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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smooth and snappy performance
With the Lumia 925, Nokia has created a charming device. It's a good-looking, thin and light smartphone that even features an aluminim frame to give it a premium taste. But thankfully, there's more than great design that the Nokia Lumia 925 can offer you. The handset features a sizable display of above-average quality, as well as a wonderful camera that will not only take great photos, but will also let you play with some fun features courtesy of the Nokia Smart Cam app.
Premium build, Superb camera, Strong suite of native apps
The Nokia Lumia 925 is undeniably a great phone in its own right, but it's just not a big enough improvement over the Nokia Lumia 920 for there to be any reason to buy it if you own last year's model. Even if you don't, you might be better off buying the Nokia Lumia 920, since it's substantially cheaper at around £330/US$400/AU$420 SIM-free.
With dated specs the Nokia Lumia 925 is definitely a case of style over substance.
Solid, attractive build
The Nokia Lumia 925 marks a slight change in direction for the Lumia series, adopting metal rather than sticking to series-staple polycarbonate. But otherwise its Lumia through and through, with a camera that offers unusually good low light performance, a phone that runs like a dream and bodywork that both looks and feels great.
Build quality is good
The Lumia 925 stands apart from preceding Windows handsets that Nokia styled more for pre-teens, with a slightly more sophisticated metal and grey plastic look. As a piece of phone hardware it's competently put together, but ultimately is undermined by an aesthetically challenged and unintuitive software interface, while you'll be lucky to find half the apps you might need to load on it.
Extended camera functionality, useful bundled Nokia apps
We're really impressed with Nokia's 925 as it's a sleek, refined handset with an amazing display and camera. Smart Camera is a highly usable and enjoyable setup which we're sure plenty of users will have fun with. In a very real sense the Lumia 925 is the phone the Lumia 920 should have been, but better late than never, we suppose.
Good build quality using Kevlar construction
Coming in at $199.99 with a 2-year contract, the DROID Ultra has a lot to offer, especially if you are looking for a device running as close to stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean as possible, while still offering some extra "Motorola perks" such as the Active Display, Touchless Controls, and Motorola Assist. Since the DROID Ultra has a Kevlar body, it should hold-up better than other plastic-polymer based phones, though keep in mind that the glossy back will always look smudged with fingerprints.
Very light and thin, Excellent battery life
If you're a Verizon customer looking for a new Android smartphone, the Droid Ultra isn't a bad choice. However, it's going to be hard to choose between this device and the Moto X when it finally becomes available for Verizon. With incredibly similar specs and a mild difference in display size, it's really going to come down to design preference. If you're on the fence, we suggest you wait until you make the decision to sign a two-year commitment.
Great new user-centric features like active notifications and always-listening voice command software
It's funny that the Moto X overshadows Verizon and Motorola's latest Droid for 2013. They share quite a bit of DNA including processing architecture, Moto's wonderful Touchless Control and Active Notifications, AMOLED 720p display technology and a 10MP rear camera with RGBC sensor. But the Moto X wins us over with its overarching focus on usability.
Higher capacity 3500mAh battery, Excellent call quality
Coming in at $300 with a 2-year Verizon contract, the Motorola DROID MAXX is the most expensive of the three DROID models. It combines all the features of the DROID Ultra, but increases the battery to 3500mAh, doubles the internal memory to 32GB, and looks higher end with the soft-touch woven backing.
A competent Galaxy Nexus replacement, with some quirks
In summary, I'm sticking with my title -- this phone may have some issues here and there, and it may not be the fastest/biggest/most beautiful/polished specimen out there this late summer and fall, but in my opinion it's the first suitable contender to supersede the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and betters that phone in a number of key areas. I have a great deal of confidence in Motorola at this time -- both in their tie to Google, and their strong affiliation with VZW.
Amazing battery life
The Motorola Razr Maxx has great stamina so you won't be anxious if you forgot to charge it overnight. It goes for days. The casing is thicker than last year's Razr but not uncomfortably so, thanks to clever design and Motorola's curved corners design language. The high-resolution display continues to dazzle, and the phone's connectivity with a mini HDMI socket are helpful extras. It may not have a quad-core processor but this phone rarely dawdles.
Scaled down S4 design, Bright screen, Excellent camera
As for those wondering whether they should buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini instead of the Samsung Galaxy S3, truly that is something that you will have to decide for yourself. But the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini more than makes a case for itself, with the upgraded software, decent battery life and 4G tech more than giving the Samsung Galaxy S3 a run for its money.
Looks like its bigger brother but fits in the hand better
The Galaxy S4 mini is a great mid-range option, offering the same styling - which includes the same mediocre build quality - as its flagship counterpart, with a cheaper price tag. The cameras are good but the screen and storage are both under par. Consider the HTC One mini or the Nexus 4 as serious alternatives.
Fantastic styling, nice size, great screen
The Mini remains a solidly built, likeable and surprisingly capable phone. TouchWiz and the included apps are, for us, not exactly welcome these days - we'd prefer a more "Google" look, but there is so much extra functionality here with Samsung's services that we can't argue that these customisations aren't necessary.
Fits great in the hand, Nice screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a little frustrating. It has the pieces to make it an affordable alternative to some of the gargantuan top-tier phones, but it falls short of the mark.
It's not, as the name suggest, simply a mini version of the Samsung Galaxy 4, but a completely different phone with wildly different specs and the only part that's the same is the plastic-fuelled design. The wait for a really good small screened Android phone continues.
$100 on-contract price, Slightly thinner & lighter design
Somehow in the back of our minds, we can't help but think about why it took so long for the Lumia 928 to arrive - even more when it's essentially a remodeled Lumia 920, which AT&T customers have been presented with since the fall of 2012. Granted, it's nice that it's finally here and complements Big Red's existing Windows Phone lineup, especially when it's flaunting a tantalizing price point of $99.99 with a 2-year contract, but it just seems, you know, late to the game.
Smooth performance, Sharp camera
The Nokia Lumia 928 is a very solid Windows Phone 8 device that performs well in everyday use, has a slick display and a sharp camera, and benefits from Verizon's great 4G LTE network. It's not, however, a standout handset in any real notable regard, nor does it offer much of a leap over the Lumia 920 model that it shares many features and innards with.
Camera's lowlight performance is expectedly impressive
There are plenty of alternatives to the Nokia Lumia 928 out there. Curiously, the bulk of them are made by Nokia - a fact, which proves yet again that Microsoft Windows Phone is already all but synonymous with the products of the Finnish company. As a member of the aforementioned group, the Nokia Lumia 928 will further help the cause of its manufacturer, while also fulfilling the Big Red's need of a Windows Phone flagship.
Bright, colorful and outdoor viewable display, very good camera
If you're looking for the top Windows Phone on Verizon Wireless, the Nokia Lumia 928 is it, despite the relatively low contract price. It has a bright and colorful display, an excellent camera and Nokia's usual excellent call quality. Though we're not so enamored with the gloss finish and limited color selection since Nokia has spoiled us with their lovely unibody matte polycarbonate designs and wild colors, the Lumia 928 is a nice enough looking phone and it's nearly an ounce lighter than...
Updated, more attractive build, Incredible low-light photos
The Lumia 928 may be a very minor update to the Lumia 920, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Lumia 920 was a great phone, and one that left subscribers to other carriers feeling envious of AT&T. For Verizon customers, the Lumia 928 is the perfect solution to that jealousy. It takes everything that was desirable about the Lumia 920, tweaks the design for the better, and throws a Xenon flash in the mix to ensure that it remains the king of low-light smartphone camera shooting.
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