The smartphone market has exploded in the last few years, and the prices are still just starting to settle. The big change came with the introduction of the iPhone. Though it wasn’t the first smartphone on the market, it certainly turned everything on its ear.
Soon after, Google introduced the Android platform, in many ways mirroring the look and feel of the iPhone, but with an open source format that allows for wicked customizations. It was also made available to the makers of multiple handsets, and has since dominated the market.
Microsoft entered the field a little late, but has started to catch up with the release of Windows Phone 8, and its partnership with Nokia. Windows Phones are now available with the same hardware/software capability of the iPhone. The debate over which of these platforms is superior can, and probably will, go on forever. There are die-hard enthusiasts for each, and all with good reason. Apple was the leader, and continues to deliver sleek looks and smooth performance with a ton of reliable, worthwhile apps. Android allows for maximum customization, and the vast array of handsets allows for a wide range of price variation – most of which are (much) cheaper than the iPhone.
Windows Phone 8 offers a nice in-between as far as customization, and a fresh look for the interface. Though it will probably be popular with users of other Windows products, it’s not necessarily for everyone. It also has fewer apps available than either of the other platforms. Though Microsoft seems to follow the quality control model championed by Apple and largely ignored (until recently) by Google. So, let’s take a look at the specs of some of the top models of each phone.
The iPhone 5S is Apple’s flagship phone and the Lumina 1520 is the same from the Microsoft/Nokia team. There are several good Android phones, but we will use the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One as representatives of the field, as they are frequently ranked at its top. The iPhone5S has the smallest screen at 4”, and even though its resolution comes in at just 1136×640, it still offers a bright, stunning display. The small screen also allows it to be the smallest, lightest and most portable of the phones. It takes great snaps and video with an 8MP camera and 1080p HD video. The CPU is the groundbreaking 64-bit A7 chip that allows for blazing performance.
The Galaxy S4 offers a brilliant 5”, 1920×1080 HD screen, an impressive 13MP camera, and shoots 1080p HD video as well. It still maintains a sleek shape, with dimensions slightly larger than the iPhone to accommodate the larger display, but just barely. Their thicknesses are nearly identical, and the Galaxy S4 is just slightly heavier.
The HTC One provides a 4.7”, 1920×1080 HD screen, an “innovative” 4MP camera that actually takes much better pictures than its resolution would suggest. However, the color adjustments it makes to implement this memory saving technology, though by no means disturbing, may not be to everyone’s taste.
The Lumia 1520 is a monster of a phone, with a 6”, 1920 x 1080 HD display. This screen, and probably the tech for the camera make this by far the largest, heaviest, and bulkiest of phones. In fact it is almost a “phablet”. However, the astounding 20MP camera may be the best camera available on a smartphone today.
All of the phones besides the iPhone are running Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core chips. The Galaxy and Lumina have the 800 series, while the HTC One runs the 600 series. All are incredibly and suitably fast, but none quite match up to the A7 in speed, and certainly not in technology. However, the iPhone 5S still lacks the NFC chip found on all the other handsets. And so it goes, detail after detail, you can see these phones statistically match up over and over again. Some have perks that others don’t, but those even each other out in some ways. Of course, numbers only mean so much. What is going to determine the best phone for you is personal preference, and of course, cost.
The most upgradable phone is definitely the iPhone 5S with its 64-bit technology, but it also comes with the heftiest price tag. Each phone has its own special features like the iPhone’s Touch ID, or the HTC beats audio, etc., etc… The real test is to decide on an operating system and a price, and see what fits. Then go and try out as many phones as you can in your price range to find the features that are most important to you.
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