Hundreds of phones were launched this year. But a few of them definitely have grabbed the world’s attention. Today, we commemorate these heroes as the year ends and hope for awesome products like these in 2014 too!
LG G2 is the successor of LG Optimus G Pro handset from the Korean electronic giant. The G2 visually is strikingly different from the other Android smartphones because the power button or the volume keys which are generally placed on the sides have been shifted backside below the camera. The phone sports a vibrant 5.2 inches 1080 x 1920 pixel IPS display. In the processor department, it sports top of the line Snapdragon 800 chip, clocked at 2.26GHz speed on all the four cores. It’s supported by 2GB RAM and internal memory comes in 2 variants; 16GB and 32GB. There’s no microSD slot though. The fastest internet technologies are thrown in — LTE, 3G with speeds of up to 42Mbps and WiFi 802.11ac too. It offers a 13MP rear facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), enabling less blurry snaps and better low-light performance. It can also record 1080p HD videos at 60 frames per second. It also has multiple mics and noise-cancellation for capturing better sound. It has a 2.1MP front facing camera allowing the user to do video calls and click selfies. It has a reasonably large 3000 Lithium Polymer battery which should deliver acceptable usage times.
Overall, the LG G2 is a power-packed phone, the IPS+ screen is a joy to behold and the battery life is a cut above what we’ve seen in other handsets. The unique spacing of the power and volume buttons on the back is an eye raiser. The software too has some useful features like a Guest Mode — which will restrict the usage to only a few apps, while hiding your personal information. This is useful when temporarily handing the phone over to someone (maybe a kid who wants to play some games) without the risk of them messing something up. Then there’s also the Remote Control app that lets you control TVs, Home Theaters and other IR-controlled electronic devices from the phone.
All in all, the LG G2 is a great combination of powerful hardware matched with some interesting software.
Nexus 5 (Current Price: Rs. 29,990)
The Nexus 5 is an LG-manufactured flagship phone from Google in 2013. It improves upon its predecessor, the Nexus 4, in many ways. To start off with, it has a 4.95 inches 1920 x 1080 pixel Full HD IPS panel covered with Gorilla Glass 3 display. It is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip running at 2.3 GHz with an Adreno 330 graphics chip. There’s a 2GB RAM onboard and the Nexus 5 comes in 2 variants providing either a 16GB or 32GB internal memory which cannot be expanded further due to the lack of a memory card slot. In the camera department, the Nexus 5 sticks to the same 8 megapixel resolution of the prior model, but has added Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). Google also brags about its ‘HDR+’ which takes better High Dynamic Range images and Google’s automatic image editing features. The phone also packs new sensors apart from the typical motion and light sensors; that include sensors for pressure and “hall effect”. Along with 3G connections, this phone is 4G/ LTE enabled too (though it won’t work in India yet). It has a 2300 mAh non-removable battery. Nexus 5 is the first phone to come with the latest Android KitKat 4.4.
All said, Nexus 5 is a top range phone offering many good features and specifications that phones that cost much higher boast of. The only department it lacks in is in the camera and its battery life. Other than it has got a good screen, amazing performance and isn’t way too big.
HTC One (Current Price: Rs. 42,500)
The HTC One is the flagship model from the Taiwanese company for the year 2013. It’s a stunning handset to look at, with its unibody aluminium body. The display is a 4.7-inch, Super LCD 3 type with 1920×1080 resolution which translates to a whopping 469 PPI. Above and below the display are Boomsound stereo speakers that belt out loud output with good clarity. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core 1.7GHz processor and is backed up by an ample 2GB RAM. It comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities. It doesn’t have a microSD card slot. The single SIM version supports 4G LTE, unfortunately not in India though. In the camera department, HTC’s doing things differently than others. It has come up with UltraPixel — the sensor at the back of the HTC One can shoot only 4 megapixels, but the size of individual pixels in the sensor is twice the size found in good camera-phones like the iPhone 5 or 808 PureView. This, coupled with OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), should give better low-light photography than typical camera-phones. There’s also a 2.1MP front-facing camera with HDR support providing good picture and video quality. HTC One offers a 2300mAh battery to this beast of a handset. Its variants; HTC One Mini and HTC One Dual SIM have also been launched this year.
HTC One handset feels great to hold thanks to its metal-backed body, the screen and sound is amazing, the Sense 5 UI overlay offers some interesting new features. Again, no microSD slot might be a concern for few. The Galaxy S4 is sleeker, the iPhone is, well, Apple-ier, and the Nexus 5 is cheaper. But HTC One’s design and features stand way above the aforementioned phones.
Nokia Lumia 520 (Current Price: Rs. 8,000)
The Nokia Lumia 520 is an affordable handset running Windows Phone 8. It’s got 4 inches 480×800 resolution IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen. Unlike its predecessors Lumia 510 and 610 which had a single-core 800MHz processor, the Lumia 520 is powered by dual-core 1GHz processor resulting in a fairly smooth interface. Also, the RAM is doubled from a measly 256MB to a reasonable 512MB. Thus, apps like WhatsApp that were almost unusable on the prior models work fairly well on the Lumia 520. It has a 8GB internal memory which can be expanded up to 64GB by microSD card. There’s a 5 megapixel autofocus camera at the back, that unfortunately doesn’t have an LED flash. There’s no front-facing video call camera which is disappointing. The most remarkable feature in the phone is PhotoBeamer, which allows the user to share photos with any web browser and lets one control the slideshow from their phone itself! It is 3G enabled and comes with a 1420 mAh battery. The phone’s back panel comes in bright youthful colours and is user changeable, thereby allowing the user to alter the look of their phone. Nokia has already launched Nokia Lumia 525 is the successor of this phone, which is a minor update that brings in 1GB of RAM instead of 512MB. The major drawback of Lumia 520 can be that it lacks front facing camera which is provided by its competitors in this price range. But given its youthful appearance, smooth working of the Windows Phone UI and an under Rs. 10k price tag have made it Nokia’s best-selling Windows Phone to date.
Gionee Elife E6 (Current Price: Rs. 21,100)
Chinese phone maker Gionee set the airwaves ablaze with its Elife E6 flagship smartphone. It still remains one of the cheapest phones featuring a high-quality Full HD 1080p display. It measures 5-inches in size, and is an IPS OGS (One Glass Solution) screen that’s protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Looks-wise, the unibody design does seem look like Apple iPhone 5’s design which is evident in the speaker grilles at the bottom. It is powered by a 1.5GHz unmentioned Quad-core chip, 2GB of RAM and has 32GB of internal storage. What it lacks is a microSD card slot. In the camera department, at the back it’s got a 13MP camera and in front it has a nice 5MP sensor. Both cameras can record videos in Full HD. This phone is 3G enabled and FM listeners will like the presence of FM radio in it. The phone runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Gionee’s custom UI called Amigo, which shares parts of its look-and-feel with Apple’s iOS. It has a few gesture-based features and certain battery optimisation techniques too. The Elife E6 is powered by a 2000mAh battery. Its successor Gionee Elife E7 has been launched in India.
Compared to Indian phone makers, this Chinese Gionee Elife E6 has a better build and design, display and other features. The user interface might be a bit laggy, and the lack of a microSD card slot and aftersale service infrastructure are some pressing concerns. But if you can look past these, everything else is definitely right with the Gionee Elife E6 considering its Rs. 20k price.