Tomorrow morning is going to be hard. I need to format the Xperia Z Ultra I’ve been using for the past two weeks and return it to Sony PR’s gorgeous downtown Helsinki office. I’ll be the first to admit, when I pulled this 6.44 inch beast out of its box, I laughed. Even now, when I pull it out of my pocket, I often giggle at its absurd proportions, but I’ve developed feelings for this smartphone that I can’t ignore.
Android Phone Reviews
If there’s one dramatic change that has happened in the phone world over the last decade, it’s the transformation from small-screened, keypad devices to full-screen touch. However, whatever you may think of the current trend for out-sized screens, the human hand hasn’t changed in size and, unsurprisingly, there is a ‘sweet spot’ for our pocket brains. Yes, you can have fun with a Galaxy Note 3, but hold the Galaxy S III, S4, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 5 or this, the Motorola Moto G, and most people will feel right at home. The size, the curves, the materials – the big ‘M’ has hit the nail squarely on the head. Add in astonishing value for money and the Moto G has to be taken very seriously indeed – if not for you, the tech enthusiast reading Android Beat, then for your friends and family.
The absolutes come thick and fast for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. And they’re not all in the device’s favour. Yes, it’s arguably the highest specified Android phone in the world. Yes, it’s got more functions built-in than the fattest Swiss Army penknife. Yes, it’s the most expensive Android phone – by a country mile. And, following on from that last assertion, no, the Galaxy Note 3 is not the best stylus-popping value on the market today. You see, there’s competition from its own predecessor, the Note II. But hey, at least Samsung gets the sale, right?
There’s no doubting that Google likes to shake things up in the smartphone world. The arrival of the Nexus 4 in late 2012 shocked everyone in the industry, with near flagship specs and yet released, direct to consumers, at close to ‘cost’ price. Where were the margins, the profits? It was a win for Google in gathering geek and enthusiast mindshare though, and the Nexus 5 looks set to repeat this success now, in late 2013… In fact, it’s such a superior device to the Nexus 4 that its impact will be felt far and wide. And if you can’t spare the 15 minutes it’ll take you to read this review then I’ll summarise: it’s an excellent device at an astonishing price (£339 including sales taxes, SIM free for the 32Gb version in the UK) – run, don’t walk, to buy one now from the Google Play Store.
After getting leaked more times than anyone can count, Google finally announced the 2013 Nexus, which is aptly called the Nexus 5 since it has both a 5.0 inch 1080p display and because it’s the fifth Nexus smartphone to come out. The phone officially went on sale on Halloween for $349 for 16GB or $399 for 32GB, both SKUs include 4G LTE connectivity on all of America’s networks, except for Verizon. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy one since I had a flight to catch, but lots of other sites have had the device for a few days and have published reviews. Let’s round them up, shall we?
Update: Our review just went up as well, make sure you check it out!
LG hasn’t been a favourite manufacturer of mine in the past, with far too many handsets being laden with sub-par components (I still haven’t forgiven it for messing up the Nexus 4’s potential), often too much plastic and a poor software update record. The G2 is undoubtedly LG’s best smartphone ever, with super-high specifications and a display to die for, but can this Galaxy S4 competitor provide enough innovation to cause mainstream phone buyers to veer down LG’s path rather than the vastly more trodden Samsung one?
The Xperia Z, launched a mere 8 months ago, rightly drew as many brickbats as it did bouquets – it was a sharp-edged glass slab with an unremarkable display, an easily-muffled speaker and an underperforming camera. And here’s the new Z1 to put all that right – credit to Sony in that it largely succeeds, with only a few of the Z’s original annoyances remaining.
The Z1 is still an over-tall slab, but there’s now an aluminium frame to both add class and also provide some rounded corners, these don’t dig into the palms quite as much as they did on the Z. There are still huge bezels top and and bottom, not helped by the use of on-screen virtual Android controls, meaning that in almost all applications, content only starts a full inch above the bottom of the phone.
At Samsung’s press conference in Berlin last month, the company announced three products. The Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and the awkwardly named Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. As the name suggests, it’s a 10.1 inch tablet that features a stylus. The back of it has the same fake leather pattern found in the Note 3, and it even has the same internals (Exynos + 3 GB), so has Samsung finally figured out how to make a large Android tablet worth buying?
Samsung is jumping feet first into the growing wearables market with its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Introduced last month, the Gear is a companion to Samsung’s new Note 3 phablet. Reviews for the smartwatch have hit the internet, so read on to see what they have to say about Samsung’s latest mobile offering. Will it be this year’s smash hit or a rush job that Samsung will regret?
Today is Galaxy Note 3 review day. Almost all of the big websites (we’ll get there, some day) have published their reviews of Samsung’s new phablet. I’ve been promised that I will eventually get a review unit, though I haven’t been told when exactly. Never mind that, because I’m just going to live vicariously through the words and videos of others. So with that, here’s what some of my favorite sites on the internet have to say about Samsung’s new flagship.