From curved phones to plastic phones, from all metal phones to water diving phones we have gone through 2013 with a slew of amazing new and some same old boring phone concepts. Some have sold like hot cakes and others have fallen short of the mark while others have rocketed way past it.
Apart from the baronial experiments and freakish extremes that debuted over the past 12 months, a number of standouts managed to shine brightly among the billions of Smartphones shipped.
Here are four of the Smartphones that rocked our socks off this year.
THE IPHONE 5s
We had a detailed review of this phone which rather had such a pretty interesting title but hey feel free to read it, I don’t want to spoil much. Spoiler alert, in our review we hinted at the fact that Apple’s latest devices have been more evolutionary than revolutionary, between you and me we have to admit that the iPhone 5s is arguably the world’s best Smartphone.
Sure, the iPhone might benefit from a bump in its screen size to match the larger dimensions of its competition. Nevertheless, Apple’s engineers still managed to build a handset that dazzles, down to the smallest details.
Among the best and only innovations was the Touch ID fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. Apple also revamped its Operating System to its sixth iteration, which makes it one of the most powerful pocket-size devices you can buy.
THE GALAXY S4
After Samsung millions of Galaxy s III last year, they naturally followed it up with the Samsung Galaxy S4 early this year. The company followed the launch of the Phone with a design story and they waited for phone to sell in the millions and indeed it has.
While the display on the Galaxy S4 is only slightly larger than that of its predecessor (5 inches versus 4.8), the phone comes packed with beefy, upgraded specs, including a 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an impressive pixel density of 326 ppi. m
The phone has been launched in several variants for different geographical regions and here in Uganda, its launch was used as a platform by telcos to government to cut off taxes for a phone in order to attract adoption of Smartphones. The phone comes with lots of features which have now proved to be more gimmicky than useful. Apart from the S Health app and an embedded IR blaster that allows the phone to act as a universal remote, we saw more gimmicky features like the touch-free Air Gestures functionality that allows users to interact with their phone by waving their hand above the screen.
We have to give it to Samsung, as now the Galaxy Brand has become a household name in Uganda and we hope the next Galaxy Flagship keeps the fire burning.
THE HTC ONE
Year after year HTC makes great phones but the company’s finances keep tumbling down the drain. Early this year the Taiwanese manufacturer launched its 2013 flagship phone the HTC One. The phone’s launch was hit with massive delays and later on the company was sued by Nokia for infringing on its patents in some of the design choices of the HTC One. But one thing is for sure this is undoubtedly one of the best Android devices on the market.
The phone’s aluminum-encased design makes it one of the sleekest handsets around. But beyond the One’s superficial qualities—as impressive as they may be—the phone packs in some powerful specs for 2013 standards, such as a 4.7-inch, 468-ppi display and two large front-facing stereo speakers, which make the device the ideal mobile venue for games and video.
One of the features that puzzled many on the HTC one was the company’s 4-megapixel camera that they tried to market as Ultra Pixel technology which employs larger pixels on the camera’s sensor to capture more light. The result: the ability to capture rich images in low light (without flash), reduced motion blur, and minimal compression. It was a hard sell at first and still is up to now hope HTC will up it’s game on the Megapixel count next time.
HTC CEO Peter Chou made the inauspicious promise to step down if this phone doesn’t turn out to be successful. As of today, Chou remains as the company’s lead, and everyone is wondering what will come out of HTC next year.
THE LUMIA 1020
With over 40 mega pixels boast over, Nokia’s Lumia 1020 is designed to take really good pictures, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of megapixels won’t make for a really good picture either. That was Nokia’s philosophy when it created this phones, featuring a 41-megapixel rear-facing camera.
Am sure the few of you who have used this phone will testify that the 1020’s camera is great, it’s automatically set to create two images with each shot: the full 38-megapixel image and a worked-up 5-megapixel image that users can share through SMS, email and social media. The phone’s original full image remains so that users can shots using the phone’s hidden tricks.
The only thing holding back this phone is it’s unpopular Windows Phone ecosystem, and now with over 200,000 apps in the Windows Market Place we hope to have more adoption. One of the more popular Lumia phones is the low end Lumia 520 which we hope will push the ecosystem into more hands around the world.