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Android Adventure 13/14

Android™ Expert

Hi StarHub Community members! I was bored so I have decided to create this little short write up on all the exciting Android phones that were launch in March 2013 to February 2014. I have shortlisted these few phones as their representative phones from their respective OEMs. I will only be looking at flagship/high end phones. 

 

Below are the phones that will be discussed.

  • HTC – HTC One (M7)
  • LG – G2
  • LG – Google Nexus 5
  • Samsung – Galaxy S4
  • Sony – Xperia Z1
  • XiaoMi – Mi 3

I have personally tested out all the phones above except for Mi3. Hopefully I will be able to do so when it is released in Singapore on 7 March 2014.

 

For easy reference, I have listed the phones specifications below.

 

 

HTC One (M7)

LG G2

Google Nexus 5

Galaxy S4

Xperia Z1

Mi 3

Android Version

*as of 050314

4.4.2

4.4.2

4.4.2

4.4.2

4.3

4.3

LTE

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Screen Size

1080 x 1920, 5” (~469 ppi)

1080 x 1920, 5.2” (~424 ppi)

1080 x 1920, 4.95” (~445 ppi)

1080 x 1920, 5” (~441 ppi)

1080 x 1920, 5” (~441 ppi)

1080 x 1920, 5” (~441 ppi)

Memory

32/64GB, 2GB RAM

32GB, 2GB RAM

16/32GB, 2GB RAM

16GB, 2GB RAM

16GB, 2GB RAM

16GB, 2GB RAM

Card slot

No

No

No

microSD

microSD

No

Chipset

Snapdragon 600

Snapdragon 800

Snapdragon 800

Snapdragon 600

Snapdragon 800

Snapdragon 800

CPU

Quad-core 1.7GHz Krait 300

Quad-core 2.26GHz Krait 400

Quad-core 2.26GHz Krait 400

Quad-core 1.7GHz Krait 300

Quad-core 2.26GHz Krait 400

Quad-core 2.26GHz Krait 400

GPU

Adreno 320

Adreno 330

Adreno 330

Adreno 320

Adreno 330

Adreno 330

Camera

4MP (Ultrapixel)

13MP

8MP

13MP

20.7MP

13MP

Battery

2300mAh (non-removable)

3000mAh (non-removable)

2300mAh (non-removable)

2600mAh (removable)

3000mAh (non-removable)

3050mAh (non-removable)

 

The HTC One (M7)

 

htc-one-m7-new1.jpg

 

The HTC One (M7) is the flagship phone for Taiwanese company in year 2013. It is made of a unibody aluminum design, boasting ‘no gap’ in the phone’s body. The precision engineering done on this phone makes it one of the best to hold on to. Powered by Snapdragon 600 chipset, the phone is able to take on everything that you can think of. Audiophiles also enjoyed the beats audio technology that is embedded in the phone. Running on Sense 5 OS, it bring the user’s experience to a whole new level! Blinkfeed displays your favourite content right from your homescreen. HTC made a bold move in using a 4MP with ultrapixel camera in the phone. This technology employs larger pixel to capture more light which will eventually lead to a better quality picture. This is especially good in low lighting conditions. Some special features found on HTC One includes IR blaster and NFC!

 

Overall, the HTC One is a great phone for everyone!

 

Note: The New HTC One will be announced soon. I will try to review it if I can get hold of it.

 

Design: 9/10
Hardware: 7/10
UI: 9/10
Battery: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

 

Things that can be improved: Battery life, processor, storage capacity, microSD card slot

 

Price: 32GB $199 for SS Value with 2 years contract.
*As of 050314

 

LG G2 (D802)

 

lg-g2-ofic.jpg

 

The main feature that I love about this phone is its super thin bezel. Even with a 5.2 inch display, its form size is smaller than some 5 inch phones. The screen quality just made me felt like I am experiencing my first love again! Packed with a power Snapdragon 800, you will find no problem running any apps on this phone. LG placed the volume and power button at the back of the phone, which should be easier to access as compared to the regular buttons at the side. Notifications will light up both the LED on the front of the phone and the power button at the back. With a 3000mAh battery, this phone easily lasted for 1.5 days with moderate to high usage. A unique way of unlocking the device is also implemented, that is to tap on the screen twice to unlock it. The UI on the phone is pretty much similar to Samsung’s TouchWiz (which I don’t really like). Like all other flagships, LG G2 has an IR blaster which allows me to control my LG Smart TV with ease.

 

All in all, LG G2 is just a beast. With very powerful processing power and huge battery life, you can do anything you want on the phone without worrying about the battery life. No more power banks!

 

Design: 9/10
Hardware: 9/10
UI: 8/10
Battery: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

 

Things that can be improved: User Interface and OS

 

Price: $149 for SS Value with 2 years contract.

*As of 050314

 

LG Google Nexus 5 (D821)

 

lg-google-nexus-5-.jpg

 

This phone is not available in Singapore. I ordered it from Google Play Store Japan and got it shipped to me. Hopefully LG Singapore will launch this in Singapore soon. Nexus 5 design is pretty much based off LG G2. The volume and power buttons are placed at the side unlike LG G2. Being a Google phone, it runs on stock android OS, without the additional features that other OEMs usually include. That does not mean that the Nexus 5 does not have any interesting features. Unlike other phones, Nexus 5 receives updates directly from Google. With the launch of Android Kit Kat, Android RunTime (ART) is introduced to the Nexus 5. It replaces the dalvik runtime (which is used on all other phones). With ART, all the apps were much faster as compared to dalvik. The OS on Nexus 5 does not take up as much storage as compared to the other phones (bloatwares!), which gives you more room to store your files. The clean OS just makes the overall user experience much smoother. Should you need any apps, just download the necessary ones from the Play Store.

 

I am still using this phone as my primary phone. The ability to customize just made me hook on to it. The rubberized back gives the phone a great feel too!

 

Design: 9/10
Hardware: 9/10
UI: 9/10
Battery: 8/10
Overall: 9/10

 

Things that can be improved: Battery life, storage capacity, microSD card slot

 

Price: $~550 for 16GB model, including shipping from Japan (no contract).
*As of 050314

 

Samsung Galaxy S4

 

samsung-galaxy-s-4-i9500-black-mist.jpg

 

Samsung Galaxy S4 (SGS4) has specifications very similar to HTC One. Like I have mentioned earlier, I don’t really like the TouchWiz OS and I felt that there is not much improvement from its predecessor, the Galaxy S3 (SGS3). The plus point on SGS4 is that it has removable battery, which allows you to pop in a fresh battery should your battery die off. It also has a microSD slot to increase your phone’s storage capacity. There is really nothing much to say about the SGS4 since it is pretty much just an upgraded version of SGS3. An upgraded version of SGS4 was released a few months back, it is named Samsung Galaxy S4+. The main difference is that the chipset is upgraded to Snapdragon 800 and it supports LTE-A. 

 

If you love Samsung S series, you will definitely love the SGS4.

 

Design: 8/10
Hardware: 7/10
UI: 7/10
Battery: 9/10
Overall: 7.5/10

 

Things that can be improved: UI, OS, overall design

 

Price: SGS4 with LTE+ (Snapdragon 800) $199 for SS Value with 2 years contract.
*As of 050314

 

Sony Xperia Z1

 

sony-xperia-z1-ofic.jpg

 

I am not really a fan of Sony phones. I managed to get hold of one trial set, thanks to StarHub. The physical appearance of Z1 is pretty much similar to Xperia Z. My first impression on the phone is that the screen looks pretty washed out. The phone gets really hot after a short period of usage and the battery can barely last for one day. Even though it has the same battery capacity as LG G2, LG G2 can last at least 50% longer than Xperia Z1. It is probably due to the OS since both runs on Snapdragon 800.  The UI is very similar to stock android with minor tweaks here and there. Xperia Z1 packs a whopping 20.7 MP camera. Even a photography idiot like me can take good pictures with ease on this phone! To add on, you don’t need to fear running out of storage capacity since you and insert a microSD card to expand the storage!

 

Watch out! This phone takes awesome pictures!

 

Design: 8/10
Hardware: 9/10
UI: 8/10
Battery: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

 

Things that can be improved: UI, battery performance, heat issue

 

Price: $188 for SS Value with 2 years contract.
*As of 050314

 

Xiaomi MI-3

 

xiaomi-mi3.jpg

 

Arriving soon on 7 March 2014! With specifications on par with Nexus 5, this phone is definitely here to fight! Downside is that it does not have LTE capability.

 

Will review when I get hold of one! 

 

Design: ?/10
Hardware: ?/10
UI: ?/10
Battery: ?/10
Overall: ?/10

 

Things that can be improved: 

 

Price: $419 without contract
*As of 050314

 

My Personal Ranking

 

Click to expand.
G2 > Nexus 5 > HTC One > Z1 > S4

 

See you guys again for Android Adventure 14/15 next year!

__________________________________________________
I am not a staff from StarHub. My post does not represent StarHub in any way.
15 Comments
Senior Advocate

very suprised moto x didnt make it to the list. it was definitely one of the best mobile of 2013

HTC zoe is what made the camera amazing IMO

agree on g2 battery. heck even g1 has amazing battery life

N5 is one beautiful phone. truly an upgrade from n4

s4...meh i just hate touchwiz and the bloatwares that comes with it. hate the phone, love the display

z1. a definite upgrade from z and i think they nailed it with z2. i used z1 for a while but never noticed overheating. didnt play games though, only music and surfing

somehow i think you a biased with mi3. its the only mobile in the list that is not even out yet LOL

 

Android™ Expert
Well Moto X will certainly be in the list if it's available Singapore. This list is more for our local market. Nexus 5 happened to be inside because I own one and is very happy with it. I had the chance to review Z1 before they launched an update. Maybe the update fixed that issue. Certainly to review mi3 if I get the chance to.
Valued Advocate

Whoa! You should get bored more often... Smiley Happy

Android™ Expert
Hmm not a good idea, especially because I always write these nearing my test dates :x
Valued Advocate
Aww, no Note 3 in the mix?
Android™ Expert

Note 3 is not a flagship, and I didn't really have the chance to use it plus I hate Samsung Touchwiz Smiley Sad

Valued Advocate

Note 3 is a flagship phone in my books but to each their own Smiley Happy

 

I agree TouchWiz is not the greatest b/c of all the bloatware, but there's some cool features. I prefer to root my phone and run a clean ROM. Did that on the Note 2, haven't tried yet on the Note 3.

Android™ Expert

If I consider Note 3 as flagship, then to me, Z Ultra, One Max are all flagship then I have to write so many more! Smiley Surprised

 

I rooted and install AOSP roms on almost or rather all my phones lol

Valued Advocate

Any good ROM rec for the Note 3? I like to dabble but don't spend too much time researching or experimenting. I also heard they have a thing that invalidates your warrenty by triggering some counter on your phone if you try to root/flash. Boo!

Android™ Expert
CyanogenMod.. But I don't really like to flash on Samsung phones. Should
you need warranty, you need to do too many stuff to revert it. Smiley Sad

I guess it's wiser to just use a 3rd party launcher.

Senior Advocate

i tried rooting le gf note 1 once. it was horrible. you have to basically install a whole ROM just to root it

Xperia on the other hand is so easy especially since Sony themselves provide bootloader unlock and flashtool (now known as EMMA)

Android™ Expert
You only have to flash custom recovery and superSU to root. At least that's
what I did to my old note 2

Administrator

Note 1? I just put a 2 small zip files in my sdcard to root it and run them in 

Doesn't even trigger the yellow triangle Smiley Wink

Senior Advocate

that's as much job needed to install a whole new ROM in Xperia devices. copy pasta ROM into SD and flash using CWM. so yeah i have to basically install a whole new ROM to get root on note 1.

recently tried out xposed installer. used greenify and gravity box module and my battery life is amazing!

 

p.s: i think we should have ROOT thread LOL

Android™ Expert

We should Smiley Happy