We live in an era where smartphones are a huge part of our lives, and everyone wants the best smartphones around. We use them for everything – texting, calling, surfing on the internet, posting that cute selfie that we took, keeping in touch with what’s happening in the world, or simply playing a game on our morning subway commute. Some of us will want to pay top dollar for flagship phones, while others, who aren’t describable as tech aficionados only want a cheap, affordable smartphone. Lastly, for people who don’t enjoy smart-phones that much, there’s always some cool tablet, like the Sony Xperia Z4 to play with.
But where does one start looking for smartphones? If you go to a store they’ll try to shove down your throat their latest devices, and not all of them are top-notch. After all, stores need to fulfil a quota until the end of the month. I don’t.
When buying a smartphone you need to take into consideration what its purpose is going to be. Do you fancy spending all day playing mobile games? Do you surf the web a lot? Or you want it to have the best battery around?
How about little details like how long does it take to load an app? Does it have good signal reception, or you’ll get no bars on the highway?
You don’t need to worry yourself about doing research today, just take a couple of minutes out of your busy schedule, and read your preferred category. You won’t regret it!
Let’s start with the affordable smartphones, and make our way through mid-range devices, and finally we’ll talk about flag-ship phones.
Best smartphone Devices – affordable tier!
Affordable Smartphones #1 – Sony Xperia M2
Available right now for the low price of $180 – it recently had a price drop, making it one of the best price to value smartphones on the market.
Unlocked, its been circulating at $200-$230.
The update to the 2014’s Xperia M, the M2 has a slick design, and the edges are rounded making it easier to hold it in your hand. The phone is entirely made out of plastic, but the great thing about it is that it doesn’t feel cheap, and it doesn’t have that tacky plastic shine – which I find really unappealing.
The M2’s back can be easily scratched, so be careful on what surface you choose to put your phone down. It doesn’t have Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on its back like the Z2 – this is one of the reasons that it’s cheaper than the Z2.
But Gorilla Glass 3 is all present on the screen, so you don’t need to worry about it scratching that easily on the front.
Also, one thing that it lacks is not being waterproof – microSIM, and microSD memory card slots are somewhat well protected, but alas, they are not rubber sealed and little droplets of water can go through them, and it can pose a problem to the phone’s future.
The M2’s large screen that consists of 4.8-inch 960×540 pixel makes it look like a high-end phone – this may be the selling point for many users that desire a cheap phone that looks expensive.
But when it comes time to actually handle the device, you’ll have no questions regarding its quality. It is indeed not a high-end device. The resolution is low for this kind of screen, and pixel density has some problems, meaning you can actually see them on the screen – that’s a big no-no for me.
Software wise it doesn’t run Lollipop, but it has a stable version of Android 4.3, and the UI layout looks top-notch. Sony pre-installs a couple of apps on your device, but you can delete some of them – Video Unlimited, Track ID and TV SideView amongst other undeletables like PlayStation Mobile, Sony Select, and Walkman.
When it comes down to performance the Xperia M2 stands its ground. No shame in admitting that it does have some lag problems, but nothing too infuriating. The device uses the Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM – not the best processor around, but one that it does its job okay’ish.
The quad-core chipset stands at 1.2 GHZ, but it consists of a Cortex-A7 architecture, mainly prioritizing efficiency over power.
It runs almost anything, and you can do almost anything on it, and for the price of $180, you can rest assured that you’ll not regret your decision in buying it.
The primary camera consists of 8 MP, with a f/2.4 lens – it’s more than enough for okay quality pictures, not excellent, but okay. The secondary camera outputs VGA, and you’ll most likely never use it due to its low quality – this means no selfie marathons for you!
Now, one of the most important things you need to consider when buying a new smartphone, or any device, is its battery life. The non-removable Li-Ion 2300 mAh battery is fairly bigger than its competition, and it was rumoured that the device can last up to a full day’s use. That’s not the case though. It’s fairly near that target, and standing at a 13 hour mark – a test consisting of looping a 720p video until it dies – makes it a great acquisition. But the non-removable feature makes me just want to hurl it out the window.
Key features – Snapdragon 400 processor, 8GB storage with the possibility of adding a microSD up to 32GB, 8-megapixel camera, and a 4.8-inch 960×540 pixel screen
– Cool design
– More than decent battery life
– Has 4G
– Low screen resolution
– It lags sometimes, not much, but you can notice performance issues
Affordable Smartphones #2 – Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Available for $200, it slightly more expensive than the Xperia M2, and somewhat a weaker device.
It’s a decent entry-level smartphone, and that’s all what you need to know about it. It isn’t bad, but it definitely ain’t good either. The thing is, it doesn’t shine in absolutely no way. If you want a budget smartphone from Samsung, this is one of the options.
Design wise it looks fabulous, exactly what you would expect from Samsung to release. It surely doesn’t look like a cheap phone until you put your hands on it, and start meddling with its capabilities.
Its size consists of 4.5-inch that outputs a resolution of 480×800 pixels – yikes!
Yes, you read that right 480×800 pixels. It’s a really low resolution. Sure, you can watch a couple of YouTube videos on it, you can text with your dudes and dudettes, your bros and broettes, but if you play around a higher quality smartphone, and then you come back to yours, you’ll wish that the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime was dead and gone from your sight.
More so, it’s really prone to scratches – it doesn’t feature any Corning Gorilla Glass whatsoever; another deal breaking point if you ask me.
It runs Android 4.4.4 Kitkat, so no huge problems there with app compatibility and such – although expect performance issues, not only from the out-dated software, but also from its hardware. And as far as I know, there are no problematic pre-installed apps, just the usual ones that you would find on a Samsung smartphone.
Now let’s talk a little bit about its performance. I have already stated that it does indeed have some performance issues, but nothing that would critically annoy you. It sports a Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410 chipset, and a Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, paired with an Adreno 306 GPU, and 1GB of RAM. Nothing that you would find in a high-end device, but it does its job mediocrely.
You can run almost anything on it, exactly like the M2, but the low resolution makes it feel a lot worse than it is. If you’re not accustomed with smartphones, then it will probably not be such of a big deal, but for me, it’s something that I would not want to see on a daily basis.
Its primary camera consists of 5 MP, has auto-focus, and LED flash but don’t expect pictures worthy of exhibitions. 5 MP ain’t much, and neither is its secondary camera that outputs a mere 2 MP – way better than the M2’s VGA, but still not worthy of a extravagant selfie.
Battery life can hold-out about 10 hours – not much, depending on what’s out there.
Key features – Snapdragon 410, 8GB storage with the possibility of a adding a microSD card up to 64GB, 5-megapixel camera, and a 480×800 screen
– It’s cheap
– Its design is just fabulous, and it looks like you’ve got a high-end device
– Really low resolution
– Mediocre camera
– Low battery life
Affordable Smartphones #3 – Nokia Lumia 635
I hope you’re sitting down, because when you’ll read how much it costs you’ll go berserk. Ready? It’s about $100 starting off-contract. Yeah, it’s a Nokia, yes of course they don’t make great smartphones, they don’t even make good smartphones, they make ones that are on the borderline of mediocre and good, but this doesn’t mean that you have to pass up the chance on buying a $100 phone.
What you need to know about the Lumia 635 is that its an affordable phone that runs Microsoft’s Windows, has an okay’ish camera, and exceptional battery life.
Let’s start with its design – it looks fun, crisp, and fresh. This reviewer loves how it looks a lot!
People are confusing it for the iPhone 5c – it’s a nice thing to know if you’re planning on getting it only for the looks. It’s made entirely out of plastic, but the good kind, not the tacky, cheap kind, and its rounded corner adds a little bit to the magic. It’s blockier than what you usually find at Nokia, and its flat edges meet a flat back.
Its screen is protected by the famous Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Of course you’ll worry about scratches, but not like you would if you owned a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime.
The Lumia 635 is mind boggling light weight – 135 grams; and its size is not one to miss – 129.5 x 66.7 x 9.2mm; those two things paired make the smartphone rest perfectly in your hand, and no sharp edges to annoy you.
The 4.5-inch display sports a 854×480 resolution, that’s actually 800×480, but with a little more size for the on-screen navigation keys, and also because Nokia wants to be special I suppose. It’s not that bad to be honest, it has a soothing colour temperature, the whites are crisp, but the glare is somewhat annoying. If you’ll try to use the smartphone outside, during a bright day, you’ll have to squint your eyes to actually understand what’s going on on your screen’s device.
The display is in no shape for videophiles that desire the highest quality there is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch a clip on it.
When it’s time to talk about performance you won’t notice any wild-cards suddenly popping and making the Lumia 635 feel like a hidden beast. It’s not much, and it does fairly well in the battleground.
The 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400, paired with a shy 512MB of RAM, can be a pain in the place where the sun doesn’t shine, but for $100 you shouldn’t expect much. Sure, you’ll experience lag time, and some performance issues, mostly because of not having much RAM – 512MB is so 2010; but surprisingly, nothing that poses as a huge problem.
What can I say about the secondary camera? Nothing. Because it doesn’t have one. You’ll have to take selfies the old way – wondering if you’re in the frame or not. Its primary camera consists of 5 MP. Nothing much at first glance, but you can choose lenses with Nokia’s viewfinder, and the finer settings like white balance, exposure compensation and such, can be found in the full menu.
Shockingly, its battery life is quite extraordinary at this price range. Passing with one hour the half-day mark, and standing at 13-hours of run-time, the Lumia 635 really surprised me in this department.
To be honest, this entry level smartphone isn’t quite that bad. Lose that atrocious Windows OS, put an Android on it, a little bit of tweaking here and there, and you’ve got yourself quite a phone
Key features – Snapdragon 400, 8GB of storage space with the possibility of adding a microSD card up to 128GB, 5-megapixel camera, and a one of a kind 854×480 screen.
– It’s incredibly cheap
– Great battery life
– Fabulous design
– Not a selfie capable smartphone
– Performance issues
Affordable Smartphones #4 – Motorola Moto E
The last entry in our affordable smartphones list has to be the Motorola Moto E. The price varies between $120 and $150 – both off-contract.
It’s slightly smaller, slightly cheaper, but on almost the same terms, as Motorola’s highest selling smartphone – the Moto G.
Think of the E as G’s little brother, that has all its life ahead of him, and also has the ability to surpass his older sibling.
If you’re planning on buying a smartphone for you to show-off when you meet your friends, the Moto E isn’t the right one for you. It sports a simple, humble design. It’s made entirely out of plastic, with no added textures to make it special. It doesn’t even try to be super-thin, but instead it focuses on feeling super-comfortable in your hand. I, for one, am loving this more than a paper smartphone.
The Motorola logo is represented by a tiny M on the back of the phone. Yet again props design wise.
The chunky little brother is 12.3mm thick, but it has smooth curves where it should, and no rough edges. It’s a pleasure holding it in your hand.
It runs your usual Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, but you can upgrade the firmware to 5.1 Lollipop – if you want to buy it now just for the Lollipop keep in mind that the update is a planned upgrade, and it is not available at the current moment.
A nice feature that I’m really excited to see with such a great phone is the Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Also there is a special coating on the phone’s exterior that offers some protection against water, but not much, so don’t go swimming with your Moto E in a pool, because it’ll surely stop working.
The screen consists of a 4.3-inch display, with a 960×540 resolution. It’s smaller than Moto G’s 4.5-inch 720p display. If you’re accustomed to fine detail in games you’ll notice the difference, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker.
Don’t get me wrong here, image quality is actually good, colours are well saturated, and they offer a cosy feeling, but don’t expect to march on a sunny day with your phone in hand and text your friends, because you won’t see much.
It lacks in the performance department, but every phone in this price range is weak at outputting raw power. The dual core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 chipset is a low end processor. It has more RAM than the previously discussed Lumia, 1 GB of it, but it doesn’t help it that much.
Expect frame drops when trying to play impressive-looking games at full speed. It can run the majority of them, but you won’t be happy with the gaming experience. My advice is if you want to buy a smartphone for gaming, don’t buy a low-end one, you’ll only frustrate yourself.
The camera ain’t great, actually it’s the weakest thing of it. No front facing camera means no selfies. And the 5MP primary camera is just not good, because it doesn’t have flash of any kind. Your photos will look horrible, but that’s the cost of buying such a cheap phone.
Sporting a non-removable Li-Ion 1980 mAh battery, it has made a name of itself as being the chubby brother. It’s slightly smaller than the 2070 mAh battery that the G has, but the E is also smaller when you take in account the whole smartphone. Continuous use ranks it up at 9 hours of run-time. Not that great if you ask me.
Key features – Snapdragon 200, 4GB of storage space with the possibility of adding a microSD card up to 32GB, 5-megapixel camera, and a 960×540 display
– Great value
– Humble, and simple design
– Android 5.1 Lollipop planned upgrade
– Weak camera
– Annoying performance issues
Best Smartphones – Mid-Range Tier!
Now, let’s take a ride to our best smartphones mid-range, for those of us who aren’t happy with a budget smartphone, and who aren’t willing to pay a ton of cash for a gadget.
And the first one in our list is…
Best Smartphones Mid-Range #1 – Google Nexus 5
Even though the Google Nexus 5 launched in October of 2013, it’s one of the best mid-range smartphones on the market, and you can have the 16GB model for around $350, and the 32GB version for $430.
In 2013, it was one of the best devices of the year, standing at the same tier as the iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, and the Sony Xperia Z1- and now, early 2015, it holds up with mid-range smartphones, and even with flagship phones.
With Android 5.0 Lollipop available for the device, the Nexus 5 eats at the same table with the new up-and-coming kids, but not for long. Google has discontinued the product, and retailers have limited stocks – Verizon, AT&T, and BestBuy are the ones to search for Google’s discontinued product.
It sports a really simple, but yet classy design. It seduced me from the moment I saw it laying down, and when I picked it up I realized that I have fallen in love with a robot.
Yes, of course, it certainly has its flaws, but the pros out-weigh the cons by a huge margin.
Stanley Kubrick would have been proud of Google for recreating, in miniature shape, the form of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Monolith – it’s probably the motive I’ve been feeling so drawn to it.
The beautiful 5-inch display measures about 137.9×69.2×8.6mm, and the Full HD resolution of 1920x1080pixels makes the whole experience a ton better. It’s just a pleasure to watch YouTube videos on the Nexus 5, text your friends and family, and of course, reading news on your smartphone couldn’t be more comfortable for your eyes.
The Nexus logo is embroidered in lower-case gloss, with a tiny LG logo below it.
Weighing at just about 130grams, I am amazed I haven’t thrown it as a Frisbee in the park – and I bet it would have survived the trip too; it’s being protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Regarding the performance department it outputs every bit of excellence it can. The Nexus 5 is one for the history books, and its speed, although almost unmatchable at its time, now resides as one of the fastest, and reliable, smartphones on the market. With a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800, Adreno 330 GPU, and 2 GB of RAM, you can rest assured that you can play anything you want on the Store – more so, upcoming games won’t meet you with difficulties whatsoever.
It’s lag free, and fully responsive – partly due to Google’s genius with Android 5.0 Lollipop, and partly because of the phones architecture.
The Nexus 5 camera isn’t just perfect for taking selfies, but it also has a superb F2.4 30 mm equivalent lens that is just perfect for photography – although, if you want to be a respectable photographer, don’t take photos with you smartphone, use proper gear like a Nikon.
Its primary camera stands at 8 MP, and its secondary camera a mere 1.3 MP – but trust me, they are exquisite!
If you take your time with the shutter, and if you are patient in selecting what to focus, Google’s device will astound you with high-quality pictures – be patient young grasshopper!
It takes about 2 seconds to launch the camera app – it’s not long at all, because after the initial start-up it will run smoothly and without any hiccups.
When I first started using the Nexus 5, the battery didn’t last me long because I was constantly meddling with its capabilities, and every night I had to put in the charger before I went to bed. The non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery will take you to the 10 hour mark even if you push its buttons all day – test it out with a continuous video loop; it shouldn’t be lower than 7 to 8 hours.
Key features – Snapdragon 800, 16GB or 32GB depending on the model, but without the possibility of adding a microSD card, 8-megapixel camera, and a 720p display
– Great value
– Super fast
– Upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop
– Beautiful screen
– Released in 2013, and can still hold up with 2015 models
– Mediocre battery life
– No microSD card slot
– Discontinued, so the support for this device will be lacking in the near future
Best Smartphones Mid-Range #2 – OnePlus One
It starts around $350 for the 64GB model, but initially you could’ve bought the 16GB model for $300 – it was removed from the production line.
It’s unbelievable low price can only outmatch it’s shockingly great performance capabilities – for half the price of a Samsung Galaxy S5, the OnePlus One offers the same high-performance as Samsung’s last year flagship phone.
It’s not the thinnest, or slimmest device out there, but it won’t feel like a brick in your hand either. At 152.9×75.9×8.9mm, it’s slightly larger than the LG G3, and Sony Xperia Z2, even though the latter has a 5.2-inch screen.
The OnePlus One has a 5.5-inch screen, and at that size its bigger than both the One M8’s screen, and Galaxy S5’s – sporting also a Full HD resolution of 1920x1080p; It’s one hell of a beast, and nobody can call it less than magnificent.
You may think that they definitely cut corners somewhere to reach that low price, especially in the display department, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The IPS display makes it feel, and look accurate and sharp as any flagship smartphone on the market.
But somewhere, they must have cut down costs. Maybe its design? Definitely not. It looks superb, and it feels like you’re taking the hottest girl in school to prom. No rough edges, no cheap and tacky plastic that shines away the hope from your eyes, and the screen is just gorgeous – also it is protected by the already known Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Software wise, it is fully customizable – CyanogenMod 12 offers the user complete control. I, for one, am not a big fan of CyanogenMod, but I know that there is a huge community behind this OS. It’s not that I don’t think its as stable as Android – even though I know it’s based on the 4.4.4 Kikat – or iOS, the layout just doesn’t speak to me – maybe I’m wrong in the brain somewhere.
OnePlus One’s processor is capable of everything that you can dream of – multi task, 3D gaming, HD video, and more without even skipping a heartbeat.
It isn’t shocking news, taking into consideration the fact that it holds a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 – of Krait 400 origins. It’s not just about being a high-end processor, and at its time, it was the best one on the market, it’s about how the company managed to keep it at such a low price by featuring the very best. You would’ve thought that a company founded sometime in 2013 would have problems entering the already saturated marketplace of smartphone.
Also, it features 3GB of RAM – that’s more than what one of my laptops has.
Now, we have talked about the good news regarding this divine smartphone, but it has it flaws too. It doesn’t take great quality photos as its other contenders to the throne – Galaxy S5, and Nokia Lumia 1520; It takes great photos, but a keen eye can see the differences between them. Although it has a 13 MP unit, it doesn’t reach S5’s 8MP, and Nokia’s’ 10MP unit.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t take excellent photos. Au contrair, they are superb.
Another bad point that I am forced to give the OnePlus One is all because of the non-removable Li-Po 3100 mAh battery. This isn’t to say that the battery life isn’t exceptional – using it all the time for the tinniest task, it had a run-time of a day and a half. Of course, I was asleep at night and I couldn’t play with my new toy, so realistically speaking, we are looking at 16 to 18 hours.
Key features – Snapdragon 801, 16GB/64GB without the possibility of adding a microSD card, 13-megapixel camera, and 720p display
– Exceptional battery life
– High-performance device
– Fully customizable OS
– Incredible low price for the performance it offers
– No microSD card slot
– Non-removable battery
Best Smartphones Mid-Range #3 – Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
Starting at $380, Sony’s Xperia T2 Ultra was one of the greatest smartphones of 2014. Pardon me, not smartphones, but phablets. By their powers combined, a smartphone and a tablet, Sony seeks to rule the world with this trend that has seen a huge rise all over the world – but most especially in India.
The T2 Ultra is slimmer, sleeker, smaller, than your ordinary phablet – and it also accepts 2 Sim cards. It has stripped down features because its a budget phablet – although, for the inexperienced eye it looks exactly like a smartphone. And you’re not wrong, it is a smartphone, only bigger.
Sporting a 6-inch display, and a resolution of 1280×720, Sony had the crucial task of entering the marketplace and take a stand. It seems like pretty small resolution for such a huge beast, but Sony’s proprietary Triluminous display technology makes the screen spring with life – although you can really see the pixel density when the phablet is under bright light.
Colour reproduction is top notch, despite the fact that it only has ~245 pixel density.
Also, the T2 Ultra comes with a a dual-Sim variant, meaning it accepts two Micro-SIM cards in dual standby mode.
It comes packed with Android 4.3 Jellybean, but you can choose to upgrade it to the sought after Android 5.0 Lollipop. And the really great thing is that the owner has the possibility of customizing six user screens – a very interesting feature, that helps you navigate the phablet better.
But, alas, performance wise is were it kinda’ cracks under the pressure its overachieving parents have set. Using the default browse, which is Chrome, caused the screen to flicker at random moments during its usage – with no apparent pattern whatsoever. The apps would freeze from time to time, and when the T2 Ultra actually worked, it felt sluggish, and it made me feel mildly infuriated.
Here’s the motive – Snapdragon 400, quad-core at 1.4GHz, sporting Cortex-A7 architecture, and only 1 GB of RAM. For a smartphone, that would be really great, but for a tablet not so much. And their combination here seems to be unfruitful.
Camera is pretty nifty, but its software is really limited. Its primary camera consists of a 13 MP unit, that can take photos up to 4128×3096 resolution! And its secondary camera can output a shy 1.1 MP.
Too bad its software just feels weak, although you have a ton of choices. But a ton of choices doesn’t automatically dictate perfection – I would rather have quality over quantity every time of day. Its pointless modes just feel like the developers were on a rush and didn’t know what to add so the device can sell. A shame, really.
The augmented reality effects are just super silly, and the animations are kinda’ horrible. The background defocus mode, when it works, it takes two pictures – one of the said background, and one of the foreground, but good luck making it work without hurling the phablet at the nearest wall.
Battery wise, testing it by continuously looping a 720p video it lasted 8 hours and almost 30 minutes – this translates into a full day battery. It’s really not that bad.
Key features – Snapdragon 400, 8GB of storage with the possibility of adding a microSD card up to 32GB, 13-megapixel camera, and a 1280×720 display
– Good design
– Low price for a phablet
– Upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop
– It feels like half of something was paired with another half that just doesn’t quite fit
– Mediocre camera
– Although it has a lot of variety, camera modes seem unfinished and just annoy you
Best Smartphones Mid-Range #4 – Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
The Grand 2 is priced at about $350 off-contract, and it has made its first steps into this world starting with May of 2014. Sleek faux-leather stitched design, nice features, and that beautiful screen that we are accustomed from Samsung, make the Grand 2 a nice acquisition. But will it blend? Blend with your heart I mean.
The leathery feel will quickly diminish after using it for more than 5 minutes. It’s a nice eye-candy device, but it’s made out of plastic. It’s soft and pleasant to the touch, and the basic imitation leather does it some justice, but all-in-all you will definitely know the truth. But the truth ain’t that bad to be honest. It isn’t that nasty cheap plastic, rough and shiny; no, it’s a pretty good quality one, glossy though, but it’s something that we are used to when buying a Samsung smartphone.
Comparing the Grand 2 with its previous installment, it’s more thinner, and narrower, but not by much – 8.9mm vs. 9.6mm, and 2.96” vs. 3.03”; The second gen device rests more comfortable in your hand, partly due to having no rough edges, but mostly because everything is put together so tightly.
The screen consists of a beautiful, sharp and vivid 5.25-inch 720p display. Although, pixel density – standing at 280ppi – is the embugarance that destroys a little bit of the magic, the screen is fairly decent, and the images and text appear sharp and fresh. Unfortunately it doesn’t have any top-notch protection for the screen – if you’ll be looking for Corning Gorilla Glass 3, you won’t be finding it on this device.
Samsung really knows how the sell their devices. It’s all about the colours – they are so lively, it looks like they’re dancing on my screen. The palette is seriously one to die for, and paired with the good, not great, display is a selling point for most of us.
Although you have the option of reducing its brightness for those annoying sunny days it’s not going to help that much. It’s a step up from the previously discussed Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, but you’ll stil have to squint your eyes to see anything.
Grand 2 comes packed with Android 4.3, commonly known as JellyBean, but you can upgrade it to 4.4.2. Kitkat.
The Snapdragon 400 chipset is really one of the most reliable and stable chipsets, and you’ll be able to run the majority of high-end games – not at maximum detail, but still, outputting quite the graphics.
I’m not a fan of the architecture though. The four Cortex-A7-based cores are running up to 1.2GHz, with a great dose of RAM that stands at 1.5GB – and the usual Adreno 305 graphic chip. It’s more than okay, but we the previously discussed OnePlus One kinda’ beats this one to the pulp.
The camera isn’t something you should brag about to your friends. The 8MP main camera can capture good sharp, and lively images, but under certain conditions like rain, and fog the Grand 2 gets the colours all mixed-up. The f/2.4 lens aperture is quite the little champion of its domain, and it does its job fairly well.
And when it comes down to the battery you should know that it has a quoted talk-time of 17 hours, but realistically you won’t need to re-charge it every day. It lasted me a day and a half, and I can approximate it’s run-time at about 15 to 18 hours. Quite good actually.
Key features – Snapdragon 400, 8GB of storage with the possibility of adding a microSD card up to 64GB, 8-megapixel camera, and a 720p display
– Beautiful 720p display
– Great battery life
– Removable battery
– Android 4.4.2 Kitkat is the last upgrade available
– Camera has some problems, and it mixes up colours – sometimes
Best Smartphone Devices – FlagShip Tier!
You didn’t fancy the affordable smartphones list? Neither the best smartphones mid-range? No biggie, we have one more tier and we’re done.
Now it’s time for the best two flagship devices available on the marketplace right now.
Best FlagShip Smartphones #1 – Samsung Galaxy S6
It’s just been released a couple of weeks ago, and it’s price could strike you down. Its been sold at various prices, but somewhere on the lines of $750 and $800.
Yikes, that’s a lot!
Its Samsung’s top shelf product, but does it live up to the hype?
I’ve been using it for a couple of days now, and I swear it’s one of the best smartphones that I have ever played with. It’s a shame that I have to return it back to my friend at the end of the week.
It looks just stunning, and it looks stunningly alike an iPhone 6 at the bottom.
No more plastic cover for the S6, now it dwells into the world of metal. Expect premium design, and a strong glass case – it’s protected by the all new Corning Gorilla Glass 4. There was even a video circulating the internet a couple of weeks ago, with a pre-release S6, available only for certain tech reviewers, that was being smashed to the ground. The outcome? It worked perfectly, not scratches on the screen, nothing. Though, we didn’t get a glimpse of the back.
Keeping its traditional values, the S6 has a different design yes, but you can see it has its roots in the S4.
One nasty thing that I’ve seen at the S6, and somewhat unmissable, is the fact that the device is a fingerprint magnet. I swear, nobody is going to steal your phone and get away with it. They’re gonna’ have their fingerprints all over it.
The Super Amoled display is top-notch, crisp and clear, and just a pleasure to see it in action. At 5.1-inch, the screen sports a resolution of 1440×2560, with ~557ppi pixel density it makes the Galaxy S6 the proud owner of the sharpest display available on the market.
The device runs the latest Android OS, and it will surely be prone to updates for years to come.
The 3GB RAM that backs up the four 1.5GHz cores, paired with the Exynos 7420 chipset, and the Mali-T760MP8 will make the device run everything that’s on the store right now. No lag problems, no performance issues – zero, zip, zilch, nada!
The biggest highlight isn’t how crisp the device is, neither it’s jaw-dropping high-performance capabilities – it’s the superb camera.
At 16MP, its primary camera can take pictures at 2988×5312 pixels, video at 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps. It’s just fabulous. If you are a novice photographer, rest assured that you will punch out some fabulous photos.
The battery is slightly smaller comparing it to its older brother, the S5, and it stands at 2550 mAh – the reduction was made because of the phone’s design, and because the developers wanted to make the S6 slimmer. The whole trend to make things slimmer is really annoying, and I would rather own a hefty smartphone that could last me 3, maybe 4 days without charging, than the slimmest device available that almost lasts from dusk til’ dawn.
You can get 17 hours of run-time, and it’s great, but it could have been better.
Key features – Exynos 7420, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models, all of them don’t have the possibility of adding a microSD card, 16-megapixel camera, and a fabulous 1440×2560 display
– The best display on the marketplace
– Amazing camera
– Incredible for media
– Battery all though good, it’s not good enough
– Too expensive, and I mean the price is way above what a normal customer would be inclined to spend
Best FlagShip Smartphones #2 – iPhone 6
Bash Apple and their iPhones all you want, but they really do make great smartphones.
The iPhone 6 is a statement to their ingenuity, and their dedication to offer simple, and intuitive design, while at the same time offering an innovative device.
Apple was somewhat late to the party of big screens, but they are fashionably late, I can give them that.
It starts at around $650 and it can reach $850 easily – without a carrier; with a contract at Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T or Sprint, you can get it cheaper, as in a 2 year contract crunch down the price to $400. But is it worth committing to a carrier?
Let’s get back to the smartphone. It’s design hasn’t changed much; it’s your usual iPhone, only with soft curves, and soft edges. It has some plastic on it, but preponderantly it’s built out of metal, and glass.
It’s much lighter than its competition, weighing at about 129grams, and I could say that it’s really small too – 138.1x67x6.9mm; but it fits comfortably in your hand.
The 4.7-inch display, sports 326ppi, and a resolution of 1334×750. Their trademarked screen called Retina is fantastic, but it falls behind its competition – compare it with the S6, and the iPhone 6 is a child’s toy.
I’m not saying it isn’t great, in fact, it really is – great colour accuracy, impressive peak brightness that maxes out at 558 nits, superb video playback, and crisp and sharp images are truly exquisite.
When Apple releases a new smartphone, they want to boost up its performance capabilities, so the iPhone 6 is slightly better than its predecessor, but not by much. It features an A8 dual processor that runs at 1.4GHz, ARM v8 based, and quad-core graphics from the PowerVR Gx6450 GPU – with 1GB of RAM also.
It’s great, I can give it that, but it’s not the best device available. It’s fast, super-fast, but it barely reaches the S6 – keep in mind that Apple’s iPhone 6 was released in September of 2014, while Samsung’s Galaxy S6 was just released this April.
The iPhone6 has the same camera as its sibling, the 5s. A 8 MP camera, a 1/3-inch sensor, and a ton of awesome features makes Apple’s device sport one of the best cameras on the market.
It works great on sunny days, and it works great on foggy, and rainy days.
But when it comes down to battery life, Apple doesn’t disappoint. It has a run-time of almost 22 hours, with its brightness set at 25%, and realistically it can last up to almost 2 days without charging it. One of the best battery efficient smartphones I have ever seen.
Key features – Apple A8 chipset, 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB models, all of them not having the possibility of adding a microSD card, 8-megapixel camera, and a great 1334×750 display
– Incredible battery life
– Great camera, with a ton of awesome features
– Apple quality builds
– Really expensive
– It kinda falls behind, and in a couple of months or so, it won’t be seen as a top-shelf device