Hard-to-beat $100 on-contract cost, Excellent still image quality
For those who are contemplating on picking this up without a contract, its $584.99 price point still seems pretty good in comparison to other phablets - though, there's no arguing that its on-contract cost absolutely gives it more bang for the buck. At the end of the day, there's plenty to like about the 1520, as it's no doubt the best Windows Phone out right now. For a long time there, Windows Phones in general just seemed underpowered in comparison to those premier Android smartphones.
Great 1080p display, Fine camera, Solid build quality
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is an absolute beast of a phone that we suspect only the large-handed and generous pocketed will be able to live with day to day.
Those who accept the challenge will find the most capable Windows Phone 8 device yet, with top-of-the-range specs that include a stunning 1080p display and a superb 20-megapixel camera.
Despite its size, however, the Lumia 1520 feels like it's missing something.
Excellent build, fantastic camera and options, beautiful screen, good battery life
If a large handset is for you, and you are keen on Windows Phone - if you're new then be prepared to get used to a slightly new way of doing things, if you're an existing user then be excited at an improved way of doing things - then the Lumia 1520 is a fantastic smartphone that sits proudly in among its phablet peers.
Large, excellent display, PureView camera performs well
Nokia's Lumia 1520 has a huge 6in display and also includes an excellent 20-megapixel PureView camera. If you can handle its gargantuan, awkward size, it combines a great screen with continually developing software, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.
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.
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.
Great camera with 1080p video recording at 60 fps
The LG G2 is an outstanding smartphone almost every way you look at it. The screen is beautiful, albeit a bit off in terms of color temperature, while the camera is simply outstanding - definitely among the very best out there. Under the hood, the Snapdragon 800 processor is doing exactly what you'd expect it to do - making sure that everything operates perfectly smoothly with no hiccups or delays.
Amazing colors, viewing angles, great brightness and contrast
The LG G2 is a flagship like any other - a great combination of the latest tech, Android OS and a full bag of proprietary software goodies. What makes the difference in the G2 is that it isn't like some of its predecessors - late, irrelevant, and boring. It's a breath of fresh air for the company and we hope it brings some of the LG's glorious days back. Both LG and the G2 deserve it this time.
Stunning 5.2-inch edge-to-edge display
The LG G2 is an impressive return to smartphone prominence for the South Korean company but one which still falls slightly short. It is a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One but thanks to plastic build, peculiar button placement and less than gripping camera is unlikely to worry its more illustrious competition too much.
Large and lovely full HD IPS display, great camera
The LG G2 is assuredly the company's best Android phone yet. We were bullish on the also very good Optimus G Pro, but the G2 is all that and more in a more mainstream size. The display is top notch, performance is fast and fluid, the camera is excellent and the rear buttons actually work nicely. We'd love to see a more interesting and attractive casing that didn't turn murky with fingerprints so quickly, but the phone is nonetheless solidly built and curved nicely to fit in the hand.
Visually appealing, feels great as a phone
The G2 is easily a competitor for every other high-end smartphone out there. The "weird" button layout works for us, and it's paired with some smart touch functions that are well thought out. The phone looks and feels great, and just works as a smartphone should.
Fast and snappy performance, software tweaks don't get in the way
The LG G2 sports not only a unique design that stands out amongst its competitors, it also packs snappy hardware. If you want a similarly specced handset with a more premium feel, however, you may be better off looking at handsets from Sony instead.
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.
Great stereo speakers, Very good display panel
The HTC One mini sets a great example for how a more compact, cheaper version of an annual flagship should be done. HTC kept the same stellar and recognizable design the One has, and didn't leave out any of the unique features like the best phone speakers or the UltraPixel camera.
Amazing build quality and design, brilliant camera
HTC told us that it took a "no compromise" approach to developing the HTC One Mini. Looking at the device, holding it in your hand, and flicking around the UX illustrates this point profoundly. Everything that set the One apart from the crowd is here - imaging technology, quality build materials, UX design and functionality.
Customizable design, Snappy performance
Kudos to Motorola for bringing this smartphone to all four major wireless carriers in the country, including good old US Cellular as well. That's something to say about the handset's intentions, as it lives up to prestigious honor of being recognized as a flagship. It's the perfect strategy for it, especially if Motorola really wants to be taken seriously by its rivals again.
Motorola's hardware is brilliant, Android remains solid
The average consumer, should they decide to gobble up the Moto X, will certainly be satisfied with all it has to offer, and even if it's not the most powerful beastie out there we've enjoyed using it this last week. It might not suit every man, woman and child, but if the customisation options are for you then that's one big box ticked.
Comfortable design, Moto Maker customization is phenomenal
We really like the Moto X. It's a lean, almost pure Google Android experience, with a few nice extras and amazing Google Now support. We were incredibly annoyed by the bug we encountered with Moto Assist and don't recommend you touch the app, but outside of that, it's still a great phone. Hopefully, Motorola fixes more bugs before its launch in late August and early September.
Amazing form factor, just feels natural to hold
It's great. It's wonderful. An all around wonderful phone. An excellent Android phone. But it isn't the radical change Motorola has hinted at, not yet at least. It's iterative; a waypoint on the path to undiscovered country, but not the promised land itself.
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.
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