Sturdy build, DLNA streaming and NFC
If it sticks with its attractively low price point, the Huawei Ascend G510 could be a winner at the budget end of the market, offering up a screen that's larger than most in its bracket.
The Emotion UI overlay may not be to everyone's taste, but we can see it helping those who are new to Android and to smartphones in general.
Core IPS tech is decent enough
We like the Huawei G series. It has provided the cash-strapped with some great, and affordable, Android phones. However, the Huawei Ascend G510 will need to sell at a bargain price to seem worthwhile. Some of its core specs are worse than those of its direct predecessor and we're not all that convinced by the Huawei Emotion UI. We'll be back with more in our full review, assuming the dual-SIM G510 comes to the UK.
Cheap, solid, works as you'd hope and expect
It might sound as if we don't like the G510. In fact, we think it's a capable enough phone, and that's reflected in its score. The problem for us is really just that we've seen it all in this price range. Each year, or even more frequently, there's a new low-cost handset from Huawei that fills a need, but it's nothing to get really excited about.
Unpleasant, bloated Huawei software
The Huawei Ascend G510 has one of the biggest screens you'll find in a phone under £150, but it's really let down by Huawei's awkward software, which seriously saps the dual-core processor's power. Its outward design isn't going to win you any style points either.
Apps generally run well, excellent battery life
Huawei's Ascend G510 is a bargain smartphone for those on a tight budget. Packing in decent dual-core performance, a surprisingly crisp and colourful 4.5-inch screen and capable five megapixel camera, itÃ¢Â?Â?s far from a budget experience. Only the lacklustre design detracts from a great value package.
Good performance, Low temperature, Decent battery runtime
Huawei does not make promises it cannot keep for its Ascend G510. Despite a budget price of currently 160 Euros (~$209), the entry-level device includes everything that can be expected from a good smartphone. This is the high-quality build, the very big and bright 4.5-inch LC display and numerous communication modules on the hardware side.
High pixel densitiy screen, over 250ppi
The LG Optimus F5 is sporting a 4.3-inch IPS display with qHD resolution (960 by 540 pixels). It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor of undisclosed make and model, backed up by 1GB of RAM. You also get a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing snapper, 8 gigs of storage and a microSD card slot. The LG Optimus F5 has a thickness of 9.3 millimeters, which is okay considering that there's a 2,150mAh battery at its back.
LTE module, high contrast, good images
The first impression is often decisive and so it was with the LG P875 Optimus F5's. Already the first hands-on was boring. Design and haptics are not particularly innovative and the hardware can be found in many devices. It features an SoC from Qualcomm with a clock rate of 1.2 GHz and 1 GB RAM. In addition, the Optimus F5 comes with the usual wireless modules including LTE, NFC, and Bluetooth. Admittedly, the smartphone performs well and achieves satisfactory results in the benchmarks.
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.
Front-facing stereo speakers
Hopefully, HTC will price this one reasonably, but just in case you're put off by its price or something else, you might want to take a look at the HTC One mini, if you're ready to spend a bit more on a new smartphone. Another option is the Desire 600, which is a bit more higher-end in every respect. Finally, if you're looking for something a bit more 'Samsung', the Galaxy S4 mini might be all that you're looking for - it sports a slightly smaller screen, but also a better camera.
Can capture 1080p HD video
As someone who sporadically uses Facebook, the HTC First has zero appeal to me as a "Facebook phone." I could just as easily download the app and run it on another device. Furthermore, Home isn't impressive enough even for frequent Facebookers to warrant buying a new phone. The HTC First only makes sense for people in the market for a new midrange device.
Minimalist design, Modest price point
Knowing that other smartphones are going to be blessed with the new Facebook Home experience, we can't tell you to go out and buy the HTC First strictly for that experience. Instead, we recommend it most for its affordable $99.99 on-contract cost with its vanilla Android experience (once Facebook Home is disabled) and minimalist design. As for the Facebook aspect of the smartphone, it's decent starting point that undeniably will satisfy those who live and breathe Facebook on a daily basis.
Finally, a 5-inch LTE-capable stock Android phone
The HTC First is a good phone, but not for any of the reasons being highlighted in its marketing. It's compact, durable and has great LTE service from AT&T. It could become the next cult Android device, and might even be the last decent dual-core handset ever made. Sans Facebook Home, it's exactly the type of device we wish we'd see more often.
Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
There is hardly a smartphone, which matches the HTC First's talents completely. The so-called "Facebook phone", despite some of its limitations, is a perfect fit for anyone who thinks that an Android smartphone with a screen larger than 4.5" is going too far. It is therefore, the sidekick, which perfectly complements the HTC One flagship.
Solid mid-range device, jumps out of the spec-race
The HTC First is a mid-range phone at best, and we've made that clear throughout the review. But that's not to say the specs here aren't plenty enough to handle what Facebook Home or stock Android has to throw at it. The HTC First is incredibly snappy, handling most tasks with ease. The cameras need improvement given the social nature of this phone, but they do get by.
This smartphone will especially appeal to the entry-level smartphone buyer whoÃ¢Â? Â?
Good physical QWERTY keyboard
The BlackBerry Q10 is every inch a BlackBerry. It has the traditional BB form-factor and, more importantly - the physical QWERTY keyboard that's coveted by so many BlackBerry fans. This, however, is a device that's exclusively targeted at existing BlackBerry users, we don't think the Q10 is capable of attracting new ones.
As a niche smartphone, the BlackBerry Q10 is a pretty decent performer. It can do anything a diehard BlackBerry user would want it to do and more.
Full physical keyboard, Impressive web speeds
Without doubt the BlackBerry Q10 is the best QWERTY keyboard smartphone on the market, which is certainly a bold claim - until you consider, what other high-end smartphones are sporting a full-on keyboard these days? Exactly.
It may be the best, but it's the best of one. People will buy the Q10 for its QWERTY keyboard, it's a business tool and in that arena it excels.
Easy phone to appreciate
In terms of where the market is heading and where BlackBerry want to be, we cannot help the thought that they'd rather have the Z10, and its successors, up there with the best than keep the messenger concept on life support. On the other hand, it's QWERTY messengers that have shaped the company's identity. It's a tough one, finding the right balance between what the market wants and respect of tradition.
Provide snappy performance for touches
BlackBerry's Q10 is filled with many creative features but its ultimate success will come down to one basic question: Do you want a qwerty device? I don't think the era of the qwerty is over, since I have met users who prefer a physical keyboard. But they are in the definite minority.
Excellent hardware QWERTY keyboard, long battery life
The BlackBerry Q10 brings the traditional BlackBerry smartphone into the modern age. I suspect it's enough to make BlackBerry loyalists happy, though I doubt iPhone and Android users will flock to it (that was the BlackBerry Z10's job). It's fast, stable, and secure and it maintains enough of the UI conventions of older BlackBerry smartphones to make existing BlackBerry owners feel a bit less lost.
Design, improved camera, some nice UI features
In summary, we like the BlackBerry Q10 because it embodies those things that we love best about BlackBerry. We like the design and the keyboard experience, but beyond that communication experience, there's little that's unique and BB10 is still some way behind rival offerings.
Fast quad-core processor delivers great performance
If you thought Xperia Z is amazing, but could make do without the waterproof part of it, Sony's got you covered, as it introduced the Xperia ZL sibling, with an even more compact design. With its 5.18" x 2.74" x 0.38", it is shorter than the Z, and a soft-touch curved back nestles it comfortably in your palm grip. The microSIM and microSD slots are situated under a large flap at the back bottom, and the phone is graced with a dedicated shutter key, unlike the glassy, watertight Z.
Compact handset that fits the bill
The most compact FullHD five-incher is the Xperia ZL's defining feature - and the emphasis is on compact. But ... the Xperia ZL is a FullHD five-incher after all, and for Sony having two horses in the flagship race must feel good. Plus, there's always people who like to cheer for the dark horse.
1080p display is gorgeous
Should you run out and buy an Xperia ZL? In a word, no. There's nothing expressly wrong with it: I rather like the design, which feels modern, if a bit run-of-the-mill. It performs well, serves up plenty of battery life for average use cases, and even has a nice camera once you get used to its limitations (or aren't especially picky). But there are just too many great options out there, and while the Xperia ZL won't disappoint, your money will be better spent elsewhere.
Unlocked with 4G LTE, very good camera
If you're fond of Sony's smartphones and software experience, the Xperia ZL is particularly attractive as a no-contract smartphone. It's fast, the UI is clean and pleasing and the camera is very good. Here in the US, I suspect no-contract high end phones are beat out by carrier subsidized models, but for those of you who appreciate an unlocked world phone or perhaps aren't due for a subsidized upgrade, the Sony Xperia XL has its appeal (especially because you can use it on both AT&T and...
Impressively lightweight smartphone
As an independent smartphone, the Asus Padfone 2 is one impressive device that can tangle with some of the greats out there, seeing that it has that wonderful balance between raw performance and impressive hardware. Crazy to believe it, but the handset is one of the lightest smartphones in its class! Beyond that, we're glad that Asus decided to go with a different route in how the smartphone is docked with the Padfone Station.
Crisp, clear screen, Snappy performance
The Asus Padfone 2 may be a smartphone-tablet hybrid, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the smartphone element. It's powerful, well built and energy efficient, and the camera is capable of taking decent photos and videos in the right conditions.
However, that's only half the story, and the tablet part of the Asus Padfone 2 package is sadly lacking when stacked up against rival devices such as the Google Nexus 10.
Lighter and looks more stylish than its predecessor
So at the end of the day the Asus Padfone 2 will only cater for the needs of a specific group of people, but it will do so quite well. And as tablets continue to gain popularity, a combo like this will only be getting a bigger field to play in.
Unique two devices in one hybrid
The Asus Padfone 2 is a difficult device to dislike because it's interesting and innovative, but it is also a difficult to defend. The idea of it makes sense on paper and there is a very capable, well-built phone coupled with a functional, if average, tablet. The problem is that it comes at a hefty premium and only one person can use the device at a time.
If the Padfone 2 provided a perfect phone and tablet experience we might be more forgiving of the lack of microSD card slot.
Really is a good deal
The Asus Padfone 2 is an interesting and unique offering. For £599 you get both a phone and a tablet in one although this has its limitations. Good hardware and excellent battery life are the standout features while build quality is a bit of a let-down. We really like the Padfone 2 but if you're looking to a smartphone and a tablet on the cheap then we suggest Google's Nexus devices.
Good smartphone performance
The more we've lived with the Padfone 2, the more apparent it has become that for every highlight, there's a simple, regular solution. That leaves the Padfone 2 in something of a tricky situation. It's well engineered, it's almost priced right, but you walk away without a hero handset or a hero tablet. You don't get the both of best worlds, you get something in the middle: a compromise.
Compromises aren't necessarily bad, as long as you're getting what you need.
Improved design, long battery life, overall speedy performance
We love the concept of the smartphone-tablet hybrid, and we think it's great that Asus has taken our complaints of the original PadFone into consideration and improved on many aspects of it--for example, making it slimmer, lighter, faster and less unwieldy. However, the camera could have been improved even more, as it's still not on par with some of the better high-end smartphones.
Display look smaller than it actually is
Nokia Asha 503 leaves a lot to be desire, it lacks performance, apps and reliability, but what it does have is affordability. The 502 really is an entry level smartphone that should only be considered if you are desperate to get your hands on a smartphone for as little money as possible - even then we'd suggest looking at the refurbished 2nd hand market first as using this phone on a day-to-day basis would drive you bananas.
Large screen, decent camera, good battery life, sensible price
The Acer Liquid S1 is quite a handful but it has an excellent HD screen and a pretty good camera too. With the latest flavour of Android and plenty of free online storage available via AcerCloud, it offers a credible alternative to the big names.
Chic design, Good workmanship, Bright display
Overall, Acer can be proud of the Liquid S1: it has a chic design, great additions to the Android system and a more than competitive price. The device is also light, comfortable to hold and features high-quality manufacturing. A second back cover costs a lot by other manufacturers, but Acer has included one in the box. The built-in speaker is not bad either and in combination with the large IPS display makes the Acer into a great pocket cinema.
Good design, Good build, Good camera
Acer really has a nice offering in the form of the Liquid S1. It has a large HD display, great build and design, good camera, dual-SIM capabilities, and very decent battery life too. It even comes with a really neat leatherette flip cover out of the box.
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