Samsung Galaxy Note review (opens in new tab)
The huge size of the Galaxy Note is the main reason to buy it: no other smartphone has such a big, beautiful screen. However, the size also creates a number of issues, short battery life and sheer unwieldiness being chief among them.
If you can live with these drawbacks, you'll find that this is one of the most powerful Android smart phones around, tackling apps and media with aplomb.
Nokia Lumia 800 review (opens in new tab)
Overall, the Lumia 800 is a very good handset. The Windows Phone software is slick and fun to use, especially if you like to keep up-to-date with what friends are up to on social networking sites. It also looks attractive and the excellent build quality gives you the confidence that it's built to last.
Nokia's software additions to Windows Phone aren't perhaps as deep as we expected, but the Drive navigation and Mix Radio software are definitely neat features to have.
Nevertheless, there are a few downers, including the lack of a front-facing camera, the average quality of the main camera and the fact that, like all other Windows Phone handsets, there's no microSD memory card slot.
Perhaps the biggest issue though is the price. At £467 SIM-free, it's bordering on the same territory as the Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4S. Both those handsets offer better screens and cameras for the money.
Hopefully, competitive deals will push the price down to a more realistic level against its main competitors, when bought on contract.
HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio review (opens in new tab)
We were already quite fond of the HTC Sensation. It's still one of the finest Android handsets out there, offering a large screen, fantastic user interface and a solid build quality. However, we're immensely pleased that HTC decided to give the phone a lick of paint as the Sensation XE is unquestionably a better handset all-round.
The Beats connection has ensured that, for what feels like the first time ever, an Android phone comes with a pair of headphones that you're not likely to dump straight into the bin in favour of your own pair.
The bundled iBeats buds will have music lovers grinning from ear to ear, although it should be noted that they've been designed to showcase bass-heavy tracks. Lovers of classical or acoustic music may be less enamoured with the bombastic qualities of these Dr Dre-sanctioned headphones.
HTC may have been forgiven if it had simply dropped the iBeats headphones into the box and pushed the Sensation XE out of the door. But thankfully the company has bolstered the Sensation's power by including a faster 1.5GHz dual-core processor. This makes the handset one of the most powerful smart phones on the market right now -- and the smooth animation and near-faultless performance are testament to that.
Given that it out-paces the popular Samsung Galaxy S2 in terms of pure CPU speed, the Sensation XE is the obvious choice for those Android users who relish being at the front of the smart phone pack. The enhanced processor even puts it ahead of the eagerly-awaited Galaxy Nexus -- although that particular phone will be running Android 4.0 long before HTC's handset.
Simply put, the Sensation XE is one of HTC's finest achievements to date, and arguably the biggest challenger to the upcoming Galaxy Nexus.
HTC Titan Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone review (opens in new tab)
For some the HTC Titan will simply be too large. For others, the lack of Flash may be the killer blow. Windows Phone 7.5 is certainly an advance on its predecessor, though, and if you like the way it emphasises content over apps you could be won over.
HTC Rhyme review (opens in new tab)
Overall there isn't much to dislike about HTC Rhyme: it's a solid performer, and despite the aim of cutting down on some of the geekery of HTC Sense, you'll still find it is fully-functional. Sure, there are places where we think it is a little over-engineered, but you certainly get a lot in the HTC Rhyme package.
The run of accessories is welcomed, making the HTC Rhyme feel like a complete offering. But at the same time there is nothing that really makes the HTC Rhyme stand out: you'll find better screens, better design and better cameras elsewhere. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S Plus and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S are a similar size but give you more screen space, even if they don't offer such a comprehensive overall package out of the box.
But the question still stands: is this a phone only for girls? No, it isn't. There are no moon charts or shopping apps, nothing that stinks of crass stereotyping: it's just a respectable Android mobile phone. The perception of a female identity may well deter male shoppers, but this is really about branding, rather than functionality.
Good all-round performance and a battery life that caught us by surprise do the HTC Rhyme credit, but it faces tough competition.
Samsung Galaxy Note review (opens in new tab)
There’s much to like about the Samsung Galaxy Note. The screen is quite simply stunning; colourful, radiant and as finely defined as the word "dictionary". It’s super quick, and Samsung’s Touchwiz UI on top of Gingerbread is a joy to use. Watching movies on the display is a great experience, and it’s, perhaps, better suited in size to economy class flights than a 10-inch tablet.
The camera is more than decent, offering both stills and video capture at high definitions. And there’s that stylus, the S Pen, which has true potential if app developers take up Samsung’s challenge.
However, there’s still the issue of what the Galaxy Note actually is, and more to the point, who it’s aimed at.
We can’t help but feel that it’s not the humble, everyday, consumer. Even the most fervent Android fanatic would find it hard not to feel like a plum holding one to their ear, and, at around £600 SIM-free, we find it hard to believe that the general public would plump for this over an equivalently priced iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 10.1.
But business types, we reckon, will lap it up. You don’t have to hold it to your ear when you’re conference calling. And it most definitely replaces the notepad in meetings (whether you’re seriously taking minutes down or just drawing pictures of male genitalia). For this demographic, it replaces a tablet with gusto. As useful as a larger device, yet more portable. We can certainly see office workers up and down the country loving a bit of Galaxy Note action. For them, this is a godsend.
Oh, and did we mention that, because of the 5.3-inch screen, it’s also the best handheld games console around? We didn’t, well…
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S review (opens in new tab)
Before this year, Sony Ericsson was in the wilderness of phones. It had made the move to Android, but was still churning out unimpressive and slightly depressing handsets. Now though, the Ray, Arc and Arc S all offer truly modern mobile functionality, with stunning design and a good range of features.
Sony Ericsson also manages to keep its UI customisations to a low level that doesn't interfere with the day-to-day operation of the phone. There are some niceties that it adds, like a much swisher app tray (at the bottom of the home screens) than the standard Android version.
Battery life is disappointing, but not bad enough for us to suggest you avoid this phone. Sony Ericsson could almost certainly improve this, and one way would be to add an auto-brightness feature. We'd also like to see the camera app improved, and while photos from the phone are good, the slowness of the app is a frustration.
Overall, we like the Arc S a great deal. As Android matures, this phone should improve further if it gets the Ice Cream Sandwich update which will start rolling out to phones in the new year.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 review (opens in new tab)
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is impossible to dislike. Unlike some Honeycomb tablets (or tablettes even), it doesn’t make a virtue out of being confusing or crashing randomly. It’s well made, light and extremely portable, with a screen that’s big enough for web, email and films, but small enough to hold one-handed.
Samsung’s TouchWiz skin is genuinely useful, and I’d even think twice about upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich if it meant losing the Mini Apps Tray and pumped-up notifications. Videos and games look great and, if you use your own headphones, the Tab makes a decent music player, too.
So why no five stars? The problem isn’t the Sammy’s average cameras, its lack of 3G or even the absent HDMI port. The problem is its price. At nearly £400, the Tab 8.9 should be virtually perfect: a cut-down, slim-line tablette to complement the macho power of the Tab 10.1 or the iPad 2.
The Tab 8.9 is a great device that showcases the benefits of a smaller, more efficient screen but it needs to a touch more magic to deserve its price-tag.
Nokia Lumia 800 review (opens in new tab)
The Nokia Lumia 800 is far from perfect, but those niggles are just that, niggles.
In future models we would like to see a front facing camera, NFC and we'd love a dock. We'd also like an improvement to the Micro USB flap to something more becoming of such a lovely device.
However, get past those quibbles and the Nokia Lumia 800 is a lovely phone. It's a phone that will evoke fond memories, a phone that makes using your phone fun, and a phone that you will be keen to show off again and again.
That’s mostly down to the screen, which is stunning. But it is also down to Window Phone 7, which seems to shine more here than it does on other Windows Phone 7-powered handsets.
Get this and you will be deemed an agitator and not someone with just another iDevice or a big screened Android smartphone.
Nokia is back.
HTC Titan WinPho 7.5 smartphone (opens in new tab)
Although it’s not as heavy or as thick as a big phone could be, you’re never going to lose the HTC Titan in a pocket. Still, it’s handsome, speedy and shows off the capabilities Windows Phone 7 OS in its current Mango flavour. Indeed, it appears that the HTC Titan is more of a statement phone, made for those who like to go large
Samsung Galaxy Note Review (opens in new tab)
Samsung Galaxy Note – Verdict
The question it poses isn't 'What is the Galaxy Note?', rather 'Who is it for?'. Smartphone buyers might be put off by the awkwardness of the extra girth, while tablet fans could find the screen too small.
What the Note offers, though, is a very lovely halfway house between the two – look at it as a tablet that can make calls and fit in your pocket, or a phone with a bigger, better screen, and it starts to make a lot more sense.
Originally published at OneMobileRing.com