GSMArena Smartphone Buyer's Guide: May 2015: €300-€400

By 11:26 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments


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€300-€400

This chapter opens up with a couple of high-spec'd, reasonably priced phablets. After that it's an all-out war between phones that offers numerous variations on a common theme - remarkable cameras, metal frames, waterproofing and stereo speakers (few manage to check all these boxes at the same time though).

Alcatel makes phones in every size segment, but the Hero 2 is the largest. It has a 6" 1080p classy screen and a stylus, with a 2Giga Hertz (GHz) octa-core processor with 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) ensuring smooth multitasking. The phone is a looker too, with thin bezels and a metal chassis.

It features a 13MP capturing camera with optical stabilization and 1080p video capture, plus a 5MP selfie capturing camera also capable of 1080p video.

The Alcatel Hero 2 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and while it lacks the extensive multitasking add-ons of TouchWiz it can create a remarkable budacquire alternative to the Galaxy Note flagship.



Alcatel Hero 2

Pros

Cons

  • Metal frame
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 6" IPS screen, 1,080 x 1,920 (367ppi); Stylus
  • 2.0Giga Hertz (GHz) octa-core Cortex-A7, 2GB RAM
  • 13MP capturing camera with OIS, 1080p video
  • 5MP/1080p selfie camera
  • Review


    The LG G3 continues to skew the market being one of the cheapest phones with a QHD classy screen money can buy. The thin bezels haged the size down, while the Snapdragon 801 chipset and 13MP capturing camera with optical stabilization put extra pressure on 2014 flagships. The capturing camera has "laser focus," which improves focus accuracy in low light.

    Overall, the LG G3 is the phablet to buy if you want bang for the buck. The back is made out of quality plastic with a brushed metal finish and can be popped off to access the battery and microSD slot for extra flexibility.



    LG G3

    Pros

    Cons

  • 5.5" IPS screen, 1,440 x 2,560px (538ppi); thin bezels
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 2.5Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 400
  • 2GB or 3GB of RAM
  • 13MP capturing camera with OIS, 2160p video
  • Review


    The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is the result of Samsung trying to create a compact flagship. In a way it's a prototype of the Note 4, but at 6.7mm thick and 115g it's still has a place on the market. The thin body also features a metal frame combined with faux perforated leather, that is more premium than the Galaxy S5.

    The Galaxy Alpha has options for an Exynos 5 Octa or a Snapdragon 801 chipset. We tested the Exynos model, which offers remarkable performance and managed to stretch the small 1,860mAh battery for a decent battery life. The Home key is a fingerprint sensor, which enables PayPal transactions and Private mode, but it's the less-convenient swipe kind.

    While it's clear the Alpha targets the iPhone, it Xperia Z3 Compact is caught in the crossfire. Samsung's 12MP capturing camera with 2160p video capture produces remarkable quality shots.



    Samsung Galaxy Alpha

    Pros

    Cons

  • Thin and body with metal frame; 6.7mm and 115g
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 4.7" Super AMOLED, 720 x 1,280px (312ppi)
  • 1.8Giga Hertz (GHz) octa-core -or- 2.5Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core; 2GB RAM
  • 12MP capturing camera (16:9), 2160p video
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • No microSD card slot
  • Review


    The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact may have an edge in a beauty contest with its metal frame and glass back. It has a classy screen of almost the same size, 4.6" 720p, but the phone is smaller (if a bit thicker). True, it lacks the hardware Home key with a fingerprint sensor, but it makes up for it with stereo speakers on the front.

    It's waterproof too, so it can go where the Alpha can't, plus Sony's 20.7MP capturing camera promises higher resolution stills. While the quality doesn't quite live up to the megapixel count, the 2160p video is quite good.

    The Xperia Z3 uses the same Snapdragon 801 chipset as one Alpha version, but has a noticeably bigger batter for stellar battery life. As part of the Z-series, the phone is already receiving the Android 5.0 Lollipop update.



    Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

    Pros

    Cons

  • Compact body with metal frame; IP58 waterproofing
  • 4.6" IPS screen, 720 x 1,280 (319ppi)
  • 2.5Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 400, 2GB RAM
  • 20.7MP camera, 2160p video
  • Stereo speakers
  • Great battery life
  • Review


    The Nokia Lumia 930 has a 5" classy screen so it is no mini, but like the previous two it has a metal frame and a heavy focus on camera. The large 20MP sensor features PureView tech with optical stabilization and since the Denim update it records 2160p video.

    The 5" 1080p AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen rivals Samsung's Super AMOLEDs and with ClearBlack tech it's highly visible in the sun. It's the current Windows Phone flagship and will offer the premium W10 experience until Microsoft releases the recent flagships (it's been focused on the low and mid-range recently).



    Nokia Lumia 930

    Pros

    Cons

  • 20MP capturing camera with OIS, 2160p video
  • Eventually upgradeable to Windows 10
  • Metal/polycarbonate build
  • 5" AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screen, 1,080 x 1,920px (441ppi)
  • 2.2GHzGiga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 400
  • No microSD card slot
  • Review


    The Motorola Moto X (2014) is not as camera-obsessed as the other three, but it takes better care of its looks. With a metal frame and a selection of genuine wood and leather backs, the phone is highly customizable via the Moto Maker.

    It has a slightly larger 5.2" AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen with 1080p resolution and is based on the Snapdragon 801 chipset. It's a newer generation than the S800 chipset in the Lumia 930, then again Windows Phone needs less resources. Still, Motorolas acquire Android updates faster than any other maker.

    While not capturing camera obsessed, the 13MP shooter of the Moto X (2014) records 2160p video and does a fine enough job. You acquire stereo speakers on the front like the Xperia Z3 Compact, plus some basic waterproofing - it will survive splashes, but not submersion. No microSD card slot either and the base 16GB version won't slit it.



    Motorola Moto X (2014)

    Pros

    Cons

  • Metal frame and customizable leather or wood backs
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 5.2" AMOLED, 1,080 x 1,920px (424ppi)
  • 2.5Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait, 2GB RAM
  • 13MP camera, 2160p video
  • Stereo speakers
  • Splash proof
  • No microSD card slot
  • Review


    The Sony Xperia Z2 is seemingly a generation behind the Z3 Compact, but haged in mind' it's a Sony half-generation. It has a 5.2" IPS classy screen with 1080p resolution and stereo speakers and a metal frame. You don't acquire a choice of backs, just glass, but the Z2 has accurate waterproofing.

    The capturing camera is the Sony usual, a large 20.7MP sensor with 2160p video capture. The Xperia Z2 is powered by a Snapdragon 801 chipset with 3GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) and will run Android 5.0 Lollipop in short order.



    Sony Xperia Z2

    Pros

    Cons

  • Metal frame; IP58 waterproofing
  • 20.7MP camera, 2160p video
  • 5.2" IPS screen, 1,080 x 1,920px (424ppi)
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop update coming soon
  • 2.3Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 400, 3GB RAM
  • Stereo speakers
  • Review


    The capturing camera frenzy continues with the HTC Desire Eye, though this one is more interested in you than the scenery. It has a best-in-class 13MP selfie capturing camera with its own dedicated Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. Most other phones in this category have just 2MP snappers. The main capturing camera is a 13MP unit too, both record 1080p video.

    The Desire Eye may not have a metal unibody like its One siblings - or the Xperia Z2 - but it does borrow their front-facing speakers and its IPX7 waterproof. It's powered by Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2GB Random-Access Memory (RAM) and is getting updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop.



    HTC Desire Eye

    Pros

    Cons

  • 13MP selfie capturing camera with Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash, 1080p video
  • 13MP/1080p main camera
  • IPX7 waterproofing
  • Stereo speakers
  • 5.2" screen, 1,080 x 1,920px (424ppi)
  • 2.3Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 400, 2GB RAM
  • Review


    The Samsung Galaxy S5 rounds off the waterproof shooters for this chapter. It has an IP67 certification and a 16MP capturing camera with 2160p video capture that has several advantages over the Galaxy Alpha capturing camera (including phase detection AF).

    It has a 5.1" 1080p Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen similar to the Lumia 930 and Moto X (2014), similar Snapdragon 801 chipset too. It has a swipe fingerprint sensor like the Galaxy Alpha and unlike the Galaxy S6 you acquire a replaceable battery and a microSD card slot.



    Samsung Galaxy S5

    Pros

    Cons

  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 5.1" Super AMOLED, 1,080 x 1,920px (432ppi)
  • 16MP camera, 2160p video
  • 2.5Giga Hertz (GHz) quad-core Krait 400
  • IP67 waterproofing
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dated design
  • Review



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