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Calling time on an outdated smartphone

Date

Jenneth Orantia

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Updating your smartphone? Three new releases should be in contention.

The HTC One.

The HTC One.

It's always so thrilling at the start. That heady rush when you open the box, the fresh-from-the-factory new gadget smell, and that very first time you cradle your new smartphone in your hand.

But then it gets old. The screen gets scratched. The case acquires a few battle scars. And it starts to look and feel outdated compared to the hot new handsets your friends and colleagues are carrying.

It's time for an upgrade, and you couldn't have picked a better time of year to do it. Here are three 4G Android smartphones that will be released in Australia next month.

LG's Optimus G.

LG's Optimus G.

Sony Xperia Z

Available through Telstra, Optus and Vodafone

After languishing in the smartphone sector for more than a decade (if you count its Sony Ericsson efforts), Sony is finally bringing its A game with the new Xperia Z. With its pin-sharp 5” 1080p display, speedy 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, and dust- and water-proof exterior, the Japanese company finally has a winner on its hands.

Sony's Xperia Z.

Sony's Xperia Z.

The jumbo-sized display means the Xperia Z isn't small, but it isn't a brick either. It's only slightly thicker than the Apple iPhone 5, and a fraction wider than the Samsung Galaxy S III. The extra girth is well worth it for the stunning display, which crams 1920 x 1080 pixels into a 5” screen, or 443 pixels per inch (the iPhone 5's display is 326ppi).

Ever lost your smartphone to a toilet bowl or an upended schooner? The Xperia Z laughs in the face of such hijinks with its ability to withstand up to a metre of water for 30 minutes. You won't be able to use the touchscreen while it's submerged, but it's a handy bit of protection that goes well with the dust-proofing and anti-shatter coating on the glass exterior.

LG Optimus G

Available exclusively through Telstra

Until the Nexus 5 makes an appearance some time later this year, consider the LG Optimus G its spiritual predecessor. It has most of the same guts, namely the 4.7” 1280 x 768 display, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, and 2,100mAh sealed battery, but it upgrades the camera to 13 megapixels, the mobile data connectivity to 4G, and the storage to 32GB.

As fancy as the hardware is, it's not the only thing that sets the Optimus G apart. LG has put a fair bit of effort into the software side, with a few proprietary inclusions that sit on top of the Android 4.1 operating system (an update to Android 4.2 is on the way).

The Quick Memo feature lets you use the screen as a virtual notepad for writing quick reminders – anything you scrawl on the screen will stay there on top of any apps you run until you “wipe” it off. There's also the unique Q-Slide feature, which lets you watch a video in one half of the screen while using a different app in the other half; alternatively, you can watch the video full-screen as a translucent layer on top of another app.

HTC One

Available though Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile

HTC's new hero product for 2013 is a powerhouse. The two-punch combo of a 4.7” screen and 1080p display resolution gives it the highest pixel density in the market at 468ppi, making Apple's “Retina” efforts look laughable. It will also be the first to market with the new 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, a humdinger that improves on the performance of the CPUs in the Sony Xperia Z and LG Optimus G by up to 40 per cent.

At first glance, the One's four-megapixel rear camera looks like a misprint, but it's not. HTC is touting these as "ultrapixels" (not an official measurement), as they're bigger than standard megapixels and allow in 300 per cent more light. Aided by the dedicated image processor and f2.0 lens, this should up the stakes for smartphone photography.

Let's not forget looks. The One is a striking piece of engineering, crafted from a solid block of aluminium with the right combination of curves and straight lines to make it feel lovely in the hand. It runs Android 4.1.2 out of the box with the customary "HTC Sense" skin on top, however the iconic retro flip clock and associated widgets have been dismissed in favour of the new "BlinkFeed" that delivers a live feed of information from various sources to the homescreen.

87 comments

  • And what about the Nokia 920?

    the most advanced smartphone currently on the market.

    look for yourself: http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia920/

    I have one by the way, and love it.

    Commenter
    wsDK_II
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 26, 2013, 10:00AM
    • Exactly what I thought, I have used iphone, htc android, and now lumia 920. Have to say lumia 920 is my favourite so far and it's so much better overall, it's still running so smooth after about 3 months.

      The only downside is the rather young app market, quite lacking compared to ios & android's, but the essential ones (that i use) are there.

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 10:33AM
    • I got the Lumia 920 on a 24 month contract in December and I must say I love it so far. The operating system is a refreshing change from the same old IOS and Android interfaces and the onboard Nokia apps are first rate. The only niggles I have with it are the size/weigth and the universal volume control. Still, I'm more than happy that I switched from IOS to WP8. BBZ10 looks like a fantastic phone too from what I've seen so far, I'd love to get my hands on one of those.

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Newcastle
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 10:45AM
    • Or what about the new Samsung Galaxy 4 to be released March 14th.

      Commenter
      Albo
      Location
      Wbool
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 10:46AM
    • @Ben, I'm loving the 920. Uber slick and fast. No need to jailbreak for to watch normal video formats. So big, screen and UI is just so damn sexy.

      and the low light camera. Take pictures at night and they appear in focus and as if its just the afternoon. Utterly amazing.

      Same for the video. Extraordinarily smooth.

      Commenter
      1984
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 11:59AM
    • Just what I was about to say, seems Fandroids are the new version of Apple Fanboys. The Lumia 920 is a brilliant piece of hardware with a brilliant OS - absolutely loving mine, can't fault it... all of my iOS/Android friends who have a play with it are instantly surprised at how good it is at everything.

      Commenter
      Ryan
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 12:28PM
    • LOL It doesn't even have a LTE connection. Dual core etc..... You may like your phone but give us a break "the most advanced smartphone currently on the market" Try a Galaxy note 2 Now if I am not wrong this truly is the most advanced phone currently on the market, for now anyway.

      Commenter
      Scott
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 12:34PM
    • @Scott "LOL It doesn't even have a LTE connection. Dual core etc..... " Do you care to check your facts first?? Dual Core Qualcomm Krait. LTE 700/1700/2100. That's all..

      Commenter
      Ed
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 12:57PM
    • @ Scott

      It has both LTE and a dual core Snapdragon CPU. Not sure where you're getting your info.

      Commenter
      Lith
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 12:59PM
    • @ Scott, you must be trolling, as the 920 is an LTE 4G phone.

      Also, if you have compared Windows Phon 7/7.5/8 to Android, you realise that you dont need the most powerful processor to be faster then android, you just need good code.

      It has been proven that the windows phone os's are more efficient, faster and better then android.

      See for yourself:

      http://www.techradar.com/au/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/android-4-1-vs-windows-phone-8-vs-ios-6-1086326
      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=20256374
      http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/131487-windows-phone-8-vs-ios-vs-android-one-giant-leap-for-microsoft
      http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2086/4/
      http://www.neowin.net/news/why-windows-phone-doesnt-need-dual-core-processors

      Also the Nokia range of 'HERE' software (maps, gps, augmented reality and public transport planners) is the best on the market, hands down.

      Commenter
      wsDK_II
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 26, 2013, 1:00PM

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