Stunning, rich-profile sound
HTC wanted a comeback and it brought its best with the HTC One. It is a brilliant device in virtually every aspect. Coming with a beautiful aluminum body that fits almost organically in the hand, it has a great and vivid, extremely sharp 4.7-inch screen. The stereo front speaker bring a small revolution in smartphone sound that you'll appreciate instantly when you hear it. Performance is flawless on the new Snapdragon 600 quad-core chip.
1080p video recording @ 30fps with HDR mode
So this is it - the One has brought out the best in HTC. It's sure as shooting that five different people will say that about five different HTC smartphones. And at least four of them will be right. But there're certain things that make this one the One.
Excellent build and ergonomics
The HTC One might be the most desirable phone available right now. Its metal-backed body feels fantastic in the hand, its screen is superb, performance is great and Sense 5 offers some interesting new features that you can choose to side-step if you prefer old-style Sense. The UltraPixel camera is a mite disappointing given the ballyhoo made at its launch, but it proves that HTC is one of just a few mobile companies trying something truly interesting.
Stunning design, quality aluminum alloy casing, superb full HD display
The HTC One is the company's best phone yet. You have my blessing: go ahead and buy one. It's not just fast, the display is superb and the design is elegant. Cutting edge CPUs and graphics are Android's bread and butter, much like PCs and it takes more to stand out: the HTC One has what it takes in terms of quality materials, build, design and solid software that doesn't overwhelm. Is it the perfect smartphone?
Snapdragon 600 chipset
Regardless of how well Samsung's soon-to-be-announced flagship does on the market, we'll continue to have a soft spot for the One. Last year, we were very impressed by the One X, but that wasn't enough. HTC pushed itself and made its sequel even more polished than the original. We love the phone's industrial design and the camera, while the Snapdragon 600 chipset and 1080p display aren't bad either.
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.
Decent specs, Well built
The Ascend G330 hasn't been around for long but the Ascend Y300 looks set to usurp it at the bottom of Huawei's smartphone range.
It offers a good array of features for a low-end smartphone and will certainly give the ZTE Blade 3 and LG Optimus L3 2 a run for their low cost money.
No-frills value Android smartphone
The Huawei Ascend Y300 is a no-frills smartphone with little to get excited about in dazzling new features. However, it does the basics well with Android 4.1 software with usable battery life at an incredibly low price. For the money, it's one of the best budget smartphone choices around.
Extreme battery runtime
We reviewed the Y300 thoroughly and applied the same standards we use for high-end devices - despite the fact that the entry level device is four times less expensive than the HTC One, for example. Obviously the Y300 does not want to be the performance king but it is interesting for the user how it handles more demanding tasks and if the retail price of 149 Euros (~$194) is justified.
Icons are crisp, colors are good, viewing angles are okay
The Ascend Y300 is a very capable entry-level smartphone that looks and performs like mid-ranger. With its solid construction, 4-inch IPS display, dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 5 megapixel camera and Android Jellybean, Huawei has certainly set a higher standard for their entry-level product line.
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.
Good performance, Low temperatures, Enhanced sound via DTS
Huawei describes the Ascend G525 as an entry-level smartphone, but the review unit offers more quality than the low-end term would suggest. This starts with the good case: Even though it is only made of plastic, it accommodates the good 4.5-inch display, a 5 megapixels camera with decent picture quality as well as two slots for SIM cards.
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.
Nice looking display for a mid-ranger
Taking into consideration everything we've checked out with the LG Optimus F7, we have to admit that it's a very well rounded contender that's above most other mid-rangers that are out on the market. And to an extent, it can very well hold its ground against some higher-end devices, especially when it's priced to attract at $100 with a 2-year contract.
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.
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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