This is a guest post by Simon. He writes on behalf of Best Mobile Contracts, the leading phone comparison website in the UK. If you would like to write for TheDolt’s Blog, do read our page Be My Guest; Write A Guest Post.
The smartphone industry is developing at a faster pace than ever before. Dual core processors have not long been on the scene but are already about to be replaced by quad core. 3D screens have just made an appearance in recent months and so by the same logic we should be seeing 4D screens by the end of the year. No not really, but the technology is developing at such a rapid pace that today’s cutting edge smartphone can quickly turn into tomorrow’s mid-range piece of nostalgia. Here are 5 best top end phones.
So what are the current top of the range smartphones? The devices that are pushing the boundaries and setting benchmarks for all others to aspire to? Let’s take a look at 5 of the best smartphones that are offering excellent combinations of all the latest technological wizardry in the palm of your hand.
Samsung’s current flagship Android phone is a real powerhouse of a smartphone, and currently the biggest selling Android phone on the planet. It has already become the first phone to knock the iPhone 4 from its position of dominance, and with little more than Siri being on offer to differentiate the iPhone 4S, it has the potential to cripple Apple’s latest efforts too.
The central highlight of the Galaxy S2 is its 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus screen. Samsung have a lot of knowledge when it comes to producing screens, what with being one of the largest producers of television sets in the world and all that. Super AMOLED Plus is currently the best technology on offer for smartphone displays, and is only really challenged by the iPhone 4/4S’ Retina Display.
One thing the Galaxy S2 has over the iPhone though is its size. iPhone screens are still a pokey 3.5 inches, making some things like games, videos and web browsing a little less enjoyable than they should be. The Galaxy S2 does not suffer this problem, offering the perfect compromise between large screen and comfortable phone.
Along with being one of the slimmest phones around the Galaxy S2 also received a lot of attention upon release for its 1.2GHz dual core chip. This is slowly becoming less impressive though, with talks of the S3 having a quad core 1.8GHz chip*, and phones like HTC’s Sensation XE already possessing a 1.5GHz dual core.
*It is unlikely that the S3 will actually be quad core, although the technology is not far off
The original Sensation was HTC’s answer to the S2, although in terms of sales it didn’t manage to do quite as well. This was surprising considering the almost cult like following that HTC have within the Android community, especially regarding HTC Sense. Many ‘Fandroids’ will drool over Sense while at the same time being quite disdainful for Samsung’s TouchWiz.
The XE is an updated version of the Sensation which comes with a few minor hardware upgrades, but most noticeably now comes with Beats Audio music features. Beats Audio is a company that was founded by US rapper Dr Dre and who produce a range of high quality, albeit highly priced, headphones.
HTC recently purchased a 51% stake in this company for $300 million. A whole $300 million just so that they could add better music support into their upcoming phones – the Sensation XE and Sensation XL being the first of these.
The XE comes with a better loudspeaker and some Dr Dre headphones thrown in. Although, these are in-ear plugs rather than top of the range DJ headphones. The Sensation XE also includes improved music software and improved bass for listening to music.
On the hardware side of things, the XE has had its processor ramped up to 1.5GHz dual core, as already mentioned. In truth, the original Sensation came with the same processor, but it was underclocked to just 1.2GHz. Despite the additional music features, garish red paint job and additional boost to processing and memory performance (768MB RAM), the Sensation XE will cost quite a bit more than the original Sensation.
For music loving Android fans though it may be the phone of choice. The best bit is you don’t even need to be a fan of Dr Dre.
Xperia Arc S
The Xperia Arc S is the next big thing in Sony Ericsson’s line-up, and promises to improve on the deficiencies of the original Arc. Unfortunately Sony Ericsson has still not joined its competitors Samsung and HTC in the dual core market, as the Ray still comes with just a single core 1.4GHz processor. Still, this extra boost removes the minor stuttering problems of the original with things like the Timescape social media widget that blemished an otherwise smooth and seamless phone.
Not much else has changed from the first Arc, but considering that the first Arc was one of the best Android phones going, this is no big deal. The Arc S has a 4.2 inch LED backlit LCD screen that offers some of the best visuals on a smartphone this side of the Galaxy S2’s Super AMOLED Plus.
Although it doesn’t have the control pad found on its Xperia Arc sibling, the Xperia Arc S does have some excellent entertainment features up its sleeves. This is not in the form of any gimmicky feature like PlayStation support or a 3D screen, but simply because Sony are a company with a long standing history when it comes to entertainment. This knowledge makes its way into their phones, and the Xperia Arc S is the best phone from Sony Ericsson at present.
Some of these little tweaks include the option to go to related YouTube videos from your phones music player. The ability to get the Arc S to load to music player automatically once you insert your headphones, and even just little Sony apps like TrackID that can help you identify new music. Although all these things might seem minor and trivial, they vastly improve the musical experience of on a smartphone for die hard audiophiles.
HTC EVO 3D
Is 3D the next big thing in the world of smartphones? Maybe, maybe not. But either way, at present there is only a very limited selection of 3D phones to choose from. In the UK, there are just two: the LG Optimus 3D and the HTC EVO 3D. While these are fairly evenly matched in terms of hardware and specifications the EVO 3D is a better smartphone. Partly because of a few technical aspects that make it perform better than the Optimus, and partly just because it is made by HTC and not LG.
So what can you do with the EVO 3D that is so great? Well for starters, it comes with a 3D screen that uses what is known as a parallax barrier. This doesn’t offer the sort of 3D experience you would expect at the cinema when watching a film like Avatar, as it essentially works via a little bit of brain trickery rather than 3D glasses. The screen can control the viewing angles of pixels so that each eye sees a slightly different image. This plays on the parts of your brain that deal with depth perception, causing the brain to make it appear 3 dimensional.
The EVO 3D also comes with dual 5 megapixel cameras allowing you to record your own 3 dimensional home movies and capture stereoscopic images. If all of the 3D features of the phone start to give you a headache after a while, then you can just switch them off and use the EVO as a normal smartphone. The technology has a long way to go yet before it becomes commonplace, but if you want to partake of the current 3D craze then the EVO 3D is currently your best option for doing so at present.
Google Galaxy Nexus
Google has to date only released two smartphones under their brand name, and while being impressive devices featuring the latest versions of Android they have not been all that successful in terms of sales. The first Nexus phone, the Nexus One, went on to be sold by its manufacturer HTC as the HTC Desire – which was one of the bestselling phones of 2010 and a phone that truly cemented HTC’s position at the forefront of the industry.
Google’s second phone, the Nexus S, drew a lot of inspiration from Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 smartphones, and curiously came with a curved glass panel on its touchscreen. The third Nexus phone, which will apparently be called the Google Galaxy Nexus (or maybe Nexus Prime), will also be manufactured by Samsung and will be the first Android phone to come with Ice Cream Sandwich.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich will be Google’s answer to iOS 5. Not that it needs to be, as most of the new additions to iOS were features taken from Android in the first place, such as the slide down notification menu. Even so, iOS may have pushed the bar slightly with the addition of Siri, the virtual voice assistant, and it will be interesting to see what big feature Google will add into ICS to compensate.
The Galaxy Nexus comes with a hefty 4.65 inch screen and a staggering 720p screen resolution. It will have LTE support (where available), a 5 megapixel camera with 1080p video and a very impressive 1.5GHz dual core processor making it only equalled in power by the Sensation XE. Impressive hardware indeed, and if Google can provide the software to back it up with via Ice Cream Sandwich then we could already have an iPhone 4S killer on our hands.
Google and Samsung plan to launch the phone in the coming week, with plans for Galaxy Nexus deals to go on sale by the end of the month. The phone was supposed to be launched earlier, but the event was postponed by Google and Samsung to honour of the death of Steve Jobs