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The Android army

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-05-2014 Nimish Dubey

The past few days have seen Sony, HTC and Samsung release their flagship phones in India. But just how much do they deliver for price tags that hover in the vicinity of `50,000? We take a closer look at the light and dark sides of the latest super-phone trio.

HTC One (M8): the looker

`49,990

The HTC One was one of the best-looking smartphones to be released in 2013 and its successor lives up to the reputation in the looks department. With a brushed metal finish throughout and a unibody design which curves out gently towards the back, the HTC One (M8) is definitely a stunner when it comes to appearance. Yes, some might find its back a bit too shiny for their liking, and while the presence of front-facing BoonSound speakers means that you get sound that is unmatched in the smartphone fraternity, they do tend to make the phone a bit long and unwieldy for those of us with smaller hands.

That apart, the One (M8) comes stuffed to the gills with hardware goodness—the 5-inch display is a full HD one, RAM stands at 2 GB, storage at 16 GB (expandable), and controlling the action is a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. We expected a bit more from the UltraPixel camera (which uses fewer but larger pixels to give better low-light photographs) at the back, but that and the size apart, this is perhaps one of the best combinations of style and substance on the Android block.

Buy it for: Some snazzy good looks combined with good hardware.

Give it a miss if: You don’t like long and slightly slippery devices.

Samsung Galaxy S5: the super soldier

`51,500

It might be getting damned for its relatively plain looks, but beneath that plastic and chrome surface and dotted back cover, Samsung’s latest behemoth, the Galaxy S5, arguably packs in some of the most powerful hardware seen in a smartphone for a while. The 5.1-inch display is a full HD one, the camera a 16-megapixel affair that takes stunning photographs. RAM stands at 2 GB, storage at 16 GB, and making sure that all this works very well indeed is an octa-core processor which combines two quad-core processors clocked at 1.9 GHz and 1.3 GHz. All of which results in a phone that is unlikely to turn heads with its appearance but will definitely make eyebrows shoot up in surprise when you use it, whether for gaming or editing video or just browsing Facebook. There is not much that the Galaxy S5 cannot handle with elan and for all the moaning about its appearance, there is a fair chance that like its predecessors, it will be seen as the ultimate iPhone rival in the coming days.

Buy it for: Perhaps the best hardware you can find in a smartphone in the country.

Give it a miss if: You want a phone that stands out visually in the smartphone crowd.

Sony Xperia Z2: the super shooter

`49,990

It might possess a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3 GB RAM (the most in the trio discussed here), a full HD display and all the connectivity bells and whistles that you want from a high-end smartphone, but what sets the Xperia Z2 apart from the crowd is its multimedia prowess.

It sports a powerful 20.7-megapixel camera that not only excels at still but can also shoot 4K video, and comes with an assortment of features, including shooting videos in slow motion (the best implementation we have seen this side of the iPhone 5s). Sound quality is brilliant too on the headphones that come with the device, although it does not come close to that of the HTC One (M8) in loudspeaker mode. The fact that it’s water- and dust-resistant is a bonus, as is the fact that Sony is bundling a SmartBand along with it, basically a life and fitness tracker that you wear on your wrist. Yes, it is not the smallest phone around but if you have the hands for it, it certainly will be more than handy.

Buy it for: A great camera, decent hardware and of course, the free SmartBand.

Give it a miss if: You want a phone that’s easy to handle and are not too crazy about 4K video or wearable technology.

What about the iphone then?

The biggest question that confronts any person seeking to purchase a phone priced in the vicinity of `50,000 is, “Well, should I not get an iPhone if I am spending that much?” Well, the answer depends on what you need. While the iPhone 5s (the latest one around) might not have the kind of processors or displays that the Android flagships have, it scores heavily in terms of form factor (you can use it with one hand), design, performance and apps. So if what you seek is a phone that has a high style quotient, can be handled with one hand, and you are a bit of an app freak with a bottomless wallet, then the iPhone 5s remains the best option out there. Bring hardware and technical specifications into the matter, however, and these three worthies more than hold their own against Cupertino’s cellular child.

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