As 2014 dawns, we take a look at some of the most notable mobile devices of 2013. In the style of The Avengers.
No, it had not the attitude of Tony Stark but what the K900 had, and had in stacks, was metal. Oh yes, and some power too. The K900 was one of the stylistic triumphs of the year, and also highlighted Lenovo’s (final) arrival at the smartphone party. Yes, it was definitely big but no one complained about its performance, which was pretty much on a super hero level. And oh yes, we heard no complaints about that suit of armor either. Metal was back.
We can hear some people complaining about how can we make a certain device Iron Man and another one Tony Stark. Well, we could simply say “editorial decision” and walk away, but well, just as Nicky Fury (yes, we will reveal who HE is later in the piece) treated Iron Man and Tony Stark as two entities, one of which he felt was unsuitable (pun intended) for the Avengers, so will we. And well, in our books, only the LG G2 could be Tony Stark. Yes, we miss the attitude, but not the innovation – the button on the back, the tap to wake, the apps and the battery that just went on. Oh yes, wouldn’t we love the G2’s innards on the build of the K900? That would REALLY be Tony Stark and Iron Man!
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 + Gear
Right, he is the God of Thunder and wields Mjolnir, the might hammer which no one else may wield. Well, if power was what it was all about, then Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 had it in stackfuls, with a full HD display, a quad core (and in some places, an octa core) processor, and the best stylus around. And this year it also got its Mjolnir, the Galaxy Gear smart watch which certainly was the most versatile smart watch – it made calls, it took pictures – we saw all year, although like Mjolnir, it mainly served one master (all right, by the end of the year, it was working with a few other devices, but it was mainly marketed with the Note 3). Sheer power, we say.
It was big. And green (well, some parts of it were). And when it got going, it unleashed Hell in a way in which few mobile devices were able to all year. That was the NVIDIA SHIELD console which ran on Android, packed a quad core Tegra 4 processor and a 72-core graphics chip, and could pretty much handle any task or game that you threw at it. The problem was that just like Dr Banner only changed to the Hulk at certain times, the SHIELD too came into its own only while handling heavy duty gaming. That said, it was pretty much unstoppable when it was in that territory. Just like the Hulk. No, no, we are not getting into the “But S.H.I.E.L.D. in Avengers is the “Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division” argument.
Google Nexus 5
No fancy super powers. Just pure character and the ability to take command. That’s pretty much Captain America. And in phones in 2013, that was the Google Nexus 5 for us. The flagship of Android was not the most amazing device around but like the Captain, was very accessible and did things with minimum fuss and maximum effect. Some might have found it a tad too plain for their liking, but just like most of the Avengers turn to the Captain for guidance, the entire Android army followed the Nexus as its general. Or should we say ‘Captain.’ No armor, no fancy super powers. Just the power of character.
What do you think of when you think of Natalia Romanova? Yes, there is the gymnastics and all, but above all, there is the sheer glamour of the lady. Ditto for the HTC One. It had some fantastic specs (quad core processor, full HD display, ultra pixel camera), but what really grabbed your attention was its drop-dead gorgeous looks. Oh and just like the Black Widow, the HTC One had a lot of internal punch to go with all the external oomph. Power, grace and style have seldom been seen in such unison on an Android device.
The man is a dead shot with a bow and arrow. When it comes to shooting, honestly nothing came even close to ruffling the feathers of the simply awesome Nokia Lumia 1020. The 41.0-megapixel sensor gave point and shoot camera manufacturers nightmares, and Nokia pumped it up with its own arsenal of arrows, including a Nokia Camera app, a Lytro camera-like Refocus, Picture Studio and of course, the normal array of map and music goodies. It looked sleek, boasted very decent specs, and ran Windows Phone 8 brilliantly, but at the end of the day, it really was all about the shooting. Just like Hawkeye.
Agent Phil Coulson
Acer Chromebook c720
Quiet, minus super powers, nondescript and yet oddly effective and reliable. That is Phil Coulson for you. And for us that was the Acer Chromebook c720 in 2013. Yes, some might say that this was not really a “mobile” and more a “notebook” but for us, the c720 captured the speed and convenience of a mobile device in a form factor that was oddly reassuring – the good old laptop, minus the bulk and plus speed. And just like Phil Coulson seemed nondescript and yet ended up winning everyone’s confidence, so did the c720. People sneered at its appearance and specs, and then slowly got hooked to its speed and ease of use. There is an interesting spin to this, though – unlike Phil Coulson, the Google Chromebook shows no sign of dying. Both are in the cloud, though.
iPhone 5s/ iPad Air
Oh yes, the man who actually controls the Avengers. The man everyone is suspicious of, and yet, eventually ends up following. That is pretty much the iPhone 5s and iPad Air for you. They received their share of flak – they were called superficial updates and lacking in substance – but even as the year came to a close, the opposition was feverishly working away at trying to come up with something similar, be it in terms of the fingerprint scanner and slow motion video recording on the iPhone 5s, the sheer anorexic frame of the iPad Air, or the 64-bit chip architecture which drove them both.
Micromax Canvas Turbo
Yes, he is not an Avenger. But Loki, the god of trickery, does keep the superhero club on its toes. And we cannot help but see shades of the Norse God in Micromax’s latest device, the Canvas Turbo. The Indian company which had poked fun at its competitors made the world stand up and take notice when it pulled in Hugh Jackman to endorse the Canvas Turbo, which not only came with a sleek design and decent (albeit not outstanding) specs, but retained Micromax’s cutting edge – a relatively low price. Very disruptive. Rather handsome. Just like Loki.