Mobile Phone Reviews

Nokia Lumia 630

Nokia Lumia 630 Review

One of the first smartphones by Nokia taking up the newly released Windows 8.1 is also one of the first smartphones by Nokia to take up dual-SIM support. However, this latest addition to the Lumia line is nothing extraordinary – the inspiration and is taken from some of the other recent releases, while the basic features are mostly like the Windows 8 ones.

One of the benefits from these is the improvements that came about after the feedback from the Lumia 625 – Nokia correctly decided against the screen size, opting instead to reduce the diagonal, which also improved the display quality utilizing the ClearBlack technology.

The Lumia 630 raises the 4.5 inch IPS display to FWVGA resolution and is powered by the consistent favorite chipset of Nokia, the Snapdragon 400. The Lumia 630 has a quad-core processor, and Nokia Cyan also implemented out of the box.

While we feel that Microsoft has caught up with the competition finally via the Windows 8.1, we still feel that with the Lumia 630 being targeted as a budget phone, it still does not get some options, like the front facer, LED flash, absence of a headset and USB cable, only 512MB of RAM – though the device has enough juice to function pretty well, there are some grey areas. We feel that with Nokia pitching this as a mid-range device, it was not meant to impress with its muscle, rather to provide a realistically hiccup-free experience.

Some areas where Microsoft has improved with the Windows 8.1 is the provision of an Action Center with quick toggles, similar to the notification area in Android, ability to customize Start screen background and tile sizes, a voice assistant labeled Cortana, option to install apps on SD card directly, the Quiet Hours mode, the option of a keyboard with swipe, among others.

HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8) Review

With the release of the new flagship One device, from HTC labeled the HTC One (M8), as always, there are very high expectations, especially since this will be their major attraction for the season. However, with the burden of the original HTC One not turning a good hype to high sales, the One (M8) will have a lot to prove this time around.

The HTC One (M8) seems an improved smartphone as compared to its highly regarded earlier version. With a design that was instantly recognizable and unique to the original One, the predecessor to this set, was widely considered as a beautifully designed phone, and the One (M8) has perfected the design along with a number of additional modifications in other areas.

The HTC One (M8) even brings in the best and most powerful hardware in the market, and has increased the screen size, while taking in the capacitive keys inside the screen to keep the overall size in check. Additionally, on the software side, HTC brings in the Android KitKat, the latest OS from Android, along with a new version of the Sense UI for improved usability.

HTC has looked to cover up on most of the weaknesses of the original One, with the chipset upgrade on the top of everyone’s list HTC has also thrown in the capability of memory expansion, and the improvement in efficiency is an added benefit.

Of course, one of the main weaknesses with the One was the camera, and the same question will hang over the One (M8) too. The HTC One (M8) has again been furnished with the same 4 MP snapper with the same pixel count – HTC has taught more tricks to its camera though still one would wonder, all the issues with the first such snapper, why would HTC stick to it, especially when the competition is going to cameras that are 5 to 10 times the resolution. Lets see how the snapper, and the overall smartphone pans out.

Oppo Find 7

Oppo Find 7 Review

Oppo Find 7 has been released after one year of the release of the Oppo Find 5 that was the flagship product for a company which otherwise was an obscure company. The Oppo Find 7 is the next generation flagship phone from the same company with much advanced specs. Oppo has two almost identical handsets i.e. the Find 7a with 1080p screen and the Find 7. The Find 7 is Oppo’s current flagship, and brings a few crucial enhancements over the previous flagship, the Find 7a.

The Oppo Find 7 shuns the 5.5” 1080p display for one with the breathtaking Quad HD (1440x2560) resolution, and sports faster processor, more memory, and a larger battery. While the Chinese phones are generally known for their cheap prices, the case is different for the Oppo Find as it is expensive phone when compared with the domestic rivals. Its hefty price can be justified by the fact that it is the only handset available globally that has a high-resolution 5.5-inch 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display other than the LG G3. Despite having said that, it is expensive enough for a display that you may not really need and for features that really do not stand out from the competition.

Let’s see if the Oppo Find 7 manages to wow buyers with its innovative features?

Nokia Lumia Icon

Nokia Lumia Icon Review

With the recent releases of the 1520 and 1320, with the 1520 being a big success and the 1320 also doing pretty decently in the market, Nokia has tried to bring up some of the same magic in the smartphone area, with the recent release of the Lumia Icon. The Icon, with the power of the Snapdragon 800, the 20MP PureView camera, and the size of a smartphone, is sure to rock the boat with the competition.

The device sports an AMOLED display as well as the quad-core Krait processor. Lumia Icon is launched by Nokia at an interesting time, when the competition is heating up, and with Android devices motoring ahead in the competition from Apple, it will be worth watching as to who has the number 2 position and challenges Android for the lead.

Nokia X

Nokia X Review

Nokia has been troubled in the past with the successes that initially Apple and more recently Android has had. For this, there were rumors in the last year that Nokia would be coming out with an Android device. However, all was stalled once the Nokia Microsoft deal was done, and many had thought that this project would be scrapped off as well.

However, the first release of an Android phone from Nokia is here, and the results are a bit mixed. The device gives out the same Nokia experience as ever, but Nokia has made out the Android experience to be very catchy, and the users will at first be taken aback with the Asha and Windows similar UI on the device, and then when they find out that most of the Google services have been removed in favor of Microsoft services. This, of course, includes the Skype, the HERE maps, the MixRadio, OneDrive among others.

Nokia has managed to add up another device in its mid-range price bracket, one with Android at the back end for a lot of curios users, and the device fits in really well in the Lumia and Asha phones for the price segment. Just how much the device is capable of, we will find out in a minute.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

With every passing year, as the smartphones are getting more and more advanced, the user expectations towards Samsung grow – the prime focus for new and interesting ideas has now shifted to the flagship devices of Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy S series. The range has not only stood up to the stiff competition of the iPhone, but has effectively taken the leadership and the creativity mantles from Apple as well. The Samsung Galaxy S5 also follows in the same footsteps, looking to cement its position on the top.

There are a wide range of modifications made, and they are in a wide variety of places – the chipset has been improved, there are a couple of new sensors for heart rate and finger printing, screen size has been increased, and there is a much improved camera, and on top of it all, the device is given a new finishing touch, which is even better than the much appreciated Note 3.

The device has added to its arsenal 4K recording, and a larger battery, the latest in Android OS, dust and water resistance among other things. However, at this level, where things start to get more or less similar in devices, it is mainly the way of getting things done, the personal feel, and skills, that matters most. The questions that start to arise in the minds of many start to sound like, do these changes matter so much to spend such an amount of cash? Lets try to cover some of these things.

LG G2 mini

LG G2 mini Review

The LG G2 Mini is a somewhat smaller version of G2 with reduced specs. The design and materials are almost identical to the G Pro 2, however, there is removable battery. LG is following the trend set by Samsung with its S3 and S4 mini versions that have also been adopted by HTC as they released One mini. The LG G2 Mini keeps the general shape of the flagship along with the signature keys on the back. On the opposite side, it sports a 4.7” 540x960 pixels display, a basic Snapdragon 400 processor, and an 8 MP camera. But, the good news is that the LG G2 Mini runs on Android 4.4 KitKat whereas the G2 is still stuck on Jelly Bean for now, though the company has put its own skin over the top.

Nokia XL

Nokia XL Review

Nokia XL Dual SIM phone is the Nokia’s third Android phone from WMC 2014. It is a 5 inch phone with 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 5MP rear camera with LED flash. However, Google services or Play store is missing like in many other Nokia Android handsets. The new Nokia XL is among those three mobile phones that makes up the manufacturer’s new X range of Android powered smartphones. The XL denotes for the larger handsets. It runs on the Nokia's new heavily skinned version of Android that looks similar to tile based Windows Phone 8 interface.

The software on the Nokia XL is based on the Android open Source Project. The more advanced software opened the doors to bigger, higher resolution screens as well as up to date apps plus more powerful hardware. Furthermore, there are many easy customization options that help creating a unique Nokia experience by blending Nokia and Microsoft services. This somehow fills in for the missing Google goodies that we all are accustomed to seeing on Android phones.

With Nokia XL, the company prioritizes price over features. Without a doubt, the XL and its group members are cheaper than the revered Moto G. However, the XL is more expensive than the Lumia 525 and is just about the same price as the brand new Lumia 630 Dual SIM. The phone design looks great with attractive color variants. It actually looks good from any angle you look at it.

It's a race to the bottom that in the long term will only get fiercer as cheap smartphones become "good enough". Is the Nokia XL "good enough" or perhaps even "better"? It is a tough race that in the long term will only get fiercer as cheap smartphones are becoming good enough. Let’s see how much Nokia XL is good enough to compete in this head-to-head competitive environment.

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