The scenario is simple. Every time Apple releases a new itineration of the iPhone, everyone goes crazy. Long queues are formed on sale days, pre-orders are all sold-out from the first days and anyone wishing just to get a hold of the new iPhone 5 has to wait for at least a week. Several weeks after the initial release, the sea of orders calms a bit but waters are still demanding, as consumers want more, more and more. This time, there are options.
Although the iPhone has always had rivals, the sixth-generation of Apple’s smartphone will endure a tough market. At this moment, Android controls 75% of the market share and Windows Phone 8 has just been launched, alongside its desktop brother. Besides exciting features, these two platforms can be encountered on five of the meanest machines available today.
iPhone 5’s toughest rivals
Before we start showing the pretenders, let us begin with the “champ”. The iPhone 5 is one sleek device, with a slim body made out of pure aluminum that disperses heat instantly and bestows a cool look on the product. The latest Apple entry is a bit longer than its predecessor, a fact that has opened room for more powerful components while managing to keep the weight under 112 grams.
Speaking of hardware juices, the iPhone 5 comes with a 4-inch wide screen capable of 640×1136 pixel resolutions (326 PPI) using its LED-backlit IPS TFT technology. Underneath the panel Apple has integrated 1GB of RAM, a dual-core Apple A6 processor clocked at 1.2GHz and a triple-core PowerVR SGX GPU. In English, that means trouble for the competition and by the looks of the latest benchmarks, the iPhone 5 has the means to crash them all.
Besides the internal wonders, the iPhone 5 comes with a high quality 8-megapixel back-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, which can detect faces and capture motions in full HD. As always, the iPhone 5 comes with the latest iOS 6 (filled with new features, but bugs as well), a battery that has always made users cry about and many other disappointments. Now let’s see some names that don’t like to do that.
Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia’s Lumia 920 is a smartphone powered by Windows Phone 8 and a milestone for all Microsoft lovers. Launched on November 2nd, the device comes with impressive hardware, from both specification and technical quality concerns, and a stylish design borrowed from the past Lumia generation. As we’ve always loved to say, no one can mistake a Nokia device with another manufacturer. Here’s a quick round-up of the technical side:
- OS: Windows Phone 8
- Dimensions: 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm in size, weighting 185 grams
- Display: 4.5-inch wide IPS TFT with 768×1280 pixel resolution and a density of 332 PPI
- Processor: Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset with a dual-core Krait CPU clocked at 1.5GHz and an Adreno 225 GPU
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 32GB internal, with no card slots
- Connectivity: NFC, microUSB 2.0, 4G/LTE, Bluetooth 3.1
- Camera: 8.7-megapixel with PureView technology, geo-tagging and touch focus
- Battery: Li-Ion with 2000 mAh (10 hours on 3G talks)
- Price: around 560 euros
As you can see, the Lumia 920 comes with a fast enough processor, but not one that exceeds in speeds and a design made for those with big hands. The size of the phone may seem big but it can be manageable with only one hand, while the sheer weight will remind the user that there’s a phone in the pocket, and not a credit card. In other words, the Lumia 920 is not for those weak at heart.
This is a phone for someone that wishes for great results, in both performance and quality of image. The high pixel density makes images look crisper than ever and the technology used for rendering content makes transitions very fast. And when it comes to the camera, Nokia shows its blue blood, by taking great pictures in high light.
LG Nexus 4
The fourth generation of Nexus smartphones comes right from LG’s manufacturing plants and was first made available to the wide public on November 13th. This is the Android phone that is bound to be craved by many, because of its advantage of receiving firmware updates in time (almost immediately I must say) and it’s simple, but classy design will surely make an impression. Here’s what’s under the hood:
- OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- Dimensions: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm in size, weighting 139 grams
- Display: 4.7-inch wide True HD IPS Plus panel with a 768×1280 resolution and 318 PPI density
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon with a quad-core 1.5GHz Krait CPU and an Adreno 320 as the GPU
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 8/16GB with no slot cards
- Connectivity: NFC, microUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 but no LTE
- Camera:8-megapixel with geo-tagging, face detection, photo sphere and touch focus
- Battery: 2100 mAh Li-Po (15 hours of 3G talks)
- Price: around $300
For those that were not impressed enough by the hardware side, we must add that the LG Nexus 4 is a great improvement over the Galaxy Nexus. Although LG has not been in the spotlight for quite a while now, this phone has advanced concepts such as wireless charging and will soon become the benchmarking mark for every other phone. Although it not excels in the camera section, it has the means to capture decent images and the fact that all those hardware wonders are available for just $299 makes us question if there’s a trick behind this. Without question, the future phone of every Android enthusiast.
HTC Droid DNA
The Droid DNA is HTC’s smartphone for this Holiday season and the subject of gossip in the tech world. This device has been leaked on numerous occasions in the past few weeks and by the looks of it, it will be unveiled in the first week of December (hopefully, on the 6th). Although this may seem a bit too late for every Android fan out there, the beast packs the power to impress:
- OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- Dimensions: Unknown
- Display: 5-inch wide Super LCD 3 panel with 1080 pixel resolution and 440 PPI density
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16 GB with microSD slot
- Connectivity: 4G
- Camera:8-megapixel (or 13 MP?)
- Battery: 2020 mAh
- Price: Unknown
Although we might as well analyze speculations at this moment, the HTC Droid DNA seems to be the perfect choice for everyone wanting a phablet for Christmas. Unlike the second generation of the Galaxy Note, this smartphone packs impressive curves and a design which will surely attract eyes.
Another aspect that needs to be noted is the astonishing display. This phone seems to bring a pixel density that has not been yet encountered on the big names of the market, even though they have a significantly smaller display. Having a 5-inch wide smartphone with the crispest resolution will no doubt be the choice of many.
The bad side is that not all details are known and until we hear a confirmation and most of all, a price, the Droid DNA remains just a shade.
Edit: The device was wrongly mentioned as Motorola Droid DNA, it has now been changed to HTC.
Samsung Galaxy S3
The Samsung Galaxy S3 truly deserves a place in the top five best smartphones of this year. The product may scare people at first because of its screen dimensions but once you hold it in your hands, it’s something that simply fits perfectly. This smartphone has great curves, a light-weight body and a slim design. Moreover, the technical sheet impresses and gaming results are this machine are simply amazing.
- OS: Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with TouchWiz UI
- Dimensions: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm in size, weights 133 grams
- Display: 4.8-inch wide Super AMOLED with 720×1280 pixel resolution and a 306 PPI density
- Processor: Exynos 4412 with a quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.4GHz and a Mali-400MP GPU
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 16/32/64 GB internal, with microSD card for up to 64GB
- Connectivity: 4G/LTE, microUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
- Camera:8-megapixel with image stabilization, smile detection
- Battery: 2100 Li-Ion (up to 12 hours of 3G talks)
- Price: around 480 euros
At the time of release, this was the most advanced smartphone ever. It supplies an almost perfect navigation experience, with no lags or crushes whatsoever and the clean bright Super AMOLED HD screen makes people smile when watching HD videos. The internet browser is blazing fast, the camera can capture sequences of quality photos instantly and this comes with the greatest storage space encountered within this list.
Another advantage of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the S Beam feature (an NFC-like specific for Galaxy) which can be used to transfer files rapidly.
Oppo Find 5
The what? Yes, that’s exactly what we’ve said the first time Oppo Find 5 hit the news. But after taking a quick look through the titles and reading about this creation, I must admit that I was impressed, even astound, by this Asian creation. Although they usually create affordable copies of famous smartphones, the iPhone being mainly targeted, China comes this time with a smartphone that will blow records away:
- OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- Dimensions: 129 x 65 x 6.9 mm in size, weighting 149 grams
- Display: 5-inch wide IPS Capacitive screen with 1920×1080 pixel resolution and a 441 PPI density
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon with a quad-core S4 Krait CPU clocked at 1.5 GHz and Adreno 320 as GPU
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB/32GB
- Connectivity: 4G/LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0, NFC
- Camera:12-megapixel from Sony with auto-focus
- Battery: 2500 mAh
- Price: around $400
The Oppo Find 5 is already holding titles, as the slimmest smartphone on the market and certainly, as the one packing the crispest display. This is actually the first phone with a full HD resolution and until Motorola will make up its mind with the Droid DNA, Oppo will take the crowd. Speaking of crowds, this device can be ordered outside China through the help of online vendors, such as FastCardTech.
The only problem with the Oppo Find 5 has to do with the reputation and it’s origins, as Chinese manufacturers are not bragged for durability or quality. But, if this makes a breakthrough, goodbye USA.