When the iPhone 4 was released it blew our socks clean off our feet, and caused rival manufacturers to scrabble frantically back to the drawing board, desperate to conjure up something equally cool and impressive. In short, it was way ahead of the curve.
The iPhone 4S is still ahead of the competition, but the gap has narrowed significantly, with Android and even Windows Phone devices becoming slowly more accessible and stylish.
Taking the wider view of the tech industry, it's unclear whether the iPhone 4S is enough to keep Apple on top for another whole year. But forget navel-gazing -- right now we reckon this is the best smart phone out there.
It's a cracking little gadget and it's loads of fun to use, offering more apps, games and multimedia than you can shake a stick at. It's not nearly as striking as its predecessor was, but if you're on the hunt for a powerful, easy to use mobile, this should be your first choice.’
We make no effort to hide the fact that we really liked the original Huawei Ideos. It came at a time when Android budget phones were only starting to creep onto the market, and blew our socks off with its low price, capacitive screen and other features. Sadly, the game has changed over the last year, and the Blaze doesn't offer enough of an advancement to make it stand out from the crowd.
Granted, the case design and build quality are exceptional on a phone of this class, but the anaemic processor and petite screen make it look rather pathetic when placed alongside the likes of the similarly-priced Orange Monte Carlo, which boasts a massive 4.3-inch display and a 800MHz CPU.
Still, not everyone desires a hulking monster in their pocket, and the Blaze’s slinky form factor and robust case design are sure to earn it admiring glances. It’s also impressive that Android 2.3 has been factored into this device -- lest we forget, some of Samsung’s budget phones are still stuck on 2.2, and cost more to purchase.
The Blaze may not be able to build on the promise of the Ideos, but it’s yet a viable option if you’re exploring the world of low-price, pay as you go smart phones.’
Unlike the Torch 9860 -- which feels like a fresh new direction for RIM and the BlackBerry lineage -- the Torch 9810 is more of a slight improvement on what has gone before.
It takes the core template of the Torch 9800 and gives it a lick of paint, as well as some more powerful guts and a slightly modified OS. For all of these improvements, it doesn't feel like the big leap many were expecting.
When placed next to the competition, the Torch 9810 looks even less striking. A 1.2GHz processor might represent big news in BlackBerry circles, but before the year is out it's highly likely that we'll be seeing Android phones with 1.5GHz dual-core monsters beating at their hearts.
Still, in the past BlackBerry has enjoyed a surprising degree of success by updating its portfolio in small increments. If you're a staunch traditionalist who isn't sold on the idea of the keyboardless Torch 9860, then this blower could be the one for you -- assuming you don't already own a Torch 9800 and are still a year away from getting an upgrade on your contract, that is.’
We think the Sensation XE is, as a package, HTC's most impressive handset yet, but unless you're a serious music nut it's hard to justify the extra outlay over the similar specced, identically sized and now significantly cheaper Sensation. Admittedly the processor boost future-proofs the XE somewhat for those with high-performance gaming and similarly hungry operations in mind, but it's not a drastic enough improvement to warrant full marks.’
The Xperia Ray is a superb little smartphone. It's stylish and like a compact version of the Xperia Arc. We particularly like the strikingly high quality screen and photographers will find the 8MP camera a joy to use. The best part is that you get all this for a price much less than most smartphones. µ’
Look past the features, the improved specs, and the new Mango update and the big question is whether that screen really is too big. Those who enjoy consuming media are going to love it. If you read a lot, watch a lot, play games a lot, surf the web a lot, you are definitely going to benefit here.
The pay-off of course is the inability to conformably use the Titan with one hand. Unless you are a giant, it is just not possible. Holding the phone in your left hand you are unlikely to be able to reach the top right corner with your thumb. That means you’ve got to use two hands, which might be problematic at times. Think using it on the tube holding on to the railing. Think using it while carrying your satchel or briefcase. Think using it standing at the urinal.
Of course there are plenty of places you can use it given two hands free and plenty of times when you don’t need to reach the top of the device. Sitting on the train, sitting on the loo, or sitting outside a changing room waiting for Mrs Pocket-lint, walking down the street, the list goes on. One-handed use isn’t completely ruled out, but you need to bear that in mind. The smaller your hands, the more trouble you are going to have.
As for whether or not this impresses as a Windows Phone 7 device, it is one of the top WP7 smartphones on the market and goes as far making Android and iOS dull by comparison. We love the social aspects, we love the interactive feel of the device, and how everything is brought to life by the OS, oh and that screen. Big really can be beautiful.
Our wish list for improvements? Higher resolution and perhaps just a touch smaller.’
The Torch 9810's Qwerty keyboard is fine, so there are no surprises there for dyed-in-the-wool BB Messenger fans. Moreover, those already sold on the platform will find the Torch delivers the best of both worlds with its upgraded higher res display being a decent size for browsing, watching movies and gaming too. Indeed, this combination, along with a fairly nifty performance may well win RIM some new friends along the way’
The Xperia Mini Pro is a good quality Android phone, but while its teensy dimensions, fast processer and quality keyboard will appeal to some, the small screen and so-so camera limit its capabilities.’
‘iPhone 4S – the verdict
Apple’s iPhone 4S isn’t about changing the world. Not yet, anyway. If you’ve got an iPhone 4 in your pocket and your network wants to keep it that way, there are few legitimate reasons to make the instant leap to upgrade. Those reasons – the camera is sharper and faster, the processor more confident, Siri is a marvel – mean the iPhone 4S is an essential update for those with a 3GS, but only something to covet for the iPhone 4 crowd. It’s everything you wanted from an iPhone 5, minus the bigger screen. If that – and your thirst for fresh aesthetics – isn’t enough, an ever-changing Android landscape awaits you.’
‘HTC Titan – iOS and Android killer
The Titan’s nippy speed, huge display, deep Facebook integration and impressive 20-hour battery life make it HTC’s best handset since the Sensation, and certainly the best Windows Phone so far.
With some more apps and a higher resolution display this would be a serious iOS and Android threat. We’re keeping a very close eye on this hardware-software pair up in the near future.’
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S is a slim, bright, powerful Android smartphone that shows off the mobile operating system to its very best. The screen is fantastic and the processor and memory perform well enough to keep the Android experience running smoothly and quickly.
However, the hardware upgrade in here isn't really noticeable at all. We never felt the original Xperia Arc was in any way underpowered or slow, so the 1.4GHz upgrade seems a bit pointless.
It's a lovely phone, but if the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S means the original Xperia Arc starts selling for a big discount, you'd be just as well of picking that one up instead. Both are excellent mobile phones.’
The HTC Titan puts us in mind of a young posh boy who arrives at school on the new day of term wearing a suit and brogues. You know his parents have dressed him well, but there's a reason why he's no longer at his fancy school and is mixing with the rest of the kids. And that's because he's just not as bright as he wanted to be.
That sounds harsh but we feel there's so much more that the HTC Titan could have been. Microsoft has been in this game for years and Windows Phone 7.5 is an upgrade to an operating system that really shouldn't have been necessary because the elements introduced should have been in there already.
You get the feeling that Microsoft has taken a similar dictatorial approach to Apple, where it decides how you'll use your handset and you just follow. And that shouldn't be the case. It's tried to make it too simple in places, but instead that's come at the expense of freedom.
That's not to say that this is a bad phone - far from it. In some respects, it's brilliant. But there are just some basic mistakes that needn't have been there. For many users, they won't be deal breakers - but for the ultra geeky ones like us, they just don't sit right.
We have to stress that many of these issues are not of HTC's doing but Microsoft's and HTC has done an amazing job with what it was given.
But it's called this the HTC Titan and it's called it that for a reason. We wonder if it knows what happened to the Titans in ancient Greece: They were destroyed by Zeus and his fellow gods, who got fed up. We can't help feeling there may be some kind of poetic justice here.
All in all, the Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman doesn't hit the sweet spots of just enough features for the price. It's a laggy touchscreen run by a buggy platform, with bad browsing capabilities and a media player that doesn't live up to the hype.’
With a top-quality Gorilla Glass screen and part-metal build, the Nokia 700 instantly feels like a top-quality device. The display carries this on too, using a great AMOLED panel. Sure, it's a smaller phone than many but hardware wise it almost seems surprising how you can get this handset for free on contracts well under £20 a month. However, all becomes clear when using the phone as it's limited by the constraints of Symbian. The new Belle update significantly ups the aesthetic ante, with the system now looking a lot better than it ever has before, but looks alone can't cover up the relative lack of apps. There are thousands, but the hit rate is even worse than it is on Android. This is one of the most desirable Nokias in quite some time, but buying it comes with a compromise or two.’
Originally published at OneMobileRing.com