Sony Experia Z1
Following on from the manufacturers Experia Z, which was released earlier this year, the Experia Z1 is absolutely jam packed full of technology. Sony has suffered in the smartphone market in recent years and the Xperia range is a genuine contender to breathe a bit of life back into Sony’s smartphone division.
When in the hand this feels like you could do some serious damage, it’s a weighty monster! The substantial nature of the phone is to house all the new technology which makes the phone not only feel heavy but perform brilliantly.
The display is a big step up from the previous model and with the Triluminious display technology it really propels the device to compete with the big boys out there today like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. Video playback is particularly impressive and even regular footage is cleaned up to look crisp by the X Reality engine.
The Xperia Z1 comes with a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor which is one of the fastest processors available right now. Navigating you way around the phone is a pleasure as a result. When you then consider the 2GB of RAM you probably won’t ever need more than this. Even video editing can be done on this kind of power!
With Android 4.2 sitting on the device everything is well laid out but the most noticeable thing about the phone is that it is extremely simple to use after a few swipe techniques are learned. The camera is where this phone stands out, with a 20.7MP sensor and a huge array of settings, this really is a huge selling point.
For: Great camera, video playback and generally packs a powerful punch
Against: Behemoth device, it’s trying to play with the big boys but just comes up short.
Samsung Galaxy S3 mini
Although not an entirely new phone on the market I wanted to road test this device for two reasons. Firstly, in some of my recent travels around the Channel I found this device is commonly being pushed as an excellent business tool for your average worker. Secondly, I haven’t been able to get hold of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini yet! Picking up this smartphone the first impression I had was it sat very nicely in the hand and wasn’t too cumbersome like some of the flagship devices Samsung have recently put out into the market.
Obviously this is a scaled down version of its bigger brother the Galaxy S3 which was (and still is) a great smartphone. The problem with mini versions of phones is generally there always has to be some sort of compromise in quality and manufacturers try and squeeze all the same bits into a smaller space. The S3 mini comes with a dual-core 1GHz chipset and a 4-inch WVGA resolution screen and to be frank…it’s pretty underwhelming.
The S3 mini comes with Android’s Jelly Bean straight from the box which is a plus point for phones made around the same time. Many phones that come from this time are equipped with Ice Cream sandwich OS which is not nearly as good. The keyboard also seemed a bit fiddly and I’m not particularly fat fingered!
In all this is a great phone which would serve 99% of the working population adequately and at a very reasonable price. I had a conversation with a client the other day about cars and how in 2013 you can’t really buy a bad car. They all get you from A to B and do so with slight variations in speed and comfort. In a lot of ways the smartphone market is becoming a little bit like that. Every phone made in the last twelve months will generally do everything most people want it to. Emails, apps, calls and texts, perhaps some video calling capability too, and thus as a work device most phones will do the job. The distinguishing features mostly relate to what we use our phones for in our personal lives like the design, video playback or camera quality.
For: Changeable battery for heavy users, solid device, cheap
Against: Poor screen quality, newer devices on market stand out more