It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a superphone
Not too often have we seen almost every major cellphone brand launching a high-profile device literally within days of each other � so much so that it has been raining super handsets for the past few weeks. Nimish Dubey picks five that really stand out in this elite crowd
Motorola Atrix 2
Hello Moto one more time
The original Atrix from Motorola was supposed to redefine the way we used our handsets, with its ability to fit into a notebook dock. Its second avatar makes no such declarations, but performs brilliantly. Some might find its appearance too plain, but we were too busy being impressed by how smoothly it worked to notice. The phone works with almost no lag (we can thank the dual core processor under the shiny hood for that) and in best Moto tradition, is brilliant in terms of call quality. The 8.0 megapixel camera is a pleasant surprise, outperforming the much-hyped RAZR in stills and video. A steady performer this, and maybe the last star from the old Motorola (Google has since acquired it). What a way to go, still — even if it’s only on Android 2.3, rather than 4.0.
Pros: Brisk performer, very good camera
Cons: Ordinary battery life, old version of Android
Perfect for: Those who want smooth performance and good call quality, while not being too bothered about software updates
Rs 22,990 (approx)
HTC One X
The Chosen One
HTC, by its own admission, did not have a great 2011, and the One series is its attempt to regain lost ground. And it is a darned good one. Beautifully designed with a polycarbonate body, it packs in a 4.7 inch display, a quad core processor, support for Beats audio and one of the most talked about 8.0 megapixel cameras to have been seen on a phone in recent times. Making things work smoothly is HTC Sense, which lies on top of the latest version of Android. Build quality is great and performance is super smooth. If only the battery did not have a penchant for draining rather swiftly, we would have hailed this as the best Android of them all.
Pros: Great specifications, excellent camera
Cons: Battery drains very fast, no expandable memory
Perfect for: Anyone who wants a large screen device with a great camera. And is never too far from a charging point
Rs 36,000 (approx)
Samsung Galaxy S III
There’s a new Boss Droid in town
For the last couple of years, the Galaxy S series from Samsung has been the closest cellular object the iPhone has to a rival. And the latest edition of the series, the S III, seems set to carry that tradition ahead. It is powered by a quad core processor, has a brilliant 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display and runs on the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) with its TouchWiz interface laid over it. Features include Smart Stay, which let the display stay on as long as you are looking at it, face tagging of friends, and voice commands. Yes, the design could have been better and the price tag is high, but this is the Droid, boss, no kidding.
Pros: Tech spec monster, new features like S Voice and Always On
Cons: The build feels plasticky, the price is high
Perfect for: Those who want the best Android phone in the world and a phone that can stand tall in front of the iPhone 4S
Lava Xolo 900
The Intel Inside smartphone
If someone had told us a year ago that the first smartphone to sport an Intel Inside logo would come from Lava, we would have laughed. Today, we must confess to being surprised at this device. It does not pack in a quad core processor or even a dual core one, but the 1.6 GHx Intel Atom processor beneath the bright four-inch display turns in one of the smoothest performances we have seen on a smartphone. Games play without lag and multitasking a snap. We just wish it ran the latest version of Android (an update is promised soon) and that it had a better camera — the 8.0-megapixel one on this works brilliantly in terms of speed but its results are far from exceptional. A small percentage of Android apps might not run on it as well, although that should not deter those looking for a really fast phone. The Intel phone has well and truly landed.
Pros: Great turn of speed, terrific price
Cons: Ordinary camera, not all Android apps run on it
Perfect for: Those looking for a phone that works incredibly fast, and are not bothered about clicking too many pictures
Rs 22,000 (App)
Sony Xperia S
It’s a Sony.
The first smartphone to come out under Sony’s name without the Ericsson, the Xperia S isn’t the slimmest, but the build has no rough edges, and packs in a 4.3 inch reality display with Bravia Engine, awesome for watching videos and browsing. The dual core 1.5 GHz processor keeps things smooth. We did expect more from the 12.0 megapixel camera. Still, this is a mean multimedia beast that you won’t mind flaunting, notwithstanding the silly transparent bar at the bottom, which served no real purpose, and the dated version of Android it runs (an update is on its way, we are told).
Pros: Lovely display, solid, stylish build
Cons: Transparent bar on the lower part muddles interface, old version of Android
Perfect for: Those who love to read, browse and watch films and videos on their device
Rs 31,000 (approx)
What of the Apple iPhone 4S?
Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore the device many people call the Godphone. If it is faster processors and bigger screens you are looking for, then the iPhone 4S is no longer the device to beat. However, when it comes to how much you can do with a device, it scores heavily because of the sheer wealth of apps standing behind it. Also, Apple’s iOS offers a more consistent experience than the various Android flavours in the market. It might not have the hardware muscle of some of the newly launched phones, but in terms of getting things done, the iPhone 4S remains the phone to beat. And it is better looking too.
Coming soon — Nokia’s superphones
One name that is conspicuous by its absence from the list is Nokia, the company that at one time ruled the mobile world. While it may no longer be numero uno, the Finnish company has a few aces up its sleeve which will be hitting the Indian market shortly. These include the 4.3 inch display sporting Lumia 900 (which will also have a Batman edition, we are told) and the PureView 808, which comes with a massive 41.0-megapixel sensor, easily the biggest ever seen on a phone. While the Lumia 900 will run on Windows Phone, the PureView 808 is perhaps the last major Symbian device to come from Nokia. Both are expected to cost in the vicinity of Rs 30,000.