Technology is moving faster than ever before. New models coming out from the same vendor within nine months isn’t uncommon anymore. If you are using a smartphone over two years, it’s considered obsolete for many people.
I am current using a HTC Desire HD, a 2 years old model. As a high tech professional, I feel the need to upgrade to the latest generation of smartphone. What are my options? I have my eyes on the following smartphones: Apple iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4.
For people who aren’t familiar with all of these phones, here is a quick spec.
|iPhone 5||BlackBerry Z10||HTC One||Samsung S4|
|OS||IOS 6||BB 10||Android 4.1||Android 4.2|
|Display||4.0” Retina||4.2” LCD||4.7” Super LCD 3||4.99” Super AMOLED HD|
|Resolution||1136 x 640 (316ppi)||1280 x 768 (355ppi)||1920 x 1080 (468ppi)||1920 x 1080 (441ppi)|
|Processor||A6 (? GHz)||1.5GHz dual-core||1.7GHz quad-core||1.9GHz quad-core / 1.6GHz octa-core|
|Expandable Storage||–||Up to 32GB||–||Up to 64GB|
|Connectivity||Lightning port, Bluetooth 4.0||USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC||USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC||USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC|
|Sensors||GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass||GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass||GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, IR transmitter||GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, humidity & temperature, IR transmitter|
When iPhone 5 was first announced, I was having high hopes for it. I thought Apple would do something different, something more innovative. But no, they stuck with the same formula, similar design. Nothing was really surprising, excepted for screwing up their Map App.
I remember they used to make a big deal about their Retina display. Obviously they don’t anymore, because every high end smartphone has beaten them in that aspect. However, I must say the build quality is solid. The aluminum & glass body does show an elegance, not to mention Apple has the best AppStore among all the platforms. However, I am sure software vendors will port their successful apps to other platforms in time.
BlackBerry Z10, even though BlackBerry is a Canadian company, I have never used a BlackBerry device. Before the Z10, I felt like they were a decade behind other major vendors. Low screen resolution, not up to par with web standard, not many apps, their devices just didn’t look very smart and sexy until the Z10 comes along. With the Z10, they completely redesigned the hardware and software. They introduced a few unique gestures to “peek” at running apps, which seems interesting.
In the past, BlackBerry was meant to be for business only. However Z10 comes with BlackBerry Balance, which you can separate personal apps and data from work, and keep your business data safe. Finally they have a device with a good balance of business and personal use. I must say they are steering in the right direction. However, coming in late for the battle, this is going to be tough fight. I am sorry to say they haven’t won my vote yet, not this round.
HTC One, I can definitely see myself using one. It is a gorgeous device with full metal body and slick design. With dual frontal stereo speakers powered by beats audio technology, it is like a dream to all multimedia lovers. For people who are on their social network all the time, BlinkFeed will put all your favorite social feeds on a nicely tiled wall on your home page.
For me as a photography hobbyist, the camera certainly plays an important part. HTC One definitely caught my attention. It is not because it has a very high resolution. In fact, it has only a 4MP camera. However, as all photographers know, resolution of the sensor isn’t everything. It is about how well the sensor captures the light. With a F2.0 aperture and 28mm lens, it sounds very promising for low light situation. I always think the build quality of a high-end HTC phone can match the standard of an iPhone, and I don’t think this one will disappoint me, either.
Last but not least, Samsung Galaxy S4, the latest device packed with all the bells and whistles. For sure Samsung has put a lot of money into their marketing campaign. I don’t know how many of you have watched their unpacked event on March 14, but it was unlike any other similar events I have seen. It was entertaining and theatrical.
Anyway, back to the device, Samsung features the new S4 as a life companion. With all the new features that come with the phone, I wouldn’t argue with that. For examples, front and back cameras shooting simultaneously, so the “photographer” will never feel left out. You can play music by connecting up to 8 Samsung Galaxy S4s wirelessly to simulate a 5.1 system. Air Gesture – you can perform various tasks without even touching your screen. S Health – monitor your health by tracking your daily activities and current environment. Samsung even tried to take over some of the BlackBerry market share by introducing Samsung Knox, providing enterprise security features that let business and personal content coexist, just like BlackBerry Balance. No wonder some people even call it the phone of the future.
I don’t mean there is no down side for the S4. At least for me, the built quality doesn’t live up to some of other phones. A polycarbonate body looks a little flimsy for a premium smartphone.
At the moment, Samsung Galaxy S4 sounds like the best smartphone for me. With their 1TB free cloud storage for Samsung Hub, it will play very nicely with my Samsung SmartTV. However, things always sound good on paper, but will all these new features be practical in real life? I will need to wait until I have one in my hand. Unfortunately it will not happen until after April 26.
I’ll let you know, then.