Down the 'smartphone food chain'

Down the 'smartphone food chain'
File photo of people scanning their cellphones in a subway train in Beijing.

FLAGSHIP smartphones, as everyone knows, are great. They cost more than S$750 per handset and have everything you can imagine. Sometimes, they have more than you need. Actually, most of the time, you probably won't use half the apps on the phone.

The problem with shiny flagships is that they make you want to buy all of them, complete with gimmicky features and top hardware specifications, even though you don't need the fastest Snapdragon processor to power your smartphone.

The Moto G has proved this, being very successful in the affordable smartphone segment, and I think Nokia's X, XL and X+ phones will do well too.

When I smashed my LG G2's screen (twice in three months), I bought the Alcatel One Touch Idol X immediately. I can't stress how surprisingly good the phone has been and I've been using it every day since November.

At the Mobile World Congress 2014 (MWC 2014), Samsung launched its latest Galaxy S5. Typical with flagships, I expect it to cost S$900 when it launches in Brunei.

What about the affordables?

HTC's premium phones have not been doing well in terms of sales. However, I must say that they do make a decent phone, and look good too.

I like the HTC One Mini, with its smaller and lower-quality screen paired with the Taiwanese company's UltraPixel technology.

At the MWC 2014, HTC launched its new leader of the pack in the affordables section, the HTC Desire 816.

I remember when Android was up and coming, it was either the Samsung Galaxy S versus the HTC Desire.

I'd pick the HTC Desire any day. It was built better, looked more expensive and had a better camera.

Now the Desire makes its way back with the lower-end 816 model.

The Desire 816 is a 5.5-inch smartphone equipped with a 720p resolution screen. Processor-wise, it clocks in at 1.6 Ghz with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core.

What's great here is that it has HTC's high quality camera on the back, and in terms of software, it's similar to the very good HTC One.

Its camera is a 13-megapixel shooter with a shallow f/2.2 aperture sensor and a Back Side Illuminated (BSI) sensor. However, 4K lovers look away, as video recording is limited only to 720p.

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