Tag Archives: best smartphone

Release of HTC M8 Eye imminent?

It may seem like only yesterday that HTC released the stunning M8, but already people are talking about HTC’s next rumoured smartphone – the M8 Eye.

The M8 Eye is basically the same as the original M8, but with one significant difference – a 13MP Duo camera. According to GSMArena the M8 Eye is due to be released sometime in late October and will come running Android 4.4.4 KitKat, with HTC’s own Sense 6 software running on top.

If you weren’t already aware, here at LivelyState we are big fans of the original M8. The stunning design and beautiful screen are only part of what makes it such an attractive purchase. We, like many others, however were disappointed with the camera performance. This spoilt what was otherwise and superb smartphone.

HTC had been adamant that camera performance was not all about the number of pixels, and the UltraPixel camera was the product of this philosophy.

Whilst the HTC One M8 is certainly one of the best phones on the market, the improved M8 Eye is sure to become one of the best smartphones money can buy. We certainly cannot wait to get our hands on one.

Why your iPhone isn’t automatically the best

What exactly is the best smartphone available today? This really is the million dollar question. A question which is intensely difficult to answer because the answer is totally subjective.

Not so long ago when purchasing a new phone we had to make a choice. We had to choose between high end optics and power. Smartphone vs camera phone. Fortunately all that ended with the introduction of modern day smartphones. All of a sudden you could buy a device which incorporated the latest internals with a half decent camera. There were still decisions to be made however and that is marginally still the case today.

The original iPhone was an excellent example of an all round device. It had some of the latest hardware under the hood, intuitive software and included a camera as a bonus. There were however other smartphones on the market with better optics and more power under the hood.

Today this isn’t such an issue however as the latest smartphones offer similar characteristics; the latest hardware, cutting edge optics, super displays and the latest and best in software. So what makes one device better than another? If there is no longer such a variation in hardware then what is it that makes us buy one device over another? What makes one device better than another?

This is going to sound controversial but all smartphones are the same. We have one simple choice, and that is one of Operating System (OS). Typically your either into iOS, Android or Windows mobile. All modern day device use the latest hardware from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung etc. So really we are just buying into a brand. I have used both Android and iOS for years. They are ultimately the same and offer the same user experience. They are both very good in what they do. The newer OS, Windows mobile is also good at what it does in that it is fresh looking and relatively simple to use.

This all leads me to the conclusion that there are two underlying factors which dictate what our next device will be. The first as already mention is the OS. This is really the only ‘choice’ we make. The second is concerned with brand loyalty. brand loyalty however ultimately revolves around good marketing and this is what dictates what we think is the best device.It has little to do with anything else as ultimately we are all suckers to marketing.

So the question as to which smartphone is the best all comes down to brand and popularity. Lets be honest all those people who buy into brand Apple. Do you actually know what you are buying or are you just being told that your Apple purchase is automatically the best thing ever for no reason other than it being Apple? The same point stands with Samsung. People will buy into the Galaxy brand for example because Samsung is very good at telling the consumer that the Galaxy range of phones are awesome.

Fanyboyism is not a good thing. It prevents people from making balanced decisions and choosing the smartphone which is right for them. People who buy into brand Apple fanatically believe that the iPhone is the phone of Christ and that nothing else is as good as it. Not so long ago I glided into work with my new HTC One smartphone. It was an exceptional device and a very well rounded product. Upon showing it off to my colleagues somebody said “yeah but its not iPhone is it?” What does this even mean!? I don’t think she knew herself. She couldn’t tell me the difference between LCD and OLED technology, or tell me what processor was powering her iPhone. No of course she couldn’t. And this is the point, she just assumed that the iPhone was the best thing ever because that is what she is led to believe. So if you ask somebody like this what the best smartphone is, they would merely reply “obviously iPhone”.

So what is the best smartphone ever? My opinion is that this is an impossible question because the answer is entirely subjective. I think I got pretty close with the HTC One. It had brilliant build quality, a nice camera, cutting edge internals and a cracking screen. It worked really well and HTC Sense does a really nice job of bringing everything together. It was also a great size. I also love the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For people who chew through video and media, and surf the net then its perfect. I currently have an iPhone 5S. I got it at release. Its a good smartphone. Build quality is second to none, its very powerful and it has a good screen. That said, the screen is way to small (I cant type on it with my sausage fingers), the finger print reader is temperamental and the prices of accessories are frankly extortionate. I also rather dislike Apple’s philosophy. Why shouldn’t I be able to use a third party car charger just because its not made by Apple!?

The point i’m trying to make is that there is no such thing as the perfect smartphone. It totally depends on what you want. People are fundamentally ignorant when it comes to purchasing their new smartphone. They are taken in by cleaver marketing and the occasional loyalty to a particular brand. Consequently this is not always helpful. When you look at the story of HTC you will see my point. HTC make some absolutely excellent smartphones and in fact have done for years. HTC Sense is easily the best OS skin available and the company have always been at the forefront of Innovation and design. The problem is however they just cannot compete with the popularity of Apple and Samsung, not to mention their marketing budgets. So you see most people don’t actually know what the ‘best’ smartphone is. They just get told. They follow like sheep.

Its drives me mad when I look on online forums and see people arguing over which operating system is best, which brand is best. Accusing each other of being ‘fanboys’. These people don’t actually know what they are talking about. These people are like brainwashed religious fundamentals. No amount of education and persuasion is going to change their mind. They will die for the cause. But there will never be any change because this is brand power at its best. Apple have been incredibly successful at creating the brand. Apple devices have gone far beyond the function for which they are designed and are now designer accessories. Sporting the latest iPhone is like showing off an Armani suit. Its the cool thing that everyone needs.

So again, and in conclusion there really isn’t a ‘best smartphone’, it all depends on what your opinions are. Personally I don’t care about brand and reputation. When I get a new smartphone I think really carefully about what I need and whats best for me. In hindsight the iPhone 5S was a bit of a mistake, I should have stuck with my head and got a Galaxy Note 3. I just get frustrated with the iPhone, its just not as good as what your led to believe. So please don’t accuse me of being a fanboy because I don’t have a favourite brand. I just buy the things which are most compatible with my lifestyle and my needs.

This is my opinion anyway. Sorry if this is a little controversial. If you disagree, or ever agree then please let me know.

Top 10 most intuitive smartphones ever

Since an early age I have always loved mobile phones. I always had to have the latest device and loved that feeling of unwrapping that new phone for the first time and opening that shiny new box. I still do. Unfortunately it’s a bit of an expensive affection but I don’t think there’s any better feeling. It was mobile phones that really got me into technology but it wasn’t until phones became ‘smart’ that I really started to become obsessed. What I find amazing is how technology is getting so much more powerful but at the same time smaller and more power efficient. Technology is moving on so much and the next innovative thing is only every just around the corner. That’s what I love so much. Trying to guess at what is coming next. Smartphone developers know only too well that consumers love to show off these new technologies and will market devices accordingly. I am a massive sucker for this marketing and as such always have to have the latest thing.

Of course some developments in technology are more intuitive than others and it’s not necessarily the most successful developments which have the biggest impact. The Nokia N90 for example was not the most successful device in the world but for me it is one of the most intuitive as it captures the imagination. The LG Optimus 2X was not the most successful device either. What it did do however was show what mobile processors were capable of and for that reason it also captured the imagination. This is a personal list of smartphones which I feel have had that effect. Some have been more successful than others but what they all have in common is intuitiveness. I’m sure the most intuitive smartphone label will be up for debate but below is a top 10 collection of devices which have really showcased what I love about technology.

1. Apple iPhone

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No top 10 list of influential phones would be complete without the revolutionary iPhone. The original iPhone revolutionised the smartphone experience by bringing hardware and software together in perfect unison. The iPhone was an instant success. Launched in 2007 and featuring such innovative features as pinch to zoom, the iPhone was the coolest kid on the block resulting in queues of hundreds waiting to own one. The original iPhone was the first in what is now one of the most desirable product lines in the world and made Apple a household name. The iPhone set the benchmarks for which every other company aimed at.

2. HTC One

HTC One

No list would be complete without the stunning HTC One. Easily my favourite smartphone ever. The One had an unprecedented build quality and design and included intuitive features such as the ultra pixel camera and boom speakers. This to me is just the perfect package. The best of everything brought together in a stunning aluminium body. Easily as well built as the iPhone but much cheaper. The One will go down in history as one of the smartphone greats. It’s yet to be seen wether the One is enough to turn around HTC’s fortunes. This doesn’t change the fact however that the HTC one is possible the finest smartphone ever made and like the iPhone sets the benchmarks for all future flagships.

3. T-mobile G1

t-mobile-g1

T-mobile G1 or HTC Dream as it was also known was the very first Android smartphone. The G1 was officially released in 2008 and showcased the brand new Linux based operation system – android. In was mainly well received and featured good build quality and sweet features such as notification management. It also had a full pull out qwerty keyboard and boasted top notch integration with Google services. Android is now one of the biggest and best operating systems in the world but none of this would have been possible without the G1.

4. Nokia N90

nokian90

You may be a little surprised to see the N90 in my top 10. Perhaps not the most popular N-series phone but easily one of the most intuitive. Unfortunately this was one of the phones that I wanted desperately but never actually owned. I was totally mesmerised by the slick twisty display that turned the whole thing into a camcorder. For me this device showed what smartphones were capable of. It was just so cool. Massively expensive however. I don’t know why I loved this so much, it was just so desirable. My mate had one and I would have done anything to have owned one. The Nokia N90 was a true gadget phone that easily deserves to be in my top 10.

5. Palm Pre

palm pre

I think the Palm Pre was one of the most underrated smartphones ever. The pre had a beautiful pebble like design with that amazing sliding qwerty keyboard and intuitive operating system. To me WebOS was one of the finest operating systems of its time. Like Android WebOS was based on Linux and focused on the user experience. All this made the Pre one of the biggest threats to the iPhone and initial sales when it was launched in 2009 were very promising. The device never really gained popularity here in the Uk however and subsequent releases failed to gather momentum. Those of us who remember using WebOS will remember that buttery smooth interface and sleek design. I’d love to see it again running on a mainstream device.

6. LG Optimus 2X

2X

The LG Optimus 2X was the first smartphone in the world to feature a duel core processor. The device featured a decent LCD IPS display and 8GB of Ram. It was revolutionary in that it featured Nvidia’s latest Tegra 2 CPU and also featured a HDMI out port. I owned this phone for a short while and really loved it. I remember being amazed playing Samurai ll Vengeance for the first time and being able to play this on my telly through the HDMI. It’s hard to believe that this device was only released in 2011. Smartphone technology seems to have developed so fast in the last few years. Unfortunately the 2X was soon overshadowed by Samsung’s amazing Galaxy S 2. This was more powerful and featured a much improved display. However the 2X was the first to the market and therefore beats the S2 into my top 10.

7. Samsung Galaxy Note

Galaxy_Note_2

Samsung took a huge risk with the Note. Nothing like this had been seen before and the note could have quite easily flopped. Fortunately however it didn’t. The Note was hugely successful and samsung effectively created a whole new market which it still largely dominates today. The Note is to the phablet what the iPad is to the tablet. What I find interesting about the Note is how attitudes have changed. In today’s consumer market bigger is in fact better. People don’t really like small displays anymore. When your someone who consumes a lot of media, surfs the web and play 3d immersive games then what you need is a huge window to that world. Even Apple took note with the iPhone 5 having a bigger display. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the iPhone 6 is bigger still. The samsung Galaxy note makes it into my list because it redefined mobile computing and changed the attitude regarding what is deemed acceptable.

8. HTC Desire/Google Nexus one

HTC Desire

Quite simply the HTC desire was one of the best phones I ever owned. The Desire was the whole package – what we used to call a “iPhone killer”. The Desire had it all; a clamshell design, AMOLED display, half a gig of RAM, a five million pixel camera and also shot video in 720p HD. This was a fine example of what HTC were capable of. For me HTC have always been the most competent at taking the latest and best smartphone features and cramming them all into one super cool little package. I always found this device a true competitor to the iPhone and it was a fine example of an early Android handset kicking ass. I have cheated a little here by adding the Google Nexus One. Although a separate entity, the Nexus One was the original Google smartphone. Based around the same hardware as the Desire the Nexus One cost more and was less popular. It did however start what is now an exceptional line of raw android devices.

9. Samsung Omnia HD

Omnia HD

The Omnia HD was the first smartphone to record video in 720p high definition. It seemed like quite a hefty device at the time but is rather small compared to today’s flagships. It featured a lovely 3.7 inch capacitive AMOLED display and a brilliant 8mp snapper. The Omnia HD ran on Nokia’s now extinct Symbian operating system and came in 8 and 16GB memory sizes. I remember people laughing when they saw the size of this phone. That beautiful quality video playback shut them all up however! The design and build was pretty robust too but the shiny coating became a bit of a finger print magnet.

10. Motorola RAZR

Motorola RAZR

The Motorola RAZR was originally launched in 2004 as a non mainstream fashion device. Thankfully however the price was eventually lowered for domestic markets and by 2006 the RAZR had become the fastest selling phone ever. Back in 2006 Motorola were once of the big smartphone manufacturers and with the RAZR they were on to a winner. The RAZR’s unique selling point was its immense slimness. Nothing like this had been seen before and even today the device looks cool. Unfortunately that slim screen did have a tendency to crack but this takes nothing away from the innovative design. The RAZR was like the iPhone of its time – that must have gadget that everybody wanted to be seen with. There were many improved versions of the RAZR released but the original will always have a place in my heart.

I have really enjoyed putting this list together and I’m sure people will want to disagree. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.