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