Smartphones of The Month - August 2012

8/23/2012 9:46:55 PM

Samsung Galaxy S III

Price: $ 904

It’s fortunate that Samsung is good at making phones, given how bad it is at naming them. The S II has a spec that eclipses anything available on iOS or Windows: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will fly on its 1.4GHz quad-core chip, while the 4.8in hi-def screen has the contrast to give films and the web real punch. Seriously, it can play a 1080p video in a window while you browse. Mighty

Pros: Excellent battery life; microSD slot for extra storage; built-in NFC; power

Cons: Cheaper-feeling build than HTC One X or iPhone; screen has slightly blue hue

Description: Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Special skill – S  Health: adding ‘pocket nurse’ to the S III’s CV, the free S Health app sucks information over Bluetooth from tech such as LifeScan OneTouch blood glucose monitor range, so it’s easy to track sugar levels.

Apple iPhone 4S

Price: $ 780

Still reeling from being knocked off the top spot in our rankings, the iPhone is starting to look its age – despite the botox boost it got from the 4S spec lift last October. The 3.5in screen now feels restrictive, a feeling only heightened by iOS’ regimented grid design. But its other attributes, such as its steel and glass build, 8MP camera and Retina display, still give its familiar face allure.

Pros: Retina display; steel and glass; sound quality; camera performance; apps

Cons: Dual-core; 3.5in screen now feels small; no NFC

Description: Apple iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S

Special skill – Retina display: it might be dwarfed by the 5.3in Samsung Galaxy note on Android and WP7’s 4.7in HTC Titan; but at 326ppi the iPhones’s Retina display wins the pixel density war, giving its fonts and images a peerless crispness.

Nokia Lumia 900

Price: $780

We were charmed by the Lumia 900’s bold polycarbonate design and its bright 4.3in Amoled screen, but the news that it won’t be getting an update to Windows Phone 8 means it’s a dead phone calling. And with just a single-core chip and 480 x 800 screen, it’s now more of a collectable than a serious Android or Apple Botherer. Expect a WP8 successor by the end of 2012.

Pros: Original design; long battery life; bright OLED screen

Cons: Won’t be getting Windows Phone 8 update; WVGA screen; single-core

Description: Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

Special skill – Clearblack filters: Nokia’s nifty polarizing filters eliminate screen reflections to keep blacks dark and make colors pop – even in direct sunlight. It’s a real bonus for WP7’s Metro UI and its ‘Glanceable’ Live Tiles interface.

Smartphones – OS

Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Google’s obsession with sugar and spice continues with Jelly Bean and its screen-smoothing Project Butter tech, which speeds up app-switching and responsiveness. Notifications now carry more info, there’s offline voice control, and search has been rebuilt to make use of Google’s knowledge Graph, which presents extra intelligently-gathered info. In short, 4.1 is a bit good

Pros: Available now (for some); ultra-customisable; slicker than ever

Cons: Many phones still waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich, with Jelly Bean a long way off

Description: Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Android Jelly Bean 4.1

Special skill – Google now: Google now takes all your appointments, news and travel info and joins them up. It tells you what the weather will be like in the morning, gives traffic info on the way to a meeting, or tells you when the next train is.

Apple iOS 6

Description: Apple iOS 6

Apple iOS 6

If familiarity breeds contempt you’d figure Apple fans would be ditching iOS in droves, but its sixth iteration adds enough newness to keep Owners sweet. TomTom-powered Maps with navigation, live traffic and 3D buildings replaces Google cartography, Facebook is fully integrated, and Passbook is a time- and location-sensitive digital wallet for your e-tickets or loyalty cards.

Pros: Apps, apps, apps, the slickest mobile OS out there; Siri does local search

Cons: Still the same old look; no live tiles or widgets; no NFC (yet)

Special skill – Eyes free: The likes of BMW and Mercedes are adding Siri-compatible voice control systems to their cars, allowing you to access your iPhone’s sat-nav, calendar, music, messages and apps just by asking. Politely, mind.

Windows Phone 8

WP8 is a risk. No existing WP7 phone will run the new OS thanks to stringent requirements, in place to provide WP8 phones enough power to run the same Metro apps that Windows 8 tablets and desktops will be able to. That makes it a risk worth taking. It supports multiple cores (up to a bonkers 64) and 720p screens, and has a nicely customizable home screen. It really could be big.

Pros: If it runs WP8, it’ll run it perfectly; multi-core support; Win 8 Metro apps will work

Cons: Not supported by older phones relatively few apps (but potential for many more)

Special skill – DirectX: Gaming power-platform DirectX is on its way to Windows Phone. That doesn’t mean you’ll be playing BF3 on your phone any time soon, but it does open it up for some serious game devs to make some serious games.

Description: Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 8

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