With the Mobile World Congress held this month, we saw a slew of new launches in the mobile space. Samsung also launched a couple of smartphones for the Indian market at its Forum held in Bali. Besides, Indian phone makers also ensured that the budget and mid-range segment kept buzzing with new options. Here’s a quick recap of the hottest smartphone launches and announcements from February 2014.
Earlier this month, the highly anticipated Moto G finally hit the Indian market exclusively via Flipkart. The smartphone comes with a 4.5-inch TFT LCD panel, which may be seem a bit small for the phablet crazy among us, but makes up for it with 720p resolution. It runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, but the company has already started rolling out 4.4 KitKat.
The Moto G retails at Rs 12,499 for the 8GB and Rs 13,999 for the 16GB. This makes it the best, value-for-money offering under Rs 15,000 and quite possibly under Rs 20,000 as well. The Moto G does many things right but it’s not without its shortcomings. Expandable memory and 1GB of RAM are possibly the only major drawbacks of this phone. Read our complete Moto G review to know more.
Samsung Galaxy S5
After a string of leaks and rumours, Samsung unveiled its latest flagship, the Galaxy S5, at its Unpacked 5 event during the MWC 2014. Retaining most of the rumoured features, the Galaxy S5 comes with a fingerprint scanner and dust- and water-proof capabilities. The S5 is a 5.1-inch upgrade to the year older Galaxy S4 and sports a full HD screen with the same Super AMOLED panel, and not a 2k display as was hotly rumoured. The plastic-built Galaxy S5 also adds a heart-rate monitor just below the camera module. The smartphone comes with a 16MP camera with improved menu and user interface. It also gets a 2.1MP front-facing camera. Check out all the specs of the Galaxy S5.
Samsung Note 3 Neo
At its Forum 2014 in Bali, Samsung launched the Note 3 Neo for the Indian market at a price of Rs 40,900. It’s a lite version of the more premium Note 3. As an introductory offer, first 1,000 customers to pre-book the Note 3 Neo can take it home for Rs 38,990. The Neo has a striking resemblance with the Note 3, except for the difference in length and width. It sports a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution, compared to the 5.7-inch1080p screen fitted on the Note 3. It is powered by a hexa-core chipset with two 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.3GHz Cortex A7 cores. Samsung packs in 16GB onboard storage and a microSD card slot. Samsung has given the premium 13MP camera and 4k recording a miss, as the Neo gets an 8MP camera and maximum 1080p video recording. Take a look at our quick hands on with the Note 3 Neo.
Samsung Grand Neo
At the Samsung Forum 2014, the company has also launched the mid-range Galaxy Grand Neo for Rs 18,450. The Neo comes fitted with a 5-inch TFT display, and a disappointing 480 x 800 pixels of resolution. Under the hood, the device will be powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core A7 processor with 1GB of RAM, similar to the one found in the Grand 2. The device gets a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a VGA front-facing camera. It has 8GB of internal memory, which is further expandable via a microSD card slot. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and not KitKat. The connectivity options include HSPA+ (21Mbps down, 5.76Mbps up), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB, GPS and GLONASS. Check out our hands-on with the Grand Neo right here.
Nokia X, X+ and XL
This month, we finally saw Nokia pull the wraps off its first ever Android-based phones at the MWC in Barcelona. Nokia has launched the X, X+ and XL smartphones which will run a forked version of Android. The smartphone won’t have access to the official Google Play Store, but it will be able to run most Android apps that are already available. The Nokia XL is said to be the flagship device coming next month. The budget Nokia X and X+ feature a 4-inch display with a 800×480 pixel resolution. Nokia did not announce the chipsets on stage, but the phones have a Snapdragon S4 SoC. The dual-core processor is clocked at 1GHz. There’s 512MB of RAM on the Nokia X, while the X+ gets 768MB of RAM. Both have 4GB internal storage and the ability to take in micro SD cards up to 32GB in capacity. Check out the Nokia X, x+ and XL in photos.
Sony Xperia Z2
This month, we also saw the all-new Sony flagship dubbed Z2. The smartphone runs on Google’s latest Android 4.4 KitKat and is the first Xperia device to be able to shoot 4K video. The Z2 has borrowed waterproof and rugged capabilities from its predecessor, and sports a 5.2-inch 1080p full HD IPS display with a wide colour palette and Triluminos tech. It comes powered by a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 and Adreno 330 GPU, coupled with 3GB of RAM. Sony has also added digital noise-cancelling capabilities and a massive 20.7-megapixel camera.
At MWC 2014, Silent Circle and Geeksphone launched their anti-NSA smartphone – Blackphone. The smartphone bundles a two-year subscription to the Silent Circle suite of apps and promises encrypted phone calls and e-mail for the user and up to three friends, irrespective of the handset owned. It also includes two years of Disconnect anonymous Wi-Fi and two years of SpiderOak anonymous cloud storage. After the two year subscription period, users can continue to use the services from Silent Circle apps by paying $10 per month. The privacy-focused device is now available for pre-order at $629.
Focussing on prolonged battery life at affordable prices, Micromax has launched a new sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone in its Canvas series dubbed Power A96 at Rs 9,990. The biggest USP of the all-new Canvas Power is its 4,000 mAh battery. The battery promises up to up to 5.5 hours of talktime and up to 450 hours of standby time and we reckon it will easily last through the day, especially considering the other specs, which include a 5-inch TFT display with lowly 480×854 pixels of resolution, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582M processor with 512MB of RAM, dual-SIM capability, 4GB of onboard storage, microSD card and 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash.
Following in the footsteps of Micromax, Gionee launched the M2 with massive 4,200mAh battery. The Gionee M2 is a dual-SIM smartphone and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, with Gionee’s Amigo UI customisations. The M2 sports a 5-inch display with 480×854 pixels of resolution. It is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The chipset maker has not been unspecified in the official press release. On the connectivity front, it won’t disappoint users with support for 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS/A-GPS. The 4GB onboard storage is expandable up to 32GB via microSD card slot.