Next Generation Superphones Review

By Muhammad Faisal 0 comments

One X

Xperia S

Galaxy S III

Lumia 900

With its sculpted polycarbonate shell and Tegra 3 innards, HTC's One X is both beauty and beast. Sony's range-topper is a tech masterclass in NFC, streaming and awesome camera quality. The most eagerly awaited Android phone yet - but is this Samsung worth the hype? Has Windows Phone 7 become an Android-beater? Nokia's new flagship Lumia is bandking on it.

HTC ONE X

Superpowers


The One X comes with a trident of features worthy of respect. First there's the whopping 4.7in/12cm screen with its video-friendly 720p resolution. Then there's the 3D-skilled Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor. And the Ice Cream Sandwich on the cake is just that - the latest version of Google's Android operating system. As ever, HTC has 'skinned' Android with its popular Sense interface, which swaps sliding homescreens for a 3D-styled carousel of live widgets and user-clutterable free space - though that can be a shame, as the phone feels like every other Sense handset and the ICS features get a little lost.

Superfun?

If you're trading up from a smaller handset, the HTC One X will take a few days to get used to, but you'll soon see the benefits. Live widgets for news, gossip and weather have room to breathe, saving the hassle of switching apps. HD video looks impressive, although the S III pulls out more detail. That said, we would have expected a slightly slicker response in general, bearing in mind that quad-core CPU - It never feels sluggish, but the HTC isn't as buttery-smooth as its Nokia and Samsung rivals. It's 3D games, though, that really benefit from that mighty Tegra brain, and they show off the hardware to great effect. Stills from the 8MP camera are also very good, if not quite up there with the others in this test. The only other criticism concerns storage; you get 32GB onboard, but there's no microSD slot for expansion - though 25GB free Dropbox storage for two years does take up some of the slack.

Blogging Hub says
An ICS powerhouse wiht phenomenal 3D gaming ability.


HTC ONE X TECH SPECS

OS Android 4.0 + HTC Sense 4
Screen 4.7in/12cm, 1280x720
CPU Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 @ 1.5GHz
Camera 8MP w/LED flash, 1080p @ 30fps (rear); 1.2MP, 720p (front)
Storage 32 GB + 25GB Dropbox


WHAT'S IN THE BOX

HTC Sense
HTC's Sense Overly retains the look of the older versions and it includes stacks of exclusive widgets to be plopped on to your homescreens, rendering many apps redundant. There are loads of pre-set themes to choose from too.
Camera app
The stock ICS camera has loads of fun features and it's frustrating that they're trampled underfoot by the replacement app. There's some compensation in the rapid-fire mode and high-dynamic-range options, but the reworked panorama is inferior.
Tegra Zone
This games-specific Play Store alternative collects some of the best titles out there - and they've all been customised to show off the 3D power of the Tegra 3 chip. Plus, as well as offering great gaming, they'll give you plenty of bragging rights.



SONY XPERIA S

Superpowers


Sony has docked the 'Ericsson' tail from its phone branding with the launch of the dual-core Xperia S. When tested it was still running Andriod 2.3, but an update to Ice Cream Sandwich will be out by the time you read this. This Sony is tooled up with all the latest tech, including Near Field Communications (NFC), and most sets are bundled with four NFC tags in the box. Just stick them up around the place - the office, home, your car - and the Xperia S will switch to alternate customised profiles whenever it senses them. What the Sony doesn't have, though, is 'wow' factor - it's outgunned in build and style by its rivals here.

Superfun?

Sony's 12MP camera is the best on test, delivering the sharpest and most realistic shots of this quartet. The camera app is quick to fire up and includes sweep panorama and 3D shooting options, while capturing video is easy thanks to fantastic shake reduction - though quality isn't quite as good as on the Samsung. A useful 'Play On' button acts as a shortcut for streaming sound and film to DLNA devices, and the process feels closer to the simplicity of Apple's AirPlay than the clunkier methods used on most Android phones. Watching video on the Xperia's 720p display isn't quite as impressive, though - it looks a bit washed out compared to the others here. Browsing is fine, os long as you don't mind a little sluggishness in the scrolling - though the ICS update might improve it. The Sony's time at the top of the Android pile may be over, but the Xperia S is still a phone with plenty to offer.

Blogging Hub says
Outclassed by faster, slimmer models, but goes down figting.


Sony Xperia S Tech Specs

OS Android 2.3 (update due)
Screen 4.3in/11cm, 1280x720
CPU Qualcomm dual-core @ 1.5GHz
Camera 12MP w/LED flash, 1080p @ 30fps (rear); 1.3MP, 720p (front)
Storage 32 GB


WHAT'S IN THE BOX

Friend Stream
On a phone, Twitter and Facebook are best manged via widgets. The 'Friends' widget combines them well, allowing you to cross-post updates and keep track of your mates without having to waste precious seconds of your life launching an app.
Video Unlimited
The pre-installed Video Unlimited app will stream and download movies - but it's not cheap. The Spotify - style Music Unlimited streaming service is better - but we'd still rather use Spotify itself.
Sony MH650 headphones
Sony does a great line in cans, so it makes perfect sense that it's thrown in this quality set of in-ears for music and hands-free calling. These sound-isolators are excellent with lashings of depth and a well-defined, balanced mid-range and treble alike.



SAMSUNG GALAXY S III

Superpowers


Like a courting peacock in full display, Samsung Galaxy S III wants to bowl you over with its lustrous charms. While its screen is a smidge (0.1in/5mm) bigger than the HTC's, the phone is thinner and flashier (though which you prefer is a very personal thing). The similarities to the HTC continue with a quad-core brain handling Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Also like HTC, Samsung has modded the default OS with its own skin, in this case Touch Wiz. There's a similar 3D merry-go-round effect to the homescreens swiping the surface of virtual water and some handy widgets.

Superfun?

In its quest to please, Samsung Galaxy S III pumps up its colors and contrast to hyper-real levels. That makes it easily the best screen for gaming, with crisp detail and rich tones, but the HTC and Nokia both render movies more realistically. The stock browser doesn't reflow text columns when zoomed in, but otherwise web surfing is swift and faultless. Like HTC, Samsung has erred by replacing the ICS camera app with its own, lesser-featured version - but stills are excellent, way ahead of the HTC and on a par with the Nokia. Its 1080p video recording is the best on test - and a microSD slot means you'll have plenty of room for your footage. The biggest testament to its power, though, is Pop Up Play, which lets you watch a video in one window while simultaneously gaming or browsing in another. Add in its awesome battery life and the S III is hard to resist.

Blogging Hub says
The Samsung Galaxy S III pips the HTC One X to be crowned the new Android king.


Sony Xperia S Tech Specs

OS Android 4.0 + TouchWiz
Screen 4.8in/12.1cm, 1280x720
CPU Quad-core Exynos @ 1.4GHz
Camera 8MP w/LED flash, 1080p @ 30fps (rear); 1.9MP, 720p (front)
Storage 16/32/64 GB + microSD + 50GB Dropbox


WHAT'S IN THE BOX

S Voice
Samsung has done well to come up with a credible rival to Apple's Siri voice control. S Voice is able to carry out the same tasks, although voice recognition is a bit sketchy at times. Still, we had success with setting alarms, searching the web, and messaging. Not bad, all in all.
Dropbox storage
There's a choice of 16, 32 or 64GB of in-phone storage, as well as a microSD slot. Not enough? You'll also get a mighty 50GB of free cloud storage for two years, courtesy of Dropbox. If you work over several devices it could come in handy.
Social Tag
A clever use of the camera's face recognition allows you to tag photos taken on your camera by choosing names form your contacts list. Then whenever you view those photos on your phone, their Facebbok status is overlaid on the display.



NOKIA LUMIA 900

Superpowers


Some find Windows Phone 7.5 a little strait-laced, but Android could learn a lesson or two from its sense of order. Appropriately, the Lumia 900 is smart rather than fashy, with a business-like feel and reassuring heft. Beside the HTC and Sammy, it's single-core specs look pretty ordinary, but the Nokia can instead offer a slick interface and genuinely impressive features including an excellent free music service, sat-nav skills and a mobile version of MS Office. And then there's the pleasant upside that the lower-specced sillicon and fatter body hold a battery that can go for a couple of days between charges - a truly refreshing change.

Superfun?

This is not a phone for app addicts. But there's a lot to be said for the focused approach - the Lumia 900 doesn't do as much as its rivals, but what it does, it does very well. At just 800x480 the screen may be low-ren in this company, but it's vibrant with deep blacks and video playback in impressive, aside from some aspect ratio issues with the built-in Zune app. The otherwise very smooth web browser is hampered by a lack of Flash support, although YouTube will play ball if you stick to the mobile version of the site. A dedicated shutter button and sensibly-positioned lens give the camera a mature feel, and though its app is basic, the resulting stills are bettered only by the Sony, while video also holds its own. Gamers get a try-before-you-buy system built into Xbox Live, and 16GB of internal space is boosted by 256GB of Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage.

Blogging Hub says
A fine, upstanding alternative to the iPhone and Android masses.


Nokia Lumia 900 Tech Specs

OS Windows Phone 7.5
Screen 4.3in/11cm, 800x480
CPU Singe-core Qualcomm Scorpion @ 1.4GHz
Camera 8MP w/dual LED flash, 720 @ 30fps (rear); 1MP, VGA (front)
Storage 16GB + 256GB SkyDrive


WHAT'S IN THE BOX

Nokia Drive
The Lumia's sat-nav app has long been one of the best out there and although rivals are catching up, it remains a class act. It's not as feature-laden as some, but it is clear, easy to operate and only needs a brief data connection when used abroad.
Nokia Music
This app is special thanks to Mix Radio, which streams music to you over Wi-Fi or 3G, for free. You don't get to search, but there are so many sub-genres that you're guaranteed to find good tunes. You can even buy the tracks you like in-app for about R13.
Xbox Live
In reality this is the games section of the Windows Phone app store, but it links in with your existing Xbox Live account. It's far behind the App Store but is a serious challenger to Google's Play Store in terms of quality, if not quantity, of games.

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