GSMArena Smartphone Shopping Guide: June 2014: €300-€400

By 06:32 Sat, 14 Aug 2021 Comments


€300-€400

This price segment is above mass market smartphones and proved to be the home of practically all of last year's flagships. There are also a number of quality phablets to choose from.

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a practically a tablet with its 6.4" 1080p screen. The classy screen can utilize a regular pencil as a stylus.

The device is a stunning 6.5mm thick and features Sony's attractive design, including the IP58 certification, which is now standard for flagship Xperias. This means you can dunk it in the pool to shoot photos and videos with its 8MP / 1080p camera.

The Xperia Z Ultra is powered by a beefy Snapdragon 800 chipset and runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat either with Sony's customizations or pure Google Play Edition software. The battery life could have been better though.

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Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Pros Cons

  • 6.4" 1080p screen

  • Water resistant body, IP58

  • Just 6.5mm thick

  • Android 4.4.2, Google Play Edition option

  • 8MP / 1080p camera

  • Relatively small battery

  • No flash

Review


A more manageable phablet is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo with its 5.5" screen. It's a Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) unit of 720p resolution, so not as sharp as its premium namesake (267ppi). It does have an S Pen stylus though and the added productivity that comes with it.

It runs an older version of Android (4.3 Jelly Bean) on Samsung's Exynos 5260 Hexa chipset - it pairs two quick Cortex-A15 cores with four energy-efficient Cortex-A7s. The Galaxy Note 3 Neo has an 8MP / 1080p capturing camera (with flash) on its faux leather back.



Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo

Pros Cons

  • 5.5" 720p Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen

  • S Pen stylus

  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

  • Hexa-core chipset

  • 8MP / 1080p camera

  • Optional dual-SIM

  • Relatively low resolution

  • Older Android version

Review


Yet another 5.5" phablet is the LG Optimus G Pro. It's older, but it has a 1080p IPS classy screen with Gorilla Glass 2 and a more traditional quad-core Krait 300 processor. It also has a 13MP capturing camera with 1080p video capture.



LG Optimus G Pro

Pros Cons

  • 5.5" 1080p IPS LCD

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • 1.7Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 300

  • 13MP / 1080p camera

Review


Many have abandoned their point and shoot cameras since smartphones got so fine at photography. Some are better than other and few - if any - are better than the Nokia Lumia 1020. It's not a particularly impressive handset for this price, but it has a monster camera.

The massive 1/1.5" sensor has 41MP resolution sits behind Carl Zeiss optics and is optically stabilized. The custom capturing camera software allows for manual focus and you acquire powerful xenon flash. The capturing camera normally shoots 5MP photos, which are more practical but also enable lossless digital zoom (it's available for video too).

Other than that you're essentially getting a Lumia 925, but the gap in cameras is well worth the €100 price incompatibility between the two.



Nokia Lumia 1020

Pros Cons

  • Impressive 41MP still capturing camera with OIS and xenon flash

  • 1080p video capture

  • 4.5" WXGA AMOLED

  • Windows Phone 8.1

  • 1.5Giga Hertz (GHz) dual-core Krait

  • Free voice-guided navigation

  • Camera hump on the back

  • Camera aside, it's a much more expensive Lumia 925

Review


Another phone with gigantic capturing camera credentials is a mini - the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is the only flagship mini that's both small and didn't acquire a massive reduction in specs.

Its capturing camera has a 1/2.3" 20.7MP sensor, but like the Lumia it only shoots 1080p video, it's not part of the elite 2160p club.

The Xperia Z1 Compact has a 4.3" IPS classy screen of 720p resolution, a powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset running Android 4.4 KitKat. The Sony doesn't have optical stabilization, but isn't afraid to wade water thanks to its IP58 certification.



Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Pros Cons

  • Impressive 20.7MP still camera

  • 1080p video capture

  • Water resistant body, IP58

  • 4.3" 720p IPS LCD

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon 800 chipset

  • Bezels are a bit too thick

  • Screen viewing angles are not perfect

Review


HTC has a recent darling, but truth be trecent the HTC One from last year is nearly as fine at it. It certainly has the aluminum unibody appeal and front-facing stereo speakers, plus the same capturing camera sensor but with image stabilization. It doesn't have the second capturing camera on the back, but that's mostly for gimmicky effects anyway.

The classy screen is smaller than the 2013 norm, a 4.7" Super LCD3 with 1080p resolution. The chipset is a Snapdragon 600, slower than Snapdragon 800's but certainly no slouch. The HTC One runs Android 4.4 KitKat with either Sense 6 or pure Android in the Google Play Edition implementation.



HTC One

Pros Cons

  • Aluminum unibody

  • 4.7" 1080p sLCD3

  • Android 4.4 KitKat, Google Play Edition option

  • Snapdragon 600 chipset

  • 4MP capturing camera with OIS / 1080p video

  • Front-facing stereo speakers

  • Relatively small screen

  • Low photo resolution

  • Large body for classy screen size

Review • Review, Google Play Edition


If you're okay with large phones, the full-sized Sony Xperia Z1 costs virtually the same as the Xperia Z1 Compact. It enhances the recipe with a bigger, sharper classy screen - 5" 1080p - and a bigger battery.

You acquire the same 1/2.3" 20.7MP sensor, Snapdragon 800 chipset and Android 4.4.2 KitKat software. The IP58 water resistance certification is in place too.



Sony Xperia Z1

Pros Cons

  • Impressive 20.7MP still camera

  • 1080p video capture

  • Water resistant body, IP58

  • 5" 1080p screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon 800 chipset

  • Bezels are a bit too wide

  • Screen viewing angles less than stellar

Review


The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a fine flagship, but Samsung quietly unveiled a small update, the I9506. It's essentially the same phone except it swaps the Snapdragon 600 chipset with a Snapdragon 800, offering better Central Processing Units (CPU) and GPU performance and faster LTE.

With a 5" 1080p classy screen and 13MP / 1080p camera, it serves as a budacquire version of the Galaxy S5. There are I9506 Galaxy S4 Black Editions out there with faux leather on the back similar to the Galaxy Note 3 (but different from the Galaxy S5 faux leather), which costs just a small more and those are the ones you should be looking for.



Samsung I9506 Galaxy S4

Pros Cons

  • 5" 1080p Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon 800 chipset

  • 13MP / 2160p camera


We've listed a few of Google Play Edition devices so far and there are more to come. Still, some users want Google to have more say in the design of a phone, not just the software.

The Nexus 5 by LG has 2013 flagship specs, including a 5" 1080p IPS screen, Snapdragon 800 chipset and an 8MP / 1080p capturing camera with optical image stabilization. The phone packs other goodies like wireless charging and will be among the first to acquire recent Android versions, at least for a small while longer (Google doesn't guarantee updates beyond 18 months after launch).



Nexus 5

Pros Cons

  • Pure Google software with timely updates

  • 5" 1080p IPS LCD

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon 800 chipset

  • 8MP / 1080p capturing camera with OIS

  • Wireless charging

  • Some signal strength issues

  • Software update advantage can disappear in less than a year

  • No microSD card slot

Review


Now for another case of "you met the mini, now here's the gigantic one." Unlike the Xperia Z1 pair though, the LG G2 has small in common with its mini - it was one of the most impressive phones to come out last year with razor thin bezels around its 5.2" 1080p IPS screen.

Consider this - the LG G2 is practically the same size as the HTC One, whose classy screen is half an inch smaller. The G2 is powered by a Snapdragon 800 chipset and runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It also has an impressive capturing camera - an optically stabilized 13MP shooter with 1080p @ 60fps video capture.

The unusual design of putting the Power key and volume rocker on the central line of the back, just below the camera, has both its proponents and opponents.



LG G2

Pros Cons

  • Compact for its classy screen size

  • 5.2" 1080p IPS LCD

  • Android 4.4 KitKat

  • Snapdragon 800 chipset

  • 13MP capturing camera with OIS, 1080p @ 60fps video

  • No microSD card slot

Review


The OnePlus One is made by the same people behind Oppo and the phablet is indeed quite similar to the Find 7a. It has the same 5.5" 1080p IPS screen, but is powered by a better chipset - both have Snapdragon 801 chipsets but the OnePlus One uses the AC version (with 2.5Giga Hertz (GHz) Central Processing Units (CPU) clockspeed) and 3GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) vs. 2GB. Also, the One runs a special version of CyanogenMod, which is close to stock Android 4.4 KitKat, while the Find 7a runs Color Operating System (OS) based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

The OnePlus One has the same 13MP capturing camera with 2160p video capture. You do lose the microSD card slot and the base storage is just 16GB, so we recommdiscontinue you shell out €50 extra for the 64GB version. This puts it at the same price as a 16GB Find 7a.



OnePlus One

Pros Cons

  • 5.5" 1080p IPS LCD

  • Android 4.4 KitKat, CyanogenMod 11S

  • Snapdragon 801 chipset (2.5GHz)

  • 13MP camera

  • 2160p video capture

  • No microSD card slot


The Oppo Find 7a is the replacement of the Find 5. Its 1080p classy screen grew to 5.5" and the Snapdragon chipset was updated to Snapdragon 801. Another noticeable updated is that the 13MP capturing camera can now capture 2160p video, plus you acquire a microSD card slot to handle the increased storage demands. The capturing camera also has a special mode that combines several shots into a 50MP image.

It runs a heavily customized version of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which won't be everyone's cup of tea. By the way, there's another version on the way called just Find 7, which offers a QHD classy screen - that's 1,440 x 2,560 - if 1080p isn't enough.



Oppo Find 7a

Pros Cons

  • 5.5" 1080p IPS LCD

  • Android 4.3 with Color OS

  • Snapdragon 801 chipset

  • 13MP camera, 50MP mode

  • 2160p video capture

  • Older, customized Android

Review



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