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Sony Xperia Z vs HTC One vs BlackBerry Z10 – 2013 Flagship Phone Fray!

There has been a raft of impressive flagship smartphones unveiled so far this year, including the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One, and the BlackBerry Z10, all of which are available on the EE network. Each of these mobile manufacturers is claiming its new device is the one that you need in your life, but which comes out on top?

Sony HTC BB Abs

We’ve taken a look at each of the handset’s hardware and design, software smarts, and camera capabilities, to determine which is best…

Sony Xperia Z

Hardware & Design

The Xperia Z boasts a water and dust resistant casing that allows it to be submerged in freshwater up to 1 metre deep for up to 30 minutes. The handset’s chassis is quite large measuring 139mm x 71mm x 7.9mm, but this allows for a 5-inch full 1080p HD display that is incredibly vivid, sharp and detailed. This is helped along by the mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 image processor that enhances the colour, contrast and detail of visuals.

Software

Toting the Android Jelly Bean operating system, the Xperia Z has features such as the intelligent personal assistant Google Now. Unfortunately there is a lot of bloatware on board such as three different navigation apps (Google Navigation, Latitude and Wisepilot for Xperia) and that seems a little excessive.

Camera Capabilities

The 13 megapixel camera sported by the Xperia Z uses Exmor RS technology with HDR (High Dynamic Range), which captures the same image at different exposure levels and layers them to create one optimised photo. The Superior Auto shooting mode is a great feature too, automatically detecting and implementing the best camera settings for your surroundings.

HTC One

Hardware & Design

The HTC One is probably the best looking device out of the three, featuring a premium metal chassis with rounded edges and a curved back that is comfortable to hold. Like the Xperia Z, the handset also has a 4.7-inch full 1080p HD display, which produces images that are richly coloured and crisp.

Software

Android Jelly Bean is the operating system of choice on the HTC One, overlaid with the HTC Sense 5.0 user interface. The fact that there isn’t loads of bloatware on board is a boon, but additional features such as BlinkFeed, an alternative homescreen that pulls in live feeds from news sources and social networks, is decidedly underwhelming, mainly due to its unreliable nature and the limited sources it draws information from.

Camera Capabilities

The HTC One has the best camera of the three thanks to its UltraPixel technology. The larger UltraPixels that make up photos produced by the UltraPixel camera can record more light and data, so photos display more shades, and more accurate colours. There is also what is called HTC Zoe – a shooting mode that records a 3-second mini-video instead of a still image when you press the shutter button, from which you can then select static images from the 20 frames in the clip.

BlackBerry Z10

Hardware & Design

Of all the BlackBerrys ever created, the BlackBerry Z10 is definitely the most advanced and sophisticated and looks not dissimilar to the iPhone 5. It features a 4.2-inch LCD touchscreen display which is used to operate the phone using gesture controls.

Software

BlackBerry 10 OS is an intuitive operating system, something that is helped immeasurably by the BlackBerry Hub functionality that groups all message notifications in one place. The hub can be accessed from within any feature or app without having to leave said app or feature too, making the OS great for multitasking. Although this is handy, the gesture controls will not be to everyone’s taste as they can be a bit fiddly to get used to, and there’s also a fewer apps to choose from compared to iOS and Android devices.

Camera Capabilities

The 8 megapixel camera on the BlackBerry Z10 performs well, and compared to the poor BlackBerry cameras of the past it is a big improvement. There is a feature called Time Shift on board that allows users to rewind and fast-forward to points milliseconds before and after a photo was taken, to get just the right shot. For example, if someone in the photo blinks at the crucial moment, you can isolate their face and rewind a few frames until they have their eyes open. Although this is the best camera ever sported by a BlackBerry, the Xperia Z and HTC One’s snappers use innovative technology that creates photos of a higher quality.

There can only be One winner

So, which of these handsets is the bee’s knees? In first place is HTC One because of its awesome camera capabilities and slick premium design. A close second is the Sony Xperia Z with its incredible jaw-dropping display. The Xperia Z is a little less comfortable in the hand than the other two devices, and the images produced by the camera aren’t as refined as those shot by the HTC One’s UltraPixel camera. Last but not least is the BlackBerry Z10, which is definitely the best BlackBerry ever produced. However, the lack of apps is off-putting and the camera functionality isn’t as good as the HTC One.

All of these manufacturers have definitely gone to great lengths to produce the best smartphones possible, and each phone impresses us in its own way. However, with Samsung’s new Galaxy device imminent and Apple due to release a new flagship smartphone later this year, the competition is going to get even tougher, and the HTC One may no longer be top dog.

This guest post was written by Abbi Cox of Phones 4u, who range the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One, and BlackBerry Z10, and have loads of offers on cheap mobile phones.

Windows Phone 8 Face-Off – HTC 8X vs. Samsung ATIV S vs. Nokia Lumia 920

 

Mobile manufacturers have been battling to win the accolade of top Windows Phone 8 smartphone since Microsoft first unleashed the software in October this year.

So far, the front-runners in the Windows Phone 8 race are flagship devices the HTC 8X, Nokia Lumia 920, and the Samsung ATIV S. But which manufacturer can trump the competition and be crowned the Windows Phone 8 king? Let’s take a look at what each device has to offer…

 

 

HTC 8X

The HTC 8X  has a cool design featuring a textured rear panel which feels soft and offers the user a bit of extra grip in the hand. It’s lightweight too weighing in at 130g, and is available in a range of modern colours, making it ideal for those who favour a more eye-catching and compact mobile.

Compared to the Lumia 920, the HTC 8X feels effortlessly light, whilst still retaining a solid sturdiness.

The handset’s 4.3-inch super LCD display doesn’t disappoint either, and offers crisp and colourful images no matter what you are viewing on the screen.

Audio aficionados will be pleased to know that the HTC 8X is the first Windows Phone to feature the Dr Dre-endorsed Beats Audio tech which offers deeper bass and crisper vocals with less distortion. So whether you’re listening to Calvin Harris’ new track or watching Harry Potter, you can experience authentic studio sound across all audio outputs, providing you’re hooked up with Beats Audio headphones of course.

On the subject of multimedia, the HTC 8X’s 8 megapixel camera performs well, producing clear and colourful photos. Full HD video recording is also available and the quality of the footage is higher than you would expect from a smartphone.

A highlight of the HTC 8X is its 2.1 megapixel front-facing snapper with its awesome ultra wide-angle lens. This allows users to capture nearly triple the area normal front-facing cameras are capable of, and is perfect for those arm’s length self-portraits you take when nobody is around.

Design: 5

Hardware: 3

Software: 3

Multimedia: 5

Total: 16

 

Nokia Lumia 920

In contrast to the HTC 8X, the Nokia Lumia 920 is quite big and heavy, weighing in at a cumbersome 185g. Some might say there is a lack of innovation with the device’s design too, as it looks nearly identical to its predecessor, the Lumia 900.

However, the handset’s size means it can accommodate a 4.5-inch LCD TFT display featuring Nokia’s PureMotion HD+ technology, which offers really intricate detail when watching HD videos and viewing photos.

Clocking in at 8.7 megapixels, the Lumia 920’s camera features PureView technology and as such, is pretty awesome. HD video capture with image stabilisation only helps increase these levels of awesomeness too.

PureView is a term used for the advanced camera tech within Nokia devices, and in the Lumia 920’s case Nokia has ‘floated’ the lens – basically this means that it’s mounted on a spring – and this reduces shaking meaning there’s less blur in images. The lens also takes in five times more light than other smartphone lenses, resultimg in pictures and videos with sharp details and good colour saturation, even in low light.

Extra software additions such as Lenses and Local Scout mean that the Lumia 920 pips the competition when it comes to bonus photography features. The handset is also the only device of the three that presently that offers wireless charging functionality and has a 4G variant available.

Design: 2

Hardware: 4

Software: 4

Multimedia: 5

Total: 15

 

Samsung ATIV S

With a more mature design featuring a brushed aluminium rear panel, the ATIV S is a far cry from the pointy corners and jazzy colours sported by its rivals. Upon handling the device you’ll notice that ‘aluminium’ back cover is actually made of plastic though, which is a little disappointing.

The LCD displays on the HTC 8X and Lumia 920 both offer great visuals, but if you place the ATIV S next to them you’ll see its 4.8-inch super AMOLED screen outperforms them, offering more vivid colours, sharper details and darker blacks. If you’re a movie buff or gamer, you’ll benefit from the larger, higher quality display, as it offers a more detailed and immersive visual experience, and there’s also more surface area with which to use on-screen game controls.

Even though it houses the largest display, the device is still lightweight at 135g, and because it measures just 9mm thick will slide into pockets with ease. On the back of the device is a more than adequate 8 megapixel camera, however the video recording functionality isn’t as good as that on offer from the HTC 8X and Lumia 920 – the images aren’t as clear especially, in low light conditions.

Samsung has added a cool Photo Editor suite for cropping, rotating, adding colour effects and decorations, but other native apps such as Family Story and Mini Diary are a bit lacklustre and don’t really add to the user experience.

Design: 3

Hardware: 5

Software: 3

Multimedia: 3

Total: 14

 

Verdict

 

All of the devices feature 1.5GHz dual-core processors and 1GB RAM, and were all on a par when it comes to fluidity and efficiency when multitasking. And they all feature the Windows Phone 8 operating system, albeit with the few aforementioned additions from their respective manufacturers.

But which one do we like most?

When it comes down to it we think the HTC 8X is the best device because of its lightweight, modern design, and its combination of excellent imaging and audio functionality.

The Nokia Lumia 920 certainly impresses with its camera and PureView technology, but its bulky size and weightiness is a major put-off. Although the Samsung ATIV S’ display is by far the best of the bunch, it lacks the “wow” factor that the HTC 8X possesses when it come to design. So if you want a Windows 8 device that is a great all rounder, the HTC 8X would be our recommendation.

This guest post was written by Abbi Cox of Phones 4u, who have great mobile phone deals on networks such as Orange, O2 and Vodafone.