Smartphone makers unleash their 'heroes'

Smartphone makers unleash their 'heroes'

The battle of the smartphones has entered a new phase with leading smartphone makers unveiling their new flagship models over the last two weeks. Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c took centre stage last week, and before that the limelight was on Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 and Sony's Xperia Z1.

With this release of flagship smartphones, consumers can look forward to bigger screens of at least 4.5 inches, and improvements in cameras and processors, said Ms Kiranjeet Kuar, IDC Asia Pacific's senior market analyst.

While Apple is sticking to a 4-inch display for its flagship smartphone, Android smartphone makers are busy making their screens bigger than 5 inches. When screens reach this size, this tablet and smartphone hybrid is better known as a phablet.

Samsung continues to enlarge the screen for its flagship phablet. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sports a 5.7-inch display, a slight increase from the 5.5 inches of its predecessors, and has various hardware upgrades, such as faster processor speed and more camera megapixels.

Mr Gong Lei, who currently uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, prefers a bigger screen. "A bigger screen is better for almost everything, such as gaming, reading and photo editing," the 29-year-old bank executive said.

However, some smartphone users, such as MrTang Weng Sing, think that "phablets are too big" and do not fit into their pockets. The 41-year-old senior manager at a software engineering firm prefers a device which is more stable and "just works", standards which he felt the Apple iPhone with its iOS ecosystem meets.

"I still like the quality feel and finish of the iPhone," Mr Tang said. He intends to upgrade to the new iPhone 5s from his iPhone 4S.

Users who love to use their smartphones to take photos can look forward to better cameras in the upcoming flagship models.

The upcoming Sony Xperia Z1 has an image sensor similar to that used in a compact digital camera, while the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a huge 41-megapixel image sensor.

Mr Mohd Nizam is considering getting the Lumia 1020 because of its camera. The 37-year-old customer care officer uses his Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone as his primary camera.

"In terms of the camera, the Lumia 920 is more impressive than the Samsung Galaxy S III and S4," he said. He is looking forward to see if the 41-megapixel camera is as good as advertised.

Whether it is larger screens or better cameras, the main beneficiaries of the smartphones space being heated up are the consumers. They can look forward to a greater range of smartphones to suit their personal needs and purposes.

Digital Life looks at the latest smartphones which will be released in the coming months.

trevtan@sph.com.sg

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