2014 is all set to come to an end and today we take a look at the top five smartphones from the year. We’ve chosen these phones based on the kind of appeal they generated, the features offered and of course, consumer popularity. The list is in no particular order.
iPhone 5s: If there was one phone that managed to create the biggest buzz this year, it was the iPhone 5s. The rumour mills were going crazy about what Apple would offer with this new phone and the company didn’t disappoint. While Apple didn’t go for a larger screen size, (the screen is still 4-inches), it did add some considerable bling to the much loved (and hated) device. The iPhone 5s is the first iPhone to come in gold, space grey and silver, doing away with the traditional black and white.
In terms of other features, the iPhone 5s came with a fingerprint scanner called Touch ID. It also came with a 64-bit A7 processor which is dual-core. However don’t let the specs fool you. The A7 64-bit processor has been blowing the competition away.
According to AnandTech, which did a detailed review of the iPhone 5s says the smartphone’s new A7 chip with its 64-bit architecture is easily the fastest. According to the post, “The dual-core A7 is now the fastest SoC we’ve tested under SunSpider, even outpacing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and ARM’s Cortex A15. The iPhone 5s beat the competition in almost every other benchmark test as well.”
The A7 64-bit processor also caused panic-among chip manufacturers, according to a recent blogpost. Chipmakers such as Qualcomm were stunned and unprepared for the A7 64-bit processor.
Apple’s iPhone 5s also comes with a M7, a motion co-processor, which constantly measures data from the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope and help with health apps. Apple also released a new Core Motion API which developers can use in their apps.
Apple kept the camera at 8 megapixels for the iPhone 5s and instead went with a new, larger sensor which it said is 15 percent bigger than the previous iPhone 5 version. A bigger sensor means that the quality of the picture improves in low light. The camera also has a dual-LED flash which Apple called the True Tone Flash. The dual-tone flash is in two colours white and amber and ensures that users get better lighting when they are clicking a photo
The iPhone 5s was launched in India on 1 November and was sold-out pretty soon, despite a price tag of Rs 54,000. Apple also launched a cheaper, colourful iPhone 5c as well with essentially the same features as the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5c. however, has a poly-carbonate shell. The iPhone 5c was launched in India for a price of Rs 41,900. As far as iPhone’s weekend launch was concerned, the company sold over 9 million devices in the first weekend itself. The company did not specify which iPhone sold more.
Samsung Galaxy S4: The Galaxy S4 was one of the first flagship devices to be launched in 2013. The S4 was launched in March in New York and released in India in April at Rs 41,500.
The USP of the device was that it came with a 1.6 octa-core (eight core) processor. Samsung also boosted the screen to 5-inches and this was full HD AMOLED display with pixel density of 441 pixels per inch.
The S4 has 2GB RAM and 16 GB space with a microSD slot. The S4 came with a 13 megapixel rear camera, post-which a slew of cheaper smartphones with 13 megapixel cameras became the standard launch in India.
The S4 also came packed with features likes Air Gesture, which allows users to pick up calls, unlock the phone by just swiping their hand over the device without touching the screen.
It also has Smart Pause and Smart Scroll, which lets the phone detect if you’re not looking at the smartphone and will pause a video. Also you can simply tilt the phone to scroll up or down while reading. However not all the critics were too happy with the S4 and many said that this was just an updated SIII.
The Galaxy Series has remained Samsung’s flagship device for sometime now. In fact after the S4, Samsung launched a S4 with a 16 megapixel camera, the S4 mini and an S4 with a tougher body. Will Samsung ditch the polycarbonate body in the S5? We’ll have to wait and watch.
The Nexus 5 : Will they launch this one with LG or won’t they? That was a big question when it came to Google’s next Android phone. Also for India fans the biggest concern was whether the Nexus 5 would come to India on time or would have they have to wait forever like they did in the case of the Nexus 4.
The Nexus 5 was first spotted when Google put up a video of the Android 4.4 KitKat statue where a Google employee was spotted holding a device that looked like the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 was launched in India on 21 November and Google didn’t disappoint on price. The 16GB version was launched for Rs 28,999, while the 32GB version for Rs 32,999 on Google’s Play Store. The Nexus 5 was the first Google device to launch with Android 4.4 KitKat.
It also comes with a bigger 4.95-inch screen with 1920×1080 display which came to 445 pixels per inch. Google went for a simple rear camera at 8 megapixels with Optical Image Stablisation. Google also introduced some new settings for the camera such as HDR+ mode, 360 degree shot. HDR+ will take a burst of pictures in one shot and combine them to give you the best possible picture under the light settings. The Optical Image stabilisation also ensures that even if your hands are shaking a bit the image won’t be blurry. The Photosphere feature will let users take a full 360 degree picture now, which does look pretty cool.
As far as processing, goes it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chipset clocked at 2.3GHz and Adreno 330 clocked at 450MHz for Graphic. It has 2GB RAM.
The smartphone also comes with a 2,300 mAH battery with Google promising talk time up to 17 hours and Internet time up to 8.5 hours on Wi-Fi, up to 7 hours on LTE. It supports wireless charging. The smartphone also supports the newer Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, comes with NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 (Low energy version).
Other software features of the smartphone included: ‘OK Google’ feature where the Google Now feature can be used to set commands and do things like make a call, send an SMS, even play music. Users can link a set of keyword commands to Google Now search and the phone will do the rest. The Nexus 5 was a winner for India fans in terms of the price and the fact that Google launched it in November and didn’t make us wait forever.
Nokia Lumia 1520: Nokia finally bit the phablet bullet and launched a smartphone with a six-inch full HD screen. This was also the first Lumia device with a full HD screen and a quad-core processor. The Lumia 1520 was recently launched in India at a price of Rs 46,999. The 1520 didn’t just come with a six-inch screen, this also has a 20 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash.
Features include: 6-inch IPS LCD screen with Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. It comes with 32 GB memory space, a microSD card slot with an upper limit of 64 GB. It has a 3400 mAh battery and Nokia is promising 27.4 hours of maximum talk time on 2G and 25.1 hours of talktime on 3G. The smartphone supports Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, and requires a Nano SIM card. It also has NFC (Near field connectivity) for sharing. Lumia 1520 has 4 microphones for ensuring best audio when you’re recording video.
This is also the first Windows Phone 8 device with a Third Live tile which means you can now see more apps on your screen without having to scroll down to see the apps. The phone has a new Nokia Camera app that has a Smart Mode, Video and Camera mode. The new app also lets users see all the possible manual settings before taking a picture. The smartphone has the new Storyteller app that organises photos on the smartphone according to a timeline and the location at which they were clicked. The app uses Nokia’s HERE maps for location settings.
In terms of size, Lumia 1520 beats the Galaxy Note III which has a 5.7-inch screen. It also a much better camera at 20 megapixels. There’s no denying that Nokia has launched a worthy competitor for the Android phablets with this device.
Micromax Canvas 4: This was one Indian smartphone that deserves to be on the list, simply in terms of the buzz it created and the kind of features it offered for its budget price. Micromax went all out with marketing this device and it did work for the company. The Canvas was the successor to the Canvas HD smartphone and even before the launch the smartphone was being compared to the S4.
The Canvas 4 was launched in India for Rs 17,999. It has a 5-inch screen with 720 pixel resolution, a 1.2 ghz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and has 16 GB internal memory, expandable to 32GBvia microSD card. The phone is a dual-SIM device.
Micromax’s Canvas 4 also came with a 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front camera. According to the company, the burst mode of the Canvas 4 can shoot 99 pictures in 15 seconds and do vertical panorama shots. The camera also optical image stabilisation, HDR, effects and filters, and can record 1080p videos.
Another feature the phone came with was Video pinning feature, which allowed users to pin a video to the homescreen and continue watching it while carrying out other tasks such as messaging, etc. Also it has the simultaneous video view feature, which allows users to see more than one video at a time. Micromax also said that users could ‘blow a kiss to unlock the smartphone,’ which of course sparked a lot of discussions on Twitter. Other phones that deserve a mention: LG G2 which saw a radical design change in terms of the side buttons being shifted to the rear body of the phone. And finally, HTC’s One Max with the 6-inch screen and a fingerprint scanner.
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