As the speed of smartphone sophistication increases year-on-year, 2014 will continue to see the world’s largest electronic companies trying to out-do each other with their phones. The beginning of the year is always a good way to gauge what we’ll be putting to our ears for the coming year. Both the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January and Mobile World Congress in February will be highlighting which smartphone to get your hands on. Before that lets take a sneak peek of some of the most wanted smartphones of the year 2014:
Apple iPhone 5S
Despite the two big electronic shows attracting the great and the good of the mobile smartphone world, arguably the biggest player doesn’t go to either of them. We’ll have to wait until later in the year to see what the iPhone 6 will look like (if indeed that’s what it’s called… iPhone Air anyone?) but don’t worry. Until then, we’ve got the iPhone 5s to keep us warm. If you listen to the internet or anyone willing to tell you, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the worst phone in the world. It isn’t. Far from it. It’s amazing. It is certainly an easy target and an argument could be made that it hasn’t innovated enough; it looks almost identical to it’s older brother the iPhone 5, but then it is an update to that phone, not a new iteration. The redesigned, flatter iOS7 makes the phone feel completely reinvigorated. The big new feature this time around was the finger-print sensor. Anyone who has used it will tell you its already a much more natural way to unlock your phone, not to mention authorising purchases from iTunes or the App Store and, with the sheer number of quality Apps available, it’ll soon become as ubiquitous as touching the screen. The screen size isn’t as large as some of its Android-sporting competitors but with the Retina display your eyes won’t be disappointed. Let’s not forget the iPhone 5S also has 64-bit architecture under the hood, thanks to the new A7 chipset. We’re still waiting for those killer apps to take full advantage of this and its M7 co-processor but they’re coming soon for sure. It would be a brave consumer to bet against Apple.
Can a smartphone ever have enough letters or numbers after its name? If the name of the next HTC flagship phone is anything to go by, it’s clearly learned its lesson after the HTC One X+! The name is still a rumour, but the phone is very real. Building on the positive reviews their previous phones have been gathering, HTC are working hard to continue that trend whilst hoping to turn good reviews into fantastic sales. The M8 (or whatever it gets called) will have a fantastic 1920 x 1080 pixel screen, an Ultrapixel camera (HTC proprietary image technology) but no physical buttons at all. Interesting. Also, you might not know it by looking at it but it will be also running the latest version of Android, known as KitKat, albeit hidden behind their own Sense 6.0 user interface. Despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews for its recent phones, they just didn’t sell in the numbers they had hoped for. Can this phone change that? HTC hope so. OK.
Motorola Moto G
Times are tough and we don’t all have the mega-bucks needed to buy the very highest spec smartphone, so that is where the Motorola Moto G fits in nicely. The brainchild of Motorola, now owned by Google let’s not forget, attempts to pack the premium features all smartphones users enjoy into a price-sensitive budget body. The body is a good place to start. It measures only 6mm at its thinnest point, weighs in at only 143g and even has interchangeable backs so you can customise it ’til your heart’s content. The cutbacks come from the camera being ‘only’ 5 mega-pixels and there is no MicroSD expansion slot, so you’re stuck with ‘only’ a 8 or 16GB capacity.
If that doesn’t put you off and you do plan to pick up this phone to save a little cash, then its ‘Migrate’ feature helps you swap your content from your old phone to this one. Another nice little feature is that it’s coated with a water-repellent covering to keep your phone dry. It’s not quite fully waterproof but it could come in handy from all the tears of happiness you’ll be shedding if you pick up this phone.
LG seems to be playing a constant game of catch-up with both Apple and Samsung, as they fight for world smartphone domination. Maybe the Samsung / Apple battle might just have to find a space for a third contender with the LG G2. The first thing you’ll noticed is the beautiful 5.2” full HD screen. Whilst it’s not completely edge-to-edge, it’s not far off. The side bezel is absolutely tiny thanks to the controversial move of placing the volume buttons to the back under the camera lens, rather than the traditional place on the side of the phone. It takes a little getting used to.
The G2 is no slouch technically either. It packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor to push all those pixels around. If you’re wanting your next phone to future-proof the year ahead, the LG G2 is 4G ready and is even compatible with the forthcoming LTE-Advanced protocol. Despite the plastic back, it feels like a quality phone and it has all the standard features you’ll need. If you’re looking for an alternative Android phone, this just might be for you.
In a move that seems to be trying to preempt the ‘next big thing’, 2014 will also see the release of the LG G Flex; LGs first foray into the curved screen phone. Will it prove to the best thing ever or a gimmick? Time will tell, but with Samsung also releasing the Galaxy Round, it’s going to get interesting.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The latest smartphone in the Galaxy range looks very similar to its predecessor; the S3, but as that model shipped around 50 million units, why wouldn’t it! Whilst Apple is derided for their perceived lack of innovation, Samsung seems to escape the same criticism. Still, the Galaxy range remains the only real challenger to the iPhone smartphone crown. Samsung has built on the successes it has learned from the trio that preceded it with gradual improvements. The S4 has got a bigger full HD screen, whilst the handset itself gets smaller! It’s certainly not a phone for those with petite hands, although there is a ‘mini’ version. One man’s innovation is another man’s gimmick and the S4 has plenty of both.
Smart Pause automatically pauses video playback when your eyes stray from the screen; Smart Scroll allows you to continue reading webpages by tilting the phone; its S-Health feature incorporates a pedometer to help keep you fit; Near Field Communication helps you swap files and you can even use it as a TV remote. The list goes on! Incidentally, it makes phone calls too! You might think the combination of large screen and fancy features might have a disastrous effect on the battery but you’d be wrong. It has a large battery befitting its large body to keep you going all day. Whether you’ll use half of the features / gimmicks it has remains to be seen, but it’s a fantastic phone whatever you need it for.
Tags: Apple, HTC, iPhone 5s, LG, Samsung, Smartphones
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Mossy don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put finger to screen and give Samsung’s new Instinct a test of your own. Particularly if you’re a fan of Sprint either by choice or by contract. Available now and right on schedule for $129.99 (with 2 year contract and $100 mail-in rebate), not the original $200 bounced around initially. With Sprint trying hard to position the Instinct as an iPhone killer, we guess they really didn’t have a choice but to undercut it in price.
Tags: Instinct, mobile, Samsung, twists
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