Android is currently the top performer in the smart phone market, conquering a commanding 70% of all devices used worldwide. Despite its fragmented system, developers are still busy churning apps regularly, unfazed by any difficulties that come their way. In fact, they seem to be enjoying the challenges because of opportunities for creativity.
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Anyway, surveying the online world about people’s opinions about what they thought are the best Android smart phones that are currently out in the market, we’ve found three names that have consistently popped up (despite the differing opinions about each one of them). They are Google’s Nexus 4, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and HTC’s One. Here are the reasons why they are much loved:
Google Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 is Google’s flagship model in its Nexus program. Manufactured by LG, it was launched in November 2012 and was reported to have sold out in Google Play in just a few hours. This excellent reception was followed through with rave reviews particularly about its strong features that were almost unexpected for its low prices. To date, as in the time of its release, it’s available contract-free to all carriers, making it even more attractive to bargain hunters.
Nexus 4 comes in two variants, the 8GB and 16GB models, which are priced at $199 and $249 after a one-hundred dollar price slash in late August this year. Unfortunately, it seems that there won’t be any replenishment of the 8GB’s stocks after it reportedly sold out in Google Play in early September, according to LA Times. The 16GB variant is still available as of this writing.
Nexus 4 runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (upgradeable to 4.3 Jelly Bean) and is packed with a very fast 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 2GB RAM that enables it to run heavy graphics with ease. Its 4.7-inch IPS-LCD display and 1280 x 768 resolution delivers an impressive 320PPI, which are enough to create crisp images and clear videos consistently for thousands of hours of usage to come. The rear 8-megapixel camera is okay as a beginner’s compact camera, but still a great value for its price. In terms of its overall physical design, well, never mind the simple look—its sturdy build is more than enough to compensate for it.
Nexus 4 no doubt is currently the one smart phone that offers the best bang for your buck. Let’s hope that Nexus 5, which comes out in October this year, will give us the same results if not better.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Clocking in at 10 million units sold in 27 days, Samsung Galaxy S4 is recognized as the fastest-selling Android phone to date. It was launched in April 2013 and was received by critics with mixed reactions. The latest in Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line, S4 is seen as a successor of S3 and, therefore, carries over improved versions of some the latter’s design and features. Critics who gave it negative ratings pointed out its too many pre-installed features that may actually not be necessary (such as the S Translator and the Sound and Shot photo option). It is said to have so many things going on about it that CNet phrased their question to “what doesn’t it [S4] have?” from “what does it have?”. Still, its powerful and advanced specifications have won many others to its side.
S4 looks similar to S3, only it is thinner by 0.7 millimeter. It also retains the signature “plastic” look of S3, which happens to be another one of the major flaws pointed out by critics. It has a 1920 x 1080 resolution at 441PPI on a 5-inch screen. Like Nexus 4, it runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and has a quad-core processor and a 2GB RAM, which likewise enable it to run apps with heavy graphics very smoothly (a great device for gamers). Its 13-megapixel rear camera and sensor is great for taking sharp images and videos. There are many interesting photo options too (with a few being more flashy than useful, as mentioned above). Of particular note is Burst Shot which holds the shutter long enough to allow you to take multiple pictures in a row. Its “air” features (the Air View and Air Gestures), which allow you to choose options and execute certain actions by just waving or hovering your finger over the screen, though undoubtedly an impressive innovation, are again seen by a few critics as “gimmicky.”
Samsung Galaxy S4 is described as a robust, almost ultra-advanced Android phone that is ahead of all its rivals in terms of hardware and software features. These same features, however, serve as its downfall, as many of them are perceived to be impractical.
Described by CNet as “the winner” and “a near-ideal phone”, the HTC One has almost all the necessary features updated in style and technology without trying to be too flashy. If there were one negative thing about it, it is its lack of expandability in terms of storage as it doesn’t have an SD card slot.
One was launched in February 2013 as a successor to the 2012 model One X and as a flagship phone of the company for 2013. The unlocked version retails for close to $600, which is almost double the price Nexus 4, though, the former makes up for it in classiness and durability. It is a stiff competitor of the Nexus 4 and Galaxy S4, with many critics, including CNet, considering it as the best among the three.
One runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and also boasts of a 1.7GHz quad-core processor and a 2GB RAM. At 4.7 inches the screen size is at par with Nexus 4, although One takes the prize in terms of quality, with 468PPI.
One beats S4 in terms of appearance with its all-metal chassis, but bends in terms of camera resolution at 4 megapixels.
As a high-end phone HTC One is considered a great balance of essential features and powerful technology. Not a few critics see it as a sort of benchmark this year; however, they are also anxious to see how HTC can keep this up when the next models of Nexus and Galaxy come out soon.