Sam Abraham introduces new products to help you zero in on those that offer value for money.
Price: Rs 39,000 (estimated)
>> Dual-core Qualcomm CPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal
>> 8 MP camera, 1,800 mAH battery (about 8 hours)
The Z10, with the BlackBerry 10 OS, is slated to be the company's revival. The OS, in itself, brings the phone up to speed, being heavily gesture-based. The browser and keyboard work exceptionally well. It's sombre design is appealing, feels solid and, as an exception to the current rule, comes with a removable backplate to change battery and memory. The display offers incredible contrast, colour and viewing angles, even in direct sunlight. The 1.5Ghz dual-core engine makes it incredibly fast loading or switching applications and browsing.
HP SPECTRE XT TOUCHSMARTPrice: Rs 75,000 (estimated)
>> 1.9GHz Core i7-3517U processor, Windows 8
The metal chassis makes for a sturdy machine that, while not bulky, isn't light either. The display, 15.6 inch and 1080p resolution, is brilliant with great colour and contrast. Performance is respectable with a third generation Core i7 chip combined with 8/4 GB of RAM. Battery is just about average while you will have to pay (a lot) extra for SSD drive (128/256 GB) variants. Windows 8 does admirably well and, this being a 'touchsmart', makes for a great combination. Of course, it is pricey and cheaper options are available.
NOKIA LUMIA 920Price: Rs 38,199
>> 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB RAM
>> 1,280x768 IPS screen, 32 GB internal memory
Nokia's latest Windows 8 offering
is competition for the HTC 8X. Though heavier, the polycarbonate build is appealing. The 920 packs a dual core processor, breezing through dense websites (rendering desktop versions) and games. The 4.5-inch screen (332ppi) looks crisp, is splendid outdoors and offers improved transition response. There is also the PureView camera (f/2.0 autofocus Carl Zeiss lens, 8.7MP) that is the best in low light
and comparable to the best in daytime. The 2,000mAH battery is only just about average for a phone with a display this size.
SONY XPERIA VPrice: NA
>> Dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM
>> 13 MP camera, 8 GB storage
The Xperia V is light with excellent built quality. It's also dust and water resistant (damage-free at a depth of up to one meter for 30 minutes). The 4.3-inch display is HD (1280x720 pixels), offering great contrast and brightness (though the automatic setting is not optimal). It runs Android 4.0.4 (ICS), with an update (Jelly Bean) due soon. It is zippy and responsive running a Snapdragon CPU. The big let-down is the 1,750mAh battery, which barely lasts a day. The camera is a mixed bag, offering great colours but a lot of noise too. It should be value for money for about Rs 25,000.
SONY NEX 6Price: Rs 47,000 (estimated)
>> 16.1 MP, mirrorless interchangeable lens
>> APS-C sensor, power zoom 16-50mm kit lens
The NEX 6 is a strong contender in the category but with a steep price tag. The new power zoom optic lens is a bit sluggish to respond but once running, it can snap 10 fps at full resolution. Auto mode is accurate enough but not to the specifications of a professional photographer. The OLED electronic viewfinder and articulating LCD are both excellent, complemented by solid build quality and comfortable design. There is Wi-Fi connectivity available but the software is a little buggy. Sharing photos, though, is pretty easy.