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.
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.
Unparalleled photo & video quality, Lots of manual controls
With so much versatility behind it, like its various shooting modes and useful lossless zoom, it'll be hard for consumers to not consider this handset. However, its $300 on-contract price point slows its momentum down, seeing that it's still widely viewed as a pricey thing - and that's despite the fact that the 32GB iPhone 5 is priced the same. If we had to best describe this, it's essentially a Nokia Lumia 920 with a 41-megapixel camera. Sounds pretty accurate, right?
Brings a number of new software features
Better yet, it's Nokia that has delivered one last time. It's not the fact that they may never do it again that makes the Luma 1020 special. And it's definitely not why we're heaping praise on the phone. On their way out, Nokia are looking back at a lifetime of achievement. One last view from the top.
Capable of taking phenomenal photos
The Nokia Lumia 1020 faces an uphill battle: Not only is it competing against heavyweights such as the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5, but it is also fighting against the stigma surrounding the Windows Phone OS. The Lumia 1020 is an excellent phone with one of the best all-around cameras out there, but its AT&T exclusivity and older hardware make it a hard sell. If you're an AT&T customer who has been curious about Windows Phone, I strongly urge you to pick up the Lumia 1020.
Fantastic camera, brilliant way of handling zoom
Take the very good Nokia Lumia 920 and graft the Nokia PureView 41 megapixel camera onto the back and you've got the Nokia Lumia 1020. Even better, tweak it with second generation image stabilization, some brilliant image processing software and handy image editing tools and you've got a camera that matches or beats most point and shoots and some DSLR cameras, despite the smaller lens.
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.
I think that Nokia made some smart moves with the Lumia 620. It's clearly a smaller, more entry-level handset, but the device-maker hasn't overskimped on features like NFC or the dual-camera setup. An emphasis on color customization and personality should help the Lumia 620 sell in the lower-cost and youth markets, and the $249 price is pretty affordable for the features. In comparison, premium devices like the Lumia 920 sell for around $500 and $600, more than twice the 620's price.
Excellent Nokia apps, built-in Office
The Lumia 620 is a great effort by Nokia all around. It has a standout design that will appeal to many, especially the young, a good (but not perfect) camera for its class supporting 720p HD video capture, and runs on the now more mature Windows Phone 8.
We don't have any major complaints about the phone and that alone is telling. However, as much as we like Nokia's effort in the Lumia 620, it faces competition from some equally capable devices.
Solid smartphone experience
The Lumia 620 is finds itself in a pretty comfortable position right now. It's far from the hunting grounds of the WP8 powerhouses and yet it provides solid smartphone experience, a very decent screen and a design, which while not as sophisticated as that of the Lumia 820 and 920, has more youthful appeal than either of them.
Top-notch hardware design
The Nokia Lumia 620 is a revelation, showing that budget Windows Phone mobiles donâ??t have to be riddled with compromises and lack any semblance of personality. Top-notch hardware design, plenty of power and a feature list that betters many Android phones at the price should make this the gateway drug for many who have been unconvinced by Windows Phone to date. Only the existing shortcomings app library shortcomings of Windows Phone 8 hold this phone back.
Exeeds every expectation
This phone is the best value for your buck. Runs like a charm, Windows Phone 8 is wonderful and it DOES have the quality and quantity of apps, don't fall for the anti Microsoft hype. The vendor shipped it on time and I had no trouble with the delivery. All in all, one of the best buys I have ever made, on anything!!!!!
Compact, powerful enough, good audio and video quality
For anyone looking for the right Windows Phone to buy, we honestly think this is the handset for you. We loved pretty much everything about it - the battery is a concern though - and Windows Phone 8 is a more mature and enjoyable OS than any previous version of Windows on a phone.
While Windows Phone gets some stick it's only when you spend any time using it that you realise it's a complete and competent mobile OS.
Good storage & expansion
If you're after a Windows 8 Phone, the Lumia 620 is a good if not great option. It's affordable but lacks the apps and expansion options of Android. The Office and exclusive Nokia Drive and Music services really need a bigger screen to show their credentials against the new BlackBerry Z10 and iPhone 4S too.
Good all-around value for the money
If you don't mind the sketchy call quality, Nokia has hit the nail on the head with its most affordable Windows Phone handset to date. It runs the newest version of Microsoft's mobile OS, has a zippy processor, expandable storage, and produces decent pictures and video.
Least expensive handset in the Lumia line-up
If you're looking for a cheap smartphone, you may have just found it. The Nokia Lumia 520 doesn't tick all the boxes on our features wishlist, but it capably handles those that are most important. Windows Phone 8 is a beautiful operating system, but it still lacks apps. If you can get past this and don't mind sacrificing some performance and connectivity, the Lumia 520 is a strong budget buy.
Build, design, price
The Nokia Lumia 520 is a great little smartphone. It delivers what Nokia is known for, with good design and build quality, despite the affordable price point. A few hardware shortcuts have been made, knocking out the flash, front camera and NFC, for example, which the slightly more expensive Lumia 620 offers.
But at this price there's little to criticise.
A better camera and more software features than you might expect for its price tag
Though it lacks 4G LTE support, the AU$179 Nokia Lumia 520 still gives you quite a bit for your money. Pricing is absolutely this phone's primary value proposition, but the essentials all seem to work, the hardware is sturdy and the camera is better than average.
This is a good buy for someone seeking a wallet-friendly smartphone off-contract.
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.
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