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.
In a world where Samsung and Apple dominate the smartphone sphere, and multi-billion dollar companies like Sony, LG, and Motorola struggle to maintain single-digit market share, it's rather easy to convince yourself that real innovation and excellence costs lots of money. And, as an extension of that thought process, that there's little reason to look outside the current crop of popular phone makers.
But you'd be wrong.
Known mostly in the United States for its Blu-ray players (yes, really), Oppo is a Chinese electronics maker that is easily ignored.
If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, and you're not looking to spend over $100 or so on an Android smartphone, your options aren't exactly limited at this point. If you want one that's relatively current, though, the RAZR M and Incredible 4G are basically your choices, one of which we actually really liked.
Both of those phones, though, by modern Android smartphone standards, are relatively small, with 4-4.3" qHD displays.
The latest and greatest from Verizon and HTC's ongoing DROID partnership marks something of a shift in strategy for the two companies. In the past, if you wanted an HTC "DROID," your options were basically limited to the Incredible brand, which has become decidedly, well, less incredible over time. And while the Incredible started out as a top-of-the-heap smartphone back in 2010, it too was quickly eclipsed by bigger, better phones.
The HTC One X was (and still is) a fantastic device thanks to its solid hardware, excellent build quality, and stunning display. But it's a little long in the tooth, partially because the newest high-end smartphones have both quad-core CPUs and LTE, and partially because in the smartphone world, anything that's 7 months old is (unfortunately) outdated.
That brings us to the HTC One X+, which is more of a mid-cycle refresh than an all-new model.
Since its announcement, many internet comments (and tech bloggers, frankly) have lambasted the 2020mAh battery inside the DROID DNA as obviously being too small. A 5", 1080p display, quad-core processor, and LTE - with a 2020mAh battery? HTC must be nuts. Well, it turns out, they actually aren't nuts and actually do know how to make a phone that doesn't die after half a day off the charging cable teat. Surprising, I know.
The DROID DNA is, without a doubt, the most exciting HTC phone to come to Verizon since the original Incredible. And I can already tell you that it doesn't disappoint - this is a serious effort from HTC, whose US handset sales have dropped sharply in the last year. It could be the phone that catapults them back into relevance.
After spending a short amount of time with it, I'm going to try and give you my first-blush reaction to this spec sheet titan.
It was only a couple of months ago that Sony introduced its new budget smartphone - the Xperia tipo - but after implementing a few spec boosts and increasing the size of the screen, they're ready for round 2, and this time they've brought the Xperia miro into the ring.
There's no doubt that the miro is still very much a budget smartphone, it's available for £150 SIM-free, but Sony has managed to make it look and feel the part thanks to a nice plastic material covering the back, and an LED which shines between the screen and capacitive touch buttons each time you turn on the display.
If you're not much a classic car nut, and you were to walk up to a stylish little 1968 Opel GT, like this one, you'd probably think "Wow, is that... Italian? It must be fast (for its age)."
Of course, you would be wrong. The Opel GT is, in fact, based on the rather pedestrian Opel Kadett - seen here. The GT was not particularly quick, expensive, or really even that rare.
As we all know by now, Google purchased Motorola in August of 2011 for a whopping $12.1 billion. Nerds rejoiced, analysts balked, and the general public didn't really notice or care. But Motorola's newest wave of handsets - the excellent Razr M and the new Razr HD/ Razr Maxx HD - aren't the result of Google ownership. They were already in the pipeline, so they're products of the old Motorola.
I'm happy to report that the analysts' skepticism was unfounded.