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Spring 2014 Roundup
1st June 2014
We look at the devices launched during the spring of 2014, from Mobile World Congress in February all the way to the start of the summer.
The LG G3 was this Korean company's headline-grabbing phone this spring with a feature set that beats or equals pretty much all of the high-end competition. It wasn't the only impressive high-end device from LG, the LG G Pro 2 takes a slightly different approach with a somewhat bigger handset, but the LG G2 Mini really doesn't cut it when it comes to raw power. A different proposition is the LG F70, a low-end device designed to tempt people away from feature phones.
The handset that all other manufacturers have to beat is the Samsung Galaxy S5, a competent upgraded to the S4 which manages to be a little underwhelming at the same time. A more esoteric half-camera half-smartphone device is the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. Samsung are also the leader when it comes to Android tablets, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab4 7.0, 8.0 and 10.1 represent a slight improvement over the previous generation. A more promising development can be seen with the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, a complete rethink of the original flawed Gear device.
The most stylish high-end handset to be announced recently is the HTC One M8 which packs plenty of power in an elegant design. The HTC One Mini 2 follows in the M8's footsteps, but like so many "mini" devices it is not really the same thing underneath.
Nokia's new flagship Windows device is the desirable and powerful Nokia Lumia 930. A pair of cheaper Windows smartphones are the closely related Nokia Lumia 630 and Lumia 635. Nokia also branched out into customised Android devices with a trio of handsets, the Nokia X, X+ and XL.
The Motorola Moto E is a good value Android smartphone that makes a play for the bottom end of the market. Chinese firm Huawei make a credible bid at being a market leader with the impressive but slightly flawed Huawei Ascend P7. Another Chinese handset is the big, powerful and immensely good value OnePlus One.
The dual-screen YotaPhone 2 combines a traditional colour screen with an electronic ink display. The privacy-enhanced Blackphone is a response to widespread warrantless wiretapping and aims to provide a more secure environment for users.
Smartwatches are becoming popular - with manufacturers if not actual customers - and the new Android Wear platform will drive several devices including the upcoming LG G Watch and Motorola Moto 360.
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