I am generally of the view that when it comes to high-end smartphones, most such phones are now squarely in the "pretty good" category. While the internet moans and groans about SD cards, removable batteries, and heavy-handed UI modifications, these things are trivial to most people in the day-to-day operation of a device. But much in the same way some car enthusiasts refuse to relinquish the manual transmission, some smartphone enthusiasts will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is big. Really, really big. That is quite literally the entirety of the list of interesting features that distinguish it from other Samsung smartphones. It is a shamelessly single-minded product. In a way, that's a good thing - it's certainly a big part of what even makes it possible to sell the Mega for just $480 off contract ($150 on).
That's because the Mega really doesn't mess around when it comes to smart cost-cutting.
The HTC One mini is, in many respects, very similar to its larger, older sibling, the HTC One. It has a [mostly] aluminum body, BoomSound speakers (though they've been noticeably downgraded), and HTC's Ultrapixel camera. It runs Android 4.2.2 with Sense 5, and its 720p S-LCD2 display with Gorilla Glass 3 is breathtakingly good for a "mid-range" phone.
So, how does it cost a full $170 less than the HTC One?
I really like the HTC One. I also really like the Galaxy S4. And the Optimus G Pro. And that's because there are a lot of great Android smartphones out there right now, and really, none of the very best ones are actually bad (nor are any of them perfect). And if I were to ask you, our readers, what would be the first thing you could change about any of them - if it could be just one thing - a few months ago the consensus likely would have emerged as "give them stock Android."
Well, we're two out of three - the HTC One and Galaxy S4 are both available in stock Android iterations, aka Google Play Editions, and are yours for the buying (if you're in the United States - admittedly a major caveat).
After a two week stint with the BlackBerry Z10 last month, I happened upon another chance to go across the platform border, this time into the Windows world - with the Nokia Lumia 928.
Microsoft and mobile have had a tumultuous, off-again on-again relationship. However, there is little doubt that MS's smartphone success peaked with Windows Mobile 6, and then very, very rapidly fell off as iOS and Android rolled onto the scene.
We review a lot of high-end phones here on Android Police. In fact, we probably review a disproportionately low number of entry-level and mid-range devices, because many of them are, well, boring. We also know that you, our readers, are rarely interested in the often no-value value-proposition that these handsets tend to represent, especially in the US. Here, a wireless contract is two years long whether you're buying a refurbished Galaxy Nexus (ew!) or a shiny new Galaxy S4.
How do you follow up the most popular Android smartphone ever? That's the question Samsung had to ask itself after the Galaxy S III became a worldwide sensation, and arguably the only widely-recognized competitor to Apple's iPhone. Despite a less than totally-enthusiastic reception from some critics, the S III was apparently the recipe for success that sent Samsung's mindshare into the stratosphere. That, and the massive marketing budget that successfully plastered its mug on televisions, billboards, magazines, and websites the world over.
Giant smartphones are becoming increasingly popular the world over, and for the last two years, it's a market Samsung has absolutely and utterly dominated. The Note and Note II are both excellent devices, and Samsung had the rare luck of getting something right the first time with the Note line. If you want a big phone, and money is no object, the Note II stands alone. It seems LG, though, has something to say about that.
Yep, I'm calling it: the HTC One is the most important smartphone that will be released this year. And I know, this year is far from over - but let me explain why I think it will hold true regardless of what's to come.
Right now, the smartphone industry is slowly but surely evolving into a duopoly. Samsung and Apple control a larger piece of the proverbial pie than ever, as almost every other major Android OEM's market share shrinks - a trend that has continued for nearly two years now.
The Xperia ZL is the 'little' brother to Sony's recently-unveiled Xperia Z, and to get the most pressing question out of the way immediately: what's the difference between the two? Well, the ZL isn't waterproof (and thus has a different chassis and design), has a hardware camera button, and uses a minutely larger (by 40mAh) battery. That's really it. The display, the chipset, the camera, and the software are all near as makes no difference identical to those on the Z.