedia feature set.
Good camera, Great array of multimedia apps
Sony certainly hit its stride in 2012, hitting on a solid and unique looking design ID for its smartphone products. The Acro S falls in line with the rest of the family in this regard, but fails to really stand out from the pack, too.
Having a rugged option is good, but there are trade-offs in size and weight to make, and if you don't feel like you're at risk of destroying your phone, then you'd be better off choosing an Xperia S, or something from Samsung or HTC instead.
Very solid smartphone
In conclusion, the Sony Xperia acro S is a very solid smartphone. It didn't manage to beat non-water-resistant smartphones at their own game (which is too much to ask of any such smartphone, realistically speaking), but it does the task it was created to do quite splendidly. Here's hoping that Sony will take good care of it and issue an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update in a timely manner.
Great outdoor phone
This phone finally looked promising combining a rugged design with solid performance. Its specifications are exactly what I wanted: a good processor, a lot of ram, decent battery runtime, microSD slot and even Ant+ support (for heart rate monitors etc.).
I especially like the feeling that everything is well thought through, for instance the charging dock, to preserve the water protection of the USB port.
Homogeneous screen illumination
Sony's Xperia Acro S wants to merge completely different areas. On the one hand, it is to be a multimedia device with all modern features and on the other, it has to fulfill the requirements of an outdoor sport device. The question remains whether an athlete wants to do sports with an almost 150 gram (~0.33 pounds), 4.3-inch smartphone. Looking at things separately, it meets all the requirements because the installed hardware is more than adequate and passed all executed performance tests.
Water-proof and dust-proof
The Sony Xperia Acro S separates itself from the pack by offering features that other flagship handset can only dream of water-proof and dust-proof. It's the perfect handset to bring to the beach or on a trek to the rapids of Cagayan de Oro, probably even for surfing.
Consistent smooth performance
Oh BlackBerry! We had some serious high hopes with this smartphone, well, more with the new platform of course. In the US, it isn't going to arrive until March, where it'll be sporting that golden price of $200 with a 2-year contract. First impressions are key, right? Well, we can't say that the BlackBerry 10 is a darling of a gem with its design, which is a shame to tell you the truth, since solid industrial designs can really be the first line of defense to garner some attention.
Great web browsing
The Z10 is a decent smartphone offering up a strong range of features and a fancy new operating system that may catch the eye of the technologically adventurous.
It does pretty much everything we'd expect from a high-end device and there are no major flaws to go running to the presses about.
That said, the Z10 also lacks any killer selling points.
Well-designed, solid device with sleek design
BlackBerry is keen to shake off the old image and the Z10 couldn't have been farther away from being a phone for suits. Don't get us wrong, it can handle business tasks and even do it better than old BlackBerries. But finally users - and we mean all kinds of users - will be getting a full-time deal. And in modern smartphone terms, this is well beyond the usual nine-to-five.
Convention-defying multi-tasking centric homepage
It's still a little early to fully judge the BlackBerry Z10 as it could be the case that a few quick software updates and a flurry of new apps quickly put it strongly into contention. However, as it stands it comes up a little short.
On the hardware front BlackBerry hasn't done much wrong. The design is a little dull and the plastic back a tad cheap looking but overall it's a smart looking device that despite being a black plastic slab actually manages to stand out from the crowd.
Hardware is reasonable
The design and build quality of the Z10 just makes it seem like a cheap plastic iPhone to us. Hardware is reasonable with the screen being the stand out feature and the BlackBerry 10 software makes this the most attractive BlackBerry smartphone to date. However, given the price, the iPhone or a decent Android handset is still a preferable option.
Fast, stable, attractive smartphone that's pocket friendly
The BlackBerry Z10 is an excellent first step, and we're impressed with BlackBerry OS 10's speed, stability and breadth of features. It feels like a mature OS relative to other smartphone operating systems at first launch. The Z10 itself is an attractive piece of hardware and it feels great in the hand. For those who want a phone first and something that's small enough to operate one-handed, it has strong appeal.
I really enjoy the smartphone. The only thing I don't like about it is a tiny internal storage. You get only 1 GB for your applications and data. Of course you can extend that by inserting a sd-card. But unfortunately you cannot install your app on it, unless you root your device. The battery life is even better then I expected. Normally I charge it not often then every other day. Overall it's pretty good rigid smartphone.
Fit for outdoor use, Bright display
Overall, we can certify that the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 completed our tests with good results --considered as if it were a normal smartphone. The fact that it is suited for outdoor use is something like a big bonus. We definitely recommend the Xcover 2 to anyone who wants to have their smartphone with them "at work and at play", sports included. The recommended retail price is rather high, but the street price -- as usual with Samsung products -- is much lower.
Good call quality
If you are looking at purchasing a high-end Android smartphone from Verizon, your choices are currently the Samsung Galaxy S III or the Motorola DROID RAZR HD (and RAZR MAXX HD), as they offer large 720p HD displays, and are using the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor for fast performance.
The Galaxy S III may look more stylish and "flashy", though its plastic construction does have a cheap feeling to it and doesn't hold up well to abuse.
Strong call quality
The Droid Razr HD is a very good phone. The screen and overall design is very handsome. Its dual-core processor is capable, and it only sips battery power. It's a long lasting, reliable device that still has more than enough power to get the job done.
Being exclusive to Verizon is no handicap either, since the company's 4G LTE service is far-reaching and fast.
There's nothing wrong with the device, except for a mediocre camera. It's just that competition is so stiff.
So, all in all, the Motorola DROID RAZR HD's biggest problem isn't that it's not a solid device. Just the opposite it's an excellent performer that is only bound to get better when the updates start coming in (and when you have Google's word for it, you know they will come in). However, on current merit, it's hard to recommend it over the established players in the game.
Good performance for a dual-core handset
On paper the Razr HD may not look all that tempting given its fairly modest spec. However, in the flesh it's an attractive looking phone that feels more robust than the likes of the Samsung S3. It's got surprisingly good performance for a dual core phone too, along with excellent battery life.
Looks awesome and gives the premium feel you want from a smartphone
The Motorola Razr HD offers superb build quality and battery life along with a nice screen and great battery life. However, its £400 asking price means that it's probably worth spending the extra for a rival flagship smartphone or saving some money by opting for the Google Nexus 4.
Durable and refined smartphone
However, I've talked to many that refuse to touch this phone solely because of those buttons. However, if you can get past that, I would definitely recommend this over the Galaxy S3. Both are certainly great phones, but the Droid RAZR HD feels more refined and professional. At least go try it out at your local Verizon store!
Lovely looking, great screen, decent battery life
So there you have it, we have more faith in Motorola's products than Google CFOs do. While you could argue that the Razr HD isn't a "wow" device, you can't really argue that it's bad, because it isn't. And honestly, we really like its design and feel. It might not be one of the new generation of giaganto-phones that are all the rage now, but it will suit that audience who want smaller devices, with plenty of scope.
Excellent signal strength
The Motorola Droid RAZR HD is, simply put, an excellently built and designed smartphone. It's a pleasure to use, and a solid choice for anyone looking for a good high-end device today.
In fact, the only thing that I could see significantly improving the user experience would be to add more memory and more battery power... which is exactly what the RAZR MAXX HD does. Motorola has a clear hit on its hands here, and for a whole bunch of very good reasons.
Dual SIM device with two-source voice and data usage
We thought we'll be throwing up as soon as we see 480x800 WVGA resolution on a 5" screen, but in reality it is pretty usable for everyday tasks. The rest of the specs are adequate as we have a decent dual-core processor, a well-performing 8 MP camera, and the ability to add storage via the microSD card slot.
Thus if you have been longing for a huge screen phone that manages two SIM cards at once, it is not that you'll have many alternatives to the Grand DUOS anyway.
Going by the sheer screen size of the Galaxy Grand, Samsung is obviously looking to cater to a crowd that wants the most recent trend in smartphones. The catch is that it's a certain set of users that would love the extra real estate but not pay a premium price. Now, throw a dual-SIM into the mix and you end up with a target audience that will be hard-pressed to find something better than the Grand.
But... Not paying a flagship price entails compromise.
Well-performing 8-megapixels camera
On paper, one of the major drawbacks of the Grand Duos is the 480x800 WVGA resolution on a sizeable 5-inch screen, but, luckily, in reality the display is more than usable for everyday tasks. On the positive side, we should mention at least the decent dual-core processor, the pretty capable 8-megapixels camera, the dual-SIM or the the microSD card support.
Good performance, Dual SIM support with Smart dual SIM feature
There are just a few dual SIM smartphones in the Indian market with a 5-inch display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. We reviewed the Micromax A116 Canvas HD and the Xolo A1000 dual SIM Android smartphones with a 5-inch HD display recently, but the 5-inch WVGA display at just 189 ppi pixel density in the Galaxy Grand Duos is disappointing.
Feels very comfortable to hold in your hands
The Galaxy Grand DUOS is a great device for end users with two sim cards. It is comfortable to hold in your hands and is pretty fast. Also the Nature UX interface by Samsung makes it very easy to use. We are a bit disappointed by the screen, especially the screens resolution might have been a bit higher in our opinion. This would make the icons a bit less big and the PPI a bit higher. The camera and the battery on the other hand are pretty good.
TouchWiz user interface enables much smoother navigation and seamless response
Overall the display is bright, camera has great colour reproduction, connectivity is seamless, and the touch and ecosystem are incredible. The low resolution seems to be the only real drawback of the Galaxy Grand Duos.
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