Devices – May 2014

This month we have two phones aimed at very different ends of the market. HTC have won themselves a reputation in the industry of making quality products which saw the HTC One win numerous awards in 2013. Mobile enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the next iteration of the device (named HTC One M8) which finally launched last month, see what we thought below. You may have noticed the growing number of budget friendly devices on the market at present and it seems manufacturers are working hard to whittle down the price of their hardware. Nokia have come out with yet another addition to the Lumia range containing the new Windows 8.1 operating system. Does cheap equal lack of features? See how the Lumia 635 performed here.

HTC-One-M8

HTC One (M8)

How do you improve on the phone which was generally regarded the best phone in the world in 2013? I have no idea but HTC assure me they have done it with their new model. Design wise it has to be said that the handset definitely lives up to its predecessor and feels wonderfully expensive.

The HTC One (M8) is running a new version of Android called KitKat. It’s certainly speedy and comes with many new transparent menus which can make it significantly easier to navigate. In terms of raw power the M8 has it…in spades! The 2.3Ghz processor makes mincemeat of everyday tasks and will handle pretty much everything you can throw at it. In the traditional benchmark tests HTC have come up against some heavy criticism recently after it admitted it has optimised it’s handsets to recognise particular apps which test performance so although the power seemed impressive it is unclear whether the M8 is the beefed up monster we are led to believe!

The addition of a microSD slot is a welcome extra and gives the user peace of mind when taking pictures and videos that they won’t have to constantly delete old data. If you listen to music or make calls on speakerphone then you’ll love the speaker improvements. The sound is far more crisp than any other phone on the market right now.

When it came to the battery life, one of the major failings of the previous version, I was quite underwhelmed even though there was noticeable improvement. I still think battery technology will be where the biggest leaps in technology will come from in the next twelve to eighteen months. It will be interesting to see what phones released later this year will bring to the market in this domain.

The redesign is key to the M8. So many phones look almost identical from version to version and HTC have clearly put a bit of effort into making this look like a different phone, a beautiful one at that. This is easily a contender for best phone of 2014 but the only shame will be that it is unlikely to revive HTC in any meaningful way.

Nokia Lumia 635

nokia_lumia_635_colorNokia really have made inroads at the bottom end of the market and here they have released a phone which really does redefine the word cheap. Coming in at just £114 (no that isn’t a misprint) it is surely going to ruffle a few feathers. So what does £114 buy you in the smart phone market these days?

4G for a start! It also comes with a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM which isn’t a lot of power but it does enable you to get between screens in relative comfort. Apps open quickly enough but generally the performance was pretty good for day to day tasks.

8Gb of internal memory might be a sticking point for some but you can add a microSD card which can give you another 128Gb (which isn’t included). For those of us with our heads firmly in the cloud Microsoft also gives you 7Gb of OneDrive storage. In all you should be able to do pretty much whatever you want with that number of options.

The phone is equipped with the latest version of Windows 8.1 and if you are a windows fan you will be more than happy. The OS has been improved in a number of areas which will see you spouting off to all your Apple friends about how great Windows phone is. Unfortunately your friends may have to hold back a few laughs as the device seems to come in a number of retina searing colours which range from the unfathomable to plain ridiculous! It also looks like every other Lumia out there pretty much.

Aside from the colour scheme this phone is actually pretty impressive. It’s hard to knock it too much for the price (once again…£114!!!) and it was great to see 4G on the list of specs. The only issue I have with the ever expanding Lumia range is how are they ever going to stand out from the crowd?

 

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine