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I’ve gotten my hands on several but not all of the leading smartphones in the past few weeks. I’ve also talked and read more about smartphones in the past few weeks than I have in quite sometime. So, hey, why not a list. In order from most to least interesting, my Top 10 smartphones of right now, November 2013 (all prices in USD):
The LG-built Google Nexus 5 is a fantastic smartphone made even better by its $349 off contract price tag. If only it was capable of taking a decent photo, and doing it fast enough to capture the things that really matter. According to Google, a forthcoming software update should address many of the camera issues. In the meantime, a few developers have taken matters into their own hands.
If you want a slim, light, durable yet classy feeling beast of a phone running the best (and latest) version of Android ever, Nexus 5 is the ticket. Mediocre but acceptable battery life, a propensity to get hot under heavy use, and the aforementioned camera issues don’t prevent me from recommending Nexus wholeheartedly. Watch the video for more.
The short version is get a mini with Retina instead because it’s a better size for a tablet.
Unless you really want a “10”” tablet. Then get this because it’s amazingly light and narrower than the other iPads, making it easier to use one-handed and for long stretches of time.
Dan Seifert, writing for The Verge:
The Moto G doesn’t skimp on features, but Motorola is selling it for a rock-bottom price: $179 unlocked and without contract. The company says that its partners plan to offer it for even less.
Despite its bargain basement price tag, the Moto G has a 4.5-inch, 720p LCD TFT display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8 or 16GB of storage, a 5-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2,070mAh battery. Aesthetically, the Moto G looks almost identical to the Moto X, with a very similar shape and feel. The biggest differences are the front-facing camera and rear speaker, which are on the left of the Moto G while they are on the right of the Moto X.
Motorola’s Moto X is a very good Android phone that’s not quite the device it should and could have been. It’s on-carrier price has already been halved to $99 in the US. Despite a few innovative features and Moto Maker – a ballyhooed hardware customization program – the phone failed to capture the consumer imagination.
But what if Motorola had skipped X altogether and instead launched this device, the Moto G? What if they’d figured out how to add LTE support without raising that rock-bottom $179 off contract price? I know how they could have done it! Parent company Google could have subsidized the play, that’s how.
A $179 off contract, LTE-capable Moto G – a phone that, by the way, offers swappable back covers in multiple colors (eg, The Poor Man’s Moto Maker) – might have made some noise in a year dominated by the same old “$199 On Contract” iterative smartphone releases. Instead Google and Motorola launched Moto X, watched it flop, and then saw fit to launch a phone that, as Dan wrote, “looks almost identical to the Moto X” for roughly one-third the cost. Too bad, really – I think the G could have been a contender.
Chris Velazco, TechCrunch:
Russia-based Yota Devices has been working on a curious beast called the YotaPhone for years now, and it’s gained quite a reputation for itself because of its split personality. While the front of the phone sports a traditional LCD screen, the back plays home to a power-sipping eInk display because… well, why not?
The launch date was one of the last big questions left unanswered, but that’s no longer the case: the company has just confirmed to us that the YotaPhone will launch internationally before Christmas.
This has #FAIL written all over it. I can see the applications, low-power-suck reading on the e-ink display most intriguing of them, but not enough people will care enough to deal with a two-sided phone. Not to mention my entirely unscientific theory that I bet can be proven true: Small companies who tease game changing CE products for more than a year almost always fail.
Honestly, I hope I’m wrong. Handset disruption from not-Apple or not-Samsung/Google would be great.
Let’s get ready to rumble video-style with two introductory topics: The mess that is SIM card portability and a long-standing thorn in Android phones’ sides, scroll lag.
Something odd happened this past week. I started making gadget videos again. Fire up the popcorn maker, hide the neighbors, and indulge in unboxing after unboxing (and a few reviews) by a man who can’t find the power cord to charge up his camcorder: