Processor benchmarks are up with the best
We can't say that HTC "took a sad song and made it better" by upgrading to the One X+, as the One X handset is pretty capable. HTC, however, changed the specs where it most counts, and as a result we have a handset that can go neck and neck with the seasonal Android flagships in everything but camera performance.
As we said, the HTC One X+ had the potential to be the first five star smartphone since the Samsung Galaxy S2, but unfortunately it's quite literally run out of juice before the final hurdle.
There are so many things to love about the One X+ and it really is a great smartphone. We urge you to give it a whirl in store, and while it may not have the fancy tricks of the Galaxy S3, or the cult following of the iPhone 5, it's happily rubbing shoulders with the big boys.
Stylish, solid design, Large amount of built-in storage
The HTC One X+ really is a top class high-end Android phone. It looks great, has bags of power and is rammed full of useful tweaks and features. If you're looking for a strong alternative to the Galaxy S3, then the One X+ is the phone to go for.
Superb display, lovely design, comfy in hand, very fast
A good thing just got better: with a faster processor, gobs of internal storage and a higher capacity battery, the HTC One X+ is an excellent evolutionary improvement over one of HTC's top phones, the One X. If you already own a One X that's not likely to sell you on an out of contract upgrade, but for those who are shopping for a new phone on contract, the One X+ holds up nicely against the top smartphones on AT&T. It's got a classy look, it feels great in the hand and the display is superb.
What a great phone!
The screen on this phone is amazing. I recently switched from an iPhone, and I have to say, I was very nervous about moving to a new device that didn't have a "retina" display. However, all nerves went out the window when I held this phone in my hand the first time. The screen packs more pixels per inch than the iPhone and is very true to color, offering a phenomenal viewing experience.
Glorious display, great finish and build quality
Is it substantially better than the HTC One X? While many of the key elements of the phone are the same, it's the battery that makes the biggest difference to us. It was the weakest element of the previous device and it's now a better performer. If you're a One X owner, this is the thing you should be envious of.
How does it compare to something like the Samsung Galaxy S III?
Deep integrated S Pen features
Sure, there's a premium price attached to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, but there's a very good reason for that. In T-Mobile's case, they're asking a mind-blowing $369.99 for the Note II and that's with a 2-year contract ($649.99 outright), while AT&T and Sprint are selling it for $299. At one point not too long ago, the threshold seen with cream of the crop smartphones topped out at the $300 mark, but with this, it totally kicks down the door and establishes a new tally.
Enormous battery, Expandable memory
It's tricky to pull all of this together in a final summary. Do we mark the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as a phone with a trillion bells and whistles? Or as a personal media player that makes phone calls?
As a phone, it's big, but once you get over that, if you can, it's great. As a PMP, it really does excel, and as a web communicator, it is almost second to none (though we can't fully get the taste of Flash absence out of our mouth).
Bigger and better screen
At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Note II seems to have completed all it's here to do. Samsung have solidified its lead in the phablet market, while offering enough novelties to keep those already in it interested. There's also plenty of exclusive stuff too.
We guess some people will still be less than impressed by a bigger Galaxy S III with a stylus. And we're not saying that a big screen and a stylus is exactly what makes a near perfect smartphone better.
Increased screen size
Where the Galaxy S II and III were Samsung's answer to the Apple iPhone, the Note II is a step in another direction for different users those requiring something more like an old-school PDA, able to work with a stylus for reading handwriting input and for sketching. As a phone, it has the same kind of capabilities as the Galaxy S III, with slightly faster performance an added bonus to the increased screen size, at the expense of one-handed usability.
Oh boy Samsung does it again
I love this phone and to be honest with you I don't see myself using another phone for a very long time. This Quad-core beast can handle it all. I don't even take out my iPad anymore....I don't even feel the desire to buy the Nexus 7 at this point in time because this phone is just fun to use. This is now my personal on the go PC. I put in a 64GB microSD card into it (MicroSD slot another plus btw) and now I take all my movies and music along with me.
Refined and useful pen input
This is a great offering from Samsung, but as with previous Galaxy Note devices it will not suit everyone's tastes.
If you're onboard with the stylus-driven concept there's plenty of rewarding stuff here.
Is it perfect? Of course not. But, it is unquestionably the best realisation of the Galaxy Note concept we've seen so far.
Indeed, we'd go so far as to say this is how the original Galaxy Note should have been.
Sleek, comfortable design
The LG Optimus L9 brings a great budget option to T-Mobile's lineup. It is of course not as good as the forthcoming Nexus 4, but it absolutely holds its own with similar offerings from HTC and Samsung. The 4.5" IPS display is wonderful, and the dual core TI OMAP processor delivered smooth performance. We would have preferred a better camera, but at $80 on contract we can't complain too much.
Blazing speed on 4G, Updated design
While internal hardware certainly underscores the "you get what you pay for" adage, there is a enough packed into this little gadget to impress you with what you pay for it. T-Mobile currently offers the L9 for $48.99 plus a fee for a two-year contract. Or, you can pick it up for $199.99 without an annual contract. For someone on a budget who needs a smartphone, the contract is an attractive offer, but just be sure to check the T-Mobile coverage in your area.
Solid performance at an attractive price point
The LG Optimus L9 seems to make itself pretty comfortable in its little niche. Flagship-sized screen and solid performance at an attractive price point is certainly a combo many will be happy with. And considering there's virtually no competition (at least until the Galaxy Grand arrives), the L9 has every chance of making it big. We'd say it will be well deserved.
Almost Perfect for Under $100 Just got Patched to Jelly Bean!
It's not perfect, and it's obvious that LG had to cut some corners to keep the price low. There's no 8 MP camera with lots of functions, high-end processor, 8 or 16 GB internal storage, or super-high resolution screen. The camera could be better, so could the data speeds, and the loudspeaker needs some work, but for what it is, I can't find a better handset out there.
Better specs, a bigger screen
I still find the Final Thoughts of the L-series of smartphones from LG hard - they're budget phones, but I can't find myself recommending them. The Nexus 4, also made by LG, is less than $350 - and offers twice the specs, and twice the phone.
What LG have done with the Optimus L9 is finish off a series of smartphones with a better 'bang'. The L9 has better specs, a bigger screen and is the much better performer of the three L-series phones from LG.
Bright Clear Screen, 8MP Camera
LG has done a pretty good job with the L Series and the L9 in particular. There are only one downside in the hardware design which I raised but apart from that it's a very classy phone to hold and be seen using. The L Series is certainly a well thought out and designed range of phones and LG is definitely a respected hardware manufacturer who has delivered a quality product in the Optimus L9.
Call quality is not as good as its predecessor
The Rise offers some nice features, such as a decent slide out QWERTY and a mostly vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich build, but in the end it has too many shortcomings. Despite being bigger and higher resolution than the Milano, the Rise's screen is still of poor quality and the call quality has taken a hit too. The camera was predictably bad, but for $20 on contract you'd expect that.
Best Bang for your Buck
Overall, sticking to a more-or-less stock Android experience with minimal fuss and an eye-popping price point make this an excellent choice for either someone's first smartphone or an upgrade for the budget-conscious. At the very least, no one should even consider the Optimus Slider until they've cut the price below this phone. The Evo and One V might have a bit more panache, but the Rise will get the job done any day of the week.
Finally a Straight Talk smart phone that uses Verizon!
I got this as an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Precedent, which was also through Straight Talk. It used the Sprint network and reception was very spotty to say the least. The Proclaim is one of the first ST Androids to use Verizon's towers and it makes a world of difference! 3G is faster then ever and, so far, I haven't been in an area where I didn't get a signal. The Proclaim comes with 1 gig of internal memory and a 2 gig card that can be upgraded.
Pretty smooth TouchWiz 4.0 UI
Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus comes with almost insignificant upgrades as compared to its predecessor (a slightly larger screen, and the now very common 1GHz CPU) but we get the same design and poor HVGA resolution. Even if it is almost the same as the original Ace, the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus does not have an attractive price tag, some may say it is even steep for what it has to offer.
Surprisingly fast performance from its dual-core CPU
Sound the alarm people, but we believe that Pantech has finally produced a winner in our books for AT&T, seeing that the Burst offers a ton of value for its $49.99 on-contract price. Barely skipping a beat, we're enamored by the arsenal it's packing along for the ride, and beyond that, it's also able to match its allure by flaunting a pretty decent design too.
Smooth, fast performance
Buying a budget-friendly smartphone always involves trade-offs, but fortunately the Pantech Burst has very few. AT&T's LTE network offers blazing speed (in cities where coverage exists), and the dual-core processor keeps the phone running well. But if you're planning on taking a lot of photos with your phone, you'll be dissatisfied with the Burst's camera. The slow shutter speed, paired with the hazy image quality, is this phone's biggest weakness.
Very affordable LTE 4G Android smartphone
AT&T continues to be aggressive with their LTE 4G phone pricing, likely to combat Verizon Wireless' lineup of lovely high end Android smartphones and currently larger LTE footprint. The Pantech Burst is a great phone for the price, and you're not making major concessions by buying a "cheap" phone. It has a sharp 4" Super AMOLED display with no visible color fringing, a fast CPU, ample internal storage and a decent though not stellar camera.
We're willing to go out on a limb and crown the Pantech Burst as the new king of budget handsets. It's not perfect and isn't meant to be, but if you can get past minor flaws like the camera and certain UI elements, you'll find yourself in possession of a powerful handset that's capable of keeping up with the network's LTE titans. Indeed, this was the first time we've truly felt proud to whip out a Pantech phone, and we're hoping this is a harbinger of things to come.
Good selection of pre-installed apps
The Pantech Burst may not have the gee-whiz factor of some of the flashier recent smartphones, but it generally performs well and it's hard to ignore the bargain price. It's a good size, the screen is sharp, battery life is excellent, and performance is relatively snappy, though the camera was somewhat disappointing. While I did experience some major voice quality issues, data performance was excellent and you may not experience any issues if AT&T's network is strong in your area.
LTE capable; gorgeous Super AMOLED display
It's not perfect but the pros far outweigh the cons. Definitely check out the Burst, even if you're not on a budget. Heck, check out the Burst and the Element and get them both for only fifty bucks more than the Galaxy S II Skyrocket by itself.
Fantastic qHD display, blazing LTE speeds
If you can look past the battery life on the Motorola RAZR DROID, or opt to disable LTE, then it is a darn near perfect cap to the 2011 smartphone season - and I include the Google Galaxy Nexus in that. This phone has made me much less interested in Google's coming Ice Cream Sandwich wunderkind.
But the battery issues on "true" 4G devices are real, and there's not a Verizon LTE phone available that can make it through a day of reasonable use without a charger.
Stand-out design, materials and build quality
Overall, the Motorola DROID RAZR is indeed a device that'll tangle with the juggernauts in the industry especially when it's packing that all too sweet 4G LTE connectivity with Verizon Wireless. Sure it operates smoothly with its movements, but we're curious to see how its real-word battery handles in the long run. For the $299.99 that Big Red is asking for, it's obviously warranted considering it's everything that we find with the DROID BIONIC, but better!
Super slim yet solidly built
The Motorola Droid RAZR XT910 certainly isn't perfect with its slightly too large body, inelegant raised bezel and pentile AMOLED screen but it has so many other qualities that put it above the competition that on balance it's one we recommend. The screen is dazzling and great for watching video, which the phone excels at playing, there are some great software features and, sure, it's impressively slim too, if you like that sort of thing.
The Droid Razr Maxx greatly improves upon what was perhaps the biggest weakness of the Droid Razr: battery life. If you plan on watching a lot of video or doing some heavy duty gaming on your phone, the Razr Maxx is a good match for you. If you're looking to save money, however, you might opt for the original Razr; it costs $100 less than the Razr Maxx.
No doubt, the Motorola Droid RAZR on Verizon is one of the most unique and sexy phones we've seen. And despite its extreme thinness, it's strong with the help of a metal frame, Corning Gorilla Glass and a Kevlar back. But it's a wide phone, and I suggest that you fondle one in person unless you have large mitts. The phone might be too wide for comfort for those who have smaller to average size hands.
So has Motorola succeeded in reclaiming the prestige that once belonged to the RAZR brand? Unequivocally, yes -- the handset is just physically stunning. It's thinner than almost any phone on the market and makes no sacrifices to attain its slim physique. It's solidly constructed from premium materials like diamond-cut aluminum, Gorilla Glass and a sheet of super-slick Kevlar. Few phones out there can even be put in the same category when it comes to build quality.
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