With the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S IV yesterday, the lineup of 2013 Android flagships was completed, if we limit ourselves to the major brands. My list of the top contenders will include: LG Optimus G Pro, Sony Xperia Z, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S IV. They are all huge, quad-core beasts, and cover all the basics anyone would expect. As such, it boils down to individual preferences. Here is a quick run through each of them.
LG Optimus G Pro
I have never used or reviewed a flagship or mid-range smartphone from LG, so among the four, this brand is the one that I have the least experience with. The Optimus G Pro is biggest of the three. At 5.5 inches, I consider it way above my usability threshold.
There’s a 13 megapixel camera on board, but again I haven’t been impressed much with LG’s cameras. However, with a 3140 mAh capacity battery in the picture, can this dude outshine the competition in battery performance?
Sony Xperia Z
The Xperia Z is classic Sony in terms of hardware: classy. I expect good audio too. I particularly enjoy the extensive feature sets in the built-in Walkman-branded music player. However, Sony’s Android smartphones have not been known for outstanding battery performance, which is a bit worrying. Also, the user interface has only been tweaked from standard Android in subtle ways.
As far as hardware is concerned, the HTC One seems to have it nailed down. It is the classiest and most luxurious looking of the four. Those forward facing loudspeakers have got my attention too, as I love good audio production on my mobiles. Rear-facing speakers just don’t cut it. The display is simply stunning too.
HTC claim to have streamlined Sense UI with the version 5 on the One. I remember enjoying Sense UI on the One X, and I even like better what I am seeing with version 5 right now. I still consider the Android UI ugly and Sense UI hides it away very well. I however do not have much faith in the 4 megapixel “UltraPixel” camera though. It may produce passable results, but I doubt if it will produce anything outstanding.
Samsung Galaxy S IV
The most recently announced of the four, the S IV’s design appeals to me the least. That aside, the rest of the hardware is definitely up-to-date. As far as I can see, the Galaxy S IV’s key attraction is in Samsung’s built-in custom softwares, namely: S-Voice commands and dictation, Smart stay, Smart pause, Smart scroll, and Air gestures. I used these on the Samsung Galaxy Note II earlier this year and didn’t find them to be things that I needed day-to-day.
But Samsung seems to be on a roll with battery life on their most recent smartphones. Battery performance is something that I value, and this makes the Galaxy S IV attractive to me. Also, for the first time, Samsung has a camera that’s larger than 8 megapixels. That 13 megapixel camera should be something!
I am certain that any of the above devices will meet my most generic needs. However, of the four listed flagships, I have narrowed down my interests to just two devices that I would love to have: the Sony Xperia Z and/or the HTC One. My preferred choice is the HTC One, with the Xperia Z towing behind. The Samsung Galaxy S IV takes 3rd place on my wishlist, and at the bottom of that list is LG’s G Pro.
And in the shameless begging spirit that Emmanuel instituted recently, can someone send me an HTC One or a Sony Xperia Z please? Even better still, why not just send both? Yeah; why not?