Color variety, Simplified Android experience
Sporting an outstanding outright price of $179 for the base model, it's something many people believe to be mind-boggling. Just when we thought $349 for the Nexus 5 was pretty darn good, but this obviously takes the cake. It's unlocked, there's variety with its color casings, and the Android experience is also easy to understand, so it's hard not to like it. All told, Motorola is defining what it means to be an entry-level player.
Great value, Decent screen, Slick interface, Android 4.4 incoming
Motorola is back folks, it's official. It may not be the return we would have predicted - there's no flagship phone stuffed full of the latest tech - but arguably what the now Google-owned firm has done is even better.
The Moto G is a top notch, low cost smartphone and we wholeheartedly recommend this as the best budget mobile currently on the market.
Jaw-dropping value, Great screen, Great performance
The Motorola Moto G is one of the best phones of the year, and the first time we've seen a phone of this calibre launch at under £200 SIM-free. That it's so much cheaper than £200 is a minor miracle. This phone deserves to sell by the bucketload.
Great screen, Low price, Blazing performance
Although the issues we take with the Nexus 5 are considerable, they're not enough to keep us from recommending this device.
One of the issues we have, which is the lackluster camera, might be resolved with a software fix. And even if it were a minor fix, it's not so bad that you'll never be able to take good photos with it.
What really gets us here is what we're not used to seeing, and that's a device with these kinds of specs at this price point.
Impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price
Last year's Nexus 4 had great-sounding specs on paper but the choice of the hardware components wasn't as flawless. The screen had poor contrast and washed-out colors, the camera wasn't up to scratch and the white paint job came well after the black version. Yet, for that price then, no other premium smartphone was even in the same conversation.
Great features at a low price with no contract commitment
The Nexus 5 isn't the best smartphone on the market. In fact, there isn't a "best phone", because folks' needs are different: some want a small phone, others want lots of software features and still others want a phablet or a pen. The Nexus 5 is undoubtedly the best smartphone you can buy for just $349 full retail. It has a great mix of features for the price including a very fast CPU, a sharp full HD IPS display and the promise of always running the latest OS.
Value for money, display, lots of power, Android KitKat brings some exciting new elements
There's a lot packed into the Nexus 5, particularly given the £299 and £339 pricepoints for 16GB and 32GB respectively. For that money, you get a display that rivals devices that cost some £200 more, and a chipset that is, in many cases, more powerful. In addition to that, you have a Nexus device, meaning it's uncluttered by bloat and first in line for Android updates.
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.
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.
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.
Plenty of decent software refinements, battery life with Stamina mode
The original Z is bettered here, but in the fast-paced landscape of mobile phones it's not the best of the best. The physical size is chunky - a little bit too much for our liking, and we think others will feel the same; either go for one-handed comfortable use or super-sized Galaxy Note size - and the presence of lots of capable competitors out there means the Z1, despite all its positives, doesn't shine as brightly as its spec sheet would suggest.
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.
Stylish and well-built, Superb 20.7MP camera
There's a lot to this phone, and its high-end credentials are not in doubt. It looks good, feels great in your hand and the Sony speciality of waterproofness remains a key, if gimmicky, feature.
The camera is good, though Nokia's Lumia 1020 will give it a hard run. And though this phone is too big to suit every hand, if the size isn't a problem this is a very powerful, fast, highly enjoyable handset.
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
Blackberry may after all manage to stay afloat, one way or another. Its software and services are still worth a lot, so betting everything on that and giving up on actually making hardware may as well count as a happy ending of sorts - Nokia's the one to ask about that. The Z30 though stands little chance against the kind of rivals we just looked at.
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.
Good still photos, Cool design, Nice call quality
The Desire 500 is a pretty good shot at the booming lower midrange market for HTC, fusing together an entry-level screen and processor, which, however, do their jobs fine, with some more upscale features like a good 8 MP camera and an eye-catching, youthful design lines.
Here To Charm
In the end, the HTC Desire 500 will likely be the obvious choice for everyone who wants their smartphone to stand out from the crowd. And it's not the typical looks vs. brains dilemma either. The Desire 500 isn't likely to impress with speed and performance, but it won't disappoint either. For anyone coming from an entry-level droid, or even a feature phone, this one's definitely worth a look.
Nice, classy design, Bright and clear screen
The HTC Desire 500 is a very good phone that's perfect for light, relatively undemanding users who don't want to put up with the very cheapest phones around. But enthusiasts looking for a good deal are better off looking at the Nexus 5, which offers a lot more for not that much more money.
A great mid-range smartphone with impressive specs and performance
The HTC Desire 500 is a great-looking device, with tons of unique software and solid mid-range smartphone specs on board. It's hard to find any real weaknesses with the phone, including its reasonable £199 price tag. To sum up, it's simply a very good mid-range Android smartphone.
Bright display, Sturdy build
Who's going to buy the HTC Desire 500? Well, we're not entirely sure. If you love the software on the HTC One, but don't have wide enough pockets then it could be for you. But, if you're solely focused on price, the Motorola Moto G is a clean Android and cheaper, while for around £80 more you can get a Nexus 5 with an amazing spec sheet and 4 times the internal storage, plus LTE.
Attractive design, Affordable price, Decent screen
The HTC Desire 500 looks cool, has a decent lineup of specs and at only £199 SIM-free, won't force you to empty your bank account to buy it. If you're after a decent all-round phone that stands out from the other budget Android blowers, it's a good choice to go for.
Nice design, Quad-core processor, Competent camera
For the most part, the HTC Desire 500 performs well, squeezing the best out of its mid-range components and looking good while it does it. The WVGA screen will put off buyers looking for the better resolution, which seems to be a staple of other mid-range phones.
Bright display, Price, Good main camera
We used our Desire 500 review unit over the last couple of days. The smartphone is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core SoC and supports the common wireless standards WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS and even NFC. Contrary to many HTC devices you can expand the internal storage (4 GB) and also replace the battery. A display resolution of 800x480 pixels is not up to date anymore and cannot compete with the HTC One Mini, for instance.
Largest display in a Nokia Lumia phone so far
The Nokia Lumia 625 comes with a fairly large 4.7" display and 4G LTE on a budget, but there are a few things that hold it down. We like the smooth performance and the fun colors, but the low-res display seems out of place on today's market. Moreover, the average camera and limiting 512MB of RAM are all considerable downsides.
Free lifetime voice-guided navigation
Yes, phones like the Lumia 625 are all about the right balance between price and equipment. The Finns are not exactly keeping it a secret - the marketing of the 625 is riding on the big screen and affordability. At a little north of £200, the Lumia 625 is targeting users who would go for the screen estate regardless of the compromise they'll need to make elsewhere.
Good value, Decent performance
The Nokia Lumia 625 is one of the cheapest 4G phones you can get. It's colourful, stylish and has the same Windows Phone 8 OS as other Lumia phones. However, the screen is disappointingly low in resolution. With a 720p screen this would be a corker. In its current form this is a cheap 4G smartphone that's not quite the finished article.
Solid design and build, it has a big display if that's what you crave
Even though the 625 is all about budget, it's a long way removed from its precursor, the Lumia 925, and the love we have for it feels proportionally distant. We love the Lumia 925, but we can't say we love the Lumia 625 so openly.
Bargain price, Colourful, changeable shells
It's easy to be impressed with the Nokia Lumia 625 thanks to its colourful, replaceable shells, stellar performance and great build quality. The qualms with Windows Phone 8 are still lingering, though this could easily be sorted with a few high profile app release.
We can even forgive the middling, low-res screen just because the device is priced at the low-end of the market.
High build quality, Great price-to-performance ratio
The Acer Liquid Z3 won't win any beauty awards, but it feels refined and dependable - it's certainly capable of carrying its own weight if you're looking for a primary device on the cheap, though it would also make a perfect work/secondary phone, especially the dual-SIM version.
Good battery life, Dual SIM, Storage can be extended
The performance is not great, but it is sufficient for everyday use with the Google Android OS, which is available in an updated version. Price-conscious buyers, who are satisfied with the most basic of smartphone qualities, should pick this smartphone up without a second thought.
Good camera, Vibrant Display, Ergonomic build
To cut it short, the Acer Liquid Z3 could have and would have been an amazing phone if it was released probably a year ago. It offers a great balance of things from the vibrant display, the good camera & the solid build quality along with the flip cover. The big catch with that however is - for Php4,490, you can get much better options with the competition - ones that don't run on low-resolution displays & ones that are using quad-core MediaTek chips instead of the dual-core kind.
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
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. The uninspiring screen and subpar camera will hold it back, but with a dual-SIM option it should still be able to do well in emerging markets where WP8 handsets like the Lumia 520 are on the rise since they beat the low-end Androids in terms of specs.
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.
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