Friday, 30 December 2011

Gadget of the Year – High-end phones

This year, we saw some great handsets that really pushed the boundaries of what we thought was possible ...
Gadget of the Year – High-end phones
This year, we saw some great handsets that really pushed the boundaries of what we thought was possible from a mobile phone. 2011 has been a great year for Samsung and the brand has certainly cemented itself as a front runner in the mobile space, setting new trends and creating new segments in the already crowded mobile space. While the smartphone may be now available at an affordable rate, the flagship handsets is where all the attention lies. For those with no budget constraints, here are the nominees for the best high-end mobile phone, 2011.

Please keep in mind though, that the criteria for our selection is based strictly on handsets that were sent to our labs for review, their overall tech2 scores and value for money quotient. These are also handsets that we would recommend to our readers, should they be looking for mobiles in this budget. There are plenty of other devices out there that may very well be just as good as some of these, however, if we haven’t had the opportunity to test them ourselves; they won’t be there on our list.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
This handset oozes sex appeal with its stylish looks and form factor. Out of the box, it comes with Android Gingerbread. Sony Ericsson has put plans in place to upgrade the handset to Ice Cream Sandwich. The 8MP AF camera featuring an ExmoR sensor comes with an LED flash and it will surely take care of your photographic needs. Though this handset came out in the first half of the year, it definitely deserves a nomination.
Stylish and sexy
Stylish and sexy

Samsung Galaxy S II
This is an obvious inclusion as it is one of the hottest selling smartphones of the year. It features an ultra slim design and a large 4.3-inch Gorilla Glass display. This handset has everything going for it. It packs a Super AMOLED Plus display, an 8MP auto-focus camera, a 1.2GHz Dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor, along with a host of other features.

HTC Sensation XE
One of the most eagerly awaited handsets of this year was the Sensation XE. HTC had strengthened its products by adding Beats Audio. This handset is a marked improvement over the HTC Sensation as it comes with a bigger battery, more on-board storage for apps and thankfully, no touchscreen issues.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The is the top of the line handset from RIM and this time around the iconic Bold range of smartphones gets a slight design refresh. It has BlackBerry OS 7 and also features touch and type capabilities. It comes with a 5MP fixed focus camera and being a top of the line handset, a BlackBerry user would definitely love it.

Motorola RAZR XT910
This year, thin is in for smartphones and the RAZR is the thinnest of them all measuring at a mere 7.1mm in depth. Though it may be really slim, Motorola has amped this handset with features that can give any other handset manufacturer a run for its money. It runs on a 1.2GHz Dual Core processor with 1GB of RAM, has a Kevlar coating for the rear cover and is infused with a very intuitive software that customizes the experience for every user.
A lot more fun than the old one
A lot more fun than the old one

HTC Evo 3D
This may be a very niche segment for now, but as a first attempt, HTC did a splendid job with the Evo 3D. This handset is good looking, has impressive features and has good 3D capabilities. The only trouble with it is the lack of 3D content, which is why it failed to pick up steam.

LG Optimus 3D
A direct competitor to the HTC EVO 3D is the LG Optimus 3D. It is powered by an ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor running at 1GHz. Stereoscopic glassless 3D is the main feature of this handset and it doesn’t disappoint. LG has also gone one step further than HTC and provided their own app store where users can download fresh 3D content which gives it a slight edge over the Evo 3D.

Nokia Lumia 800
This handset is Nokia’s big re-entry into the smartphone game. The Lumia 800 comes with a stylish body and 3.7-inch Clear Black display with a capacitive touchscreen featuring a 480 x 800 pixel resolution. It comes with an 8MP AF camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a Dual LED flash.
How could we not include it
How could we not include it

Samsung Galaxy Note
The biggest handset of them all is the Galaxy Note and it boasts of impressive features, such as a massive 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. The handset is powered by a dual-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor and come with a stylus for taking notes, hence the name. It also features an 8MP camera with LED flash and 1080p video recording.

Apple iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S did not get a design refresh, but Apple have added some interesting features to the iPhone, such as an 8MP camera, a voice recognition assistant called Siri, and loads of other features that make it a good upgrade, if you’re still on a 3GS.And the winner is...

Samsung Galaxy Note
The Galaxy Note may have been a late entrant, but it has won us over with its outstanding performance and a perfect blend of a smartphone and tablet. Some may argue that it’s too big to be used as a phone and that’s true, it is; but come to think of it, a couple or years back, we felt a 4-inch screen was massive. Although it has a HD screen, it’s not exactly ‘Retina’ grade, since the ppi count is still low, but that Super AMOLED screen more than makes up for it.
One phone to rule them all
One phone to rule them all

The colours and brightness levels are rich and vibrant, which makes it a joy to use in any lighting condition. Samsung has managed to cram in almost every feature they could think of, which makes this very future proof as well. Despite this being a big and powerful phone, Samsung has managed to deliver well on the battery front as well, which means you won't have to reach for the charger at the end of every single day.

You could even say that it’s value for money, since given the other phones in the same price range, you’re getting a lot more for your money. This is the best solution for those who can’t make up their minds about buying a tablet or a smartphone, as it sort of gives you the best of both worlds. Early next year, Samsung will also be launching Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0 for the Note, so there’s another reason to get it, not that you need one.

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