Smartphones: From Budget To Phablet
From our review: "For one, the iPhone 5 is the first major overhaul since the iPhone 4 was released. Yes, the 4S added Siri, a new camera and a faster CPU, but it was essentially the same design. And when it comes to Apple products, design matters big time. Second, this is the first iPhone ever, since the original was introduced in 2007, where a display is employed that isn't 3.5-inches diagonally. There's a 4" (1136x640 resolution) display in the iPhone 5, along with LTE support, a new A6 processor, an all new dock connector called Lightning, and an all new operating system (iOS 6)."
Samsung Galaxy Note II ($649)
From our review: "If we run down the list of things that make a good smart phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note II has them all. The device has a very nice screen, it’s very fast, offers good battery life, its camera and voice quality are also good, it’s running the latest version of Android, and the build quality is top notch, save for a couple of minor quibbles. Samsung also goes a few steps further and includes the S-Pen stylus, which adds some additional functionality over and above “touch-only” smartphones. And Samsung’s TouchWiz UI enables a few unique features as well, like the pop-up video player. In light of its features and performance, the Galaxy Note II is a clear winner, no ifs ands or buts about it."
Nokia Lumia 920 ($99+)
Motorola DROID RAZR M ($99+)
From our review: "The overall look and feel of the RAZR M is exceptional. The 4.3" screen size feels just about ideal for those who aren't ready to commit to a phablet. The qHD (960x540) display is sharp and vibrant, and the viewing angles are great. Touch response was also good, with overall system responsiveness being more than satisfactory. Motorola's design choices are also worth praising. The Kevlar back and Gorilla Glass on the front both stand to prevent accidental cracks and bruises, and the microSD expansion slot makes the paltry 8GB of inbuilt storage easier to stomach. Our only real design gripe is the positioning of the microUSB port; if you're charging the phone while trying to use it, that cable gets in the way of normal keyboard use."
HTC One X ($49+)
From our review: "We were very pleased with the HTC One X. The device offers excellent performance and we really dig the phone’s design and aesthetics. Our real-world experience with the HTC One X was nothing but good; touch response is best-of-class, the phone never felt slow--even with multiple applications open, the customizations offered by HTC Sense 4.0 are welcomed additions, and the camera is among the best we have used on a smartphone. Even the device’s speakers and audio capabilities are excellent thanks to some smart design decisions and support for Beats Audio. We also liked the HTC One X’s form factor and think many potential consumers will be impressed by how light and thin the phone feels. If you hit an AT&T store and play with the HTC One X alongside some of the other high-end phones currently being sold for AT&T’s network, we think you’ll agree. The HTC One X just feels fast and very polished."
Stay tuned to HotHardware for more holiday gift guides in the days ahead...