GSMArena Smartphone Shopping Guide: March 2014: €500 And Above

By 12:39 Sat, 14 Aug 2021 Comments


€500 and above

Call this the "money's no object" category, where only the best of the best will do. Phones here didn't create the slit by virtue of their value for money, but rather their celebrity status. This is the category that typically sees the least movement - other than a few phones dropping in the lower price bracket, it's usually the same recent faces.

Microsoft shed the classy screen resolution and chipset limits with WP8 GRD3 and Nokia took advantage with the Lumia 1520. It's a 6" phablet with a 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 800 chipset and a 3,400mAh battery - basically, as fine as any Android flagship. More importantly, the 1520 saw one of the biggest drops in price in this category, and we do expect to find it for less than €500 by our next guide.

It's a smaller sensor (1/2.5") with half the resolution, but it still has quality ZEISS optics and optical image stabilization. No xenon flash, but the lossless digital zoom is on board (due to the lower sensor resolution, it's not as long as that on the 1020) and so are the quality microphones for best-in-class audio capture for the 1080p videos.

It's not an exaggeration to say that the Lumia 1520 is the best device Nokia has made. But it's gigantic and heavy - not the biggest phablet around, but perhaps too gigantic for a general device. At least it's not solely dependent on its capturing camera for success like the Lumia 1020.

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Nokia Lumia 1520

Pros Cons

  • 6" 1080p screen, 367ppi

  • Windows Phone 8

  • Quad-core Krait 400

  • 20MP 1/2.5" sensor, OIS, ZEISS lens

  • Cool proprietary capturing camera apps

  • LTE

  • Free offline global SatNav

  • Free Office suite

  • Big and heavy, even for a phablet

Review


Sony is about to out its latest Xperia flagship, and it's a doozy. From our time with the device at its MWC launch, we were impressed by its blazing quick Snapdragon 801 chipset with quad-core 2.3Giga Hertz (GHz) processor and IPS Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display that for once didn't suffer from poor contrast when looked at from an angle - a first for a Sony flagship. The capturing camera sensor remains the same as the former Z1 flagship, but is now capable of 2160p@30fps video recording and has a boatload of software extras.

Additionally, you still acquire the IP58 dust and water resistance, while the memory and battery power have been boosted to create it even faster while lasting longer. The addition of dual front stereo speakers was also a nice touch. Overall, the Xperia Z2 is easily among the best flagship smartphones this year, and will be among the first available when it launches at the discontinue of the month.



Sony Xperia Z2

Pros Cons

  • Beautiful, compact design

  • IP58 certification

  • Excellent large-sensor camera

  • 5.2" 1080p screen, 424ppi

  • Android 4.4

  • Snapdragon 801 chipset with class-leading performance

  • Front stereo speakers

  • Bezels still not flagship-grade

Hands-on


We've finally reached the Apple iPhone 5s price point. Don't acquire us wrong, it's an fantastic smartphone but the pricing gets harder to swallow each passing year, especially when you can have the ever improving Android and WP8 phones at half the cost.

It's a gorgeous device no doubt, with a thin and light aluminum body and people really seem to like the recent grecent color option.

The 8MP capturing camera shows improvements over the iPhone 5, but it wasn't even able to match the last gen flagships let alone the one just around the corner. The recent Apple A7 chipset is a beast (don't be fooled by core count and clock speed, it's a recent architecture) and iOS 7 brought some much needed improvements. The TouchID fingerprint sensor is also something that might draw you this way, but unless you are deeply invested into the ecosystem value for money isn't among the smartphone's strong points.

To put things in perspective, a 32GB iPhone 5s costs as much as two Galaxy Note 3 units (each with 32GB storage plus microSD card slot).



Apple iPhone 5s

Pros Cons

  • Beautiful 7.6mm aluminum body

  • iOS 7

  • 4" Retina screen, 326ppi

  • Stellar performance

  • TouchID fingerprint sensor

  • Insanely expensive

  • Non-expandable storage

  • Small classy screen

  • Camera falling behind the curve

  • Too reliant on iTunes

  • Proprietary connector

Review


By the way, if you're interested in tablets, we have a tablet shopping guide too.

Happy shopping, everyone!


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