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Friday, 04 May 2012 09:29

720p superphone market getting crowded

Written by Peter Scott



Does Samsung have what it takes this time around?


After a couple of months of waiting for the new Samsung Galaxy S III we can now happily report that the 2012 lineup of 720p superphones is complete. Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG have already announced their flagships and even Panasonic is joining the club with the Eluga Power.

We tested the Nexus, Xperia S, Galaxy Note and HTC One X, but we have yet to get our hands on LG’s new Optimus 4X HD, the new Galaxy S III and the rather exotic Eluga. However, the Eluga and Note feature 5-inch screens and they really don’t mix well with the rest of the crowd.

So which one should you get?

Frankly there would probably be no clear winner in a head-to-head comparison, since every single one of them has something working for it and no, Samsung did not introduce a game changer. The S III is an impressive phone, but it is not a world-beater.

In terms of processing power, the S III, HTC One X and Optimus are pretty evenly matched, as they are powered by quad-core A9 chips. The Xperia S and Nexus feature somewhat slower dual-core chips. Storage? Well 32GB should be the norm in this market segment, but it’s not. The S III will come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions and a microSD slot, so it’s the clear winner. HTC’s One X and Sony’s Xperia S feature 32GB, while the LG and Nexus get away with just 16GB.

The Nexus and S III feature Super AMOLED panels, 4.65-inch and 4.8-inch respectively, while HTC rocks a 4.7-inch SLCD2 panel and we think it is the winner in the screen department. The Xperia S is out of its league with a somewhat smaller 4.3-inch screen, but it has the highest pixel density and users with small hands, and ladies, will probably love it.

The Xperia S also does well in the camera department, as it has a 12-megapixel sensor with a very practical dedicated shutter button and it can snap stills while locked. The One X has the fastest 8-megapixel camera around, while the Nexus is really outclassed here, since it has a 5-megapixel unit, like its predecessor.

Sony has yet to release an ICS update for the Xperia, which still runs Gingerbread, but the rest of the crowd launched with ICS. So, Sony is at a disadvantage here. Samsung still sticks to TouchWiz, HTC is using Sense 4.0, we don’t know what to expect from LG, while the Nexus offers a plain Android experience and it should be the first phone to get an update once Jelly Bean launches.

What about value for money? Well, the Nexus has been around for six months and after a couple of price cuts you can grab an unlocked retail unit for just €349 in Europe, so it the clear winner for value minded consumers. Sony’s Xperia S is also pretty cheap at €419 and the LG should launch at €499, making it the cheapest quad-core. HTC’s One X sells for €529 to €549, while Samsung will charge €599 for a Galaxy S III 16GB. Looking at the competition, the Galaxy seems a bit overpriced. Frankly, we are really not convinced it’s worth it. Even the One X with double the storage and a better screen is €70 cheaper and let’s not even bring up the Nexus.

The bottom line is, well, that there is no bottom line. Unless you are absolutely convinced you need a quad-core processor, and we don’t believe many people are, the Nexus and Xperia S are definitely worth looking into as they offer good value for money and they are by no means obsolete. As far as quad-cores go, HTC and LG also offer better value than Samsung and the One X even packs a superior screen and more storage. Some might argue that the Galaxy is just better looking, or that it’s a premium product, but really it is neither. It is just overpriced. So, if you are after value, get a Nexus, but if you want a proper high-end superphone, the One X still seems like the obvious choice.

Last modified on Friday, 04 May 2012 11:38
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