Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Galaxy Note 3 sports a display that’s capable of vivid colours. Viewing angles, clarity and contrast are fantastic. Its multi-window feature, which allows users to place two apps sideby-side, works very well on its large screen.
The standout feature of this handset is its stylus which is accurate and can be used to jot down notes, sketch and doodle.
The stylus can also be used to open the Note’s floating menu that provides options for tasks like quick screenshot, text clippings, etc. For example, while browsing a site you can access the one-click menu and select a portion of the page to put it inside the S Note app without leaving the web browser.
Call quality is good. The volume, when using earphones is loud, though the device does not highlight subtle sound effects and bass. Battery lasts around 15 hours on heavy use of 3G.
The Note 3’s camera shoots photographs that are detailed and clear. It is slow in low-light because of its mechanism that takes multiple shots, which are then combined to produce a picture with less noise. But the end result is good.
Full HD videos are sharp.
Unlike the plasticky feel of other Samsung phones, the Note 3 sports a faux leather back cover. Still, for a device that costs half-a-lakh of rupees, this handset does not feel premium.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line phone with a large screen, the Note 3 will not disappoint. Consider if you want a handset that lets you use a stylus to sketch and scribble your thoughts. Works well for those in the design industry
Sony Xperia Z1
The Xperia Z1’s hallmark is its water- and dust-resistant build. In our tests, it emerged unscathed from a tub full of water. That said, leaving it submerged for extended periods of time is a definite no-no. Surprisingly, the device’s screen and glass back is not 100% scratch-resistant.
Pictures taken with its main camera are worthy of postcard-sized prints. In default smart mode, it bumps up colours a bit, making even a bright skyline look attractive. However, shots in dim settings produce very grainy images. There are modes that allow you to add special effects, virtual scenery (AR), and scan landmarks or objects around you to get related information off the web. Its OCR app is quite proficient at reading business cards, and you can also scan
QR codes. Call quality is clear, but is accompanied by a faint buzz in quieter settings. The speakers are not very loud. But with earphones, there is a marked improvement when Sony’s ClearAudio+ enhancement is enabled.
On a full charge, the Z1 allows for at least 11 hours of chatting, e-mailing, web surfing and gaming. Switch on its power management features — aka Stamina Mode — and battery life is extended by a good four hours.
The Full HD display produces vivid colours with deep blacks. But poor viewing angles and a highly-reflective screen dampen the overall experience.
Gaming, apps that use the GPS, a long phone call, etc – tend to make the wellsealed Z1 heat up considerably. Given its size, this temperature build-up can make it uncomfortable to carry in your pocket.
The Sony Xperia Z1’s build quality makes it ideal for Indian weather conditions, while its able shooter can come handy on picnics and outings. Movie buffs will appreciate its display and built-in audio enhancements. Buy if you want a device that can survive moisture and dust.
The G2 boasts a 5.2-inch screen with wide viewing angles; its display is capable of rendering crisp text and accurate colours. Besides, top-notch brightness levels ensure legibility even in direct sunlight. The handset ticks all the right boxes when it comes to its shooter. It records sharply-focussed videos – and photos look good with true colours, and just the right amount of contrast. In less than optimum light, it tends to smooth over details, and low-light images suffer from some noise. The G2 is equipped with an infrared sensor and a ‘remote’ app, which can be configured to control TVs, set-top boxes, etc.
Despite a Full HD screen, the G2’s battery lasts for 15 to 16 hours when used with a 3G connection. The G2’s shell is fabricated out of glossy plastic, which neither looks premium nor feels good to hold. No expandable memory so you’re limited by just the internal 16/32GB storage. The device’s volume and power buttons are placed on its back cover, which aren’t as intuitive to use. Volume during calls is also on the lower side. When used with a good pair of earphones, however, the G2 works on par with a good MP3 player.
Except for its placement of buttons and glossy plastic build, the LG G2 gets most things right. If you’re looking for a feature-packed, compact smartphone that does not seem too large in your hands, this one could be it.